TIME FOR JOY
Izvestia, January 30, 2002, p. 1
The meeting of the State Council will start today at midday – regional leaders and the president will be discussing the health of the nation. Recently enough the idea of the State Council for Sports was opposed – supposedly, it is necessary to impart health to the nation, but the approach resembled that of the Soviet times so much. As a result, the approach turned out to be so acute – among some measures, members of the State Council’s working group propose to establish an federation-wide sports TV channel, which would have enough grounding to claim to the frequency of the sixth channel.
The idea of a sports TV channel has already been presented to Vladimir Putin. For the first time it was expressed at the meeting with members of the Olympic team, which will depart for Salt-Lake-City. The president’s response was vague, allegedly, “it would not be bad,” and his reply was considered to be a preliminary approval. Now, initiators of the innovation, with Chelyabinsk Governor Pyotr Sumin and head of Russia’s Olympic Committee Leonid Tyagachev among them, think that a decision from “above” is primarily required to implement the idea. It is supposed to obtain for the decision from the State Council.
YULIA TIMOSHENKO NEARLY DIED
Izvestia, January 30, 2002, p. 3
Yesterday former Ukrainian deputy prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, leader of the Ukrainian opposition, was involved in a traffic accident. It was not really an accident, say all her supporters. The crash happened almost immediately after Timoshenko’s radio debate with her long-standing opponent – former senior deputy speaker Viktor Medvedchuk. Timoshenko clearly won the debate.
After the radio broadcast Timoshenko left for a trial, which was supposed to resolve whether her deputy’s authority would be returned and she would be relieved of the parole. Now, Yulia has been at the Pheophania government hospital in the grave condition, Timoshenko’s spokesperson Pyotr Yakobchuk said to Izvestia. She has serious concussion of the brain; her head and thorax are seriously injured.
Driver of Timoshenko’s Mersedes car was the culprit of the accident, the Kiev police think. Supposedly, it was he to cause a collision with a Zhiguli car. There is an attempt to announce the traffic accident “a mere publicity stunt” planned beforehand. After the traffic accident Yulia “got out easily and changed a car.” But the driver of the Zhiguli car was seriously injured – he is now at the hospital with the concussion of the brain.
An incident with Timoshenko was not a play of chance, the Ukrainian opposition asserts. Traffic accidents have become “a traditional method of political struggle” in Ukraine.
THE CHURCH PLAYS THE ORACLE
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, January 30, 2002, p. 2
New media holdings will be formed in Russia to replace the ones, which are liquidated. It seems that the Orthodox Church of Russia decided to join the struggle of the influence on the media market.
Recently, Archpriest of the Publishing Council of the Orthodox Church of Russia Vladimir Silovyev has stated that its own media holding, which would compose radio stations, TV media and publishing houses is of urgent need for the church.
At first sight, the situation with the development of media owned by the church in Russia does not look bad: to date, the quantity of publications in the proprietorship of the church has exceeded the pre-revolutionary level – 600 versus 400; at the same time, however, not s single “professional magazine for priests” exists in the country, which has 200,000 priests.
According to Silovyev, the quality of religious publications leaves much to be desired.
“The church must possess media, not only designed for the religious people, but also so-called ‘mass consumer’, in short, the publications, which would be interesting for millions of people,” Vladimir Silavyev said.
Already in the near future, the churchmen intend to publish not editions for missionaries and pilgrims alone, but also youth magazines and magazines for lawyers.
AN ENTRAPMENT FOR RUSSIA
Trud, January 30, 2002, p. 2
Some two weeks ago the Duma approved a special appeal to President Vladimir Putin regarding the devastating rate of drug addiction in Russia. One might say now that the government had made its final decisions about it: the federal targeted program for combating drug addiction for 2002-04 has been adopted. Overall, state spending on these purposes will amount to over 1.5 billion rubles. This year it is planned to spend 632.3 million rubles.
The objectives of the program are described accurately and in detail: “create conditions for stopping the growth of drug addiction and drug trafficking, gradual reduction of the incidence of drug addiction and crimes and violations of the law related to it, to a minimally dangerous level.”
The program’s targets include: creation of a nationwide system of countermeasures to drug trafficking, prevention of crimes related to drugs. The Interior Ministry has been charged with monitoring the situation. In this connection I am very aware of the following: the lion’s share of the funding might be used to “catch and imprison” the criminals involved in drug trafficking.
HUNTING FOR HELICOPTERS
Tribuna, January 30, 2002, p. 1
Another helicopter of the federal troops has been destroyed in Chechnya. Fortunately, no lives were lost. A Mi-8 helicopter with three crew and twelve soldiers of the Defense Ministry on board came under small arms fire from guerrillas in the Vedeno district. The vehicle made a forced landing and caught fire.
On leaving the burning helicopter, the soldiers engaged the guerrillas in a skirmish. Some 19 guerrillas were killed in the confrontation, the military headquarters in Khankala reported. No Russian soldiers were injured.
This was the second such incident in the past few days. Last Sunday a helicopter carrying two generals and a few officers of the Interior Ministry crashed in the Shelki district; fourteen people were killed. The circumstances of this incident remain unclear thus far. Yesterday Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin proposed another theory: quite possibly, an explosive device had been placed in the helicopter.