HANDCUFFS FOR MASKHADOV’S ALLY

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HANDCUFFS FOR MASKHADOV’S ALLY

Izvestia, September 29, 2000, p. 3

On September 23, the Federal Security Service detained Mumadi Saidaev, a former major in the Soviet Army. Saidaev is Aslan Maskhadov’s right-hand man. The military decided to announce this triumph only four days after the operation. Maskhadov’s friend was a member of “the supreme military council of Ichkeria” and controlled revenue streams from abroad. Actually, this means Maskhadov has lost his last reliable ally.

MEDIA-MOST ACCUSED OF FRAUD

Izvestia, September 29, 2000, p. 2

On September 28 the General Prosecutor’s Office launched a fraud case against Media-Most executives. According to Deputy General Prosecutor Vasily Kolmogorstev, the investigation has evidence that some assets of the holding have been moved abroad. He says that some shares in Seven Days Publishing, which belonged to Media-Most, were recently sold to an off-shore company owned by Gusinsky.

Vladimir Gusinsky, currently in London, has received a summons from the General Prosecutor’s Office to appear for questioning. Gusinsky’s lawyer Henry Reznik said this is out of the question, because his client is “on a business trip”. In addition, Reznik intends to advise his client not to come in for questioning, because he thinks that Gusinsky would be arrested there. Media-Most lawyer Pavel Astakhov called these criminal charges “absurd”.

TROOP STRENGTH TO BE REDUCED

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 29, 2000, p. 2

On Wednesday a working conference of the Security Council was held in the Kremlin, chaired by President Vladimir Putin. One topic on the agenda was the question of changes to state policy on military structure, which will be considered at the next formal meeting of the Security Council.

It is possible that troop strength in the Armed Forces will be reduced by 600,000. Sources in the Security Council confirm this possibility, and note that the changes will impact all security structures, not only the Armed Forces.

A special commission of experts headed by Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov is working on specific measures for military reforms.

MEDIA MINISTER LESIN REPRIMANDED – NOT DISMISSED

Izvestia, September 29, 2000, p. 3

On September 28 Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov told Media Minister Mikhail Lesin, in front of the whole Cabinet, that ministers should not participate in resolving disputes between private companies.

According to our Cabinet sources, “the question was closed. Today the decision was made.” Kasianov has decided on his position, and revealed it to the public. There will be no further steps taken. Most government officials believe that Lesin will keep his position as media minister for the next few months. According to a colleague of Lesin, the reason is as follows: “Our function is to be scapegoats. We become officials considering that the state lacks professional officials; in exchange, we get the right to have a business of our own.”

PRESIDENT PUTIN MEETS WITH PRESIDENTIAL ENVOYS

Izvestia, September 29, 2000, p. 3

On September 28 President Vladimir Putin met with his presidential envoys to the seven federal districts. He ordered them “not to let anyone take advantage of their relations with the president, the presidential administration, or the other presidential envoys”.

The key topic of the meeting was the forthcoming regional elections. Thirty-four Russian regions will be electing new leaders, and almost everywhere the Kremlin has “its own” candidates. However, the president pretended that he was completely impartial about the elections, and ordered his envoys to “assist in the work of the election commissions and provide objective information about the candidates”. As for the gubernatorial candidates, according to the president: “we have never had any special relations with them, and there can be no special relations at all”.

Thus, yesterday’s meeting was dedicated to discussing the results of the four-month existence of the presidential envoy system. According to the presidential administration, as yet it is too early to judge the performance of the presidential envoys: they have just got down to work, having resolved all the personnel issues and become familiar with their districts. According to a Kremlin senior official “at first all the envoys seemed merely competent, but now they are working much better.” The main task Moscow is now setting for the presidential envoys is to bring regional laws into compliance with federal law.

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