LUKASHENKO’S SUCCESSOR GOES UNDERGROUND
Komsomolskaya Pravda, July 21, 1999, p.4
On July 20, the presidential powers of Alexander Lukashenko elapsed. And since Saturday July 17, former Speaker of the Supreme Council Semyon Sharetsky has been hiding in the Minsk office of the OSCE.
The fact is that, according to the Constitution, which is considered legitimate by the former speaker, his parliament, and the OSCE, on July 21 presidential powers should pass to him.
According to an initial explanation, representatives of the OSCE have been keeping the speaker on their property since they received the news that the skies were darkening over Sharetsky. According to a second explanation, Sharetsky himself appealed to representatives of the OSCE to give him refuge. The former speaker claimed to have a document which confirmed his planned assassination. Sharetsky also cited sources in the Security Council and the Presidential Administration. Many members of the opposition in Belarus have already been eliminated according to this scenario, and for that reason the misgivings of the former speaker are understandable.
It is rumored in Minsk that Lukashenko’s successor is hiding in the hotel where representatives of the OSCE reside. However, the OSCE has corroborated neither his stay nor his request for refuge. It is expected that the former speaker refugee will soon make an announcement for the press.
DEFENSE BY CANDLELIGHT
Izvestia, July 21, 1999, p.2
The governing body of Khabarovskenergo Inc. flatly deny the rumors being spread by the command of the Far East Military District and the 11th Army of the Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Defense Forces that, because of the recent disconnection of a number of military formations from power supplies, “control over the situation on the air border of the Russian Far East was lost.”
“Izvestia” was told by the press service of the Strategic Missile Forces that “there was no direct danger that formations on combat duty would be disconnected, since the power supply was switched off on objects of secondary significance.” However, despite the high level of security of the energy systems of the Air Force and Strategic Missile Forces, “there is a real danger that military objects of special significance may be disconnected from power supplies if certain conditions coincide.”
FOOD MEETING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Izvestia, July 21, 1999, p.2
Chair of the Federation Council Yegor Stroev and Russian Fuel and Energy Minister Victor Kalyuzhny held a meeting in Voronezh with the governors of the nine neighboring regions. Questions of food safety were the main topic of the meeting.
It is noteworthy that representatives of the media were not allowed to be present at the meeting. It seems that the word “safety” produced such a magical reaction in the high-ranking state officials who gathered in Voronezh that the meeting was conducted behind closed doors.
RUSSIA NOT TO USE BULGARIAN AIR CORRIDOR TO DELIVER RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING FORCES TO KOSOVO
Izvestia, July 21, 1999, p.1
Russia has decided not to use the Bulgarian air corridor to deliver its peacekeepers to Kosovo, stated official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Vladimir Rakhmanin on July 20.
According to Rakhmaninov, on July 16 “the Russian embassy in Sofia delivered a corresponding note to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry in which the requests for transit flights of Russian peacekeepers to Kosovo through Bulgarian air space were recalled.” As Rakhmanin clarified, this decision was “primarily connected with the fact that the demands which the Bulgarian side proposed as terms for considering Russia’s requests made our intentions to use the Bulgarian air corridor unrealistic.”
GLANCING BACK AT THE BUDGET
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 21, 1999, p.1
The Russian government is planning to submit a draft law to the Duma about the so-called “financed mandates” in the beginning of the fall. The matter regards suspending laws in 2000 which cannot be implemented by budgets of all levels, stated First Vice Premier Victor Khristenko. According to him, it is a forced but necessary measure.
BIG FISH FISHES FOR A LONG TIME
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 21, 1999, p.1
The Russian government and the CBR have signed a letter “On Policy for Developing a Third Loan for Structural Reform of the Economy”. This means that the World Bank may resume crediting Russia by the end of July or the beginning of August.
The document signed has been approved by the World Bank, which will define the structural policy of the government, commented Special Representative of the Russian President for Relations with International Economic Organizations Mikhail Zadornov. By the end of 2000, Russia may be able to receive $1.2 billion. The meeting of the Board of Directors of the World Bank which will take place on July 29 will consider changes in the terms of the loan for structural reform of the economy (SAL-3). According to Director of the Russian branch of the World Bank Michael Carter, decisions will also be made on the coal mining and social loans.
Initially it was supposed that SAL-3 would consist of three transfers of $1.45 billion. Now their number will be increased to five transfers of $100, $150, $400, and $500 million. The first one of $300 million was received in August 1998. Every transfer will be paid only after the terms of the previous one are fulfilled.
THE FINANCE MINISTRY TO CONTROL
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, July 21, 1999, p.1
The Russian government has decided that companies which supply Russia with electricity and energy, including Gazprom and RJES, should present monthly accounts of their activities to the Finance Ministry.
