THE ELECTORATE MAY SLEEP PEACEFULLY

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THE ELECTORATE MAY SLEEP PEACEFULLY

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 24, 2003, EV

A meeting was held yesterday to discuss cooperation between the executive branch and electoral commission in the period of preparation for the parliamentary elections. The meeting was attended by Central Electoral Commission (CEC) chairman Alexander Veshnyakov, presidential envoy for the Central federal district Georgy Poltavchenko, and representatives of other executive branch bodies and law enforcement agencies. Those present discussed how the security and law enforcement structures will ensure an organized, secure election campaign.

CEC chairman Alexander Veshnyakov called on the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office to be more active in preventing violations of electoral legislation, noting that “only through joint efforts can we wash these elections free of dirt.” Presidential envoy Georgy Poltavchenko said that during the election campaign “it is necessary to keep one step ahead, and take harsh measures to prevent any possible acts of vandalism, violence, and intimidation of candidates or their campaign teams.” According to Poltavchenko, the Interior Ministry will be providing security for polling stations as well as the vehicles used to transport ballot papers. Poltavchenko said that maintaining law and order is the priority for the executive branch in the lead-up to the Duma elections.

RUSSIA AND CANADA SEEK NEW WAYS AND AREAS OF COOPERATION

Izvestia, September 24, 2003, p. 3 EV

President Vladimir Putin has expressed his satisfaction with the first visit to Russia by Canadian Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson. Putin noted that Russia and Canada have extensive “and still untapped potential for partnership, above all in the economic sphere; therefore, the main topics in our talks today were expanding bilateral ties, and new ways and opportunities for involving more participants.”

Another important issue was the “northern dimension” in Russian-Canadian ties. Putin emphasized: “Cooperation in the Far North and the Arctic is a natural area for our joint activities, and one for which there is great demand.” Putin said that both Russia and Canada have their own unique experience of working in this area, so “combining our capacities” will enable the economic yield from northern territories to be increased substantially.

Her Excellence Adrienne Clarkson drew particular attention to discussion of a range of issues related to the development of federalism in Russia and Canada. Clarkson said that study of this issue by members of the Canadian delegation will facilitate a better understanding of Russia and further development of democracy in Canada itself.

KVASHNIN PREPARED TO REVEAL DEFENSE BUDGET DETAILS TO NATO

Izvestia, September 24, 2003, p. 3 EV

Army General Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, has approached Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov with a proposal to present national defense spending statistics to the Russia-NATO Council. Kvashnin argues that this move would deepen cooperation between Russia and NATO within the Council, which was created in May 2002. “NATO countries regularly exchange information about their spending on maintenance of their armed forces, and Russia could be included in this process.” Kvashnin points out that Russia presents information about its defense spending to the United Nations and OSCE each year. However, there is no legislation at present on procedures or time-frames for presenting such information to NATO.

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