PUTIN DECIDES TO HANDLE FINANCES

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PUTIN DECIDES TO HANDLE FINANCES

Izvestia, February 8, 2000, p. 2

During their meeting in the Kremlin yesterday, acting president Vladimir Putin instructed Senior Deputy Premier Mikhail Kasianov to pay particular attention to the revival of the Russian banking system. Putin is of the opinion that this sphere is being reorganized too slowly and that this jeopardizes the country’s economic development. Putin instructed Kasianov to find additional financial resources to sponsor the process of revival of the banking system being implemented by the Agency for Restructuring Crediting Organizations.

STRIKE POSTPONED

Izvestia, February 8, 2000, p. 3

The proposed strike at the Leningrad nuclear power plant has been re-scheduled for February 19. An employees’ conference took into account the decision of the regional court (February 4) which qualified their intended Saturday strike as illegitimate. The employees plan to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court and to appeal to Vladimir Putin “demanding that their constitutional rights be defended”. The protesters do not think that the nuclear power plant administration is implementing the tariff agreement on indexing of salaries.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS DISTRICT DEPARTMENTS WILL SOON BECOME OPERATIONAL IN GROZNY

Komsomolskaya Pravda, February 8, 2000, p. 3

According to Deputy Interior Minister Colonel General Ivan Golubev, recently restored internal affairs district departments will become operational in Grozny on February 10. Apparently, the policemen will guard only themselves because the dead zone that Grozny has turned into promises to become a center of guerilla warfare.

Military experts say that the federal garrison established in Grozny will be forced to defend itself from criminals literally every night.

GAZPROM WILL BE RESTRUCTURED, NOT SPLIT

Tribuna, February 8, 2000, p. 1

Rem Vyakhirev, chief of Gazprom has made a statement on the company’s restructure.

The media has been speculating widely on the company’s structural adjustment, its possible directions and goals.

Vyakhirev: The company is implementing a program of internal reorganization and restructuring which was adopted in 1997 and endorsed by the government. This is needed to cut down expenses and boost efficiency.

Gas extraction, transportation, storage, and sales will remain the bailiwick of the company.

All decisions on reorganization will be made and carried out in accordance with the current legislation and company statute with all assumed obligations taken into consideration. The structural reorganization will be endorsed by the government.

ZYUGANOV IS MEETING WITH REPORTERS

Moskovsky Komsomolets, February 8, 2000, p. 2

Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov plans to meet with reporters to present his electoral program.

Everybody expects the program to be focused on criticisms of acting president Putin. It is common knowledge that the alliance between the Communist Party and the Unity in distributing Duma portfolios was but a short-lived tactical maneuver. Moreover, since he is in the opposition, Zyuganov will be forced to attack Putin. Last weekend Zyuganov blamed Putin for the worsening state of affairs in Chechnya, claiming that as head of the Russian Security Council, Putin had not done anything at all to solve the problem. At the same time Zyuganov criticizes the way Putin is appointing key officials.

Zyuganov: He is relying on men who were either brought in from St. Petersburg or inherited from Yeltsin’s team. This is the worst Putin could have done under the present circumstances.

In short, Zyuganov does not doubt his ability to defeat Putin in direct and live TV debates.

Zyuganov: Let us meet in front of TV cameras and tell voters how we think Russia should develop. And let voters decide what they want.

Our sources say that Zyuganov’s advisors tell him not to seek TV debates with Putin because he may leave the impression that he, Zyuganov, can only criticize, and Putin is a promising and constructive politician.

There are rumors, however, that the communists have reached a secret agreement with the Kremlin according to which their participation in the presidential race will be nothing but a sham.

LUZHKOV LOOKS FOR NEW POLITICAL ALLIES

Moskovsky Komsomolets, February 8, 2000, p. 2

Yuri Luzhkov believes that the “situation that unfolded in Russia, the campaign of mud swinging and tainting on TV screens have played their part and that the election will not be on an equal basis… Essentially, we have already elected Putin, everything is clear already…

In the coming days Luzhkov is to meet with Vladimir Putin and discuss the current political problems.

ENERGY CRISIS IN PRIMORIE

Trud, February 8, 2000, p. 1

Power output in the Primorie power plant went down on February 5. Power supply was increased there for the visiting Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kudryavy but the use of poor quality fuel promptly took its toll. Power output soon went down.

Vladivostok and other cities are without electricity again.

CAPITAL FLIGHT FROM RUSSIA IN 1999 AMOUNTED TO $15 BILLION

Trud, February 8, 2000, p. 3

Almost $15 billion were taken out of Russia in 1999. Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Viktor Melnikov said that this sum is 560 percent of what had been taken out of the country the year before.

Melnikov has just returned from London where he tried to establish contacts with British structures investigating financial crimes.

Melnikov: Almost $400 million were transferred from Russia to offshore zones every month. This sum includes real payments and as well as drained capital…

SITUATION IN CHECHNYA DISCUSSED

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, February 7, 2000, 14:00

Vladimir Putin today chaired a working session dedicated to the current situation in Chechnya. The session was attended by deputy premiers, leading cabinet ministers and security ministers. Specifically discussed at the session was the issue of urgent delivery of a water-purification plant to Grozny.

According to Senior Deputy Premier Mikhail Kasianov, Grozny’s other problems were also discussed. Kasianov said that the Defense Ministry’s spending in February will be increased so as to allow the military to finish the operation in Chechnya.

CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION: SIGNATURES ARE COMING IN

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, February 7, 2000, 15:00

580,000 signatures in support of Vladimir Putin were delivered to the Central Electoral Commission today. Twenty-nine initiative groups have been registered so far, and this is the third one to forward in signatures for its nominee. Signatures have already been submitted in support of communist Gennadi Zyuganov and Aleksei Podberezkin, leader of the Spiritual Legacy movement.

The Central Electoral Commission was told to expect signatures in support of Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev soon.

UPDATE ON THE SCANDAL WITH THE RUSSIAN OIL TANKER

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, February 7, 2000, 14:00

This morning the Russian oil tanker Volganeft-147, arrested several days ago by the American cruiser, docked in Masqat, Oman.

American experts claim that the tanker was carrying Iraqi oil. Results of laboratory tests were announced by Defense Secretary William Cohen himself who said that an Iraqi officer had been accompanying the oil. If this is true, then it can be concluded that the crew was smuggling, since export of oil from Iraq is banned by a UN resolution.

Official Moscow has demanded for an independent test. Representatives of the Sivfrakht and Transpetro-Volga have already flown to Masqat to negotiate the matter with the local authorities and to meet with the Russian crew.

Latest reports indicate that the tanker and the crew are free. The Americans have withdrawn to their own ship, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Sredin.

The 4,000 tons of oil the tanker was carrying will remain in Oman. The owner of the tanker will have to defend himself in court.

According to Sredin, the political aspect of the problem has been sorted out successfully.

Sredin: The Foreign Ministry has defended the interests of the country. The crew are free.

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