#16 - JRL 7175
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office
Thursday, May 8, 2003
- Muscovites prepare to celebrate Victory Day. The streets of the capital have been decorated with posters, banners and flags. Concerts will be held on Red Square after the parade in honor of the 58th anniversary of Victory in World War II.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov and a number of Cabinet members, State Duma deputies and other leading figures participated in ceremonies in honor of Victory Day.
- Moscow State University students met with veterans. The May 8th meeting is a long-standing annual tradition.
- President Putin visited the Tula Weapons Design Bureau and spoke at the banquet given in honor of the 58th anniversary of Victory in World War II.
- The final rehearsal for the Victory Day Parade were held in Grozny.
- Prime Minister Kasyanov chaired an emergency meeting of the Russian Cabinet, dedicated to the prevention of the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Russia. Kasyanov ordered ministers to work out recommendations on a program temporarily reducing the number of border crossing points in the Far East.
- The Russian Ministry of Health may soon register first case of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Russia Two of the five tests performed in a Moscow laboratory on blood samples of a man in a Blagoveshchensk hospital came back positive. Russia will become the 30th country where SARS has been registered. About 14-15% of the people diagnosed with SARS die from the disease.
- The administration of the Maritime Region has closed five visa- free checkpoints on the border with China. The Amur Oblast and the Khabarovsk Krai closed all such checkpoints earlier.
- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met with Kim Holmes, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs to discuss the post-war reconstruction of Iraq, and the role the UN will play in the process.
- 58 schoolchildren in the Omsk Oblast have been poisoned with an unidentified gas.
- Private Sergei Zavetaev, who stole a gasoline tank truck and drove through the streets of Moscow in an attempted getaway, has been charged on two counts: illegally taking possession of a vehicle and threatening the lives of law enforcement officers. The second charge carries a punishment of up to 20 years, or even life, imprisonment.
- Restoration of the Amber Room at the Yekaterinsky Palace in the suburbs of St. Petersburg will be completed shortly. Over 6 tons of amber were used in the restoration.
- Over 50,000 hectares of the taiga are on fire in the Chita Oblast.
- Five settlements have been cut off from the mainland by spring flooding in the Tyumen Oblast.