SADDAM HUSSEIN PROMISES TO ACCEPT WEAPONS INSPECTORS
Izvestia, September 18, 2002, p. 2
Saddam Hussein has once again surprised the world – on the night of September 17 Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri delivered a “historic” letter, in which Baghdad implicitly agreed to return international inspectors to the country, to the UN secretary general. Moscow’s response about “Baghdad’s discretion” was optimistic. Yet Washington said that the military option of settling the problem was still open.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was the most optimistic in his comments on the situation. In his words, the UN “through joint efforts managed to avert the threat of a military scenario from Iraq and return the process to the political course.” However, he admitted a necessity to unveil preoccupation of the world community regarding the weapons of mass destruction Iraq has. He also linked any possible positive results of inspections to the issue of lifting sanctions from Iraq.
Alexander Umnov, an analyst with the Global Economy and International Relations Institute: “Saddam Hussein’s regime is programmed for confrontation in foreign policy. He is certain to raise the problem of linking a return of inspectors to the lifting of sanctions. It is unknown, however, what happens a year later. He could expel them just as easily and the situation might become much worse than now.”
VYACHESLAV AMINOV GIVEN A SUSPENDED SENTENCE
Izvestia, September 18, 2002, p. 3
Vyacheslav Aminov’s first public appearance took place in 1999, when a scandal surrounding the Atoll private security agency broke out. Atoll, with Aminov as one of its founders, was collecting compromising materials against leading politicians. Moreover, Aminov had been Boris Berezovsky’s assistant when the latter had been deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council. Later on, Aminov became Head of the Presidential Administration Alexander Voloshin’s advisor.
In late 2001, FSB agents detained the businessman. A great deal of compromising materials against well-known Russian politicians were found during a search of his apartment. From the very beginning, the FSB and the Prosecutor General’s Office restricted access to this case.
The details of Aminov’s case haven’t yet been revealed to the press. The hearing of the case was closed and even the sentence was announced secretly. The advocates, the prosecutor and Aminov, who came out to the press after the verdict, fatly denied any comments and only said that the court had given Aminov 18 months of suspended sentence.
“This case is not simply secret, it is a top secret one; al who were familiarized with materials of the case signed a statement of non-disclosure. One thing that could be said, Aminov was confessed guilty of giving a bribe,” Aminov’s defender Alexander Gofstein said.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TO BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE
Izvestia, September 18, 2002, p. 4
On September 17, Chairman of the Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov explained the new version of the law on presidential elections. Adoption of this law, according to Veshnyakov’s calculations, will make the presidential race more expensive and reduce the number of participants down to 4-5 people.
The bill proposes to nominate candidates for presidency at congresses of registered parties and then collect two million signatures (which won’t be difficult for parties which exist not on paper alone) and pass them to the Central Election Commission.
A nominee’s election fund has been raised five times – from 30 to 150 million rubles. Comprehending that the presidential elections will obviously take more than $5 million, Veshnyakov said “he is ready to raise the amount” if he’s clearly explained a necessity for that. The 2004 elections will cost the budget more than any previous presidential election campaigns: not inflation alone is the reason.
In compliance with the new Labor Code, the citizens recruited for 90,000 polling stations won’t be paid less. Moreover, the new ballot papers fro 109 million of the electorate will have additional protection.
In the opinion of Veshnyakov, already in 2002 the electoral legislation will be considerably renovated. The Duma is to adopt the new law on the Duma elections, the Vybory canvass system. Moreover, Veshnyakov demanded to introduce the election-related amendments for the law on the media, the criminal and civil codes as soon as possible.
HOW IS THE RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN CONFLICT TO BE SETTLED?
Trud, September 18, 2002, EV
Colonel General Yevgeny Podkolzin, former commander of the Airborne Troops:
The Pankisi problem won’t be solved by air strikes alone. The use of the Ground Forces, which can act effectively in the mountains, is required there. Taking into account the tasks which the federal security agencies are performing in Chechnya, we simply don’t have enough strength for another war in the Caucasus. At one time we proposed to set up a special unit for hostilities in mountain districts, but the General Staff rejected this idea. In my opinion, in this case using the entire range of economic and political leverage against Tbilisi would prove to be more efficient.
Gleb Pavlovsky, Director of the Effective Policy Foundation:
It became clear that the time for jokes has passed. In my opinion, the conflict will inevitably intensify the efforts of the Georgian administration in the cause of combating terrorists in Georgia. The Pakistani model is a perfect scenario. Yet a year ago, Pakistan was among the chief refuges of terrorism and is nowadays actively combating a part of terrorist organizations. This level of cooperation, when real joint work on the elimination of terrorists, dislodging their patrons from the official sphere begins, is quite acceptable for us. In this respect, Musharaff, the Pakistani leader, is an example for President Shevardnadze. The only difference is that unlike his Pakistani counterpart, Eduard Amvrosiyevich doesn’t control the entire territory of Georgia and is trying to maneuver, using contradictions or creating them artificially.