BEREZOVSKY IS RUMORED TO BE NEGOTIATING ON AN ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNISTS

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BEREZOVSKY IS RUMORED TO BE NEGOTIATING ON AN ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNISTS

Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 16, 2002, p. 2

It seems the Boris Berezovsky desire to have Liberal Russia activists elected into the next Duma will never be realized. The Justice Ministry categorically refuses to register the new party, and the court Liberal Russia appealed to has already turned down the lawsuit once. It stands to reason to expect that Liberal Russia will not collect in any other lawsuits it may file. Representatives of the party will run for Duma in single-mandate districts or in alliances with other parties but that is not what Berezovsky wants. Berezovsky wants political weight he will be able to use against Vladimir Putin’s regime.

According to certain rumors, Berezovsky already has a plan. This is what it boils down to. The exiled oligarch finances the communist election campaign and communists in return become his mouthpiece and publish the tainting materials he comes in with every now and then. Image-makers say that Berezovsky is busily negotiating with Gennady Zyuganov now. Communist leader would have never gone for an alliance with Berezovsky, but the situation demands it. The Kremlin made advances to communists once when they had the majority in the Duma. The majority and advances are history now. The regime has enough lawmakers to have any draft law passed and communist veto is not a factor to be taken into account anymore. Neither do communists control key committees, the factor that makes bargaining all but impossible for them. It is clear as well that the situation being what it is, the Kremlin will do everything in its power to prevent communists from getting a majority in the new Duma. All of that makes search for potential sponsors very difficult for the Communist Party. That is why Berezovsky who would balk at nothing to spite the regime allegedly could not have timed his offer of cooperation any better.

GEORGE W. BUSH FINDS AL QAEDA GUNMEN IN THE PANKISI GORGE

Izvestia, September 16, 2002, p. 2

The first question Bush was asked at his impromptu press conference with Berlusconi concerned Georgia. Bush said he has asked Putin to give Georgia time to get rid of gunmen in the Pankisi Gorge. “I told Vladimir Putin that the authorities of Russia should give Georgia a chance to accomplish the goal that is important for Georgia, important for Russia, and important for the United States,” Bush said. “The matter concerns capture of al Qaeda murderers. I urged Putin to continue cooperation so as to allow the authorities of Georgia to complete the job.”

A Washington expert: It could be predicted that now that the United States is busy with Iraq, it will not find the words to condemn Putin’s ultimatum to Shevardnadze. If Russia bombs the Pankisi Gorge, the White House and US Department of State will formally protest. But Bush is not going to kick up a row with Putin over Georgia and the Kremlin understands it all too well.

According to the American expert, this is the first time the US president admitted that there are terrorists in Georgia connected to America’s worst enemy, terrorist network of Osama bin Laden. It may seriously change Washington’s position in the matter of the Russian-Georgian conflict, the expert says.

Official Tbilisi noticed only Bush’s words about the “chance” and not about terrorists.

Kakha Sikharulidze, Director of the PR department of the Foreign Ministry of Georgia: The United States makes it clear that it supports Georgia’s efforts in the Pankisi Gorge and impedes Russian hawks.

Sikharulidze considers it of utmost importance that Menagarishvili met with Bush and Powell and says that his patron will address the UN General Assembly with a report on the problems of the Pankisi Gorge and Abkhazia on September 19. Menagarishvili has already met with his counterparts from Great Britain, Germany, Austria, and with deputy foreign minister of France. “Georgia is building an international “belt of security” after Putin’s threats,” Sikharulidze said and added that a meeting between Menagarishvili and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was not to be ruled out either.

Georgia does not object to presence of OSCE observers, and first and foremost representatives of Russia, in the Pankisi Gorge.

Meanwhile, the crisis in the Russian-Georgian relations may result in resignation of Russian Ambassador Vladimir Gudev who may be replaced with a more experienced diplomat Vladimir Chkhikvishvili, Director of the Department of the United States and Canada of the Foreign Ministry of Russia. Sources in the Embassy of Russia do not confirm these reports.

AN UPDATE ON THE ELECTION IN KRASNOYARSK

Izvestia, September 17, 2002, p. 2

The major sensations are associated with Chairman of Krasnoyarsk legislature Alexander Uss, not with Sergei Glaziev. Unquestionable leader of the race when it had just began in May 2002, he lost all his edge. Taimyr Region (which is part of Krasnoyarsk Territory: translator’s note) Governor Alexander Khloponin is mere 2.4% behind Uss. Uss mobilized all resources at his disposal, the main one of them being Anatoly Bykov’s support. Analysis of results shows that Uss polled most of votes in “Bykov’s” areas and his traditional realm, towns of Nazarovo and Achinsk.

Once effective against late Governor Lebed, the campaign based on the assumption that Uss is “one of us” has become a restriction. Associating himself with Bykov and President Putin all at once, Uss breeds the feelings of wariness in the Kremlin.

There is one other nuance that proves that the campaign of “one of us vs. strangers” is not effective anymore. Candidates Glaziev, Khloponin, and Tarasov (all three strangers in these terms) polled 48% of votes. Khloponin and Glaziev polled the majority of votes in rural areas and in the towns of Zheleznogorsk and Zelenogorsk. In other words, representatives of the Krasnoyarsk regional elite are no longer popular with the country. It is clear already that programs of economists Khloponin and Glaziev are more understandable than that of Uss.

It seems that another trump card, anti-oligarchic, Uss relied on also misfired. His repeated attempts to smear Norilsk Nickel, let alone Russian Aluminum, merely generated suspicions of his sincerity. Khloponin never thought to make a secret of his past position with Norilsk Nickel.

Unbiased observers are pretty confident of Khloponin’s chances to canvass a lot of votes that were cast in the first round for Glaziev and Mayor of Krasnoyarsk, Pyotr Pimashkov.

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