Izvestia, July 23, 2002, p. 2

Formally, the new structure is a sub-department of the foreign policy directorate headed by Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Sergei Prikhodko. Informally, however, the structure will be supervised by Aleksei Sitnin, sow until recently was a subordinate of Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov.

It goes without saying that the matter concerns first and foremost Russians living in the CIS and Baltic states. The spectrum of subjects is standard – education, media, defense of interests of Russian-speakers. Special emphasis will be laid on the Baltic states. The Kremlin promises, however, that the new structure will not limit its operations to the former Soviet Union. In theory, it is supposed to work worldwide wherever Russian-speakers may be found. The structure will also work with countries where there may be no Russian diasporas but where Russian businesses exist.

An analogous department was established within the Foreign Ministry recently. The Kremlin structure intends to cooperate with it closely and it does not take a genius to foresee who will be dictating the tune. For the time being, the new structure has six men on its staff, but the number may increase soon.

The structure will begin with an analysis of the work of already existing organizations and structures. It already assumes quite reasonably that not all organizations claiming to be promoting the interests of Russian-speakers are actually doing so. Some of them may be promoting their own interests. As for the organizations that really work with Russian-speakers, the new structure may help them to establish contacts with Russian diasporas abroad. The new directorate of the presidential administration is supposed to pool efforts into a more coherent policy.


Izvestia, July 23, 2002, p. 2

Maskhadov and Basayev answer questions from an unidentified person in Arabic. The questions are then translated into Russian. The camera does not focus on the surroundings, but it is clear that the press conference took place somewhere in the mountains or thereabout. Chechen sources themselves claim that the press conference took place in the Vedeno district of Chechnya.

The two field commanders said essentially that the meeting of the so called Majlisul Shura of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (they said it had taken place between June 27 and July 4) had settled organizational matters and plans for the summer and autumn military campaign. Maskhadov and Basayev said they had established contacts and set up a military committee of the Shura under Basayev. Basayev also became deputy senior commander-in-chief of the troops of Ichkeria. As of now, he will be in operational command of all “units of the Armed Forces of Ichkeria”. It means that Basayev will be number one man in area of hostilities.

Sources close to Presidential Advisor Sergei Yastrzhembsky say that “Sergei Vladimirovich does not have any information on this press conference and consequently no comment to make.”

Meanwhile, INTERFAX-AVN news agency has published new figures of federal losses in Chechnya. According to a source from the United Federal Group headquarters, 4,249 men were killed in action and 12,285 wounded between August 7, 1999, and July 22, 2002. Twenty-nine servicemen are missing. According to the sources, 32 servicemen including 12 border guards were killed and 31 sustained injuries of varying severity between July 15 and 21, 2002.