DUMA ELECTS THE NEW GENERAL PROSECUTOR
Izvestia, May 18, 2000, p. 1
On May 17, Duma deputies endorsed Vladimir Ustinov as the new general prosecutor. The day before there were rumors that another man would be nominated for the post, Governmental Chief-of-Staff Dmitry Kozak.
Some media reported citing “well-informed and reliable sources” that the Federation Council was ready to endorse Kozak, who would probably be nominated by the president. But Putin nominated the acting general prosecutor instead. According to our information, Putin has always thought Ustinov to be the man for the job, and the organized “leaks” and so on concerning Kozak were just attempts to change his opinion while there was still time to do so.
Despite their determination (unofficial, that is) the day before yesterday to endorse Kozak, Federation Council members almost unanimously endorsed Ustinov yesterday. It actually looked as if they were ready to vote in favor of any candidate nominated by the president. Addressing them before the vote, Ustinov announced that bringing regional legislations in line with federal law was to become a priority in the work of the General Prosecutor’s Office. After that he thanked the governors who had already had their local legislation brought in line with federal law. Representatives of the regional elites, those Yeltsin had failed to compel to rewrite some of their laws, meekly voted in favor of Ustinov.
TATAR PUBLIC CENTER CONCERNED OVER FUTURE LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY BY ETHNIC REPUBLICS
Izvestia, May 18, 2000, p. 2
The Tatar Public Center is discussing President Putin’s decree on establishment of federal regions. Their general consensus is as follows: Russia is re-creating the “gubernias” (pre-1917 Russian provinces) in order to dissolve ethnic state formations in Russian regions; this is a process of restoring a centralized Russian state of the type that existed under the tsars.
Leaders of the Center believe that sovereignties of ethnic republics will become history due to betrayal by local elites. The Center advocates working out a united position of ethnic organizations in various republics; but, as a coordinator of the Center says, no formal decision has yet been made.
42ND MOTORIZED INFANTRY DIVISION TO STAY IN CHECHNYA
Izvestia, May 18, 2000, p. 2
The military campaign in Chechnya continues, but it is common knowledge already that some units will be stationed in the rebel republic permanently. The Guards 42nd Motorized Infantry Division will be the nucleus of this contingent. When the majority of the federal troops is withdrawn from Chechnya, this division – along with Interior Troops units and the Itum-Kale Border Detachment – will preserve peace in Chechnya. Actually, servicemen of this division are not to be envied.
The division will comprise almost 15,000 servicemen, including 1,450 officers and 600 warrant officers. The division includes three motorized infantry regiments, and tank, artillery, and anti-aircraft missile regiments, plus special units (mine specialists, reconnaissance teams, doctors, specialists in chemical warfare, communications units, and so on). In any case, any real control over the territory of Chechnya is out of the question. Indeed, the whole 100,000 strong contingent of federal forces has been unable to neutralize the guerrillas – so expecting this from a single formation (even with air cover) is naive.
The major distinction of the 42nd Division from the rest is this: officers and warrant officers will serve two years there, while the tenure for other units assigned to Chechnya is two to six months. Needless to say, this is not something its servicemen are glad about. According to the data compiled by the Defense Ministry, 95 per cent of officers do not want to serve in Chechnya. They will have to – the Defense Ministry has found a way of doing without volunteers. It merely issued a directive. The regiments now comprising the division were renamed and ordered to stay. That was that. Men who had braced themselves for six months of war will have to serve two years there.
The Defense Ministry plans to fill the vacuum in the units left in Russia with graduates from military colleges. This year, graduation ceremonies in many military colleges took place early – the army needs platoon and company commanders. Almost 60 per cent of officers in the 42nd Division are lieutenants between 20 and 25 years of age. It will be difficult to replace them.