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


- The Election Commission in Yakutia has registered incumbent Mikhail Nikolaev for the upcoming presidential election. Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Veshnyakov spoke out against this decision (which violates the decision of the Federal Court of the Russian Federation that, according to the Yakutian Constitution, no citizen can be elected more than two times) and declared that the registration may be cancelled if a corresponding grievance arrives from Yakutia.

- Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has announced the government's new solution to the problem of Transdniester. He offered the region a status higher than regular autonomy. Ukranian nationals in Transdniester may, however, be unwilling to conduct constructive talks on the subject. They feel closer to Ukraine than to Moldova and demand either complete independence or a union with Ukraine.

- According to official data, there are 500 registered Afghani refugees in Russia; 20,000 to 50,000 more live in Russia illegally. Another wave of refugees is expected in connection with the events in Afghanistan.

- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has made an official declaration concerning the crash of the TU-154 airplane. He recognized that the plane was shot down by a missile during anti-aircraft training in the Crimea and made a formal apology to the relatives of the victims and to the Israeli and Russian governments.

- Akhmed Zakaev, the official representative of the Chechen separatists government, has asked to meet with Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasian Federal District Victor Kazantsev. Zakaev explained that "after long deliberations" the rebels are ready to begin talks about disarmament with the federal center. The meeting will take place within the next ten days.

- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the head of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev. According to Presidential Press Secretary Aleksei Gromov, the socio-economic development of Tatarstan was discussed.

- President Putin met with Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin to discuss salaries to government employees, which will be doubled next year.

- President Putin also met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to discuss the national economic situation. According to Presidential Press Secretary Aleksei Gromov, the situation was characterized as stable. Kaysanov also reported to the president on the basic directions of bank reform.

- The floating dock with the Kursk nuclear submarine continues to rise. It is almost at sea level and will enter the dry dock shortly.

- President Putin chaired a meeting of the Commission on international military-technological cooperation. Presidential Chief of Staff Aleksandr Voloshin, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Security Council head Vladimir Rushailo and heads of other power organs were in attendance. President Putin emphasized the importance of cooperation.

- The Russian State Duma has accepted a resolution on an amnesty to juvenile delinquents and female criminals who committed minor offenses. This would concern about 9 percent of the prisoners.

- The problem of illegal migration was discussed in the State Duma and in the Security Council.

- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov met with the leader of the Japanese Liberal-Democratic Party Muneo Suzuki to discuss international security, Russo-Japanese relations and cooperation in assisting the governments participating in the anti-terrorist operation. According to Ivanov, Japan is playing an important role in providing humanitarian support to Afghan refugees

- A group of Russian journalists came under fire in the Kuruk settlement in the Takhar province of Afghanistan. There were no casualties.

- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will arrive in Moscow on a working visit tomorrow. He will meet with President Putin to discuss the fight against international terrorism. His visit will coincide with an official ceremony in which Russia will transfer to Italian representatives the remains of over a thousand soldiers who died on Soviet territory.

- The trial of the case concerning the disappearance of ORT operator Smitry Zavadsky has opened. Zavadsky disappeared in Belarus over a year ago; primary suspects have been determined. The closed trial will be conducted at the Supreme Court building.

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