CONTRACT SERVICEMEN PICKET THE HEADQUARTERS AGAIN

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CONTRACT SERVICEMEN PICKET THE HEADQUARTERS AGAIN

Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 5, 2000, p. 2

Contract servicemen have blocked the entrance to the Trans-Volga Military District headquarters, demanding their hazard pay. Servicemen of the commandant’s office company of the Chernorechensky garrison, they returned from Chechnya four months ago after six months stationed near the settlement of Kurchaloi.

The protesters are demanding 4 million rubles. Staff officers reply that they can expect only half this sum; and should get the rest in Mozdok, Khankala, and Rostov-on-Don. In June the servicemen were transferred to the Caucasus Military District, and the documents confirming their participation in the counter-terrorist operation are still there. The contract servicemen are refusing to back down.

GUSINSKY OFFERS SHARES

Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 5, 2000, p. 1

A meeting of the NTV network’s advisory council was held yesterday. Its chairman Mikhail Gorbachev met with President Putin several days ago. It was announced after the meeting that the president did not see any political overtones in the situation, just some business problems between the Media-Most holding and Gazprom. According to Putin, it was not a matter to be handled by the presidential administration. At the meeting yesterday, Vladimir Gusinsky decided to abandon Media-Most and give it up – under certain conditions. Gusinsky wants the journalists and executives of the NTV network left alone, and nobody to end up with a controlling interest in Media-Most.

That is why Gusinsky wants to sell his shares through a foreign bank to any taker. This way, the major reason behind Media-Most’s conflict with the Kremlin will be removed.

Everything now depends on decision-makers in Gazprom and in the presidential administration.

MILITARY CUTBACKS PLANNED

Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 5, 2000, p. 2

A plan to cut troop strength by 380,000 has been drafted by the General Staff and signed by its chief, Anatoly Kvashnin. The most combat-ready units of the Airborne Troops will face cuts. They will be left with only 28,000 servicemen afterwards. The Strategic Missile Forces and Ground Forces will be reduced as well.

The plan still has to be endorsed by the Security Council, chaired by the president. Sources in the Defense Ministry do not doubt Kvashnin’s ability to persuade the president to sign this document.

BUDGET DEBATES RAGE ON

Tribuna, October 5, 2000, p. 2

Only the Cabinet claims that the draft budget is realistic and balanced. Analysts and most Duma deputies believe that its revenues part is considerably smaller than it should be. The difference is generally estimated at 150 billion rubles. Panskov, an auditor with the Auditing Commission, ex-minister of finance, says the difference is 100 billion rubles.

Summing up apparent budget miscalculations and unused financial sources, economist Sergei Glaziev gives the sum of 280 billion rubles. (In the 2000 budget, 158 billion rubles worth of unpredicted revenues materialized in the first six months alone).

Economists believe that the government is deliberately playing down the revenues part of the budget.

PROFITING FROM DISARMAMENT

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, October 5, 2000, p. 1

The Cabinet has adopted a resolution on the sum of money forwarded to the federal budget from the sale of dismantled military hardware.

The State Information Department reports that weapons systems and military hardware which beyond repair, obsolete, or specified by international agreements will be dismantled.

CONSULTATIONS CONTINUE

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, October 5, 2000, p. 7

Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Sergei Prikhodko says that the Russian leadership “continues intensive consultations with everyone who cares about stability in Yugoslavia.” According to Prikhodko, on Tuesday President Putin discussed the situation in Yugoslavia with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Prior to that, the subject was discussed in conversations with US president, Italian prime minister, and French president. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council Sergei Ivanov, and Prikhodko himself are also discussing the matter with foreign state officials.

Prikhodko: We are keeping in touch with Kostunica. The Russian Embassy in Belgrade maintains contact with the Yugoslavian leadership.

According to Prikhodko, the question of whether Slobodan Milosevic and Vojislav Kostunica will come to Moscow “is being considered now, and the president’s schedule has to be taken into consideration.”

President Vladimir Putin is expected in Moscow on the evening of October 5.

ON PUTIN’S VISIT TO INDIA

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 5, 2000, p. 5

According to Vladimir Putin, negotiations in New Delhi revealed common views on the nuclear question.

Putin: The coincidence of Russia’s and India’s interests in general allows us to find common language on nuclear issues. Our countries can work out positions which will not conflict with the interests of regional and international security.

Moscow and New Delhi signed a protocol on establishment of a Russian-Indian governmental commission for military-technical cooperation. Some arms deals were made as well (Admiral Gorshkov aircraft-carrier and T-90C tanks). Russia will also provide New Delhi with a license and technical documents for the assembly of 150 SU-30MKI fighter jets in India.

KOSTUNICA DEMANDS SUPPORT

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 5, 2000, p. 5

Leader of the Yugoslavian opposition Vojislav Kostunica condemned Washington and Moscow for their positions with regard to the situation in Yugoslavia. According to Kostunica, Washington indirectly supports Slobodan Milosevic and Moscow is too cautious.

UKRAINE WANTS RUSSIA BACK IN THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Trud-7, October 5, 2000, p. 2

Kiev describes the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to strip the Russian delegation of its voting rights as biased and erroneous.

All twelve members of the Ukrainian delegation demand restoration of rights of the Russian delegation.

Yevgeny Marmazov: Russia is fighting to preserve its territorial integrity. Why didn’t the PACE condemn NATO when its aircraft raided Yugoslavia, killing noncombatants? And NATO was condemned by founders of the Council of Europe – Germany, Italy, France…

KASIANOV CHAIRS THE BUSINESS COUNCIL

Izvestia, October 5, 2000, p. 2

Prime Minister Kasianov has chaired the first meeting of the Business Council established in early August. Invented to become a link connecting business and the government, the Council may turn into an ordinary business club.

Customs and tax reforms were discussed at the meeting. According to Oleg Viyugin of the Troika-Dialog investment company, “most Council members view the government’s plans for reforms of the import duties as half-measures and advocate a unified tax tariff.” Viyugin says that business leaders are worried about the intention of the Cabinet to introduce a zero import duty for technical equipment and hope that the government heeds their advice and establish the duty at 5 per cent.

Kasianov handed over the business leaders with their worries and proposals to Minister Herman Gref, whose meeting with them is expected to take place in the near future.

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