HOW WILL RUSSIA SPEND ITS LOANS?

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HOW WILL RUSSIA SPEND ITS LOANS?

Novaya Gazeta, No. 72, December, 2000, p. 2

Duma deputy Yury Shchekochikhin: I have discovered that there is another budget alongside the official one. This is a secret budget, for which our children and grandchildren will pay.

The IMF is allocating $1.75 billion to Russia, and other organizations are allocating $1.175 billion. The terms of these loans are 5-17 years.

Now I would like to say how this money will be spent. Some $22.6 million will be allocated to the Economic Analysis Bureau. I do not know what that is. I can only guess why this expenditure was not discussed in the Duma.

Around $58 million will be allocated to the Legal Reforms Foundation for assisting legal reforms and distributing legal information. Isn’t this rather excessive for some group I’ve never heard of?

Another $100 million will be given to the Ministry for Taxes and Duties; $140 million will go to the Customs Committee; and $276.8 will be spent on repairing apartment buildings and reforming the public utilities system (counters for measuring heating use, advisory services, etc.).

The Russian Social Reforms Foundation will get $28.6 million “for computers and office equipment and consultative services.”

Another $23 million will be given to the Bulgarkhmel stock company in the city of Cheboksary for brewery equipment. A distillery in Makhachkala will get over $11 million. Mr. Yegiazaryan and his RTR Signal company will get almost $29 million.

I can’t even imagine the rivers of alcohol that will start flowing in Dagestan, or the luxury furniture that will appear in the offices of the Social Reforms Foundation.

The Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information will get $309.8 million. And $155.2 million will be spent on basic research and support for science and technology.

NEITHER DISCIPLINE NOR ORDER

Kontinent, No. 51, December, 2000, p. 2

The number of crimes committed by police officers in the first ten months of 2000 was 3.5% higher than in the corresponding period of 1999. About 9,000 police officers were brought to account for abuse of power, and 7,000 for various other crimes. About 100,000 police officers were dismissed from the force for reasons connected with discrediting their profession.

According to Lieutenant General Vyacheslav Brycheev, head of the Main Personnel Department of the Interior Ministry, most violations of the law are recorded among detectives, drug squads, and divisional inspectors.

ECONOMIC GROWTH IN RUSSIA

Novaya Gazeta, No. 72, December, 2000, p. 2

According to statistics, economic growth has continued in Russia for more than a year. By the end of 2000, the GDP will have grown 7%, industrial output 9%, and investment 17%.

However, the Russian economy has been steadily declining over the past eight years: the GDP has fallen to 62% of what it was then, industrial output has halved, and investment is down to 28% of what it was.

The telecommunications industry has grown best of all this year, quadrupling its turnover. The output of TV sets has increased by 550%.

Manufacturing of diesel buses has increased 270%. Production of ethyl alcohol is third, rising by 260%.

PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT TYCOONS

Rossiiskie Vesti, No. 52, December, 2000, p. 3

According to polls done by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 47% of respondents believe that legal proceedings against Vladimir Gusinsky have been resumed because the media magnate is actually guilty of some improprieties. Around 12% say it’s due to the political stand taken by the media controlled by Gusinsky. Another 12% say this is means of intimidating Gusinsky and all political opposition. Around 28% are unsure.

Those who see political reasons behind the harassment of Gusinsky are mostly 25-39 years old (33%), with a higher education (39%), and well-to-do people (40%). Only 35% of well-to-do people believe that Gusinsky is actually being prosecuted for financial machinations. In Moscow 57% of respondents are convinced that Gusinsky is being harassed for political reasons, whereas in villages and small towns only 20% of respondents are of this opinion.

As for Berezovsky, the situation is different. Only 21% of respondents believe his opposition is real, whereas 48% are convinced that his conduct is based on self-interest. In Moscow, 13% of respondents believe in Berezovsky’s sincerity, whereas in villages and small towns 27% believe in it. Only 7% think that Berezovsky is able to organize a serious political opposition. Some 30% of respondents believe he can harm the government by his intrigues and compromising materials, and 35% do not believe he is capable of anything at all.

Only 8% of respondents believe that the accusations against these tycoons will be proven, and they will be stand trial; but 34% think their cases will be forgotten as soon as the government obtains significant concessions from the tycoons, and 25% are sure that these cases will drag on for a rather long time in order to keep the tycoons in suspense.

Thus, it is fair to draw the conclusion that people do not believe either the tycoons or the government sufficiently. The stand taken by the NTV network has considerable influence on educated people, whereas Berezovsky’s influence is stronger in the zone of domination of the ORT network, i.e. in the poorly developed provinces.

BLACK SHARK AND ALLIGATOR ON THEIR WAY TO CHECHNYA

Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, No. 48, December, 2000, p. 1

Two late-model helicopters, a Ka-50 and a Ka-52, will soon be transported to Chechnya. The Ka-50 is also known as Black Shark, and Ka-52 is known as Alligator. These modern combat helicopters have only been displayed at international expos until now. Unfortunately, Russian forces stationed in Chechnya need at least two regiments of such helicopters, but financial problems are holding back the re-equipment of the Russian air force.

DUMA PASSES DEFENSE BUDGET

Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, No. 48, December, 2000, p. 1

The Duma has passed the 2001 defense budget. Defense spending is planned to be 218.924 billion rubles, or about 2.8% of the GDP. This is 45% higher than defense spending in 2000. However, according to past presidential decrees, no less than 3.5% of the GDP is meant to be spent on the national defense.

Over 40% of defense spending will be on logistics.

Around 6.8 billion rubles of extra budget revenues is also earmarked for defense.

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