ON THREE CHAIRS

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ON THREE CHAIRS

Izvestia, June 5, 2003, p. 3

Sergey Glazyev, a leader of the patriotic opposition forces of Russia and a member of the Communist faction in the Duma, has officially announced his appointment as co-chairman of the little-known Party of Russian Regions (PRR). This party is supposed to be an alternative for Glazyev in case he has a falling out with the Communist Party.

The PRR was founded as far back as 1998, but little has been heard of it until recently; although, as one of its founders, Shamil Sultanov, claims, some of the party’s present members had established contacts with Glazyev as far back as 1995. Sultanov, who is known for his articles in the opposition press, said that an association with the PRR marks the “stunning success” of Glazyev in Krasnoyarsk. At last August’s elections in the Krasnoyarsk territory, Glazyev came in third. He also ranks third in the PRR, and may become its unofficial leader, since the party has no formal leader.

It would not be an understatement to say that no one else in the PRR, which has 25,000 members, is as well known as Glazyev. One possible exception is Yury Sokolov, a former secretary of the Security Council and Glazyev’s fellow-member in another political union – the Congress of Russian Communities. Glazyev himself says he cannot see any inconsistency in holding the post of co-chairman in three political associations at once. These include the Congress of Russian Communities, which is more dead than alive at the moment, the PRR, and the People’s Patriotic Union of Russia (NPSR). “These organizations have different objectives and tasks,” Glazyev said.

The NPSR has known for a long time that Glazyev would assume a leading post in the PRR, yet it is confident that he will be among the top three candidates on the electoral list of the left-wing patriotic bloc at the Duma elections. But it is not known as yet whether the PRR will field its own candidates.

CABINET MINISTER KLEBANOV MAY SEEK A DUMA SEAT

Izvestia, June 5, 2003, p. 3

It is possible that Industry, Science and Technology Minister Ilya Klebanov will run for the Duma in one of the two single-mandate districts of the Udmurtia Republic at the next election, according to Dmitry Shumkov, leader of Udmurtia branch of the Union of Right Forces party (URF). He informed journalists in Izhevsk that the URF is looking at Klebanov’s candidacy as its representative at the election.

RUSSIAN NAVY TO CONDUCT UNSCHEDULED EXERCISE IN BALTIC SEA

Izvestia, June 5, 2003, p. 3

Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov has come to the City of Kaliningrad to arrange large-scale unscheduled exercise of the Baltic Fleet. The exercise will also involve some Northern Fleet ships. It is worth noting that the exercise will be observed by senior Russian military and government officials as well as military observers from the Baltic states and NATO members.

DUMA TO DISCUSS MILITARY DEVELOPMENT ISSUES IN JUNE

Izvestia, June 5, 2003, p. 3

The Duma’s Defense Committee cannot see any reasons for rescheduling the parliamentary hearings on issues related to military development, which are slated for June 5, said committee chairman Gen. Andrei Nikolayev. Earlier, the defense minister informed the Duma speaker that certain representatives of the Defense Ministry would not be able to attend the parliamentary hearings and asked the Duma to postpone the hearings. Andrei Nikolayev replied: “It is not only the chief of the General Staff who is concerned with military development. There are some other competent officials in the Defense Ministry who can report on the situation to Duma members adequately.”

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO SEE SHAKE-UP

Argumenty i Fakty, June 4, 2003, p. 2

The presidential administration has taken over from the government responsibilities for the administrative reforms. Nonetheless, contrary to everyone’s expectations, the administrative reforms will not be handled by Aleksander Voloshin, the head of the presidential administration; the person in charge will be Igor Shuvalov, the president’s newest aide.

It is worth noting that Voloshin was believed to have a government reform project of his own. Some observers assume this means we should not expect any dramatic changes in the government’s structure at least until May 2004.

Shuvalov had been Cabinet chief-of-staff for a long time; but something went wrong in his relations with the prime minister last spring. Thus, Cabinet staff officials tend to regard Shuvalov’s transfer to the Kremlin as “an honorable dismissal”. In fact, it was the head of the Kremlin administration who originally recommended Shuvalov for his Cabinet staff post.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov has appointed 37-year-old Konstantin Merzlikin as Cabinet chief-of-staff, replacing Shuvalov. Merzlikin is considered to be the right-hand man of the prime minister. The Cabinet staff, as well as the prime minister’s staff, is said to be divided into supporters of Yury Maslyukov and Mikhail Kasianov’s former associates from the Finance Ministry. The deputy Cabinet chief-of-staff, Aleksandra Levitskaya, is an exception; she is considered to be a Voloshin protege. Levitskaya took up the post simultaneously with Shuvalov, and it is said that she is likely to follow his resignation. Nonetheless, another scenario is possible. Redistribution of authorities within the Cabinet staff will take place in the foreseeable future. As a result, staff issues for which Levitskaya is currently responsible will be passed on to someone else.

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