WE KEEP OUR WORD
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 19, 1999, p.2
The US has welcomed the statement of Russian President Boris Yeltsin regarding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and counts on this document being ratified in the Duma. This statement was made by Samuel R. Berger, national security adviser to the US President. The Clinton administration hopes that this document will be approved by the US Senate.
In September the US Senate rejected the Treaty and consequently caused the failure of a very important international agreement. The majority of analysts considered this event a serious political defeat for President Bill Clinton. But the White House does not lose hope that the Senators will reconsider the issue regarding the ban on nuclear tests before the end of the term of the present administration.
DO YOU HAVE PROPERTY ABROAD?
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 19, 1999, p.2
On the instructions of the government and the Central Election Committee, Russian diplomatic representatives are checking about 7,000 candidates regarding their property abroad. In certain countries such information is strictly confidential.
AIDS IN MOSCOW
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 19, 1999, p.1
The number of HIV-positive people in Moscow is increasing geometrically. As of November 1, 3,466 HIV-positive people were registered. More than half of them are people under 25.
During the first 10 months of 1999, the number of HIV-positive people has increased by 2,546. This exceeds the figures for previous years (from 1987 to 1998, only 920 cases were registered).
About 90% of people suffering from AIDS are drug users aged between 15 and 29. A quarter of them are minors. Most drug addicts share needles when injecting drugs in groups.
AN UNEMPLOYED MILLIONAIRE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 19, 1999, p.2
On November 18 “Moskovsky Komsomolets” reported that Roman Abramovich, with his $103,000 per month, is the richest candidate in the Duma elections. But Boris Berezovsky has proved to be richer.
In 1998 Boris Berezovsky earned 14,018,677 rubles ($1.4 million at an exchange rate of 10 rubles to the dollar). This is $116,822 per month. This sum is understated, of course. According to a colleague of Boris Berezovsky, “he would not even tie his shoelaces for $100,000”. The other 11 candidates nominated in Karachaevo-Cherkessia look impoverished against this background. A certain Vladimir Malychin takes second place after Boris Berezovsky; he earned 166,070 rubles at the National Bank of Karachaevo-Cherkessia in 1998.
As for the sources of Berezovsky’s income, they are as follows: the CIS Secretariat, the Shato company, and… real estate deals.
THE ECHO OF DIRTY CASES
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 19, 1999, p.2
Ruslan Tamaev, supervisor of the investigation into the Mabetex case, stated that in the near future he intends to question certain witnesses, including Pavel Borodin. As for questioning Yeltsin, the investigator said: “The law applies to everyone. We will question him if necessary.” Investigators confiscated documents from the Finance Ministry and Vneshtorgbank. They also intend to visit Switzerland for further investigation.
As for Aeroflot, Nikolai Volkov, investigator responsible for this case, stated that despite the accusation against Boris Berezovsky being withdrawn, the General Prosecutor’s Office suspects him of committing certain misdemeanors. Recently the investigators received materials which prove that Berezovsky used the money of Aeroflot improperly. Volkov noted that if Berezovsky’s guilt is proved after the parliamentary elections, the General Prosecutor’s Office will request the Duma to strip him of parliamentary immunity. And the Duma will not refuse…
BLUE STREAM WILL BE VERY PROFITABLE
Tribuna, November 19, 1999, p.1
Victor Chernomyrdin, Board Director of Gazprom, thinks the construction of the Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey gas pipeline will cost 2.5 times less than the Russia-Turkey “Blue Stream” project.
Commenting on the agreement on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline which the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey intend to sign during the summit in Istanbul, Victor Chernomyrdin said it is doubtful whether Turkmenistan has enough gas to pay back the costs of building such an expensive pipeline.
OIL IS THE ROOT OF ALL PROBLEMS
Tribuna, November 19, 1999, p.1
The summit of OSCE leaders has been preceded by an unprecedented, concentrated attack on Russia. In the space of a month, everyone condemned the actions of the Russian government in the North Caucasus.
