RUSSIAN LONG-RANGE AVIATION HAS NOT FLOWN TOO FAR
Kommersant, September 15, 2001, p. 2 EV
On September 14, the exercises of the Russian strategic aviation came to an end. These exercises lasted for a week. Russian pilots did not manage to fulfill the whole plan of the exercises because of the events in the US.
At the final stage of the exercises five Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bombers were involved. Three of them were from the arsenal of the Navy and two from the Air Force. On the testing area near Cape of Lopatka in Kamchatka they performed launchings of missiles of air-to-ground class aimed to above-water targets. Discarded combat ships of the Pacific Fleet served as targets.
These exercises were attracting special attention of the West from the start. Norway expressed its concern about these exercises before their start. Oslo feared that exercises of Russian aviation might hinder military exercises of NATO. Commander-in-Chief of the Navy General Anatoly Kornukov reassured Norwegians, “We won’t hinder NATO aviation exercises.”
General Kornukov told us: “After the raids of kamikaze terrorists on New York and Washington, Americans asked us not to worry them with our long-range flights over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, although according to the plan of the exercises Tu-95 MS and Tu-160 strategic missile carriers were to perform their flights there. We responded immediately: I gave the order, and these flights were not performed.” As a result, Tu-95 MS and Tu-160 planes failed to leave their bases in Ukrainka (the Amur Region) and Engels (the Saratov Region), as well as Il078 tanker planes from the 203rd air regiment based in Ryazan. Thus, the highlight of the exercises were Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bombers that were flying only over Russia.
CHECHENS READY TO HOLD THEIR CONGRESS IN THE FIELD
Kommersant, September 15, 2001, p. 3 EV
The Ingushetian authorities have refused to give premises for the national Chechen congress scheduled for September 15. Leaders of Chechen movements that took part in organization of the congress consider that this step was forced by the federal center. They promise to conduct a congress whatever happens.
The Chechen congress was organized by several public movements: Chechen Solidarity, the Third Force for Peace in Chechnya, the Movement for Civil Rights, and the Committee of National Salvation of Chechnya. Their leaders assert that the congress is funded by individuals. About 500 delegates are to be transported to Nazran from Chechnya by bus for participation in this congress. The Chechen diaspora of Ingushetia will delegate another 150 people. The congress is to elect its authorities and adopt three documents: the declaration on peace formulating principles of the Russian-Chechen peace regulation, and the appeals to Aslan Maskhadov and Vladimir Putin to support this declaration.
On September 14, Nazran Mayor Magomed Tamurziev refused to rent the Nazran House of Culture to the congress, although the organizers of the forum assert that they have received the permission of Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev. Leader of Chechen Solidarity Salambek Maigov believes that Mr. Tamurziev was acting at the request of the administration of the presidential envoy for the Southern Federal District that intends to prevent the congress. The press service of the administration told us that the Chechens should have coordinated their intentions with the authorities of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus. The administration of the presidential envoy for the Southern Federal District considers that the organizers of the congress just want their names to be publicized.
Meanwhile, leaders of Chechen civil organizations intend to have their names publicized in any case. They believe that there are no legal grounds for prohibiting the congress.
HUMANITARIAN CARGO EXPLODED IN GROZNY
Kommersant, September 15, 2001, p. 3 EV
On September 14, Chechen police officers arrested two terrorists who bombed a convoy of humanitarian aid transported from Krasnodar. As a result of the terrorist act, eight people were wounded.
The Mayor’s Office of Krasnodar has been sponsoring the joint detachment of the Special Police Forces of the Krasnodar Territory, serving in Chechnya, for several years. At the start of the week a large delegation of Krasnodar officials visited the police officers stationed in Grozny. They brought several crates of warm clothes, food, and other supplies with them.
After the terrorist attack, Deputy Chairman of the Krasnodar Youth Committee Oleg Aksenenko, his deputy Yuri Mansurov, TV correspondent Alexei Shulepov, and cameraman Sergei Belomestny were urgently put to the hospitals of Grozny and Vladikavkaz.
On September 14, two medical planes came to Grozny and Vladikavkaz; they took the eight wounded to the hospitals of Krasnodar.
Meanwhile, the first results of the investigation of this crime have been published. Employees of the Chechen Prosecutor’s Office view this crime as a terrorist act. On September 14, in the course of the special operation, two gunmen were detained in the village of Chechen-Aul. In the opinion of investigators, it is they who arranged this terrorist act.
