MEETING OF THE RJES BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Izvestia, August 31, 2000, p. 2
Restructuring strategies for the electricity industry have been discussed at a meeting of the board of Russian Joint Energy Systems. Essentially, the fate of Anatoly Chubais’ project is now in the hands of the government.
The RJES executives have taken into account proposals of virtually all concerned parties. The process was selective. Chubais was quoted as saying on more than one occasion that RJES was only working with worthy and “coherent” proposals. Establishing large companies (within which strong companies will be assisting weaker ones), and the possibility of competitive and regulated markets exisiting during the transition period, are the major changes. The restructuring process will be gradual.
According to our information, the Cabinet will discuss restructuring of RJES on September 7.
KADYROV IN NEW YORK
Izvestia, August 31, 2000, p. 3
The Millennium Summit of religious leaders in New York continues. Almost 1,000 representatives of various religious faiths are taking part in the forum. Akhmed Kadyrov is playing the most noticeable role in the Russian delegation.
On his arrival in New York, Kadyrov’s assistants immediately informed journalists that “Chechens have their own program” – leaving the impression that their boss was likely to meet with representatives of the US Administration. Nothing is known about these contacts as yet, but Kadyrov has already met with dozens of Muslims from Arab countries.
In his interview with the “New York Times” Kadyrov said that Chechens described the situation in the Caucasus and requested moral support during conferences with foreign Islamic leaders. Still, Kadyrov is confident that normalization in the republic depends first and foremost on Chechens themselves.
Kadyrov: This war cannot be stopped by military means. We ourselves should put an end to it. If we fail, the bloodshed will continue for twenty years.
Kadyrov says that the subject of sovereignty is not “vital”. Other things take precedence.
Kadyrov: What does a human being need? A job and a wage, the ability to leave home in the morning and return in the evening. That’s what freedom is. Besides, where can we go? We are surrounded by Russia.
SELEZNEV HAS FAITH IN THE UNITED NATIONS
Tribuna, August 31, 2000, p. 3
Gennadi Seleznev, who is currently in New York for a conference of parliamentary speakers run by the International Parliamentary Union, does not think the United Nations has outlived its usefulness.
Seleznev: The UN should be interested is establishing contacts with members of parliament, because it faces serious financial difficulties and all budgets are passed by national parliaments. The Parliamentary Union is committed to supporting and developing the UN.
Elaborating on the necessity to boost the role of the United Nations in world affairs, Seleznev criticized the United States for its attempts to artificially diminish the role of the UN in resolving regional conflicts such as Kosovo.
PRIORITIES FOR RUSSIA AND BELARUS
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, August 31, 2000, p. 1
According to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov, Russia and Belarus should work on three major areas in 2000 and 2001. These include establishing conditions for a common currency, unification of taxation, and unification of customs tariffs and norms.
On August 30 Kasianov opened a meeting of the Cabinet of the Union state.
Trud-7, August 31, 2000, p. 4
The dismissal of Nikolai Volkov, who was in charge of the investigation into the Aeroflot case, has disappointed Swiss law enforcement agencies. The Swiss prosecutor’s office approached General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov requesting confirmation of Volkov’s dismissal. This is standard procedure, since Switzerland is prepared to send another consignment of documents on the criminal case to Moscow.
THE POLICE AND CUSTOMS VS SMUGGLERS
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 31, 2000
A press conference has been held at the Interior Ministry dedicated to the beginning of joint efforts of the Interior Ministry and the State Customs Committee to crack down on smuggling. According to Colonel Vladimir Novokschenov, Deputy Chief of the Crime Squad of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Moscow region, the police and customs have pooled efforts to close financial channels from the Moscow region to Chechen separatists. The police arrested an ethnic gang from the Moscow region headed by three brothers of Chechen origin. The gang had direct contacts with Chechen separatists.
NEW FOREIGN INVESTMENT POLICY BEING DRAFTED
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 31, 2000
Valery Lukianenko, Chief of the Foreign Economic Activities Department of the Presidential Affairs Directorate, advocates bringing order to the measures aimed at attracting foreign investment to Russia.
In his speech at the roundtable conference on “The New Investment Doctrine”, Lukianenko said that 19 functions to attract foreign investment have been organized in Russia in 2000.
Lukianenko: All too frequently the investors do not know what role the state is playing in all this. That is why we are drafting a new investment policy, which will set up favorable conditions for investments in Russia and boost the country’s attractiveness for foreign investors.