KUROEDOV TO CHECK THE NAVY’S STRENGTH

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KUROEDOV TO CHECK THE NAVY’S STRENGTH

Izvestia, December 15, 2000, p. 2

Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov has arrived in St. Petersburg to participate in a meeting of the command staff of Russia’s four fleets. The meeting will focus on building, preparing and using the forces of the Russian Navy. It is being held at the Kuznetsov Naval Academy. During the next ten days the commanders of the Russian Navy will be inspecting units at the Leningrad military base, part of the Baltic Fleet. On Thursday Admiral Kuroedov attended a meeting of the Rosagentstvo collegium. The meeting was private, but according to unofficial reports “questions about the Kursk submarine disaster did not dominate the conversation”.

DOUBTS FROM BELARUS ABOUT COMMON CURRENCY

Izvestia, December 15, 2000, p. 2

Alexei Vaganov, head of the Belarussian parliament’s committee on monetary and crediting policy and banking, said he doubts the feasibility of merging the Russian and Belarussian currencies. Since there is no parliamentary opposition in Belarus, Vaganov’s statement can be considered an official point of view.

Less than a month ago, an agreement was signed to make the Russian ruble the common currency for Russia and Belarus from 2005. Vaganov says this time-frame is unrealistic, because Belarus lags behind Russia in economic development.

CHECHNYA’S SECOND CITY ON ALERT

izvestia, December 15, 2000, p. 3

On December 13 federal forces received reports about a possible attack on Gudermes, the second largest city in Chechnya after Grozny. The press center of the joint group of federal forces in the North Caucasus told us that Gudermes is surrounded by military units. Only military columns and vehicles are permitted enter the city. The acting Prosecutor of Chechnya noted: “We do have such reports. Of course, we are preparing for possible attacks by separatist guerrillas.”

DUMA PASSES 2001 BUDGET

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 15, 2000, p. 2

On December 14 the Duma passed the bill on the 2001 federal budget. Its total sum is 193,482,900,000 rubles. GDP is expected to reach 7.75 trillion rubles, while inflation is predicted to be 12%. The budget bill was supported by 308 Duma deputies, while 108 deputies voted against it.

The government plans to borrow $5 billion from abroad. In 2002 the foreign debt of the Russian Federation will reach $148.2 billion.

UKRAINE WILL CLOSE CHERNOBYL IN EXCHANGE FOR RUSSIAN GAS

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 15, 2000, p. 2

A memorandum on cooperation in the gas sector, signed by the Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers via fax, required to be supported by specific agreements. Ukraine has made this document a condition for closing down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Kiev said that it owes Russia $1.5 billion for natural gas.

REVOLUTIONARY CONVICTED IN SARATOV REGION

Tribuna, December 15, 2000, p. 1

The Saratov court has convicted a resident of the town of Engels of calling for the overthrow of the government. This person tried to use the Internet to create a terrorist organization. His website included plans for a guerrilla war in Siberia, sabotage of oil and gas pipelines, and assassination of state officials. He also included his bank account for donations, and his name: Andrei Derevyankin. He has been sentenced to four years of imprisonment on charges of calling for the overthrow of the government and organizing illegal armed groups.

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