CONFERENCE OF UNITY SUPPORTERS IN MOSCOW
Kommersant, September 15, 2001, p. 2 EV
On September 14, the first Moscow city conference of supporters of the movement Unity took place. Politicians, businesspeople, and artists assembled in the President Hotel and appealed to people to unite with Unity and President Putin.
The main item on the official agenda was succinct: the role of supporters of the party in development of the Moscow city branch. Acting Chairman of the Moscow branch of Unity Andrei Metelsky delivered a report on achievements of the Moscow Unity branch. According to him, there are 9,000 members of Unity and about 1,000 supporters of the party in Moscow. Metelsky was followed by Ludmila Krasavina, chairwoman of the Moscow Coordination Council of Supporters of Unity, who enumerated her results so conscientiously that she fainted right on the rostrum. Unity members rushed to help her, but she soon recovered and even wanted to finish her report. However, Frantz Klintsevich, acting Chairman of the Presidium of the Political Council of the party, talked her out of it.
She was followed by opera singer Irina Arkhipova, who, being an old woman, was led to the rostrum by a helper. However, this time everything was all right. The singer told the public about activities of the Union of Musical Workers chaired by her without any unforeseen incidents. She said that before the official ban of a bullfight in Moscow, Unity should have explained to people why it was necessary to ban it. She noted that if she had the economic resources, she could organize a combat between gladiators and enraged tigers – and assured those present, as a show-business professional, that it would be a sell-out success.
Mr. Klintsevich criticized his party fellows for the boring meeting, since he noticed that film actor Zolotukhin had left the hall. He noted that 70% of the so-called Unity supporters supported not Unity itself, but President Putin. In this connection the deputy promised to conduct such events with wider involvement of the administrative resource.
He was followed by singer Tatiana Petrova, who, instead of speaking, sang the songs called “My Quiet Motherland” and “The Farewell of the Slavic Woman.” As for singer Alexander Serov, he did not sing anything but appealed to Muscovites to unite around the president and make the correct choice in the election of the Moscow City Duma “taking into account the current activation of international terrorism.”
INTERVIEW WITH VIKTOR POKHMELKIN
Vremya MN, September 15, 2001, p. 4
Deputy Chairman of the Union of Right Forces (URF) Duma faction Viktor Pokhmelkin has announced that the best time to dissolve the Duma is spring 2003. We have asked him to comment on this statement and some other issues connected with activities of his party.
Question: What is your forecast based on?
Viktor Pokhmelkin: As a matter of fact, I haven’t made any official announcement. I just answered a question about the probable dissolution of the Duma. In my opinion, the dissolution is possible in case of the mutual agreement of the president and the Duma. The aim of this action is separation of the terms of presidential and parliamentary elections. It is clear that these terms are too close to each other now, which is inconvenient for the presidential side. Besides, soon parliamentary elections will be conducted on New Year’s Eve. Of course, it is better to reschedule this election for spring, when people’s mood is better, which influences the results of their voting.
Question: You’ve said that the bill on parties adopted last summer is to come into effect in June 2003. Won’t it come into effect earlier?
Pokhmelkin: The bill will come into effect earlier, but it envisages a two-year transition period, during which all political organizations and public movements will be entitled to run in elections. It seems to me that the date of the Duma election will not be closely connected with this law. Besides, it is rather dangerous to conduct elections in summer, since voters’ activity declines.
Question: Let’s touch on the latest events in the US. Do you think deputies will insist on extension of funding of the defense complex during the consideration of the draft 2002 budget in the light of these events?
Pokhmelkin: Security structures have also made some such hints. It is necessary to avoid rushing to extremes. On the one hand, we should not grudge money on combating terrorism. On the other hand, money meant for combating terrorism should be spent as effectively as possible. This money should not be spent on other needs of law enforcement agencies.
Question: Last spring the URF announced that Yabloko and the URF were developing alliance relations. Is their any progress in these relations?
Pokhmelkin: Unfortunately, foundation of the URF has led not to consolidation of the liberal movement but to its disintegration. It has also led to disintegration with Yabloko. This is a natural process, since many prominent liberals and human rights advocates have left our party. However, I am convinced that the URF, Yabloko, and all other liberal movements should run in the next elections together. It is necessary to consolidate the liberal movement, since the government party is strong and the Communists are even stronger.
