CONFRONTATION WITH ZERO RESULT
Tribuna, May 18, 2001, p. 1
In addition to Pavel Borodin, State Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union, investigator Daniel Devaud has invited two Swiss financiers and one lawyer allegedly involved in laundering money paid as a commission for renovating the Kremlin.
The Swiss Prosecutor’s Office has not managed to obtain Pavel Borodin’s admission of guilt. It is very likely that Swiss prosecutors did not hope to. Pavel Borodin said before questioning that he is not afraid of anything, his lawyer Dominic Ponse said that his client may refuse to answer prosecutors’ questions if he wants.
The Moscow guest remained silent during the confrontation. After this procedure he told reporters that he “has nothing to do with the case considered here”.
Investigators’ pessimism is supported by rumors that when summoning Pavel Borodin investigators wanted to see if he would arrive. Cantonal General Prosecutor Bernard Bertossa noted that the procedure will become senseless if the suspect refuses to answer prosecutors’ questions.
It seem that another attempt by the Geneva Prosecutor’s Office aimed at proving its leading role in fighting international corruption and money laundering has failed. Nevertheless, Borodin’s lawyers state that their client may receive the next summons at the start of July.
LUZHKOV’S THIRD TERM IN OFFICE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 18, 2001, p. 2
Yury Luzhkov will be able to run for a third term in office. The Duma passed a decision linked with this on May 17.
This February the Duma allowed 69 regional leaders (in all there are 89 of them) to run for a third or fourth term in office. This decision was made for the benefit of one politician – President Mintimer Shaimiev of Tatarstan.
Yesterday the Duma acknowledged its mistake and cut the list of privileged regional leaders to eight. The mayor of Moscow is among them.
Judging by the result of voting it is very likely that the Kremlin will allow Yury Luzhkov, who has become loyal to the Kremlin, to run for mayor of Moscow for the third time. The position of the pro-presidential factions and groups speaks in favor of this. Luzhkov was supported by 370 deputies.
Izvestia, May 18, 2001, p. 1
At the EU-Russia summit yesterday, Vladimir Putin tried to convince Europeans that “Russia is a reliable and promising partner”. However, Europe is in no hurry to consider Russia as a country with a market economy.
Europe has sent a very influential delegation to Moscow: Goran Persson, Prime Minister of Sweden, European Commission President Romano Prodi, and Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief.
The Russian president started the summit with his meeting with the Swedish prime minister. they discussed a problem which does not concern Russian-European cooperation – the result of his recent visit to the Korean peninsula and the upcoming visit of the Swedish king to the Russian Federation.
After that Putin and Persson passed on to daily affairs; Moscow awaits a closer cooperation with Europe and tries to convince Europeans that “positive political and economic changes in Russia open new possibilities for a dialogue”.
The European Union has confirmed its support for Russia’s aim to join the WTO. This must be interpreted as a kind of hint because Russia has to meet many criteria before joining this organization. During negotiations Russia tried to convince the European delegation that the Russian Federation is a country with a market economy. The EU noted in a joint statement that “Russia has made certain progress on the path of market reforms”, but refused to give this status to Russia.
However, Europe is ready for further contacts in the economic sector. Putin and Persson have reached an agreement on creating a commission for working on proposals aimed at creating a common economic space between Russia and the EU.
Izvestia, May 18, 2001, p. 2
Bislan Gantamirov said yesterday that he intends to quit as mayor of Grozny. His press secretary Ruslan Martagov said that Gantamirov is sure that a new mayor will continue defending the people’s vital interests. Gantamirov asked people to unite around the administration and government of the Chechen republic in order to settle the crisis. Martagov did not announce Gantamirov’s plans. He said that the former mayor will move to Moscow to be with his family.
RUSSIA HEARS THE WORD "NO" TOO OFTEN
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 18, 2001, p. 2
Foreign law enforcement agencies have rejected the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office request concerning extradition of suspects – for the second time in the past week. First Saudi Arabia refused to extradite plane hijackers; then two days later France refused to extradite businessman Mikhail Zhivilo. Two months before these incidents, the Spanish court refused to hand Vladimir Gusinsky over to the Russian law enforcement agencies.
Mikhail Zhivilo, Director of the MIKOM Group, is suspected of organizing an attempt on the life of Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev. He was arrested in France. The French court has decided that the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office has prepared insufficient evidence against Mikhail Zhivilo. The Russian general Prosecutor’s Office has refused to comment on this decision.