Izvestia, February 21, 2002, p. 2

Yesterday there was a concluding meeting of the government commission on restoring Chechnya, looking at results of the past year. Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, also head of the commission, Minister on cooperation of the federal government bodies in resolving social problems of Chechnya Vladimir Yelagin, Prime Minister of Chechnya Stanislav Ilyasov, and 24 state contractors, who officially take part in restoring Chechnya, participated in the meeting.

The special program of the past year on restoring Chechnya is only 71% completed, told us Stanislav Ilyasov before the meeting. According to him, this happened as a result of unreasoned actions and tardy receipt of money, scheduled for restoring Chechnya.

Despite this fact, Khristenko opened the meeting in a rather optimistic tone, “Last year looks fairly successful from the point of view of restoring economy and social sphere of Chechnya.”

Besides, Khristenko noted that all the laws of Russia on social support of citizens are fully fulfilled in Chechnya: 170,000 Chechen pensioners receive their pensions, which is good enough, in comparison to other regions, stressed Khristenko.

Khristenko made those contractors who had not carried out their tasks submit an explanation on each case. Out of 24 contractors, he criticized the Media Ministry and oil and gas producers more than others.


Parlamentskaya Gazeta, February 21, 2002, p. 1

This concept presupposes unification of interior and foreign debts of the Russian Federation, inventory of all the obligations of the state, including regional promissory obligations; establishing a debt agency of Russia in the form of a state unitary enterprise, or a bank with limited license. According to representative of the Finance Ministry, the Federal debt agency (FDA) will make foreign debt operations transparent and controlled to the utmost.

The conception envisages passing a special law, which would cover all functions and mechanisms of FDA work. A separate chapter is devoted to establishing a system of debt registering, which will fix not only federal loans, but also ruble and foreign currency promissory notes of regions and enterprises. Besides, the agency should get freedom to maneuver within the framework of a ten-year-long strategy of controlling the debt and a five-year current plan, which would be confirmed by the government.


Izvestia, February 21, 2002, p. 1

Yesterday the Duma debated in the second reading a law on citizenship. In the near future it will be harder to become a citizen of Russia: people will have to live in Russia for five years and prove their right for citizenship. This is supposed to make the flow of immigrants qualitatively better. Meanwhile, Russia, like most other European countries, is suffering more and more from ageing of the population. The demographic situation on the whole is unfavorable. So in the near future the Russian economy will become dependant on foreign labor.

Oleg Chubarov, from the expert council of the Institute of Applied Law, told us, “Russian citizenship has been accepted by nearly 160,000 people in Azerbaijan, 114,500 people in Armenia, 179,000 in Georgia, 916,000 in Kazakhstan, 131,000 in Kirgizstan, 543,000 in Ukraine over the past seven years. And we should not forget that there are also Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Turkmenistan. Each year Russia’s population increases by some 300,000 citizens.”


Rossiiskaya Gazeta, February 21, 2002, p. 1

About 320-330,000 people will be released from Russia’s prisons this year. These were the figures Justice Minister Yury Chaika cited yesterday in response to questions from the public in an online interview. The figure is higher than usual, since the Duma has passed a resolution on an amnesty for minors and women. This resolution will apply to about 10,000 minors and 14,000 women, according to the ITAR-TASS agency.


Moskovskii Komsomolets, February 21, 2002, p. 2

Leader of the Unity faction Vladimir Pekhtin handed Putin his version of the concept of reforming the Duma. The changes he proposes concern the structure of Duma committees, commissions, and the staff. Pekhtin suggested there should be 12-14 committees instead of the present 28, for many of them duplicate each other. He proposed to eliminate the numerous parliamentary commissions and creation of two or three working on a standing basis. As for the Duma staff, it should be halved, for it exceeds in number (1,900) the staff of the largest Soviet ministry – the Energy Ministry (900). Pekhtin says the president and Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov viewed this positively.

On Wednesday, Pekhtin made another statement: that members of his faction would back a motion (if it comes from the president) which permits the president and ministers to join political parties…


Moskovskii Komsomolets, February 21, 2002, p. 2

The federal forces in Chechnya have turned into a secure “base” for prisoners. They do not come here to steal now, but to escape their prison terms. There is nothing more to steal in Chechnya, but this is the best place to “lie in harbor”. The Criminal Code states the statute of limitations is effective only if the suspect did not hide from investigation. And what if he served the state and deserved a medal on top of that? Rewards – this is what draws prisoners to Chechnya today, for a medal means amnesty for a criminal. Therefore, colonels rush to Chechnya to “wash away their sins” just as fast as ordinary soldiers.