Moskovsky Komsomolets, February 9, 2000, p. 1

An upswing in the crime rate has been recorded in Moscow since the New Year. According to the Moscow Main Interior Affairs Department, the number of major crimes in January 2000 was 39.8% higher than in January 1999. The number of robberies increased by 40%, the number of burglaries by 50%, and the number of car thefts by 59%.

When a commission of the Interior Ministry started to investigate the activities of the Moscow police at the end of 1999, many observers came to the conclusion that it was doing so by order of the Kremlin. They believed that Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov was so hated by the Kremlin that the Presidential Administration spared no efforts to weaken his position in Moscow.

The activity of the Moscow Main Interior Affairs Department was assessed as unsatisfactory, and its former Director Kulikov was dismissed. There have been ongoing personnel changes in the Moscow police force since then. Police Major General Viktor Shvidkin has been only the acting director of the Main Interior Affairs Department for six weeks.

In short, the Presidential Administration wanted to strike a blow at Luzhkov – but the impact was felt by ordinary people, as usual.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, February 9, 2000, p. 2

Like most other distinguished retirees, Boris Yeltsin will soon issue a new collection of memoirs.

Yeltsin is writing the new volume of his autobiography together with Valentin Yumashev, who has been keeping records specifically for the president’s memoirs for the past several years. The new book will cover the events of the last six years of Yeltsin’s rule (his previous memoirs ended at 1994). It is supposed that the former Russian president will shed light on many burning issues related to corruption in the highest echelons of the Russian government, and his physical health during these years. In all likelihood, the world will see Yeltsin’s reminiscences as soon as October. The first lucky readers of the memoirs will be not Russians but Americans, since royalties are much higher in the US.


Izvestia, February 9, 2000, p. 2

The Stavropol Territorial Duma has sent an appeal to acting President Vladimir Putin. It is requested in the letter that Putin sign the law on additional measures for protection of the constitutional order in the Stavropol Territory, which was rejected by Boris Yeltsin on December 30. The draft law was approved by the Duma and the Federation Council. It stipulated additional security measures in the territory. The lawmakers of the Stavropol Territory highlight the urgency of the measures stipulated by this bill. According to the deputies, after the final phase of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya, the separatists may turn to the tactics of subversion in neighboring regions.


Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 9, 2000, p. 1

Mikhail Zurabov, chairman of the board of the Pension Fund, has said that acting President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allocating 3 billion rubles to homes for invalids and the elderly. It is the Pension Fund that will finance this program. Another decree was signed at the same time: on normalization of settlements between the Pension Fund and its debtors.


Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 9, 2000, p. 1

The State Ecological Experts Commission has approved the launching of the Rostov nuclear power plant in 2000.

The first reactor of the nuclear power plant is 90% complete. Its launching requires about 3 billion rubles. The plant has been temporarily closed for the past eight years. At first the reconstruction was interrupted because of the negative response of environmentalists. Later some changes were introduced into the project. The launching of the nuclear power plant will fully cover the demand for electricity in the Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories.


Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 9, 2000, p. 1

It is generally believed that about 7,000 separatist fighters are located in mountain districts of Chechnya at the moment. Most of the gunmen are hiding in the Argun Canyon, which is called the “wasp nest” of terrorists. Director of the General Headquarters Anatoly Kvashnin has urgently flown to the North Caucasus in order to specify the details of the final attack against Chechen gangs.

Battles in mountains are complicated and risk great losses. In Afghanistan the Soviet Army developed a number of tactics that allow the attacking side to minimize its losses. The air force plays the leading role in this operation. Fuel-air explosive bombs will immediately destroy people who are trying to hide in caves. The deeper the enemy hides, the more certain it is that he will be killed by a vacuum bomb.


ORT, Novosti, February 8, 2000, 15:00

Today, on the Day of the Russian Science, Vladimir Putin visited Zelenograd. He took part in the opening of a new building at the Innovative Technologies Center. After visiting laboratories, Putin went to the Electronics Institute where he met with research workers and students. First of all, he pointed out that secrecy surrounding Russian scientific research, which has always been primarily oriented towards defense, has negatively affected the nation’s development. Russia now has only 1% of world sales of high-tech products.

Vladimir Putin: Many closed institutions guarded their secrets not only from industrial espionage, but from domestic producers as well. Research work, with the exception of military or highly prestigious projects, has, unfortunately, always been under-funded.

However, the situation has changed recently. Last year research institutions received their full amount of funding for the first time. As Putin stated, the government will spare no effort to develop research work.

Still, the most interesting meeting of the acting president was held following his speech. Putin was surrounded by students who were interested in everything, from professional armies to the amount of grants. The majority of questions were devoted to politics. For instance: when can we expect stability? The answer was: “When stable political parties appear in Russia.”

Putin: Then the power would pass from one group to another. And we could predict what will happen, because their political priorities would be clear.

Another question concerned Putin’s election platform.

Putin: There are certain ideas, they were worked out well and they have already been formulated on paper. When we announce them, the program will surely be subjected to attacks on all sides. It will be the main target, really. But the key points will be presented to the people, to the country.

At the same time, Putin emphasized that no candidate has a program yet.


NTV, Segodnya, February 8, 2000, 12:00

Colonel General Vladimir Kolesnikov, first deputy interior minister, has handed in his resignation. This was reported by sources in the Interior Ministry. They refused to name the reason for this decision, having remarked that all explanations will be given after the final decision is made by acting President Vladimir Putin.


NTV, Segodnya, February 8, 2000, 12:00

According to the latest data, an explosion at an apartment block in Khabarovsk has claimed the lives of 11 people. Seven people were taken to hospital. Rescue works at the site of the explosion have continued for almost 13 hours. The building is practically destroyed, and experts have not determined the cause of the explosion yet. Rescuers expect to complete their work within two hours. They expect to find two more residents who are now considered missing. As a preliminary theory, a gas explosion was mentioned. This was also confirmed by eye-witnesses who say that they smelled gas not long before the explosion. One of the witnesses even states that a gas pipe in the building was intentionally damaged, and he tried to mend it with adhesive tape. This man is said to have woken the residents who escaped from the house before the explosion.

The residents of the destroyed building were settled at a local school and the gymnasium of a neighboring factory. They are 20 children and 30 adults. The people were fed and given clothing. They will have to spend the night at the school.

We have just received a message from the Interfax-Eurasia agency which states that, according to the latest data, the explosion has claimed the lives of 12 people, including two children. The bodies of 11 victims were found. Legal proceedings were instigated under the article “Destruction of Property through Negligence” of the Penal Code.

As Interfax was informed in the regional Department of the Federal Security Service, a group was formed to investigate the cause of the explosion. Representatives of the Department refuse to say anything definitive concerning this issue, they are investigating all theories, including that of a terrorist act. The Federal Security Service has not yet confirmed that the cause for the explosion in Khabarovsk was intentional damage of a gas pipe. The Center officials state that it is only one of the theories which has not been confirmed yet.