SENATORS BACK IN ACTION

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SENATORS BACK IN ACTION

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, September 27, 2000, p. 1

Today the regional leaders will convene for another Federation Council session, the first after the summer vacation period.

A great deal of issues have been accumulated over this period which require careful consideration by the upper house. They include: the draft budget for 2001, the development strategy to 2010, price rises for natural gas and electricity, the crisis in agriculture, and the question of improving food supplies in Russia. Moreover, the Federation Council’s defense and security committee is presenting a report on the government commission into the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster.

The senators will resume participation in current legislative projects. The agenda includes a large group of bills relating to the use of natural resources – the allocation of rights on the basis of production sharing agreements; it also includes ratification of international agreements.

IN SEARCH OF A COMMON LANGUAGE

Isvestia, September 27, 2000, p. 3

Prime Minister Dumitru Bragish of Moldova spent yesterday in Moscow. A highlight of his visit was a conversation with Duma Speaker Gennadi Seleznev, after which the Moldovan leader gave assurances that there will be no problems with Russian-language media broadcasting in Moldova.

Although the talks did touch on broader political issues, including the Trans-Dniester conflict (Seleznev came out in favor of “keeping the Trans-Dniester region as part of Moldova”) and preparations for the “major agreement” between Moldova and Russia, the conflict surrounding Russian-language media outlets in Moldova remained the focus of attention.

Gennadi Seleznev, after meeting with Prime Minister Bragish yesterday (and talking the previous day with his own Moldovan counterpart, Dumitru Diakov), spoke of Moldova’s “correct” proposals. Bragish proposed that the Moldovan government itself should pay for broadcasts of Russian ORT network programs in Moldova – maybe this could be considered partial payment of Moldova’s debt to Russia. According to Seleznev, this might help “avoid any similar unfortunate incidents” like restrictions on Russian-language broadcasts, “in relation to state-owned TV networks”.

But the ORT network is not the only one having problems, and the difficulties are not purely financial. Legal obstacles to Russian-language broadcasting in Moldova must also be removed. Tomorrow’s session of the Moldovan parliament will look at amendments to media laws, aimed at “strengthening the legal position of Russian-language broadcasters”.

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