LEGAL PIRATES

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LEGAL PIRATES

Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 4, 2002, EV

The administrative affairs department for the president produces pirate disks.

Instruction, in combination with vigorous activity by law enforcement agencies – that was Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov’s formula to eliminate video and audio piracy in Russia.

The Cabinet meeting yesterday discussed whether piracy is invincible in Russia…

Russian piracy has currently acquired such dimensions that we already ensure the home market with pirate products. While pirate disks and cassettes were formerly mainly brought to Russia from Southeastern Asia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine, now most of them are manufactured in Russia. The turnover of pirate produce in the country is assessed to $5 billion a year, which is not the limit taking into account that the business is hyper-profitable.

Prepared for yesterday’s government meeting by the Interior Ministry, the list of Russian firms and plants suspected of pirate production does not contain too many organizations, to tell the truth – only 22. The figure is not disastrous and naturally not final for the country. Touching is quite a different thing: more than half of the pirates “dwell” on state territory. Thus, two similar enterprises are based on sites of the Atomic Energy Ministry. One for the Health Ministry. The leader is the Russian Agency for Control Systems on which eight pirate firms thrive. Another dubious organization has modestly found shelter… under the wing of the administrative affairs department for the president.

Do the officials leasing sites know about that? Most likely, they do.

Moreover, some even try to lobby the interests of their charges at the top level.

Yet, credit must be given for the Russian authorities. During the last three years, the amount of pirate production in Russia has diminished notably. While 80% of sold video and audio products were pirate formerly, now this is 50% and 64% respectively. The pirate DVD market is still leading though: only 10% of sold disks are licensed. “What is to be done?” specialists say. “It is a new product, so it will have to follow the same path as CDs and video and audio cassettes”.

Oddly enough, the government did not invent any new sanctions against pirates or methods to fight them yesterday. The cabinet admitted Russia already has legislation that applies to pirate producers. However, it is not being observed or enforced. Therefore, it was once again decided to strengthen coordination between departments and sign extra international agreements on fighting piracy, if need be.

Manufacturers themselves complained of the government to the Supreme Court. They assert the novelty will lead to a sharp rise in prices. The government considers the charge absurd and is sure of victory. However, the files did not get to the judge of the Supreme Court who is rumored to have canceled 15 out of the 20 conflict documents of the government. Perhaps, that is why the ministers did not invent any new methods of fight?..

KHLOPONIN WILL BE MADE GOVERNOR AGAIN

Izvestia, October 4, 2002, p. 2 EV

Today, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) will consider appeals of the decision of the Krasnoyarsk regional electoral commission that again acknowledged elections for governor invalid. The CEC invited the main “author” of the scandal, Krasnoyarsk electoral commission chairman Georgy Kostrykin, to state his case.

On Wednesday night, the CEC received a complaint from four casting vote members of the regional commission. The complaint was lodged by a minority that disagreed with their 10 colleagues.

The CEC is going to consider the legality of the decision the regional commission made. Georgy Kostrykin told us he would certainly make use of the invitation to state his position.

Experts think today’s CEC meeting will cancel the decision of the regional commission and recognize the elections as valid with all consequences in the form of inauguration and the like.

The scandalous decision was expected to be appealed in court yesterday morning. However, Alexander Khloponin’s lawyer Sergei Maltov told us they suspended the suit. The election headquarters apparently believe a CEC decision will be enough to resolve the conflict.

However, Kostrykin said the regional electoral commission was also ready to appeal CEC actions in court. Therefore, lawyers think court investigations will continue for some while.

When Moscow politicians condemned the actions of the Krasnoyarsk commission, the members of the disgraced commission received a mass of supporters in the region. However, practically none of them wants its victory, as no one wants new elections. Ordinary Siberians say the region cannot survive them.

THE COLONEL CANNOT ENJOY FREEDOM

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 4, 2002, EV

After a three-month break, the trial of Colonel Yuri Budanov has resumed; he is charged with murdering 18-year-old Chechen girl Elza Kungaeva. The appointment of the trial for October 03 was caused by the requirement of the New Criminal Procedure Code every three months to consider the issue of restraint for a defendant.

In this connection, Budanov’s lawyers lodged another petition to release him against a written undertaking not to leave the place with his subsequent residence in one of the military units of the North-Caucasian military district. However, the court dismissed the petition. Unexpected was the statement of Budanov himself who asked the court not to change his restraint.

Another surprise was change of the prosecution staff. Apart from the chief military prosecutor’s aide Vladimir Milovanov, another military prosecutor will support the People – Alexander Derbenev.

At the previous hearing on July 03, instead of the awaited sentence the court decided to appoint the third examination to answer the key question of the investigation: was Budanov sane at the moment of abducting and murdering Elza Kungaeva?

As for the latest examination, according to the court decision it was done on the basis of the Serbsky state scientific center of social-court psychiatric medicine. However, the court has not yet received examination results. But in any case, Budanov’s subsequent destiny will develop according to one of the three scripts. The first is indemnity in case results of the previous examination are confirmed, i.e. if he is acknowledged insane at the moment of committing the crime. The second is imprisonment to three years for murder in an affective state. The third is imprisonment from eight to twenty years for premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances, with which Budanov is charged today.

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