TAX POLICE SERVICE ANNOUNCES SOME CHANGES
Izvestia, March 29, 2001, p. 2
The FTPS is out to improve its image. Vyacheslav Soltaganov issued an instruction on March 21 aimed at preventing repeat audits of the same taxpayers.
Audits and repeat audits on trumped-up grounds are a real plague for business owners. According to statistics, however, the FTPS does not do this all that frequently. In 2000, it organized 32,000 audits on its own (without involving any other bodies), and only 5-6% of them were repeat audits.
RUSSIA CUTS SHORT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Izvestia, March 29, 2001, p. 2
Interest in reaching an agreement with the IMF began to wane when the Cabinet decided to resume repayments to the Paris Club of creditor nations.
The program was virtually ready – only a joint statement on economic policy from the Cabinet and the Central Bank was needed – when the IMF was officially informed of the termination of the talks. Cabinet sources say Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov did not send any letter about the termination of the talks to the IMF; and that this is the position of the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank only.
No one intends to sever all contacts with the IMF. The year 2003 is approaching – when Russia’s scheduled debt repayments will be $19 billion. An agreement with the IMF would be very useful then. The current program should become the basis of cooperation in 2002 and 2003.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin, the IMF will continue its monitoring, based on the joint statement of the Cabinet and the Central Bank, and Russia will continue to act in line with this document. Consultations with the IMF will take place twice a year from now on. This is the practice the IMF uses with countries which do not need its money, but want to maintain active contacts with the IMF.
RUSSIA-US RELATIONS: A THAW
Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 29, 2001, p. 2
Russia and the United States are improving relations again. It turns out that military contacts will benefit both sides.
The Russian Defense Ministry and the US Defense Department signed a memorandum on mutual understanding and cooperation in the spheres of defense and military contacts in 1993. In 1997, they signed a joint statement of military cooperation in spheres of mutual interest. Essentially, these two documents did not bring our armies closer to each other; they only provided a basis for reciprocal visits. Russian and US officers are fond of visiting each other. A professional intelligence officer (part of every military delegation) only needs one look at the opponent’s units to obtain some important information.
In 2001, thirteen Russian military delegations will visit the United States and thirteen US delegations will visit Russia. Seven joint exercises are planned: Cooperation in the Sea, Northern Territory, the Arctic Sarex exercise of search-and-rescue services (Russia, the United States, Canada), joint command exercise in theater anti-missile defense, the Ruckus exercise (Russia, the United States, Britain), and the Desert Rescue IX exercise of search-and-rescue services (organized by the Fallon Center in Nevada). A comprehensive expert and officer exchange program is also planned.
STAVROPOL GOVERNOR ADVOCATES CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, March 29, 2001, p. 1
Chernogorov also wants the Duma to return to the federal bill on a package of security measures for Stavropol. The Stavropol territory has a 114-kilometer border with Chechnya – and all major transport routes connecting Russia and the Caucasus cross its territory.
Chernogorov is convinced that unless terrorists are stopped at Stavropol’s borders, “they will continue into other Russian regions, including Moscow.”
ON THE LATEST APPOINTMENTS AT THE TOP
NTV.ru, March 28, 2001
Former defense minister Igor Sergeev will now be a presidential adviser on strategic stability issues.
Colonel General Igor Puzanov, Moscow Military District troops commander until yesterday, has been promoted to a deputy defense minister. Some specialists predicted that Puzanov would be appointed to the newly-restored Main Command of the Ground Forces.
Aleksei Moskovsky becomes a deputy defense minister and armaments commander. Moskovsky was deputy secretary of the Security Council.
Sergei Verevkin-Rakhalsky is now deputy director of the Federal Tax Police Service.
Colonel General Nikolai Kormiltsev has been promoted to commander-in-chief of the Ground Forces.
Igor Budanov and Vladimir Vasiliev are now state secretaries of the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry.
Vladimir Putin: As for Igor Sergeev, he and I met on March 27 and agreed that the next defense minister should be a civilian, i.e. Sergei Ivanov. Ivanov handled military reforms in the Security Council. It is only logical to appoint him to a position where he will now handle practical implementation of the reforms. And Sergeev will remain on the team. He will become my adviser…
The new secretary of the Security Council, Vladimir Rushailo, was part of the small team of state officials who made up a kind of think-tank for all strategic decisions in domestic and foreign policy.
According to the president, Igor Sergeev and Yevgeny Adamov of the Nuclear Energy Ministry handed in their resignations entirely of their own will.
Putin says the personnel changes in the defense area are a result of eighteen months of work on military reforms concerning “the entire defense organization of the state and related spheres…”
“These appointments are a logical conclusion to a specific period of the nation’s military modernization,” Putin said.
Under the Constitution, all ministries and departments involved in the recent reshuffle make up “the security bloc of the Cabinet”; they answer directly to the president, not to the prime minister.
Putin: Some other resignations will follow.
SPY SCANDAL: AN UPDATE
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, March 29, 2001, p. 7
Washington chose to continue its investigation into the secret activities of Robert Hanssen, the FBI official arrested on February 18, as a formal pretext to launch a spy scandal. Moreover, Washington is convinced that “Russian espionage in the United States is on a scale absolutely unacceptable for the United States, on a scale comparable only to the period of the Cold War.”
In promoting its “determination to end Russian espionage” in the US, the Bush administration is out to gain political mileage and public respect. The “new policy” includes receiving an emissary of Chechen separatists, Iljas Akhmadov, at a high level in Washington. Moreover, this reception coincided with Washington’s deliberate expulsion of Russian diplomats.
Drastic measures against Russian diplomats are also needed in order to rehabilitate the US secret services after their scandalous failures in Russia. The list includes Cherie Liebernight, a career CIA officer expelled from Moscow because of her diplomatic cover. It includes Edmond Pope, whose guilt was proven beyond any shadow of a doubt; it includes the revelation of important US agents in Russia, and the scandals over spy tunnels under the Russian embassy in Washington and General Consulate in San Francisco. The list is impressive indeed. It indicates the true scope of the defeats which the American secret services have taken in Russia.