GOVERNORS TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE STATE COUNCIL

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GOVERNORS TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE STATE COUNCIL

Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 24, 2000, p. 2

Putin suggested that governors join a certain agency named State Council in order for them not to suffer too greatly from their expulsion from the Federation Council. To be more exact, governors have themselves suggested to Putin that they be employed in a new agency, and the president was cautious enough not to object. The president of Tatarstan was the first to verbalize the idea of creating the State Council. On the next day after Putin’s appeal to the nation, Mintimer Shaimiev suggested to employ governors as a kind of “fathers of the nation” who would wisely decide upon the most urgent issues. They would assembly not on a regular basis, but according to necessity. Later Governor Pozgalev of Vologda expressed a similar idea. It was hard for heads of regions to resign themselves to ultimate retirement from the political scene to provincial oblivion. Until yesterday, Putin did not make any comments on the suggestions of the heads of regions. However, when introducing Viktor Cherepkov, his appointee, to members of the newly-formed North-Western federal administrative district, the president had to answer questions of governors. Governor Leonid Gorbenko of Kaliningrad, reportedly, was the one to “provoke” the shower of questions. He also stated that it is highly possible that the status of governors in the State Council might be higher than that in the Federation Council, although, in fact, this possibility arouses much doubt. Three bills now considered by the Duma are not the whole complex of laws. They are to be followed by many more bills to stipulate general principles of organizing administration of federal districts. In particular, “appanage princes” may be turned into ordinary medium-rank officials. Still, at present let them soothe themselves with the State Council.

FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE AGAINST "PR"

Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 24, 2000, p. 2

The Kremlin has at last reacted to the events concerning the Media-MOST holding company. The comment was made not “in the first person”, but by some anonymous source. Still, this is already something. According to the information reported by the source to Interfax, neither the president, nor heads of his administration were familiar with the plans of law enforcement agencies. In fact, the reason for the “refutation” was not banal ignorance, but negative reaction of society to the events. This may be gathered from the following words of the “anonymous source”: “The whole operation might have been carried out much more neatly.” The source also negatively spoke about the clamor set up around the inspection: “Only this year the FSB has carried out three or four operations to liquidate structures engaged in illegal tapping. They did not have so much publicity as Media-MOST, this is why there was no PR.” PR must be understood by the source as the campaign in the media in support of Media-MOST. This means that if there were no such campaign, FSB agencies would continue their “liquidating operations” without much clamor. Now they will estimate first who can be quietly “removed” and who can make them face “PR”.

PRESIDENTIAL ENVOYS TO BE GUARDED

Izvestia, May 24, 2000, p. 3

The Presidential Administration is preparing a regulation on providing presidential envoys in federal districts with state guard. Sources in the Administration reported this to Interfax on Tuesday. According to their information, the regulation may be signed as early as this week. According to it, the Federal Guard Service will provide guards for presidential envoys. Approximately half heads of federal administrative districts were earlier provided with guards, but the current legal code does not stipulate this.

KAMCHATKA PENINSULA ASKS FOR PRESIDENTIAL RULE

Izvestia, May 24, 2000, p. 3

The Public Council of the Kamchatka Peninsula has appealed to President Vladimir Putin to dismiss Governor Vladimir Biryukov and introduce direct presidential rule in the region. “We are angry about constant electric power cuts to our households. Our children are ill, old and sick people die of cold and hunger in their own homes,” states the appeal which was received by the Interfax agency. The senders reminded the president that during earlier power cuts between May and June 1999, 271 people died due to a sudden sharp deterioration in living conditions. There are daily power cuts of up to 13-15 hours. The principal reason for this energy crisis is a 750-million-ruble debt of the energy industry to fuel suppliers.

SENATORS DO NOT WANT TO QUIT THE FEDERATION COUNCIL

Izvestia, May 24, 2000, p. 3

Most heads of legislative assemblies of newly-formed federal districts believe that if they are excluded from the Federation Council, a “split between the federal and regional legislation” will take place. This is why when the upper house of parliament considers the draft law on the order of formation of the Federation Council, they will “insist” on preserving their membership in it. This was reported by Alexander Nazarchuk, chair of the Altai Regional Deputy Council, to Interfax on Tuesday. He expressed his negative attitude towards the “possible expulsion” of heads of regional legislative assemblies from the Federation Council. Nazarchuk has already sent a letter to Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev with the suggestion to solve the question of their work in the Federation Council “on regular basis” at the stage of consideration of the bill by the lower house of parliament.

