WHEN WILL PUTIN TALK?

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WHEN WILL PUTIN TALK?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 5, 2002, p. 1

According to the Constitution, the president must address both houses of parliament simultaneously once a year. While Boris Yeltsin was president, the address was usually postponed because of his health problems. When he finally addressed the Federal Assembly, everybody wondered whether or not he would be able to read his speech to the end.

With Putin the major issues are different. They have to do with the question of what the president is going to say and when. According to information received from the Kremlin, the president intended to deliver his speech in March. This conceptual address is now postponed.

Sources from the Old Square say that the address will be centered around two problems this year. It does not take a genius to guess what they are: the economy and foreign policy, with the latter including NATO, anti-ballistic missile defense, and relations with the United States.

According to information available at this point, work on the address is now in full swing.

IVANOV AND THE KURSK

Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 5, 2002, p. 2

“I am here to see how preparations for the dismantling of the Kursk are progressing and to see what should be done to get the colossus from the dock”, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in Roslaykovo. The phrase would have been all right but…

The Kursk is being prepared for dismantling in accordance with plans drafted by the Rubin Design Bureau and not the Defense Ministry. As defense minister, Ivanov should have kept an eye on finances. This is where problems arise.

It was known even before the minister’s visit that Roslyakovo employees had not been paid since last October. The Finance Ministry disbursed everything to the Defense Ministry but the money never made it to the workers. When the matter made it to the media, naval spokesman Igor Dygalo said that 10 million rubles had been sent to Roslyakovo. He must have either been lying or telling the truth, but the money never made it to Roslyakovo. Representatives of the factory announced that the Kursk would never leave the territory of the factory unless the government paid the workers 10.5 million rubles worth of wage debts.

The salvaging operation cost $150 million. The foreigners involved got their money on time.

RUSSIA, GEORGIA, AND AMERICA DISCUSS…

Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 5, 2002, p. 2

The three countries have held talks on how many Americans will turn up in Georgia and when and whether or not this will offend Moscow.

Duma deputies intend to discuss the matter at their next meeting.

Last week the Americans assured Russia’s Defense Minister that they sent to Georgia only a small team of specialists for the purpose of maintenance works on the Iroquois helicopters already shipped to Tbilisi. After that the Americans would merely train the Georgians. On Saturday, Gerogian President Shevardnadze said at his meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo that he was prepared to cooperate with Russia in all counter-terrorism actions. Agreement was reached on the plans of “voluntary” return of refugees from the Panki Gorge to Chechnya…

On Monday, however, Mr. Shevardnadze said he trusted Mr. Vladimir Putin but did not know whether Putin trusted him. Shevardnadze is irked by statements being made by some Russian politicians about recognizing independence of Abkhasia and South Ossetia, something that “will encourage separatism in your own country first and foremost”. It is not hard to know that he meant Chechnya.

State Duma’s committees for international affairs and CIS affairs will meet today to discuss “the situation in Georgia in the light of the appearance of an American military contingent on its territory”. Several draft resolutions have been prepared already. Some of them urge the executive branch of government to do everything within its powers to recognize the sovereignty of Abkhazia. Duma Chairman Gennadi Seleznev complained yesterday that Russian deputies had discussed the Abkhazian issue “too emotionally”. Boris Pastukhov, Chairman of the CIS Affairs Committee, condemned “all inconsiderate and illiterate – from the point of view of international law – statements made by some politicians”. It does not seem as if the Duma majority were going to adopt a threatening resolution anymore.

PRESIDENT PUTIN SIGNS A DECREE "ON IMPROVEMENT OF THE SYSTEM OF SALARY PAYMENT TO SERVICEMEN"

Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 5, 2002, p. 2

Under the decree, before May 1, 2002, the government should be offering remuneration that corresponds to major offices and ranks of servicemen drafted by contract and positions and ranks of state officials in the federal power structures.

HUNGARIAN NUCLEAR WASTES TO BE LEFT IN CHELYABINSK

Izvestia, March 5, 2002, p. 2

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