HAS BEREZOVSKY DECIDED TO PURCHASE SEATS IN THE CPRF?

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HAS BEREZOVSKY DECIDED TO PURCHASE SEATS IN THE CPRF?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 16, 2002, p. 1

Boris Berezovsky, who has lost his Liberal Russia party, has decided to gather a motley group of “oppositionists” under his wing, and push his proteges to the Duma by means of purchasing seats for them… in the election lists of the CPRF, our sources said.

Viktor Alksnis has become the first deputy to visit Berezovsky in London.

Berezovsky also decided to summon radicals into his ranks: Limonov’s and Anpilov’s followers; cultural and artistic figures who don’t agree with the current course; even the talks with those members of Yabloko and the URF, who disagree the policies of their parties are underway… In general, the oligarch wants to create a medley, which would include the motley crew, which has for the first time joined to oppose the “regime.”

Undoubtedly, the bloc won’t have any real influence if all these people are merely united. The CPRF will act a as a solid base for unification. Nowadays, the following scheme of cooperation is being negotiated, well-informed sources say: in exchange for Berezovsky’s money, the communist leaders will give a part of seats in the election lists, whereto Berezovsky will bring his proteges. Absence of any reshuffles after Berezovsky signs the lists is the only oligarch’s term. “In my opinion, Gennady Zyuganov has already given his preliminary consent to this,” Viktor Alksnis told Moskovsky Komsomolets.

In the meantime, being worried about Berezovsky’s actions, the Kremlin is ready to offer Zyuganov financial assistance in exchange for denial to cooperate with Berezovsky, our sources said…

BEFORE THE START

Versty, November 16, 2002, p. 1

The paradoxes of the Russian mentality are ever-surprising. The people’s rate of confidence in the Duma is among the lowest of all social institutions. Our deputies enjoy the implicit confidence of 10% of Russians only. However, a long period before the election campaign ahead, 69% Russians have already announced their readiness to participate in the Duma elections and ensure the work for another group of politicians.

If the elections were held this Sunday, the United Russia party, whose popularity rating has increased 10% since February and resulted to 30%, would obtain the major part of the vote. Unshakable rows of the CPRF remained such (24% of supporters in February and 21% of supporters in October). Yabloko also retained its share of 4%, as well as the URF. LDPR’s share of the vote also remained on the level of 6%. The Agrarian party is supported by 3%. Those who would vote against all would abstain from participating in the elections and have no clear answer make the largest group thus far. The growing category of such citizens is expected to be the biggest problem of the upcoming campaigning.

HOW MANY RESIDENTS DOES RUSSIA HAVE?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 16, 2002, p. 2

Finally, preliminary results of the population census have been announced. Russia’s population is 145 million, although the expected figure was 143 million.

According to the population census results of 1989, Russia had the population of 147 million; it means, that despite assertions of Vladimir Zorin, the population of Russia is not increasing.

The minister also noted that the biggest increase was registered in the Central and Southern federal districts, Moscow, Dagestan and Chechnya.

ARMS MARKET: PARTNERSHIP OR COMPETITION?

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 16, 2002, pp. 1, 3

Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of Strategies and Technologies Analysis Center:

“The arms trade is among the most profitable business items in the world; therefore, the competition between the leaders, possessing high-techs of arms production, has always been acute. Previously, the Soviet Union and America had been active rivals in this walk of life.

Later on, Russia denied sizable arms deliveries and lost a part of its markets. There even existed opinions that the Russians are ousted from this sphere after NATO expansion and enhancement of NATO’s influence. Is this true, however?

The situation analysis shows that au contraire, over the few past years Russia has been actively increasing its efforts and achieving nice results in the arms trade. The growth of volumes of exports and currency receipts, which began in 1999, has been underway for three consecutive years; the average annual supplies fluctuate around $3.6 billion.

The world leading states in this sphere, NATO members, also have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the US, which is the biggest supplier of arms on the market, is keeping the amount of $12 billion per annum. Having noticeably increased the volumes of supplies in early 1990’s, the US is now keeping on the same level over the past several years, while Russia is increasing its indicators. Germany is not active at arms exports. As for France, the volumes of its exports supplies have been seriously decreasing of late; the same is with the UK.

Thus, there are no grounds to assert that rapprochement of Russia and NATO has damaged Russia’s interests in the arms trade.”

THE FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE NOT TO GIVE UP KALININGRAD

Izvestia (Moscow), November 16, 2002, p. 2

The traveling meeting of the expanded board of the Federal Security Service of Russia was held in Kaliningrad on November 15. Understanding “concern of other states and their special services,” the Russian special services won’t give their foreign counterparts to break loose on the Western advanced post of Russia.

“We are supposed to organize our work so that our counteraction to the interests of the special services were efficient,” FSS Director Nikolai Patrushev said. He also stated that in the near future the structures responsible for security (the FSS, the Interior Ministry, the customs and federal border services, as well as the migration service) will create joint brigades in the region and specialized databases. They will oversee the issues of combating smuggling, coming to Russia through Lithuania, drug trafficking, arms trade, enhancement of the state border and illegal migration.

