ENVIRONMENTAL BLOCKADE IS BROKEN
Izvestia, July 9, 1999, p.2
St. Petersburg has become the first city in the former USSR and Eastern Europe where the question of utilizing environmentally harmful wastes is being solved “according to international standards”. For the past 20 years, scientists and experts have been researching the utilization and disposal of wastes from drainage. These wastes have so far been taken outside the city to a territory measuring 150 square hectares. Ecologists have named this territory the “black belt” of St. Petersburg. Now the “black belt” will be gradually eliminated thanks to a new plant. The total cost of erecting the plant is 450 million rubles. Half of the money was received within the framework of the Russian-French international loan. It is noteworthy that all the equipment for the new plant was produced at enterprises of the defense industry of St. Petersburg.
THREE SHIPS OF THE BLACK SEA FLEET HEAD FOR GREECE
Komsomolskaya Pravda, July 9, 1999, p.2
On July 8, three large landing ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet left the Agoy harbor, which is 15 km off of Tuapse. They headed for the Greek port of Katerini, where they will deliver 450 Russian rangers and 75 units of military and special equipment. From Greece, the “winged infantry” will march to Kosovo.
Yesterday evening, the loading of the first party of rangers onto ships was completed. The process was observed by Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov and Commander of the Black Sea Fleet Vladimir Komoedov. This operation, during the course of which 1,200 paratroopers will be delivered by sea to foreign port, is the first of its kind.
After passing through the Dardanelles, all Russian landing ships will form a united group and continue their trip to Greece together.
WE CHOOSE CONCORD
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 9, 1999, p.2
“Preparation for the parliamentary elections and the possibility of a wide unification of all reasonable politicians” is the main theme of Boris Yeltsin’s meeting with a number of regional leaders on the eve of the aforementioned elections.
“Republican leaders and leaders of large Russian regions, i.e. members of the All Russia socio-political movement, took part in the meeting. In particular, among them were Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaymiev, Baskortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov, St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev, Irkutsk Governor Boris Govorin, Omsk Governor Leonid Polezhaev, Chelyabinsk Governor Petr Sumin, and Astrakhan Governor Anatoly Guzhvin.
Russian Premier Sergei Stepashin and Director of the Presidential Administration Alexander Voloshin were also present at the meeting.
THE PRESIDENT ASKS THE MILITARY NOT TO DRIVE THE MATTER TO WAR
Izvestia, July 9, 1999, p.2
On Tuesday, Russian President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Boris Yeltsin met in the Kremlin with high-ranking officers of the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry, the FSS, and other military formations and structures. During the meeting, which was held on the occasion of presenting the corps of newly-appointed commanders, Yeltsin made several notable announcements.
As the president said, “We will not quarrel with NATO recklessly, but we will also not flirt with it.” A definitive evaluation was given of the renowned march of the Russian peacekeeping forces: Yeltsin decided to award all servicemen who participated in the operation, which he told Colonel General Victor Zavarzin, the Main Russian Military Representative in NATO.
When appealing to the generals and admirals, Yeltsin considered it necessary to stress that “every one of you should carry out only one policy, the policy of the president.”
The President approved of the work of the Defense Ministry (“The West ’99 military exercises showed that the military reforms have been set in motion”), the FSS (especially as regards fighting corruption and economic crimes), the Foreign Intelligence Service (their counteraction of foreign intelligence services), and FAGLI (“this service had provided parity in information opposition to the special services of a number of countries”). And the Justice Ministry was rebuked once again: “The Justice Ministry simply often does not know who is working against the branches of government.” It seems that Yeltsin’s former patronage of the Justice Ministry will now be given to the successfully working special services.
And regarding Chechnya the President assumes that “bandits have begun to be encouraged from here.” However, he requested that the security ministers “not drive the matter to war.” It seems that the Supreme Commander-in-Chief thinks this is possible…
THE WORLD GOLD PRICES DECREASE
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 9, 1999, p.3
July began with a sharp collapse of world gold prices. The cost per ounce of this precious metal fell over 3% within a week and reached $260. Meanwhile, the expectations of gold traders continue to sink. For Russia, this means a crisis in the gold mining industry and bankruptcy of certain gold mining enterprises.
The attitude of the CBR toward the “new fashion” of selling gold reserves is not completely clear. According to various sources, $7-9 billion of the CBR’s gold and currency reserves are kept in pure gold. The CBR has evaded answering the question of whether the possibility of selling some of its precious metal is being considered.
LUKASHENKO VISITS THE ORENBURG REGION
RTR, Vesti, July 8, 1999, 11:00
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has finished his trip to the Orenburg region of the Russian Federation. He met with Orenburg Governor Vladimir Yelagin and heads of the largest industrial enterprises of the region, which are trade partners of Belarus. According to Lukashenko, he discussed prospects for further cooperation between the regions and Belarus in light of the future union of the two states.
STEPASHIN COMPLAINS ABOUT LOCUSTS
RTR, Vesti, July 8, 1999, 20:00
At the government meeting dedicated to the problems of the agricultural complex, Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin complained about “draught and other calamities”. “Other calamities” means the current influx of locusts, which has not happened in Russia for the last 20 years. The calamity is caused by shortages of poisons for these winged creatures.
Locusts come to Russia from Central Asia. The voracious insects have attacked the Orenburg, Samara, Saratov, Tambov, Ulyanovsk, Penza, and Voronezh Regions. Some fields have already been completely devoured. This year, locusts may annihilate up to half of the wheat and rye harvest.
RUSSIAN ROCKET POISONS A NATIONAL PARK
RTR, Vesti, July 8, 1999, 20:00
A vast territory in the center of Kazakhstan has been polluted with hectyl as a result of the crash of the Russian Proton rocket. The Kazakh government has announced that the territory of the national park in the Pavlodar Region has also suffered from the hectyl. The Russia Aviation Space Agency has not confirmed this, although Russia is not refusing to pay material and ecological compensation to Kazakhstan. Still, the Kazakh government has forbidden all launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome until a special commission discovers the causes of the accident.
The position of Kazakhstan is seen by Russia to be a violation of an international agreement. Meanwhile, the situation is becoming more and more menacing for Russia. A Zenith rocket with a commercial satellite has been standing in the launching site for several days already. Russia cannot get permission to launch this rocket, although it does not contain hectyl. Every day of delay costs Russia about 500,000 rubles. And the prohibition of launching the Progress spaceship may bring about a real catastrophe for the “MIR” space station. If the rocket is not launched before July 14, it will be necessary to bring back the crew of the station, since the supplies of food and water will be exhausted. Furthermore, the rocket is to bring the necessary equipment to control the station without a crew. If the astronauts urgently leave orbit, the gigantic complex will be unregulated.