TIKHONOV’S BROTHER INVOLVED IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
Izvestia, September 15, 2000, p. 2
The younger brother of Olympic champion Alexander Tikhonov has admitted his involvement in an attempt on the life of Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev. This statement was made on September 14 by his lawyer Lyudmila Artamonova.
The lawyer did not say why Victor Tikhonov decided to plead guilty, or whether he is giving evidence against his brother: this remains confidential.
In the meantime, representatives of the sports sector who gathered on September 14 at the National Olympic Committee founded a public council in support of Alexander Tikhonov.
THE CENTRAL BANK HAS BOUGHT $400 MILLION IN A WEEK
Izvestia, September 15, 2000, p. 5
On September 14 the public relations department of the Central Bank said that from September 1 to September 8 the hard currency reserves of the Russian Federation increased from $23.8 billion to $24.2 billion (by $400 million).
There are two main reasons why the hard currency reserves of the Central Bank have increased so rapidly: high energy prices and the law on the mandatory sale of 75% of hard currency revenues. The Central Bank is the only buyer of such sums on the domestic market. In addition, the Central Bank has to participate in interbank auctions and buy hard currency which is concentrated there. A refusal to do this would inevitably lead to a spillover of dollars and the consequent rise of the ruble.
Director of the Central Bank Victor Gerashchenko used to say that the exchange rate could reach 20 rubles to the dollar if the Central Bank stops preventing the ruble from rising. According to the Central Bank this will not affect the economy, because Russian imports will remain profitable even at such an exchange rate. But the government has a different point of view and thinks that the exchange rate should be about 30 rubles to the dollar.
A SECURITY BODY
Izvestia, September 15, 2000, p. 1
The Russian and Belorussian security ministries decided not to wait for the end of the formation of the government of the union state; on September 14 they created their own structure: the Scientific-Consultative Council for the security of the union (SCC). The council is headed by Boris Pastukhov, a former official of the Russian Foreign Ministry, presently the secretary of the Duma committee for the CIS.
It is not clear why this council has been created. Deputy secretary of the council Boris Bikkinin told us that the goal of the council “is to create a legislative base, especially in the sphere of the security of the Union.” This body will consist of representatives of the justice, defense and interior ministries of both countries.
The secretary of the Russian-Belorussian parliamentary assembly has clarified the situation. He explained it as follows: the creation of the council is under threat and no one except the parliamentary assembly, which is headed by Gennady Seleznev, can protect it. Other bodies of the Union – the government and the standing committee – have not been formed yet.
THE TREASURY HAS FOUND A PROFITABLE PLACE
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, September 15, 2000, p. 2
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov described the situation in the Russian economy as follows: “Since the beginning of reforms the pace of development of the Russian economy has never been so rapid.” In first half of 2000 the GDP increased by 7.3%. Industrial production increased by 10.3%.
A favorable development of the trends in the economy is proved by the dynamic of revenues of the federal budget. During first half of 2000 the revenues of the budget were 17% of the GDP.
Mikhail Kasianov began the meeting of the government with an analysis of the economy because the results of the federal budget in first half of 2000 were the main item on the agenda. First Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukaev presented a report to the government.
According to him, the budget revenues in the first half of 2000 were 507.7 billion rubles.
NORTH OSSETIA: REFUGEES WILL RETURN HOME
Izvestia, September 15, 2000, p. 2
On September 13, leaders of the North Ossetia – Alania and Ingushetia republics held a meeting in Yessentuki. According to the PR department of the Southern federal district presidential envoy, in the course of the meeting the republican leaders agreed on a program for final liquidation of the consequences of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict in October-November 1992. The document was signed by Taimuraz Mamsurov, leader of the North Ossetia – Alania government, and Ingush government leader Akhmet Malsagov. In the near future, the Russian government will consider the program. The Russian government is also planning to allocate money for returning refugees to their homes and creating jobs for them, as well as for other purposes.
SWISS PROSECUTORS ARRIVES IN MOSCOW
Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 15, 2000, p. 2
Yesterday a delegation of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office arrived in Moscow. Swiss representatives brought a quantity of investigation evidence on many mutually investigated cases, as well as new documents.
In the course of negotiations, Swiss prosecutors will talk about the prospects of further cooperation between the Russian and Swiss Prosecutor’s Offices. Swiss representatives will insist on intensifying the mutual investigation.
First of all, this concerns two major cases, the most notorious international cases: Andava-Aeroflot, and Mabetex. Thing around the first case are more or less clear: while the fight with Boris Berezovsky is in full swing this case again seems to be noble-considerate. As for the Mabetex case, things are much more complicated concerning it. It is no accident that earlier this week materials of the criminal case have been transferred to both Russian and foreign media – no one but Switzerland, which is concerned about the fate of the investigation more than anyone, could do this.
Still, the priority of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office in the Andava case is the fact that investigator Tamaev, who is in charge of the Mabetex case, was not invited to the reception in honor of the visit of the Swiss guests. On the contrary, his colleague, investigator Filin, who is in charge of the Andava case, was invited to the reception. However, it would not be surprising if inviting Filin had another purpose: Swiss guests are likely to talk about his predecessor, Volkov, who was recently dismissed because of a scandal in the General Prosecutor’s Office. That’s why the General Prosecutor’s Office needs to introduce Filin to Swiss colleagues. According to a leader of the General Prosecutor’s Office, “he is also a very decent man”.
Naive foreigners still fail to understand that Russia is different from Switzerland, and that Russian laws are very different from the laws on paper.
MORATORIUM ON DEATH PENALTY TO BE LIFTED?
Komsomolskaya Pravda, September 15, 2000, p. 2
Last week Duma deputies discussed the possibility of lifting the moratorium on capital punishment. The moratorium was introduced in 1996 by a decree of President Boris Yeltsin; this was a condition for Russia joining the Council of Europe. Recently, a number of Duma deputies, members of the People’s Deputy faction, addressed President Vladimir Putin with a request to lift the moratorium.
Oleg Morozov, leader of the Russian Regions deputy group, has also indirectly supported the initiative. According to him, “Russia has not yet reached the proper level of democratic maturity to completely reject this form of punishment.”
Gennady Seleznev, Duma speaker and well-known opponent of capital punishment, was more cautious in his comments; he only said that “there should be no rush” in resolving this question. Vladimir Lukin, deputy Duma speaker, strongly objected to the idea: he noted that it had been proved around the world that this penalty is far from being effective. As for the opinion of President Putin, so far only the opinion of Alexander Kotenkov, presidential representative in the Duma, is known. Yesterday Kotenkov said he thought the initiative of the People’s Deputy faction has no prospects of success.