ILYA YUZHANOV TO VOTE ON BEHALF OF ADR OWNERS
Kommersant, April 21, 2001, p. 3
On April 20, the board of directors of Russian Joint Energy Systems (RJES) elected a representative who will vote on behalf of ADR owners at the annual shareholders’ meeting on April 28. This will be Anti-Monopoly Policy Minister Ilya Yuzhanov. Earlier, this block of shares was handled by RJES managers. From now on, the number of RJES managers on the board of directors will be reduced from three to one.
According to analysts, only Anatoly Chubais will remain on the board of directors. His deputies on the board of directors will be replaced by representatives of the state. Although Ilya Yuzhanov has always supported Anatoly Chubais, this time he will not help the head of RJES: he will vote as the government tells him to.
MOST-BANK NO LONGER EXISTS
Kommersant, April 21, 2001, p. 3
On April 21, Most-Bank lost its banking license. This decision was made by the Central Bank. It put an end to attempts by the provisional administration of the bank to save Vladimir Gusinsky’s creation.
The provisional administration will continue working at the bank until an arbitration manager is appointed. Now any creditor of Most-Bank can appeal to the court to start bankruptcy proceedings against the bank.
GENERAL PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE ON JUDICIARY REFORMS
Izvestia, April 21, 2001, p. 2
On April 20, General Prosecutor’s Office deputy director Sabir Kekhlerov explained the position of his agency on the judiciary reforms. The General Prosecutor’s Office insists on retaining its right to make arrests without a warrant issued by the courts. This is stipulated by the Criminal-Procedural Code of 1960.
Sabir Kekhlerov said at the start of the press conference, “Many observers reproach the General Prosecutor’s Office for obstructing the judiciary-legal reforms. This is not true, since the General Prosecutor’s Office wants to see a strong judiciary system.” According to him, the architects of the judiciary reforms are inconsistent and biased in some aspects. As for the main problem – transfering the power to issue arrest warrants from prosecutors to the courts – Kekhlerov said “prosecutors are not opposed to this constitutional standard, in terms of protecting human rights… However, this will be possible only when the required conditions are created for this change. Today there are no such conditions, which has been confirmed by the chairman of the Supreme Court and representatives of the Presidential Administration. There is not enough money and there are not enough judges for this purpose in Russia.”
In Kekhlerov’s opinion, this innovation would only lead to increased numbers of people in pre-trial detention.
CHINA DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT DANILOV WAS ITS SPY
Izvestia, April 21, 2001, p. 3
Valentin Danilov, a recognized astrophysicist from the Krasnoyarsk Technical University, was recently arrested by the Krasnoyarsk Territorial Department of the Federal Security Service (FSB). He has been charged with spying for China. According to investigators, he gave Beijing some state secret information, which damages Russia’s national security and enables China to save time and money in designing new spacecraft.
However, on April 20, China refused to admit that Valentin Danilov collaborated with its intelligence servie.
The Chinese Ambassador to Russia also said that he has not heard about any arrest of a Russian scientist accused of spying for China.
UNITY BECOMING A REPLICA OF THE CPSU
Novye Izvestia, April 21, 2001, p. 2
Viktor Chernomyrdin was right when he said that whatever party is created in Russia, it eventually becomes another CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union). This was recently confirmed in the Saratov region, where Governor Dmitry Ayatskov made all members of the regional government join Unity – threatening them with dismissal if they did not do so.
Ayatskov said, “All officials should determine their position and find their place in the party. I won’t tell anyone which party to join, but it won’t do to let down Lubov Sliska.”
Deputy Duma Speaker Lubov Sliska heads the Saratov regional branch of Unity. The current recruitment drive for Unity is not the first. Some time ago it was announced that the Saratov branch of Unity ought to have 5,000 members. Therefore, the staff of several district governments joined Unity “en masse” – just like children became Young Pioneers in the Soviet Union.
However, this unambiguous appeal to join Unity comes into conflict with Article Five of the regional law on state service. According to this article, state officials should not be members of any political parties. Moreover, according to this article, everyone should have equal employment opportunities in state service, regardless of their political views.
NO THIRD TERM FOR ANYONE BUT SHAIMIEV
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 21, 2001, p. 3
Next week the Duma may return to the issue of third terms in office for some regional leaders. However, this time the lower house is more likely to reduce the number of those entitled to run for a third term.
