YAKUTIA: LAST WARNING FROM THE KREMLIN

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YAKUTIA: LAST WARNING FROM THE KREMLIN

Izvestia, October 25, 2001, p. 3

The presidential election in Yakutia will take place on December 23. Observers expected right up until yesterday that Moscow would manage to persuade Nikolayev not to run for another term. The Kremlin doesn’t want Nikolayev re-elected, and hasn’t bothered to conceal that. Nikolayev alone remained blind to all the signals and hints. He even came to Moscow the day before yesterday, the day before the Yakutian Electoral Commission voted (ten to three) to register him as a candidate.

It is clear that Nikolayev hoped to turn up for an audience with President Putin as an officially registered candidate. Even the meeting itself was announced – but the presidential press service immediately said that Putin’s schedule did not include any meetings with Nikolayev.

The Kremlin has already made several attempts to make it clear to Nikolayev that Moscow does not want him as president of Yakutia for a third term. The Supreme Court handed down its decision, and Central Election Commission Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov said so in no uncertain terms. Veshnyakov confirmed just before the Yakutian Electoral Commission voted that Nikolayev could not run for another term. Veshnyakov referred to the Supreme Court decision and to the Yakutian constitution (which rules out third terms in office for Yakutian presidents). Despite all this, Nikolayev was registered.

Three are two options now as far as the presidential race in Yakutia is concerned. First: Nikolayev remains a candidate, and Moscow’s hopes for a different leader in Yakutia crumble – Nikolayev is popular in Yakutia, with many state resources at his disposal. Second: Nikolayev is disqualified and the election becomes a contest between his successor and a candidate acceptable to Moscow. One of these two was registered as a candidate yesterday: Vasily Kolmogorov, Deputy Prosecutor General. If events do take this turn, Kolmogorov will run against Nikolayev’s successor Vyacheslav Shtyrov, known as “the master of diamonds”. Nikolayev himself approached Shtyrov with a request to run for president when the news of the Supreme Court decision reached distant Yakutsk.

Veshnyakov hinted yesterday that Nikolayev’s registration might be annulled by the Central Election Commission, if and when it receives so much as a single complaint from Yakutia. An hour later, a group of Yakutian deputies sent a complaint to the Central Election Commission.

THE DUMA PARDONS WOMEN AND TEENAGERS

Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 25, 2001, pp. 1-2

Yesterday the Duma adopted in the first reading a resolution on an amnesty for women and minors. According to the Justice Ministry, the prison population in Russia is now 738,500; almost 50,000 prisoners are women, and 19,000 are minors.

Officially, the amnesty was proposed by Alexander Barranikov of the Union of Right Forces; but the initiative was welcomed with such enthusiasm at the Justice Ministry that the Duma was immediately filled with rumors that the Penitentiary Directorate itself had come up with the idea in the first place.

Minors and women are called “the most vulnerable categories” of prison inmates in Russia. Rough estimates show that about 10,000 minors and 14,000 women may be released in this amnesty.

Lawmakers voted in favor almost unanimously, virtually without any debate…

WILL RUSSIA SEEK NEW LOANS ABROAD?

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, October 25, 2001, p. 2

Kudrin: In that case, we will find the measures planned for implementation of the budget inadequate. We will quickly develop a program of borrowing from the International Monetary Fund.

PUTIN AND KASIANOV DISCUSS BANKING SECTOR REFORMS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 25, 2001, p. 1

President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov met yesterday to discuss the economic situation. According to Presidential Press Secretary Alexei Gromov, the economy was described as stable. Kasianov reported to the president that the document outlining major principles of banking sector reforms has been completed.

RUSHAILO MEETS WITH THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 25, 2001, p. 1

Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo has met with Israeli Ambassador Nathan Meron, at the latter’s request. Rushailo and Meron discussed Russian-Israeli cooperation in various fields, primarily in security and combating international terrorism.

KAZANTSEV AND AKAYEV ARRANGE MEETING IN MOSCOW

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 25, 2001, p. 1

Viktor Kazantsev, presidential envoy for the Southern federal district, and Aslan Maskhadov’s envoy Akhmed Zakayev will meet face to face after almost a month of telephone negotiations. According to Kazantsev, the meeting will take place in Moscow shortly. “Disarmament of guerrillas and their return to a life of peace” will be discussed, said Kazantsev; adding that the meeting is being arranged at Zakayev’s request.

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