NEW NATIONALIST MOVEMENT ESTABLISHED IN MOSCOW
Vremya Novostei, October 16, 2000, p. 2
A new nationalist movement called Russian Revival has been established in Moscow. Its leader is Oleg Kassin, a former deputy chairman for regional work of the central committee of the Russian National Unity. RNU leader Alexander Barkashov was unanimously removed from the post of chairman and delegates of the inaugural conference (they claim to represent 48 regions) officially announced the intention to establish the Russian Revival.
According to Kassin, the Russian Revival will combine the best elements of the Russian National Unity, meaning “human resources, its militant spirit, and the ideology”. Moreover, the new movement will “take over where the Russian National Unity stopped”. Kassin says that his movement will be principally different from the Russian National Unity – “the principle of a fuehrer’s leadership will be abolished” and “emphasis will be placed on propaganda of the national idea and of the organization as such, not on the personality of the leader”.
Kassin says that the new movement will apply for official registration “and strive for election into all power structures from local legislatures to the Duma”. Kassin does not see any potential allies for his organization among existing political forces.
THE KURSK UPDATE
Vremya Novostei, October 16, 2000, p. 2
The Norwegian ship Regalia is expected to arrive at the site of the sub disaster in the Barents Sea this week. Specialists say that all preparations will be finished en route to the location and the Russian-Norwegian team of divers will be ready for descent to the submarine immediately upon arrival. According to Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov, “we do not expect any changes in the planned timetable of the operation” even though “nobody can say with any degree of accuracy how many bodies will be lifted or will bodies be lifted at all”.
The governmental commission insist on calling it “evacuation of dead submariners’ bodies to the surface” but it is clear already that the actual meaning is different. Russian military-political leadership needs to know what actually happened to the Kursk on August 12. Without knowing it, Moscow does not dare initiate large scale reforms of the national security system.
Summing up the last session of the governmental commission, its chairman Ilya Klebanov was forced to admit that “we do not exactly know what caused the explosion which led to the death of the submarine”. Translated from the officialese, it means that the commission is absolutely in the dark about what happened to the Kursk.
The mystery of the Kursk is already forcing the Navy to review its plans. The sortie to the Mediterranean has been postponed. Certain restrictions have been placed on combat duties of submarines carrying armament systems identical to that of the Kursk.
PERSONNEL SHUFFLE EXPECTED IN THE CHECHEN LEADERSHIP
Izvestia, October 16, 2000, p. 3
According to Kazantsev, the power system in Chechnya has outlived its usefulness and should be reorganized. He pointed out that the chaos in the power structures was playing into the hands of criminals. The matter is particularly serious since “surplus” troops of the Russian Defense Ministry are supposed to be withdrawn from the republic by February 2001. The planned withdrawal requires the establishment in Chechnya of a capable civilian administration backed up by the municipal police. As things are now, the republic has neither of the two.
With all of this taken into account, Kazantsev formulated his proposals on how the power system should be reorganized. He says that the proposals are being considered at the Security Council and that a decision will be taken in October. Kazantsev refuses to elaborate. It is only known that the plan stipulates maximum centralization of power.
Kazantsev: There is need for a coordinator who will shoulder the responsibility for economic, financial and security structures. In other words, for everything.
The executive was unavailable for comments on who may be promoted to the post of the coordinator. Neither did we manage to obtain comments at Kadyrov’s office or in the office of the Chechen representative in Moscow.
According to Kazantsev, official Moscow is disappointed with Kadyrov and Gantamirov. The former has failed to form an adequate administration in Chechnya. The Kremlin’s hopes that the respect this religious leader commands in Chechnya will be sufficient for a consolidation of Chechen society around Kadyrov proved groundless. Kadyrov immediately kicked up a row with heads of district administrations and got the worst. It means that he is not a man to be entrusted with the role of the coordinator. As for Gantamirov, he is even less suitable a candidate. The Kremlin understood this in the wake of the saga with the Chechen police which had to be disarmed and reorganized immediately upon formation.
EX-PREMIER DEMANDS A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM (MAYBE) A FUTURE PRESIDENT
Izvestia, October 17, 2000, p. 1
Chernomyrdin went into rage when Bush accused on October 11 his rival Democratic candidate Al Gore of conniving, saying that the International Monetary Fund money had “ended up in pockets of Viktor Chernomyrdin and others”. Chernomyrdin took it as “libel” and “a deliberate attempt” to smear his reputation.
