Izvestia, December 17, 1999, p.2

An explosive device was discovered on Thursday in Nizhny Novgorod, on Tkachev Street. Local residents had to leave their houses until morning for the sake of security. The difficulty was that the device was impossible to extract. Explosives experts had to detonate it on the spot. Windowpanes in nearby houses were smashed by the explosion. This event is likely to be linked to the election battle, since senior officials, including Governor Ivan Sklyarov, live in a neighboring street.


Parlamentskaya Gazeta, December 17, 1999, p.4

A nationwide conference of of Prosecutor’s Office Investigators, held for the first time since 1982, ends today. About 200 top professionals from all 89 parts of the Russian Federation were invited. As Vasily Kolmogorov, deputy General Prosecutor, emphasized in his opening speech, this year the number of reported crimes exceeded 2.5 million, which is 20% more than last year. At the same time, fewer crimes were solved: 74%, compared to 75.8% last year. But there is some comforting information: more murders were solved this year (77%). Speakers noted the upward trend in financial crime. Many investigators remarked that the most widespread error in the work of representatives of the prosecutor’s office is insufficient study of circumstances of crimes.


Parlamentskaya Gazeta, December 17, 1999, p.2

An inter-regional conference on “Regulation of Migration Processes in Border Regions” has been held in Orenburg. Jean-Paul Covalieri, senior advisor of the UN High Commission for Refugees, and over 20 heads of immigration services of Russia, attended the conference. It was held for the fifth time. This year the participants met in Orenburg, because migration problems are more conspicuous there than in other regions of Russia. The officials had a chance to become familiar with the experience of their colleagues in this region. The participants discussed a number of issues concerning migration in Russia. One of the main subjects was correction of the state strategy for migration policy.


Trud, December 17, 1999, p.1

The closed hearing of the lawsuit filed by Vladimir Petrenko, a reserve officer who once served in the chemical warfare forces at the Shikhany testing ground, has begun in the Saratov regional court. Until the early 1980s, new chemical weapons were tested at Shikhany. Petrenko was involved as a “biological test subject”. He was guaranteed security, but after two months of inhaling the vapor of phosphorous-based toxins, doctors discovered the first signs of serious illness. Two years later, a military medical commission acknowledged Petrenko unfit for duty due to exposure to radioactive and toxic substances, but he was not relieved from duty. Moreover, in 1989 the command sent Petrenko to work at the site of the Chernobyl disaster.

The judges decided to hold a closed hearing, but the information related to the case was not officially proclaimed secret, as Greenpeace reports. The materials include the results of tests conducted six years ago. These documents contain the evidence of the officers, employees of a scientific research institute of the chemical warfare forces, who confirm the fact of chemical weapons being tested on people.

Petrenko stated that he will not participate in closed hearings, since they violate the constitutional right of citizens to free access to information “about the facts and circumstances which threaten the health and lives of people.”


Trud, December 17, 1999, p.1

The results of the National Days of Protection from Environmental Hazards were recently summed up. This year the Days were held in 85 regions. The schedule included inspections and expeditions, exhibitions, festivals, and checks of how the right of citizens to environmental safety is implemented. The first place was taken by the “greens” from the Moscow and Ryazan regions. Khakassia, the Leningrad region, and St. Petersburg shared second place. The third place was taken by North Ossetia, the Kemerovo region, and the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district.


NTV, Segodnya, December 16, 1999, 12:00

Today President Yeltsin received credentials from foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin. At this ceremony he again spoke in favor of a multi-polar modern world and said a few words about Russia’s relations with Ukraine.

Boris Yeltsin: We count on constructive interaction with your countries. The development of cooperation with the sister nation of Ukraine is one of top priority tasks for Russia’s foreign policy. Both our nations wish that relations between Russia and Ukraine should be friendly, stable, and profitable for both countries.


NTV, Segodnya, December 16, 1999, 08:30

Last night police patrols in Vladivostok inspected the cars of campaign staff of the incumbent governor’s opponents. If the inspection uncovered leaflets or posters in support of opposing candidates, the police officers demanded to see permits from the City Property Committee. As examples, the officers showed copies of permits to campaign for Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko. The new rule was imposed three days before election day. Alexander Kirillichev, the main rival of Governor Nazdratenko at the upcoming elections, said at today’s press conference that he considers these actions to be evidence that the current authorities are scared. Gubernatorial candidates in Primorye (Maritime Region) are now showering courts and regional election commissions with lawsuits and complaints about numerous infringements of campaign rules in the region. But it is clear that all these lawsuits will be considered only after the vote (if at all).


RTR, Vesti, December 16, 1999, 09:00

The election commission of the 152nd industrial electoral district of Samara has decided to deregister Colonel General Albert Makashov, a candidate for the Duma. Makashov, well-known for his nationalist rhetoric, appeals to the most extreme part of the left-wing opposition. The election commission decided to disqualify him after having found financial irregularities in the actions of his proxies. Makashov’s proxies paid for campaign leaflets in cash, rather than by bank transfer, as election rules require. Makashov considers all this to be a provocation. He threatens the authorities with lawsuits and mass demonstrations of protest. As we learned, Makashov’s supporters intend to picket not only the building of the regional administration, but all regional election commissions, without exception.