UNION OF RIGHT FORCES AND YABLOKO TO SUPPORT BILLS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 24, 2000, p. 1

The Union of Right Forces and Yabloko parliamentary factions will support a complex of draft laws submitted by President Vladimir Putin to the Duma in the first reading. This was stated yesterday by Sergei Ivanenko and Viktor Pokhmelkin, deputy heads of the factions. According to them, the factions managed to work out a “coordinated position” in support of Putin’s bills during a meeting of the joint coordination council on legislation on May 23 and in the course of discussing the president’s initiatives.

PRESIDENT URGES DEPUTIES TO PASS TAX BILLS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 24, 2000, p. 1

President Vladimir Putin has sent a letter to the Duma appealing to deputies to pass bills aimed at reforming the tax system as soon as they possibly can. This was reported yesterday by Alexei Kudrin, deputy prime minister and finance minister. He reminded journalists that the lower house of parliament is now considering and improving amendments to the second part of the Tax Code. “It is important to pass the amendments before the summer parliamentary recess,” Kudrin emphasized.

FIGHTING FOR PEOPLE’S PATRIOTIC UNION OF RUSSIA

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 24, 2000, p. 1

The controlling commission of the People’s Patriotic Union of Russia (PPUR), a nationwide public political movement, suggested to its presidium that a special meeting of the movement be convened before July 1, 2000. Having considered the results of checking the activity of the presidium and the executive committee of the coordination council of the PPUR, the commission accused CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov, chair of the presidium, and Viktor Zorkaltsev, head of the executive committee, of dismembering the union. They are also held responsible for fails of candidates from patriotic forces at parliamentary and presidential elections. In the opinion of the commission, both these heads of the PPUR are not worthy of their jobs and must be re-elected. When forming the administrative structure of the “reanimated union”, the commission holds it necessary to avoid the possibility of appointing people “representing one and the same political organization” to leading posts. However, these statements by representatives of the controlling commission (which are not unprecedented) were caused by the fact that its heads are close to politicians who have quit the PPUR (Podberezkin, Tuleev, Lapshin). This is why they are furiously attacking leaders of the CPRF which has “captured” the PPUR.

BORIS NEMTSOV MAY HEAD THE UNION OF RIGHT FORCES DUMA FACTION

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 24, 2000, p. 1

The Union of Right Forces Duma faction may be headed by Boris Nemtsov instead of Sergei Kirienko who joined the executive branch as presidential envoy in the Volga federal district. In any case, none of the right doubts this. They intended to officially appoint Nemtsov head of the faction at a Duma meeting at 4 p.m. yesterday. However, the results of the meeting were not known at press time. The members of the faction had also planned to decide on who, in turn, will become deputy chair of the upper house of parliament instead of Nemtsov. In the opinion of many faction members, Irina Khakamada is very likely to become deputy speaker.

AMAN TULEEV: "WE NEED A UNITED TEAM"

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 24, 2000, p. 1

Aman Tuleev has calmly accepted the news that he will cease to be a senator if the Duma supports the president’s initiative concerning the order of forming the Federation Council so that heads of regions are not included in it. “I will have more time for working in the region,” said the Kemerovo governor in an interview to a RIA-Novosti correspondent. He maintains that the constitutional principle of representation must be strictly followed in formation of the new Federation Council. Both the executive and legislative branches must be represented in the upper house of parliament. In his opinion, the best order would be direct delegating of representatives of the regional administration and electing a representative of the Legislative Council. If there are public elections, the governor believes, there is a danger of “having party candidates instead of professionals, a kind of Duma No. 2”. He emphasized that the Federation Council must be “truly professional, but not amateurish” and represent interests of regions, but not parties.

Tuleev called the political line pursued by Vladimir Putin “correct”. This line is aimed at increasing responsibility of officials. Tuleev holds that an official list of actions and violations which may cause dismissal of a governor must be passed. At the same time, according to him, it is necessary to avoid possible using of this procedure for political ends, for instance, by means of defining certain minimal terms of “immunity” – half-year or a year.

The governor holds that heads of regions must be granted the right to dismiss “careless mayors and heads of districts”, and also the right to appoint heads of local administrations. “In this case it will be a united team. Such firm command chain would strengthen regions and would be in keeping with the president’s wish to strengthen state power,” Tuleev said.

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