Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 18, 2002, EV

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov started his working visit to France yesterday. Some observers have already said that France could become one of the most significant strategic Russian partners along with Germany and that Mikhail Kasyanov was going to France to discuss the economic aspects of this partnership.

The officials of Russian Foreign Ministry are sure that the activation of Russian-French economic cooperation in the up-to-date industries, for example the aerospace activity, should be the main result of the visit. Of course, the economic cooperation with Russia is of no interest if there isn’t a question concerning the access to our energy resources on the agenda.

French company “TotalFinaElf” shows interest in the development of Shtokmanovskoye gas-condensate field and is ready to invest $10 billion. This project will be discussed too. It is probable that the subject of French companies’ participation in Russian-Ukrainian gas-transport consortium will be broached.

Russian Minister of agriculture Alexei Gordeyev will work together with Kasyanov in Paris. He has his own interests in France. Paris insists on the fact that Russian producers can’t call their products “cognac” and “champagne” even on the domestic market. Alexei Gordeyev will have to protect Russian drinks from the name confiscations. Our Minister of Agriculture will discuss also the purchase of French cattle and the sale of Russian grain.

According to our sources, Kasyanov will try to persuade France to support Moscow as a pretender for the International Universal Exhibition “EXPO-2010”.

Mikhail Kasyanov will meet with French President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffaren, and some representatives of French business circles.

Today the intergovernmental Russian-French cooperation commission will have a meeting in Toulouse. The heads of the governments of both countries will take part in it.


Vremya Novostey, November 18, 2002, EV

The second congress of the left-wing democratic movement of Gennady Seleznev, “Russia”, took place in Vladimir last weekend. The main task was formulated at this meeting. It is to divert part of the left-wing electorate from the Communist Party (CPRF).

For this purpose “Russia” invites turncoats from the communist party. It is unknown if the tyro seriously intends to overcome the 5% barrier (for a political party to be given its own seats in the Duma: translator’s note) or simply tries to weaken CPRF.

The Duma Speaker stated in Vladimir that the task of the new political force was to form a broad coalition of the left-wing democratic forces, which could become an alternative to the People’s Patriotic Union of Gennady Zyuganov. “Russia” will be reorganized from a socio-political movement into a purely social one, after organization of “Revival of Russia Party” on its basis. Such niceties only bore the electors; that’s why Seleznev tries to stir them up on the emotional – lexical level.

The former companion of Zyuganov said that the intolerable situation in CPRF was created by the leaders’ inability to work in coalition on a democratic basis. Of course, the personal “dogmatism” of CPRF “General Secretary” is the only reason of all that.

It doesn’t matter what the purpose of Seleznev is; to create his own party or to wreck his former one. One way or another, he will have to give assessments of the CPRF leader, and the more he does – the more impartially. The new party and its leader have only one chance to acquire an image. It is to struggle against the “dogmatists” of communism.