HIGH TIME TO MEET?
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, April 7, 2000, p. 2
US officials are using all kinds of diplomatic connections to find out the attitude of President-elect Vladimir Putin to a meeting with US President Bill Clinton.
According to some sources in Russian diplomatic circles, Putin and Clinton are likely to meet three times before the end of 2000: a bilateral summit, a meeting of the G-8 leaders in July on Okinawa, and “the millenium summit” during the UN General Assembly in September in New York.
This is likely to be discussed during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Washington, on April 26-27.
ALLEGED SPY’S NAME REVEALED
Komsomolskaya Pravda, April 7, 2000, p. 3
The name of an American citizen who was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on Wednesday, and is accused of espionage, has been revealed. The intelligence service caught Edmond Pope, a former US Navy captain. According to the ABC TV network, after his retirement he kept in touch with his former colleagues. Pope was interested in the latest spectrometers, which are installed in spacecraft, as well as advanced technologies of the Russian submarine fleet.
The name of the Russian citizen who was arrested together with Pope while handing over secret drafts of submarine missiles, has not been disclosed. The US Department of State confirmed that an American citizen had been arrested in Moscow, but gave no detailed comments. According to James Rubin, representative of the Department of State, the arrested man is in good health, has no complaints about his treatment, and hopes that the issue will soon be resolved.
WHO WILL STAY IN THE CABINET?
Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 7, 2000, p. 2
According to unofficial reports from the Kremlin administration, there will be no profound changes while the new government is being formed.
Mikhail Kasianov, current Senior Deputy Prime Minister, is still the front-runner for the post of Prime Minister. Both Defense Minister Igor Sergeev and Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo will keep their posts. Konstantin Totsky will remain in charge of the Federal Border Guard service, and Nikolai Patrushev will remain the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Current Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is highly likely to also work in the new government. The position of the current Economy Minister Andrei Shapovaliants is rather shaky. And there will be no deputy prime minister for the media in the new government.
TERROR IN THE HEART OF EUROPE
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, April 7, 2000, p. 2
Yesterday at the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, Gadji Makhachev, a Dagestan member of parliament and a member of the Russian delegation in Strasbourg, was assaulted. Having made his speech at the meeting, he left the conference hall, and in the corridor he was attacked by “Chechen representatives – nobody knows why and by whom they were allowed to enter the building of the Council of Europe”.
Nikolai Kharitonov, another member of the Russian delegation, demanded in its name that Gadji Makhachev should be given bodyguards and that the individuals responsible for this outrage should be removed from the building.
Vagap Tutakov, who calls himself a member of the Chechen parliamentary delegation and Maskhadov’s representative for human rights and relations with international organizations, participated in the assault on the Dagestan deputy.
PACE Chair Lord Russell-Johnston promised that the incident would be investigated.
POLAND PREPARING ANOTHER ANTI-RUSSIAN PROVOCATION?
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, April 7, 2000, p. 5
The other day Janusc Palubitsky, Polish Secret Services Minister, accused “a neighbor state” of spying. According to him, “there is a state next to Poland, which carries out active and intensifying espionage in Poland. This state does not respond to signals which are sent to it. Last year we detained three spies, whose cases were brought to the Prosecutor’s Office. But that state has not drawn any conclusions. This year we have had to expel nine embassy staff. If that state still draws no conclusions, Poland will have to consider further steps.”
Surely the malicious state next to Poland is Russia, and “further steps” mean new provocations.
Actually, relations between Poland and Russia leave much to be desired. In January, nine Russian embassy staff were expelled from Poland; then there was the insult to the Russian flag in Poznan, then the desecration of graves of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw.. Why has all this happened? What has changed between December 1999 and February 2000?
Well, only one thing. There is a new president in Russia. And if Boris Yeltsin, who in fact initiated Poland’s joining NATO, was more or less suitable to Polish authorities, it seems they don’t like Vladimir Putin much. This especially concerns Polish secret services, who have close relations with their German colleagues.
As observers noted, Palubitsky raised his accusations the day after Kvasnevsky spoke by phone with Vladimir Putin. The Polish leader, who is known to be a supporter of close relations with Russia, congratulated Putin on winning the presidential elections and invited him to Warsaw.
Polish Foreign Minister Bronislav Germek said when answering journalists’ questions about Palubitsky’s hints: “Philosophers say that everything in this world is connected. I hope that there are no connections in this case.”
ENERGY BILLS TO BE PAID ON TIME
Trud, April 7, 2000, p. 2
President-elect Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the order of cooperation for timely payments for electricity and gas between state sector enterprises and energy suppliers such as Russian Joint Energy Systems (RJES) and Gazprom.
According to the decree, the responsibility for making full payments for electricity and heating, as well as gas, will be borne by the heads of federal departments in charge of state sector enterprises. In accordance with this order, after budget resources have been allotted, their recipients should conclude contracts on gas and energy supplies. Consumption of and payment for electricity, heating, and gas over and above the agreed limit will require a separate agreement, and will be considered commercial.
Putin also ordered the Finance Ministry to report monthly to the Fuel and Energy Ministry, RJES, and Gazprom about the budgetary resources allotted to energy consumers. The latter, in turn, must apply within three days for the energy resources they need. The Fuel and Energy Ministry will have to make quarterly reports to the government on payment accounts for energy resources of the state sector enterprises.
VLADIMIR PUTIN INSPECTS NORTHERN FLEET
RTR, Vesti, April 6, 2000, 20:00
Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin has unexpectedly extended his visit to Severomorsk, where the Russian Northern Fleet is stationed. Having inspected ships and submarines of the fleet, as well as aircraft of on-deck and shore aviation, Vladimir Putin said: “I am proud of the fleet, because it manages to keep its equipment in such condition under current circumstances. The fleet manages to maintain professionalism and, what is more important, servicemen’s high spirits and faithfulness to their duty, their oath, and their motherland.”
RUSSIA CAN DO WITHOUT IMF ASSISTANCE
RTR, Vesti, April 6, 2000, 20:00
Vladimir Putin has met with Stanley Fischer, Acting Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. Mr. Fischer’s visit to Moscow is unofficial, but the program of this visit is very full. On the morning of April 6, he met with some Duma leaders. After that he talked with influential economists and politicians, and then met with Mr. Putin.
Mr. Fischer met with Chairman of the Duma Budget Committee Alexander Zhukov, which immediately provoked a wave of rumors about Mr. Zhukov’s chances to become the prime minister. As for Zhukov himself, he did not comment on these rumors, but only made it clear that Russia can survive without the IMF’s assistance.
Mr. Fischer’s scheduled meeting with Central Bank President Viktor Gerashchenko gave rise to rumors that Russia may sacrifice Gerashchenko in exchange for friendly relations with the IMF. However, Mr. Gerashchenko has denied these rumors.