IGOR IVANOV’S TIME AS FOREIGN MINISTERS RUMORED TO BE RUNNING OUT
Versiya, N9, March 10-16, 2003, p. 18
Most analysts agree that the time of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is running out. “Ivanov is exhausted,” as the gossip goes. Moreover, results of a complex inspection of the Foreign Ministry by a control structure may be published in the near future. According to the rumors, Ivanov will have to resign when it is done even though the inspection did not concern him directly.
According to some reports, last week Moscow tried to gauge reaction of the West (Germany and France, first and foremost) to appointment to the post of Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the International Committee of the Federation Council. Despite his reputation, Margelov lacks diplomatic experience, as foreign embassies indicated in response to the “feelers”. That is allegedly why the Kremlin considers appointment of Dmitry Rogozin, the man initially viewed as a candidate for pro-presidential leader in the future Duma.
IS CHEKSESOV’S FUTURE APPOINTMENT A PR TRICK?
Versiya, N9, March 10-16, 2003, p. 18
Sources in the upper echelons of the Interior Ministry say that there is a draft decree on establishment of the Russian analog of the American FBI on the presidential desk. The new service will comprise Investigation Committee of the Interior Ministry, Main Directorate of Criminal Police, and structures of the existing main directorates for combating organized and economic crime. According to the rumors, the future service will be headed by General Viktor Cherkesov, 52, Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative in the Northwest federal region. His transfer to Moscow is allegedly expected one of these days. Seasoned political technologies say, however, that the rumors on Cherkesov’s appointment are but a PR trick needed to promote the official before the upcoming gubernatorial election in St. Petersburg.
THE YELTSINS UNDER ATTACK AGAIN
Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 9, 2003, EV
Bill Thomas, American financier and head of Urals oil company, called a press conference yesterday. The press conference was a sensation. It is common knowledge after all that controlling interest in the company is owned by members of ex-president Boris Yeltsin’s family including his daughter Tatiana Diachenko and her former spouse Leonid Diachenko. According to the rumors, this is a wallet from which the Yeltsins got “small change” to pay for the grandchildren’s tutorship in Great Britain, Yeltsin’s treatment in China, etc.
A major Russian oil company put its hand into the wallet in late February. It encroached on Tebukneft, the head structure of Urals. Buying some directors, the major oil company ended up with 42% interest and succeeded in replacing all of the management and even security. Urals went to the court and collected but the major oil company would not be deprived of the loot.
According to Thomas, the major oil company intends to sell Yeltsin’s interest in the British oil corporation.
The Yeltsins would not give up. Thomas said that they would use American lawyers and lobbyists to bring the major oil company to answer in the United States and Western Europe. Owner of the company may be summoned to court and eventually deprived of the right to visit the United States and other civilized countries, while foreign assets of the oil company may be arrested.
According to some reports, Roman Abramovich also intends to join the battle and buy out Urals stock. If he means business, it may become a prologue to another oligarchic war.
EUROPEAN OBSERVERS WILL NOT ATTEND THE CHECHEN REFERENDUM
Izvestia (Moscow), March 11, 2003, p. 3
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided against sending its observers to the referendum in Chechnya, according to Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the International Committee of the Federation Council. Margelov says that the decision has been made out of security considerations. European parliamentarians do not doubt that their security will be ensured but do not want to jeopardize the lives of Russian soldiers assigned to their protection. Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly calls the referendum itself a “considerable step forward from the point of view of peaceful settlement.”