DRAWING THE KREMLIN AWAY FROM EUROPE

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DRAWING THE KREMLIN AWAY FROM EUROPE

Zavtra, November 6, 2002, p. 1

According to our source in Paris, the upcoming visit of George Bush to Moscow on November 22, aims at final determining of the “special character of Russia-US relations” and to eventually draw the Kremlin away from Europe. The reason for this should be an “anti-Russia chain reaction” of the European media after the Nord-Ost hostage-taking events, the parallel World Chechen Congress in Copenhagen, and the issue of arresting and extraditing Akhmed Zakaev, plus forming “an independent commission” of the European Parliament in order to investigate the large number of hostage deaths during the storming of the Dubrovka theater. In these terms, Bush will play the “good cop” and will receive in exchange Russia’s blessing for attacking Iraq and guarantees for privatization of Russian natural monopolies by US corporations. At the same time, the visit will also greatly depend on the November 5 election results in the US.

ECONOMIC SITUATION DETERIORATING

Zavtra, November 6, 2002, p. 1

The Cabinet noted at its latest meeting a sharp deterioration of the economic situation in Russia: production investments – especially in the processing sector – are falling; enterprises lack turnover means; real production volumes are falling; the inflation rate and imports are growing, while exports are decreasing. According to our experts, this situation is a direct consequence of the liberal-monetary course of Chubais-Kasyanov-Gref and it has formed due to the sharp increase of basic prices for electricity, energy resources, and transport.

U.S. ECONOMY IN CRISIS

Zavtra, November 6, 2002, p. 1

The fall of the dollar against the ruble, which has been caused by the large-scale crisis in the US economy, is unlikely to lead to another decrease of the US Federal Reserve System’s rate despite the expectations of the majority of largest US and world financial structures. This step will cause a further foreign investment capital outflow from the US financial system. Washington is most likely to start some dramatic foreign policy actions by the end of November, according to research carried out by Chinese experts.

SPLITTING UP RUSSIA?

Zavtra, November 6, 2002, p. 1

The plans for further reforms at the Interior Ministry, announced after the hostage-taking at the Dubrovka theater, fully correspond to the program of Economic Development Minister Herman Gref. It was worked out in early 2000 and it stipulates creation of the national guard on the basis of the interior forces subordinated directly to the president. Besides, weakening and breaking up the Interior Ministry is necessary for the goal of splitting the Russian Federation into several “independent states”, say our sources from analytical structures serving the presidential administration.

ELECTION IN TURKEY

Zavtra, November 6, 2002, p. 1

The victory of the Islamic Party of Justice and Development at the parliamentary election in Turkey has marked a victory for pro-European political trends in that country. This is likely to cause additional difficulties for the US in preparing its plans for anti-Iraq aggression, say our sources in Istanbul.

THE SURRENDER OF UKRAINE

Zavtra, November 6, 2002, p. 1

According to our Kiev sources, the arrival of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma at the Prague NATO summit, after the official invitation had been cancelled, can be considered as a political surrender for the Ukrainian president – he has found himself in complete international isolation and under growing pressure from the opposition. Now Washington and Brussels will decide the fate of Ukraine.

FIREARMS IN RUSSIA

Profil, November 4, 2002, pp. 30-31

Currently, there are around one million “illegal” firearms in Russia. And from time to time, they are fired. At present, Russia has the world’s second-highest number of murders per capita. Illegal gun sales are the most profitable business of the shadow economy. Interior Ministry experts say every dollar invested in gun sales brings $12 in profit. Over the past three years, Russia’s illegal firearms market has grown by 40% – currently, it is $500-600 million a year.

In 2001, over 65,000 crimes involving firearms were registered in Russia, and over 26,000 people were sentenced for illegal weapons turnover.

According to some data, over half of illegal weapons are stolen from Defense Ministry storehouses: over past seven years, over 80,000 weapons have “disappeared” from military units. Another large weapon supplier is the military-industrial sector, from where weapon component parts get to underground shops.

Average cost of a TT gun on the black market is $300-1,000; a PM gun is $400-700; a Kalashnikov machine gun costs $1,000-1,500; grenades cost $50-100 apiece.

Besides, transformation of gas guns into firearms is also widespread in Russia. Plus, “pathfinder” who are looking for weapons at the sites of former fights also sell their “windfalls”. Still, the majority of illegal weapons are supplied to the black market “to the order” from abroad. According to the State Customs Committee, Russian frontier guards find and confiscate around 2,000 different weapons every year.

Gennady Gudkov, a member of the Duma state security committee says, “I believe a way to resolve the illegal weapons issue is to create an All-Russia Ballistic Archive. I think the means spent on it will be repaid many times and will make it much easier for the law enforcement bodies to reveal crimes involving firearms. Hence, this will decrease the illegal firearms turnover.”

The number of crimes with using firearms in Russia (according to the Interior Ministry):

1995 – 17,000

2000 – 26,000

2001 – 25,100

The number of crimes in 2001 (per 100,000 people) – according to the International Criminology Association:

South Africa – 44 people;

Russia – 20 people;

United States – 17 people;

Austria – 0.8 people.

YABLOKO PROPOSES A NEW LAW ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT

Vek, November 8, 2002, p. 2

The Yabloko Duma faction has tabled a bill in the Duma on forming a new law enforcement structure – the Federal Investigation Service (FIS). Yabloko Deputy Chairman Igor Artemyev says, “The idea to create the FIS arose over a year ago. The presidential administration, in particular Dmitry Kozak, supported it. However, then it was decided to suspend the initiative a little, as the law enforcement bodies needed time to adapt to the new Criminal Code. The new structure is needed as at present, there are four law enforcement bodies, each of which carries out investigation for its narrow goals and interests. Belonging to any of these structures negatively influences the quality of primary investigation and observing human rights. Creation of FIS which will be in charge of primary criminal investigation will allow investigators to become more independent. Distinct division of authorities and responsibility of all participants of the primary investigation will make it possible to carry out mutual control and prevent “ordered criminal cases”. As a result, this will decrease corruption and violations in the law enforcement bodies and will contribute to better observing human rights.” Artemiev also informed that the FIS’s aims will be primary investigation, registering crimes, and restoration of honor, decency, and other human rights of people, who have been illegally detained, arrested, or brought to court. the FIS is to be subordinated to the president, who will appoint the leader and deputy leaders of the department.

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