TULA COAL MINERS ARE PREPARING A MARCH TO MOSCOW

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TULA COAL MINERS ARE PREPARING A MARCH TO MOSCOW

Izvestia, August 11, 1999, p.2

On Tuesday, Tula coal miners blocked the administrative building of Tulaugol Inc., demanding that the company pay back wages. According to Chair of the regional Trade Union Committee Lev Popov, coal miners have received no wages at all for the last two months, and haven’t seen any cash money for almost a year.

At a meeting of representatives of working collectives it was decided to prepare a mass march of protest from Tula to Moscow in order to attract the attention of the public to miserable state of the coal mining industry. However, it is difficult to predict the effectiveness of this action. The fact is that the government is fulfilling its obligations to coal miners by covering the difference between the cost and the sale price of coal. Consumers of coal, who owe 250 million rubles to coal miners, are the main culprits.

LARGE BATCH OF HEROIN CONFISCATED IN THE URALS

Izvestia, August 11, 1999, p.2

An unprecedented 15.3 kg of heroin was confiscated from drug dealers by agents of the Sverdlovsk Department for Fighting Organized Crime, the FSS, and a special rapid response detachment. Agents of the aforementioned services spied the channel for the delivery of this strong drug from Tajikistan long ago, when the first sample batch of the poison was delivered. They spied on members of the international drug Mafia for a month until they caught three drug dealers red-handed near Yekaterinburg. A million and a half doses could be made from this quantity of heroin, and the profit of the criminals would have been $1.3 million. But now the drug dealers are in for 7-15 years in prison with confiscation of property. All the heroin will be destroyed.

THE FINANCE MINISTRY IS PLANNING THE 2000 BUDGET

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, August 11, 1999, p.1

On Wednesday the Finance Ministry will submit the basic parameters of the 2000 budget to the government together with a proposal to set the outlays of the federal budget at 742.86 billion rubles and revenues at 800.7 billion rubles.

The primary surplus of the federal budget has been changed from 2.8% to 3.2% of the GDP. Inflation remains at 18-22% a year, with an average dollar value of 32 rubles.

On Friday in Tomsk, acting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will participate in a meeting of the interregional Siberian Agreement association at which it is expected that the draft 2000 budget will be discussed with governors.

THE RUBLE ESCAPES WITH A SLIGHT COLLAPSE

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, August 11, 1999, p.1

On Tuesday at the trade session of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, the course of the national currency against the dollar managed to stabilize a little, winning back a total 28 kopecks. As a result, on Tuesday the rate of exchange was 25.01 rubles to the dollar (on Monday it was 25.29 rubles for a dollar).

Many experts forecast that the ruble’s value will increase by the end of the week. It should return to the unofficial corridor of the CBR of between 24 and 25 rubles.

As was explained to “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” by the CBR, the current level of gold and currency reserves allows to function relatively smoothly. On Monday, which was the hardest day for the ruble, the total amount of transactions did not exceed $160 million. The CBR was compelled to sell some $130 million. The very next day no interference of the CBR was required.

A HUSKY VOICE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 11, 1999, p.2

On August 10 at a meeting of the Political Council of the Voice of Russia bloc, the possibility of uniting with the Right Cause movement was declared impossible.

The Political Council, which consists of the Democratic Party of Russia, the Union of Russian Christian Democrats, the Social Consent movement, etc., thinks it necessary to form a wide coalition of centrist powers only if prominent politicians like Sergei Stepashin, Mikhail Lapshin, Yury Boldyrev, and all of them headed by Yevgeny Primakov join it. However, leader of Voice of Russia and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov had talked earlier about plans to unite Voice of Russia and Right Cause.

THE SITUATION IN DAGESTAN REMAINS TENSE

Russian Television, Vesti, August 10, 1999, 20:00

The situation in the Botlikh and Sumadin districts of Dagestan remains rather tense. According to reconnaissance, guerrillas have again been disclosed in the settlement of Achida. Currently, Russian and Dagestani Interior Forces are being concentrated in the area.

On August 10, an operational group from 102nd Brigade of the Interior Forces attempted to enter the settlement, but reconnaissance reported that it was occupied by guerrillas. Helicopters confirmed the information collected by reconnaissance. Not far from the village, another large gang of guerrillas was found in a canyon. Neither the guerrillas nor the Interior Forces have ventured to initiate any direct conflicts. The guerrillas, taking advantage of the temporary calm, are strengthening their positions, and when helicopters approach they dexterously hide in canyons and under bridges. Official representatives of the military assert that the local command has a plan and a wish not to let the guerrillas leave the mountain regions but to destroy them where they are now. This will, however, undoubtedly be hard to fulfill.

The guerrillas are currently ensconced in three settlements: Rakhatay, Salta in the Botlikh district, and Achida in the Sumadan district. The fact that both land and air forces are involved in the operation indicates its scale. Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Anatoly Kornukov asserts that the military situation in Dagestan turned in favor of the federal forces with the help of aviation and its military activities. Currently, three aviation detachments are active in the sky: an assault squadron, a bombing detachment, and a reconnaissance detachment. There are no problems with ammunition. Missiles and bombs are being launched. Guerrillas do not have many fortified positions in the mountains, and therefore high-precision weapons have been used only once.

STRICT RULES FOR CANDIDATES IN THE DUMA ELECTIONS

Russian Television, Vesti, August 10, 1999, 20:00

On August 10, Chair of the Central Electoral Committee Alexander Veshnyakov published strict rules for candidates in the Duma elections. As he stated, “If anyone from a federal list with three major personalities as symbols of the corresponding electoral list quits during the electoral campaign, the entire federal list must be canceled. If several electoral blocs which comprise a coalition quit and take 25% of the people on the list with them, the bloc ceases to exist.”

Politicians still have until October 24, and by that time electoral coalitions have to announce their intention to run in the elections. By November 7 the Central Electoral Committee will announce who will be allowed to run in the Duma elections.

YELTSIN PRAISES DEFENSE MINISTER FOR SETTLING THE SITUATION IN KOSOVO

NTV, Segodnya, August 10, 1999, 12:00

On August 10, Yeltsin’s first meeting was dedicated to military issues. Acting Defense Minister Igor Sergeev arrived in the Kremlin. As Yeltsin stated in person to journalists, he would like to discuss urgent problems of the Armed Forces, including problems related to the Russian peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, with the defense minister. According to Yeltsin, despite the fact that Sergeev is formally on vacation, he is continuing to work with the Russian peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. For these activities Sergeev was awarded a Diploma of Honor by the president and thanked for the political settlement of the conflict between Yugoslavia and NATO and his the gradual and persistent efforts to uphold the position of Russia in the Balkans.

Much attention was paid to the situation in the North Caucasus. Not long ago we managed to find out that, following a meeting with the president, Sergeev reported the establishment of an operational headquarters to plan measures to uphold stability in the North Caucasus, and particularly in Dagestan. According to Sergeev, already at midday on August 10 he and Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushaylo will listen to a report of the aforementioned headquarters.

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