TRANSFORMATION OF THE UNITY MAY TAKE PLACE ON APRIL 22

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TRANSFORMATION OF THE UNITY MAY TAKE PLACE ON APRIL 22

Izvestia, April 18, 2000, p. 4

A session of the political council of the Unity movement has been postponed from April 17 to 22, according to Sergei Popov, Chairman of the Unity Executive Committee. Initially, the agenda was supposed to be centered on preparations towards the second congress of the movement. The second congress was supposed to adopt the program of the movement and transform it into a political party.

Some sources close to Unity’s leadership say that the second congress may “grow into” an inaugural congress of the proposed political party. The political council will also discuss the issue of organizing an inaugural congress of the youth wing of the Unity.

RESULTS OF LATEST OPINION POLL

Trud, April 18, 2000, p. 2

The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center held another opinion poll in April. Some of the questions posed were aimed at finding out about the people’s attitude towards president-elect and the work of the government. (with a probable error of 3.8 per cent.)

A question says:

Respondents were offered 15 options out of which they could choose three.

Here are the three most frequent answers. Between October 1999 and April 2000

He is energetic, strong-willed, and resolute 41-46%

He is a man who can restore order in the country 21-29%

I support his policy with regard to Chechnya 24-21%

IRANIANS EXPELLED FROM THE BALTIC UNIVERSITY

Tribuna, April 18, 2000, p. 1

Seventeen Iranians, all of who are advanced students, have been expelled from the Baltic University and have since left St. Petersburg.

As a result, the leading Russian educational facility in the sphere of missile equipment has lost $2.5 million or more of what it gets from the state. What is really amazing is that the Education Ministry (which had the Iranians expelled and rebuked Dean Yuri Saveliev) was following the orders of the US Department of State.

One of the leading military educational establishments in Russia, the Baltic University is on the list of the most dangerous facilities in Russia jeopardizing American national interests.

AVERAGE PENSIONS WILL BE 713 RUBLES AS OF MAY

Komsomolskaya Pravda, April 18, 2000, p. 3

All elderly Russians will be paid more starting from May in accordance with the presidential decrees and resolutions signed by Vladimir Putin. According to the Pensions Fund, most elderly Russians will be paid over 750 rubles as of May 1, and the average pensions will amount to 713 rubles.

LUZHKOV MAKES POLITICAL STATEMENTS

Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 18, 2000, p. 2

According to mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, “the matter of Kulikov’s dismissal has been legally resolved” because the board of the Supreme Court found the decree on his dismissal illegal (Kulikov was ousted from the post of director of the Moscow Municipal Internal Affairs Directorate). Luzhkov emphasizes that Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, who should be the first to “demand implementation of the law” is in fact “himself the first to break the rules”. To quote Luzhkov, “Rushailo is deliberately stalling for time citing that Kulikov is on a vacation even though Kulikov is in fact in Moscow.” Luzhkov intends to appeal to Putin if the matter is not resolved otherwise.

ANOTHER COMMISSION IS SET UP

ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, April 17, 2000, 15:00

Pavel Krasheninnikov and Ella Pamfilova have announced the establishment of an independent public commission for investigation of crimes in Chechnya. The commission will mostly compile all data on the crimes and abuses and publish the information. Options for soluving the Chechen problem will be drawn up on the basis of information obtained. Among the initiators are – apart from Krasheninnikov and Pamfilova – writer Yuri Polyakov, and Mikhail Kozhokin, chief editor of “Izvestia” newspaper.

Krasheninnikov, Chairman of the Duma Legislative Committee: We know the state of affairs with the Chechen problem. In short, this is a blind alley. Things that are taking place, this application of force, we do not think much of all of that. Whether we want it or not, we do need objective and unbiased information and knowledge which will allow us to find the right way out.

Pamfilova, leader of the movement For Civilian Dignity: The assumption that everything is about to be over is absolutely groundless. We see that a guerrilla war is starting there, and that other problems are surfacing one by one – social, psychological, and so on.

Krasheninnikov: As I see it, it is quite all right for us to negotiate with everybody including Maskhadov. Whenever possible, our commission will arrange such meetings and discussions.

According to Krasheninnikov, the commission will try to avoid extreme points of view.

Soon the commission will get an official address, an Internet site, and staff.

COMMANDER OF THE UNITED FEDERAL GROUP GENERAL KAZANTSEV VISITS VOLGOGRAD

NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, April 17, 2000, 14:00

Today, Kazantsev announced that he is to remain the troop commander of the Caucasus Military District.

Kazantsev: Everything remains as it used to be. Troshev is senior deputy troops commander. This is not the first time I’m going to say that the complicated phase of the military operation in Chechnya is over. It is time for operations by security structures and ministries; specifically the ones conducted by the Federal Security Service, law enforcement agencies, and Internal Troops.

There can be no doubt that the Defense Ministry has played its part and its importance is therefore diminishing. So, a senior deputy troops commander will be quite adequate. I remain troops commander…

GROZNY IS OPEN FOR REFUGEES AGAIN

TV-Center (3rd Channel), “Sobytia” program, April 17, 2000, 11:00

Residents of Grozny who fled from hostilities may return to the Chechen capital as of this morning. A source at the central commandant’s office says that only persons with Grozny “propiska” will be allowed to return. The city had been closed for several months for civilians on the pretext that the federal troops were sweeping it of mines and other surprises left by the rebels.

On the whole, situation in Chechnya remained unchanged. The relative calm was broken only in the settlement of Argun where Interior Ministry officials checking passports were attacked. A policeman and a Federal Security Service officer were killed, three other servicemen sustained wounds of varying severity.

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