Presidential envoy to Kaliningrad Dmitry Rogozin for Izvestia: “We shouldn’t allow making the city a terminal station for illegal migrants, and specific measures aimed at suppression of this process were outlined.” Moreover, in Rogozin’s words, Lithuania and Poland have already confirmed their readiness to cooperate on the problem.

In the opinion of the Russia side, the Lithuanian authorities are supposed to close Chechen information centers in Lithuania. According to reports of the Russian authorities, Chechens comprise the major part of illegal migrants getting to Lithuania via the Kaliningrad region. Russia has information that they are mostly members of the guerrillas’ families, our source said: “They obtain passport support via an established channel in Lithuania. Lithuanian passport enables entering the Schengen states without a visa. Lithuania should extradite all deserters who had got off the train in 2001-2002 or at least give the list of their names to Russia.”

HUSSEIN’S ADDRESS TO THE CHECHENS

Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 16, 2002, p. 3

Yesterday, a message of the Iraqi leader in which he addresses “the Muslims of Chechnya and all other Muslims” was spread out among the Duma deputies.

The message is dated October 25 or Sha’ban 18, 1432 according to Hijra. Following the oriental tradition, Hussein devoted six of overall seven pages to the role of Islam and the Islamic mission. However, among the pompous words there are phrases with quite specific sense. The author denotes “Zionism, America and transnational corporations” as enemies and tyrants of the epoch, whereas India, China and Russia are given the role of friends.

Hussein is convincing the Chechens: “Even though it was our intention to express it earlier due to reasons of more common order, we are doing it now in connection to a recent terrorist attack in Moscow, linked to the Chechens (the seizure of Nord-Ost is meant. – author’s remark). We say: even though the Russians are practicing Orthodox Christianity, we don’t feel their inclination against Islam and the Muslims. (…) In our opinion, it is unwise for the Chechens to lose the kind attitude and assistance of the Russians and their state in any of the disputable issues, when somebody is handing on to one’s opinion as the best. We should note that the nations of Russia are then forced not to heed the cause, even if the reason is available, but to consider a consequence, which could be eye-witnessed.

The Chechens will lose both the Russians and other in the milieu of Islam and the mankind; moreover, Zionism and America would obtain an opportunity to harm Islam and the Muslims for the reason of similar conduct and its aftermaths.”

In general, poor Hussein assists Putin at his best, despite the fact that they both have various enemies…

MOSCOW RUMORS: GUSINSKY RETURNS?

Versiya, November 11, 2002, p. 13

According to one Moscow magazine, former oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky has returned to Russia after an absence of almost two years, with no problems at all, and is once again living at his country residence in Chigasovo, near Moscow. The besieged oligarch may have received guarantees that he would be safe from arrest in Russia after he sold his remaining shares in NTV, TNT, Echo of Moscow, and other former Media-Most companies to Gazprom. Having completely withdrawn from Russia’s largest media empire, Gusinsky has ceased to posed any significant threat to the Kremlin. Having returned, Gusinsky is even considering shutting down a few of his new publishing projects. It is said that Gusinsky’s business activities are now mostly confined to Jewish community organizations.

MOSCOW RUMORS: POLICE TARGET CHECHEN ORGANIZED CRIME GROUPS

Versiya, November 11, 2002, p. 13

The Russian special services do not rule out the possibility of a war between Slavic and Chechen organized crime groups in Moscow. Some divisions of the Moscow police force are now conducting what are essentially “clean-up operations” aimed at the criminal part of the Chechen diaspora in Moscow. This could eventually lead to a weakening of Chechen organized crime groups in the Moscow region, which would certainly be taken advantage of by Slavic crime groups.

MOSCOW RUMORS: LVOV WILL BE CLOSER TO PUTIN AGAIN

Versiya, November 11, 2002, p. 13

Yuri Lvov, head of Gazprombank, stepped down as chief executive last week. Rumor has it that the decision for Lvov to quit this post was made at a meeting of the bank’s board of directors on October 31. There are two theories so far about Lvov’s next career move. Sources close to Gazprom say Lvov will replace Boris Yurlov, deputy chief executive and finance manager. Elsewhere in the banking sector it is thought that Lvov has been offered a job at the presidential administration. However, sources in the presidential administration deny that Lvov is about to start working there. It is worth noting that Lvov was the “chief treasurer” of the St. Petersburg government when Vladimir Putin worked there. Perhaps Putin has now decided to recall Lvov?

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES IN CHECHNYA

Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, November 15, 2002, EV

Since October 1999, the federal forces in Chechnya have killed 14,113 guerrillas. In October this year alone, 168 bandits were killed; 23 extremist bases and 215 arms and ammunition caches were destroyed. In the same month, the federal forces carried out around 550 searches in over 120 towns and villages, confiscating 150 firearms, 110 grenade launchers, and five air defense missile systems. At present, there are around 1,500 guerrillas in Chechnya, including 300 foreign mercenaries. Army aviation flew around 2,500 missions in Chechnya during October, making 25 strikes on extremist bases and camps, transporting 250 groups of paratroopers, and escorting 315 flights by transport helicopters.

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