Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

ORT Review
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (luba7@bu.edu)
Research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy
at Boston University

Monday, October 15, 2001

- Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski arrived in Moscow on a brief visit. In the morning, he attended the opening of "The Days of Polish Science" program with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The presidents expressed hopes of further cooperation and readiness to leave all disagreements in the past. President Putin will return the visit in mid-January.

- Georgian President Edvard Shevarnadze became one of the first officials to address the fighting near Sukhumi in Abkhazia. He does not exclude the possibility that force will be used if the conflict cannot be settled through negotiations. The main theme of his address was that Georgia will never accept the idea of Abkhaz independence. Shevarnadze also expressed a willingness to meet with Russian President Putin.

- Controls at the Russian-Georgian border have been strengthened. New x-ray machines are used on border crossings.

- The Russian military is closely following development in Abkhazia, although the fighting is not expected cross over into Russia.

- Abkhaz leaders have announced the beginning of the final phase of operations in the Kodor Gorge. Mercenary Islamists are suspected to be among the fighters.

- President Putin met with members of the cabinet to discuss upcoming court reform as well as next years budget.

- Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin attended the discussion of the 2002 budget at today's State Duma meeting.

- The heating season has begun in the Maritime territory. Not everyone has been connected to the system.

- Russian customs workers have accused several owners of Russian trading houses of smuggling goods and evading taxes. In particular, most of the furniture sold in Moscow stores has been imported with customs violations. Entrepreneur Sergei Zuev is suspected of concealing several million dollars in taxes.

- Russian doctors are prepared to aid their American colleagues in fighting the anthrax outbreak.

- A major fire took place in Moscow. All residents of the 19th-century house and surrounding buildings were evacuated. Four people were injured.

- The investigation of the so-called "Armory Affair" has been completed in Stavropol. Police officers responsible for guarding the armory had traded in weapons for five years. A trial will be scheduled shortly. Some of the accused are on the federal wanted list. It may be that some of the weapons from the armory ended up in the hands of terrorists and Chechen fighters.

- Local authorities in the Belgorod region have created a special fund to provide new arrivals with liberal loans to build homes (120,000 Rubles at a 15% interest rate to be paid out for 15 years after a grace period of two years). Many are able to use some of the money to purchase cattle or poultry.

- The second float to be used in the transfer of the Kursk nuclear submarine to the working dock will be set in place today. Eventually, the Kursk will end up at "the submarine cemetery," a site known as "Saida" in official documents.

- To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Latvia's law on citizenship, members of the Russian diaspora held a protest in Riga. They denounced the law for leaving 700,000 residents without citizenship. "We've been lied to, betrayed, and offended -- and most of us had voted for independence." 500,000 residents -- almost a quarter of the populations are still registered as "aliens."

- Russian astronauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tiurin have returned to the international space station after a day of scientific experiments in open space.

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