A CHECHEN UPDATE

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A CHECHEN UPDATE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 25, 2000, p. 2

A detachment of SORB forces (a rapid response force) from Volga-Vyatsk was ambushed on July 4, 2000. Preliminary reports indicate that in the battle which lasted two hours and took place in Grozny two policemen were killed and five sustained injuries of varying severity.

The officer on duty at the provisional department of the Caucasus District Directorate for Combating Organized Crime says that several trucks of the SOBR were en route to some destination when one of them triggered a landmine in the Staropromyslovsky district of the Chechen capital. The guerrillas hiding nearby then opened fire at them from automatic rifles. The policemen returned fire and called for backup.

The attackers dispersed when combat aviation appeared.

THE MIR IS ALIVE

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 25, 2000, p. 1

The Russian Mir space station will accommodate permanent space-exploration expeditions again as of 2001.

The decision was made by the Board of Directors of MirCorp. under the chairmanship of Yuri Semenov, General Director of the Russian Space Agency Energy. The agreement signed by MirCorp and Energy in February opened the space station for commercial use. A timetable of flights has already been drawn.

A transport ship called Progress will leave for the Mir in the autumn to replenish its fuel tanks and bring everything necessary to the station. A long-term expedition to the station is planned for early 2001 – two Russian astronauts will spend months in the orbit. They will be replaced in the middle of 2001. The first tourist, one Denis Tito of the United States, will be on the second crew. He will spend about ten days in orbit and return with the first crew.

According to Geoffry Manber, General Director of MirCorp, this decision will allow the company to negotiate with its potential customers like airspace companies, financial organizations, and so on.

RUSSIA IS IN FOR DEMOGRAPHIC TROUBLE

Trud, July 25, 2000, p. 3

Russia will find itself “in a demographic pit” after 2002 following a considerable growth of the number of retirees, according to Herman Gref, Minister of Economic Development and Commerce.

FEDERATION COUNCIL PROMISES A "HOT WEDNESDAY"

Trud, July 25, 2000, p. 3

Russian politicians are preparing for their vacation but nobody is leaving Moscow. Everybody is waiting for Wednesday, July 26, when the Federation Council is slated to discuss the law on formation of the upper house of the parliament, agreed upon by the reconciliatory commission and adopted by the Duma. Many analysts believe that the Federation Council will turn it down. Despite numerous warnings, the Duma overrode the senatorial veto on the law allowing the president to suspend governors. It goes without saying that the latter were not overjoyed.

The law on formation of the Federation Council still collides with the constitution, says Vladimir Platonov, Chairman of the Moscow municipal legislature. Admitting that the law has “become milder”, Platonov nevertheless believes that meddling in the affairs of another branch of government is a serious breach of the constitution.

Chuvash President Nikolai Fyodorov believes that debates in the Federation Council on July 26 will be hot and refuses to make predictions.

Fyodorov: If the president is not too busy to promote his reforms personally, he should arrange consultations with members of the Federation Council so as to secure support in the upper house of the parliament. If he relies on the “support of the masses” alone and does not care about the senators or their opinion, then there are no guarantees that the law will pass the Federation Council…

However, not all governors are skeptical about the law. Magadan Governor Valentin Tsvetkov, for example, is prepared to vote for the law.

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