AN INTER-FACTIONAL GROUP HAS BEEN FORMED IN THE DUMA

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AN INTER-FACTIONAL GROUP HAS BEEN FORMED IN THE DUMA

Trud, January 28, 2000, p.1

An inter-factional group of deputies called “Solidarity” has been formed in the Duma. The goal of the formation of this group is “the creation of constructive cooperation between deputy unions of the Duma aimed at perfecting the legislation in the sphere of social-labor relations.” Andrei Isaev, former Secretary of the Russian Independent Trade Unions.

Answering the question of a correspondent of “Trud” about whether the creation of Solidarity can be considered a separation of the deputies from the Fatherland-All Russia bloc, Andrei Isaev said: “Our group is inter-factional. That is a separation from the Fatherland-All Russia bloc or from other factions is out of the question. Solidarity will work in a close cooperation with all factions. We do not belong to any political group.”

Currently Solidarity consists of 13 deputies. According to Andrei Isaev, soon at least seven more deputies will join the group.

KOFI ANNAN COUNTS ON A FRANK TALK WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN

Izvestia, January 28, 2000, p.2

The General Secretary of the UN told journalists on the eve of his visit to Moscow that he is interested in the problem of settling the crisis in Chechnya. Kofi Annan noted: “I always insist on a peaceful settlement of armed conflicts. But I am anxious about the plight of the civilian population in the North Caucasus.” The Russian Foreign Ministry told “Izvestia” that the Chechen issue is not the only item on the agenda of the general secretary of the UN. He intends to discuss the following issues during his visit: the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the situation in Tajikistan. Kofi Annan counts on a frank talk with acting President Vladimir Putin.

POLICE REFUSE TO GO TO CHECHNYA

Izvestia, January 27, 2000, p.2

An unprecedented incident happened in the Leningrad Regional Department of Interior Affairs of Voronezh. Several dozen police officers refused to depart for Chechnya.

An official of the Voronezh Department of Interior Affairs explained that the refusal is not connected with any political or ideological reasons. The police are trying to get the money the government owes them for food and vacations. The point is that receiving a monthly salary of 1,500 rubles, plus a meals allowance (about 350 rubles) and a vacation allowance (about 1,000 rubles per annum) could become a substantial increase in their salary.

A RUSSIAN UMBRELLA FOR GREECE

Rossyskaya Gazeta, January 28, 2000, p.2

The Antei concern has completed the delivery of the second batch of Tor-M1 anti-aircraft systems. Two anti-aircraft systems of this type were delivered to the contractor in January by An-124 transport planes. The sum of the contract is $526 million. The concern has to deliver 21 Tor-M1 anti-aircraft systems to Greece. The deliveries will be carried out in three batches. The first batch consisting of four systems and a few supporting machines were delivered to the contractors in August, 1999 (ten days ahead of schedule). The second batch was produced four months ahead of schedule. In December four systems and supporting equipment were delivered to Greece; two systems were delivered in January 2000.

CHECHNYA IS REVIVING

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, January 28, 2000, p.3

This year the Russian government will spend 300 million rubles from the federal budget for restoring the social infrastructure in order to guarantee normal conditions of life to the population of Chechnya. This statement was made by Sergei Kalashnikov, Labor and Social Development Minister and by representatives of other social departments of the Russian government.

A part of this sum, according to the minister, has already been spent on restoring roads, municipal systems, ruined buildings and also for supporting two refugee camps in Ingushetia. The money of the federal budget are spent for paying pensions, buying medicines, paying wages to teachers and doctors. The expenditures are controlled by the departments formed in the Chechen republic in cooperation with representatives of five federal departments.

An employment department has been formed in Chechnya, which began to register unemployed people in the republic.

According to the federal departments, there are about 300,000 civilians in the republic who have not received wages, pensions, and subsidies for several years. As of now, 250 schools have been opened in Chechnya. But as it turned out, teachers had forgotten how to teach children. Medical services in the republic leave much to be desired.

TO CHECHNYA OR TO PRISON?

