PEOPLE IN DETENTION WILL VOTE ON MARCH 26

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PEOPLE IN DETENTION WILL VOTE ON MARCH 26

TV Center, Sobytia, March 26, 2000, 19:00

Justice Minister Yuri Chaika visited the Butyrka detention center in Mopscow on March 26. He accompanied foreign observers, who were monitoring the voting in prisons. Chaika noted that about 220,000 detainees who retain voting rights (i.e. have not been convicted) will vote throughout Russia.

PUTIN HAS MET WITH INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS

ORT, Novosti, March 25, 2000, 18:00

On March 25 acting President Vladimir Putin met with Ms. Helle Degn, Secretary of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. She heads a group of international observers who will follow the course of the presidential election in Russia. Helle Degn gave a positive appraisal of the preparations for the election. Vladimir Putin, in turn, wished the observers luck in performing their mission.

Later the foreign observers held a meeting before departing for the Russian regions.

FEDERAL FORCES IN CHECHNYA PREPARE FOR THE ELECTION

Independent Television, Segodnya, March 25, 2000, 19:00

On March 25 the federal forces shelled the region known as the Samashki forest. Dense undergrowth proved to be reliable cover for Chechen guerrillas during the previous Chechen campaign. According to the Russian military, 150-300 Chechen guerrillas from Gelaev’s detachment are hiding in the forest. The Russian special services say that this group planned to organize a number of terrorist acts in the Achkhoi-Martan district, including explosions at polling stations. That is why the military decided to deliver a preventive strike on the guerrillas. For one day the detachments of the federal forces carried out reconnaissance operations, and as a result of an artillery strike on the forest near the Samashki settlement an ammunition depot and a group of Chechen guerrillas have been destroyed.

In general, the situation in Chechnya remains difficult. Provocations and other terrorist acts on the day of the presidential election are not out of the question. Guard numbers at the polling stations have been increased.

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