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#1 - JRL 7259
No. 52, Monday, July 21, 2003

* ISSUE THEME: Information from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs shows that businessmen complain about the “peculiar regularity” of administrative checks. Large companies are persecuted more heavily. Over half (51%) of businesses get checked more than once a month (26% get checked less than once a month). First of all, this is too often. Secondly, this breeds extortion. About 65% of directors had to deal with administrative checks in the recent past (20% were faced with frequent checks). Only 15% cannot recall the last time they were checked. In “On-Call Security Services,” Novaya Gazeta columnist Anna Politkovskaya tells us how small businesses get destroyed they same way large businesses do – on request. They same people – security service officers -- carry out the dirty work.

The Government and Business column, carries an article by Novaya Gazeta columnist Pavel Voshchanov: “Secret Oligarch Agreement – the Hit of the Political Season.” Voshchanov suggests that outhouses will now be used exclusively for wiping out oligarchs. The results of the next election are supposed to demonstrate total national support. The best way to ensure this is to set the people against robber barons. We know what made the last elections work – fear. A nation, shocked by the Moscow and Volgodonsk apartment building bombings, feared that insufficiently decisive actions in Chechnya make all of us vulnerable. And the public “begot” a politician who acted, not talked. “Order” became the most important thing for most Russian citizens. Many factors played a role in Putin’s victory, but the slogan of order was the most decisive one. Four years passed. Expectations remain expectations. In the grand scheme of things, nothing changed. The terrorist threat remains the same. Officials still take bribes – perhaps even more than before. There is still arbitrary rule by local administrators. Lack of competition, not national support will determine victory in the next elections. The political field has been cleansed so thoroughly over the past four years that there are no alternatives. But, in politics, you can’t play the same game twice. So this time, instead of bandits, it will be oligarchs in the outhouse. And after the elections are over, the Kremlin will find ways to soothe the worried business community.

* SPECIAL REPORT: “Birth Injury: City Hospital No. 37 Medical History.” Author Irina Mishanina personally experienced the lack of medical services in our country. Instead, there is systematic harassment of sick people. This is the unfortunate result of the Soviet myth about free healthcare. “People who have an official, professional relation to other men's suffering, for instance, doctors, in course of time grow so callous that they cannot, even if they wish it, take any but a formal attitude to their clients.” (Anton Chekhov, Ward No. 6) You can’t force someone to love people and his or her job. If a person is inherently deaf to the pain and suffering of others, and views patients as the sum total of organs, vessels and tendons, he or she can become a decent pathologist or lab assistant. But such “experimentators” should not work with live patients. The Hippocratic oath has been forgotten. “That was long ago… it’s outdated now,” the doctors say…


- “Darkness – a Frightful Force,” Mikhail Smetanin’s detailed analysis of the Lebedev Affair, which was the first step in the attack on Yukos, shows the flaws of the Russian law enforcement system.

- The third Belarusian Referendum means new arrests and new deaths. Irina Khalip’s “Third Term on the Loose.”

- “Wise. Good. Eternal. Price to be Negotiated.” Olga Goncharova and Maria Shpileva write about the cost of getting into a university.

- “Philosopher’s Steamship,” by Aleksandr Melenberg, about the mass banishment of the Russian intelligentsia in the early 20s.

- In “Reading Dostoevsky Means Getting to Know Yourself,” Alla Bossart speaks of the passions raging about the new film, “The Idiot.”

Contact Information for Novaya Gazeta

(095) 923-9485
Translated by Luba Schwartzman <luba_sch@hotmail.com>

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