Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 22, 2002, p. 3

Yesterday, Moscow witnessed a meeting of the board of the National Television and Radio Broadcasters Association (NAT), chaired by NAT head Eduard Sagalayev.

First deputy media minister Mikhail Seslavinsky spoke “on behalf” of the state. He stated that the main line to reform domestic mass media should be “the reduction of the unit weight of the state on the mass media market”. The first deputy minister categorically disagreed with the view that it was difficult for independent mass media in Russia to compete on a par with state ones that have great budgetary support. He referred to the experience of many Russian regions where regional state television and radio companies occupies the last positions in ratings.

The problems connected with the TV-6 channel made an individual topic for the meeting to talk about. Broadcasting the programs prepared by the noncommercial partnership Media-Socium may start in the next few days, Mikhail Seslavinsky said.

“We are preparing to sign a license for the broadcasting of Media-Socium, discussing the date of June 1,” Seslavinsky said.

In his words, the license for the broadcasting of Media-Socium on the sixth channel is “at the stage of signing”.


Trud, May 22, 2002, p. 2

Tbilisi officially admitted something it has repeatedly denied before: the Pankisi gorge, long uncontrolled by the government, is full of armed Chechen bandits and foreign mercenaries. A stir was created by the statement of Georgian state security minister Valeri Khaburzania that there currently were up to 100 Arab hirelings and 800 Chechen guerrillas in the gorge. Moreover, the minister said armed units were “constantly crossing the Russian-Georgian border in both directions”. These groups, according to the data of the Georgian Security Ministry, were connected with known international terrorist Khattab who had recently been done away with, as is known.

In spite of this, Tbilisi stated no plans were currently worked out for the use of armed force to bring order to Pankisi. Perhaps, such plans will appear in case the hopes of President Eduard Shevardnadze for assistance from overseas do not come true. The other day, he received American military instructors who had arrived in Tbilisi the day before. The next two years will be given to the program of the equipment and training of counter-terrorist units of the Georgian army. Washington allocated $64 million for the program.


Izvestia, May 22, 2002, p. 4

Tonight, the State Council board will discuss details of Russia’s foreign policy. One of the main particularities arises from the list of guests: apart from the president and the regional leaders, the session of the board will engage the namesake ministers, Igor and Sergei Ivanovs. Apparently, the governors would like to give them certain parting words concerning the NATO-Russia relationship.

Originally, the topic proposed by North Ossetia president Alexander Dzasokhov was approximately: “The consequences of September 11 for Russia”. The report to be delivered at the session will finally be titled more broadly: “The influence of current international events on the policy of Russia”. Despite the somewhat strange way of formulating the issue – regional leaders have no direct connection with foreign policy – this topic has jumped ahead in the queue, overtaking a few others which were actually ready for discussion.

Unlike many previous sessions of the board, the content of the upcoming one is not made public. Such topics were proposed for discussion that almost any of them might be considered individually: may one speak about the unity of the West, what will happen to the authority in Afghanistan, and what is to expect from the development of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, the report proved small in volume – about fifteen pages.

Besides, the matter will be about the relationship with CIS countries, sources say.


Izvestia, May 22, 2002, p. 3

For the first time in fifteen years, a North Korean foreign affairs minister has visited Moscow. Paek Nam-sun will hand President Vladimir Putin a personal message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. Both parties keep the content of the document and the topic of the talks in strict secrecy.

Of interest is the statement of deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov: “This is a pure coincidence that the North Korean representative is holding talks practically on the eve of President George Bush’s arrival in Russia”. “The minister’s visit was in no way timed to the Russian-US summit,” the diplomat seems to be making excuses.

Our sources in the Kremlin administration were more frank about the topic of the talks of Paek Nam-sun and Igor Ivanov: “The issues of the situation on the Korean Peninsula may be entered to the agenda of the upcoming Russian-US summit. Exactly this will be decided today”.


Izvestia, May 22, 2002, p. 3

Last night there was a murder attempt on Major General Vitaly Gamov, deputy commander of the Pacific regional administration of border guard troops (PRA BGT), commander of the South-Sakhalin border guard department. A Molotoff cocktail was thrown into his apartment. Gamov and his wife were taken to hospital, both in critical condition. Border guards are sure that poachers were involved in this attack.

“Border guards of various ranks have repeatedly received threats connected with their professional activity. Moreover, in December last year a murder attempt was made on an officer from the Primorye state marine inspectorate. Fortunately, the criminal’s gun misfired,” PRA BGT spokeswoman Irina Ovechkina told us.

PRA BGT commander Pavel Tarasenko thinks the attack was connected with the protection of marine resources: the Sakhalin border guards commanded by Vitaly Gamov detained the greatest number of poachers in the Russian Far East. In terms of the number of murder attempts on state officials, Sakhalin and Primorye will soon be able to compete with the Caspian Sea area.