THE GREAT AMBITIONS OF THE KRASNOYARSK TERRITORY
Izvestia, December 24, 1999, p.2
The primary measures of restoring a semblance of normal life in Ukraine has become one of the main topics of the meeting of the cabinet of ministers on December 23.
Nevertheless, the government had taken another region for a start. It seems that the situation in the latter region is also required to be discussed on the federal level, since the cabinet had discussed a purpose-oriented program for the development of the Krasnoyarsk Territory until 2005. Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander Lebed has called it a “solid product which could not fail to be adopted”. However, the process of implementing the program has not come without the lobbyist efforts of Lebed himself. The government has approved a document which provides support of some 90 billion rubles. Over 5 billion of this money falls to the share of the federal budget (while the rest are funds of the regional budget, enterprises, loans attracted under guarantees of the state, and even money from the budget of development).
Thus, Moscow should annually send 1 billion rubles to the region, and even more including guarantees on the loans. The territory also connects its hopes with international organizations. On December 23 in Washington the Board of Directors of the World Bank approved allocation of a $30 million loan to Russia for reforming regional budgetary systems, and Krasnoyarsk obviously hopes to participate in the program.
DUMA DEPUTIES HAVE PAID ILLEGAL BONUSES TO THEMSELVES
Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 24, 1999, p. 1
Each one of the 450 deputies of the current Duma cost the State Treasury dearly. It turned out during a recent audit performed by the State Auditing Commission that during last two years, the lower house of parliament has committed a huge overdraft of the budgetary funds for paying wages. Beyond a rather high salary, deputies received illegal bonuses and compensations.
Deputies received bonuses equal to a monthly salary (despite a letter from the Labor Ministry about the illegality of such bonuses) with enviable regularity based on results of their work during the quarter, a year, or based on results of their spring session. Thus, even those parliamentarians who did not attend the sessions were encouraged. Moreover, the deputies were paid bonuses, the amount of which was determined for every particular case – by February 23, March 8, and by birthdays.
The State Auditing Commission has calculated that during nine months of 1997 illegal bonuses for deputies cost the treasury 4 million rubles, while last year the total sum increased to 12.5 million rubles.
ST. PETERSBURG IS WAITING FOR THE PRIME MINISTER
Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 24, 1999, p. 2
On Friday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plans to make a working journey to St. Petersburg, where he will visit a number of defense sector enterprises, meet work collectives, hold conferences dedicated to issues of the development of the military-industrial complex of the city and the region. Deputy Prime Minister Iliya Klebanov will accompany Putin on his journey.
WHO IS TO BE THE SPEAKER?
Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 24, 1999, p. 3
Some names have already been suggested. Among them are both Sergei Stepashin and Yevgeny Primakov. However, there are different points of view.
Sergei Shoigu does not want to hurry with a definitive decision. He says that two proposals are being discussed – either the largest factions should nominate their candidates, or all the factions should make a decision. Shoigu thinks the second option to be preferable.
Gennady Zyuganov thinks that “the largest faction in the Duma”, the CPRF, should choose the speaker. Zyuganov has not called any names so far, but it may be supposed that the issue concerns Anatoly Lukianov.
Grigory Yavlinsky assumes that Sergei Stepashin’s candidacy is the most appropriate among deputies of his faction.
Konstantin Titov, Chair of the political council of Union of Right Forces, calls Sergei Kirienko a real candidate for the post of speaker. He is not only young, but also has experience chairing government meetings.
On Echo of Moscow Radio, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has stated directly: “There is nobody more experienced than I am…”
FIGHTS AFTER THE ELECTIONS
Trud, December 24, 1999, p.1
Alexander Garusov, Secretary of the St. Petersburg Election Committee, stated that the elections in the 210th district of St. Petersburg were declared invalid. According to the minutes Anatoly Golov (Yabloko) won in this district. He collected 14.87%; but at the same time 15.39% of the electorate voted against everyone. Alas, it is not the only scandal regarding the results of the elections. Alexander Nevzorov, a well known journalist who lost the elections in the 206th district, has appealed to court demanding that the results of the elections in this district be declared invalid. Nevzorov asserts that Yuly Rybakov who won in this district used prohibited campaign advertising methods aimed against Nevzorov.
A preposterous case happened in the office of Sergei Popov (Yabloko). Nikolai Kuznetsov (LDPR) who lost the elections, rushed into the office and started a fight. Popov, his assistant, and the secretary of the staff tried to stop him. They had to call police. Kuznetsov was detained.
WESTERN INVESTORS MUST NOT WORRY ABOUT THEIR MONEY
Trud, December 24, 1999, p. 1
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took part in the opening of a press center in ITAR-TASS, the task of which is to promote the activities of the Russian Committee for Welcoming the Third Millenium. During the ceremony Vladimir Putin answered questions via the Internet – he received messages from 37 countries. At the same time, the participants in the global international press conference were interested in the present day, but not in the next millenium. The prime minister appraised the results of the elections unemotionally. He was glad that the turnout was so high. Putin stated that the elections show that the situation in Russia is more stable than it may seem. He noted that Western investors do not have any reasons to worry about their money.
THE CPRF HAS THE MAJORITY IN THE DUMA
REN-TV, Novosti, December 23, 1999, 11:30
On December 23 Alexander Veshnyakov, Secretary of the Central Election Committee, announced the distribution of seats in the Duma. The Communist Party has taken 113 seats, the Unity bloc has 72, the Fatherland – All Russia alliance has 66, the Union of Right Forces has 29. Yabloko has 21 seats, and Zhirinovsky’s bloc has 17.
A CONSPIRACY AGAINST MOSCOW
Independent Television, December 23, 1999, 12:00
On December 23 the mayor of Moscow commented on the refusal of the Supreme Court to overturn the decision to dismiss General Kulikov, Moscow’s police chief. Luzhkov is convinced that the refusal of the Court had a political motive.
Yury Luzhkov: It is a political issue. Of course we will appeal to other official bodies, but unfortunately I have to state that a system of influence over the authorities of Moscow is being created. Sometimes this system is illegal.
CHECHNYA BEING BROUGHT UNDER FEDERAL CONTROL
Independent Television, December 23, 1999, 12:00
According to the command of the federal forces in the North Caucasus, last night the artillery destroyed a group of Chechen guerrillas detected at the Chechen-Dagestan border. The strength of the group, which appeared at the rear of the Russian Army, was about 40 guerrillas. Western news agencies reported shelling of Chiri-Yurt, a town in the foothills area of Chechnya. According to Western journalists, local residents did not expect the attack from the Russian artillery. Hundreds of citizens had to seek shelter in basements. There were no reports of civilian casualties. The command of the federal forces has not yet confirmed this report.
At the same time, representatives of the command stated that in two or three weeks the entire territory of Chechnya will be controlled by the federal forces. According to sources in the Russian Defense Ministry, troops are concentrated around Grozny. Special forces, snipers, and chemical warfare specialists have been relocated to Grozny. The federal forces control the Severny airport and the outskirts of Grozny – Khankala and Chernorechye. According to the military, there are about 2,000 Chechen guerrillas in the Chechen capital, who from time to time try to break through the encirclement. The federal forces are also strengthening their positions near the Georgian border. Russian troops have blocked the main road from Chechnya to Georgia, in the Argun canyon.