STRUCTURE OF DEFENSE SPENDING FOR 2001 CHANGED
Nezavisimoe Voyennoe Obozrenie, No. 2, January, 2001, p. 1
The Cabinet has decided to change the structure of defense spending for 2001. It is increasing funding for research and development of new weapons and military technology. R&D funding for 2001 has been boosted by 43%. At the same time, arms procurement for the Russian Armed Forces in 2001 has been cut by 13%. A balance has been found between the need to develop new weapons systems and expenditure on delivering such new weapons to the Armed Forces.
The state currently owes around 8 billion rubles to the defense sector.
NEW RUSSIAN AUTOMATIC RIFLE IS WORLD-CLASS
Slovo, No. 2, January, 2001, p. 3
The Kovrov Mechanical Plant has announced a new 5.45 millimeter automatic rifle, which experts have dubbed the weapon for the 21st century. It features a unique balanced automatic system, which makes it easy to hold it on target, and gives superior accuracy. This weapon is meant for mobile infantry, paratroopers, and reconnaissance teams.
For commando units, the Kovrov Plant is developing the 9A-91 automatic rifle. It features great force combined with a light weight of 1.75 kilograms, and is recognized as the most reliable weapon in its class. The ammunition it uses (SP-5 and SP-6) penetrates barriers and flak jackets.
LIVING IN RUSSIA
Sobesednik, No. 2, January, 2001, p. 4
Researchers at the Global Energy Laboratory of the Moscow Energy Institute say that over two-thirds of Russian Federation territory is simply unfit for human habitation. Despite this, Russia is the only country in the world which has major cities, with over 100,000 residents each, located in extreme climate zones: Vorkuta, Norilsk, Nizhnevartovsk…
Half of all energy use in Russia is heating rather than industry.
Russia uses seven tons of fuel per person per year, on average. On the one hand, that’s a lot – three times the world average. On the other hand, it’s not much at all – in order to have enough energy left over for something besides heating, we would have to boost this figure to 18 tons.
A warm climate is also part of a country’s natural resources, just like oil and gas. And all Russia’s riches – timber, oil, coal, etc. – are nullified by its climate. We are the coldest nation in the world. The average annual temperature in Russia is 5.5 degrees Celsius below zero.
However, this might mean we could stand to gain something from global warming.
POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN CHECHNYA
Argumenty i Fakty, No. 3, January, 2001, p. 2
Stanislav Ilyasov, newly-appointed prime minister of Chechnya, was only recently the head of the legislature in the Stavropol territory; until he quarreled with Governor Chernogorov and was forced to leave. So his new appointment doesn’t bode anything good for relations between the neighboring regions of Stavropol and Chechnya.
Moscow also isn’t taking advantage of opportunities for negotiation in Chechnya. Our sources say it has rejected contacts with the most influential Chechen in Aslan Maskhadov’s camp – his defense minister, Khambiyev of the Benoi clan. It’s said that even Basayev and Khattab fear Khambiyev.
Some political forces are now lobbying for presidential elections to be held in Chechnya. It’s said that these will be held in May, and the name of a potential candidate is even being mentioned – Duma deputy Aslambek Aslakhanov. But what will happen after such elections, if the separatist ringleaders remain at large? Probably a dual system of power, and continued fighting.