HOW TO BOMB $1 BILLION
Izvestia, July 28, 1999, p.1
Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexander Kuzmuk has confirmed that Kiev has officially asked Moscow to accept “some 10 Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic bombers” as a repayment of debts for oil.
Kuzmuk refused to name the possible price of a bomber, but announced that it is higher than $25 million. That is, Kiev wants to resell the out-of-date bombers to Russia at the maximum price.
Kiev intends to keep some Tu-160 and Tu-95 aircraft for itself to put space objects on orbit, and one bomber, according to Kuzmuk, will be made into a museum. Even Ukrainians understand that they can no longer use these aircraft for their intended purposes.
Chair of Neftegaz Ukraina Igor Bakay has confirmed that Kiev is ready to completely repay its debt for gas with deliveries of commodities within a month. Now Moscow has to choose whether take a pile of scrap metal and food instead of money.
VLADIMIR RUSHAYLO IN FIGHTING SPIRITS
Trud, July 28, 1999, p.1
On July 27, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushaylo met with journalists. Their conversation touched on the problems of fighting corruption in high spheres of power, terrorism, the penetration of criminals into government, and abductions. The minister stated that the latter crime has became dangerously prevalent, especially in the North Caucasus. Currently, some 514 hostages are being held in Chechen prisons, stated the Interior Ministry.
The minister stressed that not only Chechens but also Dagestanis and Russians abduct people. According to Rushaylo, certain Chechen field commanders who are directly connected with government and political circles of the republic, patronize abductors. He claimed that part of the ransoms received for hostages is spent on maintaining bases where terrorists of Khattab are being trained.
Asked directly if there are any plans in the Interior Ministry or other Russian security structures to destroy training centers in Chechnya which train terrorists, Rushaylo answered evasively: “It makes no sense to go deep in questions of strategy and tactics. Of course special services are conducting such work. The fact is that sometimes political decisions and good training are required to act resolutely.”
INDEXING OF PENSIONS IN QUESTION
Trud, July 28, 1999, p.1
On July 27, Russian Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov did not manage to give an unambiguous answer on the question of whether pensions will be indexed this autumn. According to the minister, repayment of state debt is the priority task for Russia. Only after the Duma starts specifying domestic priorities will raising pensions be considered.
Nevertheless, to all appearances, Russia has found money to aid Yugoslavia. Speaking at the press conference, the minister stated that in the near future Russia will allocate $150 million to Yugoslavia to restore production equipment.
The minister expressed satisfaction with the replenishment of the federal budget: in July revenues were almost 47 billion rubles, and they are expected to increase. Kasyanov assumes that in many respects the financial stability of Russia will depend on the upcoming negotiations between the finance minister and Russia’s biggest creditors, which are the London and Paris clubs.
GASOLINE REDISTRIBUTION IN ST. PETERSBURG
Tribuna, July 28, 1999, p.1
Another assassination has been committed in St. Petersburg. The Chevrolet jeep owned by Pavel Kapysh, General Director of the Baltic Financial-Industrial Group, aged 45, was fired on from a grenade cup discharge in the center of the city.
It was stated by the Main Department of the Interior Ministry of St. Petersburg that Kapysh had told law enforcement agencies more than once that he was being threatened by criminal groupings from St. Petersburg. The so called “Tambov” criminal grouping was very dissatisfied with the participation of the Baltic Financial-Industrial Group in the construction of a new sea port in St. Petersburg. Members of the grouping consider this large-scale project to be their zone of interests, and had persistently asked that Kapysh not “interfere” in the construction work.
But there is also another explanation of the assassination. The fact is that the Baltic Financial-Industrial Group is one of the main sellers of gasoline in St. Petersburg. It owns s network of 40 gas stations. According to certain estimates, this firm supplies up to 60% of St. Petersburg’s gasoline. Among other firms, the Baltic Financial-Industrial Group is suspected of making a price deal which resulted in a gasoline crisis this year in St. Petersburg. Kapush’s assassination may be connected with the redistribution of the gasoline market which took place after the crisis.
