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New items of the server - June 2004
June 29, 2004

Rightists Continue Discussing Idea of a Democratic Coalition
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 28, 2004

SPS Presidium Secretary Boris Nadezhdin told "Gazeta" on 25 June that the party is considering closer relations both with democratic movements such as Yabloko and Committee-2008 and with "certain people now working in the government and the Duma who share our worldview and political practices."

June 27, 2004

Budget 2005 - new

 

Budget for 2005 Outlined
By Mikhail Zadornov member of state duma budget committee, Moscow News, June 27, 2004

Another new element in the draft is a redistribution of a number of obligations between budgets of different levels. For instance, the federal center has taken upon itself all civil defense outlays, the upkeep of military commissariats, and care for the disabled. On the other hand, some responsibilities have been shifted onto the regions: maintenance of all kindergartens, vocational-technical schools, and some general-education schools - in all about 3,000 educational institutions that will need around 25 billion rubles in expenses.

 

Nationalists Claim Murder
Moscow Times, June 25, 2004

The web site of the group, Russian Republic, posted Wednesday a "verdict" issued by its self-styled government to "execute" Nikolai Girenko, 64. The statement described Girenko as "an enemy of the Russian people" and said he was guilty of helping to jail "patriots."

 

Skinhead Expert Shot Dead in St. Pete
By Oksana Yablokova, Moscow Times, June 22, 2004

"They (nationalistic-minded extremists) were able to carry out this vendetta largely because city authorities have long ignored the existence of skinheads and extremists in the city by portraying their activities as hooliganism," Yury Vdovin, representative of the St. Petersburg office of the Citizens Watch human rights group said.

June 25, 2004

Kremlin Looking for Loyal NGOs
By Francesca Mereu, Moscow Times, June 25, 2004

When the Kremlin has its loyal NGOs in place, Ponomaryov said, "the president is likely to say that there are good organizations that get Russian financing and they back its policy, but he is likely also to say that there are bad organizations getting Western funds and they need to be closed."

June 24, 2004

Human Rights - updated

 

Activists Fret Over Police Plan
By Maria Danilova, The Associated Press, June 21, 2004

Lukin had publicly lambasted law enforcement bodies Wednesday for alleged human rights abuses when detaining, interrogating and holding people in custody, calling their behavior "fierce, cruel and cynical tortures."

June 22, 2004

YABLOKO created a Committee for the Protection of Muscovites to defend the interests of the residents of the city in city construction
Finmarket News, June 16, 2004

The goal of the Committee is to unite over 200 different groups currently standing for their rights in Moscow into a single powerful organisation protecting the rights of Muscovites in city construction and facilitating the creation of favourable living conditions for the residents of Moscow. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO Sergei Mitrokhin was elected Chairman of the Committee.

June 20, 2004

The Interior Ministry Is the Major Infringer
By Alexander Kolesnichenko, Noviye Izvestia, June 17, 2004

Lukin attributes police brutality to the low level of crime-solving. Around 43% of registered crimes (including 20% of first-degree murders) remained unsolved across Russia last year. And 42% of murders in Moscow were not solved. In addition 130,000 cases were closed last year because of the statute of limitations, but the criminals were never found.

 

Vladimir Lukin: "Violations of human rights remain an acute problem for Russia"
RIA Novosti, June 16, 2004

Five criminal cases have been opened over the past few months on human rights violations committed by policemen and prosecutor's office officials, Vladimir Lukin, Human Rights Commissioner in Russia told a press conference at the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday.

 

On June 15 the general assembly of the representatives of the initiative groups fighting against unlawful building in Moscow adopted a decision to create a Committee for the Protection of Muscovites.
Press release, June 16, 2004

The goal of the Committee is to unite over 200 different groups currently standing for their rights in Moscow into a single powerful organisation protecting the rights of Muscovites in city construction and facilitating the creation of favourable living conditions for the residents of Moscow.

