CONFERENCE OF THE FATHERLAND TOOK PLACE LAST SATURDAY

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CONFERENCE OF THE FATHERLAND TOOK PLACE LAST SATURDAY

Izvestia, December 18, 2000, p. 2

Chaired by Yuri Luzhkov, the conference was attended by leaders of the Duma faction, leaders of regional organizations, and leaders of youth organizations.

The mayor of Moscow began with restoration of order in the movement. He was sharply critical of some functionaries of the Central Council of the Fatherland.

Luzhkov: Some men have lost all interest in the activities of the movement…

Luzhkov came up with the proposal of a parallel government which will be offered to the president if the acting one is incapacitated by discord. As candidates, Luzhkov promoted Anatoly Kulikov, Georgy Boos, Yuri Shafranik, Valery Draganov, and other eminent administrators and politicians. Save for Andrei Isayev (one of the leaders of the Duma’s Fatherland – All Russia faction), all of them used to work in the government in the past.

Luzhkov also said a few words about proposals to unite with the Unity. According to Luzhkov, a unification like that is impossible because “the Unity lacks an ideology”. Moreover, the Fatherland “has never discussed this issue”. Luzhkov said that had Boris Yeltsin and his closest associates not got scared of the Fatherland in 1999, “no Unity would have appeared on the political arena.”

The Central Council appealed to the president to take measures to ensure the protection of the media in the light on the latest events in Sochi and Moscow (a TV broadcasting company had been closed in Sochi, and tax services in Moscow threaten to close some publications financed by Vladimir Gusinsky). The appeal states that “Free media is a permanent value.”

According to Luzhkov, the movement is about to start working on its own economic program aimed at increasing the nation’s prosperity.

GAZPROM IS TO BE REORGANIZED

Segodnya, December 18, 2000, p. 1

Gazprom is to be reorganized. Andrei Sharonov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Commerce, says that the concept of developing the gas market in Russia had been prepared and forwarded to all involved ministries and departments (and to Gazprom headquarters). The concept was prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development and Commerce, the Antimonopoly Policy, and the Federal Commission for Energy. The document is 120 pages thick.

As it turned out, the work on the document was done with Gazprom itself remaining blissfully unaware of the fact. Sharonov admits that the document was not discussed with Gazprom probably because “it is a fairly progressive and radical document.” In other words, the document became a nasty surprise for Rem Vyakhirev.

There are two hypotheses on what has really happened. The first one assumes that the document indicates the imminent end of “Vyakhirev’s era”. According to the second, the regime traded non-interference in Gazprom’s personnel policy for Gazprom’s non-interference in the process of reorganization.

A source in Gazprom says that Vyakhirev needs at least a week to get acquainted with the document.

Boris Fedorov (he sits on the company’s Board of Directors) turned out to be more willing to talk.

Fedorov: Judging by what I heard and saw, shareholders will not object. At least, at first. What we like about all of this is that the reorganization will facilitate competition and rivalry.

THE TAX INSPECTORATE WANTS NTV CHANNEL LIQUIDATED FOR INSOLVENCY

Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 18, 2000, p. 2

The Kremlin is putting Media-Most holding, and particularly NTV channel, under unprecedented pressure.

Sources close to the Kremlin claim that NTV is no longer objective and therefore is not trusted anymore.

The Tax Inspectorate wants NTV closed as insolvent. A lawsuit has already been filed with the Arbitration Court.

THE PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE INVESTIGATES CONTACTS BETWEEN MEDIA-MOST, THE MOSCOW GOVERNMENT, SBERBANK, AND GAZPROM

Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 18, 2000, p. 2

Pavel Barkovsky, Deputy Chief of the Directorate of Grave Crimes of the Prosecutor General’s Office, says that new charges may be pressed against Vladimir Gusinsky in the wake of investigations into contacts between Media-Most holding and the Moscow government, Russian Sberbank, and Gazprom. According to Barkovsky, “the matter may involve hundreds of millions of dollars”.

Barkovsky: We are not concerned with the legal aspects of their relations. The matter only concerns the criminal aspects of the activities of the holding.

FATHERLAND – ALL RUSSIA CELEBRATES ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY

Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 19, 2000, p. 2

Yuri Luzhkov and Yevgeny Primakov delivered their speeches before the banquet.

Primakov’s speech concentrated on the place of the faction in the political process. He believes that regardless of the numerical strength of the faction, it does play a key role in the lower house of parliament because it “comprises of professionals”. Even the presidential administration has to take the faction into consideration, according to Primakov.

Primakov: We are there to see that laws that will harm the country are not passed!

The ex-premier said that the faction was planning to shift to more serious matters in the legislative sphere. He says that the Cabinet is not meeting the president’s expectations these days and fails to come up with 80 percent of properly prepared laws each year. The faction will do this for the government.

Luzhkov even suggested how this may be done. He proposes a study of all 19,000 draft laws tabled by the Duma and sorting out the most important ones.

TERRORIST BASAYEV’S BROTHER KILLED IN CHECHNYA

Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 19, 2000, p. 2

Official sources have confirmed reports about the death of Shirvani Basayev, Shamil Basayev’s brother, in a special operation mounted by the federal troops in Chechnya.

Brigadier General Ruslan Tsagaroyev, the separatists’ chief-of-Staff, was also killed in the operation.

PREMIER KASIANOV IN FRANCE

Tribuna, December 19, 2000, p. 1

Russian debts are to become the central issue of the negotiations. Russia’s debts to France amount to $4 billion, and debts to the Paris Club to $48 billion.

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