EURASIAN UNION SET UP

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EURASIAN UNION SET UP

Versty, June 2, 2001, p. 1

Before the beginning of the CIS summit in Minsk the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) was set up. It includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev was appointed chairman of this community.

It is planned to appoint a representative of the Russian Federation the secretary general. However, Moscow does not have a concrete candidacy at the moment, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, and therefore, this position will also be given to a Kazakh representative for a while.

One of the prime tasks of the EEC is entering the World Trade Organization. According to Nazarbaev, the status of an international community may help its members cooperate with other international organizations. To all appearance, other CIS countries, which are less integrated into the commonwealth, are beginning to realize this: the prime minister of Moldova also attended the EEC meeting in Minsk.

CIS leaders seem to have decided to follow Europe’s example: they have created a political union, then the parliamentary assembly, and now they have created something like the European Union. It is only sad that Europeans are uniting in order to multiply their wealth, whereas CIS countries are uniting in order to prevent further impoverishment.

DEPUTIES TO ELECT GOVERNORS FOR THIRD TENURE

Kommersant, June 2, 2001, p. 2

Members of the presidium of the Unity Duma faction and leaders of the group Federation of the Federation Council have agreed that Unity will refuse to support the legal restriction allowing only heads of nine regions running for the third tenure. According to Unity leader Vladimir Pekhtin, Unity has agreed to this affair “for the sake of fruitful cooperation between the branches of power.”

Governors are almost sure to succeed. Leader of the movement People’s Deputy Gennady Raikov has announced that he was against this amendment from the very beginning and did not vote for it. centrists from the factions Fatherland-All Russia and Russian Regions will also find some reasons for reconsidering their decision.

However, it is the Kremlin’s opinion that determined governors’ fate. Ten days ago a high-ranking Kremlin official told a “Kommersant” correspondent that the Presidential Administration had not decided yet how to treat the amendment proposed by deputy Nadezhdin. However, he added that the president would act “depending on the background.” Judging from the activity of the pro-Kremlin group Federation and Unity’s latest decision, the background has proved to be favorable for governors.

BISLAN GANTAMIROV TO WATCH AKHMAD KADYROV

Kommersant, June 2, 2001, p. 1

Former Grozny mayor Bislan Gantamirov is to be appointed the main federal inspector of the administration of the presidential envoy for the Southern Federal District.

However, Gantamirov has announced that he will make his final decision only at his meeting with the presidential envoy, which will take place on June 11.

The federal inspector of the administration of the presidential envoy for the Southern Federal District will mainly work in Moscow, where he will control the Chechen diaspora and handle issues related to restoration of Chechnya. A high-ranking official of the Chechen government has told a “Kommersant” correspondent, “This is a very good proposal. If Gantamirov consents to it, he will actually become the main person in Chechnya.” Gantamirov has said, in turn, “The main point is to stop the war. As for distribution of influence spheres, the main person in Chechnya is Kadyrov, and I will watch him.”

PUTIN SIGNS THE LAW ON JUDICIARY EXPERTS’ ACTIVITY

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 2, 2001, p. 1

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the law on the state judiciary experts’ activity in the Russian Federation. The law determines the legal basis, principles of organization, and main directions of the work of state judiciary experts, as well as their place in the civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings.

ELECTRICITY REDUCED FOR MANUFACTURER OF PONTON FOR THE KURSK

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 2, 2001, p. 1

The stock company Arkhenergo has started to reduce electricity deliveries to Sevmashpredpriyatie, a company currently engaged in manufacturing a ponton for the submarine Kursk. According to PR Department of Arkhenergo Andrei Trapeznikov, the debt of Sevmashpredpriyatie to the Arkhangelsk energy system totals 250 million rubles. Trapeznikov has said that Sevmashpredpriyatie refuses to pay its debt referring to absence of money, whereas any bank would give it a credit against the state’s guarantees, since it is fulfilling the state’s order on manufacturing pontons.

