Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 21, 2001, p. 7

Allies of Ahmad Kadyrov, head of the government of Chechnya, still remain the group in Chechen society which is least protected from guerrillas and most vulnerable to them. This time, Salman Abuev, chief of the Kurchaloi Interior Forces Department, and six of his colleagues have fallen victim to criminals. As they were approaching Mairtuttu, a large group of armed people wearing masks and camouflage attacked them. One bandit was killed. It should be noted that before the counter-terrorist operation was launched, Abuev had been the so-called chief of the department for protection of state facilities and commanded an armed group. To put it bluntly, he was a field commander, a “brigadier general”. When the second Chechen campaign started, he condemned Aslan Maskhadov and took Kadyrov’s side, together with some other field commanders.

Against the backdrop of these events, some senior officials of the Russian security ministries have arrived in the North Caucasus. In the course of the “planned” visit to Chechnya, Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev held a meeting of the regional operative headquarters, while Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov met in Pyatigorsk with heads of the law enforcement agencies from southern Russia.


Komsomolskaya Pravda, September 21, 2001, p. 2

A Gigant-4 barge is expected to arrive at the site of the salvage operation in the Barents Sea. The raising of the Kursk will start when it arrives. Work on the fourth compartment, in which the greatest number of holes have been drilled (there are 26 of them in all, with 10 in the fourth compartment), has been completed, reports the headquarters of the Northern Fleet. Hitch baskets have been installed in them. The work of clearing four holes in the third compartment of the Kursk has also been finished. Last afternoon the divers began to install alignment baskets there. Installation of each basket takes five hours. The divers are expected to make two more holes in the fifth compartment, three more in the eighth and seven more in the seventh compartment.

The Gigant-4 barge itself is at the Norwegian port of Kirkenes at the moment. According to specialists, it is supposed to arrive by September 23. The chairman of the committee for investigating the sinking of the nuclear submarine said this week that the lifting phase is expected to begin on September 25.


Izvestia, September 21, 2001, p. 2

Alexander Lukashenko was inaugurated for another term as president of Belarus yesterday, in the Palace of the Republic in Minsk. Delegates from foreign states, members of the government, and deputies of the house of representatives were invited to the inauguration ceremony.

Although Western embassies joined in criticizing the outcome of the elections, they did not decide to ignore the inauguration: if not ambassadors themselves, then their envoys attended the ceremony. However, this was a reaction to Lukashenko’s “positive gestures” in favor of the West: the president granted pardons for German citizen Kristof Letz and Italian citizen Antonio Peu, who had been convicted of espionage against Belarus.

However, another move by Lukashenko was the most surprising. Unexpectedly for all the guests, he offered his condolences to the Americans for the terrorist attacks. “The disaster, the grief, must join politicians instead of separating them; therefore, it is my sincere wish that the American nation can find the strength to unite around Bush. I want the Americans to continue to trust their president in future. The American nation is strong and it will manage to overcome this terrible challenge. The world is so small that we should not look at each other through the sights of a fearsome weapon. We need to fight terrorists together.”

However, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus could not help overstepping the bounds of condolence; before the inauguration, it made an official statement that Washington had not denied its intentions to isolate Minsk.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 21, 2001, p. 2

At a press conference on September 20, secretary of Fatherland’s political council Alexander Vladislavlev said that preparations for the third congress are underway. The congress, at which Fatherland will be reorganized into a party, will take place in the House of Unions in Moscow on October 13, with 620 delegates participating. According to Vladislavlev, the key issues at the congress will be ideology, the organizational structure of the party, approval of a new program and regulations, and some political problems – incuding housing and utilities reforms. As Vladislavlev stated, no principles of democratic centralism would be included in the regulations, but Fatherland would for the first time include a paragraph on deputies’ coalitions, regulating relations between the party and its spokespersons in both houses of parliament.

As soon as the congress is over, the Fatherland – All Russia faction will sign an agreement of cooperation with the party, and this paragraph of regulations will be amended; the leadership of the party intends to insist on the principle of compulsory voting for its deputies.

Vladislavov also spoke out against any hast in merging Unity and Fatherland, saying that “this will happen only when we are convinced that merging would gain us extra votes”. He thinks that the present coalition of two organizations is more promising, since the People’s Deputy party, which is now being formed, may also join the coalition at the next elections.


Izvestia, September 21, 2001, p. 4

Yesterday the Duma finally approved a resolution on combating international terrorism. Deputies were so eager to discuss the problem that most of the amendments which had already been approved by the committee had to be discussed separately.

Two other domestic security issues were also on the agenda. A group of deputies from the Union of Right Forces faction proposed to mount a Constitutional Court challenge to the legitimacy of the military operation in Chechnya, which has been underway since 1999. Moreover, they intend to propose declaring a state of emergency in Chechnya, so that the state would be legally able to use all the means it possesses to fight the bandit formations. The Duma did not uphold this proposal, and querying the legitimacy of the operation was removed from the agenda as “irrelevant”.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, September 21, 2001, p. 2

Yesterday the Duma passed the Land Code in the third reading. It might seem that the third reading is purely a matter of routine: no amendments are allowed, and usually everything is fast and without any problems. However, this debate did not pass without a scandal. It is easy to guess that the Communists and Agrarians were once again responsible.

When the screen displayed 257 votes in favor of the bill, the leftist forces rebelled. A sizeable group rushed toward the presidium, demanding that the vote results should be cancelled, and everything should be done “properly” – that is, giving faction leaders an opportunity to speak (the regulations do not provide such an opportunity during third readings). When deputy Andrei Isaev took the podium to speak about the next item on the agenda, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov suddenly appeared beside him and pushed him away from the microphone. Zyuganov repeated the demand of the group occupying the presidium: let us speak first, and then vote again. Senior deputy speaker Lubov Sliska, who was chairing the meeting, authorized an hour’s break – but the leftist forces did not leave the hall.

Meanwhile, “protesting pensioners” carrying slogans like “No to sale of land!” had gathered in the street. Communist faction member Kuvaev appeared before them, reporting a “failure” – and suddenly said that the Communists intend to seek a dissolution of parliament, since the Communist Party would supposedly win the next elections anyway. The crowd shouted its approval and dispersed.