A SURPRISE IS BEING PREPARED FOR BELARUS?

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A SURPRISE IS BEING PREPARED FOR BELARUS?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 26, 1999, p. 2

As soon as he had opened a government meeting, Putin suddenly left his chair and rushed off to a meeting with Yeltsin. It is known that an extraordinary meeting of the Security Council, chaired by the president, was the reason for such a sudden departure. The only item on the agenda: Belarus. It may only be guessed exactly which unification issues caused such a sudden and secret meeting of the Security Council. Get ready to hear something interesting from Yeltsin in regard to his cooperation with Lukashenko.

Meanwhile, staff changes have been outlined at the Russian White House: Putin’s personnel director Igor Sechin should be appointed first deputy chair of the government staff, with a possibility to head it in future, since according to rumors the current chair of the government staff, Dmitry Kozak, will become director of Putin’s campaign staff.

YANDARBIEV ASKS FOR HELP

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 26, 1999, p.2

Zelimkhan Yandarbiev is now in Jiddah (Saudi Arabia) and is trying to get assistance from Moslem charities.

On Saturday a summit meeting of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council will open in the capital of Saudi Arabia. It is possible that the appearance of an envoy from the Chechen guerrillas in Jiddah aims to get a resolution on Chechnya from the leaders of the oil-extracting monarchies.

THE REFUGEES ARE RETURNING

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 26, 1999, p.2

About 16,000 temporary settlers from Chechnya have been placed in Dagestan, the Stavropol Territory, and North Ossetia – Alania, as reported by the press service of the Russian Emergency Ministry.

Over 24,000 people have returned to Chechnya from Ingushetia.

EXPLOSIONS FORESTALLED

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 26, 1999, p.2

During the Whirlwind Anti-Terror operation, about 400 explosive devices have been found in the North Caucasus, from which over half a ton of explosives have been withdrawn.

Criminals intended to use the explosives in crowded places and vital facilities. In particular, four explosions at major pipelines have been prevented.

NATO WORDS CONTRADICT DEEDS

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 26, 1999, p.2

The Russian Foreign Ministry reports that Moscow has assessed the declaration of relations between NATO and Russia, which was approved by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on November 15, as “inaccurate”. It is stressed in the report that the contents of the declaration do not at all promote the realization of the intention declared by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to restore full-fledged cooperation between NATO and Russia. In particular, the declaration touches on the issues of relations between Russia, Moldavia and Georgia. Russia is also unaware of Kishinev and Tbilisi “asking the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to act as a lawyer for protecting their interests.

DIAMONDS AND GOLD BY A SPECIAL FLIGHT TO RUSSIA

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 26, 1999, p.3

An unusual plane with an unusual load of hard currency and valuables, estimated at $12.5 million, has landed at a Moscow airport. This was the first delivery of the uncovered assets of Golden ADA Corporation, which have been returned to Russia by Russian law enforcement agencies, assisted by Interpol and the US Internal Revenue Service, as well as other international law enforcement organizations. A total of about $100 million will be returned to Russia in valuables and money.

Lieutenant General Valery Guriev, Deputy Director of the Main Department for Combating Economic Crimes (MDFEC): “The return of the currency and valuables from the US became possible due to the coordinated work of the law enforcement agencies from Russia and other countries.”

This story began in 1995, when the General Prosecutor’s Office based on materials of the MDFEC instigated several cases against Y. M. Bychkov, former chair of the Russian Committee of Precious Metals and Gemstones, and directors of Russian and foreign businesses. They are suspected of abuse of power, bribery, swindling, and illegal hard currency deals valued at over $180 million which was taken out of Russia.

MANURE INSTEAD OF MONEY

Izvestia, November 26, 1999, p.2

The municipal authorities of Kimovsk (Tula Region), which owes local teachers five months of wages, have found an extraordinary way to settle the debts. Local collective farms, who are in debt to the city government, pay their debts in manure (since they have nothing else), while the local authorities disseminate this valuable fertilizer in schools. “Tulski Kurier” reports that as repayment for textbooks, the administration has already delivered 1,000 tons of manure to teachers. However, at least 125,000 tons of manure is required to pay all the debts.

MAIN GUIDELINES OF GOVERNMENT POLICY FOR 2000

Izvestia, November 26, 1999, p.2

An inflation rate of 18%, and 1.5% GDP growth: these will be “the main guidelines of government policy” next year. The ruble will continue to fluctuate, but the Central Bank promises to avoid sharp spikes in the exchange rate both at the end of this year and at the beginning of next year. Central Bank Chairman Victor Gerashchenko: “The Central Bank will not accept a devaluation of the ruble just for the sake of pleasing the Finance Ministry and the Tax Ministry with the purpose of encouraging exporters.”

ALBRIGHT DOES NOT OPPOSE GIVING LOANS TO MOSCOW

Komsomolskaya Pravda, November 26, 1999, p.3

Washington has once again stressed that the fate of IMF loans and US aid to Russia should depend on economic factors, not on the West’s concern over the military campaign in Chechnya.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Wednesday: “I think it is extremely important to distinguish between these two things. We think that economic stability in Russia is very significant, it is very important for US national interests. In my opinion, the worst thing we could do would be to turn Russia into our enemy once again. We should do our best to keep our relations rational, and serve the national interests of both our countries.”

