ISRAELI PRESIDENT VISITS RUSSIA

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ISRAELI PRESIDENT VISITS RUSSIA

Izvestia, January 24, 2001, p. 3

On January 23, President Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with President Moishe Katsava of Israel. The talks in Moscow were mostly dedicated to peace in the Middle East. The Russian president described the attitude of the Israeli authorities toward combating terrorism as “a good example of policies in this sphere”. According to him, there are three reasons for Russia to be interested in the Mideast peace process: first, because “we are concerned about Russian immigrants in Israel; second, because the explosive region is very close to Russia; and third, if war trends strengthen, this will affect some regions in Russia as well, and this concerns us.” Putin described economic relations between Russia and Israel as “good”.

PUTIN DOES NOT OBJECT TO TED TURNER BUYING A STAKE IN NTV

Izvestia, January 24, 2001, p. 2

Yesterday Boris Gryzlov, leader of the Unity Duma faction, told journalists about his meeting with President Vladimir Putin. According to Gryzlov, the president is positive about the intention of US television magnate Ted Turner to invest in the NTV television network by purchasing shares in the company. At the same time, Gryzlov thinks Turner displayed a lack of tact in asking for political guarantees for his private investment decision.

Still, Gryzlov’s statement can be considered as Putin’s answer to Turner. But the president has no right to directly give guarantees to a foreign entrepreneur who is planning to invest in a Russian business; otherwise, this could be viewed as Putin promoting someone’s commercial interests.

Dmitry Ostalsky, Media-Most PR manager, refused to comment on Gryzlov’s words, since “it was just rephrasing his meeting with President Putin”.

According to Gazprom spokeswoman Aelita Yefimova, Gazprom-Media CEO Alfred Koch does not rule out the possibility of selling NTV shares to Turner.

DUMA DEPUTIES ESTABLISHED EUROPEAN CLUB

Izvestia, January 24, 2001, p. 3

Vladimir Koptev-Dvornik, deputy head of the Duma agriculture committee, told us yesterday that a new lobby group is being set up by the Duma: the European Club.

The major aim of the new group will be to promote Russian ideas in Europe, and vice versa. Moreover, the European Club plans to promote European culture in Russia, trying to shape public opinion, which would help to integrate Russia into the community of civilized and developed nations. According to Koptev-Dvornik, so far 39 Duma deputies have expressed interest in becoming members of the European Club; mostly members of Unity, Fatherland-All Russia, the Union of Right Forces, People’s Deputy, and Agrarians.

LUKASHENKO IN MOSCOW AGAIN

Trud, January 24, 2001, p. 2

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus arrived in Moscow yesterday on a two-day working visit.

His agenda includes a reception for leaders of foreign diplomatic missions, and receiving an award for outstanding efforts in strengthening the unity of Orthodox people. Today Lukashenko is to meet with Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev. Apparently, they will discuss Pavel Borodin’s arrest in New York; the president of Belarus has already publicly declared his outrage over this.

DUMA TO CONSIDER ALL VERSIONS OF POLITICAL PARTIES BILL

Trud, January 24, 2001, p. 2

On February 7, the Duma will consider five alternative versions of the bill on political parties. Since there are four other drafts in addition to the one proposed by the Cabinet, the Duma has decided to consider all five. Presidential representative to the Duma Alexander Kotenkov says that the presidential administration has no objections to this. Kotenkov says state funding for political parties is likely to be the “most controversial issue”.

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