1,500 FOREIGN MERCENARIES WERE TURNED BACK IN MOSCOW
Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 2, 1999, p. 1
Thousands of foreign mercenaries rushed to the Caucasus when the war in Chechnya began. Most of them entered Chechnya via Azerbaijan, but many have chosen a more complicated route: North Africa to Europe to Moscow to Ukraine to the Caucasus. The Moskva border control detachment is the only barrier. Since August, almost 1,500 suspected mercenaries have been tuned back at Moscow.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION LAW PASSES DUMA
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, December 2, 1999, p. 1
The Duma has passed a draft law “On Election of the President of the Russian Federation”. The draft law may be discussed by the Federation Council on December 22.
According to the document, the presidential election will take place on June 4, 2000, on the first Sunday of the month.
At least 50% of all registered presidential candidates are supposed to participate in the first round. The second round will take place three weeks later. The new president will take office on August 9, 2000, on the day when the previous office-holder officially steps down.
ON THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION IN ST. PETERSBURG
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, December 2, 1999, p. 2
Three candidates for St. Petersburg governor were denied permission to run in the election by the municipal election commission: the notorious Vyacheslav Marychev, deputy Sergei Andreev, and lawyer Vladimir Savitsky. Their lists of signatures were found to include too many fakes.
Therefore, only seven candidates will be able to run for governor. (When the election campaign began, there were 23 of them.)
The other day an opinion poll was conducted among 1,800 residents of St. Petersburg. Almost 52% of respondents plan to support incumbent Governor Vladimir Yakovlev, and only 7% choose Yuri Boldyrev, Deputy Chairman of the Accounting Chamber of the Russian Federation.
GUROV GOES PUBLIC
Tribuna, December 2, 1999, p. 1
Alexander Gurov, a leader of the Unity bloc, has made a sensational statement in Rostov-on-Don.
Gurov: Unity was formed to support Putin. We perceive this man as a guarantor of order and a guarantor of the country’s eventual revival. He will surely become a historical figure…
The cards are on the table. Here, apparently, is the reason why the prime minister sympathizes with the Unity bloc…
PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH LEADERS OF FATHERLAND – ALL RUSSIA
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 1, 1999, 15:00
According to the PR department of the Russian prime minister, the proposal to meet was made by the leaders of the Fatherland – All Russia alliance. The state of the nation on the eve of the parliamentary election was discussed. The meeting lasted almost two hours.
Putin’s Press Secretary Mikhail Kozhukhov: Certain aspects of the situation were discussed. Other matters on the agenda included cooperation between the alliance and the government. In addition, those present touched upon some economic matters involving Moscow which did not have anything to do with the election.
Primakov and Luzhkov insisted on creating a parliamentary majority in the future Duma comprising Fatherland – All Russia deputies and communists, RIA-Novosti news agency reports, citing a reliable source in the Russian White House.
While in Kiev recently, Vladimir Putin made it patently clear that the government sees the Unity bloc, and not Fatherland – All Russia, as its ally in the future Duma.
ALTAI GOVERNOR UNCOVERS A PLOT
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 1, 1999, 09:00
According to Altai Governor Alexander Surikov, if the Communists and Fatherland – All Russia end up in the Duma after the parliamentary election, they will surely try to provoke a new government crisis and move a vote of no confidence in Vladimir Putin’s Cabinet. Surikov says that this way Primakov and Zyuganov intend to remove their major rival in the presidential race.
If they fail to oust Putin, the Communists and the Fatherland – All Russia alliance will strike at the position of prime minister itself. Comprising a parliamentary majority, they will try to amend the acting constitution and make the government coalitional, i.e. appointed by the parliament, according to Chukotka Governor Alexander Nazarov.
The governors do not want any more government crises, and object to the idea of coalition governments.
For the sake of national stability, some governors intend to demand explanations from the Communists and Fatherland – All Russia at one of the next sessions of the Federation Council: whether there is a plan to provoke a government crisis.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BACKS UP THE PRESIDENT
Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, December 1, 1999, 13:00
Today the Constitutional Court confirmed the president’s privilege to suspend the general prosecutor from duty for the duration of an investigation into his activities.
It has taken the court 20 days to reach a decision. Acting in accordance with the law leads to a paradox: Yuri Skuratov was supposed to suspend himself from duty for the duration of the investigation. He did not do so. The president did it for him, and many senators decided that the president was not supposed to do so. The Federation Council was of the opinion that suspending the general prosecutor was its prerogative.
Not everything is clear yet, because new legal conflicts have arisen. In resolving the problem, the Constitutional Court immediately generated a new one.