THE KREMLIN WASN’T WASHED WITH SOAP
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 23, 2002, pp. 1, 5
The Russian president’s chief of staff Vladimir Kozhin looked in yesterday at our “business lunch” in the editor’s office. The first question posed to him concerned the visit of George Bush, starting today. How did the president’s administration get ready for this event?
Vladimir Kozhin: I can’t say this visit is an outstanding event for us, although the leader of a large, respected country is coming. As is known, we often receive high-ranking guests, practically every month there are some visits and large activities of approximately the same level. Therefore, there is nothing new for us presently. All is going along its way.
Question: And what about St. Petersburg?
Vladimir Kozhin: The situation there is currently such that the administration has almost nothing left in the city. And we mostly work with the St. Petersburg administration. They prepare the apartments where activities connected with the visit will be held. In a year, hopefully, we will get a decent place in St. Petersburg to hold activities of such a level. I mean the Konstantinovsky complex in Strelnya or the State palace of congresses, as it is called today.
Question: Are there some specifics when receiving the American delegation?
Vladimir Kozhin: No, but this is not either the first visit of the American president to Russia. He will reside at the Mariott hotel:
Question: Isn’t it a private hotel?
Vladimir Kozhin: All our hotels are private, except for Zolotoye Koltso. The president’s administrations owns only Zolotoye Koltso and President-hotel. Americans traditionally stay at Mariott. The delegation will be large, but this is also an American tradition.
There are quite a number of special agencies officers securing the president’s guard. But, I repeat, we have done nothing outstanding.
Question: Is it true that Americans unlike representatives of other countries bring everything with them, if not gas for their cars?
Vladimir Kozhin: Gas is a fancy. About ten years ago, they might have brought mineral water, right, but not now, of course. Although they bring something with them, something they are used to.
Question: Was the matter discussed that Bush would stay at the Kremlin?
Vladimir Kozhin: Bush is the guest of Vladimir Vladimirovich. And you known that part of the visit will take place in the residence where Putin lives. The president invited Bush to him like he had been a guest at Bush’s ranch. The same will take place here. Bush will be a guest of Vladimir Vladimirovich, at the residence in Novo-Ogaryovo.
THE DUMA FARCE
Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 23, 2002, p. 2
The “personnel revolution” that had started in the State Duma a month and half ago and consisted in depriving the communists of a number of key posts was yesterday finished with a real farce.
Basically, the Duma was going to vote to cancel the committees for public and religious organizations and nationalities affairs (since the communists were not taking them) and transfer their authority to the committees for culture and federation affairs respectively. But in the last instant it suddenly turned out it was absolutely impossible, because the culture committee, headed exactly by wonderful professional Nikolai Gubenko for whom the culture minister himself was asking, by all means ought to be preserved.
The deputies started to ask Nikolai Gubenko what he would do in case the Duma refused to dismiss him. Eminent culture figure Gubenko stated that if the plenary session voted, he would be forced to submit to the parliamentary discipline:” In the end, all of the committees were preserved and all of the “red” chairpersons – Gubenko, Zorkaltsev, Nikitin, Goryachev, and mandate commission head Sevastiyanov – reserved their posts. The speech of Svetlana Goryachev became the apotheosis of the performance. She declaimed she would fulfill any decision made by the Duma, “whatever it cost me”. And demonstratively rejected privileges provided for her as the chairperson of the committee for the affairs of women, family, and youth. Although she at once informed that the car would still be reserved for her, as every lady deputy are secured with personal cars, but she does not need the dacha.
THE DUMA RETURNED THE COMMUNISTS SOME COMMITTEES
Izvestia, May 23, 2002, p. 2
Yesterday, the State Duma deputies refused to dismiss the heads of three Duma committees – Nikolai Gubenko, Victor Zorkaltsev, and Valentin Nikitin – reserving not only the heads, but also the committees. In addition, the deputies reserved the committee for Svetlana Goryachev, and the mandate commission – for Vitaly Sevastiyanov. In fact, all these people following Gennady Seleznev did not submit to the recommendation of the communist party to get over into deep Duma opposition.
The personnel revolution that had started with a scandal finished with a no less serious shock for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). At yesterday’s plenary session, only 19 deputies voted for the dismissal of Nikolai Gubenko, Victor Zorkaltsev, and Valentin Nikitin from their posts and the liquidation of their committees. This did not make a stir – there was much talk that heads of the culture and public organizations committees Gubenko and Zorkaltsev had agreed with leaders of the centrist majority about preserving their posts in exchange for loyalty.
With much more enthusiasm, the deputies determined the destiny of Svetlana Goryachev, head of the committee for the affairs of women, family, and youth, as well as mandate commission head Vitaly Sevastiyanov. They received 240 votes (226 necessary). Unlike the aforementioned committee heads, neither Goryachev, nor Sevastiyanov had stated they were ready to submit to the party decision and quit their leading posts. When the matter was discussed, Goryachev stated that “even indirectly she would not like to be involved in the liquidation of the committee” and that she was ready to fulfill the instruction of their constituents – to preserve it in the structure of the State Duma “by all means”.
The State Duma communists keep quiet as to the party punishment for the comrades who broke the party discipline. However, it is already known that Saturday’s plenary session will broach the matter of sanctions in respect to Duma speaker Gennady Seleznev (he did not fulfill the decision of the party twice and did not quit the post of State Duma chairperson). The session will also consider the personal matters of Svetlana Goryachev, Nikolai Gubenko, and others who preferred the “branch” duty to the party duty.