THE DUMA WANTS TO SAVE MIR

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THE DUMA WANTS TO SAVE MIR

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 24, 2000, p. 3

Yesterday the Duma discussed the fate of the Mir space station, which the government has decided to scuttle in February 2001.

Deputy Mitrofanov (LDPR) proposed to issue a decree on the need to preserve Mir, despite the arguments of the Russian Aerospace Agency, which says it is necessary to prepare a plan to ensure that Mir plunges into the Pacific Ocean, otherwise it might fall on land. The move to keep the space station were supported by Sevastyanov and Savitskaya (CPRF), both former cosmonauts. According to the draft decree, funding for the space station ($200-250 million) “should come from the budget and non-budget funds”. Duma deputies are also proposing to organize a lottery in support of the Mir space station.

THE WEST WILL PAY FOR RAISING THE KURSK

Tribuna, November 24, 2000, p. 1

A contract on forming an international consortium to salvage the Kursk nuclear submarine will be signed at the end of next week. This statement was made by Igor Spassky, general manager of the Rubin design bureau. According to him, there are some “financial and technical problems” because such an operation “has never been done before”.

The salvage operation is scheduled for July-August 2001. The international community will pay half of the cost of raising the Kursk. The salvage operation will cost about $70 million. The West has agreed to pay part of this sum, because it fears radioactive contamination in the Barents Sea.

HOW DUMA DEPUTIES ARE ESTABLISHING COURTS

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 24, 2000, p. 2

The Duma has passed in the first reading a constitutional bill on federal administrative courts in the Russian Federation. According to the bill, courts which will handle administrative (state sector) cases are to be created within the Russian judicial system. Administrative courts will handles cases which are presently considered by various courts, including arbitration courts.

The Supreme Court insists on passing this law by January 1, 2001. It plans to create 21 regional courts. This will require 10.262 billion rubles. The Cabinet declared this figure was too high, and proposed to create ten courts and to allocate 83.7 million rubles. The law will be passed by 2002.

Chief Justice Lebedev of the Supreme Court and Herman Gref, Minister for Economic Development and Trade, noted at a press conference that their views on reforming the Russian judiciary coincide, though the 2001 budget does not have enough money for these reforms.

MAYOR OF KYZYL CONTINUES HIS HUNGER STRIKE

Izvestia, November 24, 2000, p. 2

The Russian Supreme Court has upheld an appeal from Alexander Kashin, Mayor of Kyzyl, and declared parliamentary elections in the Tuva Republic invalid, thus depriving 186 members of parliament of their seats. This is an unprecedented event for Russia. But Kashin intends to continue his hunger strike. According to the rebel mayor, the Tuva regional government aims to get rid of him.

Alexander Kashin: “In the past two years I have survived two impeachments, seven criminal proceedings, a case concerning the alleged illegality of my appointment as mayor, an onslaught of audits, and the murder of my first deputy Genrikh Epp. Now the administration of the Tuva president intends to use the members of parliament to dismiss me.”

According to a law recently passed in Kyzyl, the mayor is to be elected by the parliament, not directly by voters. Kashin says that the regional parliament is made up of organized crime bosses and various fraudsters, who got themselves into parliament by bribing the election commission. He demanded that the prosecutor’s office start criminal proceedings in relation to this, but the latter refused. Now the mayor is asking the federal government to send a special commission to the Tuva Republic.

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