Trud, August 18, 2000, p. 1

According to some media, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov has signed a decree on cooperation between the government and presidential envoys in federal districts.

The senior authorities do not seem to be willing to publish the whole text of the decree. However, political and economic analysts are already drawing various conclusions. Some of them are of the opinion that the envoys are receiving the actual power, whereas the prime minister’s functions are dwindling.

And officials of administrations of presidential envoys state that rumors about establishment of mini-governments in federal districts are exaggerations. The essence of the document is that bodies of the federal government should more closely cooperate with presidential envoys and their administrations. But subordination of the government’s branches to presidential envoys is out of the question.


Trud, August 18, 2000, p. 1

According to federal intelligence services, Chechen gunmen intend to carry out a series of terrorist acts on August 20 in order to disrupt the election of a Chechen deputy for the Duma. Chairman of the Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov, who has returned from his trip to Chechnya, has stated that “of course it is impossible to rule out the possibility of some provocation, but such cases will not be numerous and they will not spread panic among voters.”

In his opinion, everything is now ready for holding the election in Chechnya. However, at least 20% of voters should attend poll stations so that the results of the election will be considered legitimate. Veshnyakov believes that most of people of the republic are interested in this election and will attend the 385 poll stations in Chechnya.

13 candidates will run in the election, but only two of them are well known in the republic: Chairwoman of a district administration Malika Gezimieva and Lechi Magomadov (Bislan Gantamirov withdrew his candidacy in his favor). Every candidate has been given 1,000 rubles, 30 minutes of broadcast on the Chechen television, and some space in the newspaper “Chechnya Svobodnaya” free of charge.

Veshnyakov is sure that the Chechen Election Commission together with the Republican Administration, law enforcement agencies, and the Russian Defense Ministry will provide order and security of the election and calculations of its results.


Izvestia, August 18, 2000, p. 2

On August 17 the Finance Ministry submitted to the government a draft of the 2001 budget. The initial sum of revenues has been increased during consultations on the budget, but the Duma does not think it is out of the question that other parameters of the budget can be reconsidered too.

The government has to consider and approve the draft budget by August 22. The main feature of the draft budget is the increase of “investments in people”: expenditure on education, health care, culture and security. it is planned to increase expenditure on the law enforcement agencies and fight terrorism.

Sergei Shtorgin, acting Secretary of the Duma Budget Committee, told us that national defense spending will be increased. Shtorgin noted that the submarine Kursk went to sea without rechargeable batteries which are an alternative power source. This happened because of the lack of money in the Defense Ministry.

Next year defense spending will be less than 3% of the GDP.

Commenting on budget figures, Shtorgin stated: “I don’t think it is out of the question that the deputies will criticize the macro-economic parameters of the budget taking in consideration the current situation on world and domestic markets.” At the same time Shtorgin explained that the deputies cannot demand that the government reconsider planned oil prices, but can disagree with the sum of revenues from domestic economic activities if they consider them understated.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 18, 2000, p. 1

On August 17 Interfax circulated reports that the investigating group has identified the persons who are suspected of organizing the explosion in the Moscow underpass. The sources of the agency in the law enforcement agencies said: “We have prepared two composite portraits of the terrorists and identified them. Investigators are searching for men named Bikmanov and Kulikov. According to investigators, there was another accomplice, a woman.” But press services of the security ministries could neither confirm nor deny this report. Later the General Prosecutor’s Office denied reports about the search for these people.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 18, 2000, p. 2

Currently rumors are circulating that Yevgeny Primakov might return to the Kremlin. The Fatherland-All Russia bloc called such reports “gossip”: Yevgeny Primakov intends to concentrate his attention on his work in the parliament and continue his activities in the state commission for settling the status of the Trans-Dniester region. Nevertheless our sources in the Kremlin state that Primakov is top candidate for secretary of the future State Council.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 18, 2000, p. 2

On August 17 Yury Luzhkov appointed Nikolai Kulikov, former Chief of the Moscow Department of the Interior Ministry, to head the department of the city administration for work with municipal security bodies.

After Kulikov’s forced resignation he remained in the reserve of the Interior Ministry. But after the explosion on Pushkin Square, Vladimir Rushailo sent him to the city administration. This decision means that he acknowledged the fallacy of the conclusions of the commission which worked in Moscow at the end of last year. After the fall explosions in Moscow, Kulikov was blamed for the inability of Moscow police to prevent terrorist acts.

Now Nikolai Kulikov heads the department which was created on the base of the Department for work with law enforcement agencies. This department must coordinate the work of the City Department of the Interior Ministry, the Moscow Department of the Federal Security Service, the Emergency Department, tax police and other structures.