NEW PERSONNEL IN THE RUSSIAN WHITE HOUSE

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NEW PERSONNEL IN THE RUSSIAN WHITE HOUSE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 8, 2000, p. 2

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov has appointed new deputy directors of the government staff.

Aleksei Volin, head of the RIA-Novosti news agency, is one of the new appointees. He is supposed to be in charge of the Russian White House’s information policy. Several years ago, before his transfer to the news agency, he held a similar post in the Kremlin administration. In the Kirienko government, he was head of the Information Department.

No information is available at this point on who will replace Volin at the RIA-Novosti news agency. One of his deputies will probably be promoted.

Voloshin’s ex-assistant Aleksandra Levitskaya has become senior deputy director of the government staff.

COMMUNISTS MEET TO DISCUSS THE LATEST SPLIT

Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 8, 2000, p. 2

A meeting of the coordinating council of the People’s Patriotic Union will take place at the Rosagropromstroi corporation headed by Vidmanov, a true communist.

Some members of the coordinating council have proposed joining the new left-patriotic organization Rossiya, and top echelons of the Communist Party were predictably enraged. According to our information, advocates of the merger will not be present at this meeting. They will not be allowed into the building. These people believe that Zyuganov and Co are doing so deliberately, now they are aware that the pendulum of public support is swinging toward the Rossiya movement, which is rumored to be headed by Gennadi Seleznev.

Observers do not rule out the possibility that Zyuganov and his followers will decide at this meeting to convene an extraordinary congress of the People’s Patriotic Union (probably on June 10). The fact is, they have to do this before the inaugural congress of Rossiya, scheduled for July 1. This way Zyuganov and his followers will accomplish two objectives. Firstly, the congress will replace the “traitors” in the coordinating council. Secondly, the People’s Patriotic Union will reiterate the fact that it fills the same niche which Rossiya intends to fill.

This way, the top echelons of the Communist Party will ask Duma Speaker Seleznev and his supporters: “There is a broad popular-patriotic coalition under Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party. Who needs a parallel structure headed by Seleznev?” The answer is clear: only traitors need it.

UNIONS PROTEST AGAINST SOCIAL TAX CHANGES

Izvestia, June 8, 2000, p. 2

On June 7, the Association of Trade Unions organized a picket near the Russian White House, protesting against the idea of a combined social tax. On the prime minister’s orders, the protesters’ delegation was received by Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko. Duma deputies postponed discussion of the matter until June 9, at the request of presidential representative Alexander Kotenkov.

Explaining the need for the postponement, Kotenkov said that the government’s latest amendments had been forwarded to the Duma only the night before, and some deputies had not had time to read them.

Kotenkov: “The government wants the deputies to take their time in familiarizing themselves with the amendments. The government plans to work with deputies some more. Unfortunately, there are certain forces that loathe the idea of losing control over financial flows.”

By “certain forces” Kotenkov clearly meant union leaders. The latter object to the idea because it will withdraw the social insurance fund from their control.

The union leaders’ meeting with Matvienko was a failure, both sides refusing to listen to the other’s arguments. Matvienko announced that the decision had been made, and that was final. Unions swore to continue their protest actions.

WHICH GOVERNORS WILL BE THROWN BEHIND BARS?

Trud-7, June 8, 2000, p. 4

Opening a nationwide conference on fighting organized crime, Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov announced that in his address to the Federation Council this Thursday he may identify governors, heads of ministries and departments, and other major figures who have links with the underworld.

Neither the Interior Ministry nor the Prosecutor’s Office has ever named any names before. Sources in law enforcement agencies do not rule out the possibility that this is a message to governors to behave themselves or face the consequences.

TRUSTING SECURITY SERVICES WITH POWER

Trud-7, June 8, 2000, p. 4

Over a third of Russians (37.7%) believe that having a high proportion of officers and officials of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in government bodies will restore order in Russia without encroaching on democracy.

The poll was done by the ROMIR polling agency, with 1,500 respondents. Results indicate that 22.7% of respondents fear that this policy will lead to the militarization of society and the authorities, and restriction of democratic standards and freedoms. Almost as many respondents, 22.9%, believe that FSB people in the corridors of power will have no effect on the general situation.

ANOTHER SCANDAL OVER RUSSIA’S ELECTRICITY MONOPOLY

Komsomolskaya Pravda, June 8, 2000, p. 2

No matter where he may be working, it seems to be the rule for Anatoly Chubais to be dismissed once a year. In the past, his resignation was demanded by the left in the Duma; but this time it is foreign investors in Russian Joint Energy Systems (those with whom Chubais has always been fast friends) who are baying for his blood. News agencies report that they are even demanding an emergency meeting of RJES shareholders.

The scandal is attributed to restructuring plans for RJES proposed by Chubais. He plans to split off regional power plants and power generators into separate companies.

The plan was discussed at a special meeting of the RJES Board of Directors at the Kremlin, and was generally approved. Our sources say that it is the so-called portfolio investors that are stirring the scandal. They bought RJES shares at high prices, and the stock has crashed since then. The foreigners loathe the idea of losing money. The proposed split of the monopoly will push share prices down even further.

RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN PROSECUTED FOR LOOTING IN CHECHNYA

Komsomolskaya Pravda, June 8, 2000, p. 3

The Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Vladikavkaz garrison has instigated the first criminal proceedings concerning instances of looting in Chechnya. Charges were laid against special forces servicemen of the elite 22nd Internal Brigade stationed in Kalach-on-Don, Volgograd region.

No names have yet been revealed, but three of the accused are decorated Heroes of the Russian Federation, and over twelve have received medals and orders for their service in the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya.

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