RUSSIA IN FIGURES

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RUSSIA IN FIGURES

Kommersant-Vlast, April 14, 2003, p. 12

4.9 million foreigners have become Russian citizens over the past decade.

1.162 million people serve in the Russian Armed Forces. In 1992, 2.88 million people served in the Armed Forces.

About 1.5 trillion rubles is required for the development of Russia’s nuclear energy sector to 2020, Rosenergoatom reports. There are 10 nuclear power stations in Russia, which produce 16% of all electricity.

Twenty thousand jars of “anti-war” mayonnaise are produced every day at the Vladimir butter plant. The labels say: “No war in Iraq! By buying American products you support the aggressor.”

There are nine computers per 100 people in Russia. In 2001, there were 7.5 computers per 100 people.

The minimal monthly consumer basket of goods in Russia cost 1073.60 rubles, as of early April 2003. This index has grown by 6.8% since the beginning of the year. The cost of a minimal consumer basket in Moscow is 1367.10 rubles.

Last week, the twentieth child (a girl), was born to the Shishkov family, who live in the Maslovsky Kolkhoz, Voronezh region.

The amount of passenger flights from Russia to the Middle and Central East countries decreased by 15% in January – March 2003 compared to the same period of last year.

Twenty-three telephone terrorists were detained in Moscow in the first quarter of 2003. Overall, over this period the police have received 663 reports about explosive devices and 571 reports about suspicious objects.

MOSCOW RUMORS

Versia, April 14, 2003, p. 19

Rumor has it that Galina Strelchenko, chairwoman of the Duma ethics commission, has requested consideration of the dismissal of Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. They say Kudrin met with a top official of the presidential administration and refused to support United Russia or grant loans to regional leaders who are members of the party. Kudrin announced that he would discuss such budget techniques only with the president, which infuriated Duma deputies.

Versia, April 14, 2003, p. 19

Rumor has it that the Kremlin has forgiven Sergei Dorenko and soon he will return to the ORT television network. According to our sources, the network stipulated that in exchange for the chance to work in professional television again, the journalist will have to demolish the reputation of Boris Berezovsky. Dorenko is said to have agreed immediately.

Versia, April 14, 2003, p. 19

Valentina Matvienko, the new presidential envoy for the North-Western federal district, has supported the idea of a national television network based in St. Petersburg. Technically, the Petersburg television channel seems to be the only claimant for the federal network. On June 24, the broadcast license of the company expires and theoretically, the Media Ministry can hold an auction for this frequency. Rumor says that director of the ORT television network Konstantin Ernst is willing to participate in the auction repeating that there is both creative potential and funding for a new network. The rumor also says that the new network is to be named Baltika and to be sponsored by owner of the Baltika beer giant Teimuraz Bolloev.

BORIS BEREZOVSKY RETURNING TO RUSSIA?

Versia, April 14, 2003, p. 2

This year, June 15, Karachaevo-Cherkessia will hold presidential elections. However, current president Vladimir Semenov is willing to postpone the date. The rumor says Semenov has decided not to stand in the elections has he has agreed with his former colleagues to be appointed to the Defense Minister as a councilor. Now, Russian tycoons, mostly Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili are negotiating about appointing their person on the post of deputy president of the republic. According to Pravda.Ru, Berezovsky is planning to return to Russia: as soon as Semenov appointed the loyal to tycoon person as deputy president, the latter will gain control of the administrative resource and the time that Semenov is trying to win postponing the elections. The more time the deputy president will have, the better he will promote the necessary presidential contender. Berezovsky is to become one of the candidates. Two weeks ago Berezovsky said he had a chance. It is strange that the republican prosecutor’s office charged with observation of fulfillment the law is following the scheme as well. The Supreme Court of Russia is considering the file of Karachaevo-Cherkessia Prosecutor Vladimir Gannochka to postpone the elections from June 15 to August 31.

TABLOID

Zavtra, April 17, 2003, p. 1

According to our Beirut sources, Saddam Hussein and his sons died on April 6-7 in the course of cover bombing in Baghdad after which the Iraqi army actually stopped resisting. Purges in Iraq after the “final victory of allies” will be carried out for two through three more weeks. At the same time, our experts note that official Iraqi representatives have not announced about Hussein’s death as yet which makes it possible to presume a presence of some agreement between Baghdad, the US, and Britain. In particular, a recent unprecedented visit of American congresspeople to Iraq at the end of March supports this theory.

TABLOID

Zavtra, April 17, 2003, p. 1

According to our Damascus sources, the refusal of Iraqi Shiites to participate in the pro-American Iraqi National Congress, as well as transferal of Kurdish formations in the north of Iraq to Turkey, are a substantial obstacle for the US “post-war” settlement in Iraq. The US decision to change the Iraqi oil transportation route from Syria-Lebanon to Jordan-Israel has shocked the Arab world. The transformation of the “Promised Land” into the major economic and financial center of the Middle East inevitably brings back memories of the Ottoman Empire among Arabs….

TABLOID

Zavtra, April 17, 2003, p. 1

Putin’s consistent position on maintaining the UN role in settling international conflict including the Iraqi one is caused by a number of circumstances, say our governmental sources. First, the deprival of UN of its current status will eventually turn Russia into a third world country. The “frivolous interpretation” of international legal standards that Washington demonstrated during the anti-Iraqi aggression showed to the world that their security directly depends on their defense abilities. In these terms, the interest to Russian weapons has sharply grown. Besides, recent meetings with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Latin American countries proved that they still consider Russia as a “power center” will keeps attracting other courtiers due to the growing foreign danger. These two trends are opening up new possibilities for the Russian economy and politics, as well as redistributing the conflict resources among Russia’s ruling elite.

TABLOID

Zavtra, April 17, 2003, p. 1

Our experts are noting the “lame” actions of the United Russia that is trying to won the communists’ protesting electorate over to its side: it concerns both the housing and utilities reform and the Iraqi war. Simultaneously, the media is powerfully discrediting communist leaders, first of all Gennady Zyuganov. The open usage of neuro-lingual programming by A. Karaulov, who follows the 1999 example of Sergei Dorenko, demonstrates the Kremlin’s intention to prevent the communists’ victory at any cost. The absence of any adequate reaction from the Communist Party can be a signal for the authorities that they can do anything with the people-patriotic opposition. At the same time, the Communist Party’s electorate is likely to decrease which can create substantial issues for the party’s electoral prospects in December 2003 and March 2004….

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