PROBLEMS OF THE BLACK SEA FLEET ARE ALMOST RESOLVED
Izvestia, June 1, 1999, p. 1
In the course of discussions in Sevastopol, Russian and Ukrainian delegations have all but reached a final resolution of the problems involved in the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine, according to the joint communique signed by Leonid Zhunko, head of the Sevastopol municipal administration, and Rear Admiral Konstantin Kolotygin, Deputy Director of a Department of the Russian Navy High Command. According to the latter, “this session was considerably more effective than the previous ones.” At the same time, Kolotygin was sorry that they had failed to reach an a agreement on such basic issued as replacement of Naval Aviation aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet and simplification of the customs regime.
Kolotygin is of the opinion that this lack of progress is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Russian-Ukrainian friendship and cooperation treaty.
GANG OF DEPUTY ASSISTANTS ARRESTED
Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 1, 1999, p. 1
Officials of the Moscow Regional Directorate for Fighting Organized Crime arrested three criminals, two of them volunteer assistants of Duma deputies Darya Mitina and Vladimir Pchelkin (Communist and LDPR factions, respectively).
The criminals (26, 27, and 34 years old) had already served their terms as guests of the state for rape and gang activity. Released, they decided to take up their favorite occupations again, but this time with credentials as assistants to cover them. Authentic certificates of Duma deputy assistants were confiscated from two of them. Sources in the office of deputy Pchelkin confirm that one of the criminals was listed as a deputy’s assistant in the Shatura district.
BRIBE-TAKING ALLEGATIONS IN ST.PETERSBURG
Trud, June 1, 1999, p. 2
The St. Petersburg municipal prosecutor’s office has issued a warrant for the arrest of Nikolai Lugovsky, Chairman of the Consumer Market Committee of the city administration, for suspected bribe-taking. Sources in the prosecutor’s office told this reporter that this was the fourth official of the St. Petersburg administration to be arrested on charges of corruption over the last month.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WILL VISIT CHINA
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, June 1, 1999, p. 1
The official visit of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Beijing will take place from June 1 to 3. Ivanov will meet with Chairman Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, and his own counterpart Tan Zhi Xian.
Moscow’s and Beijing’s positions on the Kosovo problem coincide, according to a source in the Russian embassy.
SENIOR DEPUTY PREMIER AKSENENKO TOURS THE REGIONS
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, May 31, 1999, 14:00
Nikolai Aksenenko’s meeting with representatives of the towns of Yurga and Anjero-Sunzhensk was conducted on his own initiative. A year ago, “railroad rebellions” in these towns lasted the longest. Even now, the social situation in these towns is far from stable, and that is probably why Aksenenko’s conversations here were so lengthy.
The VIP announced that he liked much of what had been done in the towns of the Kuzbass region, and was even prepared to assist them in some matters.
Aksenenko’s meeting with the leading industrialists of the region was probably the most important function on his itinerary. Addressing those present, Aksenenko touched upon a broad spectrum of issues, from control over distribution of residential accommodation to preferring domestic technologies to expensive foreign ones. One thing was clear from the visitor’s long-winded speech: it is time we began searching for and using internal resources.
Aksenenko promised to re-visit the region in three months and discuss who, the government or Kuzbass authorities, will have fulfilled their promises.
LIVE INTERVIEW WITH VLADIMIR ZHIRINOVSKY: OUTCOME OF THE ELECTIONS WAS TAMPERED WITH
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, May 31, 1999, 12:00
LDPR leader Zhirinovsky ran for governor in the Belgorod region and came in third.
Question: You claim foul play and violations in the course of the elections. Which of them, provided they did take place, prevented your victory?
Answer: It was terror! Moral and political terror in the region. All my rallies were wrecked, provocateurs were sent to all my functions. Or take the situation with air time: Savchenko was on air day and night, and I only got three sessions of ten minutes each. The police, Federal Security Service, gangsters, and the whole lot back up Savchenko, himself the major embezzler in the Belgorod region. He did not win, you know. He lost, because come winter the region will demand his resignation due to drastic deterioration of living conditions in the region.
Ask anybody, and you will never find those who voted for him. The results were tampered with. Savchenko had prepared 200,000 ballot papers even before the elections, and toured the polling stations at night. He was at the settlement of Gubkino at 3 a.m. It’s a victory for fascism in the region where the public was suppressed by former Communists represented by Ponomarev, former first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, party nomenclatura relics, criminal structures, clans, and Savchenko’s family. The public is against Savchenko, it does not want him as governor. I actually won! Three years ago, only 5% voted for me here, but this time I polled 18%. On a national scale, up to 20% or even 30% may vote for the liberal democrats. If the elections are free, of course. This time they were not.
Question: Are you going to appeal to the court to have it invalidate the outcome?
Answer: I sure am. A group of my lawyers remains here to appeal to the local court. If it does not help, we will file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court. Actually, the prospects of winning a suit here are rather bleak, because the courts are in Savchenko’s pocket. And the Supreme Court has already proved its inadequacy, because on May 13 it ruled that elections in the Belgorod region would be illegitimate and on May 26, two days before the elections, revoked its own decision. That is why Savchenko tries to buy the decision he needs. He is a man who pilfered the whole region. He is destroying the region. He did not win, but the region surely lost.
Question: Anyway, he polled almost three times more votes than you did.
Answer: That’s tampering, you understand…
BEER DAY IN BELARUS ENDS IN TRAGEDY
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, May 31, 1999, 12:00
Minsk municipal authorities are continuing their investigation of the tragedy that occurred when thousands rushed to an underground crossing to escape rain, and 54 people were literally crushed to death. Most of the victims were girls under 17. The tragedy took place on Beer Day in the Belarussian capital.
Doctors in Minsk hospitals are now fighting to save the lives of dozens of victims. According to data released by the Interior Ministry, 35 people were hospitalized, but the reports are incomplete.
Two police officers were among those who died in the stampede, and ten more sustained injuries of varying severity. President Alexander Lukashenko has promised assistance to families of the victims. A state commission to investigate and evaluate the tragedy was set up at a session of the Belarussian government.
President Yeltsin has sent a telegram of condolence to his Belarussian counterpart. Yeltsin is reported to be shocked by the tragedy, and expresses his sincere condolences to the Belarussian people.