MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT NOT PERMITTED TO ATTEND CABINET MEETING

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MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT NOT PERMITTED TO ATTEND CABINET MEETING

Izvestia, June 8, 2001, p. 4

The start of the budget drafting process has been marked by an unprecedented scandal. Duma deputies and members of the Federation Council were not permitted to attend the Cabinet meeting on June 7, although the Cabinet had approved an official list of members who should have taken part in discussing the parameters of the 2002 budget.

The Cabinet has violated the law on the status of Duma deputies and members of the Federation Council (article 5, clause 2 – the right to attend meetings of government bodies). Andrei Loginov, a representative of the Cabinet in the Duma, told deputies that he could not get in touch with people responsible for this incident. However, he promised to clear the matter up.

Maxim Vasilyev, secretary of the Duma committee for inter-budget relations, thinks that the members of parliament were barred from the meeting because of “differences concerning the budget”, which should consist of two parts. He said: “The Cabinet did not want to listen to criticism from members of parliament.”

SERGEI SHOIGU HAS RETURNED FROM BAGHDAD

Izvestia, June 8, 2001, p. 2

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Baghdad ended on June 7. He has signed a bilateral agreement on preventing emergency situations. Soon Iraqi rescue worker will arrive in Russia to study at the Russian Academy for Civil Protection.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry considers cooperation with Middle East nations as its most promising project. The Emergencies Ministry will hand over to its Iraqi counterparts medical supplies within the framework of cooperation with the Iraqi Health Ministry. Russia will benefit from other projects such as clearing southern Iraq of mines and environmental monitoring of southern Lebanon. The Emercom agency, which is responsible for the Emergencies Ministry’s international activities, plans to establish an office in Baghdad.

INFLATION OBEYS NEITHER THE CABINET NOR THE CENTRAL BANK

Trud, June 8, 2001, p. 2

The State Statistics Committee has announced the inflation rate for May. It was unchanged from the April rate (1.8%). The rate of inflation has remained high, though officials recently said that “the trend has changed”. This time, Central Bank chief Victor Gerashchenko was mistaken.

Last month the director of the Central Bank said at a meeting dedicated to US-Russian economic relations: “We hope that inflation in May will not exceed 1% because the factors stimulating inflation have lost some strength.”

When discussing the economic situation with the Cabinet, President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about inflation. The Cabinet promised to bring down inflation. But prices have risen 10.9% since January, despite the Cabinet’s promise to keep annual inflation below 12%.

ROKHLINA’S CASE TO BE RECONSIDERED

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 8, 2001, p. 2

The Supreme Court has overturned a decision on the Tamara Rokhlina case and sent it to the Naro-Fominsk court. Tamara Rokhlina was released from custody on June 7.

In November 2000, the court jailed Rokhlina for eight years for murdering her husband. Rokhlina’s lawyers appealed to the Moscow regional court, which reduced the sentence to four years. Rokhlina has never admitted her guilt. She says that her husband was murdered by “three people in masks”.

Sergei Gribinyuchenko, a representative of the General Prosecutor’s Office, said that the prosecutor’s office intends to protest against this decision to the presidium of the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Anatoly Kucherena, Rokhlina’s lawyer, has confirmed that documents concerning this case have been sent to the European court for human rights in Strasbourg.

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