TERROSIST ACT IN MOSCOW
Izvestia, August 10, 1999, p. 2
At about 11 p.m. on August 8 unknown assailants fired an RPG-18 Mukha grenade launcher at 40 Novokuznetskaya Street. The grenade hit the LogoVAZ reception hall standing there, damaging the roof and the upper left corner of the two-storied building. The Mukha container was found 60 meters from the building.
No casualties were reported, undoubtedly because the terrorist act was organized late in the evening. The police believes that terrorists merely wanted to send a warning to Boris Berezovsky, who is directly associated with the LogoVAZ company.
The last time a grenade launcher was used in Moscow was in the incident with the US Embassy, and responsibility was then claimed by the Scythians, an underground organization. The Federal Security Service doubts its existence. So far, nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack on LogoVAZ.
NIKOLAI PATRUSHEV: ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, August 10, 1999, p. 1
Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev was born on June 11, 1951, in Leningrad.
He is a colonel general.
Between 1974 and 1994 he worked in state security structures, and at one time he headed a directorate of the Federal Security Service in the Republic of Karelia.
From 1994 to 1998 Patrushev was the director of the Internal Security Directorate and later director of the Organization Inspection Directorate of the Federal Security Service.
Between August and October 1998 he was deputy director of the Presidential Administration and director of the Presidential Main Control Directorate.
Until his latest promotion, Patrushev was senior deputy director of the Federal Security Service.
He is married and has two children.
STATEMENT OF FATHERLAND POLITICAL COUNCIL
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, August 10, 1999, p. 1
The Political Council of the Fatherland movement is concerned by the situation in the country taking shape in the light of another government dismissal. Essentially, the decision was made by a narrow circle of persons promoting their own interests. The decision undermines stability in society, resolution of crucial national problems, and conflicts with ideas of civil peace and consensus.
There can be no doubts now that the Kremlin does not have a coherent socioeconomic strategy and personnel policy. Its actions are senseless and unpredictable. Moreover, these actions indicate that the authorities are shifting towards the use of force in resolution of political problems, and that is something that surely lacks any objective reasons.
In this light, the Political Council of Fatherland warns all power structures and state officials, regardless of rank, against anti-constitutional actions.
We appeal to all political forces, regional leaders, security ministries, working collectives, and residents of Russia to do everything possible to prevent anti-constitutional developments.
YELTSIN ACCEPTS THE GOVERNMENT’S PROPOSAL ON GAZPROM
Trud, August 10, 1999, p. 1
President Boris Yeltsin accepted the government’s proposal to fix 35% shares of Gazprom as state property.
The document states that the decision was made “for the purpose of maintaining national economic security…”
SECURITY MINISTRIES COMMENT ON STEPASHIN’S DISMISSAL
Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 10, 1999, p. 2
This editorial office called all security ministries for comments on the dismissal of Sergei Stepashin’s government. Most high-ranking officials admitted it caught them by surprise. Judging by certain reports, however, Putin, Sergeev, and Rushailo already knew everything on Sunday, because the president had phoned them several times and afterwards summoned Putin for a lengthy tete-a-tete.
According to reports from the Interior Ministry, Yeltsin was particularly irked by the situation in Dagestan. Even before Stepashin’s trip to Makhachkala, the president announced that the government had “fumbled in this respect.” Military sources nevertheless maintain that it was merely a warning to the prime minister. There are rumors that the president’s irritation was fuelled by the Presidential Administration, which discovered some “dangerous inconsistencies” in the interviews the prime minister and chief of the General Staff gave in Makhachkala. Kvashnin announced that operations against commandos would continue, but Stepashin was more evasive and advocated a search for other ways and means of dealing with the problem…
The Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry were openly perplexed by the president’s decision.
An insider: When a new war is brewing in the Caucasus, and society needs a stable government, a decision like that can hardly be called justifiable…
The Lubyanka is jubilant. Their boss is being promoted.
ATTEMPT ON THE LIFE OF CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF FAILS
Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 10, 1999, p. 4
As soon as the helicopter with Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, and the accompanying craft made it to the Botlikh district airport (Botlikh is a district of Dagestan bordering on Chechnya), Wahabis fired grenade launchers. Kvashnin was not even scratched (though his helicopter was less lucky), but specialists do not doubt that it was a deliberate attempt to eliminate the high-ranking officer. The Defense Ministry is of a different opinion.
