WINDOW TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

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WINDOW TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

Trud-7, No. 163, September 6-12, 2001, p. 3

Political analysts believe that the main result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Finland was in the field of economic cooperation.

Here are the opinions of some members of the Russian delegation:

German Gref, Minister for Economic Development and Trade: The list of Russian-Finnish joint project is large.

We signed a rather promising agreement on conversion of debts into high-tech products and scientific developments on $29 million. The list of such products contains 30-40 items; these are mostly products of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Nizhny Novgorod enterprises.

Finland is Russia’s stable ally in the EU. We have stable economic relations, which may be proven by the trade turnover amounting to $5.2 billion in 2000. In 2001 this figure is to be at least $6 billion. This is a gigantic trade turnover for such a small country as Finland.

Vladimir Potanin, head of the Interros holding: We have a unique opportunity to study the experience of Finnish companies and even enter some new markets they have developed already.

Finland is the only country included in the European union bordering on Russia. I think Russia should develop its relations with Finland and then use this model in its relations with other countries of the European Union.

Ilya Yuzhinov, Minister for the Anti-Monopoly Policy and Support for Business: My Finnish counterpart and I signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of support for business. The matter chiefly concerns small businesses, their relations, and joint projects, especially in bordering regions.

LOBBYISTS TRYING TO DESTABILIZE FINANCIAL SITUATION

Trud-7, No. 163, September 6-12, 2001, p. 3

Some media are energetically discussing the proposal of several economists to factually prohibit the circulation of hard currencies in Russia. It is rumored that a corresponding presidential decree elaborated by the State Auditing Commission will soon be issued.

Chairman of the State Auditing Commission Sergei Stepashin has announced in his interview to Interfax that all such rumors are just ridiculous. He has said, “Prohibitive measures will never be supported by sensible financial experts. Such measures may lead only to the shadow circulation of hard currency in Russia. It is necessary to stabilize the ruble but not prohibit circulation of hard currencies.”

Deputy Secretary of the Expert Board of the State Audit Commission Professor Yury Stsepinsky has announced in this connection, “Our expert board is a public consultative entity. We discuss any ideas, even the most exotic ones. Director of the Financial Policy Institute Sergei Lvovich Morozov has proposed to introduce so-called universal international convertible checks instead of hard currency. Personally I am against prohibitions of circulation of hard currency in the country. This step would only harm the financial system of the country. However, we had not even assembled to discuss this project when some media reported about a certain “draft presidential decree.” Morozov’s idea is beyond criticism and such ideas spoil Russia’s reputation in the international community.

Question: However, such checks are said to have been printed already…

Yury Stsepinsky: In 1998, when the financial crisis was underway, one of Russian banks decided to issue such checks as its banking instrument. This bank ordered the printing of these checks abroad. And now some people are trying to use these checks as governmental checks that are to substitute for dollars, euros, and pounds. This scheme could give the government a large yield, although it would also harm Russia’s economy. I’m sorry that some people resort to such mean tricks.

KASYANOV AND RUGERO DISCUSSING RUSSIA’S ENTERING WTO

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 6, 2001, p. 1

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Italian Foreign Minister Renato Rugero have discussed prospects of Russia’s entering the World Trade Organization (WTO). As is known, Rugero used to be general director of WTO. According to the Department of the Governmental Information, Kasyanov informed Rugero about some measures Russia is taking in order to enter WTO, such as amendments to the customs law and the taxation system. Besides, Kasyanov noted at the meeting with Rugero that Russia’s adoption of standards of WTO should be accompanied with WTO’s cancellation of discriminative measures against Russia’s goods on the international market.

TERRORIST ACT AGAINST NEMTSOV PREVENTED IN CHECHNYA

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 6, 2001, p. 2

A terrorist act arranged for the arrival of a Duma delegation led by Boris Nemtsov in Chechnya has been prevented. According to the operative information, gunmen planned to perform a terrorist act involving a field mine. Three governed field mines were disclosed between the populated places of Achkhoi-Martan, and Bamut. Forces of the Chechen Department for Combating Organized Crime immediately destroyed the field mines.

Boris Nemtsov has arrived in Chechnya in order to give his plan of peaceful regulation of the situation in the republic to Chechen Prime Minister Stanislav Ilyasov.

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