ARMY WILL FADE AWAY IF CONSCRIPTION IS NOT ABOLISHED

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ARMY WILL FADE AWAY IF CONSCRIPTION IS NOT ABOLISHED

Obshchaya Gazeta, November-December, 2001, p. 2

Last week the whole country was stirred by the news of the president’s approval for the Russian Armed Forces phasing out concription. It seemed the hopes of many for the abolition of the hated conscription system are finally coming true. However, very soon the public – and the politicians who had rushed to claim participation in making the decision – were greatly disappointed. Vladislav Putilin, deputy chief of the General Staff, explained the reason for the disappointment: “The head of state has given orders to organize and confirm a program for moving the army to a contract basis by 2004. However, phasing out conscription is very expensive – the army will need several hundred billion rubles. Making the transition to a contract basis in only one division will cost 500 million rubles, as we will have to make contract army service competitive with the labor market. Further maintenance of such a division will cost 30% times more than maintaining a division of conscripts. All these figures make a gradual transition to a contract army look quite reasonable, but only on the condition that there is a targetted federal program which will clearly stipulate the funding plan for each year; and if the money is regularly allocated.”

SPACE SCANDAL

Obshchaya Gazeta, November-December, 2001, p. 3

The Samara law enforcement bodies have launched a unique criminal case that involves almost all top executives at the Rocket-Space Center TsSKB Progress state scientific enterprise. They are accused of abuse of office, leading to the misappropriation of at least $850,000.

RUSSIA TO BE INVITED INTO THE PROJECT

Megapolis-Kontinent, November 30, 2001, p. 12

State Designing Bureau and Makarov Southern machine construction plant have completed preparation of the technical-economic basing of the project for constructing and exploiting Tsiklon-4 missile carriers. At present Ukraine and Brasil are consulting American and European companies on participation in the project. The program is to be finished in three years, the necessary documentation is to be validated in six to nine months. It takes a year and a half to construct a rocket. A joint venture for constructing and exploiting Tsiklon-4 rocket carriers is planned for 2002.

RUSSIA IS FOR CONTRACT ARMY

Nezavisimoe Voyennoye Obozrenie, November 30, 2001, p. 3

According to sociological polls held by the Monitoring.ru research group in seven federal districts, 55% of the Russian residents support the decision of the Rusisna leadership on transiting a part of the Russian Armed Forces to the contract basis. Only 32% of respondents are satisfied with the present obligatory recruitment system.

CURRENCY INFLOW IS DWINDLING

Ekonomika I Zhizn, No. 48, November, 2001, p. 2

One of the best, though least noticed, economic news items of this year was a sharp decline in capital flight: in the second quarter of 2001 it fell to $3.2 billion, against $6.7 billion in the first quarter.

However, it was a seasonal phenomenon, as according to expert appraisals, in the third quarter capital flight increased to $3.9 billion. Still, there is a certain drop, the main reason for which is the tax reform that left a considerable part of personal profits in Russia; hopes for liberalization of the currency regulations that will allow capital to leave the country legally; the battle of developed nations against “dirty money”, accompanied by discrimination against Russian business and Russian citizens; plus a decline in capital inflow into Russia.

$2 MILLION FOR TERRORIST ACTS IN MOSCOW AND VOLGODONSK

Shchit I Mech, No. 46, November, 2001, p. 2

A deep-conspiracy militarized extremist Wahhabi group has been found in Karachaevo-Cherkessia. As a former member of the group Hyzir Salpagarov confessed, the Wahhabi activists received about $2 million from various international terrorist organizations for carrying out terrorist acts in Moscow and Volgodonsk. Salpagarov was arrested in March this year after explosions by the Caucasus Mineral Waters resort that caused death and wounding of people. The guerrilla confirmed that his compatriot Achimez Gochiyaev established and heads the terrorist group, who is federally and internationally wanted. According to Salpagarov, all the young people from the group were specially trained in guerrillas camps in Chechnya, and participated in illegal armed formations. At present 23 members of the group are arrested and their cases are being investigated.

LAST CHILDREN OF THE "FAMILY"

Sobesednik, No. 46, November, 2001, p. 4

The actions of the Auditing Commission and the General Prosecutor’s Office against another representative of the “Family”, Nikolai Aksenenko, were the first and the main sign of upcoming personnel changes. It is an open secret in political circles that Aksenenko and Voloshin are like twin brothers. And it is hard to believe that a criminal case against one of them cannot affect the other.

As soon as criminal charges against Aksenenko were issued, the Family lost its “funding source”. According to our sources, it was Putin who gave orders to start action against Aksenenko. If this is true, the days of Alexander Voloshin are numbered. However, it is hard to say whether President Putin will be able to find a successor to Voloshin in his “St. Petersburg team”. It is not ruled out that Voloshin’s successor will be from the staff of the presidential administration.

RUSSIANS DO NOT TRUST THEIR JUDGES

Profil, November 26, 2001, p. 2

The ROMIR agency has done a poll asking: “Do you think western countries are interested in Russia’s prosperity?” The majority of respondents – 64% – disagreed with this.

The Public Opinion Foundation asked its respondents what they think about the independency of the Russian court. Overwhelming majority of respondents – 71% – answered that they do not consider the court independent. Answering the question “What besides the law exerts the greatest influence on Russian judges?” 39% of respondents mentioned money, in fact accusing the judges of corruptibility. Four percent of respondents are convinced that judges depend on criminal structures and are afraid of the organized criminality; and according to two percent of respondents, the judges base their decisions on their personal attitude towards the defendant.

DEPUTIES CONSIDER VOLOSHIN’S PAST

Rossiyskie Vesti, November 28, 2001, p. 3

Judging by everything, there are no more top-ranking officials in Russia who can be secured about their future. Recently, the General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov received an inquiry from the Duma signed by 11 deputies, who demand the general prosecutor to provide them for complete information on the criminal cases in which present head of the presidential administration Alexander Voloshin was involved and on what basis they were canceled. In particular, the Duma deputies remind the general prosecutor of the results of the inspection carried out by the State Audit Commission in the Federal Financial Corporation headed by Voloshin then that illegally received in 1996-97 about $55.8 million dollars. The deputies also reminded about the two close relations between Voloshin and the Sibneft oil company during his service for the Kremlin: in 1999-2000 Sibneft received form the federal budget the biggest VAT amount, though all kinds of illegal ways were used for this: false exports, forged contracts, offshore tax payers privileges, and so on. According to the deputies all these actions that rudely violate the laws of the Russian Federation were not properly investigated. This address of the Duma deputies is likely to cause a loud scandal in the society and to provoke Voloshin’s voluntary or involuntary resignation.

A DRIFTING DEATH

Versty, November 29, 2001, p. 2

Four hundred million cubic meters of spent nuclear fuel is drifting towards the Yenisei river without any obstacles.

The underground “lens” with tremendous amount of liquid radioactive wastes is currently drifting in the Krasnoyarsk region and is gradually moving towards Yenisei. The speed of the layer is about a third of a kilometer a year, and there are about two kilometers to the river.

The lens appeared as a result of injection of liquid nuclear waste under the ground at the Severny testing ground. Now, after importing nuclear wastes from abroad was permitted, the underground injections will increase. It is absolutely clear what this may cause in the region and to the residents. However, it is hard even to imagine the results of the possible ecological disaster. So far there has been no information on preventive measures.

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