RUSSIA-UKRAINE: A GAS MEMORANDUM

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RUSSIA-UKRAINE: A GAS MEMORANDUM

Trud, December 8, 2000, p. 1

Russia and Ukraine have signed a memorandum on settling problems with Russian natural gas supplies. This statement was made by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov at the start of a Cabinet meeting on December 7.

Within ten days both parties will prepare intergovernmental draft agreements which will settle questions connected with repayment of Ukraine’s debt to Russia. According to the memorandum, Russia will extend a technical loan to Ukraine. If the volume of gas used by Ukraine exceeds the limits of the agreement, this sum will be consider Ukraine’s national debt. The memorandum provides for gas transit from Turkmenistan to Ukraine via Russia.

During negotiations the parties reached an agreement on restructuring Ukraine’s gas debt. The debt will be restructured over eight to 11 years.

HOW POLITICIANS ARE RANKED

Tribuna, December 8, 2000, p. 2

Recently the National Center for Public Opinion Research announced the results of its latest opinion poll. The goal was to figure out what Russian citizens think about the president’s activities and the government’s policy.

Pollsters were interested in how much confidence citizens have in Russian politicians. Respondents were asked to name five or six politicians whom they trust.

The results of the opinion poll are as follows:

Vladimir Putin 40%

Gennady Zyuganov 14%

Sergei Shoigu 11%

Valentina Matvienko 11%

Aman Tuleev 9%

Mikhail Kasianov 9%

Vladimir Zhirinovsky 6%

Irina Khakamada 5%

Grigory Yavlinsky 5%

Yevgeny Primakov 4%

Don’t trust any politicians 22%

Uncertain 5%

NEWS FROM THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST

Izvestia, December 8, 2000, p. 2

A scheduled meeting of the parliament of Primorye (Maritime territory, Russian Far East) has been called off. The opposition says that the session was cancelled by “obedient” deputies after an order from the executive branch. Deputies of the regional parliament have prepared a draft resolution with an appeal to President Putin to declare a state of emergency in Primorye. They intend to ask the president to take control over finances and energy supplies in the region. The opposition intends to hold a meeting on December 8 in order to pass this resolution.

THE GEPARD WON’T SINK

Izvestia, December 8, 2000, p. 2

On December 7 Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, announced the start of sea trials of the Gepard nuclear submarine. This third generation nuclear submarine must compensate for the loss of the Kursk – which, by the way, was built by the same plant.

According to the Northern machine-building plant, the Gepard is half as large as the Kursk: the new nuclear submarine is 12,770 tons (the Kursk was 23,860 tons); the submarine has a crew of 63 (the submarine which sank in the Barents Sea was designed for 107 servicemen). But the technical specifications of the Gepard are higher: its maximum underwater speed is 35 knots (about 70 km/h). The new submarine can descend to 600 meters (the Kursk could descend only to 500 meters).

Despite its small dimensions, the Gepard carries 24 nuclear missiles.

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