RUSSIA’S FEDERAL AND REGIONAL BUDGETS LACK TRANSPARENCY

0
8

RUSSIA’S FEDERAL AND REGIONAL BUDGETS LACK TRANSPARENCY

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 3 EV

At a workshop conference in the city of Kislovodsk, the heads of federal, regional and municipal auditing commissions stated that many billions of rubles of state funds are being embezzled in Russia. According to conference participants, the majority of federal and regional authorities are quite pleased with the lack of transparency for public sector revenues and spending.

CHECHNYA: MASKHADOV-ERA MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT WELCOME REFERENDUM

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 3 EV

Yesterday, former members of the so-called Parliament of Ichkeria (Chechnya) called on the citizens of Chechnya to turn out to vote in the referendum on the constitution of Chechnya which will take place on March 23. Baudi Tsomayev, a member of the Chechen parliament, reported on the resolution of parliamentarians signed by acting chairman of the Parliament Isa Temirov at a press conference for the Interfax news agency. The resolution states: “Having considered the message of the Russian president, members of the parliament came to the conclusion that the referendum corresponds to the expectations of the people. We call on every citizen of Chechnya to participate in it.”

At the same time, Chechen parliamentarians expressed the opinion that the referendum will not be enough to achieve peace in Chechnya, since separatists “will not give up the struggle, there being no real guarantee of their personal freedom”. In this connection the parliamentarians addressed a request to President Vladimir Putin to “announce a general amnesty”.

In commenting on the resolution, presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky maintained that calls for amnesty had been made before as well, but certain procedures must be observed for that.

The Chechen parliamentarians who signed the resolution were elected in 1997, when Aslan Maskhadov was elected president of the Republic of Ichkeria. In fact, they were elected by people who are fighting the federal forces today. That is why the consent of Maskhadov’s parliamentarians to support the referendum is a new phase in the resolution of the Chechen crisis.

ANDREI KOKOSHIN TO HEAD DUMA CIS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 3 EV

The Duma unanimously elected Andrei Kokoshin, a member of the Fatherland – All Russia faction, as chairman of the committee for CIS affairs and relations with ethnic Russians abroad. Kokoshin replaces another member of the same faction, Boris Pastukhov, in this office. Kokoshin, who holds a doctorate in history, was the first civilian executive official to hold office at the Defense Ministry. He was deputy defense minister (1992-97) and state secretary (1996-98). From March through September 1998 he served as secretary of the Security Council.

MEDIA MINISTRY SUMS UP RESULTS FOR 2002

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 3 EV

At yesterday’s meeting of the Media Ministry board, Deputy Media Minister Mikhail Seslavinsky summed up results for 2002. In his opinion, one of the main achievements last year was the beginning of unification in the media industry, and particularly the foundation of a media industry committee. Mr. Seslavinsky reported active growth in the advertising market and said “the Russian media industry is attractive to both foreign and Russian investors”. In 2002, the Media Ministry invested over $10 million in developing the material and technical resources of broadcasting companies. The funds were shared mainly by the All-Russian State Television & Radio Company (VGTRK) and the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (RTRS). This year the media will receive over $370 million from the federal budget. Part of the funds will be invested in television and radio broadcasting in Chechnya.

A PAY RAISE FOR CONTRACT MILITARY PERSONNEL

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 3

The Defense Ministry has proposed recruiting contract military personne from other CIS countries for the Russian Armed forces. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov stated this after President Vladimir Putin met with chief officials of the Defense Ministry. According to Ivanov, the federal targetted program for recruiting contract personnel for permanent readiness units is scheduled for 2004-07. The minister also reported that a decision had been made to raise the salaries of contract personnel staff in the 76th division of the Air Borne Troops. Ivanov said: “As from March 1, contract soldiers will be paid 5,280 rubles a month, squad commanders will receive 6,046 rubles, and company commanders and captains will receive 8,700 rubles.

BORDER GUARDS KEEP RUSSIA’S BORDERS SECURE

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 3 EV

Russian border guard troops are experienced in guarding the borders at times when the global political situation heats up. This kind of experience may be useful in case of a war in Iraq, according to a representative of the Federal Border Guard Service.

Lieutenant-General Alexander Shaikin, head of the Federal Border Control Department of the Federal Border Guard Service, told Interfax-AVN (military news agency) on Wednesday: “If the Iraq crisis evolves into a war this experience will be useful in dealing with possible refugees and forced migrants as well as in countering international terrorism.”

DEPUTY MEDIA MINISTER: INFORMATION PROVISION IN CHECHNYA IMPROVES

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 20, 2003, EV

Deputy Media Minister Mikhail Seslavinsky, addressing a meeting of the Media Ministry board, pointed out improvements in information provision in Chechnya. The ORT and RTR networks, and to some extent the Kultura channel, are broadcast on the territory of Chechnya at the moment. Besides, the State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company of Chechnya broadcasts its programs daily, for as long as nearly three hours. “At least 70% of Chechen residents have access to TV broadcast”.

The first auction for television and radio broadcast frequencies in Grozny will take place as soon as May. The 36-decimeter television broadcasting frequency and an UHF radio frequency will be offered for sale.

RUSSIAN VOLUNTEERS READY TO DEFEND IRAQ FROM BUSH

Izvestia, March 20, 2003, p. 1 EV

Iraq’s Ambassador to Moscow Mr. Abbas Halaf Kunfud told us on March 17 that the number of Russian citizens wishing to defend Iraq had risen to 7,000. According to available information, the ambassador’s estimate is modest: Dagestan alone has accounted for up to 8,000 young people ready to fight against George Bush in Iraq.

LEAVE A REPLY