PRIME MINISTER PUTIN MEETS WITH ZADORNOV

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PRIME MINISTER PUTIN MEETS WITH ZADORNOV

Izvestia, August 24, 1999, p. 2

Last Saturday, Prime Minister Putin met with Mikhail Zadornov, the man in charge of contacts with international financial organizations. Official reports indicate that Putin and Zadornov discussed Russia’s relations with the IMF and the expected visit of the IMF delegation, but there can be no doubt that the two state officials also touched upon the prospects of Zadornov’s work in the new government.

Insiders in the White House say that Putin and Zadornov put forth some conditions for future teamwork. Needless to say, most of them were put forth by Zadornov, and now the prime minister will have to give his answer on whether he accepts them.

Sources close to Zadornov are quoted as saying that “We are in business, for the time being.” On August 25, Zadornov is supposed to meet with the IMF delegation.

ZHUKOV: DRAFT BUDGET PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNMENT WILL PROBABLY BE KILLED

Izvestia, August 24, 1999, p. 2

It certainly seems that the draft budget proposed by the government is in for trouble. Analysts maintain that the ratio of budget expenditures proposed by the Finance Ministry (58% to the federal center and 42% to the regions) does not stand a chance of passing the Duma. The present fifty-fifty ratio is expected to be preserved.

Representatives of the fuel and energy sector already object to the government’s intention to raise the export duty on oil from 5 to 7.5 Euro per ton in 2000, and to introduce an export tax on gas (3 Euro per 1,000 cubic meters).

Deputy Alexander Zhukov, one of the best budget specialists in the country, who almost became a finance minister in Stepashin’s Cabinet, calls the document a “survival budget” and does not rule out the possibility that the Duma will vote it down.

YELTSIN ORDERS ALL PENSION DEBTS PAID

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, August 24, 1999, p. 1

The Presidential PR department has released a statement to the effect that Boris Yeltsin instructed Prime Minister Putin and Mikhail Zurabov, Chairman of the Pensions Fund, to pay all pension debts by October 15, 1999, and to have pensions indexed during the fourth quarter of the year.

YELTSIN’S STATE OF HEALTH MAY PREVENT HIS APPEARANCE IN BISHKEK

Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 24, 1999, p. 2

The summit of the so-called Shanghai Five (Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China) is scheduled to take place on August 24 in Bishkek, but there are grave doubts that all participants will turn up.

Rumors were partially generated by reports in the media to the effect that Boris Yeltsin’s state of health was not as he himself had described it to reporters last week. The weekly “Sobesednik” featured an interview with Alexander Potapov, Deputy Director of the Burdenko Research Institute, in which he said that the president’s chest pain could return if Yeltsin does not get additional treatment.

Some observers also comment that the presidential motorcade is now much slower than it used to be: allegedly the president is not allowed to travel by air, nor at high speed on the ground. Our correspondent saw with his own eyes the presidential motorcade driving along Kutuzovsky Prospekt at a speed of 50-60 kph (usually, it rushes by at over 100 kph).

LUZHKOV WILL NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 24, 1999, p. 2

The rumors that Yuri Luzhkov will not run for president for Primakov’s sake began long ago, but the mayor of Moscow himself hinted as much only recently.

Luzhkov: If Yevgeny Maksimovich decides to make a run for it, I will support him.

Political analysts appraise Luzhkov’s decision positively.

Georgy Satarov: Being the pragmatic politician that he is, Luzhkov is very unlikely to make a run for it, no matter what. He is much more likely to decide to support some other more plausible candidate.

ZYUGANOV MEETS WITH OUSTED MINISTER KRASHENINNIKOV

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 24, 1999, p. 2

Pavel Krasheninnikov, former Justice Minister, was fired for his sympathy with the opposition. Krasheninnikov himself said so in an interview, claiming that one of the reasons for his dismissal was rooted in the inspections of the activities of the Communist Party he had organized, which failed to give the Kremlin the results it wanted. Zyuganov responded immediately, inviting the ex-minister for a chat in the Duma.

