CHECHEN GUERRILLAS ASK THE TALIBAN FOR MONEY
Komsomolskaya Pravda, October 25, 2000, p. 1
Vakha Arsanov, a representative of the Chechen separatists, has arrived in Afghanistan for talks with the Taliban. The main goal of his visit is to reach an agreement on coordination of activities against Russian forces. Chechen guerrillas are training at special centers run by the Taliban. According to sources in the Russian security ministries, Arsanov – who calls himself “the deputy president of Ichkeria” – has come to Afghanistan to ask for financial aid. According to Arsanov, the Chechen separatists will use this money not only for fighting the federal forces. He has offered a $250,000 reward to anyone who kills Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the provisional government of Chechnya.
SELEZNEV: KURSK REGIONAL COURT MADE A FAIR RULING
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 25, 2000, p. 1
On October 24 the Duma debated the results of the first round of gubernatorial elections in Sakhalin and the Kursk region.
Gennady Seleznev, Duma Speaker: “For the first time, a Russian court has made a principled decision. Such situations have arisen in other regions, but those courts preferred not to spoil relations with governors. I think this court has handed down a fair ruling. Now Alexander Rutskoi has the right to appeal against this decision.”
LUST FOR MOSCOW PROPERTY
Izvestia, October 25, 2000, p.1
Yesterday, October 24, the Duma Council officially considered a draft law that would allow deputies and senators to buy property in Moscow with government funds. This document is threatening to unleash a huge scandal in the parliament. A group of Unity and Communist deputies introduced the bill, according to which deputies from areas outside Moscow would be given funds to “buy or rent a place to live” if no accommodation has yet been provided for them in Moscow.
According to current legislation, members of parliament who are not from Moscow are supposed to receive official housing within three months after their election. In all fairness, this law is not observed. Only recently, after ten months of work, have the newly-elected members started to receive flats in the prestigious apartment building on Ulof Palme Street. The authors of the bill say that as long as the current law is regularly broken, the state needs to loosen its purse strings and dole out the equivalent of 5,000 times the minimum monthly wage to every member of parliament, plus 2,500 times the minimum monthly wage for each additional family member. The minimum monthly wage is currently 132 rubles. This means that each elected representative would receive 660,000 rubles; each member of the deputy’s family would get 333,000 rubles. In other words, the average family of an elected representative (husband, wife, one child) would receive 1,320,000 rubles (or $46,300). That sum covers a nice two-room apartment in the center of Moscow or a three-room place in a more remote district.
FRIENDSHIP WITHOUT MONEY
Izvestia, October 25, 2000, p.1
Members of the governmental commission on Russian-North Korean economic and trade cooperation have returned home to Moscow after their trip to Pyongyang. Their almost week-long sojourn in North Korea ended with a festive reception and the signing of an agreement on future cooperation of the two states.
For the first time ever the commission has achieved concrete agreements. The North Korean side gave Russia a list of goods that their country could deliver to Russia in exchange for Russian products. The Koreans expressed interest in Russian aide in the renovation of a machine-building plant and three power plants. The commission agreed that Russia would send coal-mining and timber specialists to Korea. The Koreans asked the Russians to give them plots of forest in the Primorye, Buryatia and Irkutsk regions. Finally, both sides agreed to regulate the exact sum of North Korea’s debt to Russia.