DEFENSE MINISTRY TO SIGN AGREEMENT WITH KYRGYZSTAN
Izvestia, September 17, 2003, p. 3 EV
President Vladimir Putin has signed a directive approving a Cabinet proposal to make an agreement with Kyrgyzstan on the status and conditions for the Russian aviation base at the Kant airfield in Kyrgyzstan. President Putin has instructed the Defense Ministry to sign this agreement on behalf of the Russian Federation. If necessary, the president has authorized the Defense Ministry to make changes and additions of a non-fundamental nature to the draft agreement approved by the Cabinet.
GOVERNMENT DETERMINED TO GIVE RUSSIA AN ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT IMAGE
Izvestia, September 17, 2003, p. 5 EV
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov has chaired the seventeenth meeting of the advisory council on foreign investment. The best confirmation that Western business circles are becoming more interested in our economy is the 50% rise in foreign investment over the first half of 2003 and positive feedback from international ratings agencies. But the government will not rest on its laurels; it intends to seriously set about shaping Russia’s investment image.
The nature of current investment and its distribution across various sectors of the economy are not quite in line with what the government wants or what the economy needs. Most of the Western capital that entered Russia in the first half of this year ($10.1 billion out of $12.7 billion) was in the form of foreign loans taken out by Russian companies – and mostly short-term loans, at that. And 45% of investment was directed into trade or the food and catering sector. The raw materials sector still leads in terms of attracting foreign investment.
The statistics on foreign investment in the first half of 2003, and how they compare to the equivalent figures for the first half of 2002 (in percentage terms):
Total foreign investment: $12.662 billion (151.3%)
Direct investment: $2.533 billion (135.3%), including: contributions to capital $862 million (108.7%), leasing $11 million (74.2%), credits from foreign co-owners of organizations $862 million (112.7%), other direct investment $798 million (270%).
Portfolio investment: $38 million (18.9%), including: shares $36 million (32.7%), long-term securities $2 million.
Other investment: $10.091 billion, including: trade credits $1.569 billion (194%); other loans $8.437 billion (156.3%), including: under 180 days $1.877 billion (91.3%), over 180 days $6.56 billion (196.3%); miscellaneous $85 million (92.9%).
CHECHENS TAKE RUSSIA TO COURT
Moskovskii Komsomolets, September 17, 2003, EV
On September 16, the European Court considered an appeal filed by a group of Chechens who are challenging Georgia’s decision to extradite them to Russia.
In August 2002, 13 Chechens were detained by Georgian border guards on the Georgian-Russian border. They were charged with illegal border-crossing and carrying weapons. At the time, Moscow provided Tbilisi with documentary evidence of several of these people having been involved in terrorist activity; five of them were extradited to Russia. Two of the 13 turned out to be Georgian citizens, so there was no question of extraditing them. The remaining six Chechens, all still detained in Georgia, have appealed to the European Court in Strasbourg. The extradition process has been suspended. In their appeal, the Chechens say they would face the threat of torture and the death penalty in Russia.