ST. PETERSBURG PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE WANTS NIKITIN LOCKED UP

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ST. PETERSBURG PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE WANTS NIKITIN LOCKED UP

Trud, January 11, 2000, p. 1

The St. Petersburg Municipal Prosecutor’s Office has filed an appeal with the Criminal Board of the Supreme Court in an objection to the discharge and acquittal of ecologist Alexander Nikitin and demanded for another hearing with new judges.

The Supreme Court can pass any verdict: disregard the protest, act upon it, and even sent the case for additional investigation at the Federal Security Service. Nikitin’s lawyer Yuri Schmidt says that the Court has the last say.

ACTING PRESIDENT PUTIN DOES NOT PLAN ANY FOREIGN TRIPS FOR THE TIME BEING…

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 11, 2000, p. 1

… says Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Ivanov says, however, that Vladimir Putin will attend a lot of international functions in Moscow including a meeting with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and a session of the CIS Council of Heads of States.

THE DUMA WILL CONVENE ITS FIRST SITTING ON JANUARY 18

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 11, 2000, pp. 1, 3

According to the Constitution, the deputies will have to elect their new chairman. Right now, there are several candidates for the post – Viktor Zorkaltsev and Ivan Melnikov from the Communist Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky from the liberal democrats, and Sergei Stepashin from the Union of Right Forces and Yabloko.

There are rumors that Yevgeny Primakov and Vladimir Ryzhkov may also be promoted for chairmanship. Old-timers in the Duma say, however, that all these individuals, especially the communists, are very unlikely to get elected. Certain rumors indicate that “somebody quite unexpected” may be elected, perhaps even Alexander Shokhin.

Today leaders of Duma factions will meet for their first conference. The names of the candidates for chairmen of Duma committees may become known to the general public on January 12 or 13, after the first consultations.

AGRARIAN PARTY REMAINS SPLIT….

Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 11, 2000, p. 2

… and leaders of the splinter groups Mikhail Lapshin and Nikolai Kharitonov continue their brawl.

The former and his followers backed up the Fatherland-All Russia alliance in the parliamentary election while the remaining activists under Kharitonov remained loyal to Zyuganov’s bloc For Victory! Presently, both groups are trying to decide which of them is more eligible to form an agrarian faction in the Duma. Apparently, two factions with the same name will appear.

Yesterday, Lapshin publicly accused Kharitonov of nursing the desire to “form an agricultural department of the Communist Party within the Duma and to hold on to power”. Lapshin also announced that the party leadership would convene a conference today and condemn Kharitonov and Co.

Kharitonov in turn branded Lapshin and his followers as “traitors who do not give a damn about the interests of the peasants”.

ALEXANDER VESHNYAKOV: DEEDS INSTEAD OF WORDS

Moskovskaya Pravda, January 11, 2000, p. 1

A short session of the Central Electoral Commission accepted thirteen deputy mandates (out of the 225 elected by party lists) which were turned down by their winners. Five of the thirteen were members of the first trio: Minister Shoigu and governors Luzhkov, Starodubtsev, Tuleev, and Yakovlev. They were on the lists merely to attract votes and never intended to work in the Duma.

Seven “refusniks” are from the Fatherland-All Russia alliance, four from the Communist Party, and one each from Unity and Zhirinovsky’s blocs.

After the session, the Central Electoral Commission Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov told reporters about his meeting with acting president Vladimir Putin. Three subjects were discussed: direct election into the house of parliament of the Russian-Belarussian Union, possibility of election in the Chechen 31st electoral district, and the planned meeting with media tycoons concerning free and fair coverage of the upcoming presidential election.

BORODIN IS OUT

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, January 10, 2000, 15:00

Pavel Borodin, Director of the Presidential Affairs Directorate, has been relieved of his duties due to redeployment to another assignment and replaced by his first Deputy Vladimir Kazelkon.

GENNADI SELEZNEV CALLS A PRESS CONFERENCE

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, January 10, 2000, 12:00

Gennadi Seleznev called a press conference today. This evening he announced that he had evidence that the results of the gubernatorial election in the Moscow region were tampered with and that he intended to protest against the outcome in court if necessary.

During the press conference which lasted only fifteen minutes and was one of the shortest ones in his entire political career, Seleznev was taciturn. He merely said that he was not going to congratulate Boris Gromov for his gubernatorial election victory until the results in some districts have been rechecked by the regional electoral commission. Seleznev says that his associates uncovered a great number of violations.

Seleznev promises to accept the results of inspection in the districts which he would name to the regional electoral commission.

A CHECHEN UPDATE

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, January 10, 2000, 12:00

Colonel General Viktor Kazantsev, commander of the united federal group in the Caucasus, met with reporters today. Kazantsev talked about the situation in Chechnya and specifically about the state of affairs in and around the settlements of Argun, Gudermes, and Shali where the commandos had launched counterattacks.

Kazantsev: based on the instructions of the acting president and orders of the defense minister, the hostilities in Chechnya were suspended for the duration of the religious celebrations. Unfortunately, the criminals seized opportunity of the suspension and launched counterattacks in Grozny and in the vicinity of Argun and Shali to take over the districts. All these attacks were wadded off. The situation in Shali, Argun, and the settlement of Meskhil-Yurt is under control. As of now, we are not going to trust any promises or pleas from Maskhadov or others. They should expect no mercy now… In Argun, all major objects are under the control of the federal troops. The army is being reinforced by the Internal Troops and a general commander has been appointed. The same can be said for Shali.

Kazantsev also said that artillery and aviation will engage the commandos who have gathered near Shali and Argun. Representatives of military intelligence in Gudermes say that the federal troops are now pressing an attack to take over the local school held by the commandos. Some reports indicate that the terrorists have hostages with them in the building but their number is not known.

General Georgy Shpak, Airborne Troops Commander, says that his paratroopers are now blocking the village of Vedeno and have created all conditions for the Internal Troops to clean out the settlement.

Shpak: We control all commanding heights in the vicinity of the village.

The general also said that up to 300 commandos are known to have entrenched in the northeastern outskirts of the settlement.

A source in the PR department of the eastern group says that the federal forces had 6 servicemen killed and 30 wounded in Shali, Argun, and near Vedeno.

Latest reports from Chechnya indicate that the commandos opened fire at the convoy transporting drinking water to Gudermes. The federal forces called for help but the attackers ambushed the armored vehicles. So far unconfirmed reports indicate that the Russian forces have lost 25 servicemen. Thirty-three servicemen sustained injuries of varying degrees.

Acting President Vladimir Putin held his traditional session with security ministers and with deputy premiers today. He is believed to have demanded for exact information on what was happening in Argun, Gudermes, and Shali. Current socioeconomic issues in Russia were also discussed during the session.

Defense Minister Igor Sergeev announced after the session that military operations in Chechnya would now be resumed.

Sergeev: What kind of truce can you talk about after the terrorists have delivered such a despicable blow?

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