THE UNDERWORLD WILL PAY?
Izvestia, June 21, 2001, p. 1
Yelena Andreeva, president of Bastion, a group of security companies: The underworld is split into two parts now. On the one hand, it includes people who live by criminal laws and commit ordinary crimes. On the other, it includes people who have never been convicted themselves, but who earn their living by extortion, fraud, and physical elimination of victims (indirectly). These are the people who attempt to arrange attacks on security structures and so on. About half of them want to legalize their incomes and pretend that no one cares about how they made their money. As a rule, such people don’t care about their reputations.
Aleksei Kasatkin, investigator with the prosecutor’s office of the North-West region of Moscow: Representatives of the underworld are openly involved in charity nowadays.
Yuri Antonyan, Ph.D. (Law): The underworld is aiming for legalization all over the world. We see this in the United States and Italy, and we’ve been seeing it in Russia.
The weaker the authorities, the stronger the underworld.
DUMA TO DEBATE PRIVATIZATION AGAIN
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 21, 2001, p. 2
Three privatization bills have been offered for debate, two from Duma deputies and one from the Cabinet.
In a free market, the state cannot retain absolute control over industrial facilities and property. How can they be sold? A mechanism is needed to transfer state and municipal assets into private hands so that it remains effective with state control. Such a mechanism is proposed in the bill written by independent deputy Yevgeny Ischenko.
Why bother with another law when almost 400 acts on privatization have been adopted over the past decade? Ischenko insists that the privatization program should be adopted together with the budget, in order to create a reasonable anti-corruption system. All revenues will be channelled into the budget.
HERMAN GREF CORRECTS THE PRESIDENT
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 21, 2001, p. 1
The Economic Development and Trade Ministry yesterday produced its own interpretation of the president’s order to complete work on a plan for restructuring the electricity sector. According to Deputy Minister Andrei Sharonov, the State Council (the opponent of Herman Gref’s ministry on this issue) has already performed its task, and the intended restructuring plan is now in the hands of the Cabinet. Sharonov virtually urged all involved structures to abide by the agreements which have already been reached.
KALUGIN GIVES EVIDENCE
Izvestia, June 21, 2001, p. 10
Oleg Kalugin, former KGB general and defector, has testified at the trial of Colonel George Trofimoff (retired). Kalugin said he had met with Trofimoff regularly in Austria, and spoken with him for hours at a time. The KGB “considered this American a valuable asset who provided important data”, Kalugin said. Moscow views Kalugin’s testimony as “another betrayal”.
THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE LOSES POWER
Izvestia, June 21, 2001, p. 2
Duma deputies got down to work on the Criminal Code yesterday. The Code was passed in the first reading back in spring 1997, but so much has changed since then.
GREF GIVES A DATE FOR THE DEATH OF RJES
Izvestia, June 21, 2001, p. 5
According to Herman Gref’s draft plan for restructuring the electricity sector, the Russian Joint Energy Systems monopoly will cease to exist in its current form on March 31, 2004.
THE TALIBAN COMES CLOSER
Trud-7, June 21, 2001, p. 5
The Taliban has destroyed the entire poppy harvest. As a result, the cost of opium on the black market and the legal market has increased five to seven times.
This means that the mafia has been deprived of two-thirds of the annual yield of opium poppies. The mafia is not going to tolerate this. Foreign specialists believe that the mafia is going to look for new plantations now, probably in the post-Soviet republics. In the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan was the largest legal supplier of opium poppies in the world. Other potential suppliers are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
The danger is approaching Russia’s borders in the south. Russia should pool its efforts with the Central Asian states to counter it.