ON FOREIGN MINISTER IGOR IVANOV’S VISIT TO WASHINGTON
Vremya Novostei, May 21, 2001, p. 1
It seems a thaw is appearing in relations between Moscow and Washington. On his visit to the United States last weekend, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arranged for the first meeting of presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush. It will take place in Ljubljana the capital city of Slovenia on June 16 and not within the framework of the G-8 summit in Genoa in July.
Ivanov’s three days in Washington were probably the busiest in bilateral relations since Bush’s victory in the presidential election. On Friday alone Ivanov attended four meetings with his American counterpart Colin Powell. One of the meetings was held at Powell’s place. No diplomatic breakthroughs were achieved regardless of the busy schedule. Ivanov confirms the lack of compromise on the problem of national anti-ballistic missile defense, the most burning issue of bilateral relations. On the other hand, “this is not something that can be solved in a single day,” as Ivanov himself put it. Whether or not Ivanov and Powell made progress can be judged only by indirect factors. Such could be the meeting of the UN Security Council coming up this week during which sanctions against Iraq will be discussed. According to Ivanov, “we agree on the ultimate objective.”
Once barely indicated, the revival of Russian-American relations was immediately jeopardized. Yesterday, respectable German magazines Der Spiegel and Focus featured protocols of Bush’s classified negotiations with Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder. Bush and Schroeder decided to deprive Russia of economic assistance unless it handled the problem of capital flight first. Most probably, this has to do with negotiations with the Paris Club of creditor nations over restructuring Russian debts. According to Bush, before helping Russia the West should analyze Putin’s goals and have him stop arming Iran and “supporting Islamic fundamentalism”. Schroeder shares his impressions of Putin in return: a child of the Soviet system who had managed to “outgrow it”. Schroeder is of the opinion that Putin is trying to implement long-term economic reforms. The question is whether or not he succeeds in overcoming bureaucratic resistance. Moreover, Russian president impressed the chancellor of Germany as a deeply religious person.
PRESIDENT PUTIN MAY ORDER LOCAL LEGISLATURES DISBANDED
Rossiya, May 21, 2001, p. 3
The Constitutional Court ruled that President Putin may order that a local legislature be disbanded if the latter ignored a court decision to bring the local legislation in line with the federal one.
UNITY PARTY WILL CELEBRATE ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY ON MAY 27
Rossiya, May 21, 2001, p. 3
Sergei Shoigu was absent from the meeting. He was away in Yakutsk. He sent a cable message of greetings to the Political Council. The acting Chairman of the Political Council Franz Klintsevich made a report, proudly emphasizing that “we and the Fatherland have common views”. Moreover, the Unity and the Fatherland were said to have a common objective as well. The objective of reviving the country and supporting the president and Cabinet.
There is more to the process of unification with the Fatherland than meets the eye. Firstly, the mechanisms of unification are still absent. Secondly, the decision to unite was made by the upper echelons. Regional leaders of the Unity fear losing their positions in the provinces to their counterparts from the Fatherland.
The Fatherland itself is not unanimous on the idea of unification. Some veterans of Russian politics like Kokoshin or Vladislavlev say that the Fatherland does not have a future all on its own, and that only unification with Unity will help it avoid becoming a political corpse. Younger politicians like Boos, Isayev, and Volodin prefer to play solo and are not hot for the idea of unification.
NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT WAS INITIATED BY THE SOVIET UNION AND THE UNITED STATES
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, May 22, 2001, p. 1
Aware of the dire consequences nuclear war could have for mankind, the Soviet Union and the United States signed on December 8, 1987, and ratified on June 30, 1988, a treaty on dismantlement of small- and middle-range missiles.
Missiles, silos, and launching and auxiliary equipment were to be destroyed on 31 object in the United States and on 116 in the Soviet Union. National centers for abatement of nuclear danger, inspection teams and dismantling bases were set up in the two countries.
Russia organized 442 inspections and the United States 774. The assembling factories in Votkinsk in Russia and in Magna, Utah, United States, were constantly watched.
RUSSIANS ELECT THE PRESIDENT
A few days ago, the Public Opinion Foundation published the results of its latest weekly opinion poll.
Among other things, respondents were asked to say who they would vote for if the presidential election is to take place next Sunday and who they would never vote for.
Tribuna, May 22, 2001, p. 2