THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Trud, June 19, 2002, p. 1

Speaking at the “Media industry: orientation of reforms” national conference on Tuesday, President Putin noted that until quite recently, the Russian media had been characterized by their dependence; they had been used as a tool to gain political advantage in a competitive struggle in the more profitable sectors of the economy.

“The financial dependence of the media does not permit them to meet the citizens’ constitutional right to reliable information,” Putin stressed. The president considers that qualitatively new stage is now beginning in the development of the media industry in Russia – a stage of transformation into part of the contemporary market economy, which not only has potential for growth, but can also stimulate advanced technology in other spheres.

Putin described the media conference as quite substantial, since over 800 delegates from all Russian regions are taking part in it.

FORMER EMPLOYEE OF RUSSIA’S PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION DETAINED

Izvestia, June 19, 2002, p. 3

It was reported on June 18 that on June 15 agents of the Main Criminal Investigation Department had detained Larisa Serebryannikova, a former employee of the Presidential Administration. According to the Main Criminal Investigation Department, the Latvian government is accusing Serebryannikova of misappropriating over $1 million of depositors’ money. Serebryannikova had moved to Moscow, using forged ID papers, and had been writing for the Mir Novostei newspaper under the pen-name Laura Silver.

Presidential Administration spokesman Viktor Khrekov confirmed to us that Serebryannikova had worked there for a few months, but had been dismissed earlier this year. Khrekov refused to make any further comments, pointing out that he had no knowledge of the alleged illegal activities of the former employee of the Presidential Administration.

At present, Serebryannikova is in the temporary detention cell at the Moscow Main Interior Department.

ALEXEI LEBED WANTS TO REPLACE HIS BROTHER

Izvestia, June 19, 2002, p. 3

On June 18 Alexei Lebed, leader of the Khakassia Republic, decided to enter the race for governor of the Krasnoyarsk territory.

Alexei Lebed thus becomes Russia’s first politician to attempt to take up his brother’s cause. After being a paratrooper, just like his brother, Lebed was elected to lead the Khakassia Republic in 1996.

According to Alexei Lebed, he knows the situation in the neighboring Krasnoyarsk territory well, since its industry structure is identical to that of Khakassia.

A Khakassia resident who wished to be identified only as Olga, employed at a local hotel, says she didn’t vote for Alexei Lebed the second time, since she doesn’t think the situation will change for the better. She is philosophical about the idea of Lebed being nominated in Krasnoyarsk: “We certainly wouldn’t re-elect him for a third term.”

Besides Lebed, other candidates include Governor Alexander Khloponin of the Taimyr autonomous district and former Soviet millionaire Artem Tarasov, now a resident of Britain.

Representatives of Khakassia in the Federation Council haven’t yet commented on the regional leader’s decision to run in the Krasnoyarsk election.

MOBILE FORCES TO WRECK THE AIRBORNE TROOPS?

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, June 19, 2002, p. 2

Media reports of proposals to set up some kind of “mobile forces”, numbering 200,000, based on the Airborne Troops, have shocked Russia’s leading military analysts.

“NATO is just beginning to adopt what we practised 20 years ago in many trouble-spots around the world,” says Colonel General Yevgeny Podkolzin of the Airborne Troops, who commanded these forces for a decade. Russia has had the opportunity to ensure that a regiment of paratroopers can be airlifted and deployed within hours, whereas a transfer to mobile forces, patterned on the US model, would take weeks or months.

…Before going to print, we contacted Colonel General Georgy Shpak, commander of the Airborne Troops. He said that the Airborne Troops, which are traditionally assigned the status of the supreme commander-in-chief’s reserve, number about 30,000.

The Airborne Troops will remain a separate force, Colonel General Shpak said.

The General Staff believes the attempt to create the notorious “mobile forces” is a bluff. It would require some means of transport, ships or planes, sufficient for 200,000 people.

DUMA INTENDS TO DISCUSS THE "KALININGRAD MISUNDERSTANDING"

Trud, June 19, 2002, p. 2

An official statement, as well as a bill which has already caused a stir, have been tabled in the Duma. They propose that the Duma should arrange for political and legal reassessment of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact of August 23, 1939, and the secret protocols to it.

Viktor Alksnis, a member of the Duma Committee for Federation Affairs and Regional Policy, one of the authors of the bill, noted in his comment that Soviet legislators had discussed these documents and made the corresponding decisions as far back as December 24, 1989, but they didn’t have the original text of the treaty and the protocols. These documents were declassified in 1992, shaping a new legal situation. It became clear that according to the protocols, the town of Vilno and the adjacent region were handed over to Lithuania on October 10, 1939.

“Thus, a part of Poland, a sovereign state, was handed to another state,” Alksnis pointed out. Russia is making no claims to this area, and considers that Poland and Lithuania will be able to resolve the territorial uncertainty by themselves.

How might this affect resolution of the Kaliningrad problem? Alksnis believes this would make our Western European partners reconsider the unconstructive position they have adopted. “This is only the first list we have taken out of Pandora’s box,” Alksnis stressed.

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