EX-PRIME MINISTER (RUSSIAN) TO SUE POTENTIAL PRESIDENT (AMERICAN)

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EX-PRIME MINISTER (RUSSIAN) TO SUE POTENTIAL PRESIDENT (AMERICAN)

Izvestia, October 26, 2000, p. 3

Viktor Chernomyrdin, Duma deputy of the Unity faction, says he intends to file a lawsuit against George W. Bush, US presidential candidate. If Chernomyrdin means it, the process promises to become a truly scandalous trial.

Chernomyrdin announced yesterday that his decision “does not have anything to do with the presidential race in the United States”. He says that he is working with Russian and American lawyers now. The American procedure is “very complicated” but he intends to see it to its end and file a lawsuit “when everything is ready.” Asked about his plans to go to Washington and attend the US Congress hearing concerning the use of credits by Russia, Chernomyrdin replied that he had not received an invitation but would certainly go if invited.

Chernomyrdin also denied rumors that he and Al Gore had allegedly signed a secret pact in 1995 which allowed Russia to sell arms to Iran. According to Chernomyrdin, the moment for such rumors was chosen on the eve of the presidential election in America deliberately.

ALEXANDER RUTSKOI ADDRESSES FEDERATION COUNCIL

Izvestia, October 26, 2000, p. 3

Yesterday’s Federation Council session promised to be memorable. Kursk Governor Alexander Rutskoi, disqualified from the race, was scheduled to address his colleagues. He did. The colleagues expressed their sympathy, and that was that.

Judging by the course of the meeting, Chairman Yegor Stroyev opted not to back Rutskoi. Sure, Rutskoi was given the floor and revealed certain tampering with the ballot. Sure, senators all but drove from the dais Viktor Chernykh, chairman of the Kursk regional legislature, who dared criticize governors.

Chernykh: For the violations Rutskoi allowed himself, other candidates would have been “dismembered” as he usually puts it.

Stroyev: This is not a conference on the eve of the election… I move we support Rutskoi in the protocol… without appeals to anybody.

BRITISH VIEW OF KURSK SUBMARINE DISASTER

Izvestia, October 26, 2000, p. 3

By mid-August, officials of the Royal Navy were claiming that the Kursk submarine had sunk because of an internal explosion. The British media ascribes the disaster to the “deteriorating professional skills caused by lack of practice” (“The Times”, August 19, 2000).

Lieutenant Commander Jim Jenkins of the British War Office says that there were no British submarines near the Kursk, and that withdrawal of 12 nuclear submarines from combat duty did not have anything to do with the disaster in the Barents Sea.

BOARD MEETING OF THE FEDERAL TAX POLICE SERVICE

Izvestia, October 26, 2000, p. 2

The Board discussed successes in fighting terrorism. Tax police are supposed to uncover and plug financial channels used by organized crime. To tell the truth, tax police themselves do not know how they are supposed to accomplish that.

Director Vyacheslav Soltaganov admits that this is a new direction in the work of the Tax Police, but since the task had been specified by the president, it would be accomplished. Governmental resolution “On prevention of terrorism” (September 15, 1999) specifies participation of the Federal Tax Police Service.

Soltaganov’s deputy Anatoly Tsibulsky says that even though the FTPS is not the major terrorism-fighting agency, it nevertheless contributes to the battle as much as it can. Some financial sources used by extremists in Chechnya have already been tackled. According to Tsibulsky, almost 4,000 individuals and organizations were registered as potential suspects within the framework of combating terrorism. Territorial FTPS branches in Bashkortostan, Altai, Volgograd, Kurgan, Moscow, and Orel regions uncovered illegal arms deals. In 2000, the FTPS checked over 600 enterprises manufacturing explosives. Eight criminal proceedings were instigated.

MOSCOW OFFERS COMBAT HELICOPTERS TO TURKEY AT A DISCOUNT

Izvestia, October 26, 2000, p. 2

And still, Moscow’s chances of making the deal are regarded as slim.

On October 25, Aleksei Ogarev of the Rosvooruzhenie company announced that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov on a visit to Turkey had offered KA-50-2 helicopters at a discount and with a different payment system. According to Ogarev, all helicopters will cost Turkey $2 billion; and $300 million worth of them will be delivered as a partial repayment of debts to Turkey. In other words, Russia more than halved the price.

Actually, Russia should fight even for this “dumping”. According to Ogarev, in 2001 Russia could export $4 billion of military hardware. Victory in the Turkish tender would have increased this sum considerably…

CHECHEN REBELS CAUGHT ON GEORGIAN BORDER

Trud-7, October 26, 2000, p. 3

The Georgian government has been forced to admit what it had been vehemently denying. Chechen gangs fighting in the Caucasus against the federal forces do find shelter in Georgia. However, Russia and Georgia do interpret the latest events differently.

According to the Federal Border Guards Service, the armed gang was heading for Chechnya by mountain paths from Georgia, but was discovered. Russian border guards called in the artillery. Retreating, the criminals wandered into a minefield. The losses were so heavy that the criminals returned to Georgia, where 25 wounded guerrillas surrendered and were rushed to hospital in Tbilisi.

The remaining criminals did not intend to surrender, and Georgian border guards did not exactly insist on it. Concealing the fact proved difficult, and Tbilisi found itself in a tight spot. Russia says that it will officially require identification of the criminals – at least those who ended up in hospital. If at least some of them are wanted for terrorist acts, slavery, and abductions, Moscow will probably demand their extradition, in line with the agreement of January 23, 1993. Georgia will certainly find the demand difficult to deny. On the other hand, it is not eager to extradite the criminals because that would jeopardize Tbilisi’s relations with Aslan Maskhadov’s emissaries.

TURKEY IN THE BLUE STREAM

Trud-7, October 26, 2000, p. 3

Russia is Turkey’s largest supplier of natural gas. Turkey is the fourth largest customer for Russian gas, after Germany, Italy, and France. Turkish market is the best promising in the region.

Moscow and Ankara both attach considerable importance to the Blue Stream Project. When the pipeline is built, Russia gas will be sent to Turkey directly. Three hundred and sixty-five billion cubic meters of gas are supposed to be delivered to Turkey within the framework of the project.

Blue Stream will give a considerable boost to the Russian economy (and treasury) and to the development of pipeline networks in Stavropol and Krasnodar.

According to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov, supplies of natural gas to Turkey will increase to 36 million cubic meters per day from next January. Kasianov says this figure has been agreed upon by the Gazprom company.

ANDREI NIKOLAYEV ON THE MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 26, 2000, p. 3

Andrei Nikolayev, Chairman of the Duma Security Committee: Paradoxically, the men who shoulder most of the responsibility for maintenance of the military security and therefore determine future of the country (if military security is not maintained, conversations about all other problems become wishful thinking and good intentions, nothing more) have a low social status.

Wage arrears are chronic, to say nothing of all other benefits servicemen are entitled to. Polls have shown that because of underfunding, up to 80% of servicemen could not afford proper meals in 1999, up to 90% could not afford proper clothing, 86% could not afford to go to movies, theaters, and so on. For 81% of respondents, underfunding meant that they could not take a vacation…

The number of servicemen in the Armed Forces without apartments in 1999 amounted to 94,300 (against 90,100 in 1998).

PALESTINE INVITES RUSSIA

Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 26, 2000, p. 3

Heiri al-Oridi, Ambassador of the Palestinian state to Russia, called a press conference in Moscow urging the Kremlin to assist in resolving the Middle East crisis. The Palestinian side insists that Russia cannor neglect its duties as a co-sponsor in the negotiations.

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