KIM JONG IL HAS NO PLANS TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE MEDIA IN MOSCOW
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 3, 2001, p. 1
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is due to arrive in Moscow late in the evening on August 3. Upon his arrival he will be escorted to the guest residence in the Kremlin, where he will live during his two-week stay in the capital of Russia. As expected, on morning of August 4 Kim Jong Il will lay a wreat at the grave of the Unknown Soldier and visit the Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square. President Vladimir Putin will meet with the North Korean leader at the Kremlin before midday. Russian-Korean top-level negotiations are expected to last until the evening, with short breaks. After that, the Russian president will host a dinner in honor of the distinguished guest. Some joint agreements will be signed in the course of the North Korean leader’s official visit to Moscow. However, at the personal request of Kim Jong Il, no news conference will be held after the documents are signed, although this is the usual procedure at such events.
KASIANOV’S FATE MAY BE DECIDED IN PRIMORYE
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 3, 2001, p. 2
Despite measures the Cabinet is taking, an energy crisis in Primorye (the Maritime territory) is likely to recur, says Alexander Abyzov, deputy chairman of the board at Russian Joint Energy Systems (RJES), a key figure in the Russian Far East branch of the Anti-Crisis Headquarters.
However, as usual at RJES under the leadership of Anatoly Chubais, Abyzov has shifted the blame for the upcoming energy crisis to local electrical utilities.
According to RJES, the usual funding shortages will be another reason for the inevitable repeat of last winter’s crisis. Moreover, it is said in the problem regions that rising transport costs are among the major reasons for lack of money to buy fuel.
Be that as it may, if debates about who is to blame for the upcoming winter crisis are already underway in August, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov is bound to be marked as guilty. President Putin entrusted him with the task of resolving the situation in the Russian Far East. A repeat of last year’s crisis could cost the prime minister dearly: should this happen, a Cabinet dismissal will be inevitable.
VOTING RESTRICTIONS LIFTED FROM THE NTV NETWORK
Moskovskii Komsomolets, August 3, 2001, p. 2
The Moscow circuit court of arbitration has overturned a decision by the Moscow Arbitration Court which had banned a subsidiary of Media-Most – Media-Most Capital and Management Ltd. – from voting with its 19% stake in the NTV network.
The ban was imposed on February 26 2001 to satisfy a suit instituted by the subsidiary of Gazprom-Media – Lidville Investment Ltd. – to assign a parcel of shares of NTV and over 20 other companies in the holding to its ownership. The decision resulted in a memorable meeting of NTV shareholders of April 3, at which the owner was replaced and Yevgenii Kiselev as its Managing Director was acknowledged out of law. Once it’s done, a Themis’s eyes can be unfastened. It turns out that had the verdict in favor of Gusinsky been announced six months ago, nothing would have happened to the NTV? Long live our Soviet court system, the most humane court system in the world!
A NEW "RUSSIAN IDEA"?
Moskovskii Komsomolets, August 3, 2001, p. 2
A Eurasian Party of Russia was registered with the Justice Ministry the other day. This new socio-political development has branches in 70 regions.
Accepted into federal politics in accordance with the old law on parties (since it has over 5,000 members), Eurazes, as its members call it, has become the first party on the list according to the new legislation. Now the party must cope with the task of re-registration (attaining at least 10,000 members). However, its leaders are not intimidated by this prospect. “A congress scheduled for this November is sure to broaden the horizons of the Eurasian Party,” says party leader Abdul-Vahed Niyazov, Duma deputy. A new idea about “pan-Eurasian nationality” serves as a basis for that confidence. This idea covers Russia’s main traditional values such as Orthodoxy, Islam and “love for the fatherland”. The activities of Eurazes would be based on those three foundations, as well as an inter-faith dialog between representatives of other Russia’s religions, taking care of ethnic minorities and strengthening the CIS Collective Security Treaty. In future the party plans to be ranked among the biggest and gather around 200,000 permanent members in all 89 regions by 2003.
