ZUBR LANDING VESSELS FOR GREECE
Vremya MN, May 27, 2000, p. 1
A contract for building two air-cushioned landing vessels of 550 tons was signed by Almaz Ship-Building in January 2000. It is based on the “12322 Zubr” design (“Jaeger” according to the NATO classification) developed by Almaz. The Zubr landing vessel can carry three medium tanks (or ten armored personnel carriers) and 360 people. The vessel is equipped with four “Igla” anti-aircraft systems, two AK-630 automatic artillery systems, and two missile systems for 140 mm jet shells. Almaz executives refused to reveal the value of the contract. Analysts say that the price per vessel is about $50 million. Greece will receive only one new landing vessel from Russia. The second will be an upgraded model of the existing vessels. The contract will be completed by 2001.
RUSSIAN ANTI-AIRCRAFT SYSTEM TO PROTECT ARAB SHEIKHS
Vremya MN, May 27, 2000, p. 2
On May 24, the media received a report that Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is in charge of the defense sector in the Russian government, has handed the military attache of the United Arab Emirates a signed contract for delivering a Panzir-S1 anti-aircraft system to this country. This system is to be produced by the Tula Design Bureau. The value of the contract announced by Klebanov’s press secretary is quite high: $500 million. Recently, the annual revenue of the Tula Design Bureau from export contracts has been about $100-200 million. This contract ranks among the largest deals concluded by the Russian military-industrial complex with its foreign partners.
KHATTAB HEADING FOR DAGESTAN?
Kommersant-daily, May 27, 2000, p. 3
Chechen guerrillas led by Khattab intend to invade Dagestan again. The Chechen field commanders have already received this order. Last year they managed to penetrate this republic unnoticed. Now the federal forces are taking unprecedented security measures.
Recently officers of the Main Intelligence Department received reports that on May 24 the Chechen guerrilla leaders held a meeting not far from the Tsa-Vedeno settlement. According to the special services, Khattab attended this meeting. The participants in the gathering, such as Arbi Baraev, Shamil Basayev’s brother Shirvani, Abu-Mujahid and others, decided to organize a raid into the neighbouring republic.
These reports were supported by guerrillas detained by the special services as a result of a special operation. According to them, the detachment of Chechen guerrillas does not intend to break through checkpoints to Dagestan. They intend to get there under the guise of refugees, to organize diversions and attack the rear units of the federal forces.
Representatives of the federal command say that the decision to change tactics was taken by the Chechen guerrilla leaders after several unsuccessful attempts at an armed break-through. The last such attempt was made by Khalid’s band. About 50 guerrillas attacked a Russian checkpoint near the Shavkhol-Berdy settlement in the Nozhai-Yurt district. After a fierce battle, the guerrillas had to retreat.
But it is not out of the question that the Chechen guerrilla leaders are circulating misinformation about their preparations for the incursion, in order to make the federal command move troops from Chechnya to Dagestan.
AFGHANISTAN COULD UNITE AGAINST RUSSIA
Kommersant-daily, May 27, 2000, p. 3
The Taliban movement in Afghanistan has appealed to its enemy, the Northern Alliance, to unite in the face of their common enemy, Russia. Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf, who supports the Taliban, has also warned Moscow. Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masoud hinted that he would continue to fight the Taliban, but Russia and the countries of Central Asia should give him more assistance in doing so.
SKURATOV SETS UP A HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 27, 2000, p. 3
The founding conference of a new human rights group, For Justice and Law, which will be headed by former General Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, will be held on May 28 in Moscow. According to Skuratov, the main goal of this independent movement is “to protect the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens from the arbitrary rule of the authorities”. According to him, the nucleus of the movement consists of former officers of the law enforcement agencies. Skuratov also said that delegates from 55 Russian regions will participate in the conference.
MI-17 HELICOPTERS CONQUER INDIA
Kommersant-Daily, May 27, 2000, p. 2
Russia will equip the Indian Army with military-transport helicopters. Aviaexport will deliver 40 Mi-17 helicopters, and Promexport will equip these helicopters with machine-guns and unguided jet missiles. Both contracts (worth $170 million) were signed on May 26.
RUSSIA REMEMBERED ABOUT ITS STRATEGIC PARTNER
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 27, 2000, p. 1
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk has visited Moscow. This visit indicates that Kiev understands that the pro-Western orientation of Ukraine has led to a worsening of the economic situation, and revealed conflicts with its Western and Eastern partners.
Foreseeing a possible social explosion, the Ukrainian elite remembered its strategic partner. The point is that the Ukrainian leadership has not managed to persuade the International Monetary Fund to render Ukraine financial aid.
A PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY IN THE CASPIAN ZONE
Segodnya, May 27, 2000, p. 1
Vladimir Putin seem to consider the Caspian region a priority for his policy. The appointment of Victor Kalyuzhny as presidential envoy in the Caspian zone testifies to this.
The post given to Kalyuzhny had not been standing vacant. Russian interests – or, to be more precise, his own interests – used to be defended here by Boris Berezovsky. But the war in Chechnya did not allow Berezovsky to realize his plans: relations between Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan were not friendly.
It is evident that the end of the Chechen war is the main precondition for the success of Russian policy in the Caspian zone. Berezovsky and Yeltsin did not manage to achieve anything in this district.
MINISTRIES OBEY THE PRESIDENT’S ORDER
Segodnya, May 27, 2000, p. 2
A competition among Russian ministries has begun: who will implement the presidential decree which divides Russia into seven federal districts? The General Prosecutor’s Office leads the race. The Justice Ministry is close on its heels. Yuri Chaika, who heads the latter ministry, has stated that he intends to establish his ministry’s branches in these seven federal districts.