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Moscow Times
January 13, 2003
13 Resolutions to Usher In Old New Year

One thing about Russia is that if you don't get around to making New Year's wishes and resolutions by Jan. 1, you get a second chance on Old New Year's, which is Monday.

With a few days to spare, members of the government weighed in last week.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov resolved to help Russia defend its interests abroad while working to promote international cooperation to tackle terrorism and other security threats.

Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov also put security high on his list and resolved to do his part to "normalize" the situation in Chechnya by strengthening the Chechen police force. He also made nice noises about the need to be more open with the press and to build public trust in the police.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin promised to stick to the budget, help the regions address social needs and try to reduce the tax burden.

As for Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, he put forward a list of ongoing reforms to be continued in 2003.

It would have been more interesting if Ivanov had said that Moscow would continue to oppose a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq, even at the risk of a falling out with Washington. Or if Gref, with all his plans for reform legislation, had resolved to prevent the inevitable political battles in the runup to this December's parliamentary elections from bringing the country to a political and economic standstill. Or if someone, anyone, had said something about how to fight corruption.

Although the ministers' resolutions were all right as far as they went, they were a bit vague and predictable. So we at The Moscow Times came up with our own eclectic list of things we'd like to see happen in 2003.

In no particular order, we'd like to see:

1) Anatoly Chubais, and we never thought we'd say this, not give away all of his power.

2) George W. Bush being made to sit through a lecture on the U.S. economy by Andrei Illarionov.

3) A court TV launched to carry the trials of Eduard Limonov and Yury Budanov and others like them.

4) Assurances that if Russia has given you a visa you will be allowed in the country once you've landed at the airport.

5) A privatization auction that involves more than one bidder.

6) Valentina Matviyenko and Irina Khakamada no longer as the two token women in public office.

7) Trash cans on the streets and people who use them.

8) Helicopters to deliver us to work above Moscow's traffic jams.

9) A Sheremetyevo Airport that looks and smells nice.

10) Lokomotiv Moscow upsetting the odds and advancing from the second phase of the Champions League past the likes of AC Milan and Real Madrid.

11) An end to the ridiculous popularity of sushi in the city's restaurants.

12) And last but not least, no more weeks without hot water in our apartments in the summer.

Happy Old New Year!

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