THE DUMA ADOPTS A LAW ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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THE DUMA ADOPTS A LAW ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 25, 1999, p. 2

Pressed for time, deputies passed the law in the second reading without much fuss.

Three weeks have passed since its adoption in its first reading. Since then, the Legislation Committee has discussed a great many amendments and corrections to the law, many of them forwarded to it by Boris Yeltsin and the government. Deputies also did their best: they mostly proposed to establish an age limit for presidential candidates at 60 or 65 years, and demanded a thorough medical examination. These amendments were not included.

Even harsher demands were put forth for the need for candidates to provide information on their assets and income, and on the income of their family (including bank accounts and balances).

On the president’s initiative, campaign spending for presidential candidates will now be limited to 300,000 minimal montly wages (approximately $1 million).

ON THE ALLIANCE OF THE KREMLIN AND SECRET SERVICES

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 25, 1999, p. 2

According to what information we have compiled, the heads of at least four ministries and departments have received instructions from the Presidential Administration. They are told in no uncertain terms to support the Unity bloc at the upcoming election.

A kind of campaign headquarters will be formed in every ministry and department. Its activists, second-echelon generals, will have to monitor the political activity of their subordinates and promote Unity during trips throughout the country.

FINANCE MINISTRY RELEASES SOME FIGURES

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 25, 1999, p. 1

According to the Finance Ministry, the federal budget deficit in January-September 1999 amounted to 68.9 billion rubles.

Budget revenue was 387.4 billion rubles (326 billion of which came in as taxes) or twice as much as in the same period of 1998. Expenditure was 456.3 billion rubles.

A SURVEY ON THE WAR IN CHECHNYA

Trud-7, November 25, 1999, p. 3

The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center conducted a poll approaching 1,600 adult Russians on November 15.

It turns out that very few Russians believe the war in Chechnya will be over by New Year’s Eve. One-third of respondents believe that the war will end in 2000, and another 30% believe that the struggle against the criminals will last for years.

Opinion polls show that most Russians support the government’s actions in Chechnya.

PULLOUT FROM THE TRANS-DNIESTER REGION WILL TAKE AT LEAST FIVE YEARS

Izvestia, November 25, 1999, p. 3

Complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the Trans-Dniester region before 2002 is impossible for purely technical reasons. This is how sources in the headquarters of the Russian Operational Group located in Tiraspol comment on the statement of Moldovan President Pyotr Luchinsky that “Russian troops will be pulled out from the Trans-Dniester region before 2002.” According to Luchinsky, 1,270 tanks and other armored vehicles and artillery cannon will be withdrawn by 2001.

The Russian military says it will require at least five or six years. The fact is, Ukraine demands strict implementation of international law when military cargo is transported through its territory. Moreover, Moldova does not have enough boxcars and railroad platforms to allocate for the withdrawal of Russian military hardware.

PUTIN SUMS UP HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, November 24, 1999, 12:00

Addressing the Duma today, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave a short estimate of the major economic results of the current year.

Putin: With your permission, I would like to sum up, briefly, the results of the year. As I see it, there are two of them.

The first one. All through 1999 the government has formed and pursued a coherent and logical policy aimed at stabilization of positive trends in the economy. This is a policy which makes use of purely market mechanisms and measures of state management like budget support and stimulation of internal reserves of enterprises.

The second result is this. Predictions say that the positive trends will continue at least until the end of the year. We can be sure that by the end of the year we will have a GDP growth of 1.5% or 2%. Judging by what was happening in finances and the economy in late 1998, this is a good achievement. The 1999 federal budget will be implemented. Moreover, it is possible for the state to carry out a number of additional expenses without aggravation of the macroeconomic situation.

All these details convince the government that the Russian economy’s turnaround toward stable recovery will be maintained.

THE EMERGENCY MINISTRY SUMS UP ITS ACTIVITIES IN 1999

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, November 24, 1999, 13:00

A nationwide conference of the Emergency Ministry, where activities of the ministry in 1999 are supposed to be summed up, is taking place in Moscow. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroyev, and heads of Federation subjects are present.

Putin says that this morning he spoke by phone with the president, and that Boris Yeltsin asked him to convey his greetings to the Emergency Ministry.

Despite financial difficulties, rescue teams were formed in 45 regions of Russia. They use unique equipment, frequently unmatched anywhere in the world. Addressing those present, Putin said that the work of the emergency services was one of the major criteria of the work of the government as a whole, and praised the actions of the Emergency Ministry in general and Minister Sergei Shoigu specifically in the Caucasus.

Putin: The performance of the Emergency Ministry and Minister Shoigu in the Caucasus recently has been brilliant. It is your efforts and the efforts of your colleagues that allowed us to avoid the so-called humanitarian catastrophe. Actually, we were on the brink of one. On behalf of the government, I’m deeply grateful to all of you.

PUTIN MAKES HIS ELECTION PREFERENCES CLEAR

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, November 24, 1999, 15:00

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced today that he was going to support the Unity bloc at the upcoming parliamentary election. According to Putin, only Unity has expressed its willingness to work with the government.

After the conference of the Emergency Ministry, the prime minister denied rumors of the impending resignation of the Cabinet.

Putin: I hear rumors that the government is about to be dismissed, and I myself replaced with Shoigu. I’ve just returned from the Duma. A deputy approached me there and said that Shoigu should be castigated for abuses of power to promote the election goals. What can I say? Sergei Kuzhugetovich is a close friend of mine, and that is why I regard all negative information as a deliberate provocation.

As for Unity, I’m not going to reveal my political sympathies as a chairman of the government. I have already said it more than once, and can only repeat that I’m ready to cooperate with all reasonable political forces which will end up in the next Duma. Unfortunately, all my questions to political leaders on the forms and contents of this future cooperation have gone unanswered in any coherent manner so far. Only Shoigu gives me a clear answer. He says that Unity will support the government in the next Duma. This is why as an ordinary voter, I will back up Unity…

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