LEADERS OF UNION OF RIGHT FORCES MEET
Kommersant, April 2, 2001, p. 1
Intrigues in the Union of Right Forces mount as the so called transformation congress scheduled for May 26 approaches. By May 26, all small parties should self-dissolve and their members must join a more compact and better centralized Union of Right Forces. The Political Council decided on March 17 that the party would be led by a chairman who will be supervising “sphere coordinators”.
Small parties and Russia’s Democratic Choice in particular are dissatisfied with these plans. In fact, they are trying to defend their independence. For that, they use the discord in the top echelons of the Union of Right Forces. Internal strife is flaming up there in relation to the gubernatorial election in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
Chubais, Nemtsov, and Kiriyenko met to discuss party construction issues last week. A week before, Chubais had laid hands on the concept of Dmitry Saveliev’s election campaign. Chubais’ advisers informed their boss that the concept had been drafted by political scientist Viktor Militarev, one of Saveliev’s assistants. It includes several provisions incompatible with the status of Union of Right Forces member.
Firstly, Saveliev was recommended to join the communist shadowy cabinet to win over a part of communist voters.
Secondly, the concept advises Saveliev to enlist the support of Oleg Deripaska who is known to be close to a certain clan (not so long ago Deripaska married Polina, the daughter of Valentin Yumashev). According to information gathered by Kommersant, negotiations between Saveliev and Deripaska are already underway. In return for support, Deripaska is promised the post of representative of Nizhny Novgorod in the Federation Council.
Thirdly, Saveliev is advised to offer a deal to rival gubernatorial candidate Andrei Klimentiev. Klimentiev has the best rating in the region but the Kremlin does not want him. Saveliev wants Klimentiev out of the gubernatorial race in return for the post of mayor of Nizhny Novgorod. A barter like this will be all right with the Kremlin.
THE LAND CODE: AN UPDATE
Izvestia, April 3, 2001, p. 2
Sources in Herman Gref’s Ministry of Economic Development and Commerce confirm that an entirely new draft Land Code was offered to the Cabinet. At the same time, all sources refused to explain the essence of the noted differences.
Gref himself revealed the principles behind the new Land Code in February. Firstly, some categories of land will be withdrawn from the Code (agricultural lands, mostly) and municipal powers over them will be specified. Secondly, all categories of land will be unified.
Nikolai Kalinin, head of the apparatus of the Duma’s Agrarian Committee, says the draft law will be discussed by the Cabinet on April 19.
OPINION POLLS INDICATE
Tribuna, April 3, 2001, p. 3
One of the questions respondents were asked to answer was “Assuming the presidential election takes place next Sunday, which political leader will you vote for?”
Like a year ago, Putin is the leader with 45% votes. Had the presidential election taken place come Sunday, he would not have any serious rivals and would have won again. The people trust Putin and his policy. Only 7% of respondents would have chosen some other political leader.
Communist Number One Zyuganov is the second, also traditionally. The opinion poll shows that he would have polled 15% votes and 29% would have polled against him. The Communist Party has not done anything significant of late but it has its own stable electorate.
Four percent of respondents would have voted for Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the LDPR, which makes him the third. Likewise traditionally, he has a high negative rating. 44% of respondents do not want him as the national leader.
Aman Tuleev is the fourth with 3% for and 9% against.
Yevgeny Primakov is the fifth with a smaller but stable rating.
AMERICA IS OUT OF FAVOR
Versty, April 3, 2001, p. 1
An opinion poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation indicates that if we were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the United States, only 21% of Russians would have accepted the offer. This is a result of the Americans’ treatment of Russia. At the same time, the number of Russians ready to make a trip on these conditions to Western Europe is 47%. This is because every second Russian is confident that “American and European lifestyles, cultures, and value systems differ”. In fact, 51% of Russians think better of Europeans than of Americans and 46% of Russians think an alliance with the European Union is better for Russia than an alliance with the United States.