THE PRESIDENT AS AN EXTENDED SERVICE MAN
Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 28, 1999, pp. 1, 2
Rumors are spreading in Moscow about the possibility of a third presidential term for Boris Yeltsin. The man who can lead Yeltsin to his next triumph in the elections was even named. It is not difficult to guess that his name is Nikolai Aksenenko.
It is not a secret that the presidential family and its associates do not excited about parting with power in 2000. And everyone knows a legal way to circumvent the clause of the Constitution which forbids one person to be elected president more than twice. That is why it is unsurprising that the Russian political elite regards the talks about real integration with Belarus and the possibility of establishing a presidential post of the new Union suspiciously.
There is hardly anyone in the political elite of Moscow who believes that the promotion of Aksenenko has anything to do with economic talents. No one doubts that Aksenenko will carry out any order given to him. He is entirely dependent on the support of the presidential family. He would not have become first vice premier without it. That is why it is extremely necessary for Aksenenko to keep Yeltsin in power. It is clear that Yeltsin’s family is anxious about the “newly-hatched” vice premier. Otherwise nobody would allow him to behave like does.
CHIEF OF RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION DISPROVES RUMORS ABOUT HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION
Izvestia, May 28, 1999, p.1
General Manager of Russian Public Television Igor Shabdurasulov does not know how to react to the rumors that he was offered a post in the Presidential Administration. He said, “The rumor that I am leaving my position and moving to the Kremlin, where I, as the journalists state, have been offered the post of the first deputy chief of the Presidential Administration does not correspond to reality.”
CAPITAL FLIGHT TO BE CURTAILED
Izvestia, May 28, 1999, p.1
The Duma Budget Committee plans to discuss the addendum to the law on currency control which was approved by deputies in the first reading and which sets a limit of $5,000 on money taken out of the country.
Deputies are considering raising the maximum sum to $10,000.
DISCUSSION OF THE PROBLEMS OF KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA AT THE MEETING OF THE CABINET
Izvestia, May 28, 1999, p.2
The first item on the agenda of the first meeting of the new cabinet was a complex of measures for the socio-economic stabilization of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. The Cabinet decided to confirm them within two days.
The state of the economy in the Caucasian republics is tragic. At different times, various republics (and governments) have tried to get money from the federal center by taking advantage of the complicated political situation. As a rule it has been successful. To Stepashin’s credit, it should be said that did not lose sight of other aspects of the Situation in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, despite the formality of such meetings of the Cabinet. After the meeting, he commissioned Minister of Interior Affair Vladimir Rushailo to strengthen the work of his ministry in the republic, because, in the opinion of the premier, the roots of the events in Karachaevo-Cherkessia are in the criminal sphere.
Secretary of the Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev stated on May 27 that no statements concerning the infringements during the elections in Karachaevo-Cherkessia have been registered with the Supreme Court. But both the candidates have lodged complaints with the republican Supreme Court: the representative of Stanislav Derev for infringements during the election campaign and the lawyer of Vladimir Semenov for the negligence of the election committee. The regular sitting of the court which will consider these complaints has been postponed until June 1 because of the illness of one of its members.
RUSSIAN BOON FOR KOREAN INVESTORS
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, May 28, 1999, p.4
The recent Russian-Korean meeting was rather dynamic. An intrigue preceded the visit of the Korean delegation: the Russian president unexpectedly left for Sochi, and this gave rise to rumors about a possible delay in the visit of the Korean president to Moscow. Only shortly before his arrival did sources in the Kremlin confirm the planned meeting.
According to experts, both sides are worried about the unsatisfactory state of trade and economic relations and the decrease in commodity turnover between the two countries. In 1998 commodity turnover was a little more than $2 billion, a $1.2 billion decrease from 1997. Moreover, exports decreased by $500 million, and the establishment of tariff limits on Russian goods in South Korea was one of the reasons for this. Korea could have been the source of large investments in Russian economy.
Touching on international issues which he planned to discuss in Moscow, the Korean president declared his support for cooperation between Russia and Korea for security in northeast Asia. And he expressed hope that Russia will play a constructive role in the process of creating a system for multilateral consultations concerning the situation in the region.
THE INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY
Trud, May 28, 1999, p.2
Nikolai Volkov, a well-known investigator of the General Prosecutor’s Office, is supervising two already infamous criminal proceedings: the so-called case of the statisticians and the case of Aeroflot. Alexander Danilkin, a correspondent of “Trud”, interviewed Volkov.
Question: Journalists seem to have forgotten about the scandal in the State Statistics Committee. Has this case gotten bogged down?
Nikolai Volkov: It has not gotten bogged down. And, what’s more, it is steadily drawing to its conclusion. Soon, I think in July, we will make our final charges.
Q: Against whom will criminal proceedings be instituted?
NV: Against ten officials of the State Statistics Committee, two representatives of the Presidential Press Service, and one official of the Labor Ministry.
Q: Do you have a clear idea of how the Statistics Committee could have gotten so much unregistered money?
NV: They sold statistical information and literature, rent for offices was paid in cash…
Q: And who was the chief underground cashier?
NV: It was Saakyan. We think that he swindled $2.5 million.
Q: And one more question. What are your relations with Berezovsky?
NV: As is known, we questioned him and have instituted a criminal proceeding against him. And he has defined his own position. He wants the investigation to be carried out objectively and quickly. And he is ready to help in any way he can.
THE POSITION OF THE FINANCE MINISTER
Russian Television, Vesti, May 27, 1999, 11:00
On Tuesday in Sochi, the president decided to appoint Mikhail Kasyanov finance minister and Mikhail Zadornov as the second senior vice premier. However, the next day the situation changed. Senior Vice Premier Nikolai Aksenenko has made it clear that his range of powers will be broad and that he will manage practically all of the activities of the government. However, later Aksenenko admitted that Mikhail Zadornov will also have work to do, such as controlling the activities of the Finance Ministry, the Tax Service, and a number of federal services connected with the securities market.
According to our sources, in Sochi the president promised Zadornov that he could remain finance minister while working as a senior vice premier. At the same time, rumors started to circulate that Mikhail Kasyanov does not intend to take the seat of minister. He is a specialist in the field of international negotiations, and is not interested in working on the problematic Russian budget.
IGOR BUNIN, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR POLITICAL TECHNOLOGIES, ON THE SITUATION IN THE GOVERNMENT
Russian Public Television, Novosti, May 27, 1999, 09:00
Question: Don’t you think that the current situation in the government is a fight for power between Stepashin and Aksenenko? What will Stepashin do if Aksenenko takes over all the activities of the government?
Igor Bunin: If Aksenenko takes over all the activities of the government, it will be the Stepashin-Aksenenko government, as the press puts it, which will be controlled by Abramovich and Berezovsky. In this situation, a puppet premier with purely mechanical functions will be of no use. Stepashin must do everything he can to protect Zadornov as the counterweight to Aksenenko. This is the priority condition, and I think the president should consent to it.
The independence of the government is an exaggeration so far, since Stepashin has not proved himself to be a real premier. Although he was supported by 301 Duma deputies, he is still a hostage of the Presidential Administration.
NEW APPOINTMENTS TO THE GOVERNMENT
Russian Television, Vesti, May 27, 1999, 20:00
By the president’s decree, Mikhail Zurabov has been appointed chairman of the board of the Pension Fund. From October 1998 until now, Zurabov was the president’s advisor for social affairs. Before coming to the Kremlin Administration he was a deputy public health minister and handled affairs connected with medical insurance.