SELEZNEV ACCUSES THE MOSCOW REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION OF EMBEZZLEMENT
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, December 7, 1999, p. 1
Duma Chairman Gennadi Seleznev is confident that the complicated credit and financial system in the Moscow region coupled with an “original” budget allows the regional administration “to use money as it deems fit”.
Seleznev says that he has initiated an investigation into the crimes committed by the vodka-mafia in the Moscow region.
Seleznev: We will deliver results. We will not allow anybody to keep this matter under the lid…
Seleznev has also condemned the regional administration for taking issues of regional budget deficit too lightly. It amounts to 43 per cent this year and is supposed to reach 60 per cent in 2000. He accused the regional administration of embezzlement of budget money.
This week Seleznev intends to publish his election program and name candidates for the regional government.
Seleznev: It will be an adequate team…
ALL FINANCIAL OPERATIONS WITH ORT HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED
Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 7, 1999, p. 2
The Board of the Audit Chamber has decided to suspend all financial operations with the ORT (Russian Public Television) as of December 6 and says that this is not a political decision.
Such actions were sanctioned by the Duma in accordance with the current legislation and on the request of the Audit Chamber because the administration of the TV channel had refused to cooperate with the chamber’s executives. The resolution was backed up by the communists, their allies, and Our Home is Russia. The LDPR knew at once exactly how the Kremlin would view the whole idea and Yabloko opted not to meddle.
As soon as the resolution was adopted, deputies of Our Home is Russia announced that their votes had been stolen (allegedly, votes of the absent deputies had been used by others). All demands to nullify the voting were ignored. The communists refused to discuss alleged violations of the voting procedure and kept repeating that the “ORT is not behaving well on the eve of the election and it should therefore be inspected…”
YELTSIN SIGNS TWO DOCUMENTS
Izvestia, December 7, 1999, p. 1
President Boris Yeltsin has signed a federal law “On Administrative Penalty for Violations of the Russian Legislation on Elections and Referendums” and amendments to the law “On the Police”. Both documents were adopted by the Duma on November 5, 1999.
The first document establishes harsher punishment of parties, blocs, and the media for violations of the election legislation. The second demands that the police “prevent” illegal agitation.
MASKHADOV WILL BE CARED FOR BY THE TALEBAN
Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 7, 1999, p. 2
Representatives of official Grozny have made another trip to Afghanistan where they reached an agreement with the leadership of the Taleban: Aslan Maskhadov government will find shelter on the territory controlled by the Taleban.
The Taleban agreed to give shelter to the Chechen government in exile only if Grozny falls to the Russians.
CAMDESSUS RECEIVES A LETTER FROM MOSCOW
Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 7, 1999, p. 2
Last week Michael Camdessus returned to Washington from a tour of Europe. On his return, Camdessus met with Russian representative Alexander Livshits. Camdessus and Livshits discussed the letter received by the former from the Russian Central Bank. The document states that Moscow has meet all the demands required for the second installment of $640 million to be made.
According to Livshits, Camdessus is supposed to make the decision on whether or not the matter should be brought up at the sitting of the IMF Board in a few days.
THE FEDERAL FORCES DENY INVOLVEMENT IN THE ACCIDENT NEAR THE SETTLEMENT OF GOITI
Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 7, 1999, p. 3
All representatives of Russian security structures we reached for comments unanimously branded the reports on the extermination of a convoy of refugees near the Chechen village of Goiti as a provocation. They all said that the guerilla fighters resorted to such dirty tricks in order to force the West to exert more pressure on Russia.
Alexander Zdanovich, Director of the PR Department of the Federal Security Service, does not rule out the possibility that the convoy was attacked by the commandos.
Zdanovich: According to our information, they did have such intentions. We have confirmed information that the commandos have prepared a series of tricks and that they even have Ural trucks with plate numbers of the Russian Internal Troops on them…
This hypothesis is confirmed by the intelligence service of the Russian army group in Chechnya.
AN INTERVIEW WITH UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT LEONID KUCHMA
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, December 6, 1999, 14:00
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma flew to Moscow for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin. Contrary to expectations, the meeting took place in the Kremlin and not in the Central Clinical Hospital. Before his return to the Vnukovo-2 Airport, he called a press conference.
Question: How did Boris Yeltsin look? I mean his state of health?
Answer: He looked great. He was in a fine mood, energetic, and cheerful. What really counts however is that we discussed the whole spectrum of issues relating to Russian-Ukrainian relations now.
Question: You said on the eve of the visit that there were some not-too-pleasing subjects to be discussed. What did you mean?
Answer: Our trade turnover is going down because of certain economic and political problems. We have to stop this from going further. This year, decline in trade turnover is expected to reach 20 percent or there about.
Question: Did you have discussions on the future of the Commonwealth?
Kuchma was asked some other questions to which he gave rather interesting answers. For example, he said that the problem of debts restructuring was discussed. Ukraine’s debts to Russia amount to approximately $3 billion. Debts for gas supply alone amount to $1.4 billion. This problem was discussed by the two presidents and as far as Kuchma is concerned, the sooner we begin the restructuring the better.
Kuchma was also asked whether or not Yeltsin had said he would go to China, but the Ukrainian president said that the issue was not raised during their discussion. He, Yeltsin and Premier Putin did discuss issues concerning joint construction of passenger airliners AN-70, TU-334, and AN-140. According to Kuchma, this subject was viewed as a priority and was discussed at length with Putin.
Also discussed was the subject of creating a free trade zone. The Russian government resolved to set up such a zone but Kuchma says that this is really a matter for the Russian Duma to handle. According to the Ukrainian president, we have to wait for the new Duma.
Kuchma was asked whether the signing of the Russian-Belorussian treaty had been discussed. He replied that he had “not discussed it with Lukashenko yet” and therefore the matter “did not concern” him as yet. Kuchma emphasized that this was his first official visit after re-election. But then, yesterday he made a trip to Brussels where he met with executives of the European Union (Ukraine strives for membership in this organization).
When the press conference was over, Kuchma was approached not by Senior Deputy Premier Viktor Khristenko who was supposed to see him off but by Viktor Chernomyrdin of Gazprom. Most probably, Kuchma and Chernomyrdin once again discussed the issue of Kiev’s debts for gas, and their conversation lasted for almost half an hour. After that Chernomyrdin and Khristenko saw Kuchma off. The latter flew directly to Paris.
Why was the visit to Russia so short? On December 24 Kuchma intends to come to Moscow on a state visit.
PUTIN CHAIRED A CONFERENCE…
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, December 6, 1999, 12:00
… on the humanitarian situation in the Caucasus. The conference was attended by deputy premiers and heads of Russian security structures.
According to the Ingush government, 238,000 refugees from Chechnya have found shelter on the territory of Ingushetia.
URUS-MARTAN IS SURROUNDED BY THE FEDERALS
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 6, 1999, 15:00
The town of Urus-Martan has been blocked by the federal troops. Army sources estimate the numerical strength of the fighters in the town as between 3,000 and 5,000. Some of them are known to be foreign mercenaries. Fighting has been reported on the roads leading to the town with artillery fire being rained on the fighters’ positions.
Russian planes and helicopters have dropped leaflets over the capital city of Grozny urging noncombatants to leave the town through the humanitarian corridor opened in the vicinity of the settlement of Pervomaiskaya before December 11. The leaflets emphasize that everyone found in the city afterwards will automatically be considered a terrorist.
Today the federal units intend to take over the town of Argun. Its pacification is underway.