AMNESTY FOR WOMEN AND MINORS
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, November 30, 2001, p. 2
Women and minors covered by the Duma’s prison amnesty will soon start being released from prison. A decree “On an amnesty for minors and women” has been submitted for the parliament’s consideration. It must also be approved by the Federation Council and the president.
According to preliminary reports, around 10,000 minors and 14,000 women will be released either completely or conditionally.
No murderers or rapists will be amnestied, according to the State Penitentiary Department. There are 64 educational prison camps for minors in Russia, with 19,000 inmates. Around 1,000 of these are serving sentences for murder. Another 11,000 minors are in temporary detention cells. One-tenth of these are either orphans or have parents who have lost custody of their children. Almost a third of teenage inmates have psychological development abnormalities; almost half of them have never worked or studied before being arrested. Therefore, for the first time since the New Economic Policy in the 1920s, primary schools are being opened in prison camps, and inmates aged 16 to 17 are studying there.
Izvestia, November 30, 2001, p. 2
Today the leaders of 12 CIS nations will officially approve a report on the development results and future prospects of the CIS. A relatively small summed up “husks” from the 30-page report, on which experts had worked for several months. Yesterday superior state officials from CIS nations – prime ministers and foreign ministers added the latest strokes to the statement.
According to yesterday’s agenda, a visit to the Kremlin was scheduled for some of the presidents. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma turned out to be among the most pleasant guests.
According to Putin’s assessment of Ukraine’s efforts, “problems in the gas sector have always been a bone of contention, but as a result of lengthy work we have managed to reach a compromise.”
Kuchma left room for appropriate responses; presumably, a compromise on the gas issue may be an example for other unresolved matters. A year passed between the time when official promises were made to resolve the problem and the time when the compromise was reached.
Now the growing warmth in relations between Russia and Ukraine is evident to everyone: after the official talks ended, Putin and Kuchma attended a joint dinner in the Kremlin and that night they visited the opening ceremony for the Year of Ukraine in Russia (at their summer meeting in Kiev the presidents decided to strengthen their mutual trust in this manner).
Things are not quite as cloudless with the rest of the CIS presidents. Eduard Shevardnadze promised to raise the issue of Georgia’s airspace being violoated, allegations which are being denied by Russia. The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan intend to discuss fresh possibilities for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and President Putin will take part in the discussion.
BUYING AND SELLING THE FATHERLAND
Izvestia, November 30, 2001, p. 2
Yesterday the Duma approved a new bill on privatization in the second and third readings at once. It will make life easier for everyone. The Duma will gain control over the assets of natural monopolies; small business will be able to compete in tenders even with relatively little money; and the state will get rid of its unrequired assets at last. And here’s the most significant thing: from now on it will actually be suitable to speak about “legal” or “illegal” privatization. Until recently these were only political conversations, since no strictly outlined legal basis for privatization has been created in Russia over the decade of market reforms.
Henceforth, privatization will be carried out in accordance with a three-level system, with the president, the Cabinet and parliament involved. According to the bill, the head of state draws up a list of enterprises with strategic significance for national security and determines the possibility of privatizing them. The Duma receives the right to monitor restructuring among the assets of natural monopolies (RJES, the Railroads Ministry, Gazprom). The Cabinet is in charge of the general management of the privatization process.
SATAN MISSILES LEAVE ALTAI
Trud, November 30, 2001, p. 1
The last missile silo for SS-18 missiles has been dismantled in the Altai territory. Destruction of missiles of this class, which were called “Satan” in the West for their ability to overcome air defense systems, began after Boris Yeltsin and his “friend Bill” signed an agreement. Altai missile specialists say that all silos for Satan missiles have been dismantled, and no unusual incidents were recorded while this work was being carried out.