A STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, September 5, 2000, p. 1
Russia views as a responsible move US President Clinton’s decision not to commit the country to any course with regards to the issue of deployment of a national anti-ballistic missile defense system. I do not doubt that President Clinton has made the decision on the basis of a thorough analysis and deep thought, with the opinions of the United States’ allies and partners taken into consideration.
This move will undoubtedly facilitate strategic stability and security in the world and increase the respect the United States commands in the eyes of the international community, particularly on the eve of the Millennium Summit.
It does not mean that Washington’s and Moscow’s views on the problem of anti-ballistic missile defense are similar now, but Russia is prepared to continue working actively with the United States and other interested countries in maintaining international security, including making progress in the efforts aimed at reducing nuclear arsenals, improving missile and nuclear nonproliferation regimes, and facilitating strategic stability through political means. I have already given appropriate instructions to the Foreign Ministry and the Security Council.
RUSSIAN DEFENSE INDUSTRY EYES THE SOUTH AFRICAN MARKET
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, September 5, 2000, p. 3
An international arms exhibition, the largest in Africa, has opened in Pretoria, South Africa.
The exhibition was arranged to coincide with celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the South African Air Force. It is taking place at the Watercloof air force base. Russia’s exposition was organized essentially by Promeksport company, and it comprises of transport-combat helicopter MI-35P, the famous SU-27M and SU-27SK fighters, and all various types of aviation armaments.
Antiaircraft defense systems adapted to African climate are displayed as well. They include the BUK-M1 and OSA-AKM medium-range complexes and the Tunguska-M mobile complex. BTR-80 armored personnel carrier and the BMP-3 battle infantry vehicle are also displayed.
Visitors were particularly interested in the project suggested by Russia’s MIG and Promeksport companies for the modification of the Mirage type French fighters. The South African Air Force has already decided to have two of its fighters modernized in Russia.
CHECHEN ADMINISTRATION MOVES TO GROZNY
Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 5, 2000, p. 2
Press Secretary of the Chechen administration Taus Dzhabrailov has announced formally that the republic’s leadership has decided to move to Grozny. The move is supposed to be over by October 15. Two buildings are being repaired in Grozny for the purpose. The former House of Soviets will accommodate the offices of the Chechen administration while Arena hotel houses federal representatives in Chechnya.
The Chechen administration believes that its return to the capital will facilitate the return of refugees to the city. The administration is of the opinion that the only possible problem may be posed by lack of finances for repairs.
AN INTERVIEW WITH IGOR SHABDURASULOV
Izvestia, September 5, 2000, p. 1
Question: Who exactly will end up managing Berezovsky’s stocks?
Answer: We will know the group within a week. I can only say that I have received an offer to be in the group. Also called upon were Konstantin Ernst, and Sergei Dorenko. I do not know other names. Consultations and negotiations are underway.
Question: What about Aksenov or Govorukhin? Will they be on the team as well?
Answer: I cannot say for sure yet. The issue has nothing to do with who signed the August appeal and who did not.
Question: What is the size of the package?
Answer: Berezovsky controls 49 percent. He does not own it, he controls it.
Question: What is your official position now?
Answer: I do not have any. I’m forming a holding as you know, and the matter relates not only to the ORT alone. Other media organizations will also be involved.
Question: On what grounds is Boris Abramovich managing the stocks now?
Answer: There is a banking consortium to which the stock of various companies (some of them no longer exist) was transferred. Everything is in line with the law. This consortium owns 38 percent of the stocks of ORT.
GORBACHEV WILL STAR IN A POLITICAL MOVIE
Nash Vek, September 4, 2000, p. 1
Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-president of the Soviet Union and founder of the Russian Social Democratic Party, has departed for a tour of the United States and Germany where a political movie of twelve episodes will be shot. Gorbachev himself will play the leading role.
The project has not been officially presented yet, but according to information gathered by our correspondent, each episode will feature Gorbachev’s interview with a politician whose personality has had a dramatic effect on situation in the world.
Gorbachev’s assistant Karen Karagezjan says that his boss will attend two conferences in Germany. One of them is being organized by Germany’s social democrats. It will be dedicated to problems of democratic freedoms and development of social democratic movement in the world. The other will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the accord on tearing down of the Berlin wall and reunification of Germany.
DEBTS ARE BEING REPAID
Nash Vek, September 4, 2000, p. 1
Later this week, the Russian Finance Ministry will transfer $58.6 million to the International Monetary Fund as partial payment of previous loans granted by the organization.
Renewal of payments of loans to Russia will be considered during October’s visit of the IMF delegation to Moscow. This year Russia is supposed to pay $3.6 billion to the Fund. A source in the Finance Ministry says that Russia will not encounter problems with that even without new loans. So far, the Finance Ministry has already transferred $2.34 billion to the IMF.
OPINION POLLS INDICATE THAT…
Versty, September 5, 2000, p. 1
The more state bureaucrats insist on secrecy in everything related to the Armed Forces, the more guarantees we have that social welfare programs designed for the Defense Ministry will be encroached on in view of the rampant disorderliness and corruption. Still yet to know exactly what happened to the Kursk submarine, not having objective information on what is happening in Chechnya, Duma deputies are already insisting on increasing defense spending. The latest opinion polls indicate that the idea is rather popular among the populace. Sociologists of the Public Opinion Foundation say that in the last four years the number of respondents who believe that “Russia should have a large and powerful army even though it cannot actually afford it” increased from 29 to 49 percent.
At the same time, most Russians are rather vague about what kind of army it should be and what our military doctrine is about. Only 15 percent of the respondents can explain the term “nuclear deterrent”. Moreover, every third respondent does not know who Igor Sergeev is. Twenty-eight percent more do not have any opinion concerning his performance as defense minister.
FEDERATION COUNCIL CHAIRMAN YEGOR STROYEV MET WITH JOURNALISTS
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, September 5, 2000, p. 1
Yegor Stroyev was supposed to acquaint the media with the plans of the Federation Council for the near future. Stroyev said, for example, that a Chinese delegation was expected in Moscow soon. An agreement signing between Russian and Chinese parliaments is planned. The Baikal Economic Forum (on the problems of the Siberian region) will take place in the city of Irkutsk in mid-September. As for the major task of the Federation Council, Stroyev said that it remained the same – discussion of the 2001 draft federal budget. Stroyev emphasized that the Federal Assembly should and will work.
Commenting on President Vladimir Putin’s decree establishing the State Council, Stroyev said that the State Council would become a political structure wielding real powers given the time. It will require amendments in the constitution.
THE KURSK SUBMARINE: AN UPDATE
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 5, 2000, p. 1
The Defense Ministry still views the hypothesis of a collision with a large underwater object as the most probable.
According to Valery Manilov, Senior Deputy Chief of the General Staff, “The Kursk must have collided with a submarine with eight to ten thousands tons of water displacement”.
The nature of damages to the Kursk strongly indicates this possibility. Some parts found on the seabed supposedly belong to the “other” submarine. During the first hours after the catastrophe acoustics detected two large objects on the seabed. One of them had disappeared by the time surface combatants of the Northern Fleet made it to the scene.