G-7 UNSURE OF STRATEGY TOWARD RUSSIA

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G-7 UNSURE OF STRATEGY TOWARD RUSSIA

Trud, April 14, 2000, p. 1

The G-7 countries expect the Russian government, headed by President Vladimir Putin, to create a national development strategy of its own. According to Alan Larson, US Secretary of Trade, the G-7 plans to continue its course of supporting Russia after considering this strategy. In his words, “the first thing we need is an answer from the new Russian government to the question of what its priorities and strategy will be like”. He also stressed that “only after that will we think of the best and the most effective way of supporting Russia”. That’s why, according to a senior US official, all talk about determining the new strategies of the G-7 toward Russia is still somewhat premature. According to Larson, “it is like putting the cart before the horse”.

ALUMINUM KING BACK IN PRISON

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, April 14, 2000, p. 2

In the next fortnight Anatoly Bykov, former general director of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum plant, should be extradited from Hungary to Russia.

The Hungarian court refused to give him the status of a “political refugee”. Obviously, Budapest did not want to break relations with Moscow because of a man against whom a number of legal proceedings have been instigated in Russia. The Russian law enforcement bodies suspect Bykov of involvement in at least two contract killings in the heat of the Krasnoyarsk region’s “aluminum war”, as well as money-laundering.

The Hungarian Ministry of Justice obtained a promise from the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office that the disgraced businessman would not receive a death sentence. There is nothing extraordinary about this requirement; it is just world practice for extraditing criminals.

The handover of Anatoly Bykov to Russia will take place on the territory of Hungary through the mediation of Interpol, which has been searching for Bykov worldwide for almost six months.

PUTIN’S NEWEST ADVISOR

Rossiyakaya Gazeta, April 14, 2000, p. 2

Andrei Illarionov has been appointed as advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, according to the decree of Acting President Vladimir Putin.

According to Mikhail Kasianov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Illarionov’s appointment as advisor on economic affairs is quite natural. In his words, “this appointment has been made in accordance with the Constitution of Russia; the President of Russia established this post for development of the new economic program”.

THE DUMA’S HEADACHES

Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 14, 2000, p. 2

According to Nikolai Troshkin, parliementary chief-of-staff, the State Duma has had great difficulty in accommodating newly elected Duma deputies. The number of the Duma factions is increasing, so the number of “leading posts” has also increased. Thus, there was a lack of office space in the Duma. Even the Duma administration had to squeeze up and give 27 of its offices to deputies.

The issue of apartments turned to be even more difficult. As usual, those who have lost their cosy deputy seats do not want to also lose the state apartments given to them for their term in office, and do not return the keys on time. Currently, 80 deputies of the first and the second Duma convocations still occupy 94 state apartments. In the meantime, 205 “homeless” deputies of the third convocation have to stay at the Rossia Hotel and Mir Hotel. Only ten former deputies have turned in their official apartments since January 18, in accordance with the law.

Another concern for the Duma administration was to find deputies’ assistants. It is an open secret that many of them have turned out to be not only dishonest, but sometimes even criminals. Currently the law allows each deputy to have no more than 30 assistants. Presently, abut 1,800 people have the ID cards of third-convocation deputy assistants. Overall, there will be about 15,000 of them.

BEREZOVSKY TO BE KICKED OUT OF THE DUMA?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 14, 2000, p. 2

Yesterday Duma deputy Boris Berezovsky found out that he could lose his deputy status.

The Council of Elders of Karachaevo-Cherkessia sent a complaint to Moscow about Berezovsky’s unsatisfactory performance. According to the complaint, Berezovsky has disappointed the residents of Karachaevo-Cherkessia: “The long-term disagreements in Karachaevo-Cherkessia were started and are currently being kept alive according to a script developed with the help of Mr. Berezovsky,” says the letter. Besides, Mr. Berezovsky does not provide any economic aid to the Republic, nor does he try to attract investments there. What is the use of such a deputy?

The appeal of the Elders is likely to be a success. Currently, members of the People’s Deputy group in the Duma are preparing a law “On recalling Duma deputies”. According to this project, the support of only 25% of voters is required to get rid of an unsatisfactory Duma deputy. The bill is to be considered in September 2000.

RAILROAD WAR IN CHECHNYA

Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 14, 2000, p. 2

Chechen guerillas seem to have decided to carry out their partisan war according to classical rules. Just like World War II partisans, they are mining railroads in order to derail trains.

On Wednesday night a cargo train was blown up near Gerzel-Aul railroad station; the train was going to Dagestan. Only the fact that it was empty prevented any casualties. Gerzel-Aul is situated in the flatlands near Gudermes, a region which has long since been liberated. Another terrorist act was prevented by the railroad police. On Wednesday afternoon, railroad police from the provisional transport interior affairs department discovered an explosive device between Gudermes and Kadi-Yurt. Two anti-tank mines with electric detonators were fastened to rails.

DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER TO SUPPORT START II

RTR, Vesti, April 13, 2000, 20:00

According to Deputy Finance Minster Aleksei Kudrin, it will benefit Russia more than the United States if START II is ratified now. The main point of the treaty is to reduce the number of nuclear warheads in each nation’s stockpile. And Kudrin says that, considering the Russia’s economic situation and the US military budget, maintaining the number of warheads Russia has had until recently was much more difficult for Russia that for the US.

SAVCHENKO’S CASE TO BE CONTINUED

RTR, Vesti, April 13, 2000, 20:00

As Stanislav Marzoev, a member of the military council of the 58th army, said in Vladikavkaz, Colonel Savchenko was his direct subordinate. Savchenko failed to cope with his duties and his presence in the unit was not constructive. Finally, on April 20, 1999, Savchenko was dismissed, after which he stayed first in a hospital and then on leave, while waiting for his housing certificate, without which an officer cannot be dismissed from the army. Colonel Savchenko was sent to Chechnya through the patronage of a senior official, and was not dismissed because of bureaucracy. According to Marzoev, this was an illegal decision by General Bugaev, Commander of the 19th division. The latter will have to be accountable for his actions, and might also be dismissed, since his illegal decision helped the crime to take place.

According to Col. Gen. Valery Manilov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Savchenko is not only a rascal, he is also a fool. He accepted counterfeit dollars as payment for transporting guerrillas across federal lines. These guerrillas took him for fool, and used him.

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