#3 - JRL 7020
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (email@example.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
- In Ashgabat, 32 people (16 of whom are foreigners, including 5 Russian citizens) are on trial for the 25 November assassination attempt against Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov. The Turkmen President declared that 20 of the accused will be imprisoned and 12 sent for forced labor to remote regions of the country. Turkmen authorities consider Boris Shikhmuradov, the former deputy prime minister of the country, the main organizer of the attempt; he has been sentenced to life in prison.
- The deputies of the new body of St. Petersburg's legislative assembly elected Vadim Tyulpanov (United Russia) chairman. He received 28 votes. Incumbent Sergei Tarasov received 19 votes. Within a few minutes of the voting, Tyulpanov motioned to prolong Sergei Mironov's term in the Federation Council. The motion was approved.
- The first volume of the Great Russian Encyclopedia, titled "The Russian Federation" will be published in a year. There will be a total of 33 volumes, which will have colored illustrations, unlike the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
- A new Russian Consulate office opened in Kharkov. It will serve six oblasts in Ukraine's eastern region.
- Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin met with leaders of the Media-Union and representatives of regional media organization to discuss the financial problems journalists face in their work. The journalists thanked Kudrin for maintaining the 10% tax break on print media for two more years.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov visited the 9th anti-missile defense division of the Space Forces. He clarified his earlier statement about cooperation with the US in developing strategic missile defense, noting that it will be based on common sense and technical capabilities, as well as economic considerations.
- Sergei Ivanov also declared that he will oversee that all Russian servicemen -- like the 5,000 men serving in Tajikistan -- will receive Russian passports by the end of the year.
- The Russian Federation sent Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Saltanov to Baghdad to conduct consultation on the regulation of the Iraqi crisis. Russia is in favor of a diplomatic solution to the problem.
- Defense Minister Ivanov declared that Russia will not send naval ships to the Persian Gulf.
- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei began his working visit to Moscow. He discussed the situations in Iraq and North Korea with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to discuss the development of the Murmansk transportation center and the Northern Sea route as well as the general national socio-economic situation.
- The Georgian Ministry of National Security named religious and financial emissaries who have connections with fighters in the Pankisi Gorge.
- The first spring session of the State Duma was held. The meeting was opened with a discussion of the problems in winter preparations.
- President Putin met with Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam to discuss bilateral economic cooperation and the situation in the Middle East.
- Railroad fares were raised by 12%.
- Volgograd's Mamaev Kurgan, the Hero's Pantheon of the Battle of Stalingrad will now be illuminated at night.
- The Trans-Siberian railroad may be paralyzed for several days: 170 echelons with coal are waiting to be unloaded between Kuzbass and Nakhodka.