DIRECTORATE OF STATISTICS ESTABLISHED IN CHECHNYA
Vremya Novostei, November 5, 2001, p. 2
A republican statistics committee is to be formed in Chechnya. At first, it will be located in a special caravan expected to arrive in Chechnya soon. The federal center wants true information on the state of affairs in Chechnya as soon as possible. At present, a lot of decisions concerning Chechnya are made blindly, says Vladimir Yemelianov, Chairman of the South Russian Association of Statistical Bodies.
The committee will be chaired by Ramazan Digayev and staffed mostly with former employees of the State Statistics Committee of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Yemelianov says they are capable enough but a bit rusty. Special training courses will be organized for them in Rostov-na-Donu.
The committee will begin by forming its structures in all districts of Chechnya.
Vremya Novostei, November 5, 2001, p. 3
Russian members of the federal government commission investigating the crash of the Russian TU-154 on October 4 have submitted the report of their findings. Vladimir Rushailo, Secretary of the Russian Security Council and chairman of the Commission, gave reports of their investigations to President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma last Saturday. The findings of the commission leave no doubts that the passenger flight was brought down by a Ukrainian SS-200 missile. All relevant materials are to be forwarded to Israel soon.
RUMSFELD VISITS RUSSIA. MOSCOW REITERATES NON-INVOLVEMENT IN THE OPERATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 5, 2001, p. 2
The visit of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Moscow was shrouded in secrecy. The agenda of negotiations included two rather vague subjects – the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty and Russia’s attitude towards the ongoing war on terrorism. All accents were shifted to Russia’s approval of possible tests of the proposed national anti-ballistic missile defense system in the United States. The approval was given. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced the Kremlin’s position. Not categorical anymore and with some reservations, it does allow for an eventual deployment of an anti-ballistic missile defense system in America. Nothing is known at this point on the price of the compromise.
Ivanov was more specific on Russia and the counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan. Moscow is not going to be involved. The Kremlin merely reiterated its former position – the anti-Taliban coalition can rely on military-technical assistance and Russia will not object to the use of former Soviet military bases in Central Asia by the Americans. This has to do with bases in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. It seems that the use of military infrastructure in Central Asian states was the major subject of Rumsfeld’s visit to Moscow. After Moscow, he flew over to Dushanbe and then to Tashkent.
ANOTHER FINANCIAL SCANDAL IN CHECHNYA
Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 5, 2001, p. 2
Federal Minister for Chechnya Vladimir Yelagin does not rule out the possibility of criminal charges being files against officials who misused or palmed off the money set aside for post-war restoration in the republic. In question is at least 53 million rubles misused in 2000 and 2001.
DUBAI AIR SHOW’2001 OPENED YESTERDAY IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Rossiya, November 5, 2001, p. 5
The show might as well have been organized somewhere in Russia, since the Russian exposition turned out to be the largest.
Russia will display the modernized SU-30MK and attack helicopters MI-28NE and KA-52. All the rest of what Moscow sent to the Emirates is old news like the MIG-21-93 and SU-27, which were modified for the Indian Air Force, and programs for overhauling MI-35, MI-8, and MI-17 complexes.
Training aircraft MIG-AT will be the focal point of the Russian display, the one the Swiss company Noga tried to confiscate for debts at the air show held in France.
The holding Rosoboroneksport relies on its modernization programs in the absence of competitors. One of the programs being promoted in the Emirates is to do with modification of the French Mirages, the aircraft used in the Lebanese, Egyptian, and other relatively recent wars. The Russians have fitted the Mirage with more powerful engines, modern guided missiles, and the Schel-2, in-helmet aiming system. This system is already in use by the Air Force of the Republic of South African, whose Supermirages have been taken apart, modified, and put together again by the Russians.
OPINION POLLS INDICATE…
Izvestia, November 5, 2001, p. 2
The latest surveys by leading agencies indicate that the initial unquestionable support of the American right “for a strike of vengeance” in the United States itself and in Western Europe is giving way to more cautious estimates.
Public opinion in Russia at the same time has been growing steadily more pro-American. Despite moody predictions of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and other politicians of his kind, Russian sympathies are with the Americans and not with the Afghans. More than 50% of Russians are with the Americans, according to the latest survey conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center.
