THERE IS NO RUSSIAN MAFIA ABROAD, INTERPOL CLAIMS
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, August 17, 1999, p. 1
Analysis of criminal activities by Russians outside Russia does not indicate the presence of a Russian mafia abroad, according to a report of the National Central Bureau of Interpol in Russia. Groups of former Russian residents cannot be compared with Chinese, Nigerian, or Turkish criminal societies.
TYPHOON IN THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST
Izvestia, August 17, 1999, p. 2
Specialists maintain that more than a month will be required to clean up the damage caused by the typhoon that hit the town of Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk Territory, at 5:25 p.m. last Saturday.
It took the natural calamity only twenty minutes to devastate the town. Roofs blown away, wrecked telephone and power lines… One woman drowned, and three fishermen are still missing. Two young girls are presently in the intensive care unit of the local hospital.
Governor Viktor Ishayev claims that the entire Khabarovsk Territory will assist the restoration effort. An investigation is now trying to find out why the town never received a storm warning.
EX-PRESIDENT OF ARMENIA ACCUSED OF AUTHORIZING POLITICAL ASSASSINATION
Izvestia, August 17, 1999, p. 3
Vaan Arutyunjan, former commander of the Armenian Internal Troops, who is currently in custody and facing criminal charges, has made a statement to the media accusing Levon Ter-Petrosyan, ex-president of Armenia, of authorizing political assassinations.
Arutyunjan claims that Vano Siradegjan, a former interior minister who will also face trial soon, could not have sentenced famous politicians and state officials to death without the president’s authorization.
According to Arutyunjan, a special detachment was formed in the Internal Troops in 1992. Allegedly, it was created to protect the radio and TV-broadcasting complex, but it was actually used to eliminate opponents of the regime.
BALTIC FLEET BEGINS SECOND PHASE OF EXERCISES
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, August 17, 1999, p. 1
The second, active phase of the large-scale exercises of the Baltic Fleet involves 42 surface combat vessels, 37 tenders and auxiliary ships, and 50 planes and helicopters.
Sources in the PR department of the Baltic Fleet say that 18 tactical maneuvers will take place over the next week, in addition to 251 combat drills, 27 missile exercises, 99 artillery exercises, and nine torpedo shooting exercises.
On August 21, the coastal S-300 PS anti-aircraft system will engage targets at low altitudes. This will be the Navy’s first such exercise.
TULA MINERS DEMAND THEIR SALARIES
Pravda, August 17, 1999, p. 1
The Tula Territorial Committee of the Russian Coal Mining Trade Union is organizing a march to the capital. The protesters demand immediate payment of wage arrears (they have not seen any pay for twelve months). If Moscow remains unimpressed, Tula Governor V. Starodubtsev himself will join the protesters.
PRESIDENT YELTSIN MEETS WITH REPORTERS
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, August 16, 1999, 12:99
The first and the most important assurance the president gave to journalists concerned speculations regarding a state of emergency.
Boris Yeltsin: I say it firmly, as the president: no state of emergency will be declared! The situation is calm and normal. It is even starting to improve in the economy and in financial matters. The personnel reshuffle will only involve a replacement of the government… No emergency measures are planned.
Regarding the situation in the Caucasus, Yeltsin announced that harsh measures may be taken not only in Dagestan, but might actually affect other republics in the region.
Yeltsin: Sure, some harsh measures will be applied to the Caucasus, in order to… We are going to restore order there, in Dagestan and in other republics of the Caucasus… We will restore order there. Particularly since Putin, what with his disposition and determination, can do it…
There is another interesting detail about the president’s meeting with reporters today. Yeltsin volunteered some information concerning his state of health, specifically that the back pain he had experienced for several years was all but cured during his recent visit to the Burdenko Institute of Neurosurgery on August 11.
Yeltsin: My blood pressure is now 180/120. My heart rate is stable: 64 beats a minute, whether in the morning, at night, or under stress…
SALTAGANOV OF THE TAX POLICE SUMMONED TO THE PRESIDENT
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, August 16, 1999, 12:00
Today President Yeltsin met with Vyacheslav Saltaganov, Director of the Federal Service of Tax Police.
Saltaganov told reporters afterwards that the president instructed him to do everything possible to prevent people with criminal pasts from winning seats in the parliamentary election. The state official was also reminded that the Service should continue to collect budget revenue “despite the identities and positions of tax-evaders.”
COMMUNIST FACTION EXPELS DISSENTERS
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, August 16, 1999, 14:00
A meeting of the Communist faction took place today, and Aleksei Podberezkin, leader of the Spiritual Legacy movement, found himself expelled from the faction.
Question: Did you know the issue was going to be raised?
Answer: I certainly didn’t. Moreover, at 9 a.m. today I spoke with Zyuganov and we decided to meet after lunch and discuss the problems inherent in creation of the alliance. Actually, it doesn’t matter; this is just another intrigue.
The problem is rooted elsewhere. Essentially, what I did was object to the tyranny of secretaries of regional committees of the Communist Party. Actually, calling the Communist party list – which includes some loyal politicians (or so Communist functionaries believe) – a bloc… It is not a bloc, it is a party list. The same one the party has had since October 1998. My stand on the matter was and remains entirely different: I advocate consultations with leaders of parties and creation of a true alliance. Their tactic had a different objective: to wreck and split the Agrarian Party, to try and wreck Spiritual Legacy and persuade its activists to follow the orders of the presidium and the Central Committee of the Communist Party. When all these attempts failed, well… they dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s with a single stroke. As for creation of blocs and alliances, I proposed it six months ago and the proposal has been tabled ever since.
Question: How did they explain your expulsion?
Answer: The wording is something else: anti-communism. Stupid, isn’t it? We have to draw a line between Communists and secretaries of regional committees who are now in the driver’s seat… The fact that Spiritual Legacy is getting into high gear scares certain men mightily, I tell you.
Question: Some speculate that Spiritual Legacy may join the Fatherland – All Russia alliance…
Answer: We will convene a congress in early October and discuss the matter then. We will have to choose, you know: to try going it alone at the election, or to accept Yuri Luzhkov’s proposal.
Question: Viktor Ilyukhin was quoted as saying that he does not rule out the possibility that the same might happen to him. I mean, that he may be expelled too. The problem is, his Movement in Support of the Army dislikes the idea of joining the bloc Zyuganov is building now: the alliance For Victory. Bearing all this in mind, and the fact that the Agrarians themselves intend to join the Fatherland – All Russia alliance, can we say there is a split in the left opposition?
Answer: Yes, the crisis is serious indeed. I think Ilyukhin will be expelled as well.