CEC TO TOUGHEN CAMPAIGN FUNDING RULES

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CEC TO TOUGHEN CAMPAIGN FUNDING RULES

Izvestia, November 22, 2000, p. 2

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has refused to consider Boris Berezovsky’s allegations about the participation of some foreign firms in funding the election campaign of the Unity movement in the parliamentary elections, and Vladimir Putin in the presidential campaign. The tycoon could provide no documented evidence for his statements. Nonetheless, the CEC is now discussing possible campaign funding reforms.

CEC member Yevgeny Kolyushin, who is in charge of election funding, believes that “the 1999 parliamentary elections rewrote the rules on campaign funding”.

The CEC is considering a number of ways to tighten supervision of elections. The bill “On political parties” will also contribute to resolving the problem. At present, the CEC only has information on party finances during election campaigns, which last three to four months. Only party leaders and paymasters know what the parties do with their money at other times. Introduction of state funding, as the CEC’s version of the bill on political parties stipulates, will make it possible to monitor the finances of all parties. However, so far it has not been determined who will carry out this function: the Justice Ministry, or the Ministry of Taxes and Duties. The CEC does not seem to be too enthusiastic about taking this burden on itself.

However, even if these innovations pass into law, it will never stop illicit funding methods. Kolyushin says: “The elections are part of the overall system. The point is that cash payments, not involving banks, are much more popular in Russia than any other kinds of payment; so this is most unlikely to be stopped by the time of the next elections.” That’s why the statements like Berezovsky’s will be made again many times in the future.

TRADEMARK RULES TO BE ENFORCED

Izvestia, November 22, 2000, p. 5

The Russian government is planning a major effort to combat pirated and illegally produced goods, which endanger national security. The State Trade Inspectorate is likely to be in charge of bringing order to the Russian market, since there are plans to significantly extend its powers. Moreover, penalties for piracy and violating trademark laws will be considerably increased.

RUSSIA HAS A UNIQUE SOURCE OF POTENTIAL MIGRANTS

Izvestia, November 22, 2000, p. 2

Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko has met with leaders of ethnic Russian communities from the CIS and Baltic states. These representatives have come to Moscow for a meeting of the Council on Compatriots’ Affairs, associated with the State Duma. Khristenko heads the government commission on aiding ethnic Russians who now live abroad as a result of the collapse of the USSR; one of his objectives is to find out how Russia can help Russians who live in the CIS and Baltic states, and if there is a need to hold a meeting of compatriots in April 2001 in Moscow.

Meeting participants meeting unanimously agreed on one point: there is no consensus in Russia on what it should do about ethnic Russians in other countries. However, Khristenko announced that they are Russia’s unique “source of potential migrants”.

RUSSIA TO IMPORT NUCLEAR WASTE?

Izvestia, November 22, 2000, p. 2

On Wednesday, the Duma will debate amendments to the law on preserving the environment and using nuclear energy. The legal terminology obscures one of the major issues: whether the plan of the Nuclar Energy Ministry to import foreign nuclear waste and bury it in Russia will go ahead.

The essence of the Nuclar Energy Ministry proposal is to import spent fuel from nuclear power stations abroad, in order to bury it here. Since such nuclear waste still contains a great deal of energy, in the future it will be possible to reprocess it and turn it into nuclear fuel again. According to the Nuclar Energy Ministry, over the next 15 years the project could earn Russia $20 billion.

However, Russian environmentalists strongly object to the project, saying it would be impossible to implement safely. Although there are a number of projects in this area, including Russian ones, there is still no completely safe way of reprocessing nuclear waste.

WHY ARE THE COMMUNISTS KEEPING SILENT ABOUT A NEW SCANDAL?

Tribuna, November 22, 2000, p. 1

Communist leaders are keeping silent about the latest scandal that has broken out in the Kursk region, this time originating in the new “red” administration.

The General Prosecutor’s Office will have to investigate an assault on the former deputy governor of the Kursk region, Maksachev.

According to outgoing governor Alexander Rutskoi, his former deputy was assaulted in the office building of the regional government, and the aim of the attack was to obtain some compromising materials on Rutskoi. His former deputy was summoned to see governor-elect Alexander Mikhailov. In the governor’s office he was asked to give testimony which would compromise Rutskoi. According to the victim, after he had refused, the man who was in the governor’s office and two security guards tried to force him to provide the necessary information, referrring to both him and Rutskoi as “Yids”. The beating lasted for over three hours.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov and his deputy Valentin Rubtsov both refused to make any comments. Alexander Kravets, ideology secretary of the Communist Party, and deputy chair of the Duma committee on information policy, called the situation absurd. Viktor Zorkaltsev, a member of the Communist Party presidium, and the chair of the Duma committee on relations with NGOs and religious organizations, believes the incident in the Kursk region is scarcely credible, and thinks it was a provocation.

WHO WILL RAISE THE KURSK SUBMARINE?

Tribuna, November 22, 2000, p. 1

Igor Spassky, general manager of the Rubin Design Bureau, has announced that the question of forming an international consortium for raising the Kursk nuclear submarine from the bottom of the Barents Sea will be resolved in early December this year. According to him, the Russian government is actively negotiating with a number of companies, and priority is being given to firms which have real experience in salvaging vessels and those that own the necessary equipment.

While bodies were being recovered from the sunken submarine, the Rubin Design Bureau became convinced that it will not be impossible to raise the Kursk to the surface. Moreover, the experience of the deep-sea divers turned out to be extremely valuable for working out new plans for salvaging the submarine.

WORLD INFORMATION FORUM IN MOSCOW

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 22, 2000, p. 7

On November 24, the World Information Forum will be held in the State Kremlin Palace. The forum is being held under the auspices of the UN and the World Information Parliament. Leaders of states and governments, as well as leaders and prominent activists of the UN, UNESCO, OAS, CIS, and other public and international organizations, statesmen, and public figures, scientists, and cultural activists have been invited to the forum.

The preparation and organization of the forum is being carried out by the International Informatization Academy, which has been personally approved by UN leader Kofi Annan. The Academy has general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and the World Information Parliament.

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