RATE OF ECONOMIC CRIME IN RUSSIA INCREASED 2.5 TIMES OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS

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RATE OF ECONOMIC CRIME IN RUSSIA INCREASED 2.5 TIMES OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS

Trud, December 21, 1999, p. 3

More than 280,000 economic crimes (mostly embezzlements of budget funds) were registered throughout the country in 1999. Almost 2 billion rubles were stolen from the social welfare sector alone during the first six months of the year. This sum is almost equal to the total of what is set aside for culture, art, and cinematography per annum.

These figures were released by Yuri Demidov, Deputy Director of the Main Directorate for Combating Economic Crime of the Russian Interior Ministry.

WILL GROZNY FALL BY THE NEW YEAR EVE?

Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 21, 1999, p. 2

A few days ago, Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin met with some members of the Chechen government. Essentially, the meeting was futile. Kvashnin says that Maskhadov’s emissaries “did not even attempt to understand Moscow’s position”. Apparently, official Grozny is stalling for time in the hope to regroup its armed forces and concentrate them in southern Chechnya. Specialists do not rule out the possibility that the garrison now defending Grozny may leave the city.

When the federal troops closed the roads leading to the borders with Azerbaijan and Georgia, Chechen commandos found themselves in an enclave where Russian military intelligence says there are at least seventeen camps and bases. These bases are now being raided by the Russian airforce. In the last twenty-four hours alone 70 flights were made.

IVANOV HOPES THAT THE DUMA WILL BACK UP MOSCOW’S FOREIGN POLICY

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, December 21, 1999, p. 1

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov hopes that the country’s foreign policy will be supported by the Duma majority.

When asked to name the priority issues the Russian government intends to handle together with the new Duma, Ivanov mentioned ratification of the START-2 Treaty.

Ivanov: Delays with the ratification are being used by forces which are out to deploy an anti-ballistic missile defense system in the United States… We should prevent all sort of harm to our country specifically and avoid disrupting strategic parity in general…

RUSSIAN SHARES ON THE RISE

Izvestia, December 21, 1999, p. 2

On the morning of December 20 shares of Russian companies started climbing. This state of affairs is ascribed by specialists to the outcome of the election, though it is still not possible to predict a flow of investments to Russia.

The growth indicates that the stock market cannot find fault with the state of affairs in the Russian political life. The stock market must be particularly pleased with the failure of communists.

TWO POLICE MEN MURDERED IN ST. PETERSBURG

Izvestia, December 21, 1999, p. 2

At about 9 p.m. the interior ministry directorate of the settlement of Dibuny (Kurortny district of St. Petersburg) got a call for help from the Alaska bar. Vladimir Semenov, 44, brandishing a Kalashnikov automatic rifle and a PM gun entered the bar and went into the cubicle where four racketeers were tying the bartender hand and feet. The policeman was shot on sight and died on the spot. His partner Alexander Nilov heard gun shots and rushed into the bar only to be killed on the threshold.

The killers took the Kalashnikov, two PM guns, several cartoons of cigarettes and drinks and drove away in a Lada.

CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION RELEASES RESULT OF POLLS

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 20, 1999, 15:00

The counting of bulletins is almost completed. An hour ago a press conference was held at the Information Center to announce the results of the parliamentary election. As at the time eighty-three percent of bulletins had been counted.

The Communist Party is the leader with 24.8 per cent. However, the Communists can be called the leaders only with certain reservations because they are closely followed by the Unity movement, referred to as the Bear, with 23.68 percent. The Fatherland-All Russia alliance is the third with 12,8 percent, and analysis shows that it polled most of its votes in central Russia. Then comes the Union of Right Forces with 8.71 percent and Zhirinovsky’s Bloc with 6.15 percent. Grigori Yavlinsky’s Yabloko polled 6.1 percent.

Central Electoral Committee Chairman Veshnyakov believes that though these results are but preliminary, the final arrangement of forces in the next Duma will not differ greatly from what has already been established.

Veshnyakov: If we are to talk about prognoses, we do not expect any considerable changes from what we already have. In two hours from now we expect to reveal more of the latest information obtained through the GAS Vybory system.

Reports from single-mandate districts indicate that at least in six of them the results of the election may be annulled. New elections will have to be held in these districts because most of the electorates there voted against everybody.

SELEZNEV FORECASTS THE COMPOSITION OF THE NEXT DUMA

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, December 20, 1999, 14:00

During his press conference held today, Gennadi Seleznev made his forecast of the future arrangement of political forces in the next Duma.

Seleznev: As for the federal party lists, it is clear already that the leadership belongs to the Communist Party. It will probably become the largest faction. As we see it, if 75 percent of candidates supported by the federal lists do make it into the Duma… it will mean 60 or 65 deputies. But let me repeat that these are but approximations, so I do not rule out the possibility that the Communist Party will have about 150 deputies in its faction. This is one-third of the whole Duma. As for the others, I think the second largest faction will be that of Unity. It will be followed by Fatherland-All Russia, the Union of Right Forces, the liberal democrats, and Yabloko.

GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION IN THE MOSCOW REGION CONSIDERED HELD

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, December 20, 1999, 14:00

Over sixty-two percent of eligible voters turned up at the polling stations. Gennadi Seleznev is still the leader with 27.6 percent. He is followed by Gromov with 20.7 percent.

Other candidates (Tikhonov, Tyazhlov, Fedorov, and Bryntsalov) are far behind.

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