MIKHAIL FRADKOV SUPPORTS AMNESTY FOR ILLICIT CAPITAL
Izvestia, August 8, 2001, p. 3 EV
Federal Tax Police Service chief Mikhail Fradkov has said: “The government should attentively study Kazakhstan’s experience of an amnesty for illicit capital. This is not a simple issue, since the sources of revenues should be considered too. All the pros and cons must be weighed up, since honest business owners should not suffer from an amnesty for illicit capital. At the same time, it is necessary to increase penalties for tax evasion.”
Fradkov noted that since taxes in Russia are now being lowered, business owners who still don’t intend to pay – not even the new rates – should face harsher penalties.
POOR RESIDENTS OF KALININGRAD WANT TO REMAIN RUSSIAN CITIZENS
Izvestia, August 8, 2001, p. 4 EV
The Russian State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK) reports that the number of Kaliningrad region residents who support separation from the Russian Federation is growing. This conclusion is based on a poll done by a well-known Kaliningrad polling agency.
However, the Kaliningrad pollsters don’t agree with the conclusions drawn by VGTRK. Valery Baikov, deputy director of the Kaliningrad Sociological Center, says: “The issue of separation from the Russian Federation has been discussed for the past ten years. In this poll we interviewed 40 experts, mostly people in the media, business, and politics. No sweeping conclusions should be drawn from this, since their opinions do not reflect the actual situation in the region. The issue of separation from Russia has been in fashion for several years, and these opinions represent a sample from the most active population groups. You see, the people who were interviewed as experts viewed this poll as a platform, an opportunity to give Moscow a bit of a fright.”
According to Baikov, there is no threat of separatism in the region as yet.
Alexander Koretsky, chairman of the Kaliningrad regional Information and Media Committee, says: “According to our polls in May, most residents of the region believe that Kaliningrad is an inseparable part of Russia, but its special status should be taken into account. Around 6% of respondents are in favor of partial independence within Russia.”
The Kaliningrad regional administration considers that the threat of secession from Russia was suppressed back in 1993, when 20% of residents were in favor of independence. Now that the federal government has started to pay special attention to the problems of the Kaliningrad region, the negative trends are unlikely to develop any further.
Moscow pollsters have collected and analyzed questionnaires filled by Kaliningrad residents. Those who support separation of the region have been divided into four groups: “liberal intellectuals” who have rich experience of living abroad; students who have gone abroad many times; businesspeople and speculators who aim to profit from the hypothetical independence of the region; and the marginal stratum, or “ambitious idlers.” Pollsters stress that none of these groups are very numerous.
DORENKO CASE WILL GO TO COURT
Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 8, 2001, p. 2
The investigation into allegations that television journalist Sergei Dorenko ran over a pedestrian has been completed. The plaintiff, Captain Nikitin, has already studied the materials of the investigation, and now it is the turn of the suspect, who has three new defenders.
Vyacheslav Tsimbal, Nikitin’s lawyer, is pleased with the results of the investigation. In his opinion, materials of the case vividly demonstrate that on April 15, Dorenko did run over Captain Nikitin. A number of experts have agreed after conducting tests. Traces of Nikitin’s blood have been found on Dorenko’s motorcycle. Besides, Nikitin’s vest and jacket were damaged, and their fibers have also been found on the motorcycle.
Furthermore, Dorenko’s behavior during the investigation was too contradictory, which has not helped him. His explanation – that he had been assaulted by Nikitin – has not been confirmed.
About ten witnesses have stated that they did not see Nikitin and his friends hit Dorenko.
The investigation report includes a few words about the “hypnotic traits” of Dorenko. One of the witnesses was so entranced by him that he said Dorenko did not run over Nikitin. One method used for the “hypnosis” was payment of $500. However, soon the “sorcery” stopped working and the witness retracted his testimony in writing.
In a few days Dorenko’s case will be sent to the Kuntsevo District Court of Moscow.
THE PUBLIC HEALTH SITUATION
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 8, 2001, p. 2
Academician Oleg Shchepin of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences has delivered the annual state report on public health in the Russian Federation.
This year the report was more optimistic than last year. The main problems are the same: the high death rate, low birth rate, and the growing number of mental disorders. Life expectancy has declined even further. Drug addiction is rising. There are over 26,000 HIV-positive people in Russia.
However, these are social problems; society and the government should solve them, not the health care system. Shchepin says the increase in the number of mental disorders has been registered also because diagnostic methods have been improved. He even thinks that public health stabilized to some degree in 2000. Doctors have managed to reduce deaths in childbirth and infant mortality. In 2000, infant mortality was only 15.3 per 1,000 live births.
Over the past 10 years infant mortality has been reduced by 14.1% and deaths in childbirth by 7.8%.
The state report on public health in the Russian Federation will be submitted to the president and the Cabinet.
MEETING BETWEEN RUSSIAN AND GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTERS
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 8, 2001, p. 2
The two-day meeting between the defense ministers of Russia and Germany ended on August 7. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and his German counterpart Rudolph Scharping discussed some issues in Russian-German bilateral military and military-technical cooperation, as well as international issues. In part, they discussed possible consequences of NATO eastward expansion and US missile defense plans. According to our sources, the Russian delegation expressed its concern about these issues.
The Russian delegation also made some proposals for regulation of the conflicts in Macedonia and Kosovo. It stressed that Moscow insists on immediate disarmament of Albanian guerrillas and peaceful resolution of Albanian-Macedonian disagreements.
As for the military-technical cooperation, there were some issues related to the practical implementation of the Russian-German intergovernmental agreement of January 11, 2001. This agreement covers the standardization, joint upgrading, and technical servicing of MiG-29 fighters for other countries.
The next bilateral talks between the defense ministers of Russia and Germany will be held in September in Stockholm, during a meeting of defense ministers of countries in the Baltic region.