SKURATOV NOT PERMITTED TO LEAVE RUSSIA
Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 12, 2000, p. 2
According to the decision of the Moscow City Court, former General Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov will not be permitted to leave the country.
For several months Skuratov has been trying to have this measure of restraint changed. The Tverskoy Inter-Municipal Court of Moscow has not complied with Skuratov’s appeal, stating that it is the General Prosecutor’s Office that is to decide on changing the measures of restraint. Insofar as this measure was selected by the General Prosecutor’s Office, there is nowhere else to complain. The Moscow City Court has also rejected Skuratov’s appeal. Thus, Yuri Ilyich will have to stay in Russia until the legal proceedings against him are finished.
THIS WAR WILL NEVER CEASE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 12, 2000, p. 1
The notorious colonel Budanov did not hold the banner of the “officer of the month” long. Last Monday, a serious attempt was made at his laurels. Colonel Savchenko, Deputy Commander of an Army division, exhibited another brilliant performance, although this one was of a different kind.
Savchenko’s term of service in Chechnya expired long ago, but he would not go home. He was moving about all over Chechnya until his car was stopped at a check point. There were three wounded Arabs crouched in his car, who naturally were armed.
According to some sources, the Arabs tried to attack the police officers and were shot. According to some other sources, police officers themselves closed the doors of the car and opened fire on the Arabs.
Along with the Arabs, there were also two wounded Chechen gunmen, the colonel himself, and his driver in the car. They were not killed, and were immediately interrogated.
It turned out that Colonel Savchenko moved wounded guerrillas from Chechnya to safer places, and certainly received some money for this job. According to our sources, each rescued Arab cost $5,000. It is impossible to prove this figure by documents, but it is known that at the moment of detention, Savchenko was in possession of $1,300 and a large sum in rubles. In addition, it is worth mentioning that Colonel Savchenko is a deputy commander of the division responsible for educational and ideological work with military personnel.
RUSSIAN GOLD AND HARD CURRENCY RESERVES GROW
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, April 12, 2000, p. 1
According to the official reports of the Central Bank, in the first quarter of 2000, Russia’s gold and hard currency reserves grew by 24.7%, from $12.456 billion as of January 1 to $15.532 billion as of April 1.
In the structure of the gold and hard currency reserves, the share of hard currency has increased from 67.9% to 73.76%, and the share of gold has decreased from 32.1% to 26.24%.
Between March 1 and April 1, the gold and hard currency reserves of the Russian Federation increased by $1.875 billion.
KHRISTENKO MEETS WITH FUEL AND ENERGY SECTOR LEADERS
Trud, April 12, 2000, p. 1
On April 11, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko met with Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev and Russian Joint Energy Systems (RJES) head Anatoly Chubais. Issues connected with normalization of the situation in the fuel and energy sector and resolution of contradictions between Gazprom and RJES were discussed as the meeting. Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kalyuzhny also took part in the meeting. As is known, RJES has announced its intention to limit electricity deliveries due to lack of gas deliveries. The delays of gas deliveries, in turn, are caused by debts for gas payments.
A group of experts is working on this issue, and according to Khristenko, in a few days the final balance of delivering fuel to electric power plants is to be adopted. Senior Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has confirmed this. In his opinion, the conflict between the two largest natural monopolies was caused by the existing system of mutual offsets between these companies. M. Kasyanov has stressed that the government will take all the necessary measures to solve this problem, since “the energy balance of the country depends on this.”
Kalyuzhny has told a “Trud” correspondent that he approves of the position of Gazprom, which is seeking ways to increase gas deliveries to Russia for the sake of its people. At the same time, according to the fuel and energy minister, the main task of the RJES is to see to the timely payments for gas consumed.
FOREIGN STUDENTS ASSAULTED BY NEO-NAZIS IN VOLGOGRAD
Izvestia, April 12, 2000, p. 2
Vladimir Petrov, Rector (Director) of the Volgograd Medical Academy and an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has held an extraordinary press conference. The reason for this conference was the fact that on April 5, a group of skinheads attacked and cruelly beat up several Indian students at the Academy. The skinheads were armed with knuckledusters, bicycle chains, and metal bars.
A student from Morocco has said that during one of his previous meetings with skinheads, one of the thugs promised him a present for Adolf Hitler’s birthday: to kill one of the foreign students.
By the way, the Volgograd Medical Academy may serve as a sort of barometer of the inter-ethnic relations in the city, for there are over 700 foreign students there now.
Volgograd Governor Nikolai Maksyuta has told an “Izvestia” correspondent that urgent measures will immediately be taken to suppress the skinheads.
PROBLEMS OF THE ARMY CALL-UP
Tribuna, April 12, 2000, p. 1
For the first time in the past four years there is a shortage of “draft material” in Russia, as Colonel General Vladislav Putilin, Deputy Director of the General Staff and the Director of the Main Organization and Mobilization Department, has stated.
According to him, this spring some 191,600 people will be called up. Because of the Chechen events, the demands of the Armed Forces have increased; but according to the law, it is allowed to expand the call-up by no more than 13% of the total draft resource.
Another concern for the Army is the health of the conscripts: 57.6% of young men drafted in fall 1999 have health problems. In addition, about half of last fall’s conscripts had never worked or studied anywhere since leaving high school, and so they are accumulating their social experience in the Army.
The third and apparently the worst problem connected with the current draft is financial. The main expenditures are connected with transportation of draftees. It is the regions that will have to pay 93 million rubles out of 110 million rubles necessary for the successful draft.
