VICTOR KAZANTSEV PROMISES TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM WITH PAYMENTS

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VICTOR KAZANTSEV PROMISES TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM WITH PAYMENTS

Izvestia, September 22, 2000, p. 2

On September 21 Victor Kazantsev, Presidential Envoy in the Southern federal district met in Rostov with the servicemen who blocked the entrance of the building of the staff of the North-Caucasian military district demanding the money they have earned in Chechnya.

More than 50 servicemen who fought in Chechnya came to the meeting with the former commander of the North-Caucasian military district.

Kazantsev invited representatives of the staff of the North-Caucasian military district and the financial department to the meeting. Gennady Troshev, Commander of the North-Caucasian military district and chiefs of the staffs of the Ural and Siberian military districts who formed the 70th regiment of the 42nd division (servicemen of this regiment came to Rostov to block the building of the staff) are to arrive in Rostov on September 22. The envoy said that the Army has the money: “We have to find out why the money has not been paid. We will consider each case.” The general promised to solve this problem within two days.

The military leadership paid attention to this problem only after the servicemen’s protest. Until the action of the servicemen neither letters to various departments, including the staff of the presidential envoy (Kazantsev said that he never received such letters), nor a hunger-strike of servicemen gave results.

When answering the questions of “Izvestia’s” journalists Kazantsev refused to admit that the problem with payments exists in the Army and in Chechnya in particular: “There are a few certain cases of red tape in military units.”

GAZPROM IS AT WAR WITH MEDIA-MOST

Izvestia, September 22, 2000, p. 3

Alfred Koch, Director of Gazprom-Media, said on September 21: “The shares of the Most group, the Media-Most holding and its subsidiaries “NTV”, “NTV-Plus”, “TNT” and other companies are arrested.”

According to Alfred Koch, on September 20 Gazprom-Media brought two suits against the Media-Most holding. First suit concerns the debt of Media-Most of $211 million. In the second suit Gazprom-Media demands that Vladimir Gusinsky honor the agreement on the purchase and sale of the holding.

The hearing concerning this case has not been held yet, but the judge has already frozen the assets of the holding. According to Koch, the shares which have been transferred by the holding to off-shore companies in Gibraltar will be frozen as well.

On September 21 the General Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation concerning Gazprom’s writ about the withdrawal of assets from Media-Most.

It is evident that Media-Most did not expect such a development of events. Press secretary of the holding Dmitry Ostalsky did not have official information concerning the seizure of the shares. Corporate lawyer of Media-Most Pavel Astakhov did not know about the freezing either. He said to journalists that he never heard about Gazprom’s suits against Media-Most and about the seizure of the shares. He said: “If this is true we will appeal against this decision in the Court of Appeal.”

THE MAIN THING IS TO SURVIVE

Izvestia, September 22, 2000, p. 2

The long-expected pension reform has begun.

Mikhail Zurabov, Director of the Pension Fund said that the government has enough money to increase pensions and to apply the accumulation element of the pension system.

But the population is interested firstly in the actual material plight of pensioners but not in the mechanism of the reform.

Mikhail Zurabov said that next year pensions will be raised by 35%-40%. Later the rise of pensions will depend on the dynamic of the macroeconomic quotients. According to the Pension Fund the accumulation element will make it possible to pay 125.3 rubles to each pensioner in addition to their pensions from 2006 and 517 rubles from 2010. Mikhail Zurabov said that by 2010 the average pension should exceed be 40% over the living wage (a bit more than 3,000 rubles a month). Currently this sum is equal to $100.

THE CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OPPOSES DIRTY TACTICS

Rossyskaya Gazeta, September 22, 2000, p. 3

A conference on improving and developing the legislation on elections and referendums has been held in Pyatigorsk, the Stavropol region. Secretaries of 23 regional election commissions participated in this conference.

Alexander Veshnyakov, Secretary of the Central Election Commission, noted at the beginning of the conference: “Our goal is to find paths to strengthen the Russian election system and civil society in Russia.” The participants in the meeting discussed a report on the development and improvement of the legislation of the Russian Federation on elections and referendums. In the middle of October this report will be announced at the parliamentary hearings. Later the report will be submitted to President Vladimir Putin. The document concerns amendments and additions to the legislation in force. In addition the Central Election Commission thinks the legal status of political parties and the procedure of using new election tactics must be set down.

TERRORISTS DEMAND THAT ALL CHECHENS BE RELEASED FROM CUSTODY

Komsomolskaya Pravda, September 22, 2000, p. 2

On September 22 armed terrorists took six hostages in the Lazarevskoye settlement (70 kilometers from Sochi). Two of four terrorists are an Ossetian and a Russian. The former is mentally ill, the latter is a drug addict. the terrorists demand that “their Chechen brothers who are kept in Russian prisons be released from custody.” In addition the terrorists demand $30 million. According to preliminary reports, two hostages have been wounded as a result of a skirmish in the hotel where the terrorists keep the hostages. This hotel belongs to residents of Ossetia.

Regional police have been concentrated in the settlement. The area around the hotel is encircled.

According to certain reports the terrorists gave police a cassette with their demands. Two hostages have managed to escape.

The president has been informed about the incident. Putin ordered Victor Kazantsev, Presidential Envoy for the Southern federal district “to deal with the hostage situation”.

THE POLITICAL OLYMPICS

Trud, September 22, 2000, p. 3

The Public Opinion Foundation has held an opinion poll concerning the attitude of the public to Russian politicians. Many people follow the activities of the political leaders even during the Sydney Olympics.

The results of the opinion poll show that 38% of respondents have confidence Vladimir Putin; only 5% of respondents distrust him.

Gennady Zyuganov takes second place: 17% trust him. The result for the leader of the CPRF is rather interesting: the positive and negative ratings have increased a bit in comparison with the last opinion poll – 15% and 17% respectively.

Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev takes third place: 8% of respondents trust him, only 1% of respondents trust him.

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