A PHANTOM OF THE IRON CURTAIN

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A PHANTOM OF THE IRON CURTAIN

Moskovskiy Komsomolets, February 6, 2002, p. 1

We have already reported about a draconian law on citizenship which the Duma is about to adopt. The deputies nearly started debating it recently, but have postponed it for two weeks more. As it turns out, the Presidential Administration displayed its wish to introduce toughening amendments into the law. The odds of “citizens from former Soviet republics” receiving Russian citizenship would almost evaporate…

In the fall the deputies had already debated the law in the first reading. As was supposed already then, the term of residence, required to receive a Russian passport, would be increased from three to five years. Privileges will only be available for those who were born in the territory of contemporary Russia. Recently a special working group was formed under the president to prepare proposals for combating illegal and undesirable migration. Employees of the Presidential Administration, officials of the Interior and Foreign ministries, and some deputies were included into the group. This group finally became proposing its ideas aimed at closing the country’s borders for migration as much as possible.

Now a few rather curious proposals have been included into the text of the law already. For instance, the five-years’ term of residence should be calculated since the moment of receiving a residence permit, instead of arriving to our country. It means in fact that the people will have to wait some two-three years more to be given the citizenship – and add another five years. Many of those who have resided in Russia without residence permits will have to start things anew.

Command of Russian is another new condition. To what proficiency is not clear. One thing is obvious at the moment: debating the new law in the Duma will be scandalous…

A GREAT EXODUS OF THE ARABS

Moskovskiy Komsomolets, February 6, 2002, p. 1

In the near future the rows of Arab mercenaries in Chechnya will become much scarcer, Russia’s special services reported. There at least two reasons for the upcoming exodus of the “dogs of war” from Arab states from Russia. To all appearances, the federal authorities have managed to agree with influential Chechens who are not smeared with blood and the latter “asked” the Arabs to leave. Moreover, Russia’s special forces increased its activities: over 30 field commanders have been eliminated over the past six months.

By the way, the federal troops in Chechnya possess information obtained from the special services of Georgia that the preparation for transiting Arabs from Chechnya to Georgia, into the Pankiss gorge, is underway, our sources reported. Around 800 most ardent thugs are getting ready to move out. It is not ruled out that Khattab will be among them. The price of the issues is around $ 2 million.

The photographing the reconnaissance of the federal troops obtained in Chechnya, confirm information of Georgia’s special services. At least five prepared helipads and a landing strip for light aircraft have been discovered in the mountainous districts in the zone of Russia-Georgia border recently.

THE DIAMOND GOVERNMENT CUT

Izvestia, February 6, 2002, p. 2

A new prime minister was elected in Yakutia on February 5 – former Interior Minister Semyon Nazarov. Former prime minister Vasiliy Vlasov is viewed among the most probable candidates for the presidency in the ALROSA company.

Yesterday, however, it was reported that Vlasov would only be elected vice president of ALROSA, while senior vice president of the republic Alexandr Matveyev would become the president. We received no comments from ALROSA. Senior vice president of the company Vladimir Dyukarev has not been acting president.

TOP SECRET COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS OF THE AIR FORCE STOLEN

Izvestia, February 6, 2002, p. 2

As became known on February 5, top secret equipment installed into Su-27 fighters was missing at a depot of a military unit in Primorye. The matter regards a friend-or-foe aerial identification system, Izvestia sources reported. Last time similar equipment fell into the hands of Russia’s potential enemies in 1976. if it is figured out that the systems were taken outside Russia, our country would incur colossal losses: all systems of Air Force and Air Defense will have to be re-ciphered.

Absence of three top secret products, components of the communication system in Su-27 fighters was discovered at a depot of the 11th Army of Air Force and Air Defense Forces, stationed in Ussuriisk of Primorye, two weeks ago during a regular inspection. A former chief of the guard service of the aviation garrison Tsentralnyaya Uglovaya, who had retired shortly before the inspection, came immediately under suspicion and was declared wanted. He was detained recently. The lawsuit was instituted against him, but based on the lack of equipment thus far.

Officials of the Procurator General’s branch office tend to think that the equipment had been stolen for resale. Intelligence services of other states can be the only possible buyers of the top secret equipment. Therefore, the Military Intelligence is searching for the missing equipment.

A DUMA SENSATION

Trud, February 6, 2002, p. 2

In the near future the Duma will be considering a new edition of the law on basic suffrage and the right of citizens to a referendum in Russia, in the second reading.

The coordinative council of four centrist coalitions and movements in the parliament – Unity, Fatherland – All Russia, Regions of Russia,and People’s Deputy – proposed its own amendments, which caused a sensation in the legislation practice. As the proposal has it, to win in the regional election, the candidates must gain an absolute majority. In accordance with amendments the council proposed, only those can be elected governors who would gain support of at least 50% plus one vote from the total number of the voters enlisted, Vladimir Pekhtin, leader of the Unity faction said. If none of the candidates gain support of the absolute majority, the election will be recognized invalid.

A smaller limit has been proposed for election into regional parliaments of local self-governments – only a quarter of the enlisted number of voters. If election to a local parliament is held on party lists, it is recognized valid if at least one party collects 12.5% of the vote.

Boris Nadezhdin, chairman of the Duma state-building committee, describes the amendments proposed by the centrist wing as destructive. “Were they in force now, quite a few of recently acting governors would have been elected,” he said, outlining the stand of the URF.

Who will head the regions and republics in which the barrier would not surmounted? The centrists have not provided for an answer in their draft law. However, leader of Regions of Russia deputy group Oleg Morozov proposed that an acting governor should be appointed by a presidential decree if that is the case. Can this be the hidden sense of the initiative?

Proposals of the centrists change the procedure of electing heads of federal subjects sweepingly, Director of the Political Study Institute Sergey Markov said to Trud. “I think two goals are pursued here: to increase of the electorate participating in the elections and the legitimacy of the elective structures and give the ‘governing party’ an opportunity to strengthen its positions, since passive voters would always support it,” he said.

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