AN INTERVIEW WITH SERGEI STEPASHIN

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AN INTERVIEW WITH SERGEI STEPASHIN

ORT, Vremya, July 3, 1999, 21:00

After his meeting with senators, Sergei Stepashin gave an interview to “Vremya”. The premier told about the prospects for our economy, about the harvest, and about the parliamentary elections.

Question: You came to this interview right from a meeting with the Federations Council. You have managed to make the Duma and the Federations Council pass a series of economic bills. Neither Kirienko’s nor Primakov’s governments managed to do it. Do you think that now the path to Western credits is open?

Sergei Stepashin: I must mention that we developed the policy of Primakov’s government. Yes, we have managed to obtain the approval of the Duma of the economic bills proposed by the government, though there were many difficulties and conflict situations. And I think that the path to the credits is open. But the Paris club of creditors will make its decision after the decision of the IMF board. We expect that this will happen in July.

Q: Statistics and your finance ministers are observing an economic rise in Russia. Don’t you think that the events of August 17 gave an impulse to this rise?

SS: Yes, the devaluation of the ruble revived domestic industry. But I would not say that that is the only reason for the current economic rise. Appropriate measures taken by Primakov’s government, such as investments in industry, played a great role in reviving our economy.

LEADERS OF PARLIAMENT ON THE DECISION OF THE RIGHT TO UNITE

Russian Television, Vesti, July 3, 1999, 20:00

On July 3, leaders of both chambers of parliament commented on the statement of Sergei Kirienko, the leader of New Power, concerning the decision to unite the right-wing on the threshold of the elections. Gennady Seleznev doubted the prospects of the right coalition. Secretary of the upper chamber Yegor Stroev was less categorical. He called the decision a way to survive in the election race.

SPECIAL OPERATION IN CHECHNYA

Russian Television, Vesti, July 3, 1999, 20:00

Domestic Affairs Minister Vladimir Rushailo has given an order to deliver preventive strikes against bases of Chechen terrorists. He announced this decision at a meeting of Federations Council to which almost all members of the government were invited. The situation in the north Caucasus was the core of the discussion. The senators passed a petition to the president in which they stated specific requests stemming from the situation in the north Caucasus.

The statement of the minister calmed the senators. According to the minister, certain powers are trying to establish a criminal pseudo-Islamic state on the territory of Chechnya. The Domestic Affairs Ministry has concentrated a contingent of 17,000 servicemen at the border with Chechnya, and the minister has given the order to deliver air and artillery strikes against the bases of terrorists. He also stated that this operation does not mean the beginning of another Chechen war. It is a local operation. But the ministry is ready to declare a state of emergency in the district, and this may influence the process of parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia.

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