If bush refuses to apologize, Chernomyrdin will file a lawsuit to defend his honor and dignity in an American court and the Russian Supreme Court.
Chernomyrdin had better hold his horses. The PR department of the Supreme Court has said that the lawsuit will not be accepted for two reasons. Firstly, the Supreme Court does not hear cases of defamation of character and libel suits as does first instance courts. Secondly, Russian laws are quite clear on the subject – such lawsuits should be filed at the defense’s country of residence, i.e. in the United States.
KADYROV VISITS SARATOV REGION
Izvestia, October 17, 2000, p. 2
Kadyrov and Governor Dmitry Ayatskov became fast friends. The two politicians even called each other “brothers”. Kadyrov never missed an opportunity to show how he appreciated Ayatskov’s consent to provide shelter to the homeless Chechens.
Kadyrov: I came here to meet Ayatskov. Saratov region was the first to give a helping hand to the Chechens. Besides, there is something here that we need. There is a refinery in Saratov region, and we have oil.
Kadyrov (flattering Ayatskov): Had all governors understood that the Chechens need both financial and moral support, everything would have been different…
Ayatskov: I’m worried about the Chechen people and the republican economy. I will do everything in my power to make sure that there is peace there. I wanted to display our economic potential to Kadyrov and I did it. We are going to work together.
Enthusiasm or not, Ayatskov was perplexed by a fairly simple question of whether he knew what he was getting into by talking of cooperation with Chechnya. He replied: “No comments”.
Kadyrov: Stabilization is coming to Chechnya.
At the same time, the Chechen leader did not rule out new terrorist acts.
BORIS BEREZOVSKY REVEALED THE IDENTITIES…
Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 17, 2000, p. 2
… of the fifteen persons who had given their consent to manage his ORT shares and formed Teletrust Co. Apart from the relatively independent representatives of the intelligentsia like Vasily Aksenov, Yuri Lyubimov, and Rustam Khamdamov, the rest are representatives of Berezovsky’s holding. The ORT is represented by Dorenko, Kleimenov, and Pozner. The list also includes chief editors of Berezovsky’s newspapers. Only writer among them, Viktor Pelevin, Spartak and national soccer team coach Oleg Romantsev, and NTV General Director Yevgeny Kiselev declined the offer. Aleksei Venediktov, Chief Editor of the Echo of Moscow, promises to give the matter some more thought.
The third sitting of Berezovsky’s candidates was dedicated to the matter of who was going to sponsor Teletrust and whether or not they would wield any power in running ORT. Berezovsky guaranteed them participation in election of directors to the board and control over finances. Berezovsky does not think that the fact that the state owns 51 percent of ORT gives it any advantage. President Putin’s ability to propose the general director is the only privilege but the board of directors may turn down the proposal by a three-fourth majority vote.
Everybody knows that only Berezovsky himself will be able to finance the proposed Teletrust. To be on the safe side, the business tycoon offered three options: money may be earned by the TV channel itself; there is some anonymous team ready to sponsor the company; or the candidates themselves may invest in the company.
ARMS SPENDING INCREASED
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 17, 2000, p. 1
With the consent of some Duma factions that backed up the 2001 draft budget in the first reading, the government has proposed increasing arms spending in 2001 to 12.5 billion rubles, says Aleksei Kudrin, Finance Minister and Deputy Premier.
Kudrin: I think that we will be able to find the money.
According to Kudrin, the government also plans to increase spending on science to 3 billion rubles and on education to 1.5 billion.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 17, 2000, p. 1
According to Kudrin, the money will be transferred to the Rubin Design Bureau which signed contracts with a Norwegian and some Russian companies.
THE UNEMPLOYED: AN UPDATE
Vedomosti, October 16, 2000, p. 1
Almost 1 million unemployed people are registered in Russia while vacancies on the market is officially estimated at almost 950,000 jobs.
Marina Moskvina, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development, says this state of affairs is due to “regional and qualification discrepancies in the job demand and supply structures”. According to Moskvina, “80 percent of the vacancies have to do with blue collar jobs, while blue collars amount to only about 60 percent of the officially registered unemployed.”
THE DUMA WILL RETURN TO THE DRAFT BUDGET ON OCTOBER 20
Vedomosti, October 16, 2000, p. 3
There are no doubts that the draft budget will be adopted in the second reading but the debates promise to be fairly heated. The deputies have come up with 560 amendments, most of them proposing an increment in the expenditure part of the 2001 draft budget.