RUSSIA AND CYPRUS: VISAS ARE BACK
Izvestia (Moscow issue), September 2, 2003, p. 3
Russian and Cypriot diplomats will meet in Nicosia today to consult on the introduction of a visa regime as of January 1, 2004. No shocks are expected. A visa-free regime for Russians with diplomatic and state service passports is all Nicosia, or rather the European Union, will agree to.
Moscow understands that the European Union will not be talked out of its determination. On the eve of his departure for Nicosia, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Chizhov said that “the possibility of a maximally simplified visa regime for citizens of our countries will be discussed.” (Russia will introduce visas too). A simplified visa regime usually means cheaper visas, a minimal required set of documents, and a short issuing time.
EFFECT OF THE AMERICAN BLACKOUT ON THE GOVERNMENT OF RUSSIA
Izvestia (Moscow issue), September 2, 2003, p. 5
Blackouts in the United States and Great Britain have persuaded the government of Russia to revise its point of view on reorganizing the energy system. The Ministry of Economic Development reputedly prepared a draft resolution for the government to suspend implementation of the laws on reorganization of the energy system. Implementation will only continue when the legislation specifies those responsible for potential blackouts. In accordance with the draft resolution, the Russian Joint Energy Systems will be in charge of the functions currently performed by the Federal Energy Commission, System Operator, and Energy Ministry.
Experts are of the opinion that the state’s role in the safety and reliability of the energy system should grow. “The whole sphere should be controlled by the state. It must be the central principle of the reforms,” said Duma Deputy Chairman Vladimir Averchenko. “The risk of catastrophes and blackouts will only grow without state control.” Analysts are not surprised. “The reforms have lagged behind the government’s plans,” said Fedor Tregubenko of Brunswick UBS. “The blackouts in the United States made it plain that the government of Russia might slow down its reforms.”