Tribuna, December 8, 1999, p. 1

Ivan Rybkin, the former Duma speaker, an old acquaintance and almost compatriot of the Voronezh region people, as well as the former Duma deputy elected by the local Annensky election district, has suddenly withdrawn his candidacy for the nation’s main legislative body. What could make him do this? According to analysts, Rybkin had been almost out of the running.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, December 8, 1999, p. 2

According to the majority of Russian politicians, the results of the Duma election will depend on the result of the Chechen war. As Duma deputy Colonel General Boris Gromov stated in his interview on Echo Moskvy radio, the escalation of the Caucasus conflict will soon decrease. It will mainly be caused by the decision made at the Istanbul summit about transporting Caspian oil. The decision is not in favor of Russia. In the general’s opinion this will seriously affect the political situation on the threshold of the parliamentary and presidential elections. As for the presidential election, the general has already decided whom he will support in June 2000; however, he refused to reveal the name. Besides, the general states that while enjoying wide popularity he counts on the support of people “who have no problems with their brains and memory”. This electorate should take into consideration three criteria while evaluating both Gromov and the future president: experience, ethics, and health.


Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 8, 1999, p. 3

Russia’s Supreme Court has finally confirmed the rights of Duma candidate Sergey Mikhailov, whom the media suspects of belonging to the notorious Solntsevo gang (one of the numerous Moscow Region gangs). As the appeals tribunal of the Supreme Court reports, the earlier decision to revoke Mikhailov’s registration as a Duma candidate has been admitted illegal and reversed.


Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 8, 1999, p. 3

Sensational information was broadcast by information agencies yesterday: trucks containing two disassembled MIG-29 aircraft had been detained in the Rostov region. They say the destination of the load was Chechnya. According to the data of the Rostov FSS, the cargo in the three heavy trucks indeed amazed the Rostov policemen: it contained the MIG-29 bodies, four aircraft engines and spare parts. They were being transported from a Tambov military unit to the south of Russia. Some discrepancies in the documents was found and the vehicles together with the loads and drivers were detained in Rostov. However, the FSS officers are rather sceptical about the possibility of there being a “Chechen link” in the case: the spare parts from the trucks are far from being enough to assemble a working aircraft. Besides, such a plane would not be able to take off from a highway, and Chechnya has no special runway for MIG-29 planes.


Izvestia, December 8, 1999, p. 3

Nikolai Beloblotsky, Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia, has denied reports on Russian television that Leonid Kuchma is planning to visit Moscow at the end of December. Apparently, the rumor has been caused by the brevity of his last visit. In spite of this, Ukrainian authorities are satisfied with the results of the meetings of Kuchma with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. One of the most important achievements of the visit is the agreement between Russia and Ukraine about returning to Ukraine its part of the foreign property of the former USSR. Kiev has been trying to sort out this issue for more than five years. Experts of the two countries have been drawing up a list of facilities to be returned to Ukraine. But, in the words of Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Boris Tarasyuk, the work had been done without enthusiasm until “a political signal” was received. Returning Ukraine’s property abroad was one of Kuchma’s main election promises.


Izvestia, December 8, 1999, p. 2

Yury Maslyukov, a former deputy prime minister, is planning to win the Duma election with the help of both his popularity and his money. According to the election commission of the Izhevsk election district, Maslyukov’s campaign fund is equal to the total sum of his 13 competitors’ funds. The Communist Maslyukov is supported by the local department of the Fatherland – All Russia alliance, and Chairman of the State Council Alexander Volkov.


ORT, Novosti, December 7, 1999, 15:00

Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has announced that it is necessary for the parliamentary election to be postponed for several months. According to him, the necessity of this measure is connected with the violations committed by the Central Election Commission. He has also announced his intention to appeal to the Supreme Court to have the presidential decree on holding the parliamentary election on December 19 revoked.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky: “I think the ideal option is to put off the election for several months so that all participants in the election campaign have equal rights. The ideal option is to put off the election and combine it with the presidential one. Why do I suggest that they be combined? Not because of some layout of forces! Money! We are short of money! So why are we continually spending money on election campaigns?”


ORT, Novosti, December 7, 1999, 15:00

The Russian Media Ministry has expressed its embarrassment about the disagreement of statements of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and the public relations service of the Moscow Mayor’s Office regarding the plans of the Moscow government related to organization of demonstrations in Moscow on December 14. Last Sunday Media Minister Mikhail Lesin reported about mass actions that were being arranged by Moscow government. Lesin appealed to the mayor of Moscow not to resort to measures that could have uncontrollable consequences for Moscow. On Monday the public relations service of the Moscow Mayor’s Office denied the rumors about arrangement of mass actions in Moscow and called the announcement of the media minister a political provocation. However, in less than three hours Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov repudiated the announcement of his office, and stated that it is planned to organize a demonstration by supporters of the Fatherland – All Russia movement.

The announcement of the Media Ministry states that unlike the organizers of the disturbances of October 3, 1999, Yury Luzhkov is well aware of the hazard such actions have on the eve of the parliamentary election.


NTV, Segodnya, December 7, 1999, 14:00

During his trip to Barnaul, Fatherland – All Russia leader Yevgeny Primakov made an official announcement regarding Chechnya. He said that anti-Russian propaganda has been started in the West. In his opinion, most of the Western media are wrong, since they have “a one-sided view of what is going on in Chechnya.” According to him, “it is necessary for Russia to be cautious lest it end up in economic and political isolation.” Primakov believes that there are some forces in Russia that are interested in this isolation. “It is not even the Communists who want Russia to be isolated. It is the oligarchs, who are not received any longer in decent circles in the West. Using pseudo-patriotic slogans, they want Russia to fall into international isolation, so that they may retain their power.”