PUTIN IN SOCHI
Vremya Novostei, July 30, 2001, p. 2
On Sunday afternoon Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Sochi. The temperature on the airfield was over 50 degrees centigrade, and therefore the president only exchanged a few words with Presidential Envoy for the Southern Federal District Viktor Kazantsev, Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachev, and new Mayor of Sochi Leonid Mostov. Then he went to his summer residence Bocharov Ruchei, where his wife and daughters are having a rest.
Ludmila Putina and the president’s daughters Katya and Masha have been living in Sochi since the start of the summer. The girls have been in the charge of the personnel of the residence for several times when Mrs. Putina had to accompany her husband in foreign trips. Vladimir Putin has not seen his daughters for almost two months, and therefore his desire to see his family as soon as possible was natural.
The president’s arrival in Sochi was unexpected, since it was initially scheduled for Wednesday. On Wednesday, presidents of ten more countries of the CIS will arrive in Sochi in order to conduct an informal summit here. Last time Putin had a rest in his residence in Sochi in October; at that time he received Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko in his residence. Their negotiations were quite successful, and perhaps this made Vladimir Putin invite all the CIS leaders to Sochi this time. Only Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has not responded to Putin’s invitation.
The summit will take place in the health resort Dagomys. Almost a year ago Putin met with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences here, which has been marked by a memorial tablet.
NEW METHODS OF GAINING OLD AIM
Vremya Novostei, July 30, 2001, p. 2
The next round of the negotiations on Russia’s entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) will start in September. On Friday the government elaborated new regulations for the Russian delegation for the negotiations with WTO countries. The delegation will be led by Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Maxim Medvedkov.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is of the opinion that progress has begun in this issue for the first time over the eight years of the negotiations on Russia’s entering WTO. Kasyanov has stressed that Russia cannot agree to the position of some WTO countries insisting on special conditions for accepting Russia into this organization. At the same time, Kasyanov has admitted that the criticism of some WTO countries was partly fair. Indeed, laws are not always observed in Russia. In this connection the government has decided to revise all standard acts contradicting norms of WTO and civilized rules of arrangement of the market.
Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref has noted that the government is ready to gradually cancel such standard acts. According to him, Russia will also have to update the systems of standardization and certification. The Ministry for Economic Development and Trade has already prepared a corresponding draft law. According to Mr. Gref, foreign companies are suffering extra expenses while certifying their products in Russia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has pointed out a few weak points of the Russian economy, about which it can hardly make any concessions to WTO. For instance, Russia cannot cancel import duties on airplanes. Russia cannot stop subsidizing its agricultural sector. According to the deputy prime minister, Russia is not ready to open its insurance market for foreign companies. However, Russian entrepreneurs do not agree with this statement, which they have announced for many times at meetings of the Council for Business in the presence of the prime minister.
KIM CHEN IR’S TRANS-SIBERIAN EXPRESS
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, July 31, 2001, p. 2
Leader of North Korea Kim Chen Ir is moving from the Far East to Moscow by train. On July 30, his train stopped in Krasnoyarsk for shifting the locomotive. The North Korean leader did not leave the train, but employees of his administration took advantage of the train stop to buy fresh newspapers.
“The Korea Times” has reported referring to diplomatic and governmental sources that Kim Chen Ir will spend 24 days in Russia. The aim of such a long visit is to show the US that he is firmly retains power in his country. Another aim of this visit is to show the close links between North Korea and Russia: the North Korean leader intends to visit some military objects in Russia.
According to a top-ranking official representative of South Korea, Pyongyang may use this visit as a means for improvement of its relations with the US.