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Russia Report: June 27, 2002

27 June 2002, Volume 2, Number 21
By Oleg Rodin

Last month marked the second anniversary of the appointment of Sergei Kirienko as presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District. The Nizhnii Novgorod-based telecommunications company, Volga, recently conducted an interactive survey of its viewers, asking them, "How would you evaluate the activities of Sergei Kirienko as presidential envoy?" Only 7.6 percent of respondents viewed his work positively, 46.7 percent viewed it negatively, and the remaining 45.7 percent believed they hadn't really seen his work. "The presidential envoy has not lived up to expectations," Andrei Belyaninov, a local television commentator, declared. "People expected the representative of such a strong president to bring order, but one can say that as of today, the 'introduction of order' in the Volga Federal District means putting loyal people in key positions as heads of oblasts and large cities -- by any means possible," Belyaninov said.

Since coming to Nizhnii Novgorod, Kirienko has been a visible figure on the city's political scene. He speaks at, or is at least present at, nearly all significant events in the region. But his omnipresence gives a false impression of accessibility: It is almost impossible for local journalists to meet with him, for example. The envoy's press center is happy to distribute information via electronic mail or through its website,, but all requests to interview Kirienko or his aides are turned down. Likewise, local officials in the oblast administration, deputies in the oblast's legislature, and high-ranking bureaucrats in law-enforcement agencies also find the envoy's office essentially off-limits. Former local leaders such as Anatolii Kozeradskii, a former chairman of the oblast legislature who now represents the oblast in the Federation Council; Sergei Obozov, a former chairman of the oblast government; Valerii Yevlampiev, director of the oblast's department for external relations for many years; and other well- known personalities from the region's nomenklatura, who now work in the envoy's apparatus, have effectively dropped out of sight. Political analyst Sergei Kocherov noted that: "It is impossible to say that these people do nothing. Some kind of work is going on, but it is difficult to judge how profitable their work is for the region, for example, in terms of attracting investment or support for small or medium-sized businesses, because we do not see any kind of practical results of their activities!"

At first, Kirienko's activities appeared promising. There was talk of economic ventures and that Nizhnii Novgorod would occupy a central place in the development of the Volga Federal District. Kirienko's closest associate, Obozov, talked then about plans to create a holding company of airplane, automobile, ship-building, and electronics enterprises, as well as oil-processing plants and refineries. The plans were huge and impressive, but they were not implemented. "If you're talking about there being more minuses than pluses," said deputy head of the oblast administration Sergei Voronov, "[for example, one minus] is the economic program that Sergei Kirienko brought with him to his post and that has not come to fruition. It is possible to recall his first statement that, 'we will be occupied with attracting investment, searching for additional sources of financing, development money. The office of the envoy will take on economic functions and will create a Foundation for Economic Innovation,' but this project in fact never got off the ground." And objectively, such functions are not part of the envoy's portfolio.

Voronov was not the only local official who expected Kirienko to bring to the city and region some material help and support. As Sergei Abyshev, chairman of the city's legislature, noted: "Everyone believed that Kirienko would bring money to the region, however, financial assistance to the capital of the district has not even been considered. We remain without the desired funds and without an entire series of buildings that have been allocated to the envoy." At first, just a few rooms in the office building for the oblast administration were enough for the envoy and his aides. However, now the office of the presidential representative occupies half of that building, as well as offices in other buildings in the city. As a result, there is a perception among some local officials and residents that the city has lost one of the more useful spaces in the city's Kremlin and central district without receiving tangible results in return.

Some local observers also believe that the office of the presidential envoy should change its status and goals over time, although its chief task at the moment of its creation was the recentralization of power. Former Mayor of Nizhnii Novgorod and oblast legislature deputy Omar Sharadze explained: "With the obvious acceptance of our respected first president, [Boris Yeltsin,] who in general didn't do anything anyway, the governors and the presidents of the regions had decentralized power. Central authority was undermined, and its weakness appears to have been disastrous for the country. Naturally, for the new president there was no other question but how to restore the state."

