I think that the appointments made today by the President clearly demonstrate
how the President is establishing his priorities.
Let me first talk about the creation of a special committee for the
control of narcotics. I think that this is the most important problem
for the country: so many people have over the past 15 years personally
experienced the sorrow of such a catastrophe and seen how drugs can
break up families and destroy peoples’ lives, especially the lives of
the young. In many Russian regions, the Urals, and Siberia this has
become a scourge both in schools and different children's institutions,
and the emphasis placed by the President on this problem - his appointment
of a high-ranking official and the creation of a special department
for this task- shows that this is a priority in domestic policy, and
that this is the correct direction.
The second direction - is the establishment of a committee for military
orders and the establishment under the Defence Ministry of the main
client for military orders for conventional weapons. I think that this
is a good sign for the military industry, as it demonstrates that state
payments will be duly performed, the state will pay more attention to
implementation of its obligations and the army will have an opportunity
to end modernisation on time.
In general it should be stated that such changes as the changes in
the Border Service, and those connected with FAPSI (the Federal Agency
for Government Communications and Information), its abolition and partial
transfer to the FSB (the Federal Security Agency) and partially to the
Defence Ministry - these are initially changes in staff which on their
own produce little change, while the identification of such priorities
– the [fight against] narcotics, the military order, more efficient
work of the FSB, more efficient work of the Federal Border Guards -
all this demonstrates that the priorities formulated by the President
correspond with demands today.
We believe this is extremely important, provided that such work in
the regions is really carried out and people in the regions feel the
changes related to a reduction in the distribution of drugs. We are
interested in seeing how industry will be revived, including the military
order, how efficient the border guard service will be, how the efficiency
of all ministries and departments engaged in the anti-terror campaign
may rise, especially in the situation which may develop after the referendum.
All this can have a positive impact. Subsequent developments will demonstrate
the efficiency of these steps.
This may have a positive impact, provided that this means the onset
of fully-fledged reform.
The appointment of Valentina Matviyenko is probably a prologue to the
gubernatorial elections in St. Petersburg, and there is nothing unexpected
in such an appointment. During the previous gubernatorial elections
[in St. Petersburg] the President demonstrated his interest in this
city. I think that the appointment of Valentina Matviyenko will improve
preparations for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.
She is a responsible and serious individual, with extensive government
experience, and St. Petersburg will only benefit from her work there.
President Reshuffles the Security
Agencies. By Andrei Zolotov Jr.The Moscow Times. March 12, 2003.