KEMEROVO INVESTIGATION MAY BE PROLONGED

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KEMEROVO INVESTIGATION MAY BE PROLONGED

Izvestia, December 6, 2000, p. 2

According to the Novosibirsk Department of the Federal Security Service (FSB), December 5 is the deadline for the investingation into an attempt on the life of Governor Aman Tuleev of the Kemerovo region. The Tikhonov brothers are the main suspects. Viktor Tikhonov is now in detention; and Alexander Tikhonov, winner of four Olympic medals, has given a written undertaking not to leave the area. The Novosibirsk FSB Department hopes that the General Prosecutor’s Office will extend the investigation on Wednesday, for another three months.

ORT NETWORK’S OFFICES SEARCHED

Izvestia, December 6, 2000, p. 1

On December 5, officers of the Special Police Detachment, the Federal Security Service, and the Transport Prosecutor’s Office visited the ORT television network’s head office at 12 Korolyov Street in Moscow.

The search was authorized by the Moscow Transport Prosecutor’s Office (MTPO). Its representatives told us that the office of a vice-president of ORT was searched in connection with the results of a customs check. According to MTPO PR Manager Lidia Glukhova, several of ORT’s top executives are charged with evasion of customs duties.

According to the MTPO, ORT has been evading customs duties since 1996, when bringing in movies and video tapes from abroad.

ORT executives have told us that the offices of several managers were searched.

According to some sources, a great deal of cash was found in the offices, unrecorded in any account books.

UNITY RELUCTANT TO LOSE REGIONAL LEADERS

Izvestia, December 6, 2000, p. 3

Boris Gryzlov, leader of the Unity faction in the Duma, has declared it would be inappropriate to appoint rather than elect regional leaders. He said the election of regional leaders is an achievement of Russian democracy. Thus, Gryzlov expressed his attitude to the initiative of another Unity member, Vitaly Lednik, who had proposed to amend the law on the basic principles of regional government – to enable the president to appoint regional leaders.

YAVLINSKY’S DEPUTIES QUARREL

Izvestia, December 6, 2000, p. 3

The split in the Yabloko party is widening. On December 5, two deputy leaders of the party exchanged attacks. Sergei Ivanenko, deputy leader of the Yabloko Duma faction, said one of Yabloko’s primary goals is to form a coalition, based on equality, with other democratic groups – including the Union of Right Forces. Ivanenko criticized his colleague Vyacheslav Igrunov, who doubts that Yabloko is ready to form an alliance with any other party.

Ivanenko said that Igrunov’s assessment of the possibility of a merger between Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces “is his personal point of view.” He noted that Igrunov’s position does not coincide with the party’s strategy, approved at its eighth congress.

DUMA REDISTRIBUTION?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 6, 2000, p. 1

The Communists presently control nine Duma committees. According to our sources, the left may be deprived of control over six or seven of these committees, which will be handed over to Fatherland-All Russia (FAR), the Union of Right Forces (URF), and Yabloko. The Communists will keep the committees on sports, culture, women, children, and youth. But they will not longer have the committees on constitutional reform, economic and regional policy, and social issues.

If these rumors are true, then Unity, People’s Deputy, and the democratic factions will play the same trick on the Communists as they played early this year on FAR, the URF, and Yabloko.

It is rumored in the Duma that the Kremlin is displeased with the Communists. After receiving so many important posts from the president, the Communists have not supported his most important initiatives. They voted against the federal reforms, the 2001 draft budget, guarantees for former Russian presidents, etc. The CPRF faction has already suspected that something was wrong, but they haven’t dared to make any official comments yet. They must be preparing some retaliatory moves.

According to some sources, the Communists may lose control of some Duma committees as soon as this month.

GENERAL PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE INVESTIGATES NTV NETWORK STAFF

Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 6, 2000, p. 2

On December 5, Vladimir Danilov, an investigator with the General Prosecutor’s Office, confirmed that he had sent an inquiry to Media-Most owner Vladimir Gusinksy about the professional performance of NTV chief executive Yevgeny Kiselev.

According to the investigator, there is nothing strange about this, since Kiselev is a member of the Media-Most board, and full information about him is necessary for an investigation into alleged violation of privacy of individuals by security staff of the Media-Most group. Character references for other NTV managers will also be required soon.

Danilov stressed that these actions should not be connected with the international search for Vladimir Gusinsky.

By the way, a representative of Gazprom-Media has said the suit against Media-Most for $248.5 million is being dropped, in connection with the agreement that has recently been signed.

RUSHAILO VISITING HUNGARY

Tribuna, December 6, 2000, p. 1

On December 5, Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo started his visit to Budapest. During his talks with Hungarian officials, he signed the Protocol of Cooperation for 2001-02. It was also announced that a special Hungarian-Russian commission will be set up. This commission will handle issues of cooperation in combating organized crime, terrorism, illegal arms sales, drugs, explosives, and money-laundering.

ACCIDENT AT NOVOVORONEZHSKAYA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

Tribuna, December 6, 2000, p. 1

On December 5, managers of the Novovoronezhskaya nuclear power plant (near the city of Voronezh) officially announced that high radiation levels had been recorded in a small area near the power station. Voronezh Region residents do not recall any other such signs of concern, and even experts from the power plant say that such a situation is unprecedented. The high radiation area was found near the outflow trench for Reactors No. 1 and No. 2, which have not been in operation for a long time.

According to the power plant managers, the area has been isolated and the cause of the accident is being investigated.

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