HEARINGS OF THE MOST MYSTERIOUS CASE STARTED
Izvestia, June 16, 2000, p. 2
On June 15, the Naro-Fominsk municipal court in the Moscow region started hearing one of the most mysterious murder cases of the past decade: the case of Tamara Rokhlina. Rokhlina’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena immediately requested to postpone the hearings; he had agreed to defend Rokhlina the previous day, and had not had enough time to familiarize himself with the 16 volumes of the case. The court had no objections, and the trial was postponed until September 25.
Tamara Rokhlina said that she had changed her lawyer (during the preliminary investigation her lawyer had been well-known lawyer Mikhail Burmistrov) because after her husband’s death she was completely out of money, and she could not afford to pay Burmistrov, while Kucherena offered to defend her for free.
As we know, Mrs. Rokhlina does not plead guilty. She insists that on July 3, 1998 night three man in masks came to their country house and shot her husband from his own trophy pistol. At the same time they threatened Mrs. Rokhlina with violence if she would not take the blame upon herself.
However, the investigation believes that it was Mrs. Rokhlina who killed her husband, General Rokhlin, because of some personal reasons.
According to the defense, forensics found no traces of gunpowder either on the hands or on the clothes of the defendant. According to Kucherena, there should be at least some gunpowder traces, if Mrs. Rokhlina did kill her husband.
TERRORISTS SENTENCED TO LONG IMPRISONMENT
Izvestia, June 16, 2000, p. 2
On June 14 the Stavropol city court completed the two-week case of terrorists who had been preparing a number of explosions in Pyatigorsk. The court could find no self-interested motives of the crime.
Mikhail Mulasanov, 30, the leader of the terrorist group, a graduate of the Urus-Martan Mining College, stood his ground. According to him, the only aim of preparation of explosions was his wish “to help his Moslem brothers in Chechnya”. Another terrorist Alimkhan Amankaev, 23, also stated that he was ready to risk his life and to cause panics at the Pyatigorsk city bazaar only for the sake of affecting the federal authorities in the interests of the rebellious republic.
Chechen terrorists’ fanatic devotion to ideas makes us reconsider the attitude towards the reasons for terrorist acts. Currently we always see a bag with dollars at the background of each terrorist act. Probably, we had better concentrate our efforts on proper resistance to Jihad ideologists.
Terrorists were convicted to long imprisonment in strict-regime punishment institutions: Muslanov was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment, Otemisov – to 13, Amankaev – to 12 years. In his final speech Muslanov gave arguments of the vanity of his plan. He quoted prophet Muhammad and said that it was impossible to achieve good goals by evil means. Esmanbet Otemisov also developed some wise ideas during the eight months he spent in the detention cell: he decided to teach young people kindness and fairness.
RUBLE FELL AFTER GUSINSKY’S ARREST
Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 16, 2000, p. 2
The reaction of the currency market to Gusinsky’s arrest was rather strange: the dollar rate has grown, and now the dollar costs 28.43 rubles. Stock exchanges’ quotations, including the Moscow International Currency Bank and the RTS stock exchange, have decreased by one to five points, almost all securities of incorporated issuers fell by three to six percent.
Nevertheless, yesterday the Central Bank carried out a “saving operation” and managed to decrease the dollar rate to 28.29 rubles per dollar. It cost the bank a pretty penny, millions of dollars from reserve funds.
As for the fall of securities’ rates, it will not continue long. As we know, Russian stock exchanges mostly pay attention to the US refinancing rate, and indices of the western exchanges. The current low US inflation rate, which is lower than 0.2%, will encourage the growth of the domestic exchange market.
It seems Russia is likely to have some difficulties on the international markets. The time when western investors asked naive questions, like “Who’s Mr. Putin”, is over. Mr. Putin left them no illusions. That’s why so far Russia has no hope of receiving many foreign investments.
ANOTHER BATTLE IN CHECHNYA
Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 16, 2000, p. 1
Yesterday, there was another severe battle in Chechnya, some ten kilometers away from Grozny, in Argun, which was twice “purged” by the federal forces. According to appraisals of the military experts, there were over a hundred guerrillas in the detachment which fought with the federal soldiers. Taking into consideration the support of the locals and constant arrival of guerrillas from other Chechen regions, the numbers of the gang can grow up to several hundred people within a few hours. Considering the number of federal troops in this region (there are only ten kilometers to the headquarters in Khankala), serious doubts can be raised concerning the full control of this territory. Then what about the Veden, Nozhai-Yurt, or Itumkalin regions, where the movements of guerrillas are hardly limited?
According to military experts, the fight at Argun is nothing but a dress rehearsal for storming Grozny. According to the reconnaissance data, lately guerrillas have been actively reconnoitering the Chechen capital, there are several thousand of them in the Grozny suburbs.
Besides, there are about 500 guerrillas in Grozny, who are ready to form armed detachments at any moment and attack the checkpoints of the federal forces. They speak almost openly about repeating August ’98 in Grozny: then guerrillas also penetrated into the city in small groups and attacked the posts of the police and the federal forces.
MOLDOVA PREPARES FOR THE VISIT OF THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, June 16, 2000, p. 2
By June 16, the day of the visit of the Russian president to Moldova, the Kishinev airport, which has been closed for reconstruction, will be opened again.
Although the Russian president plans to spent only several hours in the Moldovan capital after his European tour, the local authorities are thoroughly preparing for the visit. Security services and the police are on alert. Throughout the republic they are inspecting gun licenses. People who live on main Kishinev streets, along which the official motorcade is supposed to travel, are forbidden to look out of their windows or to stand on their balconies. Meanwhile the presidential route is being kept secret for the sake of security.
According to the Kishinev media, President Putin will stay in Moldova for only a few hours. The Russian president is to meet with Moldovan President Peter Luchinsky, and then with the Trans-Dniester region Governor Igor Smirnov. The media says that Peter Luchinsky plans to use the meeting with President Putin in order to increase his popularity rating in the Moldavian presidential election campaign of 2000. Moldova expected the Russian president to help resolve the separatism problem, and to return leaders of Kishinev and Tiraspol to the negotiation table.