TODAY'S NEWS FROM RUSSIA
FSB PAYS REWARD FOR MASKHADOV INFO
MOSCOW. March 15 (Interfax) - The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has paid its promised reward to several people who provided information on the whereabouts of Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov. "Citizens possessing the necessary information contacted the FSB after it announced a $10 million reward for information on the whereabouts of terrorist leaders in September 2004. This information helped establish the whereabouts of international terrorist and guerrilla leader of the Chechen republic Aslan Maskhadov and carry out this operation," the FSB said in a press release circulated on Tuesday.
PUTIN: IT IS NECESSARY TO CEASE ATTEMPTS TO PERVERT TRUTH ABOUT WWII
MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has forwarded his greetings to participants and guests of the international scientific conference "War. People. Victory." dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. "Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe mankind again turns to its lessons and cooperation experience within the anti-Hitler coalition and tries to comprehend the sources of Nazi aggression. We should know and keep the truth about the most horrible war in history and cease all attempts to pervert or forge this truth. The unbiased work of scholars who have been collecting evidence about those years based on real facts. This honest and objective position is important today when the world faces the threat of terrorism and propaganda of violence and inter-ethnic and inter-religious discord," reads Vladimir Putin's message.
LEGISLATIVE BARRIER TO PROPAGANDA OF NAZISM
ST. PETERSBURG, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - The international parliamentary conference, devoted to the 60th anniversary of the victory of the anti-Hitler coalition in the Second World War (1939-1945), will be held at the historical Tavrichesky Palace of St. Petersburg on April 15. As the press service of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly (MPA CIS) reported, it is expected that chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Rene van der Linden, chairman of the Assembly of the West European Union Stef Goris, UN Permanent Coordinator in the Russian Federation Stefan Vasilev, and the chairmen of both chambers of the Russian parliament - of the upper - Sergei Mironov, and of the lower - Boris Gryzlov will participate in the plenary meeting of the conference. Three sections will work within the conference. One of them is devoted to unification of the democratic forces in the struggle against the threat of revival of Nazism. The theme of the second section is The Struggle against International Terrorism: Ways of Interaction. It is planned to discuss the role of interparliamentary cooperation in reacting to the future challenges to international security and democracy in the course of the work of the third section. Documents in which it is planned to formulate legislative methods of struggle against propaganda of Nazism, racial hostility, political and religious extremism and Nazi symbols, as well as insurance of social protection of the second world war veterans and prevention of their discrimination abroad will be adopted following the work of the conference. The MPA CIS jointly with PACE with the participation of the Assembly of the West European Union, the Nordic Council, the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Cooperation, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Paliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia are the organizers of the forum.
LAVROV: VICTORY DAY CELEBRATIONS NOT TO CAUSE CONFRONTATION
MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - The 60th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany (1941-1945) should not cause confrontation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the international research conference entitled "War. People. Victory." in Moscow on Tuesday.
"Nobody should pay old scores and recollect old offences," he noted. It is symbolic that the UN proclaimed March 8 and 9 the days of commemoration and reconciliation on Russia's initiative, Mr. Lavrov added.
"The forthcoming holiday should promote the unification of all countries and nations. A special summit involving about 60 heads of state and government will be held in Moscow on May 9," the minister emphasized. According to him, the war was the greatest tragedy for all nations, no matter whose side their countries were fighting at. "We should not shift moral guidelines while assessing the results of the war. Historians should tell the truth about this tragedy but it should not be a subject of political speculations," Mr. Lavrov said.
LEBANON SHOULD HANDLE HEZBOLLAH DISARMAMENT INDEPENDENTLY
MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Lebanon should solve the problem of disarmament of the military wing of the Hezbollah movement and other armed units in Lebanon independently, through a quiet dialog, said official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko. "As regards the disarmament of irregular units, it is above all up to the people of Lebanon to decide. This process will certainly take time and the related delicate questions should be settled by the Lebanese through a quiet dialog in the spirit of national accord and reconciliation," Mr. Yakovenko noted commenting on the participation of Hezbollah representatives in the recent massive rally in Beirut. The spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry recalled that Hezbollah is an influential force represented in the parliament and taking part in political, economic and social life within the framework of the present constitution of Lebanon. "Simultaneously, Hezbollah has a paramilitary wing," the Russian diplomat noted. "A provision of UN Security Council's Resolution 1559 implies the disarmament of all the Lebanese and non-Lebanese irregular armed units, above all, Hezbollah and the Palestinian organizations based in refugee camps", Alexander Yakovenko said. According to him, Russia has often stressed that the resolution of the UN Security Council and its other decisions on the Middle East, such as Resolutions 242 and 338, should be implemented. "The withdrawal of the Syrian troops, as Resolution 1559 says, has already begun," Mr. Alexander Yakovenko added.
