INTERIOR TROOPS WILL NOT BECOME NATIONAL GUARDS
Izvestia, March 23, 2001, p. 2
The Interior Troops are celebrating their anniversary on March 27: 190 years since their creation. Colonel-General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, Commander of the Interior Troops, has summed up the achievements of his branch.
Despite certain proposals for reforming the Interior Troops, the government has decided to leave them within the Interior Ministry. Earlier, it was planned to reorganize the Interior Troops into a National Guards branch.
The general noted: “We have to conserve our resources. If we change the signboard and call the Interior Troops the National Guards, it will cost 200 million rubles.”
General Tikhomirov said that the reform of the Interior Troops is based on strengthening special and reconnaissance units. Currently the Interior Troops consists of 200,000 servicemen, 159 divisions, 24 brigades, 104 regiments and 5 higher education institutions. By the end of 2005 the numbers of the Interior Troops will be cut by 34,000 servicemen.
FEARS AND PROFITS
Izvestia, March 23, 2001, p. 3
The arrival of Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov in Warsaw has coincided with a new spy scandal in Washington. Ivanov has refused to comment on the incident, and started negotiations with the Polish government.
The Cold War with Poland has ended. All spies were expelled a year ago, the incident with the consulate general in Poznan was settled.
Nevertheless there are several difficult problems in Russian-Polish relations. The first problem is Chechnya. Warsaw relaxed its position when Russian servicemen saved two kidnapped Polish citizens. The second theme is economy. Poland is currently one of the Russia’s main trade partners.
Another topic is arms sales. Russia is offering its MiG-29 fighters to Poland.
KALININGRAD TO BE DEVELOPED
Trud, March 23, 2001, p. 2
Mikhail Kasyanov said at a Cabinet meeting yesterday that the implementation of the government’s decisions on socio-economic development of the Kaliningrad region will make this territory “an example of “market reforms”.
Earlier, a special commission headed by Herman Gref had investigated the situation in this region. The commission has prepared a document on measures aimed at socio-economic development of the Kaliningrad region.
The prime minister noted that the development of this region is becoming urgent, in connection with the changing geopolitical situation.
GREENPEACE OPPOSES STORING NUCLEAR WASTE IN RUSSIA
Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 23, 2001, p. 2
Greenpeace has decided to protest against storing nuclear waste in Russia: several people climbed onto the roof of the Duma building with banners.
It is possible that the action by Greenpeace made the Duma think before taking such a serious decision. The Nuclear Energy Ministry has been trying for several years to pass laws permitting storage of nuclear waste from abroad in Russia. The Duma passed bills proposed by the ministry in the first reading on December 21. The situation has changed since then. Environmentalists and the public are worried. According to opinion polls, most people (90%) oppose these laws.
The Duma has decided to postpone debates on this issue, because a state environmental assessment has not been done yet.
SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS MOSCOW
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 23, 2001, p. 3
Slovenian Prime Minister Yanez Drnovshek arrived in Moscow on March 23. He plans to meet with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov and other Russian leaders. It is not out of the question that President Putin will meet with the Slovenian prime minister. Negotiations will be dedicated to the prospects for bilateral relations between Russia and Slovenia.