BYPASS PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN DECEMBER

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BYPASS PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN DECEMBER

Izvestia, November 11, 1999, p.1

A contract between Rosheftegazstroi and Transneft for construction of a bypass pipeline to transport Caspian Sea oil without crossing Chechen territory will be signed by the end of November. As was reported to the Agency for Oil Information by Z. Isaev, Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of Rosneftegaz, at present roads to construction sites are being built, ferroconcrete items are being delivered, and other preparation works are being carried out. According to Isaev, construction will begin only after November 15.

WE HAVE THE ARCTIC IN RESERVE

Trud, November 10, 1999, p.1

The International Forum of Northern Territories was opened yesterday in St. Petersburg. It is devoted to the topic: “The Arctic: steady development under market conditions”. Judging by the interest in northern territories expressed by all countries at all levels of state power and business, the next century will witness active exploitation of these regions. There is no other way. In this connection, it would be useful to remember that over 60% of Russian territory belongs to the north; 75% of oil and 92% of gas are extracted there. Russia’s main resources of gold, silver, tin, rare metals, and diamonds are concentrated in this region. The northern territories are also the main source of Russian furs and fish. Many countries are eager to help Russia make use of these riches. Moreover, since 1991, the Northern Sea Route has been open for foreign vessels.

Among those present at the forum are Russian scientists, guests from the CIS countries, the Baltics, Finland, Norway, Japan, and the US. Representatives of the World Bank and the International Ice Center spoke at the forum.

NUCLEAR POWER UNIT SHUT DOWN

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, November 10, 1999, p.1

Yesterday the second power unit was shut down by an automatic safety system at the Kursk nuclear power station. The reasons are being investigated. There were no nuclear emissions, and the background radiation remained unchanged. This was reported by the experts of the Rosenergoatom company.

ALEXANDER LEBED MAY DRIVE A BUS IN GREECE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 10, 1999, p.2

Alexander Lebed has a Greek passport and even a Greek license to drive passenger vehicles. The Krasnoyarsk governor and the former Secretary of the Security Council managed to become a citizen of Greece on February 10, 1997. This was reported by the influential Greek newspaper “Etnos” which published a copy of Lebed’s Greek passport. It was issued in the city of Saloniki and is valid until 2002. The number of the passport is K210758. The driver’s license was issued in the town of Larisa. It is of interest that Lebed himself has never been either to Saloniki or to Larisa. The Greek newspaper does not cite its source of information, but it mentions a scandal which erupted in Russia around other “Greeks” lately discovered by the Central Election Commission, which had checked the documents of all candidates for the Duma. They are Sergei Mikhailov (Mikhas’) and aluminum tycoon from Krasnoyarsk Anatoly Bykov.

The Greek authorities usually grant passports to those who can prove that they have Greek relatives. This means that Lebed had managed to obtain such useful certificates. However, as “Etnos” reports, such documents can be easily bought on the Moscow black market.

Having declared himself a Greek, Mr. Lebed actually found himself in dubious company. In addition to the aforementioned Bykov and Mikhas’, Greek papers were found on assassin Alexander Solonik, “diamond king” Andrei Kozlenok, Georgy Miroshnik, who was involved in deals with the property of the Western army group, and Vladimir Tatarenkov, charged with 10 murders.

ANOTHER STRIKE AGAINST MOSCOW MAYOR

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 10, 1999, p.2

As we learned from the sources in the Interior Ministry, the federal authorities decided to increase pressure on the Moscow city administration and its head, Yuri Luzhkov, leader of the Fatherland – All Russia bloc. According to information not yet officially confirmed, in the near future officials of the Interior Ministry are to unearth materials compromising several top Moscow officials, ranking no lower than heads of departments. Afterwards, public trials are to be held. Thus, the federal authorities are going to kill two birds with one stone: demonstrate their readiness to fight corruption and crime at all levels, and strike another blow against Luzhkov, condemning him in the media as a person who favors bribe-takers.

OSCE OBSERVERS TO VISIT RUSSIA

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 10, 1999, p.2

A delegation of foreign officials, human rights advocates, is to visit Russia prior to the parliamentary elections. The OSCE alone plans to send approximately 500 observers who will tour the country in order to expose election swindles. We are to expect not Europeans and Americans alone – observers will come even from Guatemala. The overall number of “election guards” will amount to 1200. This is the first time we are to welcome so many observers. On the other hand, the electoral battle in Russia has never resembled a real combat to such an extent.

VLADIMIR PUTIN ON THE SITUATION IN CHECHNYA

ORT, Novosti, November 9, 1999, 15:00

At a meeting with relatives of police officers killed on duty, Vladimir Putin made another announcement about the situation in Chechnya. This announcement was prompted by the reproaches made by a number of Western countries, in particular the US, that Russia allegedly uses a disproportionate number of forces in Chechnya. He said, “I have heard the theory that Russia’s activities in the Caucasus are out of proportion to the threat Russia has faced in the Caucasus. Such a threat is best assessed when one confronts real results. We are dealing not with a few separate criminal elements. We are dealing with well-organized gangs of international terrorists. Our victims among the peaceful population of major Russian cities alone total 1,500 people.”

LOTS DRAWN FOR ELECTION AIRTIME

ORT, Novosti, November 9, 1999, 15:00

On November 9, lots were drawn for free-of-charge airtime for Duma candidates at the Central Election Commission (CEC). Before the beginning of this procedure CEC Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov told journalists about the new regulations for campaigning on TV.

The free airtime was distributed across three TV networks (ORT, RTR, and TV-Tsentr) and three radio stations (Russian Radio, Radio-1, Mayak, and Voice of Russia). A principal innovation of the current campaign is television debates between candidates, which will occupy a third of the free airtime. Soon the results of the draw will be published, in order that all voters can know when and on which channel they can listen to each candidate.

FOREIGN CITIZENS TO BE MORE INTENSIVELY CONTROLLED

ORT, Novosti, November 9, 1999, 15:00

The Russian government has taken a number of measures aimed at preventing foreign terrorists from entering Russia. These measures are also aimed at intensifying control over weapons imports to the North Caucasus. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed the corresponding decree. In particular, this decree stipulates temporary restrictions on foreign citizens entering Dagestan, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, and Chechnya. Air routes between several airports in the North Caucasus and foreign countries will be temporarily interrupted. Furthermore, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service have been ordered to intensify control over foreign citizens who enter the aforementioned republics or live there without registration.

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