VALERY ZORKIN ELECTED CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHAIRMAN

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VALERY ZORKIN ELECTED CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHAIRMAN

Izvestia, February 24, 2003, p. 1

Valery Zorkin was elected new chairman of the Constitutional Court. Zorkin succeeded to Marat Baglai who remains a judge of the Constitutional Court until 2005.

All observers were convinced that Baglai would be elected chairman again. Baglai, 68, was viewed as a guarantor of stability of the Constitutional Court which ceased making political decisions under his chairmanship.

It was the Constitutional Court’s involvement in politics in October 1993 that led to resignation of its then chairman Zorkin. The Court found Boris Yeltsin’s Decree 1400 on disbandment of the Supreme Soviet and new parliamentary election unconstitutional. In the wake of the October 3 and 4 events, Zorkin pronounced his inability to “perform his functions in these circumstances” and resigned. Powers of the judge were restored at the Constitutional Court meeting on January 25, 1994.

Politicians and political scientists do not think there is anything sensational in Zorkin’s election. Their position is best expressed by Georgy Satarov of the INDEM Foundation.

Satarov: Zorkin commands vast respect with judges. He has experience and I do not view his election as something extraordinary.

Our sources say, however, that Zorkin’s election came as a surprise for the men responsible for the Constitutional Court. Nobody believed that Zorkin had a chance of being elected, and that is why he was promoted as an alternative to Baglai in the first place. Surprisingly, Zorkin polled 10 votes and Baglai only 9. Zorkin’s election painted him and many others in a tight corner. He apologized to journalists for having nothing to say and locked himself in his office. His confusion is easily understandable. This is the year of Parliamentary election and it is the Constitutional Court that will play a substantial part in decisions on legitimacy of the election.

SALAMBEK MAIGOV MAY HELP WITH SETTLEMENT OF THE CONFLICT IN CHECHNYA

Versiya, February, 2003, pp. 2-3

Appointment of Salambek Maigov as representative of Aslan Maskhadov in Russia may become the first serious step towards settlement of the Chechen conflict. Observers and analysts agree that Maigov is somebody who may be called a Russian and Chechen politician all at once. On the one hand, he takes a negative view of the actions of the federal forces in Chechnya. On the other, he has never supported terrorist means. Maigov is a known economist and leader of the Chechen Anti-War Congress. His political career began in 1996 when he participated in the negotiations in Nazran as an expert of the Chechen delegation. After Khasavyurt, Maigov ran for president of Chechnya and came in fourth.

$1 MILLION FOR A SEAT ON THE DUMA?

Argumenty i Fakty, N8, February, 2003, p. 5

Rivalry and even brisk trade may begin in political parties over slots on the first part of the lists comprising eighteen names. According to rumors, the price may go as high as $1 million.

The Union of Right Forces organized a contest for the slots. He or she will make it to the Duma who is more active in promotion of the party interests. The Yabloko has already reserved a part of its list for “strangers” – for respected representatives of other parties and prominent figures. The Communist Party and the LDPR draw some conclusions too, but the most serious staff shuffles await United Russia. Its black list will include incumbent deputies who have contributed nothing, have poor support in their respective regions, and have no patrons in the presidential administration.

WHERE IS DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE PATRUSHEV?

Argumenty i Fakty, N8, February, 2003, p. 5

There are the rumors that President Vladimir Putin intends to dismiss Director of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev.

A commentary: Patrushev’s subordinates do not confirm the information. “This is the first time we hear of the patron’s resignation,” said a source from the Lubyanka PR department.

BORODIN IS AFTER LUZHKOV’S POST

Argumenty i Fakty, N8, February, 2003, p. 5

There are the rumors that Pavel Borodin, State Secretary of the Russian-Belarusian Union, will run for Moscow region governor.

A commentary: he may. Says Borodin’s Press Secretary Ivan Makushok, “Pavel Pavlovich is a nationwide politician, but the Moscow region is not just a province…”

DO NOT HIDE YOUR STASH

Argumenty i Fakty, N8, February, 2003, p. 5

There are rumors that bank accounts are no longer classified information in Europe.

A commentary: dividends of classified accounts will be taxed as of 2004. These bank accounts will be no longer profitable. That is why a lot of prominent Russians may find themselves in the center of a scandal. There are between $150 billion and $300 billion of Russian money beyond Russia.

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