SERGEI MIRONOV: FEDERATION COUNCIL MEMBERS SHOULD BE ELECTED
Izvestia, July 11, 2003, p. 3 EV
According to Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov, the selection principle for Federation Council members ought to be changed; he says that in future its members will be elected. The Interfax news agency quotes Mironov as saying that the practice of electing senators should be introduced after the next presidential election. In his opinion, “the present members of the upper house should be allowed to continue their work, but at the same time we should start drafting a new law and pass it next year.”
GAULLISTS TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH UNITED RUSSIA PARTY
Izvestia, July 11, 2003, p. 3 EV
Alain Juppe, leader of the Gaullist party “Rally for the Republic” (Rassemblement pour la Republique) and mayor of Bordeaux (France), declared yesterday that his party would expand parliamentary cooperation with the United Russia party. Juppe said: “I had a meeting with Boris Gryzlov and we discussed the possibilities of uniting right-wing and centrist forces. We have much in common with United Russia: we stand for protection of private property and individual liberty.” Juppe, prime minister of France in 1995-97, has recently visited Russia with a delegation of wine-makers from Bordeaux.
FEDERAL MINISTRIES AHEAD OF TARGET
Izvestia (Moscow), July 11, 2003, p. 5
According to the Finance Ministry, federal revenues administered by the Taxes and Duties Ministry in the first half of 2003 totalled 813.8 billion rubles, or 103.1% of the revenue target set in the federal budget. Other agencies have also exceeded budget expectations. For example, the State Customs Committee took in 343.5 billion rubles, or 113.5% of its revenue target for the first half of 2003; the Property Ministry recorded 17.2 billion rubles (157.6% of target). The Finance Ministry and other federal bodies collected 46.7 billion rubles (144.5% of target). The Nuclear Energy Ministry collected 9.3 billion rubles, or 114.8% of its budget target. The State Fisheries Committee contributed 11.2 billion rubles to the federal treasury (248.9% of target). These high results for the State Fisheries Committee can be attributed to three auctions held in December 2002: quotas for crab catches in 2003 were sold at much higher prices than had been expected.
HOW MANY MORE SUICIDE BOMBERS?
Argumenty i Fakty, July 9-16, 2003, pp. 1, 6
The terrorists have recently been using female suicide bombers. Since the start of the second war in Chechnya, over 150 female suicide bombers have died. The clandestine training center for these “black widow” saboteurs, headed by the one-legged bandit Shamil Basaev, has long since become a conveyor belt turning out “female canon fodder”. But this is not confined to Russia; intelligence agencies report that the training center has branches in other CIS countries. Not even Russia’s leading psychiatrists can give a complete answer to the question of what the phenomenon of female suicide bombers means. All they can say for certain is that this is not a matter of blood feuds, as many believe. These women are not motivated by vengeance. They are too young; suicide bombers are aged between 20 and 25. These women haven’t had time to marry or have children. The female suicide bombers die for religious ideas, going out to wage a “holy war” while high on drugs.