Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (email@example.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
- The Russian State Duma ratified the Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty with a vote of 294 to 134. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov attended the deliberations. Communists had tried to delay the ratification, but the four centrist parties of the Duma, as well as the Union of Right Forces and Yabloko, supported it.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Both leaders expressed their satisfaction with the Duma's ratification of the SOR Treaty. Powell relayed the greetings of US President George W. Bush, who will visit St. Petersburg in late May.
- Powell and Foreign Minister Ivanov visited the Moscow State University for International Relations and spoke with students.
- 800 delegates from 132 countries attended a forum on the results and the future of Russian and Soviet university programs for foreign students. At the forum, President Putin declared that it is important to support the Russian potential for foreign exchange programs.
- Six strategic fighter jets and 9 ships from the Black Sea and Pacific fleets participated in long-distance training exercises. Defense Minister Ivanov was quite satisfied with the results of the exercises.
- The administration of George W. Bush expressed its support for Russia in connection with the recent terrorist act in Znamenskoe.
- The number of the casualties of the Znamenskoe terrorist act has grown to 59.
- In the Chechen settlement of Iliskhan-Yurt, two female suicide bombers posing as journalists set off an explosion at a religious festival. Over 20 people died and dozens were injured. One of the women has been identified as Shahida Baimuradova, born 1952, a member of Shamil Basaev's rebel formation.
- The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation approved an appeal from bank directors, who wanted the right to keep information on their clients confidential.
- President Putin discussed the national economic situation and work on the 2004 budget with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.
- The Federation Council approved the new edition of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation.
- The Russian-Kazakh Conference, dedicated to the fight against terrorism, opened in Moscow.
- North Ossetian authorities agreed with the Emergencies Ministry commission to end search work in the Karmadon Gorge.
- A violin confiscated by customs workers on the border with Finland may have been made by Stradivari himself. The violin will be sent to St. Petersburg for examination.
- A series of concerts will be held at the newly renovated train station in Saransk, Chuvashiya.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with representatives of leading State Duma factions to discuss a number of pressing foreign and domestic issues, including arms limitation agreements and the integration of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- An away meeting of the Russia-NATO Council was held in Moscow. NATO General Secretary George Robertson attended. Cooperation between Russia and NATO, NATO expansion, the changing situation in the Middle East, the fight against terrorism and other recent developments on the international arena were discussed.
- President Putin met with Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov to discuss the transfer of former tax police officers to the Ministry of Internal Affairs
- The State Duma Council will review the strategic offensive arms limitation agreement tomorrow.
- Federation Council members discussed measures to prevent the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome. Head Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko attended the meeting.
- In Chechnya, rescue work has been completed at the site of the Znamenskoe terrorist act. 23 people have been rescued from under the ruins of the administrative building. 52 people are dead. 86 people are in the hospital, some in critical condition. A list of suspects has been compiled by the investigative committee.
- Search and rescue workers descended into the Karmadon Gorge, but did not find the remains of the victims of the Kolka Glacier. Further exploration can get dangerous, and rescue workers recommend ending the mission. Relatives of the victims, however, claim that they are willing to risk their lives and continue the work on their own.
- Police officers detained two Russian citizens and a citizen of Tajikistan, who were carrying 20 million rubles worth of heroine on the train from Astrakhan to Nizhny Novgorod.
- Russian First Lady Ludmila Putina continues her visit to Yerevan. Today she and Armenian First Lady Bella Kocharian visited a special Russian-language school.
- The Rostov-on-the-Don Court has sentenced the "Karavella" con men, who swindled money from people by promising them high- paying jobs abroad, to 6-8 years imprisonment each and a fine of 8.5 million rubles.
- An arms cache with 40 kilograms of explosives and detonators was discovered along the Makhachkala-Astrakhan highway.
- The residents of Sevastopol and Black Sea Fleet sailors celebrate the 220th anniversary of the establishment of the Fleet.
- Restoration work on the famous Amber Room at the Yekaterinsky Palace in the suburbs of St. Petersburg has been completed.
- Composer Isaac Schwartz celebrates his 80th birthday. He wrote the film scores to famous movies, including "White Sun of the Desert," Star of Enchanting Happiness," and "Straw Hat."