RAIL TRANSPORT REFORMS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS

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RAIL TRANSPORT REFORMS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS

Izvestia, April 3, 2002, p. 3

The Railroads Ministry will hold a meeting today on rail transport reforms. It is not ruled out some deputy ministers will lose their jobs after this meeting.

Deputy ministers Alexander Misharin and Anna Belova are said to be the most likely to be dismissed.

Deputy minister Victor Smirnov, in charge of security, has already handed in his resignation – but it was not accepted. Maybe the minister’s views have changed: two major accidents took place yesterday. A freight carriage ran into a passenger carriage at the Yaroslavskii station in Moscow; 47 people were injured. Meanwhile, a train loaded with coal ran off the rails at the Omsk division of the West-Siberian Railway.

The matter may not stop at deputy ministers: Railroads Minister Gennady Fadeyev will turn 65 on April 10. The law “On civil service” implies that he should retire at that age. Fadeyev tried to meet with the president last week, but the meeting did not take place, according to our sources.

BAN THE COMMUNISTS!

Moskovskii Komsomolets, April 3, 2002, p. 2

Yesterday, Duma deputy Alexander Fedulov (Fatherland – All Russia) had every intention of proposing to ban the Communist Party.

Fedulov prepared a corresponding resolution, and is ready to submit it to the Duma Council. Apart from eliminating the CPRF, Fedulov wants to sue Gennady Zyuganov. In his view, “a number of Zyuganov’s statements and speeches contribute to inciting social and ethnic hatred”. Fedulov is sure the centrists will support him, but this is unlikely. The centrists don’t want such open confrontation within the Duma right now. Thus, a colleague of Fedulov’s told us that this was Fedulov’s personal initiative, and quite “untimely” at that.

TEA FOR TWO

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, April 3, 2002, p. 2

The Italian prime minister arrived in Russia yesterday. His agenda is very full. The visit started with an informal meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei resort in Sochi. After the first exchange of views, the two countries’ leaders left for one of the sights around Sochi: “Tea Cabins”, located in Dagomys. Here they had tea and continued the talks begun at the residence.

The parties discussed the contractual and legal basis of relations between Russia and Italy, as well as some key projects. They also spoke about the situation in the Middle East and the Balkans. Among the issues on the agenda were forming the “twenty” (NATO plus Russia), Russia’s cooperation with the European Union, simplification of visa arrangements, Russia joining the World Trade Organization, and the counter-terrorist war in Afghanistan.

The talks will continue today, this time officially. They will take place in Moscow, and key ministers from Russia and Italy will participate. Several agreements are supposed to be signed based on the results of the meetings. Among them is a joint statement on cooperation.

NEO-NAZI OUTRAGE

Tribuna, April 3, 2002, p. 1

Police were called in when violence broke out among groups of teenagers in Yekaterinburg. This is one of the first serious incidents in which young neo-nazis have been involved. About 350 teenagers, from 13 to 17, had gathered for a concert by a band called Caste. The young rappers were waiting outside the venue for the doors to open, when neo-nazi skinheads attacked. The skinheads were wearing black and carrying sticks, stones, straps, bottles, and metal bars. Within minutes, they were beating up the other teenagers, shouting “The Russians are here!” and “No black music!” The exact number of injured remains unknown. Several young people have already been taken to emergency wards with serious head and facial injuries.

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