AN ORDERED SCANDAL
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 3, 1999, p.2
The Russian leadership considers the scandal surrounding money-laundering through the Bank of New York to be a political action connected with the electoral campaign in the US rather than in Russia.
According to Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin, the scandal has been fermented for political purposes. The prime minister stated that the Russian law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the cases connected with money-laundering and they work in a close contact with the corresponding services in the US.
Yesterday, during his interview with journalists, Secretary of the Federation Council Yegor Stroev stated that the Federation Council intended to discuss the causes of the financial crisis, which burst on August 17, 1998 and inquired the materials concerning this case from the Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal Security Services, and the Interior Ministry but “was given no necessary information”. Yegor Stroev noted: “The current discussions of this problem are too emotional”.
Director of the Central bank Victor Gerashchenko, who is on a business visit to Switzerland, stated that the credits issued by the International Monetary Fund were purposely used.
“The scandal concerning the money of Russian organized criminality which was allegedly laundered through the Bank of New York is a propagandistic action. Russian law enforcement agencies did not implement criminal proceedings in this situation.” – Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo stated yesterday.
The minister stressed that nobody gave a legal appraisal of the situation though the assistant FBI director has already expressed his opinion concerning this subject. In this connection Vladimir Rushailo noted that he does not see any sense in relating this case with any well-known person.
It is expected that the IMF board will consider in the end of September the issue concerning a second transfer of the credit totaled at $640 million within the framework of the program of crediting Russia. Representatives of the fund have no evidence that the money given to Moscow earlier were transferred abroad through the channels of the Bank of New York.
AN ALLIANCE OF TWO COWBOYS
Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 3, 1999, p.2
It is not a secret that Boris Berezovsky and Governor of Krasnoyarsk Alexander Lebed cherish kind feelings for each other.
But currently not only mutual sympathy unites the two oligarchs – economic and political ones. They cannot survive without each other. If Luzhkov, Primakov, Stepashin, or Putin become the next president Berezovsky’s sweet life in Russia will end. He will not only lose his power but he will possibly become a telling example how the new power fights corruption.
Alexander Lebed will have to accept the last and internecine battle, too. The last because he will never have real chances for presidency – there are too many new politicians with far nobler manners and in addition his image as the field general is becoming boring.
As for Boris Berezovsky, he seems to have big troubles: according to the media, prosecutors of various countries casting off all restraint began arresting his accounts. The oligarch even had to borrow money from Lev Cherny who, by the way, owns the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant, to purchase TV-6 and Kommersant Publishing House.
Last week Boris Berezovsky visited Krasnoyarsk where he held top-secret negotiations with the governor. Sources from the administration of the governor assert that they discussed the upcoming elections, both parliamentary and presidential. The oligarch is interested in some Siberian region where with minimal expenditure and large degree of probability it is possible to become deputy of the Duma – in other words to gain the status which guarantees immunity from any encroachment on the part of the law enforcement agencies. The same sources assert that Boris Berezovsky gave a few pieces of advice to the governor how to involve the most prospective regional organizations and enterprises in the electoral projects of the general.
Not long before Berezovsky’s visit to the meeting of the Siberian Consent Association Lebed tried to get the approval of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for the privatization of the Krasnoyarsk Coal Company by the administration of the region. The governor intended to give the control over the money flows of coal miners to the structures formed by the administration of Krasnoyarsk or those friendly to it. Putin objected to this idea, and rather strictly: Lebed’s plan is favorable to him in his presidential race but it would deprive Russia of the Western credits necessary for restructuring the entire coal industry. Lebed failed with privatization of Krasugol, but he may succeed in buying the KrAZ Car factory. The next day after Berezovsky’s departure from Krasnoyarsk the regional Prosecutor’s Office gave warrants for arresting Board Director of this aluminum giant Anatoly Bykov. By a strange coincidence, a large group of influential leaders of the regional business raised interest of the Krasnoyarsk Prosecutor’s Office.
FEDERAL FORCE HAS BARRED PATHS OF RETREAT
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 3, 1999, p.3
Units of the Internal Force and Dagestani policemen have taken the Kharamakhi settlement. The information comes from Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo.
Nevertheless, armed groups of extremists continue offering resistance to the federal troops. But the commandos were cut off from all possible paths of retreat.
Vladimir Kolesnikov disproved the information concerning the concentration of commandos on the border of Dagestan.
THE ST. PETERSBURG TELEVISION HAS BEEN CLOSED
Izvestia, September 3, 1999, p.2
On September 2, transmitting stations, on the instructions of the Ministry for Media stopped broadcasting the programs of the Petersburg TV Company. In addition, the ministry suspended the license given to this TV company.
The conflict burst out after showing the action of Right Cause in St. Petersburg, which was commented by Alexander Nevzorov.
The administration of St. Petersburg did not comment on the fact of broadcasting the “Politica – Peterburgsky Stil” program, which was called by the Ministry for Media a challenge to the state.
SERGEI KIRIENKO FOR MAYOR OF MOSCOW
RTR, Vesti, September 2, 1999, 14:00
During a September 3 press conference, former prime minister Sergei Kirienko once again confirmed his intention to run for mayor of Moscow. Kirienko said that he has already managed to gain the major victory in his struggle against Moscow red tape – from now on it is possible to criticize Luzhkov and his team. Kirienko stated: “Here are the results of our work during the past three months: we have a true two-party system, and the Moscow ‘party of power’ will never again hold the monopoly on omnipotent power… “
The former prime minister confirmed the information that, despite being busy with preparing for the upcoming parliamentary election, he still intends to compete with Luzhkov in the early mayoral election in Moscow. For this purpose, an alternative city budget has already been planned, as well as a general development plan for Moscow in the next century, including a program of communal construction in the Russian capital.
RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS SOUTH KOREA
RTR, Vesti, September 2, 1999, 14:00
On September 2, Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev visited South Korea. The major topic of his future negotiations in Seoul will be Russian-Korean military cooperation and provision for security in the Far East.
Russia opts for a flexible policy in North-East Asia, since each delegation of the Russian Defense Ministry to South Korea represents a possibility for North Korean discontent. Pyongyang is extremely concerned with Moscow’s plans for continuing military-technical cooperation with South Korea.
Russia has already delivered $450 million worth of weapons and ammunition to Seoul. All of these deliveries were made as a form of repayment, writing off Russia’s $1.8 billion debt to South Korea. However, recently the South Korean Defense Ministry has stated that it will no longer purchase weaponry from Russia and will instead stick to acquiring military technology.
The Russian delegation has praised the success and progress of the talks. In early October, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will go to Pyongyang in an attempt to counterbalance the defense minister’s visit to Seoul.
RUSSIA TO SELL TWO NUCLEAR SUBMARINES TO CHINA
NTV, Segodnya, September 2, 1999, 14:00
According to the Chinese paper “Xinhua Daily”, Beijing and Moscow have reached an agreement on the sale of two Typhoon-class nuclear submarines to China. The fact of China purchasing two nuclear submarines may seriously alter the situation in the Pacific region. Currently, the Typhoon is considered to be a state-of-the-art nuclear submarine. They are equipped with the RSM-52 Osyotr (SSN-20, according to the NATO classification) ballistic missiles with a range of 8,300 km. These missiles can be launched directly from the submarine. “Xinhua Daily” emphasizes that the RSM-52 range is enough to reach the northern coast of America, which seems to be especially topical for China in the light of the recent worsening of its relations with Taiwan.
However, on September 2 both the Chinese Foreign Ministry and a representative of the Russian embassy in Beijing informed France Press that they know nothing about the agreement in question.