Parlamentskaya Gazeta, August 1, 2003, EV

On July 31, the handover ceremony for the first Be-200ChS multi-purpose amphibian plane to representatives of the Emergencies Ministry took place at the airfield of the Irkut research-production corporation.

Be-200 is a new generation aircraft, combining the best achievements of international hydroaviation. This is the most sophisticated and efficient amphibian plane in the world today.

The civilian model is based on the A-40 Albatros anti-submarine military aircraft. Taganrog designers and Irkutsk manufacturers have been cooperating since 1991. The plane can land either on the ground or on water, even during a third-grade storm. Its flight range is 1,800 kilometers, and its flight height is 8,000 meters.

Aerodynamic properties of the amphibian are no worse than those of ordinary planes, which provides it with high flight rates and efficiency. But the most striking fact is that Be-200 is able to take 12 tons of water in the gliding regime for only 12-14 seconds at the speed of 150-190 kilometers per hour; then it can deliver this water to the most inaccessible sources of forest fires and pour this water at the speed of 250 kilometers per hour within one second on an enormous area of woods within only one second.

The air unit of the Emergencies Ministry will get the second Be-200 in December. Overall, the ministry will purchase seven such planes by 2005. The basic group comprising three Be-200 planes will be based at the Ramenskoe airfield near Moscow to protect the territory of the entire European part of Russia against forest fires. Another four planes will be placed in Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk, two planes in each of these cities, to protect the north and the east of the country.

According to experts, civil aviation market demand in Russia will total up 110-115 such planes by 2010, and overall sales will be around 400 aircraft by 2012.

These planes cost around $25 million apiece.


Parlamentskaya Gazeta, August 1, 2003, EV

On July 31, President Vladimir Putin arrived in Sarov, the Nizhny Novgorod region, to attend centenary celebrations of the canonization of Saint Serafim Sarovskii. His plane landed at the airport of the closed city. The president was met by Sergei Kirienko, presidential envoy for the Trans-Volga federal district, Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, Nizhny Novgorod Governor Gennady Khodyrev, Russian Federal Nuclear Center director Radiy Ilkaev, and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk.

In Sarov, the president visited the restored church built over the cell of Saint Serafim Sarovskii, where he was met by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II. On the eve of the celebration, the patriarch had consecrated the church and celebrated mass there.

Then the president went to Sobornaya Square in Sarov, where he met with residents of the city. He handed out state awards to activists of the Russian Orthodox Church. Later the president met with scientists from the Russian federal nuclear center: the Sarov National Experimental Physics Research Institute.


Zavtra, July 31, 2003, p. 1

Our analysts have noted a dramatic improvement in the staff and political positions of Mikhail Kasianov at the upper levels of the Kremlin. The process of placing people loyal to the prime minister in key Cabinet staff posts is virtually complete; next on the agenda are changes to the Cabinet itself. Most notably, the prime minister has made very effective use of the opportunities that opened up as a result of his quasi-alliance with Putin; he has secured support from the Republican administration in Washington and the upper levels of European Union bureaucracy at the same time. All this, as well as a great deal of support among Russia’s regional elites, enables Kasianov to seriously consider running for president – not only in 2008, but even in 2004. The latter option could be chosen in the event that Putin does not accept Washington’s terms on nuclear arms, privatization of the Russian defense sector, and arms sales to other countries.