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Russia Report: January 5, 2000

5 January 2000, Volume 2, Number 1
Reacting to the news that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had been elevated to acting president, Novgorod Governor Mikhail Prusak on 31 December expressed his hope that Putin would eventually be elected president. Prusak, who is a member of Our Home is Russia which refused to form a coalition with the pro-Kremlin movement Unity, called Putin a "decisive, strong person who will change much in our country." On the same day, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev noted that the "timing is perfect for transferring presidential powers in their totality to the prime minister." Anticipating that Putin -- if elected -- might pursue a different policy vis a vis the regions than his predecessor, Shaimiev rejected the desirability of revising the power-sharing treaties between the federal center and certain regions, noting that "stability in society would suffer." He added that the treaties work and have proven their viability, according to ITAR-TASS. JAC

Igor Bunin, head of the Center for Political Technologies, told Reuters that when Putin was put in charge of the Kremlin's relations with regions at the Control Department around 1997 he gained a reputation as "one of those radical bureaucrats who took an extremely tough line against regional barons." RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 4 January that newspapers and television media in Tatarstan are assuming that Putin will limit the freedoms of both Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. JAC

"Vedomosti" reported on 24 December that at a government session the previous day, then Prime Minister Putin expressed his fears over unpaid debts owed by some regions to international creditors, and recalled the unfortunate history of German credits extended to Russian industry that were never repaid and resulted in a freeze of financing for the entire country. According to the daily, the Putin government wants to increase government regulations and control over regional authorities' ability to find external financing and is considering the introduction of amendments to the Budget Code. Now around 30 regions have failed to repay credits for which the federal government is liable, according to Ministry of Finance data, the daily reported. JAC

Tax Minister Aleksandr Pochinok announced on 22 December that Tatneft and Bashneft are in danger of losing their access to oil export pipelines because of their failure to pay their federal tax debts. According to Pochinok, the two companies have together amassed federal tax debts of 5.3 billion rubles ($200 million). Six days later, Tatarstan President Shaimiev labeled Pochinok's threat a "a form of pressure," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported; the republic's tax service claims that Tatneft has been paying its federal taxes on time since August 1999. Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute for Problems of Globalization, was more blunt, telling "Vedomosti" on 27 December that the tax ministry's threats are part of a "political game." That daily also reported that the Tax Ministry has threatened to initiate criminal proceedings against republic officials in Bashkortostan because the republic owes the treasury some 365 million rubles ($13.5 million) of VAT revenues. Delyagin noted that "Bashkortostan is hardly the most undisciplined region" and that there are other regions which owe more money, such as the Republic of Kalmykia but "its leadership made the right political choice." Shaimiev and Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov are founding members of All Russia. JAC

Soon after Unity's apparent election victory over the Fatherland-All Russia (OVR) alliance in State Duma elections on 19 December, reports that OVR was splitting began to proliferate. Interfax reported on 22 December that at a meeting with Prime Minister Putin that day, founding members of All Russia such as Tatarstan President Shaimiev, Bashkortostan President Rakhimov, St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev and Mordovia head Nikolai Merkushkin all pledged their support for Putin's government. According to the agency, Shaimiev said that All Russia would set up its own group within the Duma. The same day, Fatherland head Yurii Luzhkov announced that the Fatherland-All Russia (OVR) alliance will establish a faction of the same name in the Duma as well as two parliamentary groups. OVR council member Andrei Isaev explained that the one group would represent the interests of regions while the other would represent the interests of farmers. "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 23 December that OVR leader Yevgenii Primakov persuaded All Russia's regional leaders to make their departure from OVR a "friendly" one by forming an independent group rather than splitting off formally. Regarding Primakov, the daily reported that Yaroslavl Governor Anatolii Lisitsyn, who had been active in OVR until recently, declared soon after the elections "We are governors and therefore we are pragmatists. We will never support a presidential candidate who would get a meager 10 percent or so..." JAC

The Sverdlovsk regional branch of Our Home is Russia (NDR) announced on 29 December that it supports the idea of creating an election bloc called Urals Unity (Uralskoe edinstvo), Rosbizneskonsulting reported. In Duma elections, two of the deputies elected in single mandate districts in the oblast were aligned with NDR. In other Urals regions, only one other NDR candidate was successful, but of the total 17 Urals region deputies elected, nine ran as independent candidates (see table below.) NDR's announcement followed a report the previous day that all five of Sverdlovsk Oblast's deputies along with three deputies from Chelyabinsk and Tyumen Oblasts (the latter region is not traditionally considered part of the Urals) hope to establish a Urals faction as had been suggested by Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel earlier. That idea was also supported by leaders in the Urals interregional economic association during one of their meetings last September. A minimum of thirty-five deputies are needed to form a deputies' group. JAC

