Parlamentskaya Gazeta, January 31, 2003, EV

On January 30 the Russian Duma delegation finished its three-day visit to Germany. The delegation was headed by Grigory Tomchin, chairman of the Duma committee for economic policy and support of enterprise. It included Rim Bakiev, Vladimir Kadochnikov, Alexander Kosarikov, Yevgeny Galichanin, Elena Kondakova, and Vasily Shandybin.

In Berlin the Russian parliamentarians participated a joint meeting of Duma and German Bundestag deputies on issues concerning the Kyoto Protocol and the economic, ecological, and political use of its coming into force. On the German part the meeting was chaired by Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker (Social-Democratic Party of Germany), chairman of the Bundestag committee for ecology, environmental protection, and nuclear reactor safety, as well as Environment Minister Juergen Trittin. The sides had a constructive exchange of views on ecological problems.

The Russian guests attended the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and held talks with representatives of German economic quarters.


Trud, January 31, 2003, EV

This year Russia’s exports are likely to total around $107 billion, or 2-3% more than last year. However, these figures do not satisfy Economic Development and Trade Minister Herman Gref. Speaking at an international conference organized by Vnesheconombank (Bank for Foreign Trade) and devoted to support of Russian exports and attraction of foreign investments, he drew attention to the unsatisfactory export structure in which primary goods made three quarters.

During the last ten years, the share of hi-tech goods in the Russian export structure has been almost halved. While formerly machinery and equipment exports made up around 25%, now they are down to 12%. At the same time, there is an increased share of goods which the developed countries prefer not to produce by themselves, as they pollute the environment. These goods (their share has risen to 25%) are coming to replace hi-tech, environmentally safe products.


Izvestia, January 31, 2003, p. 4 EV

Iraq was an important topic, but not the only topic during the visit of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Sofia, Bulgaria. On March 1, Bulgaria awaits the arrival of President Vladimir Putin. Russia seriously intends to make Bulgaria its strategic partner in the Balkans.

“Putin’s visit will become the starting point for new strategic relations of Russia and Bulgaria, it will help get them out of the standstill in which they have found them lately,” Igor Ivanov summarized his residence in the hospitable Bulgarian land.

During less than two days Ivanov met with practically the entire range of Bulgarian leaders – the president, prime minister, parliament head, patriarch, and foreign minister. After official talks, Ivanov continued the informal agenda with his partners in a Bulgarian restaurant.

The main point in Putin’s visit will be a political declaration to confirm the new strategic partnership of the two nations. The sides are also going to sign agreement on the procedure and terms of exports of arms and military materiel produced in Bulgaria under license to third countries, as well as pacts on cooperation in the scientific and technical spheres and in extradition issues. There will also be a long-term energy cooperation program, drafted currently.


Izvestia, January 31, 2003, p. 5 EV

Yesterday, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry hosted the ceremony of handing certificates to the winners in the first nationwide competition “The Year’s State Contractor”. The importance of the even was confirmed by the attendance of Minister Herman Gref. The Science, Industry, and Technology Ministry turned out to be the most progressive ministry, while RAO UES of Russia the most transparent monopoly.

As compared with 1999, the number of state contracts placed on a competitive basis grew by four times and only in last year they helped save 36 billion rubles for the budget. However, they admit in the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, no more than 10% of all tenders conducted by state contractors can be called public.

The Science, Industry, and Technology Ministry won as “the best state contractor”. Herman Gref shook hands with Ilya Klebanov and complained that the title did not fall at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. The best regional contractor was the state contract department of the Tver region. “I did not even know that such a competition existed,” department head Alexander Anzhinovsky confessed later, “our governor received a letter in which were its results already”. The administration of Saratov was marked among municipalities. The requirement to purchase at tenders has a nature of recommendation for natural monopolies. However, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry made up a nomination for them as well. “These are not market structures, and there is no less abuse in them than in state organizations,” Herman Gref remarked strictly while handing the certificate to the RAO UES representative.