TRANSPORTATION OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
Izvestia, November 23, 2001, p. 2
At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the question of ensuring safety while transporting nuclear materials by rail was debated. The problem became so acute after a package of bills was accepted in summer, which opened the path to storing nuclear waste from abroad in Russian disposal sites. No doubt, the Cabinet has paid attention to the safety of nuclear transportations since the events of September 11.
Energy Minister and Academician Alexander Rumyantsev delivered a speech. He stressed that over the fifty years of transporting nuclear materials not a single accident had occurred in our country.
First Deputy Minister Valentin Ivanov considers the Greenpeace to be major “terrorists”, because they threat to transportation of nuclear fuel with their actions. In this connection the government raised the question of classify such train routs as secret.
The Greenpeace disclaim the thesis of safety of nuclear fuel transportations. According to the data of the international Exotika group, in 1994 there was an accident in Novouralsk while sulfuric solution containing uranium was in transit (around 1,000 liters was spilt over the railway). In 1997 in Chelyabinsk a special vehicle collided with a bulldozer, as a result of which containers with iridium and cobalt isotopes got depressurized. In 1991 at the Bilibino Energy Station a container with spent nuclear fuel fell off the delivery belt…To be fair, we should say that these accidents were of local character, and there has been no such occurrences on railroads.
CENTRAL BANK IS HURTING
Moskiovskaya Pravda, November 23, 2001, p. 1
The amount of gold and currency reserves of the Central Bank of Russia decreased by $200 million last week. The destiny iof this money is mysterious. the clipping service of the bank pretend that the matter concerns “only usual minor financial operations”.
However, according to experts, the money was spent on keeping the ruble rate on the same level at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange. Despite assurances of the major bankers of the country, the situation is not so simple: worried market participants have lost trust to the national currency.
At present the currency and gold stock is around $38 billion, and this is enough to go on with this policy of keeping the ruble rate. Nevertheless, according to experts, the cost of “stable rate” may soon considerably increase and the expenditure may become ruinous.
DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
Izvestia, November 23, 2001, p. 1
As became known yesterday, the law enforcement agencies discovered and arrested another participant in the fight organized by teenagers at the Tsaritsyno metro station on October 30. Mikhail Volkov is the fourth who was arrested and accused after this happened. This time the investigation attests that he is an organizer of the fight. Yesterday the case of the spring fight at the Yasenevo metro station was transferred to the court, and Volkov appears there as a defendant too.
According to press secretary of the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office Svetlana Petrenko, 19-year-old Mikhail Volkov was detained on November 18. he is accused of organizing a crime, covered in Article 213, part 3 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism with weapons or articles used as weapons). He is likely to be sentenced to 4 to 7 years of imprisonment.
According to the investigation, in the morning of October 30 Volkov came to the Kashirsky Dvor market and bought several dozens of steel reinforcement bars, and asked to cut them into shorter bars. All in all it made 150 pieces, which the defendant loaded into his car and delivered to the place of the fight. Here he distributed the bars among teenagers, most of whom had come from Mytishchi or Podolsk. We would like to remind you that on that day more than a hundred of aggressive young men burst into the metro station and started smiting everything that came into their sight, shouting nazi slogans. According to the investigation, it was with the bars brought by Mikhail Volkov that the teenagers were beating Caucasians and other passers-by. Vardan Kalidzhanyan, citizen of Armenia was killed with these bars, and two more people were mortally wounded. More than twenty people applied for medical assistance.
ADVICE FOR STATE COUNCIL
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 23, 2001, p. 2
As we have learned from our source in the presidential administration, the next sitting of the State Council is scheduled for December 19. the theme was determined by president Putin – problems of small and middle-scale business.
The sitting in December will become the fifth after the presidential decree on establishing this consultative body was signed. We would like to remind you that the first sitting took place a year ago – on November 22, 2000.
Governor of the Khabarovsk region Viktor Ishaev believes that though “this structure was not established for nothing, however, its potential was not used to the fullest”.