Novosibirsk Governor Vitalii Mukha and Moscow Oblast Governor Anatolii Tyazhlov failed to even quality for the second round of voting in their attempts to win re-election on 19 December. The second round for those regions will take place on 9 January. Novosibirsk Mayor Viktor Tolkonskii and Deputy Economics Minister Ivan Starikov will vie for control of that Siberian region, while Chairman of the old State Duma Gennadii Seleznev (Communist) will compete against former Duma Deputy Boris Gromov (OVR). Tolkonskii, who is considered close to business magnate Boris Berezovskii, captured more votes than Starikov in the first round. JAC

Orenburg Governor Vladimir Elagin lost the second round of gubernatorial elections on 27 December. With most of the votes counted, Aleksei Chernyshev, State Duma Deputy (Communist), had won almost 53 percent of the vote compared with Elagin's 43 percent. According to "Izvestiya" on 28 December, Chernyshev has a long history of work on agricultural policy, having chaired the committee on those issues in the last Duma. Also on 27 December, Tambov Governor Aleksandr Ryabov was defeated in a run-off election by Oleg Betin, President Yeltsin's representative to the region. Betin was supported by Unity. Betin captured some 50 percent of the votes compared with Ryabov's 43 percent. According to "Izvestiya," Unity leader Sergei Shoigu supported Vetin during a visit to the region. Ryabov's defeat creates a vacancy at the helm of the committee for security and defense issues within the Federation Council. JAC

Tver Governor Vladimir Platov won the second round of elections for control of his oblast, while Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko, Yaroslavl Governor Anatolii Lisitsyn and Volgograd Governor Vyacheslav Pozgalev won their re-election bids during the first round of elections, also on 19 December. "Kommersant-Daily" suggested on 21 December that Lisitsyn and Pozgalev owe their victories to their strategy of not challenging key business interests in their regions. Nazdratenko's key rival in that race, Primorskii Shipping Director Aleksandr Kirilichev, who had been expected to win enough support that a second round would be necessary, accused Nazdratenko and his supporters of rigging the election results. He said that in Vladivostok in particular "multiple, flagrant violations of the law" occurred and that he is planning to challenge the results with the office of the Prosecutor-General and Supreme Court. "Vremya MN" noted on 20 December that Nazdratenko's decisive victory became possible after two popular members of the krai's political opposition, former Vladivostok Mayor Viktor Cherepkov and State Duma Deputy Svetlana Orlova, dropped out of the race. JAC

Although international election monitors gave the State Duma elections their stamp of approval (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 December 1999), a number of officials of various parties alleged that violations of election law took place in a number of regions. For example, Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov announced that he has reports on violations of election regulations in the republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan and in Samara, Saratov and Kursk Oblasts, while a former State Duma deputy from Bashkortostan Aleksandr Arinin told Russian Television that a serious violation of federal election laws occurred in Bashkortostan with the consent of local officials. Meanwhile, local Yabloko officials charged that a number of violations of election rules occurred in Khabarovsk Krai. JAC

Voters in Vladivostok failed on 19 December for the seventeenth time to turn out in sufficient numbers to establish a city Duma. Results were declared valid in five of 14 districts, which means that another 5 legislators can be added to the eight Duma members elected on 17 January 1999; however, this remains an insufficient number for the legislative assembly to begin its work, according to ITAR-TASS. JAC

A second round of voting for State Duma deputies will be held on 19 March in eight single-mandate districts where the majority of the electorate voted against all of the candidates on the ballot. These districts were located in Primorskii Krai, Sverdlovsk, Leningrad, Kamchatka and Moscow Oblasts, and the city of St. Petersburg. Elections in Chechnya have not been scheduled. JAC

Duma Deputies in Single-Mandate Districts. The following table lists the winners in single-mandate districts in the State Duma elections held on 19 December. Their party affiliation is listed in parentheses. JAC

Adygei Grigorii Senin (KPRF)

Aginskii-Buryatskii Iosif Kobzon (independent)

Altai Krai Vladimir Ryzhkov (NDR), Zoya Vorontsova (KPRF), Nikolai Gerasimenko (independent), Ivan Aparin (KPRF)

Altai Republic Mikhail Lapshin (OVR)

Amur Leonid Korotkov (KPRF)

Arkhangelsk Aleksandr Piskunov (OVR), Vitalii Predybailov (independent)

Astrakhan Oleg Shein (independent)