THEFT OF MILITARY HARDWARE IN THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST

Komsomolskaya Pravda, November 26, 1999, p.3

A portable anti-aircraft missile defense system has nearly left for Chechnya from Primorie (Maritime Territory).

Last Tuesday law enforcement agencies of Primorie detained a servicemen, who had taken an Igla portable anti-aircraft missile defense system from the “Admiral Vinogradov” anti-submarine vessel. The serviceman turned out to be a radar operator – artillerist; his name is not disclosed. Two accomplices of this crime were arrested as well.

In addition, on November 25 guards found that 37 guns, 6 machine guns, 30 grenades, and several hundred bullets had disappeared from a North Fleet ammunition depot in the Vidnevo garrison. A suspect was arrested: radar operator Sergei Karpov, who was transferred to the reserve on November 12.

NAVIGATOR RELEASED FROM CAPTIVITY

Trud, November 26, 1999, p.1

Senior Lieutenant Sergei Smyslov, navigator of Su-24 MR reconnaissance plane which had been shot down on October 4, has been released from captivity of terrorists. Colonel General Anatoly Kornukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Airforce, stated that the officer had been released “by the federal forces with assistance of local residents”.

According to Kornukov, the Su-24 MR was shot down by a Chechen Strela-2 portable anti-aircraft missile defense system above Urus-Martan. The plane caught fire and went out of control. Its commander, Major Konstantin Stukalo, decided that the crew should leave the plane. Navigator Smyslov was the first to eject successfully. Stukalo died, and afterwards the guerrillas exchanged his body for the bodies of their dead soldiers.

Smyslov tried for 21 days to reach the Russian positions at the rear of the guerrillas. However, he was captured. Chechen leader Khattab scheduled the show execution of the senior lieutenant for November 7 in Grozny. However, on this very day Russian aviation delivered a powerful strike and the action was postponed.

PRIME MINISTER PUTIN ON 2000 CREDITING AND MONETARY POLICY OF RUSSIA

ORT, Novosti, November 25, 1999, 12:00

Today a meeting of the Russian government is being held. It was opened by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The 2000 state crediting and monetary policy was expected to become the main item on the agenda. The head of the Russian government began his introductory speech criticizing Russia’s strategy for nationalities policy.

Vladimir Putin: “Russia is a multi-national state. In all times, nationalities policy has been one of the principal directions of state activities in Russia. It has always been so. We have a strategy of nationalities policy. But I doubt that any member of the government has ever seen it. If this strategy were a valid document which was exerting influence on the state policy in this sphere, all of us would be acquainted with it. In its present state it is nothing but a formality.”

After this Putin turned to the agenda, the 2000 crediting and monetary policy.

Putin: The objectives of the Central Bank and the government are the same. We want to keep inflation at a low level. I have every reason to believe it is possible. The main point is that we must solve the problem of increasing real incomes. Without solving this problem we will never be able to cope with other economic problems of the country in the near future, because low purchasing power of the public may turn into one of the key factors restraining national economic growth.

Having opened the meeting of the Cabinet, Putin left the House of the Government and headed for the Kremlin in order to meet with Boris Yeltsin.

The meeting of the Cabinet is being held in the absence of the prime minister. We are now talking to our correspondent in the House of the Government. Can you tell us anything about the reasons which made the prime minister leave the conference hall and depart for the Kremlin?

Correspondent: As we were informed in the State Information Department, this departure was not at all unexpected. Vladimir Putin had been invited to the Kremlin beforehand. Moreover, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev were absent from the meeting, from the very beginning. Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo and Nikolai Koshman, deputy prime minister for Chechen affairs, left the meeting of the Cabinet together with the prime minister. As for Viktor Khristenko, he knew that he would have to chair the meeting after Putin’s departure, as the majority of the problems under discussion are connected with the sphere of finance.

VIKTOR GERASHCHENKO TO ASSESS THE ACTIVITIES OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT

ORT, Novosti, November 25, 1999, 15:00

When the meeting of the government was over, Head of the Central Bank Viktor Gerashchenko informed journalists that the government had approved the principal directions of the state crediting and monetary policy. According to Gerashchenko, when amending the document, the government will take into consideration all suggestions of the Finance Ministry and other state agencies, and the principal amendments will be made by December 1. However, he doubts that the current Duma will pass this document. As for the results of the government’s work during the past 100 days, the head of the Central Bank is of the opinion that the Cabinet has done well.

Gerashchenko: On the whole, if I were to assess the government’s work, I would give it an A-, or a B+…

SECURITY MINISTERS MEET IN THE KREMLIN

TV-Center, Sobytia, November 25, 1999, 14:00

Today Boris Yeltsin held an urgent meeting with members of the Security Council. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, and Nikolai Koshman, governmental plenipotentiary in Chechnya, had to leave the meeting of the government. As we were informed by information agencies, the treaty on unification with Belarus was the main subject under discussion. Still, the presence of security ministers and Nikolai Koshman testifies to the fact that the situation in Chechnya and further actions of the federal forces were also discussed.

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