PASKO’S LAWYERS HAVE OVERTURNED TWO ORDERS OF THE DEFENSE MINISTRY

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PASKO’S LAWYERS HAVE OVERTURNED TWO ORDERS OF THE DEFENSE MINISTRY

Izvestia, February 14, 2002, p. 3

The Supreme Court of Russia military board yesterday upheld the appeal of military journalist Grigory Pasko, sentenced to four years for espionage. It recognized as unlawful the point in the Defense Ministry’s order that banned military personnel from having any contact with foreigners. The previous day, the board has recognized as unlawful a similar order which listed intelligence information classified as secret.

Yesterday the Supreme Court of Russia military board recognized as invalid point 70 of “Instructions for protecting state secrets in the Armed Forces”, which went into effect in 1990 by order No. 10 from the Defense Ministry. This point prohibited informal contacts with foreign citizens for officers who have access to secret information, if this not part of their professional duty.

On Tuesday, the military board recognized as unlawful order No. 055 from the defense minister, dated August 10, 1996, which determined the list of secret information. The order was declared invalid from the day of the court decision’s coming into force. This does not change anything in the Pasko case, so his lawyers are going to appeal against the verdict in the highest court. The Pasko case was based on these orders which have now been found invalid, so it is said to be simply collapsing. The most unpleasant thing the court can do in this situation is to schedule the case for a new hearing. However, Pako is more likely to stay in prison until the consideration of the appeal.

Chief military prosecutor Mikhail Kislitsin said yesterday that the decision would not affect further consideration of the case. He said the decision did not mention order No. 055. The court refers to the law “On state secrets” and the president’s decree which approves the list of information defined as state secrets.

FAPSI YEARNS FOR LOURDES

Argumenty i Fakty, February 14, 2002, p. 1

The removal of Russia’s top-secret intelligence center at Lourdes (Cuba) was carried out in emergency evacuation mode. It cost so much that those in charge of military spending are still shocked. Most of the thousand Russian specialists working there were urgently evacuated from Cuba by Il-62 planes. A few Ruslan planes – the world’s largest cargo planes – removed the most valuable equipment. The rest was dispatched by ship.

However, there is a possibility that all the unique intelligence equipment will have to be dispatched back to Cuba very soon. The authorities of the Federal Agency for Government Communication and Information (FAPSI) and the Foreign Intelligence Service have complained about the chief of the General Staff. For Anatoly Kvashnin – the initiator of the withdrawal from Lourdes – rather let down the president, not having coordinated this matter with anyone. It’s become quite clear that Russia will get nothing in return for pulling out of Cuba.

SNOUTS IN THE TROUGH

Moskovskii Komsomolets, February 14, 2002, pp. 1-2

Over a billion rubles was spent on members of parliament in 2000 (not counting their salaries) and over 2 billion rubles is planned to be spent this year. Apart from a salary of 10-12,000 rubles a month, Duma deputies and senators have the right to quite a few diverse privileges and bonuses. The most outstanding point is pension rights. A person who has been a deputy or senator will have an addition to the pension, making up 55-75% of a parliamentary salary.

Duma deputies of the present convocation have shown a stunning appetite for “status” seats – the number of chiefs and deputy chiefs of committees and commissions has surpassed all reasonable limits. At present, 38.6% of the Communist faction hold various committee posts, about 60% of the Union of Right Forces faction, and 43% of the Unity faction. Each of them needs a luxury office. The same situation applies in the Federation Council. There were 11 committees and one commission previously; now it is 16 and seven respectively. And the offices that suited regional leaders do not suit the new senators.

GOVERNMENT SUMS UP CIVIL FORUM RESULTS

Izvestia, February 14, 2002, p. 2

At today’s Cabinet meeting, along with discussing alternative civilian service, problems of homeless children, and preparations for the spring sowing season, the results of the Civil Forum will finally be summed up. Twenty-six proposals from the public will be taken into consideration.

One of the main demands from the public is for more effort in the fight against bureaucracy. With this purpose, they suggest establishing a national civil committee on cooperation with law-enforcement, legislative and judicial structures. And in order to reduce the number of civil servants, NGOs proposed to form a public advisory body on issues of justice and law and order.

The most unusual proposal is to establish a public-state museum of tolerance, as well as a public council on issues of tolerance.

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