IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT RECEIVED IN MOSCOW
Izvestia, April 18, 2001, p. 3
On Tuesday, Iraqi Vice President Takha Yasin Ramadan arrived in Moscow. He will be received at the highest level, meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov and President Vladimir Putin.
Ramadan is accompanied by a delegation of Iraqi business leaders. They intend to discuss economic cooperation with Russia, and probably even sign some agreements. According to our sources, along with modern weapons, Iraq is interested in purchasing vehicles and aviation equipment from Russia. Many such contracts are already signed or are ready for signing, but there can be no action until the sanctions against Iraq are lifted.
Lifting the sanctions will be the main issue at the upcoming talks in Moscow.
DORENKO RUNS OVER A PEDESTRIAN
Izvestia, April 18, 2001, p. 3
On April 17, the Kuntsevo Inter-District Prosecutor’s Office of Moscow issued criminal charges against journalist Sergei Dorenko. He is accused of simple dangerous driving: allegedly, he struck a pedestrian. However, the journalist intends to blow this up into a major political scandal.
The pedestrian’s injuries are rather serious. Prosecutors consider that Dorenko deliberately hit the man, and the potential penalty is up to three years’ imprisonment.
The Interior Ministry reports that Sergei Dorenko was riding an unregistered Honda motorcycle and allegedly ran over a Navy officer. The accident has attracted much attention: practically all the media are reporting on it. However, Sergei Dorenko denies the incident ever took place, and says “the whole thing is a provocation instigated by the police and special services.” He also says this scandal is a sequel to the scandal surrounding NTV. “They want to oust me from politics,” Dorenko has said.
Now investigators are to make their decision. It is clear that all attempts to investigate this case will be viewed as attempts to restrict freedom of speech. Dorenko does not conceal his intentions to appeal to the public, and he will not appeal to the court. The journalist has not yet reported whether he will call a rally, launch a media campaign, start a petition, or something else.
SBERBANK IS THE LARGEST INVESTOR IN RUSSIA’S ECONOMY
Izvestia, April 18, 2001, p. 5
Sberbank President Andrei Kazmin has announced that Sberbank invests much more in the Russian economy than Russia’s largest foreign investor, Germany. Kazmin says this proves that Russians should not count on an influx of foreign investment in the near future.
Last year, Sberbank invested a total of $2 billion in Russian enterprises, whereas Germany invested about $1.5 billion. Since Germany invests in Russia’s economy much more than other foreign investors, the trend is obvious. It is also worth noting that Russian commercial banks are also beginning to lend to the real sector. It is not ruled out that some of them will soon catch up with Sberbank.
MOLDOVA WANTS ALLIANCE WITH RUSSIA
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, April 18, 2001, p. 7
On April 17, President Vladimir Voronin of Moldova finished his two-day visit to Moscow. At the press conference at the end of the meeting Voronin described the results of his meeting with President Vladimir Putin and leaders of major Duma factions. He noted that Russia and Moldova “are on the verge of signing a fundamental political treaty.”
Touching on the issue of the Trans-Dniester region, Voronin stressed that peacekeeping forces in Moldova have fulfilled their functions and are no longer necessary. However, the issue of withdrawing Russian forces from the Trans-Dniester region was not discussed at the talks.
Voronin also announced that Moldova does not rule out joining the European Union in the future. However, he said, “We would like to do this together with Russia and Belarus.”
Voronin rules out any possibility of Moldova drawing closer to NATO.
He also said that Moldova may join the integration process between Russia and Belarus right now, as an observer.