GENERAL BECOMES GREF’S DEPUTY

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GENERAL BECOMES GREF’S DEPUTY

Izvestia, July 18, 2002, p. 3

General Vladislav Putilin has been appointed deputy minister of economic development and trade. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov signed an order to that effect on Tuesday. Previously, Putilin held the post of deputy chief of the General Staff. By other order the premier released current deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Vyacheslav Mozgalyov from his duties because of his retirement on a pension. Putilin will concern himself with economic preparedness activities and defense industry order. Russian news agency “Novosti” obtained this information on Wednesday at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. The first information about the general’s possible taking office with the ministry came to light last week but the ministry’s officials said then that they were not aware of such plans. Commenting on Putilin’s appointment, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Oslo that he was “sorry to part with Putilin”. He underlined that it had not been the Defense Ministry that suggested the appointment in question. At the same time, Ivanov observed that despite the transfer to a civil service department Putilin would remain a military man. The defense minister approves in principle of a tendency of sophisticated military men assuming civil offices and sophisticated civil servants taking offices with the Defense Ministry. Ivanov pointed out that one of the deputy ministers of economy is a military man. According to the defense minister, Putilin is well-known among economists.

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT HAS MINED CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE

Izvestia, July 18, 2002, p. 2

On July 17 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation issued a sensational decision. A number of provisions of the law on RF Prosecutor’s Office and the RF Criminal Procedure Code which allow toughening of a sentence after a court brings in a verdict of not guilty were declared as inconsistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation. It should be noted however that still the Constitutional Court recognized the right of a prosecutor’s office to reverse in exceptional circumstances a sentence passed by a court.

The sensation caused by yesterday’s decision of the Constitutional Court can be compared to that of a notorious decree issued in March in compliance with which a new Criminal Procedure Code has been in effect in Russia since July 1. Only specialists know that some norms of the old Criminal Procedure Code will be valid till January 1, 2003, including Article No. 405 prohibiting a prosecutor’s office to dispute and toughen a sentence after the latter is issued. Many lawyers believe now that a delayed-action mime is threatening Article No. 405.

DEFENSE ENTERPRISES BORROW FROM THE BANK OF MOSCOW

Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 18, 2002, p. 2

The Bank of Moscow continues to lend to Russian defense industry enterprises. All in all since the beginning of 2002 the volume of pre-export financing has totaled over $90 million. Not long ago the bank provided a loan to a sum of 185 million rubles for Northern Machine Building Enterprise (Sevmash) till the end of the year running. In the first half of this year, the Bank of Moscow opened credit lines for such well-known companies as Izhevskiy Elektromekhanicheskiy Zavod (Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant) “KUPOL”, Kazan Helicopters Company, Vyatka Machine Building Enterprise “Avitek”, Instrumentation Design Bureau (Tula), Phazotron-NIIR Corporation (Moscow), the V.A. Degtyarev Plant, the Zverev Krasnogorsk Plant, Izhmash Concern (Izhevsk) and some others.

INVISIBLE ROCKET

Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 18, 2002, p. 2

It has become usual in Russia’s army to lose something: now and then a soldier cannot find his toothbrush, or ammunition disappears from a storehouse, or defense budget funds go astray. The other day a space vehicle Demonstrator-2 was lost! Submariners launched it from the Barents Sea in the direction of Kamchatka Peninsula where it was to have landed on a testing ground but it did not. The military does not know where the space vehicle is now.

Specialists are checking the telemetry of the flight and a search is being conducted in the area of supposed landing in Kamchatka. Military men reckon that Demonstrator-2 could have either burnt in space or landed in some other area, most likely in the sea. These suggestions sound strange, to put it mildly, for it is not just a usual shell but a space vehicle filled with up-to-date equipment, including a control system. And suddenly such inaccuracy! As luck would have it, the apparatus did not drop on any city, though it might have done and even abroad.

The lost space vehicle was constructed at the Research and Test Center named after Babakin with the assistance of European space company Astrium. This unique apparatus is meant to deliver freight from the orbit to the Earth and land on other planets. Demonstrator-2 was launched on July 12 from atomic submarine Ryazan by means of carrier rocket Volna. At the moment of the launch the submarine was under the water.

Demonstrator’s fate is rather sad: two previous attempts to launch an apparatus of this kind failed to be a success. It should be noted that in both cases the completion stage of the flight proved a failure. In 2000, the inflatable brake system had not been inflated completely and the apparatus was lost. In July 2001, the landing module failed to undock from the carrier rocket.

TNT AMUSEMENT

Mir Novostei, July 16, 2002, p. 3

It looks like a new kind of terrorism has appeared in Russia. The media have given it the name of “placard terrorism”. Over the last two months several people have fallen victim to placards carrying anti-Semitic slogans and obscenities, with explosives attached. The latest accident in Baltyisk killed a 50-year-old man.

The first accident occurred on May 27 in Kyiv Shosse (highway) in the suburbs of Moscow where a placard with a slogan “Death to damned Jews” blew up. A woman named Tatyana Sapunova received numerous injuries. Similar placards were found later: on June 12 at the 83rd kilometer mark of the Moscow Ring Road, on June 17 in a square near the airport of Krasnoyarsk, on July 4 on one of highways of Vladivostok. Fortunately, all those accidents caused no deaths. Two weeks ago in the Tomsk region while trying to remove an anti-Semitic slogan from the road one of the chief executives of Tomsk City Road Building Agency and his driver got injured.

It is worth while to observe that all the accidents took place right at the time of passing a law on extremism and many people regarded the chain of cynical blasts as a grave reason for approval of the law. Last week the Council of Federation passed the bill.

But let us ask ourselves a question: What is extremism? It is simply adherence to extreme measures in putting some idea into practice. So what goals do those shocking the society by their impudent actions pursue? It is quite difficult to trace logic in their actions. Actually, nowadays in Russia there are quite enough social irritants to outweigh the hackneyed dislike for Jews. Nonetheless, the anti-Semitic subject has been chosen.

Suspects in the case of the Kyiv Shosse blast have not been named yet. The blast in Baltyisk is an exception, for it is alleged that some people have already been arrested. But in that case the first few hours of investigation cleared the situation. Accidents in Moscow are still being investigated but from all appearances they are not likely to be disclosed. It is not that the police is weak. Simply the motifs of those acts are not clear. If those blasts were carried out by neo-fascist extremists then the latter simply wanted to manifest themselves. TNT-style PR is very suitable for them and one can suspect any extremist organization.

However, all this warfare against Jews is most likely to be a feint for a hooligan action, which, strange as it may seem, is not meant to incite ethnic hatred.

It is said in a report issued by the Interior Ministry that the other day officers of the Criminal Investigation Department and the task force of the Federal Security Service Department detained 7 residents of the St. Petersburg region who are suspected of blowing up a T-34 tank in the memorial Nevsky Pyatachok on Kirovsk-Otradnoye road.

Investigators into the matter are not excluding that the detained people (a pensioner, a private entrepreneur and five unemployed men) may be members of a neo-fascist movement and carry out extremist actions.

That might be so, but officials of the Prosecutor’s Office in St. Petersburg believe that the blast in Nevsky Pyatachok was carried out not by local residents but people who came to St. Petersburg for that particular purpose.

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