KASIANOV EXPOSES THE MINISTERS
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 1, 2002, EV
Yesterday the Cabinet actually admitted for the first time that it had not been able to make use of the positive situation on the world market. Imports continue to grow rapidly, outpacing real incomes. As compared with last year imports have risen by 12% ($4.5 billion), while Russians have begun to earn only 7% more. At the same time, exports have fallen by $800 million, raw materials still making up most of them. “The economy may undergo serious trials if there is a sharp fall in prices for basic export goods,” Kasianov was forced to admit. His words plainly contradicted to what many officials had claimed not that long time ago when discussing the draft budget for 2003.
Kasianov addressed the ministers with tough criticism. He reproached them of the fact that productivity grew only in the spheres of services, oil extraction, and telecommunications. Meanwhile, as far as the civil service is concerned for example, only the staff is growing. “I do not think the number of teachers and health workers has risen in Russia,” Kasianov said gloomily. It is interesting that the government sees the reason for that in insufficient support for small and medium business. As if no one would aim for the civil service that eagerly if they had an opportunity to launch their own business (the topic that the civil service had long become an individual type of private enterprise for many was not raised yesterday). Overall, if things go on in this way, Russia’s economic development will stop, in Kasianov’s view.
A SPLIT IN THE PARTY
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 01, 2002, EV
The Basmanny Court of Moscow has issued an arrest warrant for Boris Berezovsky and his two LogoVAZ partners – Patarkatsishvili and Dubov. The trio is charged with “major fraud”. Meanwhile, Boris Berezovsky himself does not take the prospect of his arrest seriously. Moreover, he hopes to head the Liberal Russia party again. This time as the sole leader…
On October 23, Berezovsky’s supporters from Liberal Russia – 12 members of the party political council – held a meeting that involved representatives from 36 regions. St. Petersburg office leader Larisa Pegova was one of the ringleaders.
Yesterday, they announced they are going to hold a congress in St. Petersburg December 07. The congress is to finish with unanimous penance and the return of the tycoon to the party ranks, according to the design of the initiators.
At the beginning of next week, Madam Pegova with a number of party members from Tver, Krasnodar, the Karachay-Cherkessia republic, St. Petersburg, Bashkortostan, and Tatarstan are going to visit Berezovsky in London in order to be fully ready for the congress, according to our data. Meanwhile, Berezovsky himself will proceed with recruiting regional leaders.
THE KREMLIN CONSIDERS TALKS WITH GUNMEN OVER
Izvestia, November 1, 2002, p. 2 EV
Yesterday Russian special agencies showed journalists slides of the explosive devices used by the terrorists who seized the theater on Dubrovskaya Avenue. In the view of a Federal Security Service expert, the power of the devices, including more than 100 grenades and 25 home-made explosive devices on the belts of the terrorist women, amounted to 110-120 kilogram of TNT equivalent: “The devices were made with a lot of skill,” the expert said.
“I am doing everything with Shamil’s consent. I do not know exactly, Aslan Maskhadov is up on… Shamil carries out all Aslan’s assignments,” Baraev told his senior comrade Zelimkhan Yandarbiev who is in Qatar. The government presented this conversation to the media as evidence, too.
According to presidential aide Sergey Yastrzhembsky, it proves that the operation for taking hostages was carried out with the consent of the Chechen separatist leader: “Maskhadov has lost the last prestige which one must admit he had beyond Russia.” However, Yastrzhembsky supposed the supporters of the Chechen leader “might make attempts to save him for the political play”.
In Yastrzhembsky’s view, the holding of the World Chechen Congress in Denmark might be connected with the act of terrorism in Moscow: “We expected that some sortie in Chechnya would be timed to the gathering in Copenhagen. We are convinced that the actions of the political and military wings of the terrorists are well-coordinated”. Yastrzhembsky claimed the Russian authorities would demand that Qatar extradite Yandarbiev.
When answering the question if further peace talks with some of the Chechen leaders were possible, Yastrzhembsky told us he did not see such an opportunity: “Name at least one leader with whom it would be possible to talk”.
Yastrzhembsky highly estimated the role of Duma deputy Aslambek Aslakhanov in the events of October 23-29. The latter “imposed himself” as negotiator, Yastrzhembsky said. He added the terrorists had rejected any contacts with Ruslan Khasbulatov, former speaker of the Russian parliament.
TAGANROG MAYOR MURDERED
Izvestia, November 1, 2002, p. 3 EV
Late at night on October 30, Mayor Sergey Shilo was fatally wounded in Taganrog. The basic theory for the motive is office activity.
“The criminal shot Sergey Shilo after the mayor got out of his office car at his house entrance,” Tamara Medvedeva, senior aide of the Rostov regional prosecutor, told us.
Regional prosecutor Anatoly Kharkovsky and regional interior chief Nikolai Shevchenko departed for Taganrog. Doctors were summoned from Rostov. However, they did not manage to save the life of Sergey Shilo. The Rostov regional prosecutor’s office told us the investigators had found six bullet cases and a gas gun remade into a firearm (which caused doubts over whether the murderer was a professional hitman).
Sergey Shilo headed the city in 1990.
MIKHAIL PRUSAK PUTS FORWARD NEW INITIATIVES
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 1, 2002, EV
At the height of the autumn political season Novgorod regional governor Mikhail Prusak has come forward with a series of stirring statements concerning the need to change the mechanism of presidential and regional elections in Russia, as well as the mechanism of forming the Russian parliament. At yesterday’s press conference in Moscow he said change in the procedure of electing the head of state will allow the president resting on regional elites, without being hostage of those financial and industrial groups that facilitated his or her election.
It is necessary to create a special institution that will handle preliminary consideration of the nominees for president, in the view of Mikhail Prusak. It must include people who have “gone through the crucible of elections”, as he said, and who will recommend the citizenry voting for this or that nominee, according to him. This will be something like America’s electoral college, to be formed by a single-step legal act, Prusak noted. This institution must include the so-called activists, to consist of 10-20 people from every Russian region. Thus, some one or two thousand people would nominate for president and then the nominee would be proposed for direct nationwide voting, according to the governor.
As far as the parliament arrangement is concerned, the in the first place the status of the federation Council must be changed in the direction of strengthening, in the view of Mikhail Prusak. The Novgorod regional governor also believes it advisable to create the third house of the Federal Assembly – the house of nationalities.