EXPLOSION IN MINSK

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 2, 2001, p. 1

The explosion of the Russian Embassy in Minsk that took place on the eve of the CIS summit was one of the key topics at the meeting. The official Belarussian authorities view this explosion as provocation of the opposition. However, independent observers are of the opinion that the opposition might have nothing to do with the terrorist act, and the terrorist act was a sort of message to Moscow.

The Russian authorities have not determined their position regarding Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in the light of the upcoming presidential election. Although Moscow is ready to support him in general, it is not sure about scales of this support.

Political analysts are stating that Lukashenko has lost its main merit: the leadership in the Russian-Belarussian integration process.

PRESIDENTIAL CLEMENCY COMMISSION MAY BE ABOLISHED

Izvestia (Moscow), June 2, 2001, p. 3 EV

The Presidential Clemency Commission has been operating for nine and a half years now. Although society knows little of the commission’s performance, its work is important and necessary. The matter concerns pardoning tens of thousands of convicts. Now rumors have started to circulate that the commission may well soon cease operating.

The Presidential Clemency Commission was created by the initiative of human rights activist Sergei Kovalev and writer Anatoly Pristavkin, who has been its chairman since the commission’s foundation. At various times, Bulat Okudzhava, Mark Rozovsky, and Lev Razgon were its members. Among the commission’s members there are lawyers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, writers, and human rights activists.

Probably the issues related to pardoning will be handled by a special official. This reformation was initiated by Justice Minister Yury Chaika and Aid of the Director of the Presidential Administration Alexander Ivanov, as Valery Borshchev, a member of this commission, has stated.

Sergei Vitsin, another member of the Clemency Commission, has announced, “There are many different people in this commission, but no one of them can be accused of being biased and not objective. If the commission is abolished, the country will lose a lot, without any exaggeration.”

GUSINSKY GIVES ECHO OF MOSCOW SHARES TO ITS JOURNALISTS

Kommersant, June 2, 2001, p. 1

Vladimir Gusinsky has given his block of shares of the Echo of Moscow radio station to its journalists. From now on, they will control 42.5% of shares of their enterprise. 25% of Echo of Moscow shares belong to Gazprom-Media; another 25% will be owned by Gazprom-Media on account of the $262-million credit given to Media-Most by Gazprom.

Last week, Editor-in-Chief of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov announced that journalists of the radio station would try to buy 9% of shares from Gazprom-Media. After Gusinsky gave his 14.5% to journalists of Echo of Moscow, a similar agreement was to be made between Alfred Kokh and Alexei Venediktov. However, on the day of the meeting Media-Most was liquidated, and therefore, the press conference, at which Kokh intended to announce Gazprom’s giving 9% of shares to Echo of Moscow journalists, was postponed.

DEPUTIES DEFENDING INVESTMENT PRIVILEGE

Kommersant, June 2, 2001, p. 1

On June 1, the Duma Budget Committee started considering amendments to the draft law on profit. The Finance Ministry presented a list of 15 items to the Duma; these amendments were either approved by the government by rejected by deputies, or vice versa. Before the Duma meeting, Senior Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov had announced that is the government and Parliament failed to elaborate a coordinated decision, the government might give up this draft law at all.

The most important decision was that despite the government’s protests, the “investment privilege” (i.e. the possibility of 50% reduction of taxable profit if the money is spent on investments) was preserved.

TOGETHER WITH NATO

Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, June 1, 2001, p. 1

For the first time, Russia will take part in all the stages of the Baltops naval exercises conducted by NATO from June 4 to June 16. During the maneuvers, the NATO communication system will be used, and a Russian warship will, for the first time, have access to it. The exercises will involve about 55 warships and more than 20 planes and helicopters from all the Baltic States and the USA. Russian will be represented by the torpedo-boat destroyer “Bespokoinyi” with a search-and-rescue Ka-27PS helicopter on board. Three anti-submarine Ka-27 helicopters will participate as well.

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