PUTIN CONSULTED TYCOONS ON THE NEW CABINET

0
9

PUTIN CONSULTED TYCOONS ON THE NEW CABINET

Zavtra, May, 2000, p. 1

According to some Kremlin sources, during preparations for the inauguration, Vladimir Putin met in Sochi not only with head of the Government Administration Dmitry Kozak, but also with some tycoons. At these meetings the membership of the new Cabinet was discussed; it seems it will be based on a compromise which will make it possible to maintain the structure of the government of the Yeltsin era.

GORBACHEV SPEAKS TO AMERICANS ABOUT RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT

Zavtra, May, 2000, p. 1

According to some reports from the US, former General Secretary of Russia Mikhail Gorbachev spoke at a closed seminar organized by Henry Kissinger. Gorbachev gave a lengthy analysis of the situation in the Russian ruling elite. He did his best to convince the Americans that “it is possible to do business with Putin”, but only if Presidential Administration chief-of-staff Alexander Voloshin is dismissed, as well as all of “Berezovsky’s team”. Our source believes that “Gorby” was a mouthpiece for the Republican Party’s policy toward Russia.

GUSINSKY WILL ATTACK PUTIN

Zavtra, May, 2000, p. 1

According to inside sources in the Government Administration, head of the Russian Jewish Congress Vladimir Gusinsky (owner of the Media Most Group), who coordinates anti-Putin news coverage, has been extremely active lately because he was left out of consultations on the membership of the new Cabinet. Besides, almost all Communications Ministry staff who were involved with the Russian Jewish Congress have been dismissed. So a direct informational attack on the new Russian president is likely to be made in the near future.

LUZHKOV AND YAKOVLEV TO BE REMOVED?

Zavtra, May, 2000, p. 1

According to reports from the Russian White House, all the fuss around the possible relocation of the State Duma and other federal bodies has just served to smooth the path for passing a bill which has already been prepared by the government. According to the bill, two special federal districts will be established in Moscow and St. Petersburg, whose heads will be appointed by presidential decree. Thus, a legal mechanism for removing Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev is being created. By the way, in the course of the current gubernatorial campaign in St. Petersburg a great deal of compromising material is being disclosed.

GROWTH THROUGH CUTS

Novaya Gazeta, No. 18, May, 2000, p. 3

The economic program developed by the Center of Strategic Developments entails cutting state spending by 30-40% in the near future, by reducing the cost of government.

According to unofficial reports, all Russian ministers have already been informed that their staffs are to be reduced by 10%. How much does it cost the government to support all the ministries? If we draw up a rating of the most expensive ministries, the Defense Ministry will be undoubtedly at the top because of its military expenditures. Without passing judgement on its objectivity, exaggeration or understatement, here is the data. In 1999, Russia spent 116.3 billion rubles on national defense, which is 124.1% of the sum stipulated by the annual budget. Moreover, 56.8 billion rubles (110.6% of the annual budget target) was spent on law enforcement activities and providing security.

However, First Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Mikhailov announced at a press conference that “the Defense Ministry has not gone broke through carrying out the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya”.

It was officially announced earlier that total federal budget expenditure on the Chechen counter-terrorist operation was 5 billion rubles in 1999. No data on the costs of the Chechen operation in 2000 have been revealed yet.

The anti-monopoly agency costs Russia a pretty penny. As a result of the notorious auction of Tumen Oil Company shares, the state received only $90 million, instead of the expected $260 million. Ilya Yuzhanov, head of the State Anti-Monopoly Commission, was very selective while choosing auction participants: he admitted only those he liked. As a result, some companies which were ready to pay good money for Tumen Oil Company shares were not allowed to take part in the auction – and it was friendly to Yuzhanov’s Alfa-Bank, which gained the controlling interest in the company.

Lately, the activities of the State Anti-Monopoly Commission have given rise to quite a number of questions, for example: how much will Russia lose after all the profits from the sale of Russian aluminum are transferred to offshore bank accounts?

Unfortunately, such issues have not been factored into the aforementioned economic program. So far, it only stipulates reducing state expenditures.

LEAVE A REPLY