SENATORS WILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS WILL BE SENT TO YUGOSLAVIA
Izvestia, June 24, 1999, p. 1
The emergency 49th sitting of the Federation Council will begin on June 25. Senators plan to discuss the 25 laws recently adopted by the Duma. However, a decision on the use of Russian Armed Forces in Kosovo (the singular prerogative of the Federation Council in accordance with Article 102 of the acting Constitution) will be the most important matter on the agenda.
It was initially planned that senators would get back to Moscow next week for their last sitting before vacation. On June 22, however, President Yeltsin forwarded Chairman of the Federation Council Yegor Stroyev a memo containing “a proposal to use units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the international contingent in Kosovo.” 3,616 Russian peacekeepers may participate in the operation until June 10, 2000.
CONSENT IN KOSOVO WILL BE A COSTLY AFFAIR
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, June 24, 1999, p. 1
The emergency sitting of the Federation Council on June 25 will discuss the possibility of using a contingent of the Russian Armed Forces in Kosovo in light of the appeal of the president.
The Federation Council Committees for Security and Defense, International Affairs, and for the Affairs of the Commonwealth are already preparing the matter for discussion.
The sitting will probably be closed and attended by Defense and Foreign Ministers Igor Sergeev and Igor Ivanov. Representatives of the Finance Ministry have also been invited because the problem of money will inevitably become acute.
For the time being, most senators support participation in the peacekeeping operation.
Andrei Bychkov, Deputy Chairman of the Budget Committee: The events are taking place not far from our borders, and we should not stand aside.
Bychkov claims, however, that some matters demand a bit more preliminary work. Specifically, not everybody likes the idea of splitting the Russian peacekeepers among various sectors.
According to Alexander Dzasokhov, President of North Ossetia and a member of the Committee for the Affairs of the Commonwealth, there is another unsolved problem related to the technology and mechanism of command-control functions. He says that our peacekeepers should have exact instructions on their proper place and the goals of their mission: preservation of Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity on the basis of Kosovo’s self-determination.
ALEXANDER ZINOVIEV RETURNS TO RUSSIA
Tribuna, June 24, 1999, p. 1
Eminent Russian philosopher and writer Alexander Zinoviev is coming to Russia in several days. Zinoviev intends to remain in this country, working in the institute of sociology and giving lectures.
MOSCOW PAYS INTEREST
Trud, June 24, 1999, p. 1
Yesterday, Vneshekonombank transferred $159.375 million to Citibank in payment on the coupon of the Russian Eurobonds of 1998. In other words, Russia will be paying interest on the credit of $2.5 billion which we received last year for 30 years at a 12.75% annual interest rate.
On June 26 Russia is supposed to come up with $120 million more in interest for other Eurobonds issued in 1997.
IMPEACHMENT THE ALTAI WAY
Pravda, June 24, 1999, p. 1
Deputies of the State Assembly of the Republic of Altai have voted no confidence in head of the local government Semyon Zubakin and other leaders.
The state of affairs in the republic is truly appalling. 150 million are needed to pay all debts to budget employees. The leadership is absolutely incompetent in the face of economic problems. The impeachment was put forth by 30 deputies.
THE TRUE MOTIVES BEHIND THE FORCED MARCH TO SLATINA
Komsomolskaya Pravda, June 24, 1999, p. 3
We reported on June 22 that, by taking over the Slatina airfield, our paratroopers prevented the appearance of a British detachment at storage facilities where classified equipment and gear (radars) and ordnance of the Yugoslavian Air Force unit quartered near Pristina were stored. The Serbians did not have enough time to evacuate all of it in the time set by NATO, and so their General Staff appealed to the Russians to cover the storage facility and give it a chance to withdraw classified hardware without risking collisions with the English.
According to specialists of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces who know what they are talking about, the warehouses contained air-air and surface-surface missiles. Their electronic homing devices are a secret which NATO has been trying to crack for a long time already. Laser-guided bombs were stored nearby, and they have their own secrets which NATO intelligence wanted.
