ROSVOORUZHENIE IS NOT AFRAID OF AUDITS
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 8, 2000, p. 2
Alexei Ogarev, General Director of Rosvooruzhenie, commented on rumors that his company will be inspected by the State Auditing Commission. Ogarev stated that there is nothing sensational about the fact that Rosvooruzhenie will be audited. This year, the State Auditing Commission conducted three audits of the company. Ogarev stated that “the Commission will not make unreasonable demands on Rosvooruzhenie. We are ready to prepare all the necessary documents and to demonstrate our willingness to correct all of the mistakes that are discovered during the audit.”
THE CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION DECIDED TO HOLD ELECTIONS IN INGUSHETIA AGAIN
Trud, July 8, 2000, p. 1
On July 7, the Central Election Commission declared that the parliamentary election in the 12th election district was invalid. On the eve of the election, which was scheduled for July 2, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ingushetia rejected the candidacy of Amerkhanov. Accordingly, the district election commission of Ingushetia condemned the parliamentary elections in the republic as illegal. On the day of the election, the majority of the polling stations were not operational.
The members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian federation and Veshnyakov in particular referred to this incident as unprecedented. The Commission noted that the district election commission had refused to obey the decision of the court. The members of the Central Election Commission recommended that the district election commission be dissolved. But Alexander Veshnyakov urged the members of the Commission not to panic: “I think we should avoid creating another precedent. Of course, the members of the district election commission should resign.” Nevertheless, the Central Election Commission intends to appeal to the Supreme Court of Ingushetia and request that it dissolve the district election commission.
THE DUMA AND THE FEDERATION COUNCIL TO PARTICIPATE IN CONCILIATION COMMISSION
Trud, July 8, 2000, p. 1
On July 7, the Federation Council agreed to cooperate with the Duma and to participate in the work of the conciliation commission, which is drafting a law to establish the Upper Chamber of the Russian parliament. The Duma and the Senate decided to compromise. Journalists of “Trud” asked well-known representatives of both Chambers to comment on the prospects of cooperation.
Pavel Krasheninnikov, secretary of the Duma Committee for Legislation noted: “The Federation Council must assign its representatives to the conciliation commission and summarize the amendments to the draft law. It is possible that the members of the Federation Council will insist on the right to appoint their representatives to the Upper Chamber. I think that we can reach a compromise concerning these two issues. But we must agree on the exact date of the senators’ resignation from the Federation Council. They should retire by at least by January 1, 2001 or 2002. Otherwise, this process could last until 2005.”
Nikolai Fyodorov, President of Chuvashia and a member of the Committee of the Federation Council for Constitutional Legislation: “I anticipate that it will be a very difficult process. Our committee has chosen a rational path that involves negotiations and consultations within the framework of the conciliation commission. This is a more effective strategy than sending each other ultimatums. I think that the conciliation commission of the Federation Council and the Duma will negotiate about twenty amendments, perhaps even fifty. It is hard to say exactly, because a considerable number of legal mistakes were made in the draft law on the formation of the Upper Chamber. I think that the sides will reach a principal decision as a result of the consultations.”
THE DEPUTIES DISPUTED DZERZHINSKY STATUE
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 8, 2000, p. 3
On July 7, the Duma failed to draft a decree on the restoration of the statue of Dzerzhinsky on the Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow. On the initiative of the leader of the Agrarian group, Nikolai Kharitonov, the Lower chamber appealed to the Moscow administration with such a recommendation. The deputies voted on this document twice: firstly, without discussions and secondly, after speeches were made by representatives of the Duma factions. Nevertheless, the result was the same. No more than 190 deputies supported the initiative of Mr. Kharitonov (the members of his faction, the CPRF and LDPR, the People’s Deputy Group and the Russian Regions).
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES SOCIAL PROBLEMS WITH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 8, 2000, p. 1
On July 8, President Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko. The meeting was devoted to a discussion of a number of social problems. According to Matvienko, Putin commissioned the government to prepare a decree to raise the average pension relative to the average wage. She noted that this decision will make it possible to increase pensions by 20% after August 1. This will apply to pensioners, who receive their pension in accordance with law No. 113.
THE FEDERATION COUNCIL HAS APPROVED THE CANDIDACY OF THE MAIN MILITARY PROSECUTOR
Vremya MN, July 8, 2000, p. 2
On Friday, the Federation Council approved the candidacy of Mikhail Kislitsyn and appointed him the main military prosecutor. All 136 members of the Federation Council supported Kislitsyn.
Kislitsyn was promoted by General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov, who characterized him as a professional officer from the prosecutor’s office.
It is possible that Kislitsyn was appointed in connection with the failure of Russian forces in Chechnya. The government intends to carry out an investigation to determine who is responsible for the mistakes made in the Chechen operation.
THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT KNOW WHETHER IT NEEDS TO PASS A LAW ON HOLDINGS
Vremya MN, July 8, 2000, p. 3
On July 8, the Federation Council approved the law “On holdings,” which was passed last week by the Duma. No one doubted that the senators would approve the law. Experts of both chambers of the parliament supported the law. At the same time, the ultimate fate of this law is not yet clear.
The document establishes the rules and regulations for registering holdings. The law determines the responsibilities of these holdings as well.
However, the Presidential Administration has not decided yet whether the law is necessary. It is an open secret that oligarchs create holdings. That is probably why some members of the Presidential Administration oppose passing the law.
BEREZOVSKY TO REFORM DUMA AND CREATE NEW PARTY
Kommersant-daily, July 8, 2000, p. 2
According to the Novosti Agency, Duma deputy Boris Berezovsky “intends to create a political party with the assistance of certain members of the Federation Council.” The deputy stated in an interview with Ilya Bulavinov that he plans not only to create the party, but also to reform the present Duma.
A HUNDRED DAYS REFLECTED IN TWO MIRRORS
Obshchaya Gazeta, No. 27, July, 2000, p. 7
According to weekly polls conducted by ARPI in 120 to 220 Russian towns and villages (representative samples of between 1,600 and 3,000 respondents), President Putin retains his position as the most popular Russian politician. His credibility rating surpasses those of the church and the government, institutions which usually led the credibility ratings in the Yeltsin era. The time that has passed since the election has not changed public confidence that Putin will cope with economic problems (50% of respondents) and crime (46%). The highest rating of confidence in Putin was recorded among middle-aged people, mid-level income earners and those with a high school education, the unemployed, housewives, and workers; that is, he inspires confidence in common people who always rely on the regime much more than on their own strength. However, it cannot be said that popular attitudes to Putin remain entirely unchanged. The changes are especially noticeable in socially active groups of the population. For example, by the end of April Putin’s rating with corporate executives and entrepreneurs had decreased. In mid-April, events in Chechnya were fifth on the list of most alarming problems. In May, events in Chechnya moved into third place.
PAYING THE GOVERNORS TO LEAVE
Rossiya, No. 54, July, 2000, p. 2
The Duma’s approval of the presidential bill on reforming the upper house has raised a storm of indignation in the Federation Council. One of the senators screamed hysterically that he would never surrender his Council seat, and that his right to keep it is guaranteed by Article 95 of the Constitution. However, this article does not stipulate that only governors and speakers of regional legislatures can become senators. Therefore, neither Article 95 of the Constitution, nor foreign practice, gives the Federation Council any legal grounds for rejecting the president’s bill. This is just another covert struggle for power. The main issue is what price regional barons will demand for their departure from the Federation Council – and what the Kremlin will give them.