 

The State Duma refused to grant families with low incomes an additional child allowance by the beginning of the next school year
Rosbalt, June 9, 2004

The authors of the draft law Tamara Pletnyova (the CPRF) and independent deputy Sergei Popov proposed providing the allowance to parents (those who adopt children, trustees and guardians) of a child under 18, provided the average per capita income in this family does not exceed the subsistence minimum.

 

Boris Strugatsky: "We cannot do it any other way yet"
An interview with Boris Stugatsky by Boris Vishnevsky, Moskovskiye Novosti, June 4, 2004

The fact is that the state is always an abstraction, a symbol, a highfalutin word, while the civil servant is always an embodiment of this symbol - the bureaucrat, who alone by definition, knows exactly what the state needs. This is why all developments in Russia are based, essentially, on a recurring pattern, and only one thing remains immutable: the power of the bureaucracy.

June 18, 2004

Igor Artemyev proposes a competition-based mechanism for state purchases of oil products
Rosbalt, June 9, 2004

Moreover, the head of the Antimonopoly Service also noted that introduction of competition-based procedures would make it possible to cut the costs of such purchases. Practical introduction of this mechanism requires insignificant amendments into 17 current laws. "However, the return will be colossal," said Artemyev.

 

Anti-monopoly legislation - new

 

The Antimonopoly Service prepared a concept of a draft law "On Protection of Competition in the RF"
Rosbalt, June 9, 2004

The Antimonopoly Service developed a concept of a draft law "On Protection of Competition in the RF". According to Rosbalt correspondent, such a statement was made on Wednesday by the head of the Antimonopoly Service Igor Artemyev

June 16, 2004

Passions Over Referenda
By Orkhan Dzhemal and Yana Serova, Novaya Gazeta, June 10, 2004

A referendum is a form of direct democracy. The people themselves take decisions on state issues, without using legislators as intermediaries. Early democracies functioned in this way: the citizens of ancient Athens or medieval Novgorod engaged in what amounted to constant referenda.

 

A Pale Imitation The impending reforms are worse than unfair - they're simply stupid
By Yulia Kalinina, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, June 11, 2004

For the past four years the regime has been busy clearing away the rubble of perestroika. Now it is starting to set "truly long-term goals" to replace the rubble - to borrow the phrase used by President Putin in his annual address to parliament.

June 15, 2004

Cracking Down on the Web
By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow Times, June 11, 2004

The Internet has long been a headache for those that wish to uphold public decency. Controlling the enormous flow of information on the net, chopping, spiking or "correcting" the innumerable texts and images lodged on the web is surely the dream of any censor.

 

Governor Vows to Aid Poor
By Vladimir Kovalev, St Peterburg Times, June 11, 2004

Boris Vishnevsky, a member of the liberal Yabloko faction of the Legislative Assembly, said the address appeared to be a selection of the right words and good intentions, but without any firm basis.

June 13, 2004

The meeting of the Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin with representatives of the initiative groups of the Muscovites protesting against unlawful construction in the capital.
Press release, June 9, 2004

The meeting of the Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin with representatives of the initiative groups of the Muscovites protesting against unlawful construction in the capital took place on June 9, 2004

 

Another meeting of the Public Council of the YABLOKO party took place on June 9, 2004.
Press release, June 10, 2004

It was noted that in this sense the task of the party is to maintain YABLOKO's identity. The participants of the meeting also stressed that recognition of the mistakes and crimes of the Yeltsin's decade as one of the main streams of the public opinion confirms that YABLOKO was right to criticise the authorities during that period and propose alternative solutions to the key issues of the Russian policies.

 

Griogry Yavlinsky: the state clan replaced the State Planning Committee in Russia
Rosbalt, June 8, 2004

"I categorically disagree with the political system that has been built in Russia recently." Such a statement was made by the leader of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky during live broadcast by Ekho Moskvi radio station. According to Yavlinsky, despite some correct solutions, this system lacks an independent court, independent parliament and civil or some outer control over the secret services and law enforcement agencies: it also lacks politically important and independent mass media, and elections are controlled.

