RUSSIA AND THE US HAVE COMMON GOALS

0
8

RUSSIA AND THE US HAVE COMMON GOALS

Trud, February 23, 2000, p. 1

As acting President Vladimir Putin wrote in his message to US President Bill Clinton, in general the strategic goals of Russia and the US are the same. The message containing such an assessment of relations between the two countries was delivered by Sergei Ivanov, Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, during his visit to the US. According to Putin, these goals are: consolidation of international security and stability; progress in disarmament; consolidation of nuclear non-proliferation; counteracting new international challenges, primarily in the struggle against international terrorism and organized crime.

In his message acting President Putin says that relations with the US are one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities. He also notes that, unfortunately, lately many disagreements and mutual complaints have appeared in relations between Russia and the US. At least both Russia and the US have maintained what is most important: understanding the strategic importance of cooperation for the 21st century.

UKRAINE PAYS DEBTS IN BOMBERS

Tribuna, February 23, 2000, p. 1

On the eve of the Day of Defenders of the Fatherland, Ukrainian pilots bid farewell to the last two Tu-160 heavy bombers, which left for Russia from Priluki, Chernigovsk region, Ukraine. Both bombers were given to Russia as repayment for natural gas consumed by Ukraine. Overall, eleven of the most powerful “flying fortresses” in the world have been moved to the Engels airfield, Russia. In addition, Ukraine transferred 600 cruise missiles. The value of all this aviation hardware and armaments, which has become Russian now, totals $275 million.

RUSSIA AND BELARUS WILL HAVE A COMMON CURRENCY

Izvestia, February 23, 2000, p. 3

Yesterday President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus met with Viktor Gerashchenko, head of the Central Bank of Russia. Gerashchenko devoted his one-day visit to Minsk to working at the second meeting of the Inter-Banking Currency Council. Petr Prokopovich, head of the National Bank of Belarus, and Pavel Kallaur, his first deputy, represented Belarus at the negotiations.

No significant documents were signed as a result of these negotiations. The main item on the agenda was discussion of the agreement on a joint money-printing center. According to a reliable source in the National Bank of Belarus, the negotiators also discussed abolishing restrictions on transactions in Belorussian rubles for non-residents of Russia, and combining efforts aimed at stabilizing both currencies. Financiers have barely two months to prepare an agreement on a joint money-printing center. The document is to be signed before the end of the first quarter.

ATTEMPT TO SELL STRONTIUM PREVENTED IN RUSSIAN FAR EAST

Izvestia, February 23, 2000, p.2

An attempt to illegally sell radioactive substances was prevented in the city of Ussuriisk, Primorye (Maritime Territory). Two servicemen tried to sell 21 grams of strontium, the value of which is estimated at $400,000.

THE PLAGUE COMES AFTER THE WAR

Izvestia, February 23, 2000, p.2

The Health Ministry of Russia has completed a preliminary analysis of the disease situation in liberated Grozny. Gennady Onishchenko, chief public health doctor of Russia, speaks about its results.

Gennady Onishchenko: The most dangerous thing we may encounter in the republic is an outbreak of plague in spring and summer. The country between the Sunzha and Terek rivers is a natural pesthole. Experts have surveyed the ruins and basements of Grozny. Now the number of rodents is within acceptable limits, but they will soon begin to breed intensively. We will send an anti-plague detachment to Chechnya within days. We have prepared six tons of poisoned bait.

DAY OF THE PROTECTOR OF FATHERLAND MAY BE CELEBRATED WITH TERRORIST ACTS

Izvestia, February 23, 2000, p.2

The Federal Security Service, Interior Ministry, Emergency Ministry and other Russian agencies are working more intensively on the eve of February 23: the Day of the Protector of Fatherland coincides with the anniversary of deportation of Chechens to Kazakhstan. Field commanders promised to “celebrate” this date with terrorist acts on Russian territory. According to press services of the FSS and the Interior Ministry of Russia, all detachments have been working intensively since September 1999. On the eve of February 23, security was strengthened at railway stations, airports, subway stations, electric power plants, nuclear power plants, and also colleges, schools and kindergartens. Police officers are checking all basements and attics in the capital and regions.