YEVGENY PRIMAKOV: IT WON’T DO TO RESPOND TO TERROR BY TERROR
Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 15, 2001, p. 1
The world is anticipating the retaliatory measures of the US against the organizers of the recent terror acts in New York and Washington. According to opinion polls, half of Americans fear that the measures will be “too mild,” and only one-fifth of Americans are afraid that these measures will be too severe. Most Americans are for a large-scale revenge action. Meanwhile, many Russian politicians believe that thoughtless involvement of force will only lead to escalation of the terror. Yevgeny Primakov is among these politicians.
Yevgeny Primakov: We should not let the world split into the Muslim and Christian parts. This is a way to a catastrophe. It is necessary to make Muslims fight terrorists themselves. There is an ideological basis for this. The pure Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.
Question: People are saying that after the recent events in the US the world will change. How will it change?
Primakov: Many people do not seem to realize the depth of changes in the world structure that may take place after the terror acts in the US. Only appeals to revenge are heard so far. I agree that it is necessary to exterminate terrorists. I also agree that it is acceptable to use force while combating terrorists. But it won’t do to respond to terror by terror. Otherwise, the chain of terror acts will be interminable.
We can conclude that all security systems of the world have proven to be ineffective. It is clear that enormous military budget or various military alliances cannot secure a country against terrorism. The tragedy also showed the world that it is not enough to rely on special services in the cause of fighting terrorism. They may lack some necessary information for prevention of terrorist acts. At the same time, it is necessary to improve coordination of activities of special services of different countries.
Question: What should be done then?
Primakov: It is necessary to fight the malady itself. The main sources of the ideology of terrorism are places of international conflicts. It is these conflicts that make people become kamikazes and commit such crimes. First and foremost, it is necessary to decrease the tension throughout the world and coordinate policies of different countries for resolution of these conflicts. A lot of reserves have not been used in this field yet. The point is that countries should not think of their own interests only.
MOSCOW PROTECTED, BUT…
Vek, No. 36, September 14, 2001, EV
Is a nuclear terrorist attack possible near Moscow – at the Kalinin nuclear power plant, or in Dubna? According to Valentin Ivanov, Deputy Russian Atomic Energy Minister, Russian nuclear power plants are securely guarded and technically protected against dynamic impacts from the air. The powerful IBR-2 pulse reactor in Dubna is also designed to withstand an aircraft’s impact. Even a cruise missile cannot destroy it, so no air defense systems are needed there.
GREAT DANGERS PLACE PEOPLE IN SIMILAR CONDITIONS
Profil, September 10, 2001, p. 2, EV
The Public Opinion Foundation asked Russian citizens about their attitude towards a multi-party system. According to the poll’s results, 52% of the respondents are convinced political parties do Russia more harm than good. When asked to explain what exactly harm is meant, 17% said political parties aim at their own well-being, not the welfare of the nation; 11% of those polled believe too much budget money is being spent on political parties and on elections they run in. One in ten Russians sees harm in the inter-party struggle for power, which jeopardizes social stability and hinders the executive branch. About 9% of respondents think there are too many political parties in Russia.
VIRTUAL SHADOW OF BORIS BEREZOVSKY
Rossiyskie Vesti, September 13, 2001, p. 3
Last August, certain websites and print media published excerpts from a file on President Putin allegedly compiled by the KGB (later renamed the FSB). According to those who posted the excerpts, the file is many years old, but relevant computer files were destroyed after the acting Russian president had become FSB director. However, “by a fluke”, a certain adversary of the then president-to-be made copies of the files. No-nonsense analysts understand this as a contract information leak. However, the very existence of a mythical “cracker genius” risking his life for the sake of the truth is questionable. In other words, the compromising files seem to be a crude fake.
Our source links the leak to Boris Berezovsky, who has declared a personal war on the Russian president.
BEREZOVSKY ROCKING THE BOAT
Argumenty i Fakty, September 13, 2001, p. 3
Rumors have recently started circulating that St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev entered into alliance with the disgraced tycoon Boris Berezovsky. They say Berezovsky is planning to turn St. Petersburg into the center of anti-Putin opposition in order to deliver a strike against the Russian president from his own hometown. Our sources assert Berezovsky is currently preparing for publishing a number of shocking articles about the key figures of the Russian state power such as FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, and even Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov.
The tycoon is also actively searching for materials compromising the president himself. Thus, a scandal is unwinding in the Western press around the German real estate agency SPAG operating in St. Petersburg who used Putin’s services as an advisor until 2000. The agency is stated to having laundered the Russian Mafia’s capital and even money owned by… Colombian drug syndicates. If this campaign continues, the Russian president’s image in the West may be shattered considerably.