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

Thursday, November 15, 2001

- Russian State Duma deputies approved a law limiting radio and television advertisements. Russian audiences have had ten years to get used to commercials, but most still find them annoying. The new law will bring Russia closer to European norms -- advertisements will be limited to 15-20% of the airtime. Currently, 25% can be used. The law also makes it illegal to interrupt children's, educational, and religious programs.

- The Duma deputies have also voted to increase living allowances to military servicemen. By July 2002, salaries will be increased by about 86%.

- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov declared that Russia will not significantly reduce oil exports. Oil prices fell by $2.5 in the first half of November, which means that the Russian national budget lost almost $2 billion in that time. All oil-producing countries have suffered similar losses.

- Muslims around the world begin to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan tonight. Over 20 million Muslims live in Russia.

- The US Senate Committee on Foreign Affiairs has approved the draft of a bill that writes off part of Russia's debt to the US in exchange for concrete steps towards nuclear arms reductions.

- Jonathan Schiffer, the vice president of Moody's international rating agency, has announced that Moody's might raise Russia's credit rating over the eighteen months.

- Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov commented on the prospects of returning to civilian life in Chechnya. He explained that organs of the interior ministry will be transferred to Chechnya for full-time work. They will be staffed primarily by locals, including local police officers.

- The second day of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the United States ended with an informal dinner at President George W. Bush's Texas ranch.

- In Houston, President Putin met with former American president, George Bush senior.

- Police officers in Krasnoyarsk have detained a trolley driver accused of selling drugs on his route. One of the driver's regular customer tipped the police off about her route after being arrested for illegal arms possession. The officers were able to unravel the entire distribution chain, including the supplier and the grower of the marijuana.

- The trial of Chechen fighter Salman Raduev is proceeding strictly according to regulations.

- Three people died in an explosion at the Amursky Crystal alcohol factory in Blagoveshchensk. Twenty Emergencies Ministry search-and-rescue-workers are on the scene. The Amursk oblast Prosecutor's office is investigating the incident.

- A museum dedicated to renown cellist Mstislav Rostropovich has opened in Orenburg, in Rostropovich's childhood home.

- The first snowstorm of the year is heading towards Moscow.

- A storm- and flood-watch is in effect in St. Petersburg. The water level in the city's main canals has exceeded the critical 160 centimeter mark and continues to rise. All employees of the Northwestern Regional Center of the Emergencies Ministry are on alert.

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