The question of third terms in office was raised in connection with the situation of the president of Tatarstan. Now that it has been resolved, and Mintimer Shaimiev has been re-elected, there is no longer any need to break the rule of two terms for regional leaders.
CONTRACT SERVICEMEN IN CHECHNYA WILL BE SOOTHED WITH MONEY
Vremya MN, April 21, 2001, p. 2
On May 1, a new system of wage payments will be introduced for contract servicemen who have participated in the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya. This decision was recently made by President Putin, in order to stop the exodus of contract servicemen and save budget funds.
Wage backlogs and the chaos with combat pay have caused indignation among contract servicemen serving in Chechnya. Combat pay used to be 850-900 rubles a day, but then it was partly canceled: given only to those who took part in detaining terrorists. Those who man the checkpoints or escort columns of military vehicles – and often face gunfire – were excluded from this list.
As a result, many contract servicemen felt deceived and made moves to resign. The situation was dangerous, since 40% of the military personnel in Chechnya are contract servicemen.
According to the president’s decision, there will no longer be any combat pay. Rewards will be given to those who take part in detaining gang leaders. The wages of all other contract servicemen will be doubled or tripled.
Of course, this measure will calm down the contract servicemen. However, this decision does not find favor with economists, since it will affect the budget.
DIRTY MONEY OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
Stringer, No. 4, April, 2001, p. 2
Vladimir Putin has ordered to establish strict monitoring of capital flight from Russia, so issues of the currency-export supervision have been handed over to the Security Council.
All fiscal and law enforcement agencies of Russia are supposed to submit their proposals of how to establish control of capital flight. The proposals should be addressed to the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development. On summarizing and analyzing the proposals, there will be worked out a united concept on which a decision is to be made. The Security Council retains the right of the concluding statement in the approval of the concept.
The Interior Ministry has already sent its proposals to the ministry headed by Greff. The foreword of the document says that during last five years the capital flight amounted to some $60 billion, with over $40 billion being stored in Switzerland alone, the CBR and the Swiss federal prosecutor report. The proposals contain:
– founding a united state system of fiscal control in the structure of the Finance Ministry;
– creating a department (agency) in the structure of the Department for Fighting Economic Crimes of the Interior Ministry to provide rapid convoy and control over employees of the “control system” at the Finance Ministry;
– transferring all transactions with hard currencies from commercial banks to the CBR abroad and to the Savings Bank inside the country.
A TUNNEL UNDER THE BERING SEA
Stringer, No. 4, April, 2001, p. 2
The tunnel, which is supposed to connect Chukotka and Alaska, will be 96 kilometers long. The supposed period of construction is 20 years. At this juncture, the project cost is estimated at 128 billion Deutschemarks. The budget of expenditure will in the near future be submitted into the World Bank, Russian and US governments. It is intended to conclude an international treaty in order to execute the project.
The highways or railways required to access the construction site are absent both in Russia and the US. A highway with the length of 1,200 kilometers, running to Fairbanks is to be constructed in the US territory. The construction may be protracted thanks to sharp protests on the part of environment protectors. In the Russian territory construction of a highway will be initiated in Magadan at the distance of 1,600 kilometers from the tunnel.
The things are as worse with the railway approaches. The nearest railway station is located at Prince-George in the Canadian province British Columbia. It will be necessary to construct a railway with an approximate length of 2,000 kilometers. In the Russian territory it will be needed to construct a railway branch line to connect the tunnel with the Trans-Siberian Railway.
THE CPRF IS FINANCED WITH THE MONEY ALLOCATED FOR CHECHNYA?
Stringer, No. 4, April, 2001, p. 2
Reports investigating the revenue sources of the Communist Party (CPRF) have been prepared. Special emphasis is placed to links between the CPRF’s financial sponsors with the schemes of embezzling funds allocated for “restoration of Chechnya.” The key place has been given to Rosagropromstroy.
As the evidence shows, the scheme is supposedly as follows: the CPRF lobbies for Rosagropromstroy as a contractor under the Own Home budget program, aimed at housing construction in the demolished Chechen towns. In its turn, Rosagropromstroy “thanks” the leaders of the CPRF Duma faction.
In the near future it is planned to prepare a report on the plan according to which the CPRF is financed by the MICOM group.