A CHEKIST WILL BE PUT IN CHARGE OF HIGH TECHNOLOGIES
Kommersant, July 9, 2001, p. 2
Minister Boris Gryzlov is about to make another appointment in the Interior Ministry. According to information compiled by Kommersant, FSS General Boris Miroshkin is going to become head of the recently formed Directorate of Special Technical Measures. The Directorate takes the place of Directorate R which handled high-tech crime and which will become a structural element of the Directorate of Special Technical Measures.
CHECHEN REFUGEES MAY RETURN TO INGUSHETIA
Vremya Novostei, July 9, 2001, p. 1
Chechen refugees may be returned to Chechnya from Ingushetia by the winter. The matter was discussed at the meeting of the operational headquarters of the counter-terrorism operation that took place in Moscow last week under the chairmanship of Director of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev. Senior executives of Chechnya and Ingushetia were present at the meeting. Chechnya was represented by Akhmed Kadyrov. Kadyrov longs to have refugees returned from Ingushetia. He knows that relief aid will come to Chechnya with the refugees. Official explanations never fail to mention the fact that camps in Ingushetia are full of Chechens who have their houses in Chechnya but refuse to return and give up relief aid. Ingush Premier Akhmet Malsagov emphasized that President Ruslan Aushev was firm – nobody was going to force refugees to return. It is hard to say at this point how far the federal center agree with this opinion.
The operational headquarters handle civilian problems most of the time. Chechen officials were promised, for example, that the number of checkpoints on the roads and in the outskirts of Chechen settlements would be cut by half because they impede movement of goods and economic restoration.
Patrushev approached the president a proposal to make Mikhail Fradkov of the Federal Service of Tax Police a member of the headquarters “to keep an eye on money coming to Chechnya”.
AMENDMENT TO MEDIA LAW ADOPTED
Vremya Novostei, July 9, 2001, p. 2
Foreign companies and foreigners are not permitted “to establish TV-broadcasting organizations or make TV and video programs.” The restriction applies to Russians with dual citizenship. Foreign capitals may be invested in Russia’s electronic media via Russian companies but not more than 50%. The restrictions concern TV companies whose signals are received in half or more regions of the Russian Federation or on a territory where no less than 50% of the population of the Russian Federation resides.
It took the Duma two attempts to adopt the amendment. It did not poll the necessary 226 votes the first time because the right found the amendment too stiff and the left too soft. The left did not like the fact that the law applied to TV only and suggested that 50% of the capitals foreigners were permitted to invest be reduced to 35%.
In the long run, the amendment polled 343 votes. The law will come into effect in summer. TV companies will be given a year to bring down foreign financial involvement to 50%. The right wing of the Duma which objected to the amendment constituted a minority. The Union of Right Forces did not vote on the matter at all, considering the amendment “pointless” (because it does not apply to federal TV channels) and “actually harmful” (since it applied to 23 regional companies). The Yabloko found the amendment anti-constitutional.
THE YABLOKO AND THE UNION OF RIGHT FORCES UNITE AGAINST SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL
Rossiya, July 9, 2001, p. 3
The Union of Right Forces has taken sides with the Yabloko in the issue of organizing a nationwide referendum on importation of foreign spent nuclear fuel. Boris Nemtsov told reporters in Krasnoyarsk that collection of signatures on the petition might begin in the fall. Nemtsov is of the opinion that the draft laws on spent nuclear fuel are not going to bring about the desired economic effect and the $20 billion “the lobbyists have been screaming about”. INTERFAX news agency quotes Nemtsov as saying that “countries that can afford to pay are not going to do it. The German government recently met and resolved not to send its spent nuclear fuel to Russia so as not to harm the health of Russian citizens.” Nemtsov believes that spent nuclear fuel will be exported to Russia mostly by Third World countries “that do not plan to pay.”
THE FATHERLAND REFUSES TO BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR MISTAKES MADE BY THE AUTHORITIES
Rossiya, July 9, 2001, p. 3
The Consultative Council of Sociopolitical Movements and Organizations of the Political Council of Fatherland Movement convened a meeting on July 6. The presidium of the council included two prominent men – Duma Deputy Andrei Isayev and Konstantin Zatulin, Director of the Institute of CIS States.
Zatulin was elected chairman. The presidium emphasized that the upcoming unification with Unity was not going to make Fatherland an organization that is reliant on Unity. Isayev said that the unification was a must because the anti-governmental position of the left factions of the parliament had already transformed into anti-presidential. According to Zatulin, the Fatherland supports the country’s political leaders but is not going to be held responsible for their mistakes. Responsibility will only come with participation in executive power structures.
MORATORIUM WILL NOT BE LIFTED
Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 10, 2001, p. 2
Speculations on abolishing the moratorium began anew when the Duma adopted a law on introduction of juries. Some observers assume that Ex-President Boris Yeltsin imposed the moratorium in 1996 because juries were not operating in Russia and not because Russia wanted to be admitted into the Council of Europe.
ADOPTION OF THE LAND CODE MAY BE POSTPONED
Izvestia, July 10, 2001, p. 2
Leader of the Agrarian Party Mikhail Lapshin says that a draft resolution on a reconciliatory commission was proposed to the Duma Council.
The formal excuse is as follows – the legislatures of over two-thirds of federation subjects turned down the Land Code. Under the Constitution, it should now be discussed by a reconciliatory commission. Essentially, however, the major obstacle is the reluctance of the left to adopt the Land Code even though it does not stipulate the sale of agricultural lands. The left refused to be pacified even by the ban to sell land to foreigners proposed by the right and pro-governmental factions.
According to information compiled by Izvestia, the Property Committee did not have a quorum yesterday. The meeting was postponed. Committee Deputy Chairman Igor Lisinenko says that “the left are deliberately stalling for time.”