For political analyst Kocherov, however, Putin's solution to the problem has been problematic. "The office of presidential envoy is dangerous in that it is a new bureaucratic structure built on top of [other] structures.... Moreover, unlike the president, governor, or mayor, who are elected by the population and are responsible [to the electorate], the presidential envoy is just an official nominated by the president, who is not held accountable to the population. We cannot know what the envoy's apparatus is doing nor can we demand an account [of their activities]. Reports of their activities go to the president and presidential administration. The office of the envoy conducts itself like usual bureaucratic structures and keeps increasing the number of its bureaucrats and in this [tendency] resides the chief danger. It is necessary to understand that the office of the presidential envoy is a temporary phenomenon. The president needs to make a political decision at the government level about what to do further with the presidential envoys," Kocherov said.

Aleksandr Tsapin, deputy chairman of Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast's legislature, also believes that more clarity is needed about the envoys and their future. "The main idea is understandable: the recentralization of power. But what is still not clear is whether this structure will remain as a kind of supervisory, information-gathering one, which also weighs in on cadre policy, or whether with time it will be transformed into a mechanism for the complete redivision of all of Russia with seven federal districts overseen by governors-general, who will have more power to make decisions in the federation subjects."

Perhaps in response to this uncertainty, some members of Kirienko's team have already moved on. Leonid Sukhoterin, for example, has already been transferred to Kirov Oblast. And it is often said that Kirienko himself may soon be transferred to Moscow, although no one at an official level will either confirm or deny this possibility. Kocherov figures that it is Kirienko's ambition to return to the post of prime minister or first deputy prime minister. The office of presidential envoy is for Kirienko a temporary one, in which the current president may test Kirienko's loyalty. Kocherov said that, "Kirienko thinks of himself [as] already [being] in Moscow, and that creates a kind of tension between his current situation and his expectations." According to a statement Kirienko himself made a year ago, he and Putin reached an agreement that he would keep his post until the end of Putin's first term. However, in Russian political life, unexpected changes and cadre shifts do sometimes occur.

(Oleg Rodin is a correspondent for RFE/RL based in Nizhnii Novgorod.)

At a press conference on 24 June, President Putin addressed a number of regional issues, Russian media reported. When asked about Moscow's confiscatory policies with regard to donor regions such as Yaroslavl, Putin noted that the "overwhelming majority of regions in Russia are recipients of aid and are economically insolvent." According to Putin, for the past 10 years, these regions "have not paid wages.... Pensions were not paid for months at a time.... Social-benefit payments were not paid at all. They accumulated billions and billions [of rubles] in debts for child benefits and so on, which we are still trying to pay. What other operational decision can be made now other than to redistribute these resources, via the federal center." When asked about routine violations of election laws in the regions and the need to restore voters' faith in democratic institutions, Putin said that legislative improvements should make supervision of elections more effective and that this work on election legislation is already being done. When asked about whether governors have "a moral right" to a third term, Putin said: "This is an age-old question about the relationship of morality and the law. If the Constitutional Court decides that governors have the right [to a third term], then that will mean it is moral." JAC

Kursk Governor Aleksandr Mikhailov told RTR television on 15 June that he considers Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov's leadership style "authoritarian," reported. Referring to the recent expulsion from the party of State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June 2002), Mikhailov noted that, "the events show that presently there are two diseases that are starting to strike the Communist Party of Russia [KPRF]:...the development of orthodoxy and an entrenched authoritarian style of the leadership." He added that the crisis stems not from the party itself but from its leadership. The previous day, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported that the 22 June plenum session of the party's Central Committee promised to be "as turbulent as [recent] sessions" and was likely to be focused on Zyuganov. According to the daily, Ivanovo Governor Viktor Tikhonov has suggested the party hold competitive "primaries" for the party's candidate for the next presidential election. Earlier, Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Governor Gennadii Khodyrev quit the party to protest Seleznev's ouster. And according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta," Seleznev also has the support of Volgograd Oblast legislative Chairman Sergei Mikhailov. In addition, the small KPRF branch in Tyumen Oblast recently announced that it is disbanding and will re-form as a branch of Seleznev's Rossiya movement. JAC

