ANOTHER OF SHAMIL BASAEV’S BASES DESTROYED
Izvestia, August 10, 2001, p. 3
The ITAR-TASS news agency reported on August 9 that federal aviation in Chechnya had destroyed Shamil Basaev’s main camp in the Vedeno District. According to the report, “the missile strike destroyed the temporary headquarters and trenches meant to conceal members of the gang and their property. Some of the guerrillas in the camp were killed.” Nothing was reported about the fate of Basaev himself, as usual.
Representatives of the staff of the Joint Group of Federal Troops sais this operation was based on information received from some guerrillas detained by the Russian military on August 5 in the village of Alleroi in the Kurchaloi district. These detainees also said that Aslan Maskhadov and the remnants of his gang are hiding out in the Kurchaloi district, including the village of Alleroi.
However, the Defense Ministry has refused to specify who carried out the air strikes. It is also strange to note that federal officers have publicized their informers.
SIBERIA FEARS TERRORIST ACT
Izvestia, August 10, 2001, p. 3
Viktor Grechman, head of the Main Interior Directorate of the Tomsk region, has reported that Chechen guerrillas are preparing a terrorist act in one of Siberia’s cities. According to law enforcement agencies, a leader of the Chechen guerrillas has made the decision to go ahead with an attack. Grechman said this particular field commander is well acquainted with the city where the terrorist act is planned to take place. His name is allegedly known, but law enforcement agencies are not revealing it. Grechman said the attack may take place “in one of the university centers of Siberia.” Information about these plans was sent out from Moscow via an encoded telegram to all regional police chiefs of the Siberian federal district. The Interior Ministry assumes that the terrorist act will use some kind of toxic substance, such as poisoning water supply wells or food.
Grechman said the police are monitoring the situation and appealed to citizens to stay alert and not to panic.
STATE-RUN UNITARY ENTERPRISE MANAGING TV AND RADIO BROADCASTING TO BE SET UP
Izvestia, August 10, 2001, p. 2
On August 9, news agencies reported that the president would soon sign a decree on setting up a state-controlled unitary enterprise called Russian TV and Radio Systems. This enterprise will comprise a number of television and radio broadcasting companies included in the Russian State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK) and the Telecommunications Ministry. News agencies quoted sources in the government as saying that the new entity will be something like the state-run TV and radio company of the USSR, but this new structure will be based on shareholding.
Our sources among VGTRK executives say work on reorganization of regional TV and radio centers has been underway for a year. The idea of the reorganization was proposed by Media Minister Mikhail Lesin and Telecommunications Minister Leonid Reiman after the fire at the Ostankino TV tower.
However, according to our sources, this project has not yet been approved by the Cabinet and registered. Therefore, the president is unlikely to sign the decree in the very near future.
OFFICIAL STATISTICS FOR MOSCOW
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 10, 2001, p. 2
The Moscow City Statistics Committee has released figures for the first half of 2001.
In June 2001, average incomes of Muscovites were 10% higher than in May 2001, but 2.6% lower than in June 2000. In the first half of 2001, the average monthly income was 9,284 rubles. Education workers earned least of all: 3,379 rubles a month. The highest incomes were in the private sector, in the field of marketing (21,870 rubles a month).
Unemployment at mid-year was down 30% compared to January 2000 and 17% compared to January 2001.
The population of Moscow continues to decrease. In the first five months of 2001, it fell by 7,800 people. Meanwhile, the gap between the birth rate and the death rate is smaller that in the same period of 2000. In the first five months of 2001 the birth rate increased by 7.5%, whereas the death rate increased by only 0.6%.
AIDS CONTINUES TO SPREAD
Moskovskaya Pravda, August 10, 2001, p. 2
Russia’s top public health official Gennady Onishchenko considers that Russia may soon equal or surpass the United States on HIV infection levels.
At present, there are 130,000 HIV-positive people in Russia. However, 90% of them were infected as a result of intravenous drug use. Onishchenko says the virus is spreading like wildfire in a dry forest.
The virus was first recorded in Moscow in 1998. Today there are 10,757 HIV-positive residents in Moscow. And 179 Muscovites have developed AIDS; 96 have died of AIDS.
The Moscow Mayor’s Office is planning to spend around one billion rubles on an AIDS prevention campaign.
ILYUSHENKO BECOMES OFFICIAL AGAIN
Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 10, 2001, p. 2
The Moscow Department for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection is gradually becoming a club of former federal officials. Recently, former acting general prosecutor Alexei Ilyushenko was appointed deputy director of this department.
In 1996, Ilyushenko was detained and charged with abuse of office and bribery. He spent two years in detention and caught tuberculosis, after which he gave a written undertaking not to leave Moscow, and was released. In spring 2001, the General Prosecutor’s Office dropped his case for lack of evidence. At the same time, the General Prosecutor’s Office dropped criminal proceedings against another former general prosecutor, Yuri Skuratov. Both Skuratov and Ilyushenko have said all along that the charges against them were fabricated.