LUZHKOV WILL NEVER COLLECT

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LUZHKOV WILL NEVER COLLECT

Izvestia, December 23, 1999, p. 2

INTERFAX news agency reports that on Wednesday the Supreme Court has dismissed the claim of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov that the presidential decree (December 2) dismissing Nikolai Kulikov, director of the municipal internal affairs directorate, was illegal.

LOW RATING COSTS A LOT

Izvestia, December 23, 1999, p. 2

The 15 electoral blocs which paid a bond to register for participation in the elections, but polled less than 33%, will not receive their money back, Central Electoral Commission Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov says. The 31.308 million rubles will go into the federal budget.

The 18 blocs and alliances which polled less than 2% each will have to repay to the state the money the Central Electoral Commission transferred into their campaign accounts. This sum totals almost 4 million rubles.

PROMOTIONS IN THE MILITARY

Izvestia, December 23, 1999, p. 2

President Boris Yeltsin has promoted several military officers. A source in the Defense Ministry says that Alexander Baranov (chief-of-staff of the united federal group in the Caucasus), Pavel Labutin (chief-of-staff of the Leningrad Military District), and Vyacheslav Meleshko (assistant to the defense minister) have become colonel generals. Another 19 senior officers have become lieutenant generals, and 90 have become major generals.

NAZARBAYEV ADVOCATES DEMOCRACY AND REFORMS

Izvestia, December 3, 1999, p. 4

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan says he has told US President Clinton that if the West wants Russia to remain a democratic country pursuing a course of economic reforms, it should not isolate Russia. According to Nazarbayev, Clinton “agreed”.

Nazarbayev says that seven years ago there was a totalitarian regime in Kazakhstan, just like there was throughout the Soviet Union.

Nazarbayev: Castigate me for my failure in the last seven years to educate our elite and to explain to it what democracy is.

At the same time, Nazarbayev disagrees with those who believe that the Western way is the only road to democracy.

Nazarbayev: We need democracy, this is our future and we are building it, but spare us the tutors… We are going to build a democratic society on the basis of our own mentality, culture, and history…

CHECHEN VOLUNTEERS ARE FIGHTING IN GROZNY

Pravda, December 23, 1999, p. 1

Volunteer police battalions made up of Chechens are involved in the hostilities both in the mountain regions of Chechnya and in the outskirts of Grozny. It is these units that have already entered the Chechen capital. As of now, Khattab and Basayev with their gangs of criminals and international terrorists will have to fight both the federal forces and those Chechens who no longer want the criminal separatist regime.

THE WEST PRESSES ON WITH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST MOSCOW

Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 23, 1999, p. 2

Yesterday the Board of the US Export-Import Bank voted against allocating a $500 million loan to the Tyumen Oil Company. The bankers were influenced by the letter from Madeleine Albright, who cited “national interests of the United States”.

The Department of State can block the allocation of loans by the Export-Import Bank, but this is the first time it has invoked this right with regard to Russia. Officially, Washington cites the rights of foreign stockholders in Russia, but specialists attribute the decision to the ongoing military campaign in Chechnya.

RUSSIAN GENERAL PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE WANTS MASKHADOV AS A WITNESS

Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 23, 1999, p. 3

The Caucasus Directorate of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office has called Aslan Maskhadov as a witness in the massacre of residents of the village of Mikenskaya (Naur district of Chechnya). Investigation says that on October 8, 1999, before the deployment of the federal troops in Chechnya, 34 Russians residing in the village were executed.

Exhumation of the bodies is underway and witnesses are being questioned.

Law enforcement agencies in Mozdok deny the assumption that Vizkhan Khadzhimuradov, 20, nephew of the Chechen president, has had anything to do with illegal armed formations.

Khadzhimuradov was detained by the federal forces in the Staropromyslovsky district of Grozny. He was discovered to be carrying an application for membership in the Chechen presidential guard.

FEDERATION COUNCIL PASSES BUDGET AND RATIFIES BELARUS TREATY

Trud-7, December 23, 1999, p. 2

At its plenary session yesterday, the Federation Council endorsed the law on the 2000 budget by 148 votes to 6. Addressing senators, Chairman of the Budget Committee Alexander Surikov announced that the budget “is not unquestionable” but “this is all we have.”

After that, the Federation Council ratified the treaty with Belarus on establishment of a union state.

THE PRESIDENT RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER PUTIN

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 22, 1999, 15:00

After the Federation Council session, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended a meeting with Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin. Putin and Yeltsin discussed the outcome of the parliamentary election, some aspects of the situation in the Caucasus, and some economic issues. The conversation lasted over an hour.

Afterwards, the prime minister told reporters that he had informed Yeltsin of his previous meeting with leaders of the political parties and movements which will comprise the next Duma. Putin also told the president how the Federation Council had discussed ratification of the treaty with Belarus. Along with that, matters relating to the energy sector, heating, salaries, and pensions were discussed with the president.

Putin: I updated the president on recent developments in this sphere, and said that in accordance with his decree we were paying 10 per cent more in December. Moreover, we have prepared a presidential decree on doubling pensions. The president did not object. This document will be forwarded to him in a day or two.

THE FEDERATION COUNCIL RATIFIES THE UNION TREATY

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 22, 1999, 12:00

The last session of the Federation Council for 1999 was probably the most important. Senators ratified the treaty on creation of a union state with Belarus, and began discussion of the 2000 budget. Both the union treaty and the budget were presented by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who confirmed that the treaty would jeopardize neither the national interests nor the laws of either country.

Putin: The treaty does not encroach on the national sovereignty of the Russian Federation or Belarus. Neither sovereignty nor both countries’ international commitments are affected…

Putin repeated that the union would only benefit the economies and defense capacities of both countries. According to Putin, no nuclear weapons would be deployed in Belarus in the near future.

Putin: Creating a union between our two countries, we multiply our military-strategic potential. It should be noted, however, that Belarus will remain a nuclear-free state.

2000 BUDGET ENDORSED

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, December 22, 1999, 15:00

The Federation Council has endorsed the 2000 budget almost unanimously, with only six senators voting against it. Presenting the budget, Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Kasianov announced that foreign debts were expected to become the most serious problem of 2000.

According to Kasianov, the government will do everything in its power to collect as much additional revenue as possible, but implementation of the budget remains questionable without foreign loans…

Kasianov: It will be very difficult without foreign credits, because the budget deficit is planned to be minimal. Without money from abroad, the deficit will be colossal. That is why we quite naturally rely on the fairly moderate loans which are specified in the budget, and which were agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Japanese government.

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