PRIMORYE WILL BE INSPECTED

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PRIMORYE WILL BE INSPECTED

Izvestia, August 3, 2000, p. 2

Konstantin Pulikovsky, presidential envoy for the Far East federal district, is forming a commission to uncover the reasons behind the current energy crisis in Primorye (Maritime Territory). Its findings will be reported directly to President Vladimir Putin.

PROPOSAL TO POSTPONE ELECTION IN CHECHNYA

Izvestia, August 3, 2000, p. 3

One of the 13 candidates for Duma deputy from Chechnya, Major General Aslambek Aslakhanov, believes holding parliamentary elections in the republic is impossible at present. Aslakhanov proposes postponing or cancelling the election, set for August 20, and has already approached the Central Election Commission with this proposal.

Aslakhanov: Free and fair elections are impossible in a country at war, where real power is wielded by a man with an automatic firearm, regardless of which side he is on… Free movement in Chechnya is restricted, communication is lacking, and even electricity is not available in every district.

Aslakhanov also emphasizes that it’s impossible to campaign in Chechnya, because “local TV is broadcast over a small area, newspapers are never even seen there, and candidates themselves and their envoys cannot even travel from village to village.”

PRESIDENT PUTIN VISITS PSKOV ON PARATROOPER DAY

Izvestia, August 3, 2000, p. 3

The schedule of the president’s visit to Pskov was demanding. Its organizers made it clear right away that “there will be no press conferences or trips to civilian facilities.” Putin visited the cemetery where 20 paratroopers have been buried; they were killed on March 1 in the Argun canyon in Chechnya, when a federal convoy was ambushed. Over 60 more paratroopers killed in action have also been buried in the Pskov region, and their families were invited to the regional capital for a meeting with the president on August 2.

Moreover, the president took part in a foundation-laying ceremony for what will be a monument to Pskov paratroopers killed in Chechnya. After that, Putin went to the barracks for a short informal chat with conscripts.

COMMUNISTS AND AGRARIANS WANT PUTIN TO OPPOSE LAND SALES

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 3, 2000, p. 2

Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov and Agrarian leader Nikolai Kharitonov have written to Vladimir Putin, urging the president to support the draft Land Code banning purchase and sale of land.

The reply from the Kremlin was signed by the director of the Presidential Administration. Alexander Voloshin believes that the Land Code, endlessly discussed for the last seven years, may be passed and come into effect in 2000. This means that deputies are supposed to start work on it as soon as they return from vacation. As far as Voloshin is concerned, the draft Land Code lobbied by the left includes several provisions “encroaching on constitutional rights” and in conflict with the Civil Code. Voloshin reminded the deputies that the term “public property”, which they used to denote land, has not been used by lawyers since the time of Brezhnev’s constitution.

The letter makes it clear that the left is unlikely to get the Land Code it prefers. Moreover, Voloshin proposes passing a special law regulating the matter of land purchases and sales.

CHECHNYA UPDATE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 3, 2000, p. 2

Several days ago Georgy Shpak, Airborne Troops Commander-in-Chief, announced that his subordinates had wounded Aslan Maskhadov and Khattab. This turned out to be an exaggeration.

Chechnya itself is waiting for August 6, the so-called day of vengeance when Chechen guerrillas plan a series of diversions and probably the capture of some township. It was on August 6, 1996 that separatists attacked Grozny – and the Khasavyurt Peace Accord was signed shortly afterwards.

Movement along the Kavkaz Federal Highway is closed until August 10. Gudermes is blocked, entry to Grozny is restricted. The other day a powerful explosive device was discovered and defused under a bridge not far from the settlement of Davydenko. Six shells wired for explosion were discovered in Grozny…

Checkpoints in Chechnya are now carefully inspecting all Lada cars of the sixth and eighth models. Intelligence reports that guerrillas have wired ten such cars…

WILL THE NEXT DEFENSE MINISTER BE A CIVILIAN?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 3, 2000, p. 2

President Putin is rumored to be thinking of appointing a civilian as defense minister. It goes without saying that political functions in this case would be separated from purely military functions.

There are several potential candidates for the post. Alexander Moskovsky, deputy secretary of the Security Council, is the most likely. Once a deputy director of the armaments directorate of the Armed Forces, he was later at the Main Military Inspectorate. The other day Putin made him a colonel general.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, in charge of the military-industrial complex, is also on the list. He is a protege of Anatoly Chubais. Klebanov recently accompanied the president to the town of Baltiisk.

Mikhail Fradkov, senior deputy secretary of the Security Council, and ex-secretary of the Defense Council Yuri Baturin, are also on the list (Baturin recently completed a General Staff training course). Andrei Kokoshin is the last candidate.

DEREV RESIGNS AS MAYOR OF CHERKESSK

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 3, 2000, p. 3

Stanislav Derev is a well-known Karachaevo-Cherkessian businessman. Last May he ran for head of the republic against Vladimir Semenov. Abkhazians and Cherkessians, favoring Derev, refused to recognize the outcome of the election and launched a series of mass protest actions, claiming foul play on Semenov’s part. The republic’s Supreme Court backed up Semenov, and refused to annul the outcome of the election.

Anatoly Maslichuk, chief spokesman for the presidential envoy for the Southern federal district, says that Kazantsev has finally settled the quarrel between Semenov and Derev.

METHODS OF BUSINESS ESPIONAGE IN RUSSIA

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 3, 2000, p. 2

Heads of Russian statistical bureaus have received a warning from Vladimir Sokolin, Chairman of the federal State Statistics Committee. An extract runs as follows: “This is to inform you that the State Statistics Committee has received information that some unidentified persons are sending messages in the name of the State Statistics Committee and the State Registration Commission of the Justice Ministry to directors of certain enterprises and organizations, requesting an update on their banking records and details of economic activities, allegedly ‘to update state records’. The letters are faxed on fake forms; the State Statistics Committee and the State Registration Commission have not been involved in this kind of work recently.”

MOSCOW AND LISBON WILL SIGN MILITARY-POLITICAL AGREEMENTS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 3, 2000, p. 1

Portuguese Defense Minister Julio Castro Caldas is coming to Moscow at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeev. The official visit will last three days. Sergeev and Caldas will sign two treaties on cooperation in matters of defense. One of them stipulates exchange of military-political data, consultations, and conferences on humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. The second is aimed at preventing incidents in neutral waters.

AUDITING COMMISSION VS ANATOLY CHUBAIS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 3, 2000, p. 1

Yuri Boldyrev, Deputy Chairman of the Auditing Commission, says that election of Anatoly Chubais as head of Russian Joint Energy Systems was illegitimate.

Boldyrev: Our findings make it absolutely clear.

According to Boldyrev, the Auditing Commission will consider the RJES report in late August. Some privatization deals were done with every applicable law broken or simply disregarded, Boldyrev says, and should be annulled.

Boldyrev also says that the Auditing Commission is initiating another audit of Gazprom.

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