The pressure on Russia is aimed at implementing a new American peacekeeping strategy, in accord with which NATO is to be present in conflict zones. If this strategy is reflected in the concluding document of the summit, NATO force may appear in any hot-spot of the former USSR. The OSCE has turned into a branch of NATO. The issue of transportation of Caspian Sea oil, which caused the Chechen conflict, will be discussed next week in Istanbul. By all indications, this issue will not be settled in favor of Russia. At the same time, large Western oil companies are not ready to invest money in building the Baku-Djeikhan oil pipeline. The profitability of the project is doubtful. The US, which supports “the safe option of Turkey”, refrains from mentioning that the oil pipeline will cross the eastern part of Turkey, for which the Kurds are fighting.
GUERRILLAS WANT TO BECOME POLICE
Trud, November 19, 1999, p.2
Chechen guerrillas are trying to enlist in the staff of Chechen law enforcement agencies being created by the federal forces. More than 300 applications have come in from Chechens who want to serve in local police force. As it turned out, some of them took an active part in battle operations against the federal forces. This statement was made on November 18 by Chief Artamoshkin of the Mai Department for Law and Order of the Interior Ministry.
According to him, the Chechen police will be created in two phases. The first phase has already begun. During this phase, police from other Russian regions will be transferred to Chechnya. Chechens will be enlisted later.
Artamoshkin said: “We will recruit former police officers who served in the Chechen police force and did not take part in the war. In addition we will recruit people who assisted the federal forces during the operation.”
The police force controls three Chechen regions. During this period policemen have confiscated 50 guns and 500 rounds of ammunition. Three groups of guerrillas which tried to enter the territory of Russia have been neutralized.
Artamoshkin also said, “People seem to believe us. But if we leave Chechnya, this belief will disappear for good. The elders of the Alpakovo settlement stated that if we decide to withdraw the police force from the settlement, they will block the road and will not let us out.”
THE OSCE SUMMIT
NTV, Segodnya, November 18, 1999, 12:00
At present, the meeting of leaders of the OSCE countries is being held in Istanbul. The main subject under discussion is the security of Europe. In this regard, the situation in Chechnya was also touched upon.
The official agenda of the Istanbul summit includes introductory speeches of heads of international organizations and five-minute speeches of leaders of the OSCE countries. Kofi Annan, General Secretary of the UN,and Knut Vollebeck, current chair of the OSCE, spoke that the struggle against terrorism in Russia violates human rights. In turn, prior to the meeting, a lot of statements had been released stating that the Russian delegation would strongly defend its position. It was verbalized one more time in President Yeltsin’s speech which was one of the first.
It is well known, that from the very start Russia has been against the OSCE devoting much time to discussion of the situation in Chechnya. For instance, right upon coming to Istanbul, President Yeltsin set about other serious tasks. As for other members of the Russian delegation, they expressed criticism towards the position the Western countries in relation to Chechnya. Sergei Shoigu stated that international organizations, in fact, do not help Chechen refugees at all.
Shoigu: I have here two pages describing the help of international organizations. I would like to emphasize that it is not real help, but only intentions which are described here.
Today some suspicions arose that Russia might refuse to sign the final document of the forum, that is the Charter for European Security, if an official document regarding the situation in Chechnya is passed. As Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov put it, all scheduled documents would be signed if no surprises for the Russian delegation take place. The Charter had been prepared for two years, but we have just gotten information that signing of the document was postponed until Friday. According to official sources, some questions concerning minor states became the stumbling block.
According to the latest information submitted by ITAR-TASS, US President Bill Clinton had virtually supported the actions of the Russian authorities in Chechnya. The head of the US administration called on the international community, the OSCE first and foremost, to assist Russia in peaceful settlement of the situation. This is a really radical move by the US president, just like Yeltsin’s recent speech. The point is that during the upcoming meeting, Yeltsin and Clinton will discuss the situation in Chechnya. At one time, the US was going to offer its services for peaceful settlement of this conflict. But, prior to the meeting, one of the members of the Russian delegation had stated that Russia is against mediators of any kind. President Yeltsin has made it absolutely clear that Russia will have its own way, as regards Chechnya and called the OSCE and the whole international community to support it. Yeltsin also said that Russia respects the UN charter and the principles stipulated by the Helsinki declaration and strictly adheres to them.
