Izvestia, August 31, 1999, p. 1

On Monday, the Ministry for Media, TV and Radio Broadcasting, and Mass Communications forwarded an official warning to the ORT network (Russian Public Television).

Ministry officials have found “violation of a number of provisions of the federal legislation” on the part of the network, “constituting abuse of freedom of the press.” Specifically, in its coverage of an action organized by the Right Cause movement in St. Petersburg, the TV network displayed “lack of respect” for the flag of the Russian Federation and included some “offensive statements concerning the president.”

ORT was warned that a second similar offense may result in termination of its license.


Izvestia, August 31, 1999, p. 1

Colonel Viktor Afanasiev, commander of the 27th expedition to the Mir space station: Our astronauts left the station in perfect condition. Actually, we all wished we didn’t have to abandon it.

Engineer Sergei Avdeev says Mir should handle remote-controlled operation perfectly.

Avdeev: On the other hand, we cannot rule out the possibility of erroneous commands from ground control, which may result in irreparable damage. Critical loss of fuel or disorientation may occur, for example. Besides, there are some air leaks on the station.

Avdeev believes that Mir should not be left without direct human supervision for any extended periods.


Izvestia, August 31, 1999, p. 3

Not so long ago, Semyon Sharetsky, a leader of the opposition and chairman of the Supreme Council of Belarus, made a statement calling Alexander Lukashenko’s decrees illegitimate and claiming that Lukashenko’s own term in office had expired on July 20. The document states that Lukashenko became an ordinary Belarussian on that day, and that duties of the head of state officially went to Sharetsky (until the next presidential election).

The declaration was made public by Ivonka Survila, president of the Belarussian People’s Republic in exile; Stanislav Shushkevich, former chairman of the Supreme Council; and Academician Radim Goretsky, president of the World Belarussian Community.

Sharetsky himself is still in Lithuania, where he moved over a month ago, and which he refuses to leave out of political considerations and for fear of the wrath of Minsk.

Analysts say that what is happening in Lithuania now is essentially a process of formation of a Belarussian presidential administration and government in exile.


Rossiiskaya Gazeta, August 31, 1999, p. 1

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright discussed pressing problems of bilateral cooperation in the light of the meeting between Prime Minister Putin and President Clinton, scheduled to take place in mid-September in Auckland, New Zealand.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 31, 1999, p. 3

The president will leave for the spa town of Sochi on September 3 and return on the morning on September 12. There are rumors, however, that the dates might be shifted depending on weather.

This is phase three of the president’s annual vacation. Everything began in late May, and ended a few days later when the president was needed in Moscow to form a new government. Phase two was the hottest: Yeltsin fled to Zavidovo from the stifling capital on July 12. The fires in the nearby woods smoked him out to the Gorki-9 residence, where it was also hot…

Phase three begins soon.


Parlamentskaya Gazeta, August 31, 1999, p. 1

President Yeltsin called his Belarussian counterpart yesterday and congratulated him on his 45th birthday.

The Presidential PR department says that the presidents discussed the process of preparation of the treaty on creation of a unified state.


Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, August 30, 1999, 14:00

This morning President Yeltsin met with Prime Minister Putin, and the two state officials discussed the situation in Dagestan. Both are said to have agreed that phase one of the anti-terrorist operation has been a success.

After the meeting, the president handed out military decorations for bravery in combat. Three servicemen were awarded the Hero of Russia medal posthumously, and the medals were handed over to their relatives.

Defense and interior ministers Igor Sergeev and Vladimir Ryzhkov believe that in handling the terrorists in Dagestan, Russian security services overcame the major flaw that had always plagued them: in other words, they had succeeded in establishing proper coordination and cooperation.

Sergeev: We do learn our lessons. This time, special attention was paid to cooperation. Needless to say, it immediately had its effect.

Rushailo: Nobody tried to prove this time that he wielded more power. As we see it, this is the major result of the operation.


NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, August 30, 1999, 12:00

The first round of gubernatorial elections in the Sverdlovsk Region has produced a sensation. In the second round, incumbent governor Eduard Rossel will not be competing against the person everybody expected. When the votes in Yekaterinburg were being counted, nothing indicated a victory for Alexander Burkov, leader of the Mai movement leader – at first. Most votes were cast for Rossel (predictably), and the second largest number seemed to be polled by Arkady Chernetsky, mayor of Yekaterinburg (also predictably). It was different around the region. In some districts, Burkov polled even more votes that Rossel. By 2 a.m. it was clear that Chernetsky was losing.

Sources in Rossel’s headquarters do not conceal their glee at Chernetsky’s defeat, and admit that they did not pay enough attention to Burkov. Burkov’s own headquarters took the success in stride, and insiders say it was expected.

Burkov’s campaign was a chain of bold and showy actions: his supporters occupied the offices of heads of regional administrations, demanding overdue wages, and set up tent cities in front of the regional administration with similar demands. Retirees were particularly impressed by the promise to increase pensions. It seems that Burkov’s rivals are perplexed by the fact that his promises were taken at face value.

Chernetsky and his supporters do not conceal their surprise and disillusionment.

Rossel polled almost 40%, Burkov 18.3%, Chernetsky 15.5%.

Vladimir Mostovschikov, Chairman of the Sverdlovsk Election Commission: Unlike other regions or Federation subjects, more than 50% of voters in our region reside in cities and towns and not in rural areas…

The second round will probably take place on September 12. The Yekaterinburg mayor cannot relax yet: elections for mayor will take place simultaneously with the parliamentary election in December… Naturally, he is going to run.


Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, August 30, 1999, 14:00

Supporters of Stanislav Derev continue their rally in the major square of Cherkessk, demanding that the decision of the Supreme Court of Karachaevo-Cherkessia concerning the outcome of the election should be revoked. Vladimir Semenov, whom the Court found to be the legitimate head of the republic, has not taken up his duties yet. Today the Republican Election Commission was supposed to give the general a certificate confirming his powers, but it never happened because Semenov had left for Moscow. In the capital, he will meet with Prime Minister Putin or some Cabinet members. Semenov intends to discuss stabilization of the situation in Karachaevo-Cherkessia.

The state of affairs in this republic is further aggravated by a split between the parliament and the government. Moreover, the are two election commissions in the republic (the second one was recently chosen by the government and the parliament). It is this second structure that was expected to give Semenov his certificate. Chairman of the original commission, Musa Psikhomakhov, refuses to recognize the parallel structure and intends to hold on to his job.