AN UPDATE ON THE TU-154 PLANE CRASH
Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 12, 2001, p. 1
Test Pilot 1st Class Marina Popovich says: “There is something abnormal about this crash!”
It seems that the crash must have been caused by a fatal malfunction of several onboard systems at once – or by pilot stress that resulted in some sort of error.
ESTONIA RECALLS ITS AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA
Moskovsky Komsomolets, July 12, 2001, p. 2
Matsulevich was told in Estonia that the money has to be returned. Indrek Tarand, Chancellor of the Foreign Ministry of Estonia, came to his former subordinate’s aid. Firstly, he refused to reveal the exact amount of missing money. Secondly, he informed the public that a compromise had been reached. Matsulevich is resigning from the ministry altogether, and in return Tarand will not investigate further or call in the police.
Matsulevich himself is not available for comments.
INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH ROBSON OF THE BBC RUSSIAN SERVICE
Izvestia, July 12, 2001, pp. 1, 3
Elizabeth Robson, head of the BBC Russian Service, has completed her visit to Russia.
Question: What has been the purpose of your visit?
Elizabeth Robson: I have various objectives. We want to redesign the BBC offices in Moscow. There are many problems with the project. I also plan to attend the Media Freedom conference and talk to journalists.
Question: What do you think of freedom of speech in Russia?
Robson: There was no free speech here until Gorbachev. All changes since then have been for the better. Of course, it is not up to me to say how the media should be organized in this country, but monopolization of the media and TV is somewhat disturbing. It is always risky, in any country. We saw it with the NTV network recently.
Question: Is it difficult for Western journalists to obtain information in Russia?
Robson: I think obtaining information in Moscow is always possible. Sometimes it is more difficult, sometimes less difficult, but always possible. We are used to dealing with politicians who dislike answering questions and are always evasive. Our own politicians are the same. The situation in this respect is more difficult in the regions, where local politicians are not used to talking to journalists at all.
Question: Which Russian media do you consider as your competitors?
Robson: All radio stations that provide news broadcasts, apart from music stations, of course. We also consider Radio Liberty and the Voice of America our competitors, the major ones.
Question: What are you doing to improve your services?
Robson: Apart from the usual methods, we are trying to establish partnership relations with Russian radio stations.
CIVIL CODE DEBATE IN THE DUMA
Izvestia, July 12, 2001, p. 2
The third part of the Civil Code has been debated in the Duma. If this part of the Civil Code is passed, the range of beneficiaries of wills is likely to expand, and their rights will be better protected.
REPORT ON ANTI-SEMITISM
Izvestia, July 12, 2001, p. 2
The report covers the situation in almost all Russian regions. Union Director Maika Naftalin says the authors expect the report to “provide the president and the government with all necessary information.”
“This is a significant contribution to the development of civil society,” he said.
According to the report, Muslims from the Caucasus often face harassment in 26 regions of the Russian Federation.
As for ethnic prejudice and xenophobia, the report mentions a lot of small nationalist organizations and one large one: the Communist Party. “At the federal level, the Communist Party is successfully reviving the ideology of anti-Semitism, a cornerstone of its platform,” the report states.
RUSSIA PLANS NEW FOREIGN LOANS
Izvestia, July 12, 2001, p. 6
Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Kolotukhin has officially confirmed that in 2002 Russia hopes to borrow from $500 million to $1 billion abroad. According to our sources, this concerns plans to issue Eurobonds. The last time Eurobonds were issued by Russia was in August 1998.
Kolotukhin says that in future Russia intends to abandon the practice of borrowing from abroad.
UN DEVELOPMENT RANKINGS RELEASED
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 12, 2001, p. 1
The rankings are based on the so-called index of development of human potential, which includes per capita income, quality of education and health care systems, and average lifespan. Norway tops the list. The top ten states also include Australia, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, the United States, Iceland, the Netherlands, Japan, and Finland. The list of 162 states ends with Ethiopia, Burundi, and Sierra Leone.
Russia and other CIS states are in the category of the medium development group. Belarus is in 53rd place. Russia is followed by Armenia (72), Ukraine (74), Kazakhstan (75), Georgia (76), Azerbaijan (79), Turkmenistan (83), Kyrgyzstan (92), Moldova (98), Uzbekistan (99), and Tajikistan (113).
DEPUTY GOVERNOR FACES CHARGES
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 12, 2001, p. 2
The directorate of the Prosecutor General’s Office in the North-West federal district has charged St. Petersburg Deputy governor Valery Malyshev with bribery.
Malyshev’s apartment and office have been searched, and his assets frozen.
IS THE ARMY SEEKING PEACE IN CHECHNYA?
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, July 12, 2001, p. 5
General Vladimir Moltenskoy, commander of the federal forces in Chechnya, says a special operation is starting in Chechnya to win the people’s trust in the army.
The statement was made after numerous violations of the law by federal soldiers during search operations in the villages of Assinovskaya, Sernovodsk, and Kurchaloi.
Duma Deputy Aslambek Aslakhanov says he has details of many cases of human rights abuses by federal troops. Aslakhanov considers that the military prosecutor’s office does not want the truth about what has been happening in Chechnya to become known.