Kommersant-Vlast, July 28, 2003, p. 10

The Duma elections in December are predicted to cost 3.5 billion rubles, according to the Central Electoral Commission.

According to the Economic Development Ministry, Russia will have 6 million unemployed by the end of 2003, or 8.3% of the workforce.

Russia’s exports in the first half of 2003 rose to $61.2 billion, double the level of imports. Exports to countries outside the CIS stood at $51.9 billion, and exports to CIS countries at $9.3 billion. In the first half of 2003, Russia’s foreign trade turnover amounted to $93.9 billion, or 25.5% more than in the first half of 2002.

Should it become necessary, Primorye (the Maritime territory) would be prepared to accept 200,000 refugees from North Korea. According to Primorye Governor Sergei Darkin, Primorye “is capable of accepting refugees in numbers up to 10% of its own population.”

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov donated his black leather cap to be auctioned for charity, with a starting price of $500. Proceeds from the sale of the cap will go to Moscow orphanages.

Public Opinion Foundation poll (1,500 respondents, July 2003): What kind of effect do the people in control of big business have on the lives of ordinary citizens?

A positive effect – 14% of respondents

A negative effect – 46% of respondents

No effect – 18% of respondents

Don’t know – 22% of respondents

ROMIR Monitoring poll (1,500 respondents, July 2003): Do the outcomes of 1990s privatization currently need to be revised?

Yes – 44% of respondents

Yes, in part – 33% of respondents

No – 18% of respondents

Don’t know – 5% of respondents


Rodnaya Gazeta, August 1, 2003, p. 5

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Foreign Ministry to create a Council of Regional Leaders (CRL). The council is to be chaired by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. As CRL secretary, special ambassador Valery Kuzmin said, “The new advisory body will not double the present advisory council for international and foreign trade relations at the Foreign Ministry.”

The new council will resolve strategic issues and prepare the nation for the upcoming accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

CRL commissions will work on a permanent basis with the participation of regions. Chita Governor Geniatulin has become the head of the frontier region cooperation commission; Sverdlovsk regional governor Rossel will lead the group for development of cooperation with the CIS; North Ossetia President Alanii Dzasokhov will head the Caucasus Four group; Chuvashia President Fedorov will led the group for forming information systems; Governor of the Jewish autonomous republic Volkov will head the group for cooperation strategy with the Pacific region countries; Smolensk Governor Maslov will lead the group for development of contacts with the European Union.