YELTSIN IS AWAITED IN BEIJING
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, November 3, 1999, p.1
Russia and China continue their active work to prepare the second informal meeting of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chair of the Chinese government Jiang Zemin, the terms of which are now being agreed upon through diplomatic channels.
The sides have been working on some important documents which will be signed at the summit by the leaders of the two countries. Leonid Moiseev, Director of the First Department for Asia of the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated that “both we and our Chinese colleagues understand the importance of this meeting and of doing everything we can to make it as comprehensive as possible.”
Employees of the Chinese representation in Moscow assert that “currently firm personal contacts have formed” between Yeltsin and Zemin “which are characterized by a high level of trust and sincerity.”
THE ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT IS CONSIDERED TO BE "DISMISSED"
Izvestia, November 3, 1999, p.3
Armenian Minister for National Security Serzh Sarkisyan has submitted his resignation. Thus, two of the three security ministers whom the Armenian Defense Ministry is demanding be fired (the minister of the interior resigned two days ago) have already fulfilled the ultimatum. As for the general prosecutor of the republic, he is still in office. President Robert Kocharyan has not signed his resignation yet, stressing that until a new prime minister is appointed and a new government is formed, the entire government might be considered to be “dismissed.” An extraordinary session of Armenian Parliament will take place on November 2, whereas the issue of appointing a new prime minister will be solved after a speaker of the National Assembly and two deputies are elected.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Yerevan has given Armenia six fixed and 14 hand-held metal detectors which will allow the security of state organizations and high-ranking officials to be reinforced. American Ambassador Michael Lennon has spoken to the Armenian authorities about the readiness of his government to arrange training of people who provide for the security of high-ranking Armenian officials in the US.
According to Lennon, the Americans have more than once called the attention of the Armenian authorities to the necessity of taking additional measures to prevent acts of terrorism and, in particular, strengthening the guard of the building of the National Assembly.
TROUBLE DOES NOT SLUMBER
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, November 3, 1999, p.2
In the first ten months of 1999, some 1,015 emergency situations of human and natural origin were registered in Russia. They resulted in 925 casualties, while 13,447 more people suffered as a result. This figure is 14% higher than during the same period of 1998. The majority of industrial accidents and catastrophes took place in the northwest (128) and central (93) regions of the country. As for natural calamities, the majority of them occurred in the Far East (75) and the North Caucasus (58). Over 1.3 billion rubles have been allocated from the Reserve Fund of the government to Federation subjects for post-calamity reconstruction efforts.
SOCHI IS A PRESENT FROM THE PRESIDENT
Trud, November 3, 1999, p.1
On Thursday Boris Yeltsin, who is currently on vacation in Sochi, plans to meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. To all appearances, their conversation will touch on Chechnya, the condition of the economy, and the 2000 budget.
Yeltsin has already spent seven days in his Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi. When he was getting ready to leave for vacation, his press secretary said that the president would relax for at least a week, but it seems that the vacation of the president will be extended. Preparations are being made in Sochi for Yeltsin to meet with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, who is supposed to arrive there on November 5 to have a discussion with his Russian counterpart.
The president’s vacation is beyond all doubt only a relative getaway. Last week he had two meetings – with Kuban Governor Nikolai Kondratenko and Sochi Mayor Nikolai Karpov. The mayor talked to Yeltsin about the problems of the city for 27 minutes. As a result, the president signed a draft federal law “On State Support for the Sochi Resort Town.” It seems that no Russian municipality has ever received a more generous gift. In accordance with this law, the total sum of federal taxes collected in Sochi each year will not be transferred to the federal center but used for the needs of the resort. The taxes amount to some 640 million rubles annually.
THE COALITION OF RIGHT FORCES HAS COLLECTED ABOUT 1 MILLION SIGNATURES
Komsomolskaya Pravda, November 3, 1999, p.3
It is no wonder that the Coalition of Right Forces has collected so many signatures. Protecting private property from encroachments, depriving deputies against whom legal proceedings have been instigated of parliamentary immunity, sending only professional servicemen to hot spots, and depriving the president of his right to dismiss the government – what normal person would object to these initiatives?
In order to conduct a referendum, the Coalition of Right Forces has to collect another 1 million signatures.
Although the Coalition of Right Forces does not connect its efforts to hold a referendum with the upcoming elections, its action is undoubtedly influencing the Coalition’s popularity. The latest poll conducted by sociologists from the Scientific Research Center of the Institute for Youth indicates that the Coalition of Right Forces may hope to win 7% of the vote together with Yabloko both on party lists and in single-mandate districts.
