PENSIONS IN RUSSIA TO BE INCREASED

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PENSIONS IN RUSSIA TO BE INCREASED

Independent Television, Segodnya, April 15, 2000, 19:00

On April 15, on the eve of his foreign tour, Vladimir Putin announced an increase in the average pension from May 1. The pension will be increased by 100 rubles, on average, for about 23 million pensioners.

In addition to social issues, the president discussed with journalists yesterday’s ratification of the Russian-American START II treaty by the Duma. Vladimir Putin said that the treaty is in the national interest of Russia, and half-revealed some diplomatic secrets.

Vladimir Putin: “The point is that none of the missiles will be withdrawn from duty until their service lifetime expires. This process does not depend on the ratification of the treaty: no matter whether the treaty is ratified or not, these missiles will be decommissioned in 2007. What’s the sense of the ratification then? The importance of this ratification is in the diplomatic and political resonance of this decision of the Duma.”

PUTIN TO PROMOTE TROSHEV

Russian Television, Vesti, April 15, 2000, 20:00

The president-elect confirmed that he plans to promote General Troshev to a higher position.

Vladimir Putin: “As for the Joint Group in the North Caucasus which operates in Chechnya and partly in Dagestan, I am planning to appoint Troshev commander of this group. But he will be subordinated to Kazantsev. Troshev can cope with the tasks which the Joint Group has to face.”

PUTIN CAN COUNT ON LONDON IN FIGHTING TERRORISM

Independent Television, Segodnya, April 15, 2000, 19:00

Vladimir Putin is visiting a foreign country as the Russian president for the first time. On Sunday he visits Minsk, on Monday he will be in London, on Tuesday he will be in Kiev. Observers are trying to guess whether Putin intends to create a union of Slavic countries (as Solzhenitsin suggested) and whether he will forget Yeltsin’s friends – France and Germany – in order to establish relations with the UK and the US. Putin’s administration thinks that London is prepared to establish exclusive relations with Moscow, and Tony Blair’s government is discussing strategic cooperation with Russia. This would reverse the policy of Russia, which used to choose its allies from Germany and France. But British Prime Minister Tony Blair expanded the choice for Putin. He is the only Western politician who came to Russia on the eve of the presidential election, who did not condemn Russian policy in Chechnya, and who congratulated Putin on his victory in the presidential election. Putin does not forget his friends. Putin can be confident that London, with its broad intelligence network in the Middle East, will help to isolate the Chechen separatists. An agreement on a joint fight against terrorism is underway.

It is more or less clear why Putin intends to visit London. He would feel uncomfortable in Berlin, or in Paris after the recent PACE decision. In addition Germany remembers his previous work in this country. But the interest of London in this meeting is not clear yet.

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