MIR WILL FALL ON MARCH 6
Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 17, 2001, p. 2
An exact date has been set for bringing down the Mir space station: March 6.
On January 16, a rocket was prepared at the Baikonur space center. This rocket is to deliver fuel to Mir, for its departure from orbit.
However, not everyone has readily agreed to bringing Mir down. On January 16, some Russian scientists held a press conference to propose some plans for saving the space station. They have invented a linear electromagnetic engine that could extend Mir’s lifespan in orbit by five years. Physicists say that it will take about six months to assemble this engine. They say it would only be necessary to change some electronic equipment aboard Mir to transform it into a non-manned space station. It could then be used as a relay station for telephone and television communications, for space-based surveying, and for scientific experiments. This would also be useful for Russia’s security: Georgy Shchitov, head of the Independent Association of Russian Scientists, says, “Only from Mir is it possible to monitor the so-called wave weapons owned by the US.” The physicists believe these weapons may have played a role in some failed launches from the Plesetsk space center, and even the Kursk submarine disaster.
LUZHKOV DEFENDS MOSCOW GOVERNMENT
Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 17, 2001, p. 2
On January 16, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov commented on links between Media-Most and the Moscow municipal government.
The General Prosecutor’s Office has accused the Moscow government of irregularities in rescheduling debts of Most-Bank into Media-Most bills with a total value of over $200 million. In Luzhkov’s opinion, this accusation is unfounded: “The actions of the Moscow government were taken due to the need to retain Moscow budget funds in the conditions following the default of 1998.” Luzhkov said, “We have never broken the law. The General Prosecutor’s Office would do better to focus its efforts on those who are actually responsible for the August 1998 default, unprecedented in Russia’s history.”
The General Prosecutor’s Office has received from the Moscow government all the necessary documents to confirm the legality of the transaction.
HIGHWAY BLOCKED IN RUSSIAN FAR EAST
Trud, January 17, 2001, p. 2
On January 16, Vladivostok residents set up a road-block on a major highway in the district of Belyaevo. They are demanding that the city government stop cutting off electricity, and resume heating in apartment blocks. In some residential buildings, electricity is disconnected for 12-14 hours a day. There are some districts where there has been no electricity for over 24 hours at a time.
Svetlanskaya Street, the main street of Vladivostok, was also blocked for half an hour. Protesters blocked it near the Primorye government building, just before a Primorye Duma meeting. A vote of no confidence in the governor was on the agenda of the Duma meeting. The protesters also had political slogans: they insisted on the government being dismissed, and called for President Putin and the federal government to intervene in the Primorye situation. However, the Primorye Duma failed to dismiss the governor, since it did not gain enough votes to carry this decision.
According to Pavel Lysov, Federal Auditor for Primorye, the situation in this territory is deteriorating.
BEREZOVSKY FUNDING CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS
Novye Izvestia, January 17, 2001, p. 1
On January 16, the Civil Liberties Foundation set up by Boris Berezovsky in December announced another donation. This time the tycoon has issued grants to two Russian human rights groups. The Democratia international foundation ,led by Academician Alexander Yakovlev, will receive $150,000; and the Public Center for Supporting Criminal Law Reforms will receive $100,000.
The money for the Yakovlev fund will be spent on creating an online database about victims of Stalinist repression. The Public Center for Supporting Criminal Law Reforms will spend its grant on assisting Russian prisoners.
ADAMOV NEVER SOLD NUCLEAR SECRETS
Tribuna, January 17, 2001, p. 1
On January 16, Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov denied rumors that he had allegedly been invited to the General Prosecutor’s Office to give evidence in cases of illegal trading in technology and scientific data. The minister noted that this rumor “is an example of using the General Prosecutor’s Office for unspecified purposes.”
Adamov told journalists about his ministry’s results for 2000 and its plans for the future. In 2000, Russia’s nuclear power plants produced 130 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Adamov said that according to the strategy of development for Russia’s nuclear energy sector, it is planned to increase the output of electricity to 220 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2010, and to 350 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2020.