YURY LUZHKOV VISITS CHITA
TV Center, Sobytie, November 2, 1999, 08:00
The Moscow City Administration is developing economic contacts with the Russian regions. Currently, a delegation from the administration headed by Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov is visiting the Chita Region, where Luzhkov is holding business meetings and associating with residents of the region.
Moscow intends to invest in the development of the Chita ore mining and processing enterprise. During Luzhkov’s meetings with residents of the region he was asked numerous political questions, the majority of which were rather sharp. The meetings were attended by people who believe that everything TV anchor Sergei Dorenko says about Luzhkov is the truth.
Yury Luzhkov: Everything he says about me is slander and lies a-la Gebbels. I am not going to vindicate myself. I have sued Dorenko.
Residents of the Chita Region tried to learn about Luzhkov’s attitude toward the manner in which the Russian prime minister is carrying out the Chechen campaign. Luzhkov stated that although he used to support the idea of fortifying the administrative border with Chechnya, now that the war has come close to Grozny Putin is not to be hindered. However, certain signs of doubt were apparent in the reply of the mayor of Moscow, who said, “I am of the opinion that what is currently happening in Chechnya may turn out to be another mistake.”
As for the topic of the upcoming elections, Luzhkov constantly repeated in Chita that he wants to remain mayor of Moscow, that he sees Primakov as the next president, and that he believes that the Communists and Fatherland-All Russia will share the victory in the parliamentary election.
CHECHENS RECRUIT MERCENARIES IN KOSOVO AND THE CRIMEA
ORT, Novosti, November 2, 1999, 15:00
According to the Russian security services, Chechen emissaries have commenced the recruitment of mercenaries in Kosovo and the Crimea. In Kosovo the recruitment is mainly being conducted among guerrillas of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, whereas in the Crimea the Dzhamiat and Islamic organizations and the Society of Crimean Tartars are preparing 40 Crimean Tartars for shipment to Chechnya. All mercenaries are promised allowances totaling $1,000 per month.
The troops of the Joint Group of Federal Forces in the North Caucasus continue to liberate areas from Chechen gangs. During the past 24 hours artillery and aviation have destroyed armament and ammunition depots near the settlements of Samashki, Staraya Sunzha, Petropavlovsky, and Urus-Martan and the cities of Argun and Gudermes. Guerrilla units have been ousted from the towns of Sernovodsk and Assinovskaya in the Urus-Martan District. Federal troops are currently continuing their encirclement of the mountainous Chechen districts near Dagestan. Artillery will play the major role in suppressing the resistance. Using information of reconnaissance units, mountain howitzers and Grad rocket launchers are delivering strikes against guerrilla groupings. The Vedeno District is the base of field commander Shamil Basaev and his units. His main forces are currently preparing for the defense of Grozny, but individual units are already entrenching themselves in the Vedeno District. To all appearances, the settlements of Vedeno, Dargo, Binoi, Kharachoi, and Bilgatoi will become the centers of resistance in the district. Guerrillas are actively delivering ammunition, foodstuffs, and fuel to these settlements and mining the nearby roads.
Russian motorized infantry, airborne, and marine units have moved one kilometer into the Vedeno District and taken strategically important areas. Currently their cannons are aimed at the major roads leading to the center of the district. The Chechens intend to use guerrilla actions against these tactics. Guerrillas are planning to send small groups to infiltrate the rear of the federal forces and carry out of subversive actions there. Checkpoints of riot police units and commandant companies formed from among local residents are posted on all roads leading to Dagestan. The military maintains that this time, unlike during the first Chechen war, the enemy will not be able to sit through the operation in the mountains.
RUSSIA AND GEORGIA NEGOTIATE OVER BORDER PROTECTION
NTV, Segodnya, November 2, 1999, 14:00
On November 2, Chief of the Russian Federal Border Guard Service (FBS) Konstantin Totsky held negotiations with his Georgian counterpart in Moscow. Russia and Georgia failed to agree on joint protection of the Russian-Georgian border along its Chechen stretch, Totsky told journalists after the negotiations. Chief of the Georgian Ministry for Border Protection Valery Chkheidze said, “Georgia has enough forces and equipment to protect its borders on its own.”
The Georgian side only agreed to accept a group of Russian border guards as observers. Perhaps this measure will solve the problem of Chechen guerrillas freely crossing the Russian-Georgian border. Tbilisi categorically deny these facts.
So far, the only thing left for Totsky to do is believe his Georgian colleague’s words.
On the other hand, the urgency of the problem of the Chechen stretch of the border will decrease in the near future. Border guards maintain that mountain crossings are impassable in winter.