MURDERERS OF LISTYEV AND STAROVOITOVA ARE ALMOST IDENTIFIED

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MURDERERS OF LISTYEV AND STAROVOITOVA ARE ALMOST IDENTIFIED

Izvestia, February 22, 2002, p. 2 EV

Speaking at a press conference at the Internal Ministry on February 21, agents of the Main Criminal Investigation Department (MCID) said that the investigation teams working on the murders of TV host Vladislav Listyev and Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova are very close to establishing the identity of the killers.

Interfax quoted MCID head Andrei Shilovsky as saying that the murderers of Vladislav Listyev had been identified. According to the investigation, they are presently abroad, and MCID agents are in close contact with Interpol on this issue. According to Shilovsky, the perpetrators of another notorious murder – that of deputy Galina Starovoitova – have also been identified. A search for them is underway, in Russia and abroad. However, Shilovsky denied any connection between these cases and the gang of Yuriy “Tankist” Biryuchenko, who was brought to St. Petersburg from Prague a few days ago together with another member of the gang.

Meanwhile, the MCID’s statements were bolts from the blue for all other departments involved in the investigation. Igor Tsirulnikov, press secretary of the Interpol office in Russia, told us that it was the first he’d heard of it, even though it is not ruled out that among the tens of thousands of people being sought by Interpol there are those whom the MCID meant.

The Procurator General’s Office, also involved in investigating Listyev’s murder, told us that no significant progress had been noted in the case lately.

The FSB department in St. Petersburg, which is searching for the murderers of Starovoitova, expressed perplexity about the reports and declined to make any comments.

ARGUN SEARCHED FOR THE SECOND TIME LAST MONTH

Izvestia, February 22, 2002, p. 2 EV

A check of all identity papers in Argun, Chechnya’s third-largest city, was completed on the evening of February 21. The prosecutor of Argun said: “Never before has a special operation been carried out so lawfully and in such an organized manner. Not a single complaint about violation of citizens’ rights was received.”

Meanwhile, a series of murders of officials, police and civilians was committed in Chechnya.

Unidentified people shot Director General of Chechenavtodor Abdurashid Kadyrov, Chechnya’s Interior Department reported. Ahyad Kadyrov, 78, was murdered. The bodies of police lieutenant Musa Mamadayev, Elvira Khalidova and Asset Akhmadova were found in Grozny. According to preliminary reports, both girls had disappeared a few days ago. The bodies have multiple gunshot wounds.

MINISTERS SHARE THE PIE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, February 22, 2002, EV

The redistribution of Cabinet portfolios in the wake of Ilya Klebanov’s demotion from the post of deputy prime minister has been completed, according to news agencies.

Most likely, Klebanov will remain the patron of the defense industry and will coordinate the work of Russia’s five defense agencies: the agency for shipbuilding, for ammunition, for control systems, for conventional armaments, and the Aerospace Agency…

As for the rest of Klebanov’s former duties, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko will be in charge of reforming rail transport, while Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko will be in charge of the pharmaceutical industry.

PROMPTS FOR THE PRESIDENT

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, February 22, 2002, p. 3

Preparations for the president’s annual address to the parliament are underway already, according to sources at the Presidential Administration.

Putin’s address is expected to answer the questions citizens asked him during a live interview at the end of 2001.

State-controlled TV channels will broadcast the presidential address to the Federal Assembly as usual.

Moreover, part of the president’s speech is likely to be devoted to looking at how the goals he set in last year’s address have been handled. All ministries and departments have already submitted their analytical surveys and reports.

Apparently, there have been some innovations in the preparation of the presidential address this year. In particular, Putin is holding direct consultations with leaders of the Duma factions and other Russian politicians. They are share their thoughts with the media.

For instance, Russian Regions deputy group leader Oleg Morozov thinks that “the federal government’s policy in regard to the regions will undoubtedly be among the priorities in the president’s address.”

President Leonid Markelov of the Republic of Marii El hopes that in his address this year Putin will outline the prospects of developing the state structure: “The powers of regional leaders are insufficient to resolve the problems they face.”

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