AS FAR AS THE WEST IS CONCERNED, RUSSIA IS BUT A VAST MARKET AND NOTHING MORE
Izvestia, February 29, 2000, p. 1
Commenting on the future of Russia’s long-term economic program, our source in the government openly said that we should not expect any specific program.
The source: Investments do not have anything to do with programs. Even if the communists suddenly come to power in the country, investments will go on coming in.
It seems that the Russian Cabinet is gradually getting used to the idea that as far as foreign investors are concerned, Russia may be of interest only as a vast market in the battle for global economic dominance waged by superpowers and transnational corporations.
STRIKE AT NUCLEAR POWER PLANT BANNED
Izvestia, February 29, 2000, p. 2
Valery Lebedev, Director of the Leningrad nuclear power plant, has prohibited the holding of another industrial action scheduled by his employees for Monday evening. The strikers are of the opinion that the administration is ignoring their demands connected with demand for higher salaries. Nuclear Energy Minister Adamov calls these demands unreasonable: an average salary at the nuclear power plant is about 4,000 rubles. The Nuclear Energy Ministry also objects to any strikes and protest actions at the nuclear power plant.
PUTIN MEETS WITH HIS ENVOYS
Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 29, 2000, p. 22
Political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky was the first to get the microphone. He is responsible for information and analysis at Putin’s electoral headquarters. In the first place, “the danger of physical extermination of Vladimir Putin does not lie in Chechnya alone. There are other persons interested in it as well”, says Pavlovsky. Over the last few days “Putin’s enemies” arranged for the emergence of a whole number of tainting articles worth almost $600,000. Moreover, they will “do their honest best to have the election boycotted”.
Putin himself was quoted as saying that the “oligarchs should be removed from power”.
UKRAINE REFUSES TO PAY BACK EUROCREDITS
Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 29, 2000, p. 2
The news was confirmed by an executive of the Roundstone Group handling Ukrainian matters.
The Ukrainian default (official Kiev refuses to pay back the credit as well as the accrued interest of DM 1.54 million) jeopardizes private investors whose money account for 50 percent of all credits received by Ukraine. After Pakistan and Ecuador, Ukraine has become the third country to refuse to pay back its Eurocredit. Western analysts say that restructuring their budget until 2007 is the only option left to creditors. Otherwise, they will lose everything.
MIRONOV CALLS A PRESS CONFERENCE
Trud, January 29, 2000, p. 1
Oleg Mironov, Russia’s Human Rights Commissar, called a press conference yesterday. Mironov had not been allowed to fly to Chechnya together with his European Union counterpart Alvaro hil Robles.
Mironov was not allowed to board the plane on the pretext that there were no vacant seats, but it turned out afterwards that several seats were empty.
Mironov: I would like to believe that this was merely a bureaucratic hitch. I am afraid, however, that it was something more than that. Remember that Mary Robinson of the United States had not been permitted to fly to Chechnya as well? … The federal authorities do not seem to understand the importance of the institution of human rights commissariat even though its creation was a condition Russia was obligated to meet in return for membership in the Council of Europe…
RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORT IN 1999 EXCEEDED $3 BILLION
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 29, 2000, p. 1
According to Trade Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Russian arms export in 1999 exceeded $3 billion.
MANIAC FACES TRIAL
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 29, 2000, p. 2
The Moscow criminal police arrested Harry Ashley, a British, suspected of rape.
A 14-year old kid was sent to the center for homeless children at the Altufievskoye Shosse in late February. He said that he lived in the Ruza district (Moscow region) and had come to Moscow on February 12. The boy refused to say what he had done the whole week but finally admitted that he had met a foreigner at the All-Russian Exhibition Center on the day of his arrival. The man invited him for a walk, took him to a cafe, finally brought him home, and raped him. This lasted five days. Afterwards, the kid was thrown out but remembered the house.
The police visited the house and found Ashley who said he did not know any kid. Doctors confirmed the boy’s story.
The Briton was charged under Article 132 of the Criminal Code for sexual abuse of juveniles.
TAXES ARE COLLECTED, POCHINOK REPORTS
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, January 29, 2000, p. 1
The Ministry of Taxes and Duties implemented its monthly tax collection plan on February 22, according to Minister Alexander Pochinok.
PUTIN MEETS WITH DEPUTY PREMIERS AND SECURITY MINISTERS
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, February 28, 2000, 15:00
Those present at the conference chaired by Vladimir Putin discussed the political situation in the country on the eve of the presidential election, the ongoing antiterrorist operation in Chechnya, payment of salaries debts in the regions, and the federal center’s assistance to the region with regard to this problem.
Mikhail Kasianov, Senior Deputy Premier and Finance Minister, says that the situation with debts remains serious in nine regions and that some serious steps will be taken this week to resolve it.
After the conference, Putin met individually with security ministers and with the Secretary of the Security Council, Sergei Ivanov. Vladimir Rushailo and Igor Sergeev briefed the acting president on the state of affairs in the Caucasus, on military operations in southern Chechnya, and on the troops’ actions in the liberated districts.
Rushailo: Together with Sergeev we briefed the acting president on the situation in the Caucasus. The operation is drawing close to its end, and this means that Internal Troops and Interior Ministry bodies are really busy now in Chechen settlements.
SERGEI STEPASHIN IS GRANTED AN AUDIENCE
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, February 28, 2000, 12:00
Today, acting president Vladimir Putin met with Duma deputy Sergei Stepashin in the Government House. After the meeting Stepashin refused to reveal what was discussed, saying only that this was not going to be his last meeting with Putin today.
Stepashin: You will know what it all is about after the second meeting.
Stepashin ducked the question of whether or not the audience had anything to do with the gubernatorial election in St. Petersburg scheduled to take place in a few months from now.
AN UPDATE ON ANDREI BABITSKY’S CASE
NTV (Independent Television), “Segodnya” program, February 28, 2000, 14:00
Acting president Vladimir Putin has instructed law enforcement agencies to consider the expediency of keeping Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky in custody, according to Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo.
Rushailo: I have briefed Vladimir Vladimirovich concerning investigation into Babitsky’s case because a decision had been taken yesterday to present him with a bill of indictment and keep him in custody. Without trying to interfere or anything, Putin just gave his opinion. He instructed the Interior Ministry and the General Prosecutor’s Office to take up the Babitsky case and consider very carefully whether or not our keeping him in custody was really necessary.
Right now Babitsky is in a detention cell in Makhachkala. He is charged under Article 327 of the Criminal Code which deals with the “use of forged documents”.
Meanwhile, Dagestani prosecutor’s office and Babitsky’s lawyers make conflicting statements. The former says that Babitsky contradicts himself during interrogation. The latter intend to file a protest concerning the decision to keep the journalist in custody.