 

Griogry Yavlinsky: All the bright journalists have been shut up in Russia
Rosbalt, June 8, 2004

Yavlinsky is certain that the authorities should be criticised, “but there should be no insulting.” “And in general one should not insult any one, either the authorities, the public or people in jail,” noted Yavlinsky.

 

The second part of the 12th congress of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO will take place on July 3, 2004.
Press release, June 9, 2004

The congress will draw up the results of internal party discussions on making changes to YABLOKO’s charter (a working group specially created by the Bureau of the Federal Council has been functioning for 2.5 months already and conducting seminars). The congress will listen to the reports and elect the leadership of the party, as the term of proxies of all the governing bodies of the party finishes this year.

June 11, 2004

Yukos, Sakhalin test-cases for US investment in Russia: ambassador
AFP, June 10, 2004

US investors are closely monitoring the Yukos oil case and are growing increasingly worried about Russia's commitment to private property rights, the US ambassador to Moscow said in an interview published Thursday.

June 10, 2004

The Skinny on Campaign Election Coverage
By Alexei Pankin, The Moscow Times, June 8, 2004

In May and June 1996, I served as coordinator of a program devoted to monitoring press coverage of the presidential election... ...After the first week of monitoring, our observers released a report demonstrating that all of the major television stations, both state-owned and independent, were actively promoting the incumbent Boris Yeltsin and giving short shrift to his rivals, including Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky.

 

Russia Must Be True to Its Words in Chechnya
By Andrei Piontkovsky, The Moscow Times, June 8, 2004

What are we fighting for in Chechnya? For the territorial integrity of Russia, of course. But territorial integrity does not mean uninhabited scorched earth. We are fighting in order to prove to the Chechens that they are citizens of Russia. In doing so, however, we are destroying their cities and villages and kidnapping innocent civilians whose corpses turn up bearing evidence of torture.

 

On June 9 Yuri Schekochikhin would have turned 54

From Griogry Yavlinsky's afterword to a new book on Yuri Schekochikhin "With love, Yuri Schekochikhin."

Yuri Schekochikhin always demonstrated the real freedom of the Russian intelligencia, as well as bravery and at the same time concentration and an ability to listen to his inner voice. He used to say that the key issue is what you write, as it is immortal.

 

People/Khovanskaya - updated

 

Russian economy - updated

 

Why Is Our Country Poor?
By Boris Gordon, Novaya Gazeta, June 3, 2004

Strictly speaking, Russia's recent history has seen two prescriptions for fighting poverty. The first involves raising taxes and thus raising payments to all welfare recipients: veterans, the disabled, and so on.

June 9, 2004

In-Fill Construction Proceeds In Spite of Legal Ban
By Vladimir Kovalev, St Peterburg Times, June 8, 2004

Shortly before a city-wide law to protect green areas of the city from being destroyed by construction companies came into force Sunday, Governor Valentina Matviyenko reportedly signed a decree allowing local developer LEK ESTATE to chop down trees around buildings No. 45 and No. 51 on Zanevsky Prospekt.

 

The TV Might as Well Stay Switched off
By Ilya Zhegulyov, Gazeta.ru, June 2, 2004

NTV's move to sack Leonid Parfyonov and close his flagship weekly Namedni review program is politically motivated, Russian politicians, political observers and human rights champions are convinced. Some of them interviewed by Gazeta.Ru believe that with Parfyonov's departure the NTV team of journalists is likely to fall apart.

 

Press Conference with Serge Ivanenko, Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov and other Committee-2008 officials
Interfax, May 18, 2004

Today we welcome members of Committee-2008 -- Freedom of Choice. The topic of the press conference is "Ways to Unite Democratic Liberal Political Forces." Taking part in the press conference are Sergei Ivanenko, Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada.