Perhaps it is this incident that prevented a personal meeting between Kvashnin and Shamil Basayev. Accompanied by notorious Khottab, the latter claims to have come to the district on an inspection trip. Kvashnin must have flown in for the same purpose.
Nothing is known for the time being about reciprocal actions by federal troops.
THE PRESIDENT ADDRESSES THE NATION
ORT (Russian Public Television), “Boris Yeltsin’s Address” special program, August 9, 1999, 12:40
Today I signed a decree on the parliamentary election. It will be held on December 19, as scheduled and specified by the Constitution and the law. This is the start of the election race. It is going to be a complicated and crucial period. That is why I ask you to watch the behavior of participants in the race with unwavering attention. I promised a free and fair election. I do not doubt that you will elect decent people. Neither can we forget that the presidential election will take place a year from now, exactly a year. That is why I have decided to name the man who I believe is capable of consolidating society and securing support of various political forces. The man who will ensure that reforms in Russia continue. He will attract everybody who will be renovating the great Russia in the 21st century. He is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Secretary of the Security Council and Director of the Federal Security Service.
Today I accepted the resignation of Sergei Stepashin’s government. In compliance with the Constitution, I appealed to the Duma to endorse Vladimir Putin as chairman of the government. I do not doubt that as the prime minister, he will help this country and that Russians will have an opportunity to appraise his capacities. I have faith in Putin. I would also like everybody who will vote in July 2000 to have faith in this man. I think that Putin has enough time to prove his worth by then.
I know Vladimir Vladimirovich well. I have watched him for a long time already, even when he was senior deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. We have been working side by side with him for several years now. He has always been a confident and competent professional who knows how to get results. Putin has a broad experience of working in state power structures. Chairing the government is a heavy burden indeed, and a serious trial. He will manage it, I do not doubt. And Russians will help him.
I appreciate what Sergei Stepashin has done. He has created a strong team and preserved a stable political and economic situation in Russia. I do not doubt that Sergei Vadimovich will support his successor and friend.
Russia is entering a new political phase. A year from now, the first Russian president will step down and a newly-elected president will take over. In any case, he will be a man you will have chosen, a man who will have won a free and fair election. Thank you.
STEPASHIN IS OUT, REPLACED BY PUTIN
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, August 9, 1999, 12:00
This morning President Yeltsin signed a decree dismissing Sergei Stepashin’s government. Vladimir Putin was appointed as acting prime minister. Putin became another senior deputy prime minister (a post established for the occasion) and was relieved of his duties as director of the Federal Security Service and secretary of the Security Council.
Boris Yeltsin has already sent a letter to the Duma nominating Putin as the next prime minister.
Yeltsin asked Cabinet members to continue carrying out their duties until further notice.
This morning Stepashin had an audience with the president and immediately afterwards chaired a government session in the White House during which he informed his subordinates of the president’s decision.
EIGHTY-THREE DAYS OF SERGEI STEPASHIN’S PRIME MINISTERSHIP
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, August 9, 1999, 12:00
President Yeltsin gave Sergei Stepashin the shortest term in the history of post-Soviet Russia. Stepashin became the prime minister only 83 days ago. Officially, his resignation has not been explained yet, but insiders do not rule out the possibility that Stepashin was dismissed because of the situation in the Caucasus. Recently, he made several tough-worded promises to normalize the situation in this region, but evidently failed to keep his word.
Another hypothesis attributes Stepashin’s resignation to his lack of firmness in dealing with Gazprom and to his failure to consolidate regional leaders around the Kremlin. Stepashin’s rising approval rating may also have played its part in the Kremlin’s decision. The former prime minister has already left Yavlinsky and Lebed behind, and is now running level with Luzhkov.
The mayor of Moscow and the governors (their alliance, in fact) are already thinking about inviting the former prime minister to join the bloc. Stepashin is accused of not making any outstanding economic breakthroughs, even though he did manage to avoid any gross blunders at the same time: the ruble exchange rate is stable, and statistical data even shows a slow economic growth. The gasoline crisis is the only thing Stepashin may be blamed for. This crisis effectively undermined confidence in the government and its ability to handle current economic problems dynamically and effectively.
Something else can be said for Stepashin: his government did restore Russia’s financial relations with the IMF and the World Bank, and did shift our creditors in the London and Paris clubs from their previously rigid positions. As a matter of fact, Stepashin did favorably impress his foreign counterparts during his highly successful trip to the G-8 meeting in Cologne and his visit to the United States.