Izvestia, March 22, 2002

On March 21, a detention of three armed Chechens in the Sverdlovsk region was reported. The Chechens were detained red-handed: they were trying to sell two Makarov pistols with silencers for $1,500 each. Agents of the Sverdlovsk Regional Department for Fighting the Illegal Weapons Turnover proved to be “accidental” customers.

During the search, a whole arsenal was discovered in the places where the detainees reside: a Kalashnikov machine gun with a silencer and special bullets, two Makarov pistols more, eight grenades, 400 grams of plastic explosives, detonators, remote controlled explosive devices bladed weapons. Moreover, in a cache the trio had $900, a few handfuls of non-finished emeralds from the Urals, a finished ruby weighing 20 grams and also Aslan Maskhadov’s book “Honor is Dearer than Life.”

This is not the point, however. One of the Chechens – Roman Tasukhanov had a permit to the closed city of Lesnoy, situated in the north of the Sverdlovsk region. This closed administrative-territorial entity produces nuclear warheads for Russian missiles.

Investigator Nikolay Sorokin, who is handling the case, agreed to be interviewed by an Izvestia reporter, as an exception.

“Tests of Tasukhanov’s permit showed that it is real. Tasukhanov’s father is a serviceman, and the family had lived in Lesnoy for some time. Later on, they had moved to their fatherland – to Chechnya. However the detainee retained the permit and using it he would be able to get to the city even now,” Sorokin said.


Izvestia, March 22, 2002, p. 2

On March 21 the concept of developing the Russian automotive industry to 2010 was considered at a Cabinet meeting. However, the authorities decided not to confine themselves to the problem of building a car of the future – and, without wasting their time, took up increasing excise rates for fuel, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, and also redistributed some taxes between the center and the regions.

The government decided to submit a draft law in accord with which all excises will be indexed 15% since January 1, 2003. In particular, this measure applies to excises for alcohol production. An anticipatory indexation of excise rates will be done for a series of commodities, Senior Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Shatalov said. Accounting for the indexation, excises on the vehicle fuel will suffer the rise of 70%, for bear – 25% and for cigarettes – 70%.

Regional leaders can be also satisfied with results of the Cabinet’s meeting. The government proposed an 80% increase of the land tax. Nowadays the money collected from this tax is concentrated to the federal budget but the government proposes pass it into the hands of the regions. Moreover, the regions will receive a part of the income tax (the federal share of this tax is 7.5%, but it was proposed to decrease it to 6%).

However, the concept of the development of the domestic automotive industry was the main topic of yesterday’s meeting. The authorities would not debate that the situation in the automotive industry is far from perfection, but promised to manufacture an automobile of the future by 2010. As a result, in Russia it is planned to increase car production from 1 million in 2000 to 2.8 million by 2010 for a platform.


Moskovskaya Pravda, March 22, 2002, p. 1

There is no stopping assaults on employees of higher education institutions and scientific organizations in the capital. On Wednesday, a police station received a call from the 64th City Clinical Hospital saying that the previous evening an ambulance car delivered Dean of the MSU History Faculty Sergey Karpov, 53, to the hospital with a diagnosis “simple cranial injury, contusion of the brain and hematoma of the frontal bone.” At the moment, he is at the intensive care unit and the doctors have serious apprehensions for the state of his health. Thus far, the circumstances of the incident are unknown. It is only clear that Karpov fell a victim to robbers. The criminal case was instituted.

Dean of the MSU History Faculty has become the third scientist who suffered aggression in the Southwestern district of the capital. On January 30, at 1.30 a.m. residents of the house in the General Artyukhov Street found the body of Director of the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrei Brushlinsky. He died because of blows on his head.

In the same district, in the building 4 in the Academician Bakulev Street, unidentified criminals beat Head of the Department of Microbiology of the Russian State Medical University Professor Valery Korshunov. He died on the spot of cranial injuries.


Tribuna, March 22, 2002, p. 2

Over the course of the last week, auditors of the Chamber of Public Accounts were inspecting the spending of funds, appropriated from the federal budget for restoration of the social-economic sphere of the Chechen republic. So, on March 21 a conference devoted to preliminary results of the audition took place in the House of Government in Grozny. Federal Minister for Affairs of Chechnya Vladimir Yelagin, head of the Chamber of Public Accounts Sergey Stepashin, heads of the Chechen administration and the Cabinet of Ministers of Chechnya, and the command of the United Group of Forces in Chechnya participated in the conference.

A large-scale terrorist attack was committed in the capital of Chechnya on the eve of the conference. In this connection, intensive security measures were taken in Grozny. Roads to the government complex were closed and armored vehicles were stationed near the buildings.

The situation in Chechnya remains tense, head of the Gudermes administration Akhmed Abastov told Tribuna. Nobody is insured against new acts of terrorism. Even though the road for Grozny is free, examinations at the checkpoints have become more close of recent.


Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 22, 2002, p. 2

Du8ring the visit of a Moscow delegation headed by Yuriy Luzhkov to the Crimea, members of the Supreme Rada of the Crimea greeted Luzhkov effusively. So the Moscow mayor reciprocated.

“The Crimea is a special region of Russia,” Luzhkov began his speech. Surprised, scattered applause was heard from pro-Russian deputies and the guests. Luzhkov interrupted the applause, repeating several times: “I’m sorry, it was a slip of the tongue. The Crimea is a special region of Ukraine…” However, there was no point in excuses. The Moscow mayor would not be himself if he did not condemn “opponents of cooperation” and Russophobes.

“Ideas of Russophobia would never be supported in the land of Ukraine,” he said and the hall burst out applauding once again.

Mr. Grach, since the Moscow guests arrived to support his struggle for pro-Russian orientation of the Crimea, was the most ardent with his applause.

“Grach is a politician of much renown both in Russia and Ukraine,” Luzhkov said and left no doubts on the affection of the official Moscow. He announced what Putin could not pronounce, owing to clear reasons.

In general, on March 21 many in Kiev suffered a seizure of strong hiccup. Meanwhile, having accomplished his mission, Luzhkov hurried to leave Simferopol for Sevastopol, the latter being the official aim of a one-day trip. In Sevastopol, together with rector Sadovnichy he took part in the presentation of the second chain of the MSU branch, laid a stone in the fundament of a new block for officers, which is being built on the funds received from Moscow, signed a cooperation agreement with the city administration and visited the cruiser Moscow of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation…

For assistance the Moscow city government and its mayor in person rendered to the Crimea, yesterday Luzhkov was awarded the status of Honorary Resident of the Crimea.


Rossiiskaya Gazeta, March 22, 2002, p. 2

According to Secretary of the Security Council Vladimir Rushaylo, it is impossible to deny an opportunity of an armed escalation in the zone of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. Speaking before the journalists, he stressed that “this can happen hypothetically, but it is of our interest not to admit this to happen.”

Russia cannot be indifferent to the conflicts happening near its borders. According to the secretary of the Security Council, the issue of extending the mandate of the Collective Forces for the support of peace in the zone of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict will be resolved in the near future. The controversy which existed before were settled successfully and at present Georgia’s President Eduard Shevardnadze treats the stay of Russian peacekeepers in the zone of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict positively.