READY FOR DECONTAMINATION
Izvestia, August 3, 2001, p. 2
A facility for recycling radioactive waste from dismantled nuclear submarines was opened at the Zvezda defense plant in the town of Bolshoi Kamen in Primorye (the Maritime territory) yesterday. The facility has been built using money from the United States, and the US is also funding decomissioning of nuclear submarines there.
Delivering a speech at a meeting, deputy director of DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) Colonel Dickey said that the US spent $40 million on three similar facilities in Russia. He also calmly announced some figures which seemed to be top-secret for Russians: during Russian-U.S. cooperation in the disarmament sphere, the Zvezda plant in the Russian Far East has dismantled 11 nuclear submarines, 420 missile silos and 792 warheads.
Zvezda has been in need of a similar facility for quite a long time. Around 33 half-sunken nuclear submarines have been rusting and waiting their turn for decommissioning in various harbors of Primorye. Moreover, as part of reducing offensive weapons, last November the US signed a contract to fund dismantling five of Russia’s nuclear missile submarines.
MOSCOW IS WAITING FOR A KAMAZ TRUCK LOADED WITH CYCLONITE
Tribuna, August 3, 2001, p. 1
Alarming news stirred Moscow yesterday: a KamAZ truck loaded with explosives is heading for Moscow. All posts of the police and the traffic inspection were immediately given orders to find and detain the truck. The Moscow police reinforced control over the city.
A stranger had reported to a Makhachkala Department of the Interior Forces that a truck loaded with deadly cargo was traveling across Dagestan. An anonymous source had called twice, and he had supposedly given an exact description and number of the truck. According to the source, on July 31 the truck left for Moscow from Stavropol and the batch of explosives is supposed to arrive in the capital by August 5. The Dagestani police started to search for the truck immediately, but in vain. A truck with the same number was checked, but it turned out that the truck had been resold several times.
Moscow police immediately took every possible measure to detect the mythical truck. More attention is being paid to approaches to Moscow leading from the south and all trucks are checked carefully. At the same time, senior officials of the Moscow City Department of the Interior Forces are inclined to consider the report of a dangerous cargo as just a prank by a telephone terrorist. Police stations in Russia receive dozens, if not hundreds, of similar calls each day, which is why this one nearly spread panic.
THE CABINET TO SET RATES FOR NATURAL MONOPOLIES
Izvestia, August 3, 2001, p. 2
At its meeting on August 2, the Cabinet summed up results of the nation’s economic development in the first half of the year and laid out plans for the remaining few months.
Mikhail Kasianov was forced to admit some facts that were obvious as far back as in winter – inflation will exceed the figure of 12-14% predicted in the budget, but it’s unknown to what extent. The Ministry for Economic Development and the Finance Ministry keep insisting that inflation will be 17-18%. Non-government experts are less optimistic, and offer a figure of 20-22%.
The Cabinet named those responsible for inflation long ago. These are natural monopolies, which are raising their tariffs. A solution which seems logical is to punish the guilty and ban them from raising rates. It is rumored that Kasianov had to decide on this issue. However, the Cabinet decided to choose a more cunning and less binding way. At the end of the meeting it was announced that by the end of 2001 the rates in natural monopolies would only be increased in “exceptional cases”.
Herman Gref assured reporters that this was “a long way from freezing tariffs”. However, neither Gref nor the Federal Energy Commission clarified the circumstances which would be considered as “exceptional cases”. A default was the only example given – after a lengthy silence.
Both the Federal Energy Commission and the Cabinet deny any link between Kasianov’s decision of August 2 and the fate of United Tariff Agency, which was supposed to function as a tariff-setting structure. However, a link is apparent. The Cabinet is not ready to offer a plan of the United Tariff Agency. There’s no clarity about which department will be responsible for the United Tariff Agency; nor, more importantly, about tariff policy itself.