Izvestia, December 9, 2002, p. 3

Asked to list Kasyanov’s accomplishments, his supporters inevitably mention getting the national economy out of the crisis, a deficit-free budget, reduction of the foreign debt, low inflation rates, and growing incomes of the population. Kasyanov’s critics ascribe all of that to high oil prices and effects of devaluation. They claim that under Kasyanov the government became a registrant of deals, whose concepts are drawn up by two or three more or less adequate ministries and are okayed by the presidential administration.

The Prime Minister is accused of the following: his ministers bicker over every minor law, while he does not tell them to stop arguing and start doing their jobs, that he speaks of “fine-tuning” and is ever looking for a compromise.

There is only one thing Kasyanov’s critics agree with his supporters on – his position has never been so stable yet. The president criticized Kasyanov and the government more than once, publicly and in privacy, but the Prime Minister and his Deputy Prime Ministers retained their posts.

In short, Kasyanov at 45 is one of the most successful politicians in Russia.


Vremya Novostei, December 9, 2002, p. 2

My current visit to Moscow has to do with participation in a function that appeared absolutely impossible only eighteen months ago. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and I will open the Russia – NATO conference “Role of the military in the war on terrorism”.

There is no more pressing issue for Russia – NATO discussion than the threat posed by terrorism. The hostage drama in Moscow in October is a horrible example of the challenge.

Terrorism is the worst threat to security in the 21st century. If we want its attacks repelled, we should transform the nature of our dealing with the problem.

We should perfect our non-military instruments – cut off financial sources of terrorism, coordinate the work of police forces, enforce stricter control on the borders, improve inspection of transport containers, and make informational exchange more intensive. If we deploy these non-military means in a coordinated manner, it will complicate life for terrorists.

We should double our efforts in the search for political solutions to the problems of our time. Regional tension, separatism, and other unsolved political problems facilitate terrorism and create the sources where terrorists find new recruits. This terrorist swamp may be dried up only through political solutions to the conflicts.

We should hone our military instruments as well. It requires light, mobile forces and no armies wielding “heavy hardware” of the Cold War era. Transport means are needed to ship the troops to where problems of this sort arise.

NATO is transforming and reorganizing its armies to meet these challenges.

Only international efforts will do against international challenges – this is the major lesson of the past decade. Regional conflicts, proliferation of mass destruction weapons, ecological catastrophes, organized crime, and illegal trade – all these problems can be solved only by cooperative efforts with Russia’s involvement.