VOLOSHIN IS DOOMED
Vechernyaya Moskva, May 16, 2001, p. 1
There are rumors that Alexander Voloshin, head of the Presidential Administration, is certain to be dismissed within a day or two. Such rumors have been circulating for a long time. Some politicians have been wondering why Vladimir Putin tolerates this “remnant” of Yeltsin’s “Family.” It is worth noting that there has been not a single kind word about Alexander Voloshin in any Russian media outlet, regardless of political orientation.
Even if Voloshin’s dismissal is not imminent, it is certain.
Who will succeed him? Many observers say that the most likely candidate for this position is Sergei Shoigu, presently Emergency Minister and leader of the pro-presidential Unity party. Besides, Shoigu is President Putin’s personal friend.
CIS OFFICIALS DO NOT WANT THE CIS TO DIE
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 16, 2001, p. 2
After his tour of CIS nations, CIS Executive Secretary Yury Yarov told journalists about progress on preparations for the CIS summit on June 1 in Minsk. Yarov said at the press conference that “the CIS is not dying”, adding: “It is necessary to make our cooperation more efficient.” He believes that one way of achieving this is to set up a free trade zone. However, Yarov noted that Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have not yet started to take measures necessary for setting up a free trade zone.
A wide range of political, economic, and military issues is to be discussed at the upcoming CIS summit. CIS presidents will make a joint statement to their people and the rest of the world to mark the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Untion. They will also discuss issues connected with supporting victims of the Chernobyl disaster, sign a protocol on customs duties within the CIS, an agreement on combating computer crime, and coordination of activities of tax services.
MOSCOW MAY BECOME POORER
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 16, 2001, p. 2
Gennady Gorbunov, head of the Moscow City Department for Taxes and Duties, has announced that Moscow’s budget may soon lose up to 50% of its revenues.
This will happen if the major taxpayers, such as Gazprom, Russian Joint Energy Systems, the Railroads Ministry, and LUKoil are transferred to the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Of course, the federal government’s desire to get such taxpayers is natural. However, Gurbunov believes that Moscow’s interests should also be considered.
ILYUSHENKO’S PRESS CONFERENCE
Trud, May 16, 2001, p. 2
Former acting general prosecutor Alexei Ilyushenko was recently released from jail. Two years ago he was charged with bribery and imprisoned at Lefortovo. His crime was purchasing several jeeps and Zhiguli cars for himself and his relatives from a businessman named Yanchev, for a nominal price. However, investigators have failed to prove his guilt, since Yanchev has sold over 200 cars at the same prices, and even Cabinet members were among his clients.
Ilyushenko is sure that he was arrested for political reasons, due to his conflict with the special services. The special services disliked him for his refusal to rearrest organizers of the 1991 coup attempt, the criminal investigation into combat casualties during the attack on Grozny in 1994, and cancellation of several criminal cases that had no prospects, e.g. the case of Panskov, a businessman who later became a minister.
Ilyushenko said that while he was in Lefortovo, some officers of the special services asked him to provide compromising materials on Chernomyrdin, Chubais, and Luzhkov. He refused and was told: “Then you’ll stay in jail.”
Ilyushenko subsequently contracted tuberculosis.
UNION OF RIGHT FORCES BECOMING A POLITICAL PARTY
Trud, May 16, 2001, p. 1
Three movements included in the Union of Right Forces (URF) bloc have announced that they are disbanding: Young Russia led by Boris Nemtsov, Common Cause led by Irina Khakamada, and Voice of Russia. Other movements will also disband soon, in order to revive in a new form: as a large political party.
On May 26, the political council of the new party will be elected. There are two main contenders for the position of URF leader: Boris Nemtsov and Yegor Gaidar. Observers say that Nemtsov has much better chances, since Gaidar is not popular with the public.
Recently, Alexei Kara-Murza, leader of Voice of Russia, criticized the actions of the URF leaders. In his opinion, the party should look for new resources in the young generation and in the provinces.
WILL ECHO OF MOSCW FOLLOW NTV?
Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 16, 2001, p. 2
On Tuesday, rumors started to circulate in the Western media that the Echo of Moscow radio station, part of Media-Most, may soon be split.
Sources close to the managment of Echo of Moscow say that staff morale is low, and employees are divided, because of rumors that head of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov may be employed by TV-6. It is rumored that more than half the employees of Echo of Moscow may follow Venediktov.
Currently, Venediktov is said to be considering two options: either to work for TV-6 together with many journalists from NTV, or to set up a new news service at some other radio station.
However, Venediktov himself has denied these rumors. He says he does not intend to leave Echo of Moscow. He called these rumors “wild and unfounded”.