RUSSIAN ECONOMY REVIVES

Komsomolskaya Pravda, February 23, 2000, p.3

Lately Mikhail Kasianov, senior deputy prime minister and finance minister, has stated that “negative trends in the development of economy have been broken”. The cause for such a triumphant conclusion was the implementation of the 1999 federal budget. The results are really impressive. Russia’s GNP has exceeded the target amount by 11.6%. The state treasury has received 100 billion rubles more than was scheduled. The primary budget surplus (i.e. the excess of revenue over expenditure) turned out to be higher than the scheduled amount and amounted to 2.2%. With this additional revenue the government managed to pay off some old debts and finance the war in Chechnya. The Russian economy has started to develop again after the ruinous financial crisis.

FEDERAL FORCFES ATTACK SHATOY

RTR, Vesti, February 22, 2000, 20:00

On the morning of February 22, Russian forces began attacking the settlement of Shatoy, the last base of the separatist fighters, where, according to Russian military sources, the main forces of the guerrillas are concentrated. Aviation and artillery make strikes on guerrilla bases. The Argun Gorge is surrounded, and the circle is closing in. Large forces of Russian troops are being concentrated at the northern entrance to the gorge. The military are occupying the commanding heights, and airborne troops are landing on them. This tactic is producing results. Separatists are being driven into the depth of the gorge. According to the military, about 1,000 people are blockaded there, among whom there are a lot of wounded and sick people. Their situation is hopeless. The military say that Chechen separatists will not be able to significantly resist the federal forces.

To all appearances, it is the awareness of having no way out that led the bandits make a desperate attempt to break through and organize resistance beyond the Russian Federation. About 2 p.m., a skirmish started near the village of Omi-Chu, 10 kilometers from the Russian-Georgian border. A reconnaissance group of Russian border guards prevented the separatists from escaping from Russia. The guerrillas started firing from all their weapons: machine-guns, grenade-launchers, and mortars. Judging from the intensity of the fire and from the fact that the combat lasted rather a long time, the number of the bandits was at least several dozen. Currently, the battle is still going on. Additional forces have been sent to assist the border guards. Fighters and helicopters have come to this district. According to the military, they had expected such actions from separatists but did not know where they would try to break through.

Our military sources do not rule out the possibility that this break-out attempt was made in order to get Chechen commanders, led by Shamil Basaev and Aslan Maskhadov, out of the siege.

PUTIN ENGAGED IN SOCIAL WORK

RTR, Vesti, February 22, 2000, 20:00

Acting President Vladimir Putin has announced that the program of housing certificates for servicemen will be continued. Servicemen who are now in the hospital for war veterans asked him about it. Putin spoke with sick servicemen right in a hospital ward.

Vladimir Putin talked a lot about the Army, about strengthening the state, but noted that fortification of security structures is not connected with restriction of liberties for individuals.

SHORT-TERM TREASURY BONDS TO BE SOLD

RTR, Vesti, February 22, 2000, 20:00

On February 23 an auction is to take place, at which short-term treasury bonds will be sold. Although the public associates GKO with the crisis of August 17, 1998, and the state’s refusal to honor these securities, the state has decided to return to internal borrowing.

Thus far, only a small number of the short-term treasury bonds will be issued: only 2.5 billion rubles. They should be cleared in three months.

Their rate will be known only on February 23, before the beginning of the auction. According to our forecasts, the rate will be 25-30%.

However, the very fact of issuing short-term treasury bonds is suspicious for many analysts. Not much time has passed since the state refused to pay its own debts. Besides, the top rate of the GKO was during the presidential campaign in 1996, which means that there is a hazard that the securities market may be used for political purposes.

SHARE
Previous articlePOPULATION DECREASES
Next article"LIVESTOCK" FOR SALE

LEAVE A REPLY