Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 21, 2000
Thirty-three gubernatorial campaigns and twenty-two elections into regional legislations will take place in Russia in 2000.
As far as political parties are concerned, the elections could have been organized at a better moment. For parties and movements will relatively well developed regional networks (communists, the Yabloko, agrarians, and liberal democrats), the new elections will spell new expenses and the necessity to try some new ideological tricks. For young parties and movements like the Union of Right Forces, Unity, and Fatherland the regional elections are too early because they have just began formation of their structures in the provinces. That is probably why all these parties and movements left all financial problems the elections imply to their regional structures.
No serious changes should be expected from the upcoming series of regional elections. political parties are still helpless beyond the Garden Ring in Moscow. Moreover, governors in some regions have tame legislatures which meekly revise local elections legislations. It was so in Volgograd, where the two-round election was changed into one-tour one all but ensuring reelection of the incumbent governor. For some reason, parties do not chose to meddle in the process for the time being.
There is another participant in gubernatorial races. The Kremlin unquestionably represents the most powerful power party. Our sources say that the president and the circles closest to it pay scant attention to gubernatorial elections because the status and importance of governors have greatly diminished in the wake of the recent reorganization of the Federation Council. Nevertheless, some prominent experts are prepared to question this point of view.
They are of the opinion that the Kremlin more or less successes in its PR efforts – the major political parties and most popular politicians have dismissed the upcoming elections. In the meantime, the presidential administration is doing its honest best to have its own candidates come in first in the regional elections. Ex-FSS official Mikhail Grishankov is running for Chelyabinsk governor, the 58th Army Commander General Vladimir Shamanov for Urals governor, Admiral Yegorov for Kaliningrad governor, Vladimir Kulakov of the Federal Security Service for Voronezh governor, and ex-chekist General Yegorov for Mary El leadership.
CONTRACT SERVICEMEN ON STRIKE
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 21, 2000
A group of contract servicemen who had fought in Chechnya tried to block entrance to headquarters of the Caucasus Military District in Rostov-on-Don yesterday. Fifty-five servicemen want their pay. Officials say that all of it as a provocation and that the money will be paid though wage arrears do occur.
Plenipotentiary representative in the Southern federal region Viktor Kazantsev terminated his tour of the Stavropol territory and returned to Rostov-on-Don. INTERFAX news agency reports that Kazantsev intends to arrange a meeting between he protesters and the Caucasus Military District command.
DEPUTIES INSIST ON THEIR IMMUNITY
Izvestia, September 21, 2000, p. 3
On September 20, Duma deputies killed the proposal of the faction Union of Right Forces to impose limitations on deputy immunity. Only 119 deputies voted “aye” (the proposal needed 226 votes), 113 voted “nay”, and nine abstained.
Factions of the Communist Party, liberal democrats, and Unity voted against the proposal.
GUSINSKY STRIKES BACK
Nash Vek, September 20, 2000, p. 1
Management of the holding Media-Most called a press conference yesterday and presented the document which outlined guarantees to Media-Most managers and leading journalists in return for the stock. The document was signed by Media Minister Lesin. Signing the document on Vladimir Gusinsky’s request, Lesin neatly framed himself. According to what information we have compiled, some Media-Most managers are already looking for fallback positions. There are reasons to believe that there already exists a plan by which the NTV news team en masse will move to the channel TNT controlled by Gusinsky is the latter lost in court and the NTV was to become a state channel.
NTV General Director Yevgeny Kiselev denies rumors about the plan to move to the TNT.