Tribuna, January 28, 2000, p.1

On January the activists of the Yabloko youth organization, the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, and students of the Moscow institute and universities organized a picket at the House of Parliament.

They demanded that the officials and the deputies of the Duma pass a law on an alternative to military service. This action was caused by the verdict passed by the Obninsk regional court on a resident of this city, mathematician and programmer Dmitry Neverovsky. The court sentenced him to two years in prison for his refusal to serve in the Russian Army. Before that, Dmitry had appealed to official bodies with a request to exchange the military service for an alternative service. This possibility is guaranteed by item No. 59 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. At the same time, the law on alternative service did not pass in the second reading in the Duma.

Currently Russian young men have few options: either to Chechnya or to prison.

LUZHKOV DEFENDS HIMSELF

Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 28, 2000, p.2

Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov will defend himself in a US court regarding the case of the murder of Paul Tatum.

On January 27 the Inyurkollegia special collegium of lawyers said that the mayor of Moscow commissioned this organization with handling his case in the US court. The statement of Inyurkollegia explains why Luzhkov did not respond to the summons to the court of Arizona. The summons “was improperly composed and the mayor was informed insufficiently.” The lawyers of Inyurkollegia state: “We decide to give this explanation to clarify that our clients do not mean to disregard American court cases. We recommended to our clients not to comment on this matter.”

IGOR SERGEEV BELIEVES IN RUSSIA’S VICTORY IN CHECHNYA

NTV, Segodnya, January 27, 2000, 14:00

Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev believes that the Chechen campaign is approaching a turning-point. On January 27 Sergeev told journalists that currently the two priority tasks of the federal grouping in Chechnya are to occupy Grozny and free the mountain districts of the republic. According to Sergeev, despite losses among the federal units storming Grozny, guerrillas’ losses are several times higher.

RUSSIAN TROOPS CONTINUE TO STORM GROZNY

TVC, Sobytia, January 27, 2000, 11:00

Today’s reports from Chechnya say that federal units operating in the Leninsky District of Grozny have advanced to the center of the city and occupied several high-rise buildings there. According to military sources, this will allow federal forces to control the majority of Grozny’s districts. According to reports, the guerrillas are suffering heavy losses. During the past day guerrilla units based in southern Chechnya attempted to break through the blockade of federal troops to the flatlands but were warded off. A great number of guerrillas were killed during this action. In general, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the federal grouping in Chechnya has completely sealed off guerrilla units in mountain gorges in southern and south-west Chechnya. The situation in the mountain districts of the republic is currently under full control of federal troops.

ELECTION COMMISSIONS PREPARING FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

ORT, Novosti, January 27, 2000, 15:00

On January 27 chairmen and secretaries of Russian election commissions of all levels gathered in Moscow for a conference dedicated to preparation for the upcoming presidential election. Alexander Veshnyakov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, once again explained to his subordinates methods of preventing fraud during the election. This year employees of election commissions will have a great deal of work to do – gubernatorial and presidential elections will be held in half of the Russian regions. Veshnyakov called on his regional colleagues to avoid, if possible, holding local and federal elections on the same day, so that election commissions find it easier to calculate the election’s results. After the recent parliamentary election the majority of complaints about infringements of electoral procedure came in from the Moscow Region, Bashkortostan, the Krasnodar Territory, and Moscow. Legal proceedings have been instituted against the chairs of two regional election commissions. No such incidents will be tolerated during the upcoming election, Veshnyakov stressed. He paid special attention to work of the media.

Alexander Veshnyakov: We failed to ensure that the media observed the decencies during the past electoral campaign, partly because at a certain point the Ministry for the Press and TV and Radio Broadcasting refused to understand our position. Certain measures were taken in the end, including warnings to TV networks such as ORT and TVC, but those measures were taken only five days prior to the election and, naturally, did not bring any noticeable results.

Presidential Chief of Staff Alexander Voloshin, who attended the conference, believes that the upcoming presidential election will be carried out more peacefully than the past one. Taking into account that one of the candidates for president is the acting president, Voloshin called on chairs of election commissions to hold the election in the fairest way possible.

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