ATTEMPT ON THE LIFE OF MASKHADOV’S AIDE
Izvestia, May 25, 1999, p. 1
An attempt on the life of Danilbek Tamkayev, Aslan Maskhadov’s national policy advisor and one of his closest associates, was made near the village of Mesker-Yurt, Shali district of Chechnya, on May 23. The office of national policy advisor is one of the most important in the Chechen republic, because the office-holder controls inter-teip relations, the basis of the entire internal policy.
Tamkayev’s car was subjected to automatic rifle fire, but bodyguards returned fire. The official’s younger brother Adam was killed, and Tamkayev himself was rushed to the nearest hospital with serious wounds.
Investigation of this terrorist act is being carried out by the Interior Ministry, recently restored by splitting from the Ministry of Shar’ah State Security.
POPULATION DECLINE IN BELARUS
Izvestia, May 25, 1999, p. 3
The preliminary results of last February’s census in Belarus have been released. According to the Ministry of Statistics and Analysis, there are 10,037,000 residents in Belarus. The population has decreased by more than 114,000 since the last census was conducted ten years ago.
Seventy percent of Belarussians live in cities, and only 30% in rural areas. For every 1,000 men, there are 1,126 women. Analysts say that more comprehensive information will be available sometime between November 1999 and July 2000.
TO UNITE OR NOT TO UNITE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 25, 1999, p. 2
“To unite or not to unite?” That is the question leaders and activists of regional blocs (Fatherland, All Russia, and Voice of Russia) are now asking themselves.
Everybody expected a sensation from the congress of the new regional bloc: unification with Fatherland (Otechestvo). It never happened. For the time being, only Fatherland itself is talking of unification. Artur Chilingarov, Duma Deputy Chairman, announced after the congress that Luzhkov’s movement was “ready for a single bloc and once again reiterates its readiness to cooperate”. Yet leaders of All Russia are in no hurry to unite with anybody: it is no coincidence that not a single word about unification with anybody was uttered at the congress. Mintimer Shaimiyev, for example, believes that cooperation is needed, but the time for unification has not yet come. He is backed up by Ingush President Ruslan Aushev. St.Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev, the third leader, believes on the contrary that unification is “just the ticket. Let us combine all votes.” At any rate, a decision was made to discuss the matter at the next congress.
NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE LONDON CLUB CONTINUE
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 25, 1999, p. 2
The Russian delegation will presumably be acquainted during this round with the general attitude of commercial creditors to the idea of writing off Russia’s debts to the London Club, which are valued at approximately $29.3 billion.
Moscow’s stand on the matter is simple: Russia’s “new” debts will be serviced without delays, but debts inherited from the Soviet Union should be restructured. It should be noted that the negotiations would have been more fruitful if we had reached a compromise on the short-term state bonds, which the Finance Ministry rejected out of hand.
The round has just began and it is too early for predictions. Foreign Ministry analysts believe that revision of the sums for payment is a lengthy process. However, a layman would sooner believe that the negotiations are delayed for a different reason altogether: the International Monetary Fund has not okayed new loans to Russia yet.
YAKOVLEV: THE SATELLITES WE NOW HAVE ARE QUITE ENOUGH
Tribuna, May 25, 1999, p. 1
Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Missiles Forces (SMF), says that the orbital group we have now is sufficient for providing exhaustive information on the war in the Balkans to the Russian military-political leadership.
At SMF headquarters they believe that if military-spatial programs had received over the last few years at least a third of what was spent on them in Soviet days, the United States would have been behind us in space by at least a decade. Alas, the money was not available, and this fact allowed the Americans to bridge the gap and finally leave us behind.
Perhaps military space will now become a priority again.
Acting on the orders of the president, specialists of the Russian Space Agency and SMF are thoroughly analyzing the use of satellites by NATO in its operation against Yugoslavia. The analysis is needed as the first step in a Russian program of development of military spatial means.
BRAWL IN MILITARY UNIT ENDS WITH OFFICER IN HOSPITAL
Komsomolskaya Pravda, May 25, 1999, p. 2
Five servicemen of the unit of the 11th Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Forces Army quartered at Krilion Cape (Sakhalin) and some civilian employees (doing some repair work) were quietly drinking, probably celebrating the completion of some job. OD Lieutenant Colonel Troot discovered that some soldiers were absent from the evening roll-call, went to look for them, and found the whole lot drinking. Rozhda, a civilian employee, must have had a few drinks too many, because he began insulting the officer. Soon there was a brawl, ending only with the arrival of a police patrol, which arrested drunk servicemen and employees.
Troot is now in a hospital with head injuries.
CHERNOMYRDIN MEETS WITH INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, May 24, 1999, 15:00
Today, Viktor Chernomyrdin met with Indian Foreign Minister Jasvant Singh in Moscow. Presidential Envoy Chernomyrdin believes that resolution of the Yugoslavian crisis requires closer coordination of efforts of the great powers of the world, specifically Russia, India, and China. When the negotiations were over, Chernomyrdin met with reporters.
Chernomyrdin: The negotiations were complicated and we resolved to continue them tomorrow. On Wednesday, more talks will be convened. Here in Moscow again. After that, it will be time to visit Belgrade. That’s the plan. Conducting negotiations when they persist with their air strikes is a difficult process indeed. It may be wrecked literally any moment, and that will mean a catastrophe.
ANOTHER TERRORIST ACT IN KASPIISK
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, May 24, 1999, 12:00
Last night, some unidentified criminals planted a bomb in a building housing law enforcement agencies in the town of Kaspiisk, Dagestan.
The bomb went off at about 4.55 a.m. Moscow time at 3 Suleiman Stalsky Street, where the prosecutor’s office, Federal Security Service, and Emergency Ministry were located.
All windows in the building were shattered in the explosion, but no casualties were reported.
This is the second crime in Kaspiisk in the past week. The first one occurred several days ago, when a bomb disposal squad was summoned to deal with a device discovered at a certain location along the road leading to the border detachment and the tactical group of the Defense Ministry. Unlike the first, the second bomb did go off, and specialists are now trying to decide whether or not there is any link between the crimes.
STEPASHIN IS ACCOMPANIED BY NEWLY APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF THE STATE INFORMATION DIRECTORATE
Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, May 24, 1999, 11:00
On his tour of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, with a stopover in the spa town of Sochi, Sergei Stepashin is accompanied by Alexander Mikhailov. According to RIA-Novosti news agency, Mikhailov was appointed director of the State Information Directorate last Saturday.
Before the appointment, Mikhailov was director of the Interior Ministry PR department.