In an interview with "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 19 June, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev commented that the recent suggested revisions of the law on the management of natural resources have provoked anxiety among many federation subjects. He continued that the proposed amendments to the law on underground resources would transfer an entire range of issues to federal jurisdiction, while the regions would only control those minerals that are easy to find on the earth's surface, such as clay, sand, and crushed stone. Last month, President Putin said that, although he believes that both regional and federal governments should benefit from natural resources, the decisive word should belong to the federal government, particularly with regard to the most valuable natural resources (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 May 2002). JAC

Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko has completed a 600-page tome on interbudgetary relations and the administration of regional finances, "Izvestiya" reported on 23 June. According to the daily, Khristenko writes that the Russian budget is plagued by two "ailments." The first one is the inexact demarcation of responsibilities for the regulation and financing of budget services. The second is the unregulated nature of debt policy at the regional and local levels. As a partial solution, Khristenko suggests the adoption of a scheme of "my mandate, my budget" under which, for example, a municipal budget would never receive budget money for the construction of an entertainment center because it would never have the responsibility for spending such a sum. JAC

Five of the largest municipalities in Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast might face bankruptcy and external administration in the near future, reported on 12 June, citing the Kazan-based newspaper "Vremya i dengi." Speaking at a press conference in Nizhnii Novgorod on 10 June, oblast Duma Chairman Yevgenii Lyulin said that the five cities -- Nizhnii Novgorod, Dzerzhinsk, Arzamas, Kstovo, and Bor -- have amassed large and growing debts to the regional energy companies Nizhnovenergo and the Nizhnii Novgorod Heating and Energy Company. Lyulin said the oblast's total debt to the two companies exceeds 2 billion rubles ($606 million). He said that the oblast legislature would take up the matter on 13 June and might recommend that the oblast Audit Chamber investigate the debts. If regional or municipal administrations are found to be responsible, the oblast Duma could ask the oblast administration to proclaim the cities bankrupt and place them under external administration. RC

Incumbent President Leonid Potapov won re-election in Buryatia on 23 June, according to preliminary results that evening, Interfax-Eurasia reported. According to preliminary estimates, Potapov got 68 percent of the vote, compared with 23 percent for his closest rival, State Duma Deputy Bato Semenov (Fatherland-All Russia), RIA-Novosti reported the next day. No second round is required under local law if one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote. Potapov had the backing of the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party, which announced its support for him early in the month. Local observers believed that the Kremlin supported Potapov, noting that when Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko visited Ulan Ude in April, she expressed no criticism of Potapov's policies (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 April 2002). JAC

Prior to the ballot, three of the four independent radio stations in Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, were closed down by State Communications Inspectorate officials because they lacked the proper documents to use radio transmitters and other facilities, reported on 14 June. Although workers at the stations admitted that they did not have all the documents in question, they attributed the stations' closure to the upcoming elections. Around the same time, Potapov filed a defamation suit in a local court against a journalist with the newspaper "Moskovskii komsomolets v Buryatii," Interfax-Eurasia reported on 13 June. According to the agency, the article in question alleged that Potapov's chief challenger, Semenov, had not had the same opportunities to conduct his campaign as Potapov. JAC

Another 150 Meskhetian Turks have joined a hunger strike that was initiated by 26 families in Krasnodar Krai on 20 June, Interfax reported on 24 June. Yusuf Sarvarov, head of the Vatan international community of Meskhetian Turks, told the agency the Turks took this step because they have been deprived of their rights by local authorities to register at their place of residence, to register real-estate contracts, and most recently, they have been refused the right to lease farmland. And on 13 June, around 20 activists from the Vatan party picketed the Prosecutor-General's Office in Moscow, demanding a stop to what they see as the oppression of Meskhetian Turks in the krai. Vatan party head Mukhammed Minachev said that the krai legislature adopted a resolution in February that encroaches on the Turks' civil rights and runs counter to the federal constitution. Meanwhile, the head of the Federal Migration Service, Andrei Chernenko, said on the same day that the situation of the Meskhetian Turks in Russia should be the topic of international discussions, Interfax reported. According to the agency, Chernenko said, "Georgia should fulfill its obligations" and let those who wish return to that country. JAC

