SEARCHES AT MEDIA-MOST DECLARED ILLEGITIMATE

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SEARCHES AT MEDIA-MOST DECLARED ILLEGITIMATE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 3, 2000, p. 2

As we were told in the Presnensky People’s Court of Moscow, the searches on the premises of the Memonet company, the Most Security Service, and in Media-Most’s offices have been declared illegitimate. The General Prosecutor’s Office has been ordered to return the documents and belongings confiscated during the searches.

The court’s decision was not unexpected by either side, for on the eve of the verdict the judge obviously supported the claimants.

THE PRESS UNDER PRESSURE

Segodnya, June 3, 2000, p. 1

The National TV and Radio Broadcasting Association (NTBA) is expressing deep concern over pressure currently being exerted by federal and local authorities upon the media. This is the essence of a statement the NTBA board disseminated yesterday. The board considers such forms of relationships between the authorities and the press to be unacceptable, and expresses certainty that all members of the NTBA should express a unanimous position of support and protection for Russian media which have found themselves in such a situation, in order to prevent further expansion of these dangerous practices.

GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 3, 2000

Andrei Loginov has been appointed the Russian government’s representative in the Duma. The relevant decree has been signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky has been appointed chairman of the Russian State Committee for Physical Education, Sports, and Tourism. Sergei Sai has been appointed chair of the Federal Land Survey Service.

ENERGY MINISTRY HOPES TO EXPAND ITS AUTHORITY

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 3, 2000

The Russian Energy Ministry is hoping to retain control over the most important parts of the fuel and energy sector, including licensing, granting access to the basic oil pipelines, and participation in regulating the activities of subjects of the natural monopolies. The ministry also expects to reserve the right to nominate candidacies for the managing boards of joint stock companies whose shares are owned by the state.

THE BONDS OF ANTI-MISSILE FRIENDSHIP

Izvestia, June 3, 2000, p. 3

According to Major General Sergei Burutin, Deputy Chair of the National Center for Reduction of Nuclear Threats, “the other day another round of Russian-US talks on creating a joint center for exchanging early-warning information on missile launches took place.” It was decided to set up the center in the settlement of Podlipky, in the Moscow Region.

This is a structure which may well be considered a breakthrough in bilateral relations in the sphere of missile-launch detection. This is the second considerable step in the direction of a nuclear-free world since 1997, when the USSR and the US signed an agreement on creating centers for reducing the nuclear threat.

DUMA PASSES BILL ON STOCKHOLDERS AND CREDITOR RIGHTS

Segodnya, June 3, 2000, p. 5

On June 2 the Russian Duma adopted in the third reading amendments to the federal law on stock companies. The amendments are intended to protect the rights of such companies’ stockholders and creditors. In particular, a stock company’s shares distributed among its founders must be completely repaid during one year. The new bill regulates the order of concluding large transactions and toughens the order of payment for extra shares.

THE DUMA RESHUFFLE

Novye Izvestia, June 3, 2000, p. 2

The fact that two former prime ministers, Sergei Kirienko and Sergei Stepashin, have resigned from their Duma posts nearly simultaneously has triggered a string of noticeable and interrelated personnel reshuffles inside the Duma. Boris Nemtsov became the leader of the Union of Right Forces faction and Irina Khakamada replaced him as the vice-speaker. Nikolai Kovalev, a former FSS director and a representative of the Fatherland-All Russia faction, was appointed chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Commission on Combating Corruption.

GUSINSKY RUMORED TO HAVE BEEN KGB AGENT

Sobesednik, No. 21, June 1, 2000, p. 2

It is rumored that the oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky was disclosed in 1989 as a KGB agent. Being head of the firm Infex, he was suspected of having given a bribe to then Deputy Foreign Economic Relations Minister of the USSR Shestakov. However, the investigation was discontinued by the First Office of the KGB Fifth Department. KGB agents stated that Citizen Gusinsky was collaborating with state security agencies under the nickname Denis. In 1986, law enforcement agencies tried to institute proceedings against Gusinsky in connection with another case, for illegal business. He was accused of usury and machinations with antiques. But this investigation was not finished either. It is said that this time again there was a signal from Lubyanka.

ZYUGANOV SAID TO BE ON THE WAY OUT

Sobesednik, No. 21, June 1, 2000, p. 2

Rumors are circulating that Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov will soon cease to be the leader of the People’s Patriotic Union (NPSR). On May 24, the NPSR Control Commission accused the main Communist of destroying the organization and failure in the parliamentary and presidential elections. The members of the commission believe that Zyuganov was doing his best to prevent his own victory in the presidential election. He is suspected of having conspired with the Kremlin. The Control Commission has come to the conclusion that under Zyuganov the NPSR has become an organization that “has been practically suppressing the patriotic movement, and in some cases even discrediting its activity.”

FOOLISH SUCCESSOR OF UNPREDICTABLE RUSSIAN CLOWN

Zavtra, No. 22, June, 2000, p. 1

Several remarks made by Madeleine Albright about Vladimir Putin at the London School of Economics caused a stir among those present. According to our source in Washington, the characterization of the new Russian president as a person incapable of managing both foreign and domestic policy is common among Western leaders. It is said that his projects are doomed to failure. Yeltsin the “unpredictable Russian clown” has made an “Ivanushka the Fool” (a character in Russian folk-tales – translator’s note) his successor. The latter has started warring against everyone, from regional elites and the mighty Jewish lobbyists in Moscow, to the Moslem world (e.g. his threats to Talibs). Besides, he has violated human rights in Chechnya and freedom of speech (the affair surrounding the Media-Most Groups). The socio-political situation within Russia is going to get more tense, because of an inflationary policy and the state’s refusal to fulfill social welfare programs. As a result, a deep crisis is forecast for Vladimir Putin by autumn 2000. Therefore, American political analysts, mostly those independent of governmental structures, are elaborating plans for taking advantage of the current favorable situation and possible models of its development.

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