54TH FEDERATION COUNCIL SESSION
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, December 22, 1999, p. 1
Today the 54th session of the Federation Council has been held. Federal laws passed by the Duma and directed to the Federation Council are on the agenda. They are: “On the 2000 federal budget”, “On free trade zones”, “On increasing the minimum wage”, and “On electing the president of Russia”. The Federation Council will also consider amendments and additions to laws currently in force. The Council will also have to ratify a number of international agreements and treaties, including a Treaty on establishing the Union State with Belarus.
Trud, December 22, 1999, p. 1
Yesterday Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party, and members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party laid flowers on the grave of Joseph Stalin on the Red Square in Moscow. It was the 120th anniversary of the dictator’s birth. There were many people present to pay their respects to the “leader of peoples”. Pensioners and World War II veterans came to the Red Square with usual red carnations and portraits of Stalin. Many Stalin admirers were aggressive toward journalists, and severely criticized the media; some of them deliberately posed with slogans and photographs of their idol. After the ceremony Gennady Zyuganov in his interview with journalists called Stalin “an outstanding figure in the history of twentieth-century Russia”. As for mass repressions, according to Zyuganov the Communist Party has already condemned them.
NEVER JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS
Izvestia, December 22, 1999, p. 3
By 12:00 pm on December 21, the information center of the Central Election Committee of Tatarstan issued some approximate results of the election; only a third of ballot-papers has been counted. As the “Vechernyaya Kazan” paper assumes, the Election Committee cannot finish the vote counting without the sanction of the authorities. According to local analysts, Mintimer Shaimiev’s unconcealed reliance on the alliance with Yuri Luzhkov and Yevgeny Primakov has been rather thoughtless and not effective. It was the first time that Shaimiev turned out to be on the side which, to put it mildly, does not support the Kremlin. However, the Kremlin showed Shaimiev that it continues to rely on his experience and discretion. Sergei Shoigu’s friendly visit to Kazan and well-timed award of a “For Service” medal to Shaimirov corroborate this. However, Unity got about 10% of votes in Tatarstan. The figure does not seem enough to satisfy the Kremlin and maintain friendly terms between Shaimiev and the Kremlin. Well, the painful vote counting continues… It is interesting: if Unity and the Union of Right Forces finally receive more votes, who will lose them?
SHOULD THE RUBLE BE FRIENDS WITH BELORUSSIAN MONEY?
Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 22, 1999, p. 3
Yesterday the Central Bank of Russia and the National Bank of Belarus took the first concrete step toward collaboration. Viktor Gerashchenko held a meeting with his Minsk colleagues in Tula, in order to plan the unification of the currencies of the two countries. As is known, the Russian ruble is supposed to be used as common currency. How could this friendship with Belorussian money affect the ruble’s health? Currently it is too early to worry. So far, no mechanism for introducing the common currency has been worked out. It is likely to appear in the first quarter of 2000; and the final unification of the two currencies will take place no sooner than in 5-6 years.
RUSSIANS ARE DYING OUT?
Moskovskiy Komsomolets, December 22, 1999, p. 3
Since the beginning of 1999, the population of Russia has decreased by 0.44% (or 644,500 people). According to the State Statistics Committee, the decrease of the population has been twice as great as for the same period of 1998 (only 0.21%). This sad trend is explained both by rising natural losses (falling birth-rate and rising death-rate), and, primarily, a reduction in the number of immigrants wishing to live in Russia. As at November 1, 1999 the population of Russia amounted to 145.7 million people: there have been 1.23 million births and about 1.769 million deaths. The birth-rate has decreased by 61,000 people, while the death-rate has increased by 114,900 people. Only 13.5% of the natural losses has been compensated by immigration. Overall, 304,100 people have moved to Russia, while 180,500 emigrated from the country. Migration growth has totaled 123,600 people. Immigrants to non-CIS countries totalled 68,800, and 10,600 migrants from non-CIS countries have arrived in Russia. As for the countries of the CIS and the Baltic states, the inflow to Russia continues to exceed the outflow (excluding Belarus).
PRESIDENT YELTSIN SATISFIED WITH THE DUMA ELECTION
NTV, Segodnya, December 21, 1999, 14:00
Today President Boris Yeltsin met with Alexander Veshnyakov, chair of the Central Election Commission, in the Kremlin. Yeltsin stated that he is satisfied with the results of the Duma election, and is ready to sign the law on presidential elections this year, after this law is passed by the Federation Council. Today Yeltsin also spoke to Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo about the recent election.
Rushailo: There were no particular problems with law and order. There were various complaints connected with the election procedure itself, but they must be handled by the CEC. As for the maintenance of law and order, I should emphasize that there were no serious incidents.
POLITICAL SCANDAL IN PRIMORIE
NTV, Segodnya, December 21, 1999, 08:00
The latest political scandal in Primorie (Maritime Region) took on new proportions recently. Now the results of the gubernatorial election are the main apple of discord. The campaign staff of Alexander Kirillichev, a losing candidate for governor, demand that law enforcement agencies confiscate and guard all documents related to the Primorie gubernatorial elections. Kirillichev’s associates compared reports of the supervisors to the official data and came to the conclusion that the results were faked.
Kirillichev’s proxies state that the election process was managed by the local administration officials. Now they are compiling all evidence of fraud in order to take legal action and have the election results declared invalid.
First it was announced that Yevgeny Nazdratenko had won 80% of the vote, but a day later this figure reduced to 65%. There have been no fresh figures in recent hours, since there are problems with the electricity supply at the regional election commission.
Today Kirillichev departed for Moscow in order to demand that another gubernatorial election be held. According to Nazdratenko’s press service, he also intends to visit Moscow.
ELECTIONS IN YEKATERINBURG INVALID
NTV, Segodnya, December 21, 1999, 07:30
The Federal Assembly elections in Yekaterinburg have been declared invalid by both electoral districts of the city. The majority of the voters voted against all candidates. This situation is a result of the confusion during the course of the election campaign. The list of candidates changed every day. As a result, many names were crossed out right on the ballot papers. This aroused indignation in those voters who learned about disqualified candidates too late. Sometimes people tore up their ballot papers in front of election commissions. Now several parties are going to lodge complaints in court.