Former Krasnoyarsk Aluminum head Anatolii Bykov, who was recently convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and given a suspended sentence, has returned to Krasnoyarsk, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 20 June. In an interview with "Kommersant-Daily" the same day, Bykov dismissed speculation that he plans to run for governor of the krai, saying, "I have said more than once that I will not seek to be governor." However, Georgii Satarov, head of the INDEM Foundation think tank, told Interfax that while Bykov may not run himself, "it is sometimes more advantageous to be the kingmaker than the king." Bykov strongly supported former Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr Lebed during his successful 1998 campaign. Meanwhile, the office of Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov announced that it plans to lodge a complaint about the Moscow court's suspended sentence for Bykov (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 June 2002). JAC

At a meeting with local and federal officials in St. Petersburg over the weekend, President Putin criticized local officials for mismanaging funds allocated for construction and renovation projects in the run-up to St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary in 2003, "The St. Petersburg Times" reported on 11 June. According to the newspaper, developers of 12 of 21 sites have not yet received proper permits, while existing documents show a number of discrepancies regarding project costs and deadlines, as well as the number of architectural objects to be restored. A spokesperson for St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev was quoted by the paper as saying that: "The governor isn't taking Putin's comments as criticism. In fact, he is very happy about the outcome and the fact that the funds will be used more effectively from now on." In a comment on the Center for Political Technologies' website, analyst Sergei Mikheev wrote that presidential envoy to the Northwest Federal District Viktor Cherkesov has decided to audit those enterprises and organs responsible for preparing for the anniversary, which he interpreted as a sign of new pressure on the St. Petersburg administration. JAC

A law on measures to halt illegal migration into Stavropol Krai is awaiting the signature of krai Governor Aleksandr Chernogorov, reported on 20 June. According to the deputy head of the Prosecutor-General's Office in the Southern Federal District, several provisions of the law violate federal legislation and the constitution. For example, Article 5 "specifies the maximum possible number of migrants who can be granted permanent residence each year in Stavropol Krai's population centers," which violates the constitutional guarantee of freedom of movement. Federal Migration Service head Chernenko told the website that no normative acts will be passed in the regions that contradict legislation. However, the website noted that an even stricter law passed in Krasnodar Krai, despite a wave of criticism against Krasnodar Krai Governor Aleksandr Tkachev. JAC

Some 3,000 female Muslim residents of Tatarstan have refused to obtain new Russian passports because they were not allowed to have their photos taken wearing head scarves, Ren TV reported on 13 June. The deputy head of the republic's passport-and-visa office, Sergei Gavrilchik, told the station that Interior Ministry regulations require that the passport photo be in full face without any headgear. However, women in Bashkortostan and Daghestan were reportedly allowed to have their photos taken in accordance with their faith. JAC

Meanwhile, Tatar writer and leader of the Tatar national movement Aidar Khalim told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 12 June that an assault against the Tatar Public Center in Chally last month was part of an attempt to annihilate Tatar national organizations. He said that he is sure the assault was politically motivated. Two of the six people who were wounded during that attack remain hospitalized -- one in serious condition -- according to RFE/RL's Chally correspondent. JAC

"For my generation -- 30-year-olds -- the Internet has a global influence. The hero of my film told us about how after he got a computer at the age of 25, he could no longer lead a normal life. He said: 'I cannot go to the toilet. I cannot go out to my parent's house. I sit here all the time and my need for the Internet grows all the stronger, so that I economize on bread so that I can buy some new hardware for my computer.' He was a completely regular fellow...when we filmed him, we got the sense that he was in principle not fully in control of himself or his own emotions. He simply wasn't living. The second situation that we discovered occurred in a real family. I had known them a long time, and all was well: a 25-year-old husband and wife around the same age, a child about 1 year old. The situation was absolutely normal and friendly. But then at one point the husband said: 'I have found a virtual wife. Forgive me, dear, but I need to go to her.' He left them, went somewhere to either Kyiv or Moscow. Then he nevertheless returned, saying that no, it was simply a mistake, and for humane reasons she took him back. But after a month, he said, 'I have found still another virtual wife, but this time everything will be perfect' and left again. The problem is that this person was absolutely normal. I knew him for a long time, but he started to feel all of a sudden like some kind of Don Juan. As I began to dig further, I found that this was not the only case, but this is a fairly normal occurrence."

