Izvestia, November 21, 2001, p. 1
On November 20, 2001, the special commission of the Interstate Aviation Committee started to investigate the cause of the crash of the Il-18 airplane of the air company IRS-Aero that unexpectedly dropped from a height of 7,800 meters on Monday evening after six hours in flight. The plane was performing a Khatanga-Moscow charter flight. There were 27 people on board.
Vitaly Bondarenko, Deputy Director of the Krasnoyarsk Interregional Air Transport Department, has announced, “We don’t rule out the possibility of a terrorist act. For the past three or four years there have been no safety problems with the Khatanga airport. This airplane had performed regular flights to Moscow.”
According to our sources, Il-18 is one of the most reliable airplanes that has been used for over 40 years in various climatic conditions. According to Radiy Papkovsky, Chief Designer of the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, there have not been any accidents with Il-18 planes caused by technical failures since 1975.
Izvestia, November 21, 2001, p. 2
On November 20, representatives of investors of the Primorye Food Charity Fund reported to “Izvestia” that they had appealed to the general prosecutor of the Russian federation to prosecute Chairman of the State Fishing Committee Nikolai Nazdratenko. They accuse Nazdratenko of gross swindling performed on the position of the Primorye governor.
Sergei Parsky, Director of the Primorye regional law institution Yustus has told an “Izvestia” correspondent, “The territorial administration became the constitutor of the Primorye Food Charity Fund. Former Primorye governor Nikolai Nazdratenko used to advertise this fund in local media himself. Moreover, he issued a decree making heads of cities and districts of the Primorye Territory assist the fund and compelling the territorial PR department to cover its activities. Nazdratenko’s wife Galina chaired the fund. Therefore, Nazdratenko should be made answerable for the fact that 10,000 residents of the Primorye Territory were deprived of their money.”
The Primorye Food Charity Fund started working in March 1995. According to official data, it has raised 120 million rubles from the population of the territory, although according to some unofficial sources its sum amounts to 200 million rubles. In autumn 1997 the fund was declared bankrupt.
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 21, 2001, p. 2
On November 20, leader of the Agro-Industrial Duma deputy group Nikolai Kharitonov accused the Cabinet of bribing Duma members.
Kharitonov claims that the Cabinet is “conducting undercover bargaining and bribing deputies of the four centrist factions at the state level by allocating additional investments to the enterprises they lobby.” The government allegedly does it in order to make the Duma adopt the government’s draft of the 2002 budget in the third reading. According to Kharitonov, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov’s recent meeting with leaders of Unity, Fatherland-All Russia, People’s Deputy, and Russian Regions was devoted to this issue. At this meeting the deputies hammered out large sums for “their” enterprises from the government. If in the first reading 36.6 billion rubles were planned for address investment programs, by the third reading this sum has increased by 7.8 billion rubles.
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 21, 2001, p. 2
The meeting between Presidential Envoy for the Southern Federal District Viktor Kazantsev and Aslan Maskhadov’s special representative Ahmed Zakaev has been disapproved of by many Russian military officials. They believe that they will be framed and cheated once again as it was for several times during the first Chechen war. Generals assert that it is necessary to stick to Vladimir Putin’s demand that all gangs lay down arms.
Currently practically all political analysts agree that the meeting between Zakaev and Kazantsev has not contributed to the clarity of the conciliatory process in Chechnya. This supposition has been confirmed by Chairman of the Duma Defense Committee Andrei Nikolaev, who is of the opinion that the negotiations that are being prepared will not be legitimate. The Russian Defense Ministry does not plan to finish the war in the near future by means of peace agreements and intends to perform a series of special operations aimed at liquidation of illegal military gangs in winter. The military are sure that a good war will eventually lead to peace, although it may be a bad peace.
PRESIDENT PUTIN IN NOVY URENGOI
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, November 21, 2001, p. 1
President Vladimir Putin has held a conference in the town of Novy Urengoi, the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, on the current state and prospects of development of the gas industry in the Russian Federation. Among the issues discussed at the conference were liberalization of the domestic gas market, gas tariffs, world gas prices, and structural reformation of this branch of industry. In the course of his trip Putin also visited the new gas deposit of Zapolyarnoe that will soon yield the largest amount of gas: up to 100 billion cubic meters.
The gas deposit of Zapolyarnoe is strategically significant for Russia: its gas supplies are the fifth largest in the world.
Today over 10 large firms perform oil and gas extraction in Yamal. In 2001, gas extraction has totaled 30 billion cubic meters.
40TH CONFERENCE OF CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS AND COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF COLLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY STARTING IN MOSCOW
Tribuna, November 21, 2001, p. 1
On November 21, 2001, the 40th conference of CIS defense ministers and the Council of Ministers of the Collective Security Treaty started to work in Moscow. This conference is chaired by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Along with the consideration of the situation in Afghanistan, the high brass from 11 CIS states will discuss a pleasant issue: the preparations for celebration of the tenth anniversary of foundation of the commonwealth and signing of the Collective Security Treaty of CIS countries.
Ukraine’s new Defense Minister Vladimir Shkidchenko will be introduced to his counterparts at the Moscow summit.
As is known, the Collective Security Treaty has been signed by Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Answering the question of a “Tribuna” correspondent about the prospects of increase of the number of countries observing the aforementioned treaty, Secretary General of the Collective Security Council Valery Nikolaenko noted that “such countries as Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan are apparently not ready for the large-scale comprehensive military-political integration envisaged by the Collective Security Treaty.”