Russia 101014 Basic Political Developments

Armenian political elite figuring in criminal cases in Russia

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Armenian political elite figuring in criminal cases in Russia

Thu 14 October 2010 08:24 GMT | 10:24 Local Time

32 representatives of the Armenian political and business elite are figuring in criminal cases instituted by the Russian law enforcement bodies.

According to the Zhamanak newspaper, during the investigation of a number of criminal cases Russian law enforcement bodies revealed a connection between the criminal world and Armenian high ranking officials.

These include criminal cases mostly related to trafficking, drug trafficking and money laundering.

According to the newspaper, in this connection the Russian law enforcement bodies invited chairman of the Armenian club in Russia Miabanutyun Samvel Karakhanyan.

In addition, the list has been presented to Armenian general prosecutor Agvan Ovsepyan and head of the National Security Body Gorik Akopyan.

The issue was raised about bringing those people to criminal responsibility.

However, the aforementioned officials told Russian counterparts that “they are humble folks” and cannot settle such issues.

The list is led by brother of the Armenian President Alexander Sargsyan, speaker of parliament Hovik Abrahamyan, head of the committee on state expenses Gagik Khachatryan, deputies Rupen Hayrapetyan (German Rubo), Samvel Aleksanyan (Lfik Samo), Levon Sargsyan (Alrakhatsi Lev) and Gagik Tsarukyan, the newspaper reads.

According to it, Armenian President’s name was initially not on the list since the possibility of holding him accountable was ruled out.


October 14, 2010 11:56

Primorye customs seize container with 14 tonnes of drug-containing plants

VLADIVOSTOK. Oct 14 (Interfax) - A 40 foot container with narcotic-containing Ephedra plants was seized at Nakhodka customs, Far Eastern customs press secretary Stanislav Shchedrin told Interfax.

"The container was en route from Kyrgyzstan to South Korea via Primorye," he said.

The shipment caught the police's eye because the same person was the consignor and the consignee and the cargo was sent from a narcotics zone.

"Nakhodka customs officers opened the container and saw that personal belongings listed in the shipment documents - a used washing machine, a TV set, a vacuum cleaner, clothes and so on - occupied a small part of the container. The rest was filled with bags containing Ephedra plants," Shchedrin said.

Ephedra grows in highland areas of Central Asia. It is listed amongst strong substances prohibited in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and South Korea.

"The plant is used for making pseudo-ephedrine, ephedrine, as well as narcotic [substances] ephedron and pervitin," he said.

In all, 383 bags with a total weight of 14 tonnes were found in the container.

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Three policemen killed in exchange of fire with gunmen in Dagestan

14.10.2010, 00.31

MAKHACHKALA, October 14 (Itar-Tass) -Three policemen were killed on Wednesday evening and another one wounded in the Tsumadinsky district of Dagestan in an exchange of fire with gunmen.

The Dagestani Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass that the “policemen during a preventive operation in a forestland in the vicinity of the district centre – Aglali settlement spotted a group of armed militants who opened fire from automatic weapons on the police officers.”

According to the source, “Three policemen were killed in the shootout, another one was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound. The militants’ group managed to escape.”

2-Week National Census Kicks Off
14 October 2010

By Alexandra Odynova

Instead of alarm clocks, some Muscovites were to be woken early Thursday by text messages from the State Statistics Service informing them that a nationwide census — the first since 2002 — is starting.

The census will run for two weeks, until Oct. 25. During that time, some 600,000 census takers, many of them students, will be trying to convince every human being in Russia to open the doors of their homes and tell the truth about their nationality, income, language skills, housing facilities and many other personal matters.

Citizens' privacy will not be infringed upon, First Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Sukhodolsky said Wednesday, promising that the police would guarantee the confidentiality of personal data collected during the census, even deploying guards to offices where the information is stored.

Only the State Statistics Service is permitted to access the forms filled out by census participants, but leaks of personal data collected by authorities are a common occurrence, with various classified databases available for sale on Moscow's computer markets.

Sukhodolsky also warned people to check the documents of census takers knocking on their doors to make sure they were not criminals — who used the last census as a pretext to rob homes.

An authentic census worker will only show up between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. and can be identified by a blue cap and a scarf, a whistle, a flashlight, a blue bag and an official certificate, the State Statistics Service said.

People may decline to answer any question, and their own conscience will serve as a guide against providing false data because census takers will not be allowed to ask for proof of the information they collect, said Grigory Simonovich, a spokesman of the State Statistics Service.

The 2002 census yielded a number of unusual nationalities, including “hobbits,” “Scythians” and “Earth citizens.”

