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

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

- Abkhaz military commanders report that an air attack has been carried out against a large division of fighters at the Marukhsky mountain crossing. Abkhaz land divisions are pursuing fighters who escaped encirclement last night in the upper part of the Kodor Gorge.

- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Edvard Shevarnadze discussed the situation in Abkhazia over the telephone last night. They were in favor of speeding up work on the new Russian-Georgian agreement. The presidents ordered the security services of their nations to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

- President Putin met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov last night and made several changes to the structure of the government. According to the presidential decree, the Prime Minister will now have five deputies and the Ministry for Federation Affairs, National and Migration Policy will be eliminated. Its functions will now be transferred to three ministries: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. In addition, the functions of the deputy prime ministers may change.

- President Putin chaired a meeting at the Defense Ministry today. Due to the increased danger of terrorism, Russia's defense budget needs to be increased. At the same time, Russia will decrease its presence abroad. The withdrawal of technological forces from a military base in the Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam will begin on 1 January. The Lourdes electronic surveillance base in Cuba will also be closed. The remaining military base established by the Soviet Union outside of the near abroad is a technical navy-provision base in Syria.

- State Duma deputies accepted amendments to the Pension Law in the first reading. The changes will allow working pensioners to receive their pension in full.

- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov presented Russia's position concerning the future Afghan government at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Shanghai. The future government should be a coalition, but Moscow is against the inclusion of the Taliban. President Putin will arrive at the summit tomorrow afternoon.

- Russia's Media-Union has been officially registered as an all-Russian social organization of media workers. The Media Union currently has departments in 58 regions.

- The Business Russia organization held a congress in Moscow. Entrepreneurs from 53 regions gathered to discuss their goals, which include closing the gap between rich and poor in Russia, educating future generations of Russian businessmen, and obtaining protection from corrupt officials, criminal organizations, and faulty regulations.

- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is traveling to Krasnodar Krai to the site of the Blue Stream gas pipeline project. Kasyanov will fly over the prospective route of the pipeline on a helicopter and then return to Krasnodar to meet with the krai governor, Aleksandr Tkachev, and with the local authorities.

- Customs officers in Kaliningrad confiscated a crate of dangerous chemicals -- poisons and explosives -- from a truck coming from Werniger, Germany, to a Baptist church in Kaliningrad.

- A search and rescue operation is underway in the White Sea, where a passenger vessel is sinking.

- Russian pilots are performing military exercises in the Crimea.

- Two missiles were lost during military exercises of the Pacific fleet. One fell near the shore due to engine failure, another -- launched from a nuclear submarine similar to the Kursk -- fell into the sea at a depth of 1.5 kilometers.

- Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu has arrived in Lensk to inspect the houses built in the flood-damaged region. Construction workers have already left the city, but they will soon be replaced by inspectors preparing a budget report.

- A special internet page dedicated to the upcoming 2002 census has been set up.

- The first float to be used to place the Kursk nuclear submarine into the dry working dock will be put in place this evening.

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