Bashkortostan Ragib Gimaev (OVR), Robert Nigmatulin (independent), Vladimir Pevtsov (NDR), Khalil Barlybaev (OVR), Midkhat Khakimov (OVR)

Belgorod Nikolai Ryzhkov (independent), Andrei Skoch (independent)

Bryansk Vasilii Shandybin (KPRF), Petr Rogonov (KPRF)

Buryatia Bato Semenov (OVR)

Chelyabinsk Petr Svechnikov (KPRF), Mikhail Yurevich (independent), Mikhail Grishankov, Aleksandr Chershintsev (independent), Valerii Gartung (independent)

Chita Yaroslav Shvyryaev (independent), Viktor Boitenko (independent)

Chukotka Roman Abramovich (independent)

Chuvashia Valentin Shurchanov (KPRF), Anatolii Aksakov

Dagestan Gadzhimurad Omarov (independent), Gadzhi Makhachev (Bloc of General Andrei Nikolaev and Academician Svyatoslav Fedorov)

Evenk Gennadii Druzhinin (independent)

Ingushetia Mikhail Gutseriev (LDPR)

Ivanovo Tatyana Yakovleva (Unity), Vladmir Tikhonov (KPRF)

Irkutsk Konstantin Zaitsev (independent), Vitalii Shuba (OVR), Yurii Ten (NDR), Sergei Kolesnikov (independent)

Jewish Autonomous Oblast Serge Shtogrin (KPRF)

Kaliningrad Vladmir Nikitin (independent)

Kaluga Pavel Burdukov (KPRF), Vyacheslav Boiko (KPRF)

Kalmykia Aleksandra Burataeva (Unity)

Karachaevo-Cherkessia Boris Berezovskii (independent)

Karbardino-Balkaria Vladimir Sokhov (incumbent)

Karelia Valentina Pivnenko (independent)

Kemerovo Petr Rubezhanskii (Unity), Ivan Ivlev (Unity), Sergei Neverov (independent), Nina Ostanina (KPRF)

Khabarovsk Vyacheslav Shport (independent), Boris Reznik (independent)

Khanty-Mantsi Aleksandr Ryazanov (independent), Aleksandr Lotorev (independent)

Khakassia Georgii Maitakov (independent)

Kirov Nikolai Shaklein (independent), Nikolai Kiselev (independent)

Komi Valerii Markov (independent)

Komi-Permyatskii Andrei Klimov (independent)

Koryak Rafael Gimalov (independent)

Kostroma Adrian Puzanovskii (independent)

Krasnodar Vladimir Pashuto (KPRF), Aleksandr Burulko (KPRF), Igor Khankoev (independent), Sergei Shishkarev (independent), Oleg Mashchenko (independent), Aleksandr Tkachev (KPRF), Vitalii Sevastyanov (KPRF)

Krasnoyarsk Sergei Generalov (independent), Aleksandr Klyukin (independent), Petr Romanov (KPRF), Valerii Zubov (independent)

Kurgan Nikolai Bezborodov (independent)

Kursk Nikolai Ivanov (KPRF), Aleksandr Chetverikov (independent)

Leningrad Aleksandr Shimanov (Party of Pensioners), Nikolai Botka (Unity)

Lipetsk Vladimir Toporkov (KPRF), Lev Yarkin (independent)

Magadan Vladimir Butkeev (independent)

Marii El Ivan Kazanov (KPRF)

Mordovia Viktor Grishin (OVR)

Moscow city Valerii Draganov (OVR), Sergei Shirokov (OVR), Valerii Grebennikov (OVR), Vladimir Lysenko (independent), Igor Lisinenko (OVR), Georgii Boos (OVR), Andrei Nikolaev (Bloc of Andrei Nikolaev and Academician Svyatoslav Federov), Valerii Ryazanskii (OVR), Aleksandr Zhukov (OVR), Aleksandr Shokhin (independent), Mikhail Zadornov (Yabloko), Nikolai Gonchar (independent), Pavel Medvedev (independent), Sergei Shokhin (OVR), Nikolai Kovalev (OVR)

Moscow Oblast Valerii Galchenko (independent), Martin Shakkum (OVR), German Titov (KPRF), Yurii Lipatov (OVR), Vladimir Pekarev (independent), Vladimir Bryntsalov (Russian Socialist Party), Maksim Vasiliev (OVR), Svetlana Savitskaya (KPRF), Georgii Tikhonov (independent)

Murmansk Gennadii Luzin (independent), Vladmir Gusenkov (independent)

Nenets Artur Chilingarov (OVR)

