ANOTHER MURDER IN CHECHNYA

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ANOTHER MURDER IN CHECHNYA

Izvestia, August 13, 2001, p. 2

Officials of the Grozny district administration do not know why Batukayev was unarmed despite the orders. An investigation is underway.

The servicemen of the Vedeno district commandant’s office were ambushed en route to the village of Tsa-Vedeno. Eleven servicemen were wounded. The military believes that the convoy was intercepted in order to prevent a search operation in Tsa-Vedeno, where two other federal servicemen had been wounded several days ago. When he was informed of the first incident, the Vedeno commandant ordered the village checked out – but the convoy was ambushed. Sources in the commandant’s office do not rule out the possibility of a search operation in Tsa-Vedeno very soon.

RUSSIAN MIG-29S IN EUROPE WILL BE UPGRADED

Izvestia, August 13, 2001, p. 4

The Russian MIG corporation is also preparing for negotiations with New Delhi. The other day India officially terminated its deal with Britain for the acquisition of 66 Hawk training fighters. London wanted $21 million each, while the Russian MIG-AT is $5 million cheaper.

Specialists say, however, that there is more to the termination of this contract than meets the eye. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez resigned after a corruption scandal in April. All contracts he signed are now being re-examined.

THE TRAVELING PRESIDENT

Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 14, 2001, p. 2

In his nineteen months as president, Vladimir Putin made 40 trips abroad. Our estimates show that Putin has spent a total of 77 days abroad.

Judging by Putin’s routes, CIS states, Moscow’s former partners in the socialist camp, and neighboring states remain the top priority. The invitation to Mongolia, for example (Putin visited it last November) came even before his election. According to our sources, the Foreign Ministry did not insist on the trip: Mongolia is a backward country, which could wait. But Putin’s adviser Sergei Prikhodko urged that the trip should go ahead. The president heeded the advice.

Putin is good at making friends, despite foreign leaders’ initial reservations. In Okinawa in August 2000, Jacques Chirac didn’t even shake Putin’s hand. But now, sources in the Kremlin say, it is hard to guess who is Putin’s closest friend – Chirac, Tony Blair, or someone else.

Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan is probably the only G-8 leader not on the list of Putin’s friends. When elected, he began with a bold statement with regard to the Kuril Islands: all or nothing. The Kremlin chose to ignore the statement. “Putin is not to be rushed in situations like that. It is clear, after all, that the prime minister of Japan will move to a more reasonable position soon,” a well-informed Kremlin official says.

PURGES IN THE MOSCOW POLICE FORCE CONTINUE

Kommersant, August 13, 2001, p. 3

According to Pronin, new recruits will study at the police academy for six months and sign a three-year contract with the police force. If the conditions of the contract are not observed and the contract is terminated, the recruit will be required to complete his military service (18 months in most branches of the service, or two years in the Navy). Pronin says he has already reached an agreement to this effect with Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov.

Pronin also plans to restore the environmental police force…

A DEMONSTRATION IN MOSCOW

Kommersant, August 13, 2001, p. 3

Sergei Ivanov, chairman of the Russian branch of the international commission, said he received 150 complaints against unlawful hospitalization and incorrect diagnoses in 2000. The commission filed lawsuits in 15 cases and won three.

MOST ST. PETERSBURG NAVIGATORS END THEIR STRIKE

Kommersant, August 13, 2001, p. 3

Deputy Transport Minister Vyacheslav Ruksha told the strikers that those who apply for jobs with the St. Petersburg Port Administration would be accepted with salaries ranging between 20,000 and 25,000 rubles a month. (Employed by the commercial Navigators Association, they would get 1,500-2,000 rubles.) The strike committee accepted Ruksha’s proposal.

Some navigators, however, refused to cooperate. According our sources, some strikers refused to surrender to the Transporta Ministry. They intend to file a lawsuit to defend their view that the government resolution violates the rights of each navigator individually and the Navigators Association as a whole. Ruksha says the Navigators Association itself needs to be investigated by the law enforcement agencies.

RUSSIANS GET USED TO BORROWING

Vedomosti, August 13, 2001, p. A1

The volume of personal loans is growing at a faster rate than bank accounts, Central Bank officials say.

Before 1998 and the crisis, Russian citizens were also spending a lot. The banks, however, were busy in the short-term state bonds market, which was much more profitable. These days, profitable financial instruments are a rarity, and banks are returning to individual clients.

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