(Nadezhda Bolshakova, director of a documentary film on Internet addiction, interviewed by RFE/RL's St. Petersburg correspondent on the "New Russian Voice" on 11 June 2002.)

As the State Duma approaches the end of its spring session, deputies worked at a brisk pace to send bills considered high-priority by the government on to the Federation Council. And several key pieces of legislation, such as the laws on the sale of agricultural land, political extremism, and alternative civil service, moved closer to final passage. On 21 June, deputies approved in its second reading a bill regulating the sale of agricultural land. The bill passed with 245 votes in favor, 150 against, and three abstentions, according to RIA-Novosti. This version of the bill bans the sale of agricultural land to foreigners and to firms in which foreigners hold a majority stake. Foreigners may instead lease such land for a period of up to 49 years. Also, under the new version of the bill, regions are allowed to determine independently the limits on how much agricultural land may be held by one individual or firm as long as the limit is not less than 10 percent, according to In the first reading, that limit was set at 35 percent, but a working group on the bill recommended 10 percent and the government agreed, according to "Kommersant-Daily" on 22 June. JAC

On 19 June, Duma deputies adopted a government-sponsored bill on alternative military service in its second reading. If adopted unchanged, the bill will make the length of alternative service 3 1/2 years at a civilian facility or three years at a military facility. Those with higher education would have to serve only 22 months, according to Interfax. The vote was 274 in favor and three opposed, the agency reported. Pro-Kremlin centrist factions were able to block most of the more than 300 amendments that were proposed after the first reading of the bill, mostly by deputies from Yabloko and the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS). Deputy SPS head Aleksandr Barranikov introduced one amendment that would have reduced the term of alternative military service to 2 1/2 years; however, that amendment attracted only 71 votes. Displeased with the final results after the more than four hours of debate, Barranikov declared, "The military lobby won." JAC

Also on 19 June, deputies approved a bill in its third reading that will allot each legislator as many as 40 assistants, reported, citing RIA-Novosti. President Putin earlier vetoed a bill allowing deputies up to 50 aides. The voting was unanimous, with 370 votes cast in favor. The next day, deputies approved a law on financial support for agricultural workers in its third reading and a bill on bankruptcy in its second reading. The vote on the former was 364 in favor with none opposing or abstaining, according to ITAR-TASS. Under the bill, the legal terms and conditions are established for restructuring the debts of agricultural producers to improve their financial situation before a bankruptcy procedure is initiated. The vote on the bankruptcy bill was 288 in favor, with 82 opposed, and no abstentions, ITAR-TASS reported. The new law holds the owners of a company responsible for bankruptcy, rather than allowing them to hide behind formal structures that hold its debts, according to Duma Property Committee Chairman Viktor Pleskachevskii (Unity). The new law also includes provisions introducing the concept of binding arbitration to settle disputes without formally entering the bankruptcy process. JAC

Deputies on 21 June adopted in its third reading a law governing the status of foreigners in Russia, RosBalt reported the same day. The law regulates the status of all foreigners living and conducting business within the Russian Federation. It forbids foreigners from moving or traveling outside the regions they have permission to visit without first receiving state permission. It permits the government to establish a list of places that foreigners must obtain special permission to visit, and it authorizes the government to create and maintain a database of foreigners living in the country. RC

The Duma voted on 14 June to adopt a new Arbitration Procedure Code in its third and final reading, ITAR-TASS reported. The bill is part of a larger effort to reform Russia's legal system and regulates the procedure for resolving conflicts in the economic and business spheres. Valerii Vorotnikov (People's Deputy), deputy chairman of the Duma's Legislation Committee, said that one of the bill's innovations is that it includes a mechanism for settling a conflict outside of the courts with the assistance of a mediator. Also approved in the third and final readings on 14 June were amendments to the law on state symbols, which make the state flag and state coat of arms the symbols for the executive and legislative organs of all federation subjects, regional courts, and municipal organs. JAC


Name of law__________Date approved__________________# of reading

On trade in agricultural_____21 June_______________________2nd

On the legal status of_______21 June_____________________3rd
of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation

