RUSSIA IN FIGURES

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RUSSIA IN FIGURES

Kommersant-Vlast, June 11, 2002, p. 6

By April 1, 2002, the overall assets of Russia’s banking system exceeded the pre-crisis level by 6%. Total bank capital is currently 14% more than in July 1998. The Central Bank says the restoration of the banking system is complete.

About 40,000 refugees have refused to return to Chechnya, expressing a wish to settle in Ingushetia. At the same time, about 10,000 forced migrants will return to Chechnya from Ingushetia before the start of September.

Mortality in Russia’s armed forces fell by 10% in 2001, according to Ivan Chizh, commander of the Main Military-Medical Administration of the Russian Defense Ministry.

In February 2002, 8.4% of Russia’s economically active population was unemployed. To compare: in February 2001, 10.2% of adult Russians were registered as unemployed. On average, searching for a new job takes nine months.

PROSECUTOR GENERAL IS INTERESTED IN "RUSSIAN TALIBS"

Inostranets, June 11, 2002, p. 8

The Prosecutor General’s Office will send a new request to the US concerning the case of Taliban members held at the Guantanamo base – those who are citizens of the Russian Federation.

The Prosecutor General’s Office will ask the U.S. Department of Justice to provide extra information about the prisoners, stated Sergei Fridinsky, Deputy Prosecutor for the Southern federal district. In particular, the investigators will ask the Americans to confirm reports about another two Russian citizens who were fighting on the side of the Taliban and were allegedly delivered to the Guantanamo base. The Prosecutor General’s Office will either send an international investigation team to the US, or Russian investigators will depart for Cuba.

For now, it has been established that three Russian citizens are in detention at the Guantanamo base. The prisoners come from the Volga area and the North Caucasus. It was also reported that officers of Russian intelligence agencies interrogated the “Russian Talibs” in Cuba. Meanwhile, the numerous reports about hundreds of Chechens who were supposed to have been fighting in Afghanistan on the Taliban side have not yet been supported by any evidence.

A RETURN MAY BECOME DEPORTATION

Inostranets, June 11, 2002, p. 7

Russian human rights groups fear that the government’s plans to return hundreds of refugees who are currently in Ingushetia to Chechnya will turn into driving them out of Ingushetia – essentially, forced deportation.

At a news conference on June 5 in Moscow, Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Migration and Rights network of the Memorial human rights group, stated: “We doubt that the movement of Chechen refugees to Chechnya will be voluntary.” In her words, this apprehension is based on a plan of action to resolve the problem of Chechen refugees, signed by the leaders of Ingushetia and Chechnya – Murat Ziazikov and Akhmad Kadyrov – as well as Viktor Kazantsev, presidential envoy for the Southern federal district, and Vladimir Yelagin, minister in charge of the restoration of Chechnya.

Gannushkina noted that there are currently 146,000 Chechen refugees in Ingushetia. Retuning them to Chechnya is supposed to happen over the second and third quarters of 2002. Human rights groups believe that arranging a voluntary return in such a short time is impossible. The head of Memorial said: “It is no coincidence that migration issues have now been transferred to the Interior Ministry – in other words, to a branch of the security services.”

Besides, human rights groups note that federal aid to the refugee camps in Ingushetia is being cut off – indicating that Chechens who fled Chechnya because of the war are being driven out of Ingushetia.

RUSSIAN AIRPLANES WILL STOP BEING TOO LOUD FOR EUROPEAN EARS

Versia, June 10, 2002, p. 4

The Tupolev Aviation Center has released the first Tu-154M plane which meets European noise level standards. The plane passed the final tests in Samara the other day, and will soon be used on international routes. Ural Airlines has already decided to acquire some of the new planes, at $8.5 million each; the company plans to use them on the Yekaterinburg-Barcelona route. In all, Tupolev will release five more planes of the new type by the end of the year. They will differ from their predecessors not only in their noise level, but also in more up to date navigation systems.

A SCHOOLBOY BEATS THE WORLD’S CRYPTOGRAPHERS

Versia, June 10, 2002, p. 4

It is just an illusion that developing cryptographic software is the province of a few specialists in the world’s leading intelligence agencies. To put it more precisely, this may be true abroad. As for Russia, even a tenth-grade schoolboy can manage it. A young resident of Biisk (the Altai region), Aleksandr Pakhomov, has managed to design a cryptographic program unlike any other. The achievement has been acknowledged by experts at a special research conference in Moscow. The amazing software is based on encoding via mathematic transformation, adding various unnecessary information to disorient and enhance the volume, and subsequent archiving. However, other countries are already making advances to our hero – the Altai schoolboy has been invited to attend the annual Intel exhibition in the US.

NATO SURROUNDING RUSSIA

Versia, June 10, 2002, p. 4

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has written to NATO Secretary General George Robertson: a formal request for Ukraine to be accepted as a NATO member. As far as is known, Robertson was satisfied with the proposal, as it “expressed an urge welcomed in Brussels”. However, Kuchma did not say when Ukraine planned to join the alliance. Although Ukraine has consistently declared such intentions, over many years, there has been some hope over the last two years that the Ukrainian government had decided to re-orient itself toward Russia after all. However, it seems Kyiv has again fallen back into its old ways.

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