The Kremlin agree that mechanisms of carrying out decisions of the State Council are to be improved. In particular, according to our sources in the presidential administration, the mechanism of collaborating between the State Council and the government. At that, the Kremlin believe that next year the problem of “carrying out decisions of the State Council will be settled”.
LUBOV KUDELINA OBJECTS TO TRANSPARENCY OF DEFENSE SPENDING
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 23, 2001, EV
Several generals and Lubov Kudelina, Deputy Defense Minister for financial and economic activities arrived for a discussion, which took place in the Central House of the Russian Army within the framework of the Civic Forum. Russia’s Defense Ministry outlined its attitude toward the government’s initiatives for changing the structure of allowances for servicemen and toward the military expenditures on the whole.
(…) Lubov Kudelina fully supported the government’s plans for canceling privileges for servicemen and rejected “any conjectures” of the pensioners, members of military rights groups about a supposed reduction of their pension rates.
However, as is reported from the Duma, abolition of some privileges for servicemen and retired officers and an increase in the size of money allowance will improve their welfare inconsiderably – by 10-15% only, but not by 50% and spokespersons for the government said. The deputies think this problem has social significance, and not in vain the Duma defense and security committee has elaborated its own optional bill of regulating the privileges for servicemen and increasing their money allowances. (…)
Communicating with representatives for public organization at the Forum, Kudelina has not cleared up the essence of the proposed amendments to the audience. Moreover, as the deputy defense minister said, she objected to transparency of all military expenditures.
PRESIDENT’S IMAGE DID NOT REQUIRE THE CIVIC FORUM
Moskovskii Komsomolets, November 23, 2001, p. 2
Grigory Yavlinsky has declared the Civic Forum which has been taking place in Moscow to be “a minor, single occasion,” which cannot resolve the challenge facing it.
The leader of Yabloko bewares that founders of the forum substitute civil society for “progressive public” and expresses doubts for an opportunity to hold a dialog “when 5,000 people representing diametrical interests gather in the same place.” As Yavlinsky thinks, the Civic Forum was conjectured as a “purely image-making activity” in summer 2001; after the scandal surrounding the NTV network had burst out, the things were bad in Chechnya and all around the world they lashed us. At the moment, however, according to Yavlinsky, the president has no problems with the image worldwide and it was embarrassing to cancel “this pompous performance” since pretty big money had been spent to organize this.
PUTIN TO MEET WITH BUSINESSMEN TO DISCUSS JOINING THE WTO
Moskovskii Komsomolets, November 23, 2001, p. 2
On Friday the President will have another meeting with members of the board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. As is already evident, Russia’s business leaders will discuss with the president the issues concerning the tax and rate policies. However, the long-suffering problem of Russia’s joining the WTO is most likely to become the prior subject for discussion. At the meeting of the board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs last week, the executives scarcely avoided a squabble while trying to elaborate a united position regarding our country’s joining the WTO. The debates were about the terms and conditions on which joining this organization makes sense. As a result, it was decided that Russia must join it, but carefully, having beforehand analyzed any possible aftermaths of this step for the domestic economy.
However, some other proposals were also presented. Thus, Managing Director of Severstal Alexei Mordashov and head of the United Machine Works Kakha Bendukidze were urging their dubious colleagues for joining the WTO immediately and on any terms. As Bendukidze stated, “the fate of the entire Russian economy cannot be dependent on the fate of two-three industries.” Under “entire Russian economy” Bendukidze probably meant his own entrepreneurship, because even oligarchs from the metallurgical industry (those who are not parts of Mordashov’s empire) began expressing their concern for the hurry of joining the WTO. As they were asking, who would purchase metallurgical produce inside Russia if the domestic producers lose the game in favor of foreign rivals?
The president is unlikely to appreciate similar proposals. Most probably, the president will concede to opinion of the moderate wing of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, since earlier the president had stated that any nonstandard terms for Russia’s entering the WTO were out of the question.