 

Protest meeting against the law on the virtual ban on referenda
Press release, June 2, 2004

The action began at 9-45 a.m. Before the meeting the police barred all the passages to the building of the Duma, therefore the activists gathered at the corner of Tverskaya and Mokhovaya streets. They held banners reading "No to the Authority's Disgrace!", "Protect Democracy!", "No to a Police State!" and "Respect the Constitution!".

 

The Spectrum of a One-Party System
Argumenti i Fakti, June 2, 2004

Shortly before the president delivered his annual address, two innovations were announced which could fundamentally change the political climate in Russia. Although these ideas are controversial, both have been approved by the Kremlin - so they have every chance of being implemented: No more independent Duma members, The luxury of referenda...

 

Poor Benefits for the Poor
By Ella Paneyakh, Vedomosti, May 31,2004

Take any radio talk broadcast whatever journalists and experts might discuss, the air is flooded by calls from pensioners who ask one and the same question: how can a pensioner survive now that the government has dared to lay its hands upon fringe benefits

 

Why Russia Is Not the USA
Based on BBC Monitoring, NTV channel, "Freedom of Speech" programme, May 28, 2004

Grigory Yavlinsky's comment was applauded by the audience: "I feel a free man in a society that isn't free." In his comments on an opinion poll which suggests that more than three-quarters of all Russians approve of Putin's performance to date, Yavlinsky thought that little if anything had been achieved in reality.

 

Enough Democracy
By Kseniya Veretennikova, Vremya Novostei, June 3, 2004

A draft law submitted by the President, amending the law "On Referenda", was adopted at its first reading by the Duma yesterday. This draft law has been one of the major events in Russian politics over the past two weeks.

 

Opposition meeting to be dispersed in Moscow
RIA "OREANDA", June 3, 2004

Moscow. On Wednesday, at the building of the State Duma of Russia, a protest meeting against adoption of new edition of the federal constitutional law "On Referenda of Russian Federation" was carried out. The meeting ended in a quarrel between participants of the action and policemen.

June 7, 2004

People - updated

 

The Media and Terrorism
By Alexander Alekseev, Rosbalt Information Agency, Translated by David M. Rosbalt, June 6, 2004

It is often said the mass media plays into the hands of terrorists, covering in detail their acts of terrorism. On the other hand, informational limitations can turn into a complete absence of reliable information and a loss of the media's independence.

June 4, 2004

Who needs democracy?
The Economist (UK), May 22-28, 2004

That may have helped to keep the liberal parties below the 5% threshold, but their real problem is that nobody wanted to vote for them. "They are the ones to blame," says Alexander Yakovlev, who as Mikhail Gorbachev's right-hand man helped engineer the end of the Soviet regime, "for not working on the creation of a social-democratic base, for not attracting those who should have been on their side-doctors, teachers, pensioners."

June 3, 2004

Society/Social Policies - new

 

Russia's poorest face huge cuts in benefits
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow, The Guardian (UK), June 1, 2004

Galina Mihaleva, director of the Centre for Modern Politics Research, said: "Putin and the government declare the fight with poverty [is] their priority. But in reality they are pursu ing the social policies of the extreme right, depriving the most vulnerable elements of society of the minimal benefits they still have."
She added: "These measures hit the disabled, veterans and pensioners hardest, because in reality the privileges they have today are much bigger than the compensation the government is offering."

 

Making Friends through Parties
By Sergei Ivanenko, Yezhenedelny Zhurnal, May 25, 2004

Consolidation of the democratic movement is the priority now. We have to collect everybody who shares and defends democratic principles without bartering them for any material gains.

 

Duma Gives Nod to Referendum Bill
Associated Press, June 3, 2004

The State Duma on Wednesday tentatively approved a government-proposed bill on referenda, which critics have described as backtracking on democracy.
The Duma, controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, voted 343-96 to pass the bill in the first of three required readings.

 

NTV Sends Parfyonov Packing
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, June 3, 2004

Parfyonov was fired for breaking his contract, which required him to "support the policies of the company's leadership," according to the statement signed by NTV general director Nikolai Senkevich.

