VLADIMIR PUTIN IS EXPECTED IN BAKU

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VLADIMIR PUTIN IS EXPECTED IN BAKU

Izvestia, January 9, 2001, p. 2

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected in Baku, today. The visit to Azerbaijan was postponed several times already.

Putin tours of the Commonwealth so far have left out Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia, i.e. the Caucasus.

This visit of the Russian president to Baku is very important for both countries. Russia backed up Armenia in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and therefore lost Azerbaijan. Karabakh and Russia’s mediatorship are not the only problems Putin and Heidar Aliyev have to discuss. There is the problem of the Caspian region as well. Viktor Kalyuzhny, presidential envoy for the problems of the Caspian basin, flew to Baku before Putin. Putin’s negotiations with Aliyev are to be consummated by a Baku declaration, a document specifying Moscow’s and Baku’s political bearing points in bilateral relations.

About ten documents are to be signed today. At first, the presidents will discuss the agreement tete-a-tete. The timetable of the visit includes two-hour long talks. Afterwards, the negotiations will continue with experts.

RUSSIA’S DEBTS TO ITS OWN CITIZENS ARE FORGOTTEN

Izvestia, January 9, 2001, p. 3

When hypothetical additional revenues of the 2001 budget were discussed, there were lots of proposals to channel them into foreign debts. For some reason, nobody recalled ordinary Russians.

Of course, we should honor foreigners’ rights for their money, or nobody will want to have anything to do with Russia. At the same time, Russians have rights to. If the debts cannot be paid all at once, they have to be restructured and conditions of the restructuring should be at least close to the treatment debts to foreign creditors are getting. Granted, they cannot bee identical, but…

Any other approach is dangerous for a civil society. Foreigners cannot be advised to get lost and Russians can? Society gets the impression that debts can be ignored. But citizens’ rights and responsibilities are inseparable. You cannot demand responsibility from someone and ignore his rights.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO WORK HARDER THIS YEAR

Izvestia, January 9, 2001, p. 4

“We are glad that the president appreciates the job we have been doing,” Premier Mikhail Kasianov said at the latest meeting of the government in 2000. Conditions on the global markets are not going to be so favorable to Russia this year, and the government will have to work harder to earn Putin’s praise. The government has to present and/or endorse a number of important documents by February and March already.

Minister Herman Gref calls 2001 instrumental from the point of view of structural reforms.

There are eight teams in the government, working on various acts that have to be ready in January or February. The matter concerns documents on the judicial reforms, banking, customs and land legislations. Fifty-three federal programs are being worked on.

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