In September and October respondents were approached with the question “Do you think Usama Bin Laden’s involvement in planning the terrorist acts in the United States has been proved?” Seventeen percent replied affirmatively in September and 30% in October. At the same time, only 34% of respondents are confident that the United States will succeed in its counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan, against 46% who are skeptical and 20% who do not know.
All these figures are ascribed to the fact that the West has never expected the war to last long. News reports in the media on civilian casualties affect popular support of the counter-terrorism operation in all countries where people know what terrorism is all about only from media reports from abroad. Political scientists assume that the war on terrorism will get wholehearted support of society in the West only after terrorist acts are carried out in Western Europe.
When asked “Has your attitude towards Islam and Moslems changed in the wake of the terrorist acts in the United States and beginning of bombardments of Afghanistan?”, 35% of approached Russians replied that it has “worsened some or a lot”.
CHECHNYA WANTS ITS STATE SYMBOLS
Izvestia, November 6, 2001, p. 2
The Chechen Cabinet met in Grozny yesterday. Premier Stanislav Ilyasov was present, and observers began talking about his impending resignation. There are even rumors that Ilyasov has already handed in his resignation but he himself denounces the rumors as false.
According to Ilyasov, the Chechen administration is actively working on the republican anthem and coat-of-arms.
PRESIDENT PUTIN WORRIES ABOUT OIL PRICES
Izvestia, November 6, 2001, p. 1
This is the second time Putin will be talking about oil and oil prices. The first time was approximately a week ago, on the eve of the World Economic Forum. The government was instructed then to be more careful about how it spends additional revenues while it has something to spend. This time Premier Mikhail Kasianov was ordered to present to the president a detailed plan of action of the government should oil prices let the Russian economy down. And this is what has been happening.
The 2002 federal budget expects oil price to be $23.5 a barrel. If the price goes below $18.5 (and a barrel of Urals costs $18.35 these days), the state will honor its obligations but it can forget budget surplus or payment of the principal. And the financial reserves the government relies on at the onset of 2003 will be much more meager than expected. It follows that the government will once again face the alternative of to pay or not to pay, and if to pay how?
Russia has honored its financial obligations to foreign creditors and may reach an agreement on rescheduling with them. At least, its chances in this respect are much better than they used to be not long ago. Stanley Fischer, IMF ex-deputy director, said if Russia approached the organization for a loan, it would surely get it. Sources at the Russian Finance Ministry sneer and say that had Fischer doubted that Russia would not ask for new loans, he would have never made so bold a statement.
Rejecting the option of appealing to the International Monetary Fund and assuring everyone within earshot of the lack of “dangerous tendencies”, the government continues sub rosa consultations with the Paris Club.
OPINION POLLS ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS NOVEMBER 7
Izvestia, November 6, 2001, p. 2
Most Russians do not associate November 7 (anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution) with ideologies. For 23% of respondents, the date “does not mean anything at all”, and 23% view it as “an additional day-off, no more no less” according to the Public Opinion Foundation. In 1999 these views were shared by 22% and 27% and in 1997 20% and 22% respectively.
Results obtained by the ROMIR service are similar. Its sociologists say that 33.6% Russians do not view November 7 as a cause for celebration. This is an ordinary day-off for them.
At the same time, many Russians still celebrate the anniversary of the socialist revolution – 45% according to ROMIR and 39% according to the Public Opinion Foundation. Most of these Russians are elderly.
The Public Opinion Foundation asked its respondents for their opinion on the idea of calling November 7 the Day of Consent and Reconciliation. 43% approved of the idea (64% of them are Gennadi Zyuganov’s supporters and 53% are Russians over 50).
36% disapprove of the idea. 41% of them are under 35 years of age and 42% are President Vladimir Putin’s supporters. This is, however, theory. In practice, the Day of Consent and Reconciliation is celebrated by less than 10% Russians, mostly by the youth.
According to the Public Opinion Foundation, the ratio of respondents who celebrate the anniversary of the revolution or do not care has not changed much in the last seven years but ideological associations have been weakening.