As the decree signed by the Russian premier states, the aforementioned holdings, as well as the Fuel and Energy Ministry and Roads and Transportation Ministry, should provide the Finance Ministry with “operative accounts showing the sum of bills sent, payments received, and notes collected which are payable by federal executive bodies, organizations financed from the federal budget, executive bodies and organizations financed from budgets of Federation subjects, and bodies of local governments and organizations financed from local budgets. The statement should also list the ten largest debtors among commercial organizations.”
CRISIS IS RESUMING ON KAMCHATKA
Trud, July 21, 1999, p.2
Although light is being supplied to residents of Petropalovsk-Kamchatsky without any limitations, the situation with energy in regional districts remains complicated. It has especially worsened in the town of Klyuchi, where almost no liquid fuel remains. The request of the local authorities to activate the strategic reserves of the military has been rejected.
Meanwhile, Primorie Marine Steam Navigation has already sent its two oil tankers to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Incidentally, the company is ready to provide other tankers for the delivery of fuel to Kamchatka and the north. However, despite the assurance of Russian Premier Sergei Stepashin, the shipment has not arrived yet. Are the dates of Arctic navigation once again being narrowed?
THE VIRUS IS BEING INVESTIGATED IN MOSCOW…
Tribuna, July 21, 1999, p.1
The mystery of the disease which has claimed the lives of six people and incapacitated some 100 residents of Oblivskaya Stanitsa in the Rostov region may soon be solved.
As stated Anatoly Lepnitsky, Professor and Deputy Director of the Volgograd Center for Disease Control, examinations of test systems have shown the presence of Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever in 23 out the 28 people who were tested. Lepnitsky stressed that a definitive diagnosis will be made only after the investigation, which is being held now in Moscow, is finished. So far it is not clear how the infection is contracted.
PRIMAKOV REFUSES TO RUN IN THE SVERDLOVSK GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS
NTV, Segodnya, July 20, 1999, 12:00
Yevgeny Primakov has refused to run in the Sverdlovsk gubernatorial elections. The proposal to run in the elections was made to Primakov by the May regional movement of working people for social guarantees, which had collected over 200,000 signatures. Primakov stated that he was deeply touched. Here is what he wrote in his reply: “The news that this idea is supported by so many residents of the Urals was not simply joyful to me, but once again inspired me to devote my whole life to serve Russians.” Primakov also stated that time will show which form this devotion will take. Doctors assure that his post-operation rehabilitation will be finished in two months. As Primakov emphasized, so far he cannot make any important decisions and moreover is unwilling to mislead residents of the Urals.
PASKO’S CASE IS CLOSED
ORT, Novosti, July 20, 1999, 12:00
The military court of the Pacific Fleet has sentenced Grigory Pasko to three years’ imprisonment under Article 285 of the Criminal Code (abuse of service powers). But since the accused has already spent half of the term in prison he has been released on amnesty.
The hearings lasted over an hour and a half on July 20. Initially, accusations were brought under Article 283 (high treason in the form of espionage), but owing to the absence of convincing evidence (for instance, experts found falsifications by the prosecution in the search protocols of Pasko’s apartment), the court concluded there was no basis for a case under Article 282.
Pasko’s case dragged out for exactly 20 months. On July 20 journalists were allowed to speak with Pasko for the first time during the entire process. Employees of Japanese TV companies, whose cooperation caused Pasko to be brought to trial, seem to have been most disappointed. The governing bodies of TV companies did not submit even one protest note during the entire process.
SEVERAL PEOPLE RELEASED FROM CHECHEN CAPTIVITY
Russian Television, Vesti, July 20, 1999, 20:00
On morning of July 20, several people were released from Chechen captivity at once. Among those released were Denis Buslyar, age four, who was taken hostage last spring. Alexander Komarov and Vyacheslav Petrenko were also freed. After two years’ slavery they will at long last return to their fatherland, which they had left with the purpose of earning money. During their two years in captivity their health weakened, and they require urgent medical treatment. On July 20, citizen of New Zealand Geraldo Cruise-Rebeiro, an agent of the International Red Cross Committee in the North Caucasus, was delivered to Moscow.
The release of the New Zealander became possible owing to a special operation which was carried out last night by officers of the North Caucasus Department for Fighting Organized Crime. Some 40 people were involved in the operation, stated the Russian Foreign Ministry. Moreover, like any other recent releases, the operation was conducted without bribery, and, what is more, the abductors were captured.
Cruise-Rebeiro was abducted on May 15, 1999 from Nalchik, where he had been teaching nurses how to work in emergency conditions as a representative of the International Red Cross Committee.