On bankruptcy_______________20 June_________________2nd

On the prevention of____________20 June__________________2nd
extremist activities

On the improvement of _____________20 June________________3rd
financial support for agricultural producers

On alternative military service_______19 June___________________2nd

On the status of members of_________19 June_______________ conciliation
of Federation Council and State Duma deputies________________version

Arbitration Procedural_____________14 June____________________3rd

On state symbols__________________14 June___________________3rd

NABBED: Officials of the Moscow Main Directorate for Criminal Investigations of the Interior Ministry have arrested Larisa Serebryannikova, a former staff member of the presidential administration, reported on 19 June. She is wanted in Lithuania on charges of massive fraud. Presidential Press Secretary Viktor Khrekov confirmed that Serebryannikova had worked in his office and added that she was fired at the beginning of the year

IN: Marat Gelman, gallery owner and political image-maker, has been appointed as deputy general director for Russian Public Television, news agencies reported on 18 June. Gelman told "Moskovskii komsomolets" that he will be in charge of political analysis and public relations at the station. RFE/RL media analyst Anna Kachkaeva told "The Moscow Times" that Gelman's appointment is a sign that Russian television channels are starting to get ready for President Putin's re-election in 2004.

OUT: Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov dismissed Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Chernukhin in connection with "his transfer to other work," "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 17 June. Chernukhin, a former Vneshekonombank deputy chairman, was appointed in May 2000

IN: Garegin Tosunyan, former president of the defunct Tokobank, has been elected the new president of the Russian Banking Association following the resignation of Sergei Yegorov, who had headed the influential group for some 10 years, "Moskovskii komsomolets" reported on 20 June.

26-28 June: Group of Seven summit to be held in Canada

27 June: The interregional association, Siberian Accord, will hold a joint session with the council of the Siberian Federal District in Kemerovo

27-30 June: International festival of shamans will take place on the Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal

30 June: State Duma will hold its last plenary meeting of spring session

1 July: Russia will complete its withdrawal from the military base at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam

1 July: New Criminal Procedure Code comes into effect

1-2 July: World Congress of Russian Jewry will open in Moscow

8-14 July: Russian Arms Expo will be held in Nizhnii Tagil

5 July: A State Council working group on the problems of the coal sector, led by Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev, will meet in Moscow

13 July: The presidium of the political council of Gennadii Seleznev's Rossiya movement will meet to consider its future strategy

29 June: Government commission for the investigation of the sinking of the Kursk submarine will meet for its last time, according to "Izvestiya" on 20 June

30 July: State Council will meet to discuss state youth policy up to the year 2012, according to ITAR-TASS on 17 June

1 August: Russia's first full-scale facility for the destruction of chemical weapons will be launched in Gornyi in Saratov Oblast, according to presidential envoy Sergei Kirienko

12 August: Second anniversary of the sinking of the Kursk submarine

26 August: Government will submit a draft 2003 budget to the State Duma, according to Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin on 6 June

September: Dalai Lama will visit the republics of Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia, according to Kalmykia President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov on 11 June

September: Symposium and investment fair for atomic-power plants to take place in Vladivostok

1 September: Deadline by which heads of regional branches of the Union of Rightist Forces must submit names of candidates for single-mandate districts in the 2003 State Duma elections, according to

10-11 September: The fourth annual conference of the regional administrations of countries in Northeast Asia will take place in Khabarovsk

14-23 September: The World Association of Female Entrepreneurs will hold its 50th international congress in St. Petersburg

15 September: Mayoral elections will be held in Nizhnii Novgorod

18 September: First plenary meeting of State Duma's fall session

26-27 September: Association of Election Organizers from the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe will hold a special conference in Moscow, according to "Izvestiya" on 17 June

29 September: By-election in single-mandate district in Omsk Oblast for State Duma seat formerly occupied by Aleksandr Vereteno, who died in April

7 October: CIS summit to be held in Chisinau, Moldova, according to Interfax on 13 May

20 October: By-election in single-mandate district in Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug for State Duma seat once occupied by Aleksandr Lotorev, who now directs the Duma's apparatus.