SHANTSEV – A MAN WITH A CLOUT

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SHANTSEV – A MAN WITH A CLOUT

Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 25, 2000, p. 2

The Moscow municipal government is divided into five departments – economic, communal services, construction, property and land, and social work. Each of the department is an area of jurisdiction assigned to a deputy mayor. For the first time a woman has been appointed deputy mayor. She is Lyudmila Shevtsova (in charge of the social sphere). Valery Shantsev, who until recently headed the social sphere, is now responsible for economic issues. Shantsev’s clout is much more considerable now. As of now, it is he and not Boris Nikolsky who will stand in for Luzhkov when the latter is absent.

CHECHEN COMMANDOS CLAIM TO HAVE INFILTRATED GANTAMIROV’S DETACHMENTS

Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 25, 2000, p. 2

The situation with Chechen policemen is fussy. Their commander Bislan Gantamirov has a carte blanche in all personnel matters. The principle he uses to choose men for his detachments is simple. Every one of them is said to have fought against Dudayev. Others are former officials of the Interior Ministry.

Chechen commandos say, however, that every third serviceman in Gantamirov’s detachments is a spy of theirs. Allegedly, they infiltrated the pro-federal troops on purpose. Another third of Gantamirov’s men allegedly joined the detachments in order to lay their hands on firearms. A submachine gun is every Chechen’s dream. Not everybody can afford to buy one, and Gantamirov’s men are given automatic rifles for free.

HOW MANY DEPUTIES DO WE HAVE?

Tribuna, January 25, 2000, p. 1

When deputies went to their groups and factions, the final tally showed that there were forty more deputies in the Duma than the expected 441. It turned out that some deputies applied for membership in two or three groups and factions at once.

BE-200 WINS A GOLD MEDAL

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, January 25, 2000, p. 2

The Russian amphibian aircraft BE-200 designed by the Beriyev Concern for the Emergency Ministry was awarded a gold medal at the 48th show of innovations, scientific studies and new technologies held in Brussels.

Before 2005 the Emergency Ministry plans to buy eight such multipurpose aircraft.

According to designers, by 2010 the country will need 115 BE-200s.

THE CENTRAL BANK MAKES A CRUCIAL DECISION

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 25, 2000, p. 1

The Central Bank has reduced the interest rate from 55 to 45 percent as of January 24. Its Chairman Viktor Geraschenko announced that the decision was taken in early January after a meeting with acting president Vladimir Putin.

According to Tatiana Paramonova, Senior Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank, the lower rate will facilitate domestic investments and eventually lead to improvement of the economic situation in general.

Deputy Premier Viktor Khristenko says that we should not expect any industrial growth on the basis of the effect of devaluation. Hence the dilemma – encouraging investments or devaluation. The Central Bank chose the former.

DOCUMENTS ON RATIFICATION OF THE TREATY ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSSIAN UNION WILL BE EXCHANGED IN THE KREMLIN ON JANUARY 26

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 25, 2000, p. 1

According to Sergei Prikhodko, Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration, the treaty will formally take effect as of that date.

RUSSIAN DUMA’S DEBUT ON THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA

Izvestia, January 25, 2000, p. 1

The Russian delegation at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg is headed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He is both the best known and actually, the highest ranking of all deputies sent to France. It is hardly a coincidence that Zhirinovsky in the focus of attention of the media now.

Formally, everything is all right. Zhirinovsky is a deputy chairman of the Duma and faction leader. Moreover, he is known as a specialist in international issues and particularly in geopolitics.

From the point of view of logic, everything is much more complicated. When the moment is truly critical and Russia’s membership in the Parliamentary Assembly is under threat, our position with regards to Chechnya is to be presented by a man like Zhirinovsky. Someone viewed by the West as a chauvinist or, at best, a clown.

Zhirinovsky’s mere appearance on the dais will be enough to persuade Europe’s parliamentarians to close their ranks against Russia. Every effort taken so far will be in vain – diplomatic efforts and Vladimir Putin’s lengthy negotiations with Lord Russel-Johnston. Did the Duma leadership fail to foresee this? It sometimes seems that some circles are deliberately provoking the Parliamentary Assembly into driving Russia away.

SCANDALS IN STRASBOURG

Izvestia, January 25, 2000, p. 1

Everybody predicted a scandal in the Council of Europe over Chechnya. However, nobody expected the scandal to break out early. Our delegation did not come to Strasbourg in full strength. A great deal of Russian deputies never made it to France because of financial problems.

Moreover, our delegation is mostly represented by deputies of the former Duma. Fighting for Duma posts in committees, the new factions did not have the time to form a delegation for the trip to Strasbourg. This shortsightedness had an immediate effect on Russia’s position in Strasbourg.

Lord Russel-Johnston says that two Chechens – Salim Bashayev and Turpal Alikaimov are expected in Strasbourg. The lord held a meeting with these representatives of Maskhadov in Paris last week. The Chechens are coming to the Parliamentary Assembly from Warsaw on the invitation of the Danish delegation. Some rumors indicate that they are accompanied by a former Polish foreign minister.

THE AUTHORITIES ARE OUT TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF BANKRUPTCY

Izvestia, January 25, 2000, p. 2

Regardless of the oncoming Presidential election, the Kremlin is handling the problem of bankruptcy. The corridors of power are trying to find a solution to the problem in such a way as to avoid social tension.

Draft regulations aimed at intensifying the role of the state in bankruptcy procedures are being drawn up, according to Viktor Bobrovnikov, Director of the Economic Security Directorate of the Security Council. On January 21, the matter was discussed at a session of the interdepartmental commission.

SHEVARDNADZE SUPPORTS PUTIN’S CANDIDATURE FOR CHAIRMANSHIP

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, January 24, 2000, 12:00

Before leaving for the CIS summit in Moscow, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze announced that he supports Vladimir Putin’s candidature for chairmanship at the CIS Council of Heads of States. This post was held by Boris Yeltsin before his resignation.

Shevardnadze: This is not the first time I would be going public to say that I think Putin is the right man for the job.

During his meeting with Putin within the framework of the summit, Shevardnadze hopes to improve Russian-Georgian bilateral relations.

SENIOR DEPUTY PREMIER MIKHAIL KASIANOV DENIES…

Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, January 24, 2000, 13:00

… speculations spreading widely in the West that the Chechen war costs Russia up to $150 million every month.

Kasianov: Unfortunately, the expenses incurred within these past months were more than we had expected. We expected the operation in the Caucasus to cost 3.5 billion rubles or so, but we have been forced to spend about 5 billion.

Kasianov released the figures right after a meeting held by acting president Vladimir Putin with deputy premiers and security ministers.

Along with issues of post-war restoration in the liberated districts of Chechnya, those present at the meeting also discussed the current socioeconomic situation in Russia. Preparations towards the CIS summit in Moscow were discussed as well.

PUTIN DELIVERS A SPEECH AT THE ANNUAL ALL-RUSSIAN CONFERENCE OF JUDGES

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, January 24, 2000, 15:00

While addressing delegates at the annual all-Russian conference of chairmen of republican, territorial, and regional courts today, acting president Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying that “Judges should remain a key element of democracy in Russia”. According to Putin, establishing true independence of judges remains a problem.

Putin: Granting powers to judges is a prerogative of the president. Therefore the center cannot help being worried by attempts of leaders of Federation subjects to establish regional judicial structures controlled by them.

Everybody still remembers a “demarche” staged by the leadership of the Republic of Ingushetia in trying to organize a referendum on the procedure for appointing judges. Some republican constitutions still include provisions according to which only residents of these republics can become judges there. This a serious breach of the federal legislation.

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