YURI LUZHKOV INTENDS TO COMPLAIN TO PREMIER MIKHAIL KASIANOV
Izvestia, September 25, 2001, p. 3
Arkady Yefstafiev, the man appointed as acting general director of Mosenergo, has resumed his duties and even chaired a meeting. The Moscow municipal authorities claim that Yefstafiev was appointed through a forceful invasion of Alexander Remezov’s office. Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov intends to appeal to Premier Mikhail Kasianov and Director of the Presidential Administration Alexander Voloshin who is the CEO of RAO UES for them to interfere.
THE KURSK WILL BE LIFTED ON SEPTEMBER 29
Izvestia, September 25, 2001, p. 3
New problems were encountered in the Barents Sea yesterday, ITAR-TASS news agency reports. Vladimir Navrotsky, chief of the Northern Fleet’s PR department, says divers encountered some metallic obstructions in compartments seven and eight. Divers are now trying to handle them.
Igor Dygalo of the Russian Navy’s Press Service has confirmed that Russia is not confident that the first compartment will be cut off the rest of the submarine. The final conclusion may be drawn only when the Kursk is lifted from the seabed, Dygalo said.
The lifting phase of the operation will begin on September 29.
AN EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE CABINET TO BE HELD TODAY
Izvestia, September 25, 2001, p. 5
Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin promised the president to carry out the order and to avoid bargaining with the deputies. He has failed. Bargaining is in full swing.
As a matter of fact, lawmakers caught the government with its proverbial pants down in manipulations with budget legislation. It enables them to demand money from the Cabinet, which is now threatening to turn down the budget construction if disturbed. The budget surplus, the subject of the bargaining, is illegitimate in itself. This assumption was confirmed by Igor Nikolayev, director of the strategic analysis department at FBK. “The budget is adopted with surplus when the use of projected surplus revenue is not specified by the legislation. The procedure of using surplus funds is not specified by the draft budget either…”
Surplus is expected, and the law on surplus does not exist. This is the weakest side of the government’s draft. Other oddities are discounted. For example, the government optimistically assumes that oil will cost $22.5 a barrel and does not think it may go down to $18.5. Besides, the Cabinet is fairly optimistic in its inflation prognoses as well…
AN INTERVIEW WITH MECHISLAV CHERNYAVSKY, ONE OF THE LEADERS OF THE UNION OF LEFT DEMOCRATIC FORCES (POLAND)
Versty, September 25, 2001, p. 2
Question: What did you inherit from the right-wing coalition that ha been having the upper hand in the government these last four years?
Mechislav Chernyavsky: As a member of the Financial Commission of the Seim, I know the economic situation. When we were defeated in the election in 1997, the GDP growth was 6%. The right are leaving us with only 2% now. When we were in the corridors of power, the unemployment rate was 10%. Prognoses show it will reach 20% by the end of the year. And so on.
Foreign trade with Russia has reached a deficit of $3.7 billion, which is dangerous for Poland from the socio-political point of view as well. It is time we returned to normal contacts on all levels.
Question: And yet, Poland’s policy does not facilitate any rapprochement with Russia…
Chernyavsky: Of course, policy should facilitate economic contacts. When we have a level of trade like this, it only means a dramatic reduction of Polish export to Russia.
Addressing the parliament, I said that we should strive for membership in the European Union, the sooner the better, and yet I emphasized that our future was with the East all the same. I mean the West is not a market for our goods.
As for Russia, we should cease looking at it as a market only. It is time we forgot old problems and hurts and began building up neighborly relations in politics. There should not be an iron or velvet curtain between us. I’m sometimes told in the European Union even that Poland will be strong only when it has established neighborly relations with Russia. Poland should be a bridge between West Europe and the Russian Federation. I’m convinced that it is time the Poles began investing in the Russian economy.
Question: But Poland is a NATO state. It participates in implementing the Alliance’s geopolitical plans and was even involved in its aggression against Yugoslavia. As far as most Russians and almost Russian federal politicians are concerned, all of that puts additional distance between Moscow and Warsaw.
Chernyavsky: All Russian politicians from Zyuganov to Luzhkov ask me why we want NATO membership. I’ll try to answer again. In the first place, we are a NATO member already and nothing is to be done about it. Why not drop the matter altogether? In the second place, when the Warsaw Pact was disintegrating, Russia did not offer us anything from the point of view of collective security. Poland is not Switzerland, all European wars affect us directly. As for the bombardments of Yugoslavia, not everybody in Poland approved of them.
Question: But Poland supports NATO’s eastward expansion, which grates on Moscow’s nerves…
Chernyavsky: That’s big-time politics. It’s not my field. What I want is modernization of the Polish army and maintenance of its combat readiness on a proper level. Poland does not want to be a second rate country.