LITHUANIA WANTS RUSSIAN MONEY AGAIN

0
13

LITHUANIA WANTS RUSSIAN MONEY AGAIN

Izvestia, June 15, 2000, p. 3

Sources in Moscow do not rule out the possibility that adoption by the Lithuanian parliament of the law “On compensation for the damage done by the Soviet occupation” may affect the process of Duma ratification of the Russian-Lithuanian treaty on the state border (1997). The draft treaty made it to the Duma in late April 2000. Interfax quotes diplomatic sources as saying that this unfriendly gesture on Lithuania’s part may result in the delay of ratification.

A delegation of the Russian Duma has already cancelled its visit to Vilnius, previously planned for June 12.

According to some reports, Vilnius values the damage done by the 50-year Soviet occupation at $276 billion.

CUTTING THE COST OF GOVERNMENT

Izvestia, June 15, 2000, p. 3

The Russian government will draw up a plan by July 1 for making state spending more efficient, according to Aleksei Kudrin, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

Kudrin says that reducing state spending is one of the major steps in this direction. The official emphasizes that the program will affect both the federal and regional levels of government.

Kudrin: We have no doubts whatsoever that the ruble is working more effectively in the real sector of the economy than in the state sector.

According to Kudrin, the program will abolish any commitments which the state will not be able to finance. Specifically, this may concern the law on veterans and some international obligations.

STILL LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO MILITARY SERVICE

Izvestia, June 15, 2000, p. 3

A draft law on alternative military service has been submitted to the presidential administration by the Defense Ministry and the government’s administrative department. This is the seventh year that Russia has been trying to implement its citizens’ right to alternative service. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that this situation is going to change for the better.

In brief, the latest version stipulates work “as civilian personnel in the Armed Forces” and in “other state, departmental, and municipal organizations.” There is another innovation as well: the military is to have absolutely no control over these “alternative” defenders of the Fatherland. A government committee for alternative service is supposed to be set up at the federal level.

FORGET ABOUT INVESTMENTS?

Izvestia, June 15, 2000, p. 5

If adopted in its second reading, the Tax Code will impose 100 per cent taxes on certain operations with securities. In a situation like that, we can forget about any foreign investments in the economy.

Some Duma deputies are suggesting a drastic revision of the Tax Code.

ON PRESIDENT PUTIN’S VISIT TO GERMANY

Tribuna, June 15, 2000, p. 1

Germany is not the first country Vladimir Putin is visiting. He arrived there from Madrid.

The Kremlin made it absolutely clear that negotiations would be centered only around security and cooperation. Specifically, around Europe’s attitude toward US plans to build a national missile defense system; and revival of bilateral economic relations.

Russian-German trade turnover has never been so low. Over the last eighteen months, German exports to Russia decreased by more than a third. Even before Putin’s visit, German politicians were given a chance to look into the Russian president’s “portfolio”, and discovered four interesting projects.

Three of them are to involve Gazprom, and that is why Gazprom chief Rem Vyakhirev is accompanying Putin.

Moreover, Russia would like to restart loans from the German insurance society Hermes, frozen after the financial crisis in Russia in 1998 when Moscow could not service Western investors’ three major projects. The shortfall was estimated at DM 500 million. And finally, Russia expects that Germany will make a goodwill gesture and write off part of its state debts.

The Germans have already revealed some of their cards regarding the latter subject. They do not promise anything like that, saying that it would not be good for Russia to be like Third World countries. That’s fine with Russia; we will be able to surmount obstacles without any assistance from Germany.

FOURTH ANNUAL ECONOMIC FORUM IN ST. PETERSBURG

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 15, 2000, p. 1

Representatives of many European countries, African states, Asia, and the United States were met in St. Petersburg yesterday. The United Nations sent its own delegation of eleven officials under M. Braun, Assistant Secretary General.

The Russian GDP grew by 7% between May 1999 and May 2000, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov said in his opening speech. According to the prime minister, industrial production increased by over 10% between January and May 2000, and inflation was 7%. Along with that, the volume of money in circulation increased by 11% because “of the demand for money in the economy.”

The gold and hard currency reserves reached almost $20 billion. According to Kasianov, the increase is attributed “solely to economic growth and not to creditors.”

Kasianov believes that a combination of new taxes will ease the tax burden and boost employer interest in increasing salaries.

The prime minister also spoke against “unreasonable strengthening of the ruble.”

Kasianov: If we make a mistake with the national currency, economic development will be reversed.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR ARMY IN CHECHNYA

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 15, 2000, p. 1

The 42nd Motorized Infantry Division, to be stationed in Chechnya, will have a fundamentally new information system combining computer and geospatial technologies. All units will receive data in real time.

GUSINSKY IN THE BUTYRKA PRISON

Komsomolskaya Pravda, June 15, 2000, p. 3

The media tycoon understands what the Butyrka prison is, and does not complain, according to his lawyer Henry Reznik who visited Vladimir Gusinsky in the detention cell. Like all other detention cells, the Butyrka is in the jurisdiction of the Main Penal Directorate of the Justice Ministry.

Question: What do you know about conditions in the Butyrka prison?

Alexander Zubkov, Deputy Director of the Main Penal Directorate: Gusinsky is in an ordinary cell (actually, it is pretty good for a cell) for three people. He has two cell-mates. They are ordinary people too, not psychotic or anything. He has an individual bunk. Most inmates are held in cells meant for 20 to 40 people that actually hold 50 to 80. Gusinsky gets the same food as everyone else, because special meals are reserved only for the sick and for pregnant women. A TV set was provided for his cell yesterday.

YURI MARTYSHKIN, MAJOR CRIMES INVESTIGATOR

Komsomolskaya Pravda, June 15, 2000, p. 3

As soon as the General Prosecutor’s Office confiscated some files from the offices of the Media-Most holding on May 11, we approached Yuri Martyshkin, major crimes investigator, who was involved in the operation directly. He granted the interview, but not all of it was published right away. Here are the extracts that never made it into the newspaper then.

Martyshkin: The matter is not in the category of complex cases. Preventing such violations is what counts here, not proving somebody’s guilt or anything.

Question: As well as scaring the “object”?

Martyshkin: Not scaring. Preventing such violations in future. That is why the evidence does not specify serious punishment in this case. It is not as if anyone has to be jailed, you know.

Question: It is possible to drop the case if Gusinsky pleads guilty?

Martyshkin: It’s quite likely. But I do not mean Gusinsky specifically. I do not rule out the possibility that he knew nothing.

Question: Is that possible? For him to know nothing?

Martyshkin: Quite possible. When an accountant is stealing, it is not as if the CEO must know about it.

Question: But this is a clear encroachment on free speech, right?

Martyshkin: The NTV network (Independent Television) is still operating, isn’t it?

Question: Does that mean that you deny any political connotations?

Martyshkin: I certainly do.

THE CHIEF RABBI WANTS GUSINSKY FREE

Trud-7, June 15, 2000, p. 2

Berl Lazar, proclaimed as Chief Rabbi of Russia on Tuesday, demands that the conditions of detention should be changed for Vladimir Gusinsky, owner of the Media-Most holding. He released a statement to the effect that “jailing the businessman and leader of the Russian Jewish Congress is an inappropriate and dangerous move… All this will jeopardize the reputation of Russian justice around the world.”

LEAVE A REPLY