AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER KARELIN
ORT, Vremya analytical program, December 25, 1999, 21:00
The week which has passed since the parliamentary election has been rich in commentary and predictions. The most nourishing food for rumors was the success of the Union of Right Forces and Unity. Alexander Karelin, one of leaders of Unity, and to all appearances the most colorful figure in the movement, has given an interview to our correspondent Pavel Sheremet.
Q: You have been victorious in the election. Unity has won the election. What it’s going to be next? Do you have a detailed plan of action?
Karelin: Firstly, I do not consider this event to be a phenomenon. I think that results of the election, the results our bloc has attained, show first of all that the mood of most Russian voters corresponds with our program and the principles on which the election campaign was based. It happened because we had prepared for serious work aimed at strengthening the power of the state, strengthening the role of the regions, development of the country.
Q: What is going to happen with Sergei Shoigu? Wil he enter the Duma or will he continue working in the Emergency Ministry? Is this issue being discussed?
Karelin: It is. I think a congress which will take place on Tuesday will give answers to many questions, including this as well, which is important not for our faction alone, but for the Duma as a whole.
Q: If Shoigu remains in the Emergency Ministry and does not enter the Duma, you become the leader of the bloc, since you are the second candidate on the electoral list of the bloc. Will you head the Unity faction in the Duma, or do you think this is impossible?
Karelin: I assure you that the place on the electoral list is not the point. There is not a strict correspondence of the rating with a person’s services in bringing about victory.
FEDERAL FORCES AND LOYALIST CHECHENS TRY TO TAKE GROZNY
NTV, Segodnya, December 25, 1999, 19:00
The federal forces are trying to establish control over Grozny before the New Year. Within the last few hours it has become known that militia detachments led by Beslan Gantamirov, former mayor of Grozny, are fighting their way through to the center of the capital.
We have just now been told that these forces have entrenched in the south-western districts of Grozny.
However, Gantamirov’s militia are unlikely to be able to cope with several thousand guerrillas who have fortified basements and underground shelters and are able to offer tough resistance.
The armored vehicles of the federal forces have started to move from the suburbs into the center of Grozny. Mortar crews and snipers are clearing the way for the federal forces and Gantamirov’s detachments.
At the same time the roads on which the troops are moving should be cleared of mines. The operation will be carried out in accordance with this plan until the armored vehicles and Gantamirov’s militia occupy the main points in almost all of the fifteen sectors into which Grozny is now divided. After that, elimination of enemy personnel will begin.
INVESTIGATION OF ALKHAN-YURT EVENTS
NTV, Segodnya, December 25, 1999, 19:00
Tragic events in the Alkhan-Yurt settlement, where, as certain sources state, several dozen peaceful citizens were killed, are being investigated in Chechnya. Witnesses assert that all of this happened when the guerrillas had already left the settlement.
On December 25 Saidullaev, chair of the pro-Russian State Council of Chechnya, whose home village is Alkhan-Yurt, presented video evidence of actual actions of the Russian soldiers in the settlement.
On December 25 the Epitienne agency showed video footage which Saidullaev calls documentary evidence of the premeditated murder of civilians in Alkhan-Yurt by Russian servicemen from December 1-9. The scenes were recorded in Alkhan-Yurt on December 17, when Mali came there with Nikolai Koshman, the envoy of the Russian government to Chechnya.
The prosecutor’s office will investigate the facts of the case. The most serious of Saidullaev’s accusations are supported only by verbal testimony, without any proof. Now the investigation alone, which is far from being completed, can ascertain the truth.