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

#2 - JRL 7061
TV1 Review
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (luba_sch@hotmail.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

- On the last day of his state visit to France, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Bordeaux, together with First Lady Ludmila Putina. According to French protocol, high-ranking foreign guests must visit at least one major French city other than Paris during their time in France. The Putins chose Bordeaux, since it is the sister-city of St. Petersburg. While in Bordeaux, the Russian President will visit French writer Maurice Druon, who recently enjoyed Putins hospitality at Novo-Ogarevo.

- The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil-Robles has arrived in Chechnya. He met with Chechen officials, visited the electoral commission and a refugee camp, and met with the Chechen Prosecutor General. Gil Robles declared that the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe will send representatives to Chechnya to get a better understanding of the situation in the republic. Chechen administration head Akhmad Kadyrov emphasized that foreign observers can travel through the republic without any limitations. Tomorrow morning, the commissioner will head to Ingushetia.

- Russian authorities are beginning the fight against illegal immigration. Citizens of countries that have agreements with Russia for visa-free entry will have to fill out migration cards. According to experts, over 5 million people are illegally working in Russia. About 800,000 registered foreigners live in Moscow -- and less than half of foreigners actually register. Information from migration cards will be entered into a single computer database.

- State Duma deputies discussed energy reform and housing and utilities services. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov came to the Duma to answer questions on the issues. In advance of the parliamentary elections, deputies are very cautious about global reforms.

- Investigators have suggested that the explosion at the Alardinskaya mine in the Kuzbass may have been caused by the thieves of semi-precious metals. Shortly before the explosion, unidentified men tried to steal a cable, causing a malfunction of the ventilation system.

- Training exercises were held in the regions of Stavropol Krai that had been damaged by flooding last year.

- A TU-154 airplane flying from Novyi Urengoi to St. Petersburg was forced to make an emergency landing after one of the engines overheated. None of the crew or passengers were hurt.

- Anatoly Popov, the new Chechen Prime Minister has been officially introduced.

- The Federation Council discussed a new draft of a law on railroad transportation reform. It is investigating the possibility of compensating regional budgets. The senators rejected the law making Russian the official state language, explaining that the law was raw and rushed. The senators also found 16 foreign words in the body of the law, which includes a clause prohibiting the use of foreign words in official speeches and writing. Finally, the Federation Council approved a law On currency regulation and currency control, which allows citizens to take up to $10,000 out of the country without a bank statement.

- Moscow is among the 19 Russian regions where the flu epidemic is raging. Over 100,000 cases have been registered in the capital.

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