GERMAN BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL CIRCLES APPROACH CHERNOMYRDIN WITH INVESTMENT PROJECTS

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GERMAN BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL CIRCLES APPROACH CHERNOMYRDIN WITH INVESTMENT PROJECTS

Izvestia, July 6, 1999, p. 1

Viktor Chernomyrdin, presidential envoy for the resolution of the Balkans crisis, received a group of German business and financial leaders, who suggested a number of investment projects for implementation on the territory of the Russian Federation. The news was released by Chernomyrdin’s advisor Valentin Sergeev.

Asked to specify, Sergeev mentioned construction of oil and gas complexes, expansion of the pipeline transport system, and completion of construction of sea ports in the Baltic and Barents seas.

MINES FOR THE CHECHEN BORDER

Izvestia, July 6, 1999, p. 2

A defensive ditch is being dug along the Stavropol-Chechen border. A meter deep and five meters wide, the ditch already spans almost half of the 113-kilometer border. Military sources maintain that once completed, it will be made a more formidable barrier with barbed wire and mine fields. This decision has already been made, but the money has been delayed.

Local authorities maintain that Grozny approves of the creation of the fortification. Leaders of the Vainakh diaspora also back the decision to reinforce the border.

NEW POLITICAL MOVEMENT IN TATARSTAN

Izvestia, July 6, 1999, p. 2

The inaugural congress of the “Tatarstan: the New Century” (TNV) public political movement has been held in the capital, Kazan. TNV is an alliance of a whole range of centrist movements and parties loyal to the republican authorities. Created through initiatives “from the top” and already rated by independent observers as “the triumph of permitted democracy”, the coalition has declared its goals to be unification of healthy forces in society and dedication to values of democracy. TNV will participate in the parliamentary elections, pursuing objectives virtually identical to Mintimer Shaimiyev’s All Russia movement. Farid Mukhametshin, Chairman of the Tatar State Council, has become the leader of the new influential movement.

PERM GOVERNOR GENNADI IGUMNOV LAUNCHES WEB SITE

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, July 6, 1999, p. 2

Perm governor Gennadi Igumnov has become the third owner of a personal web site among the country’s regional leaders. He attributes the decision to the necessity of closer contacts with the people.

"KOMMERSANT" BECOMES AN AMERICAN-BRITISH-IRANIAN PERIODICAL?

Komsomolskaya Pravda, July 6, 1999, p. 7

It certainly seems like the lengthy saga of the sale of the Kommersant Trading House is nearing its completion. Last week news agencies revealed the identity of the buyer. Expectations notwithstanding, it was not Boris Berezovsky or Anatoly Chubais, who everybody thought might be the new owner. The controlling interest (75% according to some reports and 85% according to others), was bought by Kia Dzhurapchian, an Englishman of Iranian origin, owner of the American Capital investment fund. According to the contract, the present management will retains their positions and the new owner will not interfere in personnel policy over the next twelve months. Leonid Miloslavsky, the owner of the remaining 15%, is barred from the management.

“Ex-owner Vladimir Yakovlev knows to whom he sold the shares. Kommersant top echelons know it too,” according to an insider. What information is available at this point clearly indicates that the fund was taking its marching orders from Russia. From Berezovsky, to be more precise.

If this is really so, all the fuss becomes understandable. In Russia, a periodical will now feel much better under a foreigner’s patronage than under Berezovsky’s.

PREVENTIVE STRIKE IS NOT A NEW WAR WITH CHECHNYA

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 6, 1999, p. 1

Early in the morning of July 5, Russian Internal Troops executed a preventive strike at Chechen terrorists massing near the administrative border with Dagestan. The strike is not supposed to mark the beginning of a new war in the Caucasus.

According to Colonel Oleg Aksenov, head of the Information Directorate of the Interior Ministry, preventive actions are not supposed to cause any negative reaction in Grozny. Everybody, ordinary Chechens included, is fed up with gangsters who sense their own immunity. The federal Interior Ministry and the Shar’ah Security Ministry of Ichkeria have normal working relations. The problem of terrorism worries both parties. It is clear already that diplomatic finesse will never be able to handle the problem of terrorism in the Caucasus. The Russian Interior Ministry means business.

SYRIAN PRESIDENT IN MOSCOW

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 6, 1999, p. 1

Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria, has come to Moscow following an official invitation from Boris Yeltsin. The official Syrian media describe the visit (the first since the disintegration of the Soviet Union) as Moscow’s attempt to build up its importance in the Middle East peace settlement process.

YELTSIN MEETS WITH INTERIOR MINISTER VLADIMIR RUSHAILO

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, July 5, 1999, 14:00

Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo was received by the president to brief the head of state on the actions of Interior Ministry forces in the Caucasus. Issues surrounding the upcoming elections were also discussed during the audience: how to prevent the election of people with s criminal past, and how to prevent the use of “dirty techniques” as Rushailo put it.

The minister announced that his subordinates would coordinate their efforts with the Central Elections Commission and the Federal Security Service. Yeltsin is said to have given Rushailo instructions on solving the problem of social tension around the country: the orders mean the Interior Ministry will participate in actions aimed at preventing wage arrears in the fuel and energy sector. The Interior Ministry is investigating what happened to the money that never made it to the miners.

Rushailo: 110 criminal proceedings were instigated in the Kemerovo region against those who broke the law and pilfered state funds…

YETLSIN AND STEPASHIN DISCUSS THE RUSSIAN-BELARUSSIAN UNION TREATY

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, July 5, 1999, 14:00

Boris Yeltsin has instructed Stepashin to keep all matters pertaining to preparation of the Russian-Belarussian union treaty under his personal control. Today the premier is supposed to call Belarussian president Lukashenko and discuss the matter with him.

Sergei Stepashin: The treaty is prepared. We reached an agreement with Belarus that it will not be a merely declarative document. A whole program of economic and other measures will provide a supplement to it, because this is a complicated process. Everything will be decided this month.

The premier mentioned that Russia welcomes Belarus’ eagerness for more openness in its relation with the West. Stepashin also briefed the president on the financial situation in the defense sector.

Stepashin: We have to prevent wage arrears, that’s the most important task. As for the creation of next year’s budget, the president wants the Armed Forces in 2000 financed at least at the level of 1999. No less…

URGENT GOVERNMENT PRESIDIUM SESSION DISCUSSES THE DROUGHT

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, July 5, 1999, 14:00

Sergei Stepashin: This summer is hot, bringing the situation in agriculture to a critical point. Let’s admit it: what survived the freeze in May is now being killed by the drought.

Government analysts say only 60 million tons of grain will be harvested this year, too little for Russia’s needs. To last the winter, Russia needs another 14-15 million tons. There is already a cereals shortage in some regions of the country, resulting in gradual price-rises.

In his opening address, the premier announced that the Cabinet has to take a number of urgent steps to help agriculture and to stabilize the situation as a whole.

Stepashin: If we do not take these measures, we may lose control over prices, and that is something we cannot afford, of course. The positive trends we’ve been witnessing during the first six months of the year could be reversed. We have to prevent that from happening.

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