FORUM DISCUSSES FOREIGN ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

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FORUM DISCUSSES FOREIGN ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

Izvestia, July 15, 1999, p. 2

A forum organized by the Council of Europe and the Russian Foreign Ministry for international and foreign economic contacts of Federation subjects took place recently in the city of Vologda. The choice of location was deliberate: the region is on the list of the ten regions that account or 60% of all Russian exports. Goods and commodities from the Vologda region are exported to 101 countries, and its annual trade turnover approaches to $2 million.

Delegates at the forum are of the opinion that the federal center has given the regions wide opportunities for international cooperation, but that cooperation is impeded by the West, which does not want Russian goods and commodities on world markets. The forum worked out a package of recommendations which was forwarded to the federal government and regional authorities. It recommends prompter adoption of laws on the status of border territories and concessions, and recommends the more active use of western European experience in the joint resolution of common economic problems.

AMERICAN EXPELLED FROM VORONEZH

Izvestia, July 15, 1999, p. 2

The Voronezh Regional Directorate of the Federal Security Service has expelled Justine Hamilton, a citizen of the United States, who had been living in Voronezh for two years facilitating humanitarian programs. As far as the secret services are concerned, Hamilton had been compiling classified information on the defense enterprises of the city of Voronezh and was particularly interested in the ecological situation.

The American was the official representative of the state of Kansas, with which the Voronezh region closely cooperates on the initiative of Governor Ivan Shabanov.

THE GOVERNMENT WILL DISCUSS THE PROBLEMS OF THE DEFENSE COMPLEX

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 15, 1999, p. 1

According to the information we have compiled, this week the government will convene a number of closed sittings on the problems of military-technical cooperation and finances for the defense complex.

The draft 2000 budget prepared by the Finance Ministry specifies defense expenses at less than 2.2% of the GDP. The Economy Ministry is of the opinion that at least 3.5% of the GDP, or no less than 155.5 billion rubles, are needed. This sum includes all expenses, including those for military reforms.

Actually, even this sum is insufficient. The country has to maintain the army and rearm it.

CRIMINAL CHARGES PRESSED AGAINST NEMTSOV

Tribuna, July 15, 1999, p. 1

The General Prosecutor’s Office has instigated criminal proceedings against executives of the Nizhny Novgorod administration. The news was broken when Anatoly Nekrasov, former Chairman of the Regional Election commission, was summoned for questioning.

According to Nekrasov, charges are being pressed against former Governor Boris Nemtsov. Law enforcement agencies want detailed information on the financial means Nemtsov used during the elections to the Federation Council in 1993.

GAS CRISIS IN RUSSIA

Komsomolskaya Pravda, July 15, 1999, p. 3

Ilya Yuzhanov, head of the Anti-Monopoly Ministry, called a press conference yesterday to admit what everybody knew already: Russia is in the grips of a severe gas crisis.

In June, prices for gas and diesel fuel went up in 70 regions of the country, and in 47 of them the leap exceeded 15%.

Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kalyuzhny: By the end of the year, retail prices of gas may leap by 15-20%…

In fact, we should brace ourselves for a 100% leap, provided the ruble does not crash again. The price of Russian oil on world markets is going up, and contracts for August on the New York Stock Exchange are about $1.20 a barrel more expensive than July ones. This means that Russian oil companies will try to preserve export (they cannot increase it because of the technical capacities of pipelines and maritime terminals). Naturally enough, domestic users will have to be content with less.

LABOR MINISTER KALASHNIKOV IN RYAZAN

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, July 14, 1999, 11:00

Resolution of the most pressing problems requires tens of billions which the government does not have, as everybody knows, Labor Minister Sergei Kalashnikov announced during his working visit to the city of Ryazan.

The minister believes that the funds should be sought in the provinces. If taxes are collected poorly, if some enterprises run in the red and there is nothing anybody can do to ameliorate the situation, then bankruptcy proceedings should be launched and we should stop fearing social upheavals.

Appraising the Cabinet’s social policy, Kalashnikov was quoted as saying that it is time we adopted social assistance by addresses.

Kalashnikov: I think we will make the shift by the end of the year. Along with that, we need social investments. I mean the money that is kept in banks.

PROTON BOOSTER IS GROUNDED

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, July 14, 1999, 12:00

It was reported an hour ago that the launch of the Russian Proton booster from the Baikonur complex will not be permitted. The booster is very unlikely to be launched in the next three days either, according to INTERFAX news agency, which cites a representative of the Russian Aviation-Space Agency. The source was quoted as saying that the launch may be permitted on July 18.

The “Mir” orbital station needs supplies. In fact, its whole future depends on them, and now everything depends on the negotiations a Russian government delegation under Deputy Premier Klebanov is conducting with the Kazakh authorities.

No changes have been made to the working schedule of the “Mir” crew. Astronauts will go EVA on July 23 as planned, regardless of whether or not the Progress comes. Spacesuits are being checked and readied now. If the rocket does not come, however, the crew will have to return from orbit earlier than the plans call for. Top executives of the Russian Aviation-Space Agency cannot say how the “Mir” complex will behave after that.

Russia is losing money because of the ban on all launches. The latest reports indicate that the launch of the Russian-Ukrainian Okean satellite scheduled for June 8 will never take place now.

ASSAILANT CLAIMS A POLITICAL CAUSE

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, July 14, 1999, 12:00

Nikita Krivchun, a student of the Academy of Labor and Social Protection who assaulted the director of the Jewish Cultural Center, may be charged with attempted manslaughter for the reasons of ethnic, religious, or racial hatred. Krivchun is currently in Precinct 26.

Krivchun: It was my own decision. Nobody put any pressure on me, nobody advised it. I’m not a member of any political organization. Everything I did, I did of my own volition. Why did I try to kill him? My slogan is not “Kill the Yids!” My slogan is “Combat Evil!”, and Judaism is evil.

A search of Krivchun’s apartment produced some fascist literature, but the arrestee refuses to say where he laid his hands on it.

Krivchun told investigators that he had prepared himself for the action. He entered the synagogue with a suitcase in which he carried a bottle of gas, a garrote, and a hammer. The assailant also had some knives on him.

Krivchun: That was the first time I laid eyes on the guy. Besides, I do not have anything personal against him. It was not revenge on a single person, it was a political action. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The assailant constantly repeats that he never intended to murder anybody and merely wanted to draw public attention. Law enforcement agencies believe that Krivchun must be a member of some underground organization and are now trying to identify it.

Leopold Kaimovsky, the victim, is in the intensive care unit of Hospital 36. Doctors gauge his condition as very serious and maintain that he may not live to tell the tale.

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