A delegation of Russian ministry and agency chiefs, led by deputy chief of the presidential administration Vladimir Putin, has returned to Moscow from a fact-finding trip to Krasnodar Krai and the North Caucasus Republics of Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. No official documents were signed during the trip. The main achievement, according to Putin, was that it would enable him to report to President Yeltsin that the three regions are completely loyal to the center. He said such trips through the North Caucasus will in the future be a regular task for officials of the presidential administration and the Russian government. (ORT, June 17)
It does not require a fact-finding trip to know that the leaders of Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria, over 90 percent of whose budgets are financed by federal subsidies, or of Krasnodar Krai, which is predominantly populated by ethnic Russians, are highly unlikely to show disloyalty to the center. Despite the complexity of the social, ethnic and political situation throughout the North Caucasus, it appears that the Kremlin has no solutions to offer and intends to restrict itself to registering its presence in the region in a purely formal manner. As in other parts of the country, therefore, what happens at regional level is likely to prove more significant to the future of Russia than the activities of the federal government.
POLICE ARREST THIRD SUSPECT IN CASE NEWSPAPER EDITOR MURDER.