STATE SECTOR EMPLOYEES ARE ALWAYS READY FOR PAY RISES

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STATE SECTOR EMPLOYEES ARE ALWAYS READY FOR PAY RISES

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 28, 2001, p. 1

As Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko reported to President Vladimir Putin yesterday, wage rises for state sector employees will be carried out as planned.

From December 1, the wages of state sector employees will be raised by an average of 50%. For this purpose, it is planned to use an additional 50 billion rubles from the federal budget for 2002, while the regions are supposed to allocate 150 billion rubles from their treasuries.

According to Matvienko, insufficient funds are now spent in the regions for paying wages to state sector employees – only about 24% of the total revenues, including money transferred from the federal government; whereas 40% is required.

In December 2.3 billion rubles will be transferred to the regions to raise wages of state sector employees, said the deputy prime minister. Moreover, the most problematic regions will receive another 12.8 billion rubles within a year. At the same time President Putin emphasized that the funds allocated for wage rises must be used solely for this purpose.

OIL IS USED TO VERIFY THE BUDGET

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, November 28, 2001, p. 1

This fact once again proved the correct positioning of the government, which did not wish to accept OPEC’s proposals for reducing oil production by 200,000 barrels per day. Should Russia reduce oil exports now, oil prices are unlikely to reach the previous levels, whereas the European market niche occupied by Russian oil will quite rapidly be taken over by Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov assures that even if the oil prices fall to the level of $10 a barrel, as OPEC threatens, Russia has every chance of surviving this brief period without a budget sequestration. Moreover, the favorable situation around the world allows for us to hope that the Western states will reach a compromise and consider a possibility of writing off a part of Russia’s debts.

In the meantime, the government is preparing for worse times ahead. A multitude of diverse options for overcoming a serious situation in case the oil prices collapse to a critical mark are being studied by the government. As it’s said, it is better to be overcautious than be caught unawares afterwards. Unfortunately, nothing new is being proposed. The budget is still made dependent on oil, while the structural reforms of economy are placed to the background. Such a shortsighted position is unlikely to insure the country against the adversities, connected and having no connection to oil.

PATIENTS UNDER "CONFIDENTIAL" STAMP

Trud, November 28, 2001, p. 2

Georgia’s healthcare organizations are providing assistance to terrorists who are involved in the action in Abkhazia, a senior Georgian military official stated to a Trud reporter.

Some 13 terrorists were secretly placed in the trauma surgery section of the central hospital of Georgia’s Defense Ministry, without registration. All of them had gunshot wounds, and some required limb amputation.

According to our anonymous source, the wounded guerrillas are under permanent armed guard. Access to the wards and also to the medical documentation is limited even for Defense Ministry officials. The bandits are fed well; food for them is purchased no city markets, while the medicines, which are not available at the hospital, are bought for them also. The medical staff is paid an additional fee in U.S. dollars.

A part of the wounded extremists were taken to the 5th City Hospital. Overall, 45 people were delivered there. These bandits have light wounds and some of them have frostbite. According to our source, the people stationed to the hospital attached to the Defense Ministry are Gelaev’s close associates and also guerrillas who were seriously wounded.

We telephoned the 5th City Hospital of Tbilisi, where admissions manager Lali Ganelia stated that at the moment only three people are officially registered for the trauma surgery section and “no guerrillas are among them.” Taking into consideration that hospitals in Tbilisi (just like in Moscow) are usually overcrowded, we cannot help doubting her words.

FOUR SUSPECTS OF MURDER DETAINED

Izvestia, November 28, 2001, p. 1

Yesterday four people suspected of murdering Leonid Bochkov, Managing Director of the Eastern Port, the largest along Russia’s Pacific coast, were detained in Nakhodka. Assumptions that the director’s death can be connected with the clash between Severstal and another shareholder of the port’s shares – the MDM group started circulating. Bochkov mentioned this conflict shortly before his death.

The Eastern Port is among a few successfully operating enterprises in the Primorie territory. Some $65 million has been invested in its development over the past few years, and the net profits of this enterprise totaled 322 million rubles last year. According to Izvestia sources in the administration of Severstaltrans (which owns a 30% stake of the port’s shares and is a subsidiary of the Severstal holding), Leonid Bochkov had worked in Nakhodka for all his life, was appointed the Managing Director of the Eastern Port in 1998 and was considered to be “an appallingly honest person.”

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