PUTIN’S GOVERNMENT IS READY TO BEGIN WORKING
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, August 18, 1999, p. 1
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced in the Kremlin before his meeting with President Yeltsin that the first meeting of the new cabinet will be held on Thursday.
Several important questions, such as forecasts of the socio-economic development of Russia, the preliminary results of implementation of the 1999 federal budget, and the 2000 draft budget are on the agenda. Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants and Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov are to deliver reports.
AVIATION EXHIBITION OPENS IN ZHUKOVSKY
Izvestia, August 18, 1999, p. 2
The fourth international aviation exhibition MAKS ’99 has opened in the town of Zhukovsky in the Moscow Region. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin opened the exhibition. He announced to journalists that the new government will spare no efforts to support priority programs in the field of high technologies currently concentrated in the Russian air-space industry. At the opening ceremony all modern Russian military and civilian aircraft, on which the Russian air-space industry is staking all its hopes, were shown to Putin.
Russian missiles for S-400 anti-aircraft complexes are being exhibited for the first time in Zhukovsky. These missiles are nearly half the size of their S-300 predecessors.
BUCKS PRINTED IN CHECHNYA
Trud, August 18, 1999, p. 1
Members of an interregional criminal group involved in production of forged money has been caught in Omsk. A “Trud” correspondent was told by the public relations department of the Omsk Regional Department of the Federal Security Service that seven people were arrested during an operation organized by the Main Regional Interior Affairs Department and the Omsk Regional Department of the Federal Security Service, and 350,000 forged dollars were taken from them.
Deputy Director of the Omsk Regional Department of the Federal Security Service Sergei Savchenkov told journalists that all the false notes are of the 100 dollar denomination, and that even experts are hard pressed to distinguish them from real bills because they are made with high-quality printing equipment. Savchenkov is of the opinion that finding the place where the false notes are made is one of the priorities, since he thinks that there are many such notes throughout Russia. He has expressed the suspicion that the forged notes were produced in Chechnya.
A GREAT PURGE IN THE FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 18, 1999, p. 3
Colonel Nikolai Patrushev, former deputy director of the Federal Security Service, has been appointed the head of the agency.
Patrushev’s appointment is regarded without much emotions by his colleagues. A healthy immunity has been developed in the Federal Security Service as a result of constant personnel purges. At the same time, rumors are circulating in Lubyanka that Patrushev has a lot of compromising materials on a number of current officials of the special service. In this connection officials do not rule out the possibility that the new director will begin to dismiss corrupt people from the Federal Security Service.
THE OWNER OF SBS-AGRO WILL NOT RETURN MONEY TO DEPOSITORS
Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 18, 1999, p. 2
Alexander Smolensky, a well-known financial expert, has reappeared after a long silence, apparently on the occasion of the anniversary of the default.
However, the reason for the press conference held by Smolensky may be different. Last week, the Central Bank introduced external administration in SBS-Agro. On Monday all payments to creditors and depositors were discontinued for 30 days.
Moreover, rumors have started to circulate that the Russian government is seriously considering ways to deprive SBS-Agro of its regional branches and hand them over to the French financial group Credit Agricole.
The remnants of his former property and influence are slipping through Smolensky’s fingers. The bank will never get financial support from the state, since its debts are too large. The bank owes about $800 million to Western creditors alone. The debts to Russian private depositors total 7 billion rubles. And the losses of SBS-Agro amount to 46 billion rubles.
Is it possible to escape this dead-end situation? Smolensky announced, “If the government does not adopt a plan to restructure our group and hand over our branches to other groups by September 1, we will be able to discontinue our activities unilaterally and give up our license.”
MEETING OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRIME MINISTER
Independent Television, Segodnya, August 17, 1999, 12:00
On August 17, President Yeltsin met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Journalists attended the meeting of the president and the prime minister. Vladimir Putin represented to the president the structure of the new security bloc of the government. The defense minister, the foreign minister, the interior minister, the minister for the state of emergency, the chief of the Federal Security Service retained their postings. Yuri Chayka was appointed minister of justice.
After the meeting with the president, Vladimir Putin promised to prepare a list of government members by the end of the week. According to Interax, it is possible that the first meeting of the government will take place on Thursday and will be presided by President Boris Yeltsin.
THE SITUATION IN DAGESTAN
ORT, Novosti, August 17, 1999, 15:00
Today, a closed meeting of the Security Committee took place in the Duma. At the meeting deputies discussed measures against the terrorists who have occupied a few settlements in Dagestan. According to the participants in the meeting (Commander-in-Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin and deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov), by the end of this week the operation against Chechen terrorists will be finished.