YELTSIN TO BECOME A GUEST OF THE FEDERATION COUNCIL
Komsomolskaya Pravda, April 12, 2000, p. 2
The idea of making Boris Yeltsin an honorary member of the Federation Council has been circulating in the upper circles of state power since January. And now it has been accepted, with a touching response by Parliament. It has turned out that senators may well find an extra seat for the former president, but the Constitution prevents them from doing so.
According to senators, there is only one way out of the constitutional dead end: it is necessary to introduce an amendment into the Constitution, according to which the first Russian president will be entitled to visit the Federation Council and take his seat. But this can be done on the initiative of Parliament members, both senators and Duma deputies, or at least some regional representative body. However, there are no such initiatives so far. Probably senators feel uneasy about the fact that Mikhail Gorbachev would become the only unemployed former president. The logic is simple: if all former presidents find refuge in the upper house, there will be no room left in there after a while.
Members of the Federation Council have come to a compromise decision: they have decided to make Yeltsin not an honorary member, but a honorable guest of the Federation Council, with a right to express his opinion on some issues.
However, Boris Yeltsin will hardly accept this status.
START II TO BE RATIFIED
Komsomolskaya Pravda, April 12, 2000, p. 2
According to our analysts, START II will be ratified on Friday, despite the disagreements among Duma deputies. Among those parliamentary factions and groups who will vote for the ratification are Unity (81 people), People’s Deputy (58 people), Fatherland-All Russia (47 people), Union of Right Forces (33 people), Yabloko (21 people), and most members of Russian Regions (40 people). Those who will vote against the treaty are the Communist party (95 people), the Agrarian group (36 people), and probably the Liberal Democratic party (17 people).
The necessary minimum for the decision to pass is 226 votes. It is obvious that even if not all deputies attend, the treaty will be ratified.
HOW TO DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY
Izvestia, April 12, 2000, p. 3
In a few days, the bill on declaring a state of emergency in the Russian Federation will be submitted to the Duma. Chairman of the Duma Anti-Corruption Commission Sergei Stepashin (Yabloko) and three members of the Union of Right Forces (Viktor Pokhmelkin, Sergei Yushenkov, and Eduard Vorobyev) have proposed their own version of the bill.
Despite the apparently clear need for such a law, (the war in Chechnya, etc.), a strange situation has developed in Russia surrounding declaration of a state of emergency. Formally, there is a law on the state of emergency adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic in May 1991. However, its legitimacy is disputed, since some of the items of this Soviet law contradict the current Constitution.
The bill developed by Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces gives a legal basis and rules of declaration of a state of emergency.
Pokhmelkin, Yushenkov, and Vorobyev also intend to submit amendments to the law on defense. These amendments will allow the supreme commander-in-chief to deploy the Armed Forces before declaring a war or a war situation.
DUMA DEPUTIES ON THE RATIFICATION OF START II
Independent Television, Segodnya, April 11, 2000, p. 12
On April 11 the Duma Council decided that ratification of the START II Russian-American treaty will be considered at a plenary session of the Duma on Friday, April 14. This decision of the Duma Council was announced by Genady Zyuganov, leader of the CPRF. Representatives of various Duma factions commented on this decision.
Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the CPRF: “We will oppose ratification of this treaty. We think that the government is hurrying the Duma in order to have something to celebrate in London by V-E Day. This gift will cost one-third of our national resources and ruin our national security.”
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, LDPR leader: “The Duma will ratify this treaty. No fewer than 300 deputies will vote for ratification. A lot of them will support ratification, obeying an order without thinking about their responsibility to history. This decision is historic. Those who will take this decision will have to account for their choice.”
Dmitry Rogozin, Secretary of the Duma Committee for International Affairs: “I think the Duma will ratify the documents connected with the ABM treaty and with START II. The problem is that we must be prepared for the possible withdrawal of the US from the ABM treaty.”
According to observers, there will not be many problems with ratification of START II.
DUMA STATEMENT ON THE PACE RESOLUTION
ORT, Novosti, April 11, 2000, 12:00
On April 11 the Duma Council approved a draft statement on the results of the PACE session in Strasbourg, where the voting rights of the Russian delegation were restricted by the European parliamentarians. Dmitry Rogozin, Secretary of the Duma Committee for International Affairs, noted that the draft statement upholds the actions of the Russian delegation. Most importantly, the delegation of the Federation Council intends to suspend its work at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This statement will be considered at tomorrow’s plenary session of the Duma.
Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the CPRF: “I think that this draft is well-considered and reflects the real situation. On the one hand, it condemns the discriminatory policy against Russia of the PACE; on the other, it leaves the door open for a constructive dialogue.”
A NIGHT OF CRIME IN ST. PETERSBURG
Independent Television, Segodnya, April 11, 2000, 10:00
There has been a contract killing in St. Petersburg. Businessman Igor Baburin, 39, headed the Shuttle commercial enterprise, a subsidiary of the Kozitsky Plant in St. Petersburg, which produces Rubin TV sets. In addition, Baburin was the founder and a co-owner of several companies selling cars and domestic appliances. He is a former officer of the Regional Department for Combating Organized Crime. The law enforcement agencies connect Baburin’s murder with his commercial activities.
Igor Baburin was shot at about 8:40 p.m. as he was getting out of his car. Investigator found four cartridge-cases. Baburin’s wife, who was in the car, was not injured. The murderer escaped in a Zhiguli car.
This tragic incident was not the only one during last night. A policeman was shot dead in the Primorsky district in St. Petersburg. A second policemen was seriously wounded. As it turned out, the man who killed one policemen and wounded the other was an officer of an Interior Ministry department.