According to Russian specialists, the ordnance could have been manufactured either in Russia or in China and gotten to Yugoslavia via third countries. Had these missiles and bombs been captured by Her Majesty’s troopers, the position of the Russian delegation in Helsinki would have been seriously damaged.
ECOLOGISTS FIND PART OF A TOPOL-M ICBM
Trud, June 24, 1999, p. 1
Participants in the ecological expedition organized by “Trud” discovered a trophy in the woods 200 kilometers from the Plesetsk launch complex: a perfectly preserved part of the most powerful ICBM in the world, the Topol-M.
There is a directive of the Defense Ministry according to which every part of such missiles which falls should be immediately discovered and destroyed.
SKURATOV IS NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT SWITZERLAND AND SEE DEL PONTE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 24, 1999, p. 1
Hardly did Yuri Skuratov have time to recover after the verdict of the Supreme Court which nullified the decision of the Moscow one (it had found the instigation of a criminal case against him illegitimate), when he had to deal with yet another shock.
Yesterday he made another attempt to fly to Switzerland to meet with Federal Prosecutor del Ponte. The attempt was thwarted again.
According to Skuratov, the voyage was wrecked on the initiative of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Minister Ivanov sent an official note of protest to the Swiss Foreign Ministry claiming that, since Skuratov had been relieved of his duties, he could not pay official visits anymore.
Skuratov was told that he could go as a private person. Had he accepted the proposal, he would have admitted his status as an outcast. Skuratov resolved not to go to Switzerland at all.
According to what information we have compiled, yesterday another dose of Swiss “smearing materials” arrived in Moscow.
KORNUKOV, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE AIR FORCE, DOES NOT PERMIT THE HELICOPTER WITH LUZHKOV TO TAKE OFF
Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 24, 1999, p. 2
According to Kornukov, the decision was motivated by “considerations of safety”: “the necessary procedures had been omitted”. Kornukov intends to apologize to the Moscow mayor in person and chastise those who failed to make sure that the helicopter was functioning properly.
DEPUTIES INTRODUCE NEW PRIVILEGES FOR THEMSELVES
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, June 23, 1999, 15:00
Today, Duma deputies adopted a law on some new privileges for themselves. As of now, they will have a pension amounting to 75% of their salaries. If a deputy is not re-elected, he is entitled to a sum equalling his salary as a one-time allotment.
This time the law was supported by the president. The Yabloko faction was the only one which voted against it. All other factions did not have any problems with the law, and the Duma soon turned its attention to the package of laws on which the International Monetary Fund is insisting.
The law on the tax on expensive cars was adopted in the second reading after some hot debates. Deputies feared that the tax would affect owners of powerful domestically-made cars, collective farmers, and private farmers.
Parliamentarians got mixed up with all the terms and called a break. Afterwards, an interesting formula was invented: “The tax does not apply to transportation means which are important for the economy.”
SERGEI STEPASHIN MEETS WITH OLEG MOROZOV
Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, June 23, 1999, 14:00
Today, Premier Stepashin met with Oleg Morozov, leader of the Russian Regions group. The two discussed the adoption by the Duma of initiatives concerning replenishment of budget dividends which are included in the so-called package of the International Monetary Fund, as well as preparation for the autumn session, which will discuss the 2000 state budget.
Afterwards, Stepashin received Mikhail Lapshin, leader of the Agrarian Party.
RUSSIAN PREMIER MEETS WITH DANISH FOREIGN MINISTER
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, June 23, 1999, 12:00
Sergei Stepashin and Nirseme Helvig Peters discussed, among other things, the state of affairs with the Russian economy.
Stepashin said that most large investors and partners think that the economic situation in the country has stabilized.
Stepashin: Over the last year, we have witnessed a growth of industrial output of 1.5%. The exchange rate of the ruble has stabilized, and inflation this month is at its lowest: less than 1%, in fact. All of this confirms that the economy has recovered much more quickly than anybody expected.