PUTIN RECEIVES THE FIRST VICTIM OF THE "POSTER WAR"
Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 26, 2002, p. 2
On July 25, President Putin received Tatiana Sapunova, the woman who was injured when she decided to remove a poster reading “Death to Jews” and it exploded. This incident started the recent “poster war” in Russia.
For Putin meeting with Sapunova is a gesture, a gesture both for Russia and the whole world. It is not a secret that no official anti-Semitism had existed in the Soviet Union. The honorable position of the Hydrometeorology Committee was assigned to the Jews. In particular, they could be violing players, mathematicians or dissidents. They were admitted to defense physics as rarely as possible. The gloomy Soviet heritage cannot vanish as if by magic. However, for contemporary Russia which is trying to carry out reforms, this position is destructive. Division of the nation on the basis of ethnicity will undoubtedly cause stagnation.
At the meeting with Sapunova, Putin clarified the position of the authorities on the issue. This is always important in Russia, as is the fact that the president does not shy away from making such gestures.
IGOR IVANOV EXTENDING THE TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILROAD
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 26, 2002, p. 2
On July 26 Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov opens his tour on a series of Asian states. The first stops are scheduled in South Korea and North Korea.
The project on uniting the Trans-Siberian Railway with railroads of the north and the south of the Korean peninsula will be among the most significant issues discussed in Seoul and Pyongyang.
What is Russia’s interest in the issue? We asked Alexander Yakovenko, Director of Information and Press Department of the Foreign Ministry:
Russia’s concern in this project is easily explainable both by the project’s economic efficiency (on the point of the maximal load of the Trans-Siberian Railway and development of the Russian Far East) and geopolitical significance of the creation of the united transport main in the Korean peninsula, what would obviously promote to relieving of tension in this very complicated region of South-East Asia.
Besides thorough elaboration of the project’s technical-economic and time parameters, adjustment of the specific route and determining the estimated volumes of transit loads, legally drawn agreement between the South Korea and North Korea on uniting their railroads is required.
LITVINENKO TRIES TO SHED LIGHT ON MOSCOW EXPLOSIONS IN SEPTEMBER 1999
Izvestia, July 26, 2002, p. 3
Yesterday, with the help of a TV hook-up, the representatives of the board of inquiry of the Moscow explosions in September 1999 had a talk with the formal lieutenant colonel of the Federal Security Service (FSS) Alexander Litvinenko, who lives now in London, his attorney Yury Felshtinsky and Tatiana Morozova, whose mother died during the September explosions.
Litvinenko displayed the written explanations of Gotchiyayev.
“There is no doubt that Gotchiyayev tells the truth. He recounts his biography and says that he rented the premises on Kashira highway, Gurianov street, Borisov ponds and Kapotnya, but when he knew about two explosions, he informed the police of the possibility of repetition. According to Gotchiyayev, his good friend had asked him to rent the premises. Evidently, this friend had been an FSB agent. It means that Gotchiyayev was unaware,” Litvinenko said.
After that, Felshtinsky and Litvinenko showed photos of Gotchiyayev. In the first photo Atchemez is sitting with two children. In the second photo he is near Khattab.
“We established for certain that the photo with Khattab is a digital mock-up. The FSB holds back this fact,” Litvinenko and Felshtinsky stated.
Also, Litvinenko and Felshtinsky told about their meetings with two other suspects, Krymshankhalov and Batchayev. They insist that the explosions had been planned by FSB director Nikolai Patrushev personnaly.
ALLIES DISCUSSING COUNTER-TERROR STRATEGY
Izvestia, July 26, 2002, p. 2
Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov arrived in Washington, D.C. After the May summit in Moscow and St. Petersburg, these are the first serious consultations at the expert level (the delegation includes 27 people). They will be specifying the global strategy of joint fight with terrorism.
Right after his arrival in Washington, Trubnikov told us the consultations would touch on issues of the situation in Central and South Asia and other regions.
Answering the question about contradictions between Russia and the US for Iraq, the deputy minister said, “I am not sure the problem of Iraq will be broached fully. We would like Baghdad to agree to the return of international inspectors and we are doing all we can along this line. However, Russia is against force actions in respect to Iraq and Americans are well aware of this”. Trubnikov noted the situation in Afghanistan remained difficult.
According to him, Russia was doing all it could to support the interim administration of Kabul and save unity in its ranks. According to Trubnikov, he had no data that Americans were on the spot passing Russia’s representatives Chechen gunmen captured in Afghanistan (some American newspapers had informed about that in the past few days).
The issue of nonproliferation of mass destruction arms will become one of the most important items of the consultations. According to Nikolai Zlobin, an expert from the Center for Defense Information in Washington, “Russia evidently has losing cards in this deal”, as Moscow’s relations with Baghdad and Tehran greatly weaken Russia’s position.