STATEMENT BY ALEXANDER YAKOVENKO, THE SPOKESMAN OF RUSSIA'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, CONCERNING THE ADOPTION OF AN ANTI-SECESSION LAW BY THE CHINESE PARLIAMENT
MOSCOW. March 14 (Press release of MFA of Russia) - On March 14, 2005, a session of the National People's Congress passed a Law Against Activities to Split the Country, dedicated, to judge by its contents, to ways and means for solving the "Taiwan question." Russia has been invariably adhering to a principled position in this matter. We consider that there exists in the world only one China, of which Taiwan is an integral part. Based on this, we are opposed to Taiwan's independence in any form, and do not accept the concepts of "two Chinas" or "one China and one Taiwan." The Russian side regards the "Taiwan question" as an internal matter of China. We treat with understanding the motives, which induced the National People's Congress to adopt the law in question. It is very important that the law confirms the main assumption of the PRC government - the absolute priority of peaceful unification methods within the framework of the "one country, two systems" policy - and declares readiness to show the utmost goodwill for the sake of this. An early arrival by the sides at a mutually acceptable solution of the "Taiwan problem" would correspond both to the basic interests of the Chinese living on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and to the aims of strengthening peace and stability throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
UNITED RUSSIA MEMBER APPLAUDS PUTIN'S ACTIVITY
MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - Secretary of the Presidium of United Russia's General Council Valery Bogomolov positively assessed President Vladimir Putin's activity after re-election for the second term a year ago. "Despite all the criticism, the past year was, in my opinion, quite successful and productive from the point of view of both external and internal policy," Bogomolov told a news conference at Interfax's main office on Monday. Commenting on criticism against Putin, he said that "the president cannot be responsible for all that other bureaucrats do." "It's not a good thing to look at the president when something goes wrong. All must perform their duties properly," Bogomolov said.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONDEMNS SOME MEDIA STATEMENTS ABOUT MASKHADOV
MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - Statements that it was possible to achieve agreements with Aslan Maskhadov are blasphemous, to say the least, reads the Russian Foreign Ministry's commentary on the numerous media statements on Maskhadov's elimination. Moscow follows all commentaries on the elimination of this international terrorism leader as a result of a special operation. Some journalists grieve for Maskhadov calling him a moderate separatist leader and the only person with whom it was possible to discuss peaceful settlement in Chechnya, the Foreign Ministry stressed. The ministry disagrees with this position. "Political settlement is already in progress in the Chechen Republic. Chechnya adopted the Constitution, elected the President and is getting ready for parliamentary elections. A large-scale program of socio-economic recovery has been launched. Everyone who strives for political settlement has a real opportunity to join this process," the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. Those who believe that it was possible to hold negotiations with Aslan Maskhadov should recollect his role in the Nord Ost and Beslan tragedies. "Video proofs of Maskhadov's plans to perpetrate new bloody terrorist acts have been made public," the ministry emphasized. According to the Foreign Ministry, in 1996 when the Khasavyurt decisions were made "we saw territorial armed conflicts between separate gangs; after that these gangs decided to establish a caliphate from the Black to Caspian Seas and invaded Dagestan." "At that time Maskhadov was the president. It means that Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov had much in common. Basayev said on TV that he fulfilled Maskhadov's orders," the ministry continued. The elimination of Aslan Maskhadov disturbs the opponents of the political settlement in Chechnya, as well as terrorist envoys and accomplices who are staying abroad and speaking on foreign rostrums. "All they can say is threaten with new terrorist acts in Russia. Their purpose is to undermine stability in the country and make people feel unprotected and alarmed," the Foreign Ministry said. Moscow regrets that "some media is promoting these open or hidden threats and politicians in the countries sheltering terrorist envoys pretend that they do not see or understand these threats." "We are again facing double standards. Many politicians speak about the active fight against international terrorists and at the same time regret the elimination of one of the key terrorist leaders," the Russian Foreign Ministry concluded.
Business & Finance
RESERVE MONEY IN RUSSIAN ECONOMY UP 2.84% IN FEB
MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - The amount of reserve money in the Russian economy grew tentatively 5.3% in February from 2.197 trillion rubles to 2.313 trillion rubles, the Central Bank said on its website. Since the year began, reserve money contacted 4.6% from 2.414 trillion rubles on January 1. Reserve money includes notes and coins issued by the CB, funds on the accounts of lending institutions with the CB, and corporate instant- access accounts handled by the CB except for government accounts.
RUSSIAN OIL REFINING UP 10.5% IN JAN
MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - Russian oil refining grew 10.5% year- on-year to 17.4 million tonnes in January 2005. The Russian Federal State Statistics Service said that oil major Lukoil refined some 2.986 million tonnes of oil in the first month of the year. Primary refining at Yukos refineries amounted to 2.598 million tonnes, and Surgutneftegas refined 1.769 million tonnes in the reporting period. Bashneftekhim refined 1.6 million tonnes, Tyumen Oil Company - 1.453 million tonnes and Sibneft - 1.15 million tonnes. Primary refining at the Moscow Oil Refinery amounted to 780,600 tonnes in January. The statistics service said gasoline production increased 11.9% year-on-year to 2.748 million tonnes in January, and diesel production increased 13.4% to 5.144 million tonnes. Russian refineries produced 4.974 million tonnes of heating oil in January, up 8.3% year-on-year; 630,600 tonnes of aviation kerosene, up 12.9%; and 207,600 tonnes of lubricants, down 9.9%.