“One can name any nationality he or she considers to belong to and doesn't have to prove it,” Simonovich said by telephone.

Foreigners staying in Russia during the census will also be asked to participate but will face a different set of questions, such as the aim of their visit and the length of their stay.

If a foreigner does not speak Russian, he should ask friends or relatives for help because only select census takers speak foreign languages, Simonovich said.

Even people officially diagnosed with mental disorders will be covered, with census takers accompanied by police officers to the interviews, Simonovich said.

About 350,000 residents of remote areas, such as Altai deer keepers, have already been counted.

The census will cost 16.5 billion rubles ($540,000) — an almost fourfold increase from 2002, which cost about 4.8 billion rubles, Expert magazine said Wednesday.

The previous census put the population of Russia at 145 million, but estimates say it had shrunk to 142 million by 2010.

A former head of the State Statistics Service, Vladimir Sokolin, accused the government of manipulating census figures shortly before his resignation last year.

Following these accusations, The Other Russia opposition coalition pledged to boycott the census and held a demonstration Thursday under the slogan, “Don't Let Them Count You.”
Russia nationwide population census launched

14.10.2010, 00.55

MOSCOW, October 14 (Itar-Tass) - The nationwide population census 2010 was launched in Russia on Thursday that will last until October 25. The previous census was conducted in 2002.

Head of the Russian Federal Service of State Statistics (Rosstat) Alexander Surinov confirmed on Wednesday that the country is fully ready for a national census. He confessed to the reporters he had gotten tired of waiting for the start and was hurrying time "to see the most massive polling of the Russians take off." Surinov reiterated that members of a governmental commission supervising the census said at its previous session all the federal and regional agencies of executive power were prepared for the census and this equally concerned the material and technical backing-up of the campaign. More specifically, the authorities selected some 64,000 guarded premises for conducting it. Also, they set up and fully staffed the 458,500 counting and instruction offices and some 616,000 provisional officials had been hired for the campaign. The Federal Statistics Service and the Interior Ministry had resolved various issues pertaining to the safety and security of the population and counting officials, as well as the safekeeping of sheets with the population’s personal data.

“Census is the only and most efficient possibility to get optimal data about the country's population,” Surinov stressed. And demographic indicators for their part are the main budget forming factor. According to the 2002 census, Russia's population was 147 million. According to the current assessment of Rosstat, at present the population number of 141.9 million. The results of the present census will give an objective answer to the question “how many people are there in the country and what are they like.”

According to Rosstat, it is planned to summarise the first results of the census in April 2011, the final results will be drawn in the fourth quarter of 2012, and their publication is to be ended before the end of 2013. For the first time ever the statistics agency will create a micro database on its official Internet site the access to which will be given to all. However, all data there will be depersonalised. Rosstat guarantees full confidentiality and impossibility of even indirect identification.

The total budget of the nationwide census is about 17 billion roubles. This sum is given for 6 years. Some 10 billion roubles are fixed in the 2010 census budget, 70 percent of which will be wages to temporary census employees. This sum is less that foreign countries’ costs for similar tasks. According to Surinov, “In the United States 50 dollars are given per every polled citizen, and we spend 4 dollars.”

Following their motto “Each is Important for Russia” the census takers intend to reach all citizens of the country. Even the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) working in orbit will fill out questionnaires.

Census starts from Russia's far east

14.10.2010, 09.28

MAGADAN, October 14 (Itar-Tass) - Census takers in Russia's far east began to collect information on the population on Thursday. These regions wake up one hour too early compared with the rest of the provinces on Russia's Pacific coast.

An hour later, the census will start in Sakhalin, and the Primorye and Khabarovsk territories.

It is the second census in the history of modern Russia. The first was carried out in 2002.

According to the state statistical service, the first census results are due to be generalized in April 2011, and the final results are expected in the 4th quarter of 2012. The results have to be published by the end of 2013.

Russia allocated some 17 billion roubles to fund the census project over a span of six years. With their slogan "each person is important to Russia," the census takers intend to poll each citizen of the country.

The first ever census was held in 1722. According to it, Russia had a population of 14 million at the time. The census of 1858 showed that 129.9 million people lived in the Russian Empire, with 66 million people living within the boundaries of the present-day Russia.

The 1939 census showed that the Soviet population totaled 190.667 million, and the population of Russia totaled 109.397 million.

According to the census of 1970, the USSR had a population of 241.720, and Russia - 130 million.

The last all-Soviet census was carried out in 1989. There were 286.717 million people living in the USSR and 147.386 million in Russia. The all-Russia census showed a population of 145.2 million, which made Russia the world's seventh largest country by population.

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