WHO WILL HEAD CHECHNYA’S NEW CABINET?
Izvestia, January 11, 2001, p. 2
It will be the executive power structures in Chechnya, headed by the prime minister, who will monitor all finances. This is what is so attractive about the post of prime minister in the future Cabinet of Chechnya. Moscow intends to supply 15-16 billion rubles for post-war restoration in Chechnya in 2001 alone. This is money worth fighting for.
Akhmed Kadyrov, head of the provisional government, will appoint the Chechen prime minister; but the appointment must be approved by Vladimir Yelagin, federal minister for Chechnya; and Viktor Kazantsev, presidential envoy for the Southern federal district; and the Kremlin administration.
Everyone who counts has their own ideas about who would make the best prime minister. Kadyrov believes that the prime minister should be a local Chechen, but refuses to say exactly whom he has in mind. According to our information, Kadyrov is going to promote Abdulla Bugayev, his own deputy and former deputy prime minister in Khadzhiyev’s Cabinet. It was under Khadzhiyev and Bugayev that misappropriation of federal funds donated for post-war restoration after the last war reached such a scale that even Boris Yeltsin had to admit that he “didn’t know where all of that money is disappearing”.
Moscow-based Chechens are promoting people they consider neutral – businessman Malik Saidullayev and leader of the diaspora Dzhebrail Gakkayev. The latter was driven out of Grozny by Djokhar Dudayev. Their chances, however, are viewed to be no better than chances of other candidates.
State officials close to Kazantsev assume that the prime minister of Chechnya should be a neutral appointee from the federal government, someone capable of working under “military communism” conditions. They think that Ivan Babichev, Military Commandant of Chechnya, is just such a man; or General Gennadi Troshev, Commander of the Caucasus Military District.
Sources in Grozny are hinting that the number of candidates may go down to just two by tomorrow. They will probably be Bugayev and Troshev.
RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN KOSOVO TESTED FOR RADIATION SICKNESS
Izvestia, January 11, 2001, p. 4
Lieutenant General Nikolai Staskov, Second-in-Command of the Airborne Troops, says the first phase of medical tests of Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo did not reveal any signs of sickness. More extensive tests will be completed by January 20.
Lieutenant General Boris Alekseev of the Enviromental Security department of the Armed Forces says that shells with uranium cores were not used in the areas currently being monitored by the Russian contingent.
LATEST APPROVAL RATINGS FOR PRESIDENT PUTIN
Izvestia, January 11, 2001, p. 4
The latest opinion polls done by the Public Opinion Foundation indicate that the president is still the leader across all ratings, including rating of confidence (39%). Moreover, the Russians still view the president as a major newsmaker and what he is saying and doing interests them even more than reports on disasters or the latest information from Chechnya.
At the same time, 51% of respondents describe the president’s performance so far as only “satisfactory”.
According to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, while Russians retain their faith in the president, they consider he has been unsuccessful in restoring order (56% disappointed against 38% satisfied), in the economy (71% against 23%), and sorting out Chechnya (69% against 20%).
Respondents say that foreign affairs is the only sphere where the president has been successful. Respondents of the Public Opinion Foundation poll say essentially the same thing.
The public accepts the opinion of the regime unquestioningly. According to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 46% of respondents were in favor of using Aleksandrov’s music for the national anthem during the recent debates. When the music was accepted, 75% of respondents turned out to be favor of it.
RUSSIA NEEDS COOPERATION WITH IRAN
Izvestia, January 11, 2001, p. 5
On January 10, Hamadulla Mohammed Nadzhad, Deputy Oil Minister of Iran, announced that his country plans to increase gas imports from Turkmenistan by 150%. Strange as it may seem, Gazprom could take advantage of these plans.
Cooperation with Iran is very beneficial for Russia. In the sphere of peaceful applications of nuclear technology, we overlook Washington’s stand on the matter. Russia’s positions on the Iranian market are fairly solid. Unfortunately, similar cooperation in fuel and energy has not been established yet.
This cooperation with Iran is of vital importance for Russia from the point of view of maintaining its positions and influence in the Caspian region. Firstly, the shortest and cheapest route for Caspian oil might run via Iran. Secondly, Iran has well-developed infrastructure in the fuel sector and may become a transit base for export of Russian fuel. Thirdly, the Iranians support the principle of equality in the use of the energy resources of the Caspian region.
Last but not least, Iran always pays on time; and Gazprom may find Iran to be a reliable partner.
OMBUDSMAN OLEG MIRONOV RELEASES A STATEMENT
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, January 11, 2001, p. 3
According to ombudsman Oleg Mironov, Russia is entering a new millennium in a difficult period of its development. It’s never an easy process to establish new democratic institutions, and build a state based on the rule of law. In Russia, this is accompanied by worsening socioeconomic problems and living standards.
At the same time, the first symptoms of reconciliation in society are visible, according to Mironov.
HOW MANY RUSSIANS CONSIDER THEMSELVES POOR?
Trud-7, January 11, 2001, p. 4
The Monitoring.ru agency has surveyed 1,600 residents of 200 Russian cities and towns. The poll shows that 51% of urban residents in Russia consider themselves poor; 39% say they are more or less all right; 2% consider themselves wealthy; and 8% refused to answer the question.
The poll showed that 48% of respondents do not have any savings; 23% keep their savings “under the mattress”; and 12% keep their savings in banks.
The poll showed that 27% of respondents own shares in Russian enterprises and companies; 69% do not have any shares at all. Around 66% of respondents own apartments in cities; 28% own dachas (country cottages); and 27% own houses and plots of land. Around 9% of respondents own computers, and 31% own cars.
GUSINSKY IS WELCOME IN ISRAEL
Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 11, 2001, p. 3
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak guarantees that Vladimir Gusinsky will be made welcome in Israel.
In his interview with the German Wave, Barak suggested that Gusinsky should move to Israel when he has sorted out his problems with the Spanish legal system.