DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER BECOMES A DEPUTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MINISTER

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DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER BECOMES A DEPUTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MINISTER

Izvestia, July 12, 2002, p. 1

On July 11 the Defense Ministry announced that Colonel-General Vladislav Putilin, chief of the Main Organization and Mobilization Department and a deputy defense minister, has been appointed a deputy minister for economic development and trade. In his new post, he will be concerned with the nation’s mobilization resources. However, as we went to print, neither Economic Development Minister Herman Gref nor the Presidential Administration had confirmed this appointment.

RELIGIOUS LEADERS PREPARED TO COOPERATE WITH THE INTERIOR MINISTRY

Izvestia, July 12, 2002, p. 4

On July 11, Police Colonel-General Vladimir Vasilyev, a deputy interior minister, held a private meeting with religious leaders at the Interior Ministry. Vasilyev told us that the meeting was closed to the media due to his “wish to speak freely; and, you know, it was a success.” The religious leaders had some complaints to present; while senior police officials were not only glad to allow them to let off some steam, but also aiming to determine some areas for cooperation.

The police are alarmed about the processes taking place in society. Quite often it is impossible to control them by punitive measures alone. It has become clear that the law enforcement agencies are not self-sufficient, and need allies.

In Vasilyev’s words, the meeting proved fruitful – not only general ideas and views were outlined, but also some methods of cooperation. A working group was established, to include all those present. The group will deal with issues on which the interests of religions and the police coincide.

In reference to acts of terrorism involving exploding signs, which became widespread, Vasilyev promised to use the full force of existing law without any allowances for “pranks which have dangerous and terrible consequences.”

Rabbi Berl Lazar said: “We are tired of explaining to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Interior Ministry that these events are not just hooliganism. We regard this as terrorism, and if nothing is done about it now, it will only become worse.”

According to Vasilyev, the police can be helpful to Russia’s various religious faiths, and the faiths “could also assist us in our work – by supporting and protecting officers of the law enforcement agencies.”

The religious leaders, who do not usually receive very much attention from state structures, agreed with Vasilyev on almost all points. They tried to avoid discussing inter-faith and ethnic problems. Ezras Nersenyan, head of the Russian bishopric of the Armenian Apostolic Church, didn’t even mention the recent events in Krasnoarmeysk; while Archbishop Tadeus Kondrusevich noted only one problem – legalization of residence permits for priests from abroad.

UNION OF RIGHT FORCES SUPPORTS LEGALIZING PROSTITUTION

Izvestia, July 12, 2002, p. 4

On July 11, members of the Union of Right Forces (URF) Duma faction announced a proposal for a legal method of resolving the problem of prostitution. They intend to draw up a corresponding bill by the autumn session.

URF deputy faction leader Alexander Barannikov says: “Toughening criminal penalties, as some politicians advocate, doesn’t reduce the problem in this case.” In his opinion, “the so-called moral guardians representing the interests of organized crime will object to this law more loudly than others; the tremendous profits of these dealers will be threatened.”

According to Interfax, daily turnover in this sphere in Moscow and the Moscow region amounts to around $500,000.

RUSSIAN DEFENSE SECTOR HAS SOMETHING TO IMPRESS BUYERS

Izvestia, July 12, 2002, p. 4

The Russian defense industry has tremendous research and development resources, according to Alexander Dondukov, deputy chairman of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee. Speaking at an arms expo in Nizhny Tagil, Dondukov stressed that no one was yet aware of the potential in research projects which are 90-95% complete. Dondukov said there are research projects which are 10-15 years ahead of any similar research abroad. This potential must be developed into finished products and presented at arms shows in a new quality. At present, said Dondukov, the global arms market is worth $60 billion a year. He is certain that it will be possible for Russia to win a considerable market share by developing its potential for sale.

CHECHNYA: LANDMINES TAKE A TOLL

Izvestia, July 12, 2002, p. 3

On the morning of July 11 a bus carrying Chechen police from the permanent Interior Department of Gudermes was blown up on the road between the villages of Kazi-Yurt and Novye Gordali. Around 36 people were injured, according to the Chechen Interior Ministry Department.

A combined regiment of police, military troops, and special services was on its way to the village of Engel-Yurt for a special operation when guerrillas detonated a remote-controlled landmine. It detonated when the bus had almost passed the area where the mine had been laid. The Interior Ministry Department believes the Chechen police were being hunted. Before the incident, they had received repeated threats.

“In Chechnya the Wahhabis have unleashed a real war on the roads against our companions,” said a source at the Chechen Interior Ministry Department, recalling that on April 18 a bus carrying Special Police Force troops was blown up in Grozny, with 18 casualties.

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