NO RESPONSE: THE GOVERNOR OF SAKAHLIN IS MISSING

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NO RESPONSE: THE GOVERNOR OF SAKAHLIN IS MISSING

Moskovskii Komsomolets, August 22, 2003, EV

Searches continued all day yesterday off the Kamchatka Peninsula for the Mi-8 helicopter that disappeared while transporting Sakhalin Governor Igor Farkhutdinov and his companions to the North Kurile Islands.

The Federal Aerospace Search and Rescue Service says that an area of over 20,000 square kilometers is being searched. Forty-one vessels are also searching near the Kamchatka coast, in the vicinity of Cape Lopatka and Alaid Island.

The search operation involves 346 people, 25 vehicles, seven planes, 14 helicopters, and four groups of rescuers. At 1 a.m. an Emergencies Ministry Il-76 plane arrived in Kamchatka from Ramenskoe in the Moscow region. This team of rescuers is led by Colonel-General Gennadi Korotkin, deputy emergencies minister. The plane brought in 39 rescue personnel from the Emergencies Ministry’s central air division and the Leader search operation center.

Rescuers are looking for the helicopter on land, since the air search still hasn’t found anything. The land search is focusing on the area near Lake Kurilsk, where the helicopter might have made an unscheduled landing. Alexander Drozdov, deputy presidential envoy for the Far East federal district, says the missing helicopter might have crashed into a hill; in this part of the Kamchatka peninsula, hills can be up to 2,000 meters high.

CABINET DISCUSSES MONETARY AND CREDITING POLICY

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, August 22, 2003, EV

Yesterday’s Cabinet meeting looked at the general outline of the state’s consolidated monetary and crediting policy for next year.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov said that one of the major aims here is to keep the exchage rate at an appropriate level to the economic growth rate. Kasianov named another major aim as “to bring down inflation and keep it at a lower level. According to preliminary forecasts, inflation will be reduced to around 8-10% next year, and to 5.5-7.5% in 2006.

The third aim of monetary and crediting policy, according to Kasianov, is to increase the role played by banks in investing in the real sector of the economy

Kasianov also noted that citizens have started to gain confidence in banks: the amount of private deposits and loans by the general public is rising significantly.

Kasianov said that the Central Bank is coping well with its oversight function in the banking sector. Since Russia’s monetary and crediting policy is closely integrated with budget and taxation policy, “it is important for the Central Bank’s efforts in this area to be coordinated with the Finance Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry, and the government as a whole.” Kasianov emphasized: “The unity of monetary and crediting policy represents an achievement for Russian economic policy in general.”

According to Kasianov, there have been some positive changes in the monetary and crediting system over the past few years. He said: “There is a positive trend – the rate at which money circulates is slowing.” Another positive factor he named was the reduced use of US dollars in Russia.

THE PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN ALTAI

Trud, August 22, 2003, EV

President Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Alexander Surikov, governor of the Altai territory, in Belokurikh yesterday. They discussed the progress of the harvest and the situation in the state sector.

According to Surikov, the Altai territory expects a good harvest. It plans to produce around 4 million tons of grain; and the harvest of buckwheat, sunflower seeds, and plants used in livestock feed will be larger than last year. A good harvest is even more likely given the predictions of good weather in late August and early September.

In describing the state sector situation, Alexander Surkov noted that the Altai territory is not having any problems with paying wages to state sector workers. He also said that Altai’s industrial growth has been 8% over the past six months.

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