Zyuganov: I just wanted to tell Krasheninnikov that I appreciate his bravery. For him, the law is more important than his own career.

The Communist leader refused to reveal the contents of the conversation, but analysts do not rule out the possibility that Krasheninnikov may be offered a place on the list of Zyuganov’s Communist Party – For Victory! bloc.

PRIMAKOV ON VACATION

Trud, August 24, 1999, p. 1

Yevgeny Primakov, leader of the Fatherland – All Russia alliance, has gone to the spa town of Sochi for a week-long vacation. Primakov was met in Sochi as a state official of the highest rank: all local administrators turned up at the airport, and Primakov was whisked off in an armored Mercedes.

Reporters were stunned to discover that Primakov’s motorcade drove to the Bocharov Ruchei complex, comprising summer residences of the president, prime minister, and the defense minister.

YELTSIN RECEIVES CHAIRMAN OF THE DAGESTANI STATE COUNCIL

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, August 23, 1999, 14:00

Russian President Boris Yeltsin has met with Mahomed Ali Mahomedov, Chairman of the Dagestani State Council. The two politicians discussed the situation in Dagestan and in the Caucasus on the whole.

The president is constantly briefed on the situation in Dagestan because the attack on Dagestan was essentially an attack on Russia, Magomedov told reporters afterwards.

Yeltsin is said to have instructed the Russian government on urgent measures aimed at eliminating the criminals who have invaded Dagestan.

According to Magomedov, Yeltsin promised federal assistance for resolution of the socio-economic problems plaguing Dagestan, and specifically promised aid to residents of the Tsumadin and Botlikh districts of the republic.

THE PRESIDENT GIVES INSTRUCTIONS TO MINISTER IVANOV

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, August 23, 1999, 14:00

Leaders of the Shanghai Five (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, and Tajikistan) will discuss the situation in Kyrgyzstan at a meeting scheduled to take place in Bishkek on Tuesday and Wednesday, and which the Russian president intends to attend.

Today, Boris Yeltsin met with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (who has just returned from vacation). Preparations for the meeting were discussed. Ivanov says he considers the upcoming summit instrumental in facilitating political and military trust along the borders.

During the meeting, Yeltsin instructed Ivanov to visit Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in September.

Ivanov: We want stable neighborly relations with all republics of the Caucasus region.

STEPASHIN IN ST. PETERSBURG

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, August 23, 1999, 12:00

This morning Sergei Stepashin arrived in St. Petersburg. The former prime minister is preparing his campaign for a Duma seat from a single-mandate district (his native Krasnoselsky district). Stepashin says that after the consultations in Moscow he is quite in control of the situation.

Asked about the right-wing coalition which never materialized, Stepashin replied that it was not his fault.

Stepashin: There is no discord between me and the right…. not the center, but a coalition which is a part of the right-wing center, if I may use the term. There is discord among them: concerning the list, the persons on it, and some political positions as well. I was supposed to become a consolidating figure, you know… On Friday, when the last round of the consultations was underway, we all saw – I mean the leadership of Our Home is Russia, Sergei Kirienko… and Anatoly Chubais who conducted the negotiations – that reconciling the irreconcilable was impossible. It is not as if I were disappointed, though I’m sorry that we failed this time.

The former prime minister is of the opinion, however, that an alliance of the right may yet materialize, particularly since there is considerable motivation for it.

Stepashin: As soon as the parliamentary election is over, the alliance will be different from what it would have been like now. I do believe that it is possible for all those who represent the right center to get together. Particularly since it will soon be a presidential election year.

Today, Stepashin criticized the principles of list-making in the already-formed coalitions. He says we should do away with the practice of inserting names on the lists and announcing right away that these people will never work in the Duma.

Stepashin about himself: I’m not returning to state service, that’s for sure. I will run for deputy, that’s a fact too. And I’m staying in politics. That is also a fact.

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