 

Duma gives first nod to tougher referendum rules
Reuters, June 3, 2004

Opponents say the change to a multi-step procedure for demanding referendums, complicated by tight deadlines, would mean no political or public force would be able to call one - except the Kremlin itself, with its vast administrative reach. Earlier on Wednesday police broke up a protest outside the Duma building in central Moscow, which was called by Communists and the liberal Yabloko party, and detained some of the 100-odd people demonstrating against the new rules.

 

Liberal rally outside Duma turns violent
MosNews, June 2, 2004

The organizers had obtained permission for the demonstration, which totaled about 50 people, a Yabloko source told MosNews. However, police detained four people, including the head of Yabloko's youth organization, Ilya Yashin. One of the detainees was beaten up in a bus on the way to the police precinct, the source told MosNews.

 

NTV fires anchorman Parfyonov over censorship row
Gazeta.ru, June 2, 2004

The move comes just one day after Parfyonov aired an interview with the widow of a former Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, violating orders from the channel's management. Russian Special Forces had reportedly ordered NTV's deputy director Alexander Gerasimov not to air the interview, Russian media reported.

 

Grigory Yavlinsky: courts backed some of YABLOKOís lawsuits on the State Duma elections
Gazeta.ru, May 20, 2004

"...In a number of cases it was proved that we were right and the courts admitted that serious and considerable violations had been committed during the vote-counting,” said Yavlinsky. He also noted that some of the lawsuits are still at trial stage and that appeals are also being considered by courts in a number of cases.

June 2, 2004

Protest action against the new version of the federal constitutional law "On Referenda in the RF"
Press release, June 1, 2004

On Wednesday, June 2, 2004, at 9-45 a.m. the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, the CPRF and human rights and ecological organisations of Moscow will conduct a protest action against the new version of the federal constitutional law "On Referenda in the RF" by the building of the State Duma.

 

On the virtual ban on referenda
The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, Statement, Moscow, May 20, 2004

By making the notification procedures more complex and necessitating the registration of initiative groups 45 times instead of once, associations of citizens that are independent from the authorities are deprived of any chances to appeal for a national vote.

June 1, 2004

"An increase is the number of spy trials, involving human rights activists, is quite possible now."
By Sergei Mitrokhin, IA MiK, May 26, 2004

The first thing I find depressing is the dismal monotony of the President’s state of the nation addresses and the use of a vast number of right words, which are not backed up by deeds.

 

YABLOKO: The Presidentís state of the nation address indicates that nothing will change in Russia over the next four years
Rosbalt, May 26, 2004

“Putin has clearly confirmed the continuity of his plans for a second term where great power statehood will come to the fore, with human rights and democratic freedoms placed on the backburner,” stressed Ivanenko.

 

Sergei Popov: Presidentís State of the Nation Address was interesting, but I listened in fear
Rosbalt, May 26, 2004

"I hope that the provisions of this address will come true, as we all would like affordable housing, the rouble to become a convertible currency and our armed forces to become powerful," said Popov.

 

Evgeni Bunimovich Has Turned 50!
By Grigory Yavlinsky, www.yavlinsky.ru, May 27, 2004

The best Russian poets and writers personify the conscience of the nation. We are happy that poetically you made the right political choice.

 

Cold Citizens Not Warm To Price Reform
By Vladimir Kovalev, St. Petersburg Times, May 28, 2004

Some will say more money is needed to fix the system, and therefore charges must be raised. If I thought the extra money would be well spent, I would have to agree, but my recent experience does not give me any hope.

 

City Says Manezh Can't Be Restored
By Valeria Korchagina, The Moscow Times, May 19, 2004

The nearly 200-year-old architectural gem has long been eyed by city authorities as a prime spot for investment. However, the Manezh is protected by the status of a national architectural monument, and little could be done with it before the fire. The building for decades was a popular exhibition site for the arts.

 
 

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