PRIMORIE GOVERNOR ELECTED
Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 19, 2001, p. 2
Gennadi Apanasenko, deputy plenipotentiary representative of the president in the federal region, polled about 25%. Only a third of all registered voters appeared at the polling stations and over 30% of them voted “against everybody”.
While commenting on Darkin’s triumph, Central Election Commission Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov said he cannot be considered as the choice of all residents of Primorie.
PARTY CONSTRUCTION IN MOSCOW UNDERWAY
Kommersant, June 18, 2001, p. 2
“We will form the best organized and adequate party in the country,” Grachev told delegates of the second part of the 6th congress of the movement. The first part of the congress took place in January and made the formal decision to transform into a party. The last part is supposed to take place as soon as the law “On political parties” comes into effect. Defenders of small and medium businesses plan to get registered by the Justice Ministry and overcome the 5% barrier in the next election.
The congress adopted the program and the charter of the Party of Men of Deeds. According to Grachev, there are two programs – one for the Justice Ministry and the other for the organization itself (this latter is more thorough). The movement evaluates its major objective as “enforced facilitation of entrepreneurship in Russia” through realization of four elements – tax reform, bringing order into relations between businesses and the authorities, property ownership relations, and finally through making financial resources available to new businesses.
THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND MISSION IN MOSCOW
Izvestia, June 19, 2001, p. 2
These days, Russia is paying its creditors independently of the IMF and (the Finance Ministry is fond of pointing it out) on time. But 2003 is coming, the year when Russia will have to pay $18.5 billion to creditor nations. A two-level budget declared in the presidential address may solve the problem. If all additional revenues (everything Russia pockets from the oil prices above the planned $17 a barrel) are accumulated in the stabilization fund and is used to cut down the debt, in 2002 and 2003 it is possible to accumulate a sum close to the required. But the idea of the stabilization fund is buried, and something new has to be thought up.
Debates between Anatoly Chubais and Herman Gref threaten to delay a reorganization of Russian Unified Energy Systems again which in turn will postpone reorganization of the Ministry of Railroads and the communal sector. Moreover, structural changes are expensive and the 2002 draft budget does not allocate money for them. Loans from the foreign markets, something the Finance Ministry is giving a serious thought to nowadays, is not the best way either. They will all but increase Russia’s foreign debt.
In other words, the government’s room for maneuvering is fairly restricted and its current independence from the IMF is artificial (there was a period when Russia did not want any new loans from it for political reasons) and temporary. If difficulties are encountered and Russia appeals to the IMF for evaluation of the 2003 balance so as to approach the Paris Club for debts restructure, an official permission from the IMF will be needed. The government understands this, and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin will be on the level with the IMF mission now.
AN INTERVIEW WITH VIKTOR ISHAYEV
Izvestia, June 19, 2001, p. 4
Question: Who will answer for what is a key question…
Viktor Ishayev: Let us take a look at what regional leaders have been doing. We feed the army, build fighters, repair roads, and so on. In short, we tackle the whole complex of problems on the territories of out respective regions. The situation is actually simple. More powers makes it easier to solve all these problems. Fewer powers make it more difficult.
Question: Do you mean that regional governments need broader powers than they wield nowadays?
Ishayev: The federal government and the regions should wield precisely as much power as is needed to enable each to perform its duties. These days, the state owes my territory 2.5 billion for the defense order. I have to take loans from the budget to make sure that people are paid their salaries and federal construction sites are not closed down. Governors do perform the federal functions the center cannot perform nowadays. I asked it of Kudrin the other day, “What about the domestic debt?” How should I compensate for my losses?
Question: The State Council has drafted a concept of state development for the next ten years. A report was made, a discussion followed, the concept was issued as a leaflet, and so what? What now? Has it all been for nothing?
Ishayev: Until now, we implemented the strategies of the IMF, the World Bank, and strategies of all sorts of foreign consultants. There can be no such thing as a stranger’s strategies benefiting your own state. As for whether or not it was for nothing, it was not. Putin accepted the idea of liberal reforms, perhaps even more liberal than Gref’s. An analysis of his moves shows that he has been acting concurrent with our program. For the time being, however, implementation of many ideas is impossible. Resources are needed. Take the reforms of the housing and communal sphere, for example. Our calculations show that its successful implementation will require that people’s income at least double at first. But the budget and the government program stipulate only a 30% increase in income.
Question: But you say the president accepted liberal reforms…
Ishayev: It’s a pity that somebody’s sloppy work jeopardizes the president’s image. Take the situation in the Far East for example. Vladimir Putin and me discussed it recently. It is the middle of June already but nothing has been done there to prepare for the winter.
THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DUMA CUT DOWN TAXES
Izvestia, June 19, 2001, p. 5
After the meeting, Herman Gref and Finance Senior Deputy Minister Sergei Shatalov were driven to the waiting Duma. They appeared at the meeting of the Budget Committee of the Duma after 7 p.m. on Friday.
The government suggests cutting down income tax from 35% to 25%, revoke all tax privileges, and allow the regions to cut down income tax by 5% more. A group of deputies under Alexander Zhukov suggested 23% without privileges and the right to the regions to cut down income tax by 3% more. This variant was finally accepted. Aleksei Mikhailov of Yabloko was the only deputy to vote for preservation of the existing 35%.
SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY TOOK PLACE IN THE DUMA
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, June 19, 2001, p. 1
The meeting took place at the Small Hall. Chairman Gennadi Zyuganov was given the floor.
Seleznev stated that a whole number of problems were solved by the establishment of PR departments.
Seleznev: Firstly, the Duma’s information blockade is history now. The general public is being objectively informed of the activities of the parliament. Secondly, relations of partnership were established with the Russian and foreign media…
According to Seleznev, the rules established for correspondents in the Duma are more liberal than the ones in foreign parliaments.