FIRE AT SATELLITE COMMAND CENTER

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FIRE AT SATELLITE COMMAND CENTER

Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 11, 2001, p. 1

A fire at a three-story building containing a ground relay staion of the Russian Space Forces, located in the town of Kurilovo (Kaluga region), took several hours to bring under control. The fire broke out at 2:20 a.m. on May 10 because of a short-circuit in a power cable. Fortunately, there are no casualties.

About 100 firefighters and 50 personnel from the regional branch of the Emergencies Ministry participated in extinguishing the fire. The Defense Ministry says the Space Forces remained in control of the satellite network, despite the fire.

Colonel-General Anatoly Perminov, Space Forces commander: “This is a very serious accident. We will try to work out the causes. It is very likely that the fire broke out because of a fault in the power system. The main thing is that people and essential documents have been evacuated from the building. We lost communication with four satellites for a time, but we resolved this problem using another command post.”

VICTOR CHERNOMYRDIN APPOINTED RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE

Izvestia, May 11, 2001, p. 3

Victor Chernomyrdin’s appointment as the Russian ambassador to Ukraine is quite logical, since his past career has included being a director of a gas-processing plant, a Duma deputy, a director of Gazprom, and prime minister. According to President Vladimir Putin, “we are unlikely to find anyone with a better knowledge of the state of relations between Russia and Ukraine”.

BORODIN SUMMONED TO GENEVA

Tribuna, May 11, 2001, p. 1

Pavel Borodin, Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union, will go to Switzerland for questioning. Borodin’s staff say he is in good health, and does not consider himself guilty of any crime. That’s why he has agreed to this trip.

Daniel Devaud, an investigator of the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office, says he knows that Borodin is on his way. According to general prosecutor Bernard Bertossa, this is the first time that the nation where a crime was allegedly committed has denied the crime. The prosecutor noted that even African countries do not do this.

DIRECTOR OF RADIO LIBERTY SUSPENDED

Izvestia, May 11, 2001, p. 2

Savik Shuster, Director of the Moscow bureau of Radio Liberty, has told the Novosti information agency that he has been suspended. This is due to his continued cooperation with the NTV network after the replacement of its management. Savik Shuster hosts the Third Half (Tretii Taim) sports program on NTV. He used to direct this program together with sports commentators from NTV+, who have now resigned.

Radio Liberty says the final decision concerning the director of the Moscow bureau has not been made yet. In other words, “suspended” does not mean “dismissed”. Radio Liberty refused to comment on the reasons for Shuster’s suspension.

TV SCANDAL IN BELARUS

Trud, May 11, 2001, p. 4

Broadcasting by three Russian TV channels (ORT, RTR, and NTV) were interrupted in Belarus on May 8. All three channels broadcast Alexander Lukashenko’s speech dedicated to Victory Day. The interruption in broadcasting continued into May 9.

President Alexander Lukashenko commented on this incident on May 9. when answering journalists’ questions Alexander Lukashenko stated the incident happened due to technical reasons. According to Lukashenko, Belarussian television prepared for three blocs of programs which consisted of a direct broadcast from Moscow and Kiev. No one planned to switch off the Russian TV channels.

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