ABDUCTION

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ABDUCTION

Argumenty I Fakty, No. 39, September 25, 2002, p. 26

According to spokesperson of the Main Criminal Investigation Department Inna Shevchenko, there are no set ransom rates for kidnapped people. Usually, the ransom for a child or an abducted entrepreneur ranges from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, every rule has an exception: the ransom for General Director of Neftekhimik Vadim Borisocv was set at $4 million. The highest rates are in Chechnya: they start from several hundred thousand dollars. For instance, the bandits demanded $7 million for General Shpigun, and $2 million for NTV journalist Yelena Masyuk.

Over the first six months of this year, 991 people were abducted in Russia: about 300 of the crimes were committed in Chechnya, 73 in Moscow, 28 in the Sverlovsk region. According to the law, abduction for ransom carries a penalty of four to 15 years of imprisonment.

RUSSIAN CENSUS 25 TIMES CHEAPER THAN AMERICAN CENSUS

Kommersant-Dengi, September 24, 2002, pp. 7, 8

According to State Statistics Committee chief Vladimir Sokolin, the total budget spending on carrying out the National Census will be $180 million, or $1.30 per capita. According to him, the census spending in Russia will be about 30 times lower than in the US, where the latest spending cost $32 per capita. By the way, according to ROMIR, in Moscow 96% of large and medium business owners are ready to participate in the census. The census is to be held on October 9-15, 2002.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BECOMES MORE EXPENSIVE

Kommersant-Dengi, September 24, 2002, p. 10

The presidential election, which is to be held in March 2004, will cost the state budget much more expensive than the previous election, said Chairman of the Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov. According to the new Labor Code, people engaged in the work at an election poll should receive as much money as at their major job. Consequently, this spending constituent will substantially increase. Moreover, from 2004, new protection standards for election bulletins are to be introduced, which will increase their cost. According to the economic-financial specification of the Central Election Commission to the new law On Presidential Election in the Russian Federation, the general amount of means allocated for carrying out the presidential elections, including all additional expenses and the possibility of repeated elections, will amount to 4.9 billion rubles. Besides, Veshnyakov reported that in accordance with the new law, the election fund for presidential contenders will also considerably increase: it will total 150 million rubles against 30 million at the 2000 presidential election.

WHY SHOULD RUSSIA USE THE ARMED FORCES?

Profil, September 23, 2002, p. 2

ROMIR carried out a poll concerning Russia’s ability to use its Armed Forces for protecting its interests abroad. The majority of respondents, 42%, think the decision should depend on the situation; 26% of respondents are convinced that Russia should use its Armed Forces only in case of a threat to the national security of Russia.

RUSSIAN BANKS AND CHECHEN ENTERPRISE WILL FEED GUERRILLAS

Novaya Gazeta, September 26, 2002, p. 9

Two days ago, the Department for Combating Organized Crime announced that representatives of Chechen guerrillas are working for Russian banks and funding Chechen separatists. The department has long known about it, but so far it has been unable to prove anything. There were criminal cases against BIN bank, Diamant bank, Trastcreditbank, but none of them was punished.

It is almost impossible to prove conveyance of money to guerrillas, as the money is being brought across the border in cash. Besides, Russian banks are not the only source of the means for Chechen separatists. Hardly anyone pays attention to the oil currents between Russia and Chechnya, which still exists despite purges and closed borders.

So the latest announcement is not a sensation, but rather a way to remind of the vain efforts.

THE END OF REGIONAL INDEPENDENCE

Novaya Gazeta, September 26, 2002, p. 7

The Prosecutor General’s Office has announced its intention to bring the Russian regions into order. Regional administration of the Krasnodar territory will be the first: the Prosecutor General’s Office has already sent a request for the professional competence and dismissal of Deputy Governor Leonid Baklitsky.

According to the national media, corruption in the Krasnodar territory has already exceeded Russia’s typical limits of bureaucratic lawlessness. It appears that Leonid Baklitsky has violated many laws and presidential decrees; moreover, he also “lobbied for commercial interests of third parties” and misappropriated state property and budget resources.

Dismissal is not the worst punishment for the thieving official. If at least one of the criminal cases instigated against Baklitsky is brought to court and he is convicted, there will be an unpleasant precedent for regional authorities: the conviction of an incumbent deputy governor. Until recently, officials of such high rank were brought to court only after they lost elections.

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