Nizhnii Novgorod Boris Nemtsov (SPS), Ivan Nikitchuk (KPRF), Gennadii Khodyrev (KPRF), Vadim Bulavinov (independent), Nikolai Kosterin (independent), Dmitrii Savelev (independent)

North Ossetia Anatolii Chekhoev (KPRF)

Novgorod Evgenii Zelenov (independent)

Novosibirsk Nikolai Kharitonov (KPRF), Galina Strelchenko (Unity), Aleksandr Karelin (Unity), Lyubov Shvets (KPRF)

Omsk Aleksandr Podgurskii, Oleg Smolin (KPRF), Aleksandr Veretano (independent)

Orenburg Rem Khramov (independent), Yurii Nikiforenko (KPRF), Vladimir Volkov (independent)

Orel Aleksandr Labeikin (KPRF)

Penza Igor Rudenskii (OVR), Viktor Ilyukhin (Movement to Support the Army)

Perm Valentina Savostyanova (independent), Sergei Chikulaev (OVR), Pavel Anokhin (independent), Viktor Pokhmelkin (SPS)

Primore Vladimir Grishukov (KPRF), Svetlana Goryacheva (KPRF)

Pskov Mikhail Kuznetsov (independent)

Rostov Vladimir Averchenko (independent), Viktor Topilin (independent), Boris Danchenko (KPRF), Nikolai Kolomeitzev (KPRF), Mikhail Emelyanov (Yabloko), Vladimir Grebenyuk (independent), Vladimir Katalnikov (independent)

Ryazan Nadezhda Korneeva (KPRF), Vyacheslav Olenev (independent)

St. Petersburg Yurii Rybakov (SPS), Irina Khakamada (SPS), Valentina Ivanova (OVR, Sergei Stepashin (Yabloko), Petr Shelishch (independent), Sergei Popov (Yabloko), Oksana Dmitrieva (OVR)

Samara Valentin Romanov (KPRF), Vera Lekareva (SPS), Aleksandr Belousov (independent), Vladimir Mokrii (independent), Anatolii Ivanov (independent)

Saratov Nikolai Sukhoi (OVR), Oleg Korgunov (NDR), Valerii Rashkin (KPRF), Sergei Afanasiev (KPRF)

Sakha Vitalii Vasygysov (independent)

Sakhalin Ivan Zhdakaev (KPRF)

Smolensk Dmitrii Abramenkov (KPRF), Anatolii Lukyanov (KPRF)

Stavropol Ivan Meshcherin (KPRF), Vladimir Katrenko (KPRF), Anatolii Kulikov (independent), Vasilii Iver (KPRF)

Sverdlovsk Svetlana Gvozdeva (NDR), Georgii Leontev (independent) Valerii Yazev (NDR), Zelimkhan Mutsoev (independent), Valerii Vorotnikov (Spiritual Heritage)

Taimyr Nikolai Piskun (NDR)

Tambov Aleksei Ponomarev (KPRF), Tamara Pletneva (KPRF)

Tatarstan Fandas Safiullin (OVR), Oleg Morozov (OVR), Salimkhan Akhmetkhanov (independent), Flyura Ziyatdinova (OVR), Sergei Shashurin (Russian National Union)

Tomsk Yegor Ligachev (independent)

Tula Anatolii Artemiev (KPRF), Aleksandr Korzhakov (independent), Ivan Khudyakov (KPRF)

Tver Vyacheslav Zorkin (KPRF), Tatyana Astrakhankina (KPRF)

Tyva Nikolai Loktionov (Unity)

Tyumen Yurii Konev (NDR), Gennadii Raikov (independent)

Udmurtia Yurii Maslyukov (KPRF), Svetlana Smirnova (independent)

Ulyanovsk Anatolii Golubkov (OVR), Vadim Orlov (independent)

Ust-Ordinskii Buryatskii Valerii Kuzin (independent)

Vladimir Gennadii Churkin (independent), Viktor Pautov (KPRF)

Volgograd Aleksandr Kulikov (KPRF), Vasilii Galushkin (independent) Vladimir Plotnikov (Agrarian), Evgenii Ishchenko (independent)

Vologda Valentin Chaika (independent), Aleksandr Orgolainen (independent)

Voronezh Dmitrii Rogozin (Congress of Russian Communities), Ruslan Gostev (KPRF), Nikolai Olshanskii (independent), Georgii Kostin (Movement to Support the Army)

Yamalo-Nenets Viktor Chernomyrdin (NDR)

Yaroslavl Sergei Sagidullin (independent), Anatolii Greshnevikov (Russian National Union)

Source: "Parlamentskaya gazeta"