BEREZOVSKY EMBROILING TOP-RANKING OFFICIALS WITH EACH OTHER
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, December 5, 2001, p. 2
Boris Berezovsky has published his “Letter from London” in the newspaper “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” belonging to him. In the letter he suggests that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Presidential Administration Director Alexander Voloshin, and head of Russian Joint Energy Systems Anatoly Chubais immediately resign and join his opposition. We have asked President of the Politika foundation Vyacheslav Nikonov to comment on this letter.
Vyacheslav Nikonov: Frankly speaking, I would not resign on the place of those people whom Berezovsky asks to join his opposition. Otherwise, he will pull them to a political abyss.
I don’t rule out that the author of the letter sincerely believes in what he has written. Perhaps he thinks that the way of retaining the political future for a person in Russia is to do as he has done, i.e. slam the door and try to set up the opposition.
It should be kept in mind that Berezovsky has always been fond of political games: he enjoys embroiling politicians with one another and he often succeeds with this business. It is an open secret that the addressees of his latest message are from the team of the first president of the Russian Federation. At the same time, a lot of politicians from St. Petersburg are coming to power now. Personally I think that the new St. Petersburg team is becoming skillful enough. Putin has not invented anything new: many leaders make their teams out of people with whom they previously worked.
KREMLIN’S MAIN SECRET
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, December 5, 2001, p. 2
Recently some media started to report that several competing teams have been formed around President Putin, and now these teams are beginning to struggle for survival. We have asked political consultant Gleb Pavlovsky to comment on these rumors.
Gleb Pavlovsky: The more newspapers rumor about contradictions between Kremlin teams, the clearer it is that this is not even a hypothesis but just a fiction. Of course, the Kremlin team consists of different people who stick to different economic and political concepts. Nevertheless, they are working together, and I don’t think that this team is changing quickly.
I don’t think that these rumors are initiated by special services or some Kremlin officials.
In my opinion, the Kremlin’s main secret is that there are no political contradictions in it. And they can hardly be created by means of media campaigns.
RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION ASSEMBLING
Izvestia, December 5, 2001, p. 2
On December 4, 2001, the Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission assembled after a three-year break. Prime Ministers Mikhail Kasyanov and Anatoly Kinakh were constructing plans of strategic partnership and promised to transit to the free trade regime really soon. But first of all Moscow and Kiev are to sign a protocol on deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine.
Mikhail Kasyanov announced at the meeting, “The gas issue is no longer a problem for us.” The Ukrainian parliament has ratified the agreements on Ukraine’s gas debts. Current deliveries will be regulated by annual protocols determining extents of deliveries and conditions of payment and transit. A source in the governmental circles has reported that the Russian government is ready to pay Ukraine for gas transit not with gas but with money in order to upgrade the financial transparency. However, the Kinakh government does not seem to be ready to consent to such a step. “Money is transferred right to a bank account, whereas extra gas deliveries make it possible to perform some machinations,” the source has noted.
NAVY RECEIVING NEW SUBMARINE
Izvestia, December 5, 2001, p. 1
On December 4, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin accepted the new nuclear submarine Gepard to the Russian Armed Forces. The previous submarine was received by the Armed Forces in 1996. Overall, the ship-building plant in Severodvinsk has manufactured 170 nuclear submarines already, but this was the first time when the supreme commander-in-chief attended its launching.
The solemn ceremony of the launching of the submarine took 10 minutes. Acting commander of the Northern Fleet Vladimir Dobroskochenko recited Order No. 040 on the acceptation of the submarine to the fleet. After that Vladimir Putin gave the captain of the submarine a guards flag that was immediately hoisted over the submarine. Then he congratulated sailors who cried our “Hooray!” for three times in response.
Then Putin entered the submarine together with Arkhangelsk Governor Anatoly Yefremov. He met with the captain and the crew there.
SILENCE OF GENERALS
Trud, December 5, 2001, p. 2
In Makhachkala the mobile hearing of the Supreme Court of Dagestan continues to consider the case of Salman Raduev, one of the leaders of Chechen terrorists, and three of his accomplices. About 100 witnesses and victims have been questioned already. In the opinion of General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation Vladimir Ustinov, the guilt of the accused in the bloody attack on Kizlyar is becoming more and more obvious.
However, an unbiased observer is likely to feel a bit dissatisfied. For instance, the court has not considered the question why Raduev’s gang managed to escape from a think siege. The people who could shed light on this mystery are former interior minister Anatoly Kulikov and former director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Mikhail Barsukov who were in charge of the operation. However, they have refused to participate in the trial allegedly because they have a lot of things to do now.
On December 4, the court started to consider the terror act arranged by Raduev in Pyatigorsk on April 28, 1997. As a result of the explosion at the railroad station two people died and 40 were wounded. The performers of the terror act, Aiset Dadasheva and Fatima Taimaskhanova, were sentenced for 19 and 16 years of prison respectively. They were brought to the court from prison for the hearings.
After the court finishes interrogations of witnesses and victims of the terror act, it will start to study the material proofs of the crime, including video records of 1996-1997.