Izvestia (Moscow issue), June 24, 2003, p. 2

The State Council of Chechnya was formed last Saturday. The structure comprises Akhmad Kadyrov’s supporters only – representatives of all eighteen districts, heads of local administrations, and mayors of Grozny, Argun, and Gudermes (Chechnya’s three largest cities): Forty-two men in all. Husein Isayev, head of the Chechen territorial division of the federal Property Ministry, was elected State Council chairman. Isayev began his speech by saying that “Kadyrov alone is the only bona fide candidate for president of Chechnya.” Kadyrov himself calls the State Council an interim parliament.

There were some intrigues with election of chairman. Khalid Yamadayev, senior deputy chairman of the Chechen organization of United Russia and Djokhar Dudayev’s ex brigadier general, was another candidate. Unfortunately for Yamadayev, he is much too bright and ambitious to suit Kadyrov.

According to Kadyrov, the State Council will prepare draft laws for the future parliament. Isayev claims that priorities of the State Council include work on the draft treaty on the split of powers between the federal center and Grozny. The structure is supposed to perform another function as well – restrict Kadyrov’s one-man rule. Acting president will be expected to get the State Council’s approval of his decisions. Isayev announced on Saturday, however, that Kadyrov could rely on his and the structure’s cooperation. The State Council will not perform any legislative functions as such. It is safe to assume therefore that the structure is only needed to help Kadyrov win the parliamentary election. Kadyrov completed formation of a powerful administrative resource no other candidate for president can match.

Success of the constitutional referendum is ascribed first and foremost to heads of local administrations that persuaded their fellow villagers to play along. Kadyrov “won” the referendum but that is not what he has needed all long. Presidency is. Voting for the constitution is one thing, voting for a certain candidate is another. With all potential rivals sacked and all followers assembled in the State Council, Kadyrov solidified his position. Under the constitution, the future parliament will consist of 61 lawmakers, 42 of them have all but been elected (or appointed) already.

Members of the State Council will support Kadyrov in everything at least to ensure their own seats on the future Council of the Republic (21 deputies) and People’s Assembly (40 lawmakers). The “correct” voting will be ensured by Kadyrov’s personal security service numbering between 2,000 and 3,500 men scattered all over the republic. Kadyrov’s rivals will lack such a powerful means of persuasion…


Izvestia (Moscow issue), June 24, 2003, p. 3

Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov: The laws on the split of powers among different levels of the authorities and on reorganization of local self-rule bodies have all the correct priorities, but the risks are serious as well… The federal center is transferring the functions of taking care of budget sphere employees and social problems to the regions. The process is in full swing but the center does not yet know where the regions will get the money. Obligations of all power structures on all levels amount to 45% of the GDP and the income to 35% only. What with all taxes, the sum is down to 30%.

“It is just that you dislike the law on local self-rule bodies in principle,” objected Leonid Roketsky, ex-governor of Tyumen and chairman of the senatorial committee for self-rule bodies. “It is all right that there are risks and that there will be conflicts. It is the moral, not administrative process of establishment of local self-rule bodies that is under way now. The process is truly revolutionary. The Polish GDP grew by between 12% and 14% due only to development of local self-rule. We need such a breakthrough too.”

Federation Council Deputy Chairman Alexander Torshin does not think that it will hurt the country to wait for adoption of financial laws for reorganization of local self-rule. “It is better to have a law that does not operate than having a law that operates but without money,” he said. As for Ryzhkov’s fears, Torshin says that we have the federal program of economic alignment of the regions. “The federal center will have to do something to realign living standards in Federation territories. It will need its hands untied,” he said. Torshin also suggested revival of the governmental commission for current matters once chaired by Senior Deputy Premier Oleg Soskovets.


Izvestia (Moscow issue), June 24, 2003, p. 3

“It saddened me to listen to the presidential address to the Federal Assembly. I mean the paragraphs on transition to service by contract,” said Ida Kuklina of the board of the Union of Committees of Mothers of Soldiers. “His words all but indicated abandonment of the whole idea. The address itself was a kind of compromise between the president and the Defense Ministry.”

“Our army does not need additional finances,” said Aleksei Arbatov of the Defense Committee of the Duma. “The rational use of what finances we have is what it needs.”

According to calculations made by the Defense Ministry, transfer of only 30% of soldiers and sergeants to contract (the matter concerns permanent combat readiness units only, numbering 175,000 men) will require 130 billion rubles. Only 94 billion rubles will be actually allocated. Yavlinsky claims that the figures are much too exaggerated. He is of the opinion that it will take only 60 billion to reduce the army from 1.2 to 0.8 million men, and to solve all social problems.

Yavlinsky: Calculations of the Auditing Commission show that this government improperly used 119 billion rubles. It only means that we do have the money for the bona fide military reforms in Russia.

Yavlinsky’s party does not think that generals and state officials should implement the military reforms. Yabloko suggests a civilian committee for the military reforms that will keep an eye on the use of budget funds and on structural changes in the military command system without which no reforms stand a chance. Human rights activists supported the idea.