JUSTICE MINISTRY CUTS OFF EXTREMISM
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 28, 1999, p.1
The Russian Justice Ministry has prepared a draft “anti-extremist agreement” among social organizations which is aimed at stabilizing the situation in Russia during the parliamentary elections, stated Russian Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov in an interview to the Novosti Information Agency. Currently, the document is being elaborated and coordinated with representatives of parties and movements which intend to run in the elections. According to Krasheninnikov, the Ministry is planning to finish elaborating the document by approximately the middle of August.
TO AGREE ON THE SHORE
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 28, 1999, p.1
On July 27, a meeting with representatives of political and social movements was held by the Central Electoral Committee (CEC). Representatives of 119 parties and movements were present at the meeting. Chair of the CEC Vladimir Veshnyakov reminded everyone present that a considerable number of changes had been introduced in the electoral campaign after the adoption of the laws “On the Duma Elections” and “On Basic Suffrage Guarantees and the Right to Participate Referenda.” The task of yesterday’s meeting was to acquaint the future participants in the electoral campaign with the new “rules of the game”.
As is assumed by the CEC, presidential decree about scheduling the parliamentary elections may be announced in the middle of August. Thus, less than a month is left until the electoral campaign. During the time remaining, all electoral coalitions should acquaint themselves with the new laws in order not to be debarred. As Veshnyakov stated, the CEC is already receiving signals that certain political parties have hired famous lawyers to find a loophole so that they can get into the Duma.
BORIS YELTSIN CUTS HIS VACATION SHORT
NTV, Segodnya, July 27, 1999, 12:00
On July 27 the Russian president suddenly cut his vacation short and returned to the Kremlin. According to Yeltsin, he shortened his vacation by two weeks owing to the unbearable heat. At the same time, Boris Yeltsin did not rule out the possibility of resuming his vacation in the autumn. Russian Minister for Agriculture and Vice Premier Vladimir Shcherbak was the first person with whom Yeltsin met after resuming his duties. Yeltsin decided to elucidate “how strongly the drought has struck Russia and how preparations for the harvest time are going.” According to Shcherbak, because of the drought not 70 million tons of grain will be harvested, as was supposed before, but only 60 million tons. At the same time, the vice premier stated that, on the whole, expenditures for grain are stable and no rise in bread prices is expected. As stated, on July 27 the president also met with Vladimir Putin, Director of the FSS and Secretary of the Security Council. The results of yesterday’s meeting of the Security Council, which was dedicated to problems of the border guard service, were the topic of the discussion.
COMMUNISTS WILL NEVER WIN RUSSIA OVER
ORT, Novosti, July 27, 1999, 15:00
Today is the main day in Russian Premier Sergei Stepashin’s visit to the US. He will meet in Washington with Bill Clinton, Vice President Albert Gore, and Managing Director of the World Bank James Wolferson. Yesterday, Stepashin spoke to representatives of the Russian community and met with American businesspeople. Stepashin called on them to invest money in Russia, saying that there would be no return to the Cold War. As he stated, “Serious prerequisites have been created, which, it seems to me, ensure that there will be neither political nor military cataclysms anymore. I think it was a good lesson for all us. What happened in Yugoslavia and Kosovo will not force us back into the times of the Cold War. Now I will tell you the main state secret as a former director of the Foreign Intelligence Service: the Communists will never gain a victory in Russia again and we will never go back.”
THE 2000 ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN WILL BE THE MOST DIFFICULT FOR RUSSIA
NTV, Segodnya, July 27, 1999, 14:00
Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushaylo thinks that the upcoming electoral campaign will be one of the most complicated in the history of democratic Russia. We will have to face attempts of criminals to get their proteges into legislative bodies, stressed the minister. According to Rushaylo, law enforcement agencies are fully aware of their responsibility during the elections to ensure that they are free and fair. As Rushaylo said, “Aware of their responsibility, law enforcement agencies will do their best to ensure that the elections are free and fair, as demanded by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. All services have been activated to implement this task, and proper cooperation with law enforcement agencies has been arranged. Immediately before the parliamentary elections, the security of various objects of priority significance and places where electoral propaganda and voting will take place will be strengthened. Measures to ensure personal security of candidates, members and employees of their electoral headquarters, and observers from political parties, movements, and social coalitions will be taken.