PAVLOVSKY CALLING FOR UNITY
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 10, 2001, p. 2
Gleb Pavlovsky, director of the Effective Policy Foundation, said during a news conference on October 9 that the political elite and civil society should find a new form of consolidation in Russia in the light of present global instability. Pavlovsky stressed that new participants of the political process should elaborate new forms of political activity and simultaneously give up some other ones, e.g. they should give up actions of political protest. However, the political consultant is of the opinion that now only the government is able to adequately behave in the new political conditions. “Other figures of Russian politics behave like movie critics commenting on pictures on TV.” Touching on the “civil forum” scheduled for November, Pavlovsky stressed that the main task of this uniting congress of public movements and organizations is “peaceful mobilization” of Russian political forces and public organizations “for realizing the new threats and elaboration of methods of fortification of the state government that could prevent all spheres of life in the country from being militarized.”
UNION OF RIGHT FORCES AND YABLOKO BEGINNING TO UNITE IN REGIONS
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 10, 2001, p. 2
On October 9, a meeting of the coordination council for setting up a political coalition of the Union of Right Forces (URF) and Yabloko took place. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Duma Speakers Vladimir Lukin (Yabloko) and Irina Khakamada (URF). After the meeting Vladimir Lukin announced that the joint work of the two political parties has left the stage of empty political declarations and entered the stage of concrete actions. According to him, the key topic of the meeting was coordination of activities of the parties in the course of preparation for the upcoming regional elections that will take place in 15-20 regions before the end of the year. Vladimir Lukin has noted that in a number of regions representatives of local URF and Yabloko branches have arranged effective cooperation already, whereas in some regions such cooperation is to be arranged in the near future.
AID FOR PRESIDENTIAL ENVOYS
Izvestia, October 10, 2001, p. 3
On October 9, the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) presented an alternative report on the human rights situation in the Russian Federation, prepared by Russian human rights groups. For the first time the monitoring was conducted in all the 89 regions of the Russian Federation.
The picture displayed by human rights advocates is disturbing. Daniil Meshcheryakova, a manager of the project, has announced that there are some new problems with human rights in Russia. They are basically related to the current policy of creating a so-called “managed democracy,” when the basic democratic institutions are preserved, but human rights are violated within the formal law. For instance, the electoral rights of Russian citizens are violated in most regions. The right to information is also often violated in many regions.
Special services have increased their activity, which has caused a sort of “spy-mania”. Currently, human rights groups are looking into 27 criminal cases of “spies,” but there are many more such cases.
The human rights situation in Chechnya and Ingushetia is considered by human rights advocates to be catastrophic. MHG chairwoman Ludmila Alexeeva says Chechnya has become “a training camp for teaching regional special police attachments to perform torture.”
IS RUSSIA PROTECTED AGAINST BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM?
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, October 10, 2001, p. 1
Recently it was reported that in Florida a person has died from anthrax and another person was infected with this dangerous disease. These reports make people fear that it might be a bacteriological attack performed by terrorists. Gennady Onishchenko, chief public health official and member of the Russian Academy of Medicine says he is concerned about the fact that the people had the pulmonary form of anthrax, whereas in cases of natural infection the dermal form is common. “Pulmonary anthrax is extremely rare: it can start only if a person has had dermal anthrax and has not been properly cured or if his immunity is weakened.” He also said, “If this were a case of biological terrorism, there would be not two, but many more cases of anthrax in Florida.”
In the US vaccination against anthrax is done only among the military. In Russia people dealing with cattle, meat, wool, and leather are vaccinated against this disease.
However, the danger of a biological terrorist attack is not ruled out. Currently, almost every country is conducting some form of bacteriological research. This means that it is possible to get a culture of dangerous bacteria or viruses and use them for evil purposes. In Russia there is a system of measures for preventing biological terrorism. This system involves law enforcement agencies along with medical workers. There is the Federal Anti-Terror Commission chaired by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. In 1999-2000 there was a special federal program of funding measures against biological terrorism. Unfortunately, this program is not included in the 2002 draft budget.