Izvestia, July 6, 2000, p. 2

The Orel Regional Directorate of the Federal Security Service has arrested Igor Semenov, chairman of the local branch of the Russian Party. A search of his apartment uncovered an entire weapons arsenal.

Senior Deputy Regional Prosecutor Vyacheslav Chulkov confirms that charges under Article 222 Part 2 of the Criminal Code were issued against Semenov. A takeover by extreme nationalists has apparently been prevented.


Izvestia, July 6, 2000, p. 2

The rocket which will take the first Russian segment of the international space station into orbit was launched from the Baikonur space center on July 5.


Izvestia, July 6, 2000, p. 2

All six heads of state (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the latter invited as a guest) were accommodated in a single complex of government buildings, for security reasons.

The summit of the Shanghai Five lasted several hours. This was the first such forum attended by the president of Uzbekistan. Participants in the summit say that he must be present when regional security issues are discussed. Sources in diplomatic circles say that India, and particularly Iran, are showing interest in the Shanghai Five meetings.

Summit participants agreed to work out a legal foundation for joint actions by their secret services and law enforcement agencies. At present, relations between these countries are regulated by bilateral agreements.

The document signed yesterday is harshly critical of “interference in the domestic affairs of foreign countries” even under the pretext of “humanitarian intervention” and “protection of human rights.” It states that “the signatories support Russia’s position in the resolution of the Chechen problem”. At Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s proposal, the final communique included an appeal to the UN to begin working on establishing global mechanisms to counteract international terrorism.


Izvestia, July 6, 2000, p. 3

The Kremlin is working on the presidential address to the Federal Assembly, while the government adds the finishing touches to the state of emergency plan, and society discusses Herman Gref’s program. Nothing is known about the economic part of the address – this time the presidential administration is stopping all leaks, and officials refuse to comment. One thing is clear – the period of euphoria, generated by promising economic statistics two months ago, is over. The president is concerned by negative trends in economic development, namely shaky growth and rising inflation.

At his Monday meeting with the government, Putin asked ministers to look for ways of reducing the amount of money in circulation, in order to control inflation. Inflation is putting every Russian’s wallet – and the president’s rating – at risk.

Our sources say that Andrei Illarionov met with the president on Saturday. It goes without saying that the inflation rate concerns Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin and Senior Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev.

Actually, the finance minister has some significant aces up his sleeve – the budget was successfully implemented in the first six months of 2000, and the budget surplus was 1.6% of the GDP (the initial surplus amounted to 4.8%). Collection of taxes improved from 6.6% of the GDP in the first six months of 1999 to 10.2% in the analogous period of 2000. Nevertheless, the inflation rate must be controlled, and Kudrin already has a plan of action. Firstly, the government will channel surplus money into paying foreign debts, and debts of the Cabinet to the Central Bank. Secondly, the executive branch is about to launch a campaign against non-monetary forms of payment and barter, dragging surplus money into turnover. Thirdly, some tough measures are planned against those who does not pay their bills to the natural monopolies – Russian Joint Energy Systems, Gazprom, and the Railroads Ministry.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 6, 2000, p. 1

Even the conference “Privatization in Russia: Likely Variants” did not calm potential investors, who place more trust in deeds than they do in words.

Despite business concerns about the “first round of privatization” in Russia, officials say that the government is determined to shed the burden of 30,000 state-owned enterprises, and leave only 1,500 to 2,000 of them in state control several years from now. The “second round” begins this year with the sale of 85% of shares in the Onako oil company and 19% of Slavneft. The largest coal-mining enterprises will also be up for auction.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 6, 2000, pp. 1-2

Duma committees are discussing the government’s revolutionary suggestion for significantly increasing the share of taxes taken from Federation subjects. The government wants the regions to transfer 70% of the taxes they collect to the federal budget.

Here is an interview with Professor Pavel Medvedev, economist and Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Credit Organizations and Financial Markets.

Question: How much do the regions transfer to the federal budget now?

Medvedev: The official proportions are 52/48. Fifty two percent of regional tax revenue is transferred to the federal center, and 48% remains for the regions themselves. The actual proportions are different; around 60/40. The center gets more than it should. Of course, it is also supposed to service foreign and domestic debts. It is common knowledge that this objective has eaten up between 15% and 26% of budget funds in recent years.

Oil prices are higher these days, and the government is using this to pay its debts. Of course, the federal center also has other problems to solve – Russian regions are not evenly developed. There are regions money has been poured into year in and year out, and there are some neglected regions…

As I see it, the regime is about to cross a rather dangerous line. Yes, I understand everything – the federal center has to pay debts and redistribute profits, but still…

It goes without saying that all this will immediately affect donor regions. We do not have very many of them, but their number increased to eighteen recently. The fact is, many regions have this latent potential in them. I mean the potential to pay out more than they receive…


Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 6, 2000, p. 2

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is denying recent rumors that he and some members of the Moscow government are about to resign in return for guarantees of personal immunity.

Yuri Luzhkov: “This is garbage.”

He says that the articles on his “voluntary resignation” are being planted by Boris Berezovsky and others who “are rocking the boat and want the situation destabilized.” Luzhkov ascribes the insinuations to “attempts to split the Moscow government team. They will fail.”


Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 6, 2000, p. 2

Since the law on the media was adopted in 1991, 117 journalists have been killed. According to Igor Yakovenko, General Secretary of the Union of Journalists, all these deaths are attributed to the fact that “censorship of words is being replaced with censorship of the Kalashnikov submachine gun”.

The Union of Journalists has launched a protest action under the title of “Enemies of the Russian Media”.

On a monthly basis, the Center of Radical Journalism will publish the names of those who are considered by experts to have made the worst contribution to the activities of the media.

The June list is as follows: Media Minister Mikhail Lesin, General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov, President Vladimir Putin, governors and heads of republics Oleg Betin, Dmitry Ayatskov, Murtaza Rakhimov, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Justice Minister Yuri Chaika, Presidential Adviser Sergei Yastrzhembsky.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 6, 2000, p. 2

An election in Chechnya on August 20 is meant to elect a regional legislature. Experts and observers say, however, that the election campaign is not sufficiently active.

Local television is only broadcasting from 6 to 7 p.m. when most adult Chechens are working in the fields (or in guerrilla detachments). District newspapers are issued only in four districts, and once a week at that. Some candidates therefore want more money invested in the election campaign.


Tribuna, July 6, 2000, p. 2

The Public Opinion Foundation has carried out an opinion poll, asking: “Had the presidential election been held this Sunday, which politician would you have voted for?”

Vladimir Putin 45%

Gennadi Zyuganov 17%

Grigori Yavlinsky 5%

Vladimir Zhirinovsky 4%

Aman Tuleev 3%

Yevgeny Primakov 3%

Sergei Kirienko 2%

Sergei Shoigu 2%