MEETING OF RUSSIAN AND US PRESIDENTS
NTV, Segodnya, November 18, 1999, 14:00
Today a personal meeting between the US and Russian presidents was held in Istanbul, within the framework of the OSCE summit. As the Kremlin representative Prikhodko stated, the meeting had been very frank. The presidents discussed the arms control, first and foremost, and also the prospects for cooperation in Europe and problems of security in Europe. Boris Yeltsin stated Russia’s position as regards military actions in the North Caucasus and spoke about the efforts of the Russian authorities to normalize the life of civilians in liberated districts of Chechnya. According to Prikhodko, the information of the Russian president was accepted with interest and both heads of state demonstrated warm and friendly relations.
YELTSIN’S SPEECH AT THE OSCE SUMMIT
ORT, Novosti, November 18, 1999, 09:00
Today at 10 p.m. the last OSCE summit of the century opened in Istanbul. During the first minutes of the meeting, the subjects of Kosovo and Chechnya were touched upon. Knut Vollebeck, Chair of the OSCE and Foreign Minister of Norway, and Kofi Annan, General Secretary of the UN, said almost the same: we respect the integrity of Russia, but we do not want civilians to suffer. The Russian president was one of the first to speak at the summit.
Yeltsin: The current OSCE summit is the last for this century. This makes it possible to sum up the results of our joint activities. But what is more important, we must work out common approaches towards the future of Europe in the 21st century. We all are equally interested in stability and security in Europe.
Now European countries are facing a new challenge of a global nature. It is directly connected with changes in international relations and search for new models of cooperation. All the European states are now experiencing the threats of international terrorism, strategically unstable situation, transnational crime, spreading of nuclear weapons. We can defeat these threats only together.
I am convinced that Russia cannot be regarded apart from the problems of stability and security of Europe. You have no right to criticize our actions in Chechnya. 1580 civilians suffered from bloody acts of terrorism which took place in Moscow and other cities and towns of Russia. Thousands of families in Russia were affected by these tragedies. During the last three years, 935 people have been taken hostage, not Russians alone, but British, American, and French citizens as well. About 200 hostages are still in the hands of the guerrillas. They are tortured, there is evidence to prove this. Therefore, we cannot speak of humanity in regard to terrorists.
We are grateful to those who have been expressing sympathy toward Russia. At the same time, we do not agree with those who criticize our actions and who do not realize: we must stop terrorists, prevent them from crossing the borders of Chechnya and even the Russian Federation. Thousands of mercenaries trained in Chechen camps and abroad are ready to spread their ideas through the whole world. We know perfectly well what countries support the guerrillas. In the near future, I will appeal to heads of these countries to put an end to these activities. International terrorism threatens not Russia alone. It was not born in Russia and the Caucasus is not the final aim of the terrorists.
Regarding this issue, I would like to emphasize that long-term peace in the Chechen republic and the so-called negotiations with terrorists are not the same. We are not going to negotiate with the guerrillas. We want peaceful settlement of the Chechen conflict. Therefore, it is essential to exterminate the guerrillas. We do not accept all the ideas expressed during the course of the discussion about the future of Europe. I am talking about interference into domestic affairs of our country, even if it is done under the pretext of protection of human rights and liberties. All of us know the possible consequences of such interference. Suffice it to remind you of the NATO aggression in relation to Yugoslavia. Now, at the turn of the century, it is vital to act very carefully. Today our delegation is leaving Istanbul. We sign the Charter of the OSCE regarding it as a code of honest and fair relations within the OSCE, a code stipulating not rights alone, but mutual responsibility, as well. We see it as a plead of safe and happy life on the Continent and a joint contribution to formation of the multi-polar world in the 21st century. Russia is ready to share this responsibility with all the people of Europe.
Earlier in Istanbul head of the Emergency Ministry Sergei Shoigu explained Russia’s position in regards to Chechen refugees. According to him, no humanitarian catastrophe is being observed. He also said that the state authorities had worked out a three-stage plan of returning the refugees to their homes. By December 1, 25,000 Chechens are to return to the liberated territory of the republic, by December 25 there will be 100,000 of them, and by February 25, 2000, all civilians will get an opportunity to return home.