US CASUALTIES IN AFGHANISTAN
Zavtra, April 25, 2002, p. 1
According to our sources, the US military is creating a means of concealing the real casualties in Afghanistan. It is based on doubling the financial and material support for the families of servicemen killed in action, if they keep silent and do not speak to the media. This plan enables the US military to “clear out” all information on the high casualties it is taking in the operation in various provinces of Afghanistan.
CHUBAIS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
Zavtra, April 25, 2002, p. 1
According to our Kremlin sources, the authors of Putin’s annual address to parliament were a number of senior staff from the Economic Development Ministry, headed by Herman Gref. In particular, first deputy minister Naibulina and deputy minister Dvorkovich wrote the essential part of the address. Kordonsky, head of the presidential administration office, combined the parts. All of the above, as well as a number of experts involved in writing the address, belong to the team of Anatoly Chubais.
CATHOLIC EXPANSION IN RUSSIA
Vek, April-May, 2002, p. 4
This Sunday the People’s Party of Russia, supported by the Union of Orthodox Citizens (SPG), plans a campaign in support of Russian sovereignty, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional faiths. Participants intend to criticize an instruction issued by the Roman Catholic Church on the establishment of a bishipric and four dioceses in Russia.
According to Gennady Raikov, leader of the People’s Party of Russia, the decision of the Vatican endangers Russian sovereignty and is equivalent to permitting foreign military bases in Russia. The joint statement of SPG and the People’s Party says the expansion of the Roman Catholic Church in Russia is growing ever more disturbing, since it is taking place against the backdrop of obvious pressure on Russia from the West.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recently passed a memorandum stating that the Russian state allows the Russian Orthodox Church to play a particular, dominant role in public life and politics. SPG leader Valentin Lebedev says the response of the participants in the protest campaign will be confined to peaceful methods.
UNDER THE EUROPEAN ROOF
Itogi, No. 16, April 24, 2002, p. 29
From April 22 to 26 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is discussing the “Russia issue”: a report from Moscow on Russia’s fulfillment of its commitments to the Council of Europe. Before September 11, PACE had passed two resolutions on the possibility of expelling Russia for “its actions in Chechnya”. But now this issue has been removed from the agenda by history itself.
Is Europe prepared to give up its double standards, and accept Russia as an integral part of Europe? According to Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, “Russia lives beneath the roof of the house called Europe. Russia is a part of Europe – not only geographically, but also because it shares the ideals and principles of other states which are members of the Council of Europe.”
At the same time, some members of the Russian political elite now and then ask whether Russia’s membership of the Council of Europe is reasonable. The stumbling blocks include abolishing the death penalty, an idea which is unpopular in Russia; and the Council of Europe’s double standards concerning Chechnya; as well as the millions of dollars Russia pays to the Council of Europe, which could be spend on other things.