LIVING STANDARDS IN MOSCOW
Izvestia, February 2, 2000, p. 2
Living standards in Moscow are higher than in the regions. On February 1, the Moscow coordination and analytical department reported that 30% of Muscovites are living in poverty, while the Russian average is 50%. According to the same source, the income of the richest Moscow residents is 48 times higher than that of the poorest. Unemployment is 6.8% in Moscow (compared to 11.8% across Russia). Officially, there is no unemployment issue in the capital, since the number of jobs on offer is greater than the number of people looking for work. However, in reality, these jobs do not suit Muscovites.
POLICE TAKEN OFF ALERT
Izvestia, February 2, 2000, p. 3
Vladimir Zubkov, Deputy PR Manager of the Moscow Interior Affairs Department, has announced that on February 1 Operation Whirlwind – Antiterror was called off in Moscow, as well as the heightened alert status of the Moscow police force.
The results of Operation Whirlwind – Antiterror have been summed up already. Overall, since January 25, 2000, Moscow police officers have solved 1562 crimes, detaining 1410 people as suspects. In the course of the operation, 183 criminals who had been previously wanted for different crimes were arrested. Police confiscated 66 firearms, about 4,000 ammunition units, and 13 explosive devices. The police examined more than 200,000 residential buildings, including apartments and hotels.
NO ROOM IN JAILS
Rossiyskauya Gazeta, February 2, 2000, p. 1
Yury Kalinin, Deputy Justice Minister for Correction Services, reported that the number of people in prison is rising by 46,000 a year. If this growth rate remains the same, 20-25 prisons will have to be built in Russia every year. Only seven new pre-trial detention jails were built in 1999.
SKURATOV RUNS FOR PRESIDENT
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, February 2, 2000, p. 1
Yury Skuratov, former General Prosecutor of Russia, has been accused by the General Prosecutor’s office and has given a written undertaking not to leave the area. However, according to Alexander Veshnyakov, Head of the Central Election Commission, from the point of view of the law, this could not affect his participation in the presidential election campaign. As Veshnyakov explained, in accordance with the Constitution of Russia, only a person imprisoned following a court verdict is barred from standing in the election. Since Yury Skuratov has not been sentenced, he has the right to be a presidential candidate.
BEREZOVSKY COULD LOSE CONTROL OF ORT NETWORK
Moskovsky Komsomolets, February 2, 2000, p. 3
Yesterday Oleg Dobrodeev was appointed as head of the state-owned All-Russian Television and Radio Company. It seems this was one of the first steps taken by acting President Vladimir Putin in order to make Russian television “healthier”. The rumor has it that the ORT network is the next to which Mr. Putin will turn his attention. The main goal is to decrease the influence of one of major Russian tycoons, Boris Berezovsky, on the most popular network; and, consequently, to increase the influence of Putin himself. In Berezovsky’s milieu they say that the tycoon has been nervous lately because of the threat of losing control over ORT.
EMERGENCY AT A NUCLEAR POWER STATION
Tribuna, February 2, 2000, p. 1
An employee of the Rovno nuclear power station (NPS), Ukraine, deliberately damaged several devices in the second power-generating unit. Fortunately, there has been no serious emergency situation. There has never been such a situation at the NPS before. The detained employee (whose name remains undisclosed) declared that he had specially prepared for this act, and did everything deliberately. Now not only law enforcement bodies, but psychiatrists are working with the man.
GROZNY WILL BE TAKEN WITHIN DAYS
NTV, Segodnya, February 1, 2000, 12:00
General Kazantsev, Commander of the Joint Grouping of the Federal Forces in Chechnya, has announced that Grozny will be taken within the next few days. The situation in the capital of Chechnya has considerably changed since federal forces occupied the strategically important Minutka Square. Federal forces have encircled rebels in the center of the city, and the circle is narrowing. Meanwhile, according to our sources, about 2,000 rebels are continuing to resist, especially in the Oktyabrsky and Central districts of the city.
As for the situation in the mountain districts of the republic, about 5,000-8,000 rebels are continuing resistance there.
In the past 24 hours Chechen gangs have thrice tried to break through the blockade in the city. All these attempts have been suppressed by federal forces. The military formulate their main task as follows: to prevent Chechen rebels from escaping to Georgia from the mountain districts of Chechnya. For this purpose the federal forces have deployed a large detachment of the Airborne Forces near Itum-Kale in order to block the road leading from Chechnya to Georgia through the Russian-Chechen border near Shatili in Georgia.
Chechen sources have reported the death of Djokhar Dudaev’s nephew, Mayor Lecha Dudaev of Grozny. The details of his death are not yet known.
IGOR SERGEEV INSPECTS NORTH CAUCASUS
ORT, Novosti, February 1, 2000, 15:00
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev has arrived in Mozdok. He has come here on an inspection tour. Sergeev has supported the idea of prolonging the amnesty for any Chechen rebels who voluntarily give up the struggle. According to Sergeev, the occupation of Minutka Square has considerably changed the situation in Grozny. General Kazantsev, Commander of the Joint Grouping of the Federal Forces in Chechnya, has visited the positions of the forces fighting in the eastern sector. In his opinion, servicemen of the Airborne Forces, Marines, and Motorized Infantry are successfully fulfilling their tasks. However, part of Chechnya is still controlled by terrorists.
According to Bislan Gantamirov’s press service, there is some evidence indicating that Shamil Basaev has been wounded. A representative of the press service has reported that Basaev was injured by a mine while escaping from Grozny.
Acting president’s Assistant Sergei Yastrzhembsky thinks that these reports should not yet be considered reliable. Commenting on the situation in Grozny, Yastrzhembsky has noted that currently fighting continued near the cannery and the former Presidential Palace. Intense fighting is also taking place in the Zavodskoy District of the city.
TWO CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDERS REPORTED KILLED
RTR, Vesti, February 1, 2000, 13:00
According to Chechen sources, on the morning of February 1, two Chechen rebel leaders, Aslambek Ismailov and Khunkar Pasha Israpilov, were killed. Thus, Chechen extremists have admitted for the first time that prominent Chechen field commanders are also dying in the course of the current military operation.