WHO BENEFITS FROM EMBROILING PRIMAKOV WITH PUTIN?
Trud, July 24, 2001, p. 2
Chairman of the Fatherland-All Russia Duma faction Yevgeny Primakov has reported in his interview to Interfax that some provocation is being prepared in connection with his new book “Eight Months Plus…” Referring to well-informed sources, Primakov has reported on a certain group of people engaged in making a forgery of a fragment from Primakov’s book that was allegedly excluded from the book at the very last moment.
Primakov has said that this extract proves his negative attitude toward Vladimir Putin at the time when he was the prime minister and even earlier. According to Primakov, this forgery is likely to be published in the media or on the Internet. Primakov has said that he is used to the black PR, but this action is something special. The aim of this action is to prove that Primakov’s public announcements radically differ from his true thoughts, which he has even excluded from his book.
As for the source of such actions, Primakov has made it clear that they are instigated by such people who state that Putin’s presidency will be over by the end of the year. These people “intend to isolate the current president, but they will fail to do this,” as Primakov thinks.
OLEG ZHIDKOV: I’M FROM GROZNY
Izvestia, July 24, 2001, p. 1
On July 23, the new mayor of Grozny, Oleg Zhidkov, was introduced in the house of the Chechen administration. Right after his first conference he gave a brief interview to an “Izvestia” correspondent.
Question: You’re the first Russian mayor of Grozny. Won’t this step be misinterpreted by local residents?
Oleg Zhidkov: I don’t think it is worthwhile to concentrate our efforts on ethnic issues now. The main point is to construct. It is of no importance whether a Chechen or a Russia will be on this position.
Q.: Will you find a common language with the local population?
OZh: I think I will since for the 27 years I lived in Grozny I managed to understand the mentality of the Chechen people. This is my city – I’m from Grozny.
Q.: Will there be any structural changes in the Mayor’s Office?
OZh: I need some time to decide who I will work with.
Q.: Have you contacted Bislan Gantamirov? Have you found a common language with Kadyrov and Ilyasov?
OZh: I haven’t had personal contacts with Gantamirov. As for the leaders of the republic, I’m quite contented with their attitude toward me.
Q.: How do you plan to restore Grozny?
OZh: I’m not ready to answer this question right now. I’ll be able to do this in about ten days.
ASEAN FORUM OPENED
Izvestia, July 24, 2001, p. 2
On July 23, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arrived in Hanoi to take part in the regional forum of the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations (ASEAN). Here he will meet with his counterparts from the US, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore.
According to our sources, one of the topics that will be discussed at Ivanov’s meetings with his counterparts is the experience of the foundation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the practice of its combating terrorism and drug business.
Moscow is eager to cooperate with Southeastern Asian countries in the field of high-tech. It is also interested in large oil and gas investment projects.
However, ASEAN is more concerned with its internal problems. For instance, this organization is ill-matched. It includes such countries as Vietnam, Laos, Myanma, and Cambodia, where the annual income per head is no more than $300.000. At the same time, it also includes Singapore, where this figure is $25,000.
This situation influences the competitiveness of goods produced in ASEAN countries and is even fraught with regional conflicts.
ASEAN has already elaborated a program of assisting the four backward countries of the region. The prime spheres of development of these countries are education, infrastructure, high-tech, and informational technologies.
NEMTSOV SUGGESTS INTRODUCING MINIMUM WAGE PER HOUR
Rossiya, July 24, 2001, p. 6
On Saturday, the leader of the Union of Right Forces (URF) Boris Nemtsov came up with a new initiative at his press conference in Nizhny Novgorod. Nemtsov suggests that minimum wage per hour be introduced in Russia. According to Nemtsov, as a result of this measure, citizens will get at least 1,000 rubles a month, and the state will get guaranteed taxes.
Nemtsov thinks that the minimum wage per hour may be six rubles.
This idea is profitable for employees, since their wages will be higher. Besides, employers will not be able to understate the wages of their employees in financial documents for the sake of tax evasion.
It is not difficult to understand why the government resists this measure. First, it will have to solve the problem of the minimum wage for employees in the state sector. Second, the government will have to introduce amendments to laws. Third, a lot of questions of the technical nature will appear. For instance, it is not clear who and how will control the employer paying less than the standards stipulated by the government.
WILL MONEY LAUNDERING GO ON?
Rossiya, July 24, 2001, p. 6
The government hopes that in September Russia will be excluded from the black list compiled by the International Commission for Combating Money Laundering. According to Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Sergei Prikhodko, these hopes are based on the fact that the law on combating money laundering has been adopted in Russia.
RUSSIA NEEDS REAL SUPPORT
Vremya Novostei, July 23, 2001, p. 2
The terms of Russia’s entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) are not determined yet. This issue was not on the agenda of the G8 summit in Genoa, but was actively discussed in unofficial talks.
Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref has announced that it is impossible to say when Russia will join the WTO. According to him, the Russian government has finished negotiations on 80% of tariff positions of the market of goods.
At the same time Gref has noted that there are a number of serious disagreements in this sphere.
Gref has also reported that currently all laws signed by the president are checked on the matter of their correspondence to standards of the WTO.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Sergei Prikhodko has expressed his concern about the fact that the negotiations on Russia’s entering the WTO are being retarded. According to him, “the positive impulse given by Western leaders in the course of their expressing support for Russia’s joining the WTO is dying down as far as concrete actions are concerned.”
CONGRESS OF RADICAL COMMUNISTS CONDUCTED IN MOSCOW
Kommersant, July 23, 2001, p. 2
On Saturday, the 32nd extraordinary meeting of the Union of Communist Parties and the KPSS (the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) took place. At the congress the radical Leninist Communists stated that the modern communist movement has split into two parts. The first part consists of the adherents of the cause of Lenin and Stalin led by Oleg Shenin, and the second one is the movement of collaborationists led by Gennady Zyuganov. To prove this decision the delegates of the congress canceled the decisions of the 20th and 22nd congresses of KPSS debunking the personality cult of Stalin.
Delivering his report at the congress, Oleg Shenin announced that President Putin is conveying the policy of “the enslavement of the people by the bourgeois capital.”
Shenin also touched on Zyuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation. He said that this party “is self-contentedly occupying the place of the opposition in the Duma under the cover of the pseudosocialist rhetoric.”