PAVEL BORODIN HAS NO COMPLAINTS
Izvestia, January 22, 2001, p. 1
Secretary of the Russian-Belarussian Union Pavel Borodin spent the weekend in a cell of the New York immigration department jail when the United States was celebrating the inauguration of its new president.
Our correspondent spoke on phone with Pavel Prokofiev, Russia’s General Consul in New York, who had met with Borodin twice over the weekend.
Question: There were reports that at first Borodin was put in a cell with mules.
Pavel Prokofiev: At first, Borodin was kept in the cell of the JFK International Airport with dozens of other detained individuals. Anybody could have been there. After some calls, however, Borodin was transferred to a single-person cell of the New York jail.
Question: Does he have complaints? Any wishes, perhaps?
Prokofiev: No complaints. Of course, he was interested in the following: access to Russian Federation officials and a telephone link. Both were made available. Four officials of our consulate in New York can visit Borodin. Our second meeting with him took place right in the cell and lasted two hours. I cannot disclose the details of course. Besides, we arranged for Borodin to have an account which he can draw on to make telephone calls and make purchases in the prison shop.
THE UNION OF RIGHT FORCES WILL BE TRANSFORMED INTO A PARTY
Izvestia, January 22, 2001, p. 3
The decision concerning future transformation into a political party became the major outcome of the meeting. It is going to be accomplished by self-disbandment of the organizations comprising the Union and then their amalgamation. The deadline for the transformation is May when the right forces are supposed to form a party. According to faction leader Boris Nemtsov, “the majority” is for it, and the decision will be probably accepted by all organizations of the Union. Two more meetings of the Coordinating Council are to take place before then and the program documents of the proposed party will be drafted.
At this meeting, leaders of the Union of Right Forces adopted a declaration elaborating on their opinion of Russia’s past and present and on the priorities of the democratic movement. Its main clauses were voiced by Nemtsov and Duma Deputy Chairman Irina Khakamada as follows: “The right forces will be loyal to Putin depending on his deeds. The government will be supported in measures which correspond with the course towards democracy”.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION WANTS CHANGES IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SYSTEM
Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 23, 2001, p. 1
President Vladimir Putin forwarded a draft amendment of the Criminal Procedural Code to the Duma last Friday. These amendments are evaluated as revolutionary. As at now, it is the prosecutor’s office that issues arrest warrants. According to the Kremlin, courts are supposed to be doing this. This system is valid all over the world save for Russia. Experts say that these changes will facilitate objectivity, because the prosecutor’s office is essentially interested in conviction. In theory, the court is not. It means that decision on arrests should be made when the arguments of both sides have been weighted.
According to available information, the amendments were drafted by Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration. The president is said to have agreed with the proposed amendments. It goes without saying that Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov did not object to them either. At first. The Constitutional Court represented by its Chairman Lebedev did object. He announced (quite reasonably) that the courts will be given additional strain and that this required better finances and more judges. As a result, Putin and Kozak admitted that the initiative was somewhat untimely.
SOME STATISTICAL DATA
Vedomosti, January 23, 2001, p. 1
Industrial output in Russia grew by 9% in 2000 compared to the figure for 1999, according to the State Statistics Committee. In December 2000 it grew by 2.3% of November’s figure.
TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY
Moskovskaya Pravda, January 22, 2001, p. 1
The State Duma’s committee for state debts and foreign assets has drawn up a draft statement “On payments to Paris Club members” at a closed meeting held on Friday.
The commission considered two polar opinions of Aleksei Mitrofanov (not to pay because these were not credits in fact but a monetary compensation to Russia for disbanding the Warsaw Pact, withdrawal from East Germany, Cuba, Afghanistan and Africa, support of international sanctions against Iraq and Libya, and acceptance of the START I and II) and Alexander Shokhin (to pay because Russia will be expelled from the Paris Club otherwise, and membership in it costs money too).
While insisting on holding negotiations with creditors, Russian deputies do not know how the standing cul-de-sac may be made history or how the negotiations may be initiated. Nobody knows as well how the Duma may control the state debts.
Commission Chairman Vladimir Nikitin ascribes the decision to convene the meeting in a closed regime to the reluctance to reveal Russia’s position before time.
THE PRESIDENT WITHDRAWS PROPOSALS FOR DRAFT AMENDMENTS
Trud, January 23, 2001, p. 3
The draft Criminal Procedural Code was adopted in its first reading in 1997, and more than 2,000 amendments have been made to it since then. Experts say therefore that the Duma may begin its discussion in the second reading only in spring at best. In other words, nobody knows when the Criminal Procedural Code is to be adopted…
The president forwarded his proposals concerning the document to the Duma on January 5, and withdrew them last Friday.