Russian Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov has approved the main provisions of the government’s draft federal program to counter political and religious extremism during the period 1999-2000. Last Wednesday (December 30), President Boris Yeltsin assigned Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and the government’s “power” ministers–meaning the heads of the armed forces, law enforcement and security bodies–the task of working out a comprehensive state policy to counter extremism and to begin implementing it by March 1. The task of drawing up the program was given specifically to Krasheninnikov, Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin, Federal Security Service chief Vladimir Putin and Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov. A justice ministry spokesman said yesterday that the program is likely to include the creation of a “comprehensive federal structure” devoted to combating extremism (Russian agencies, January 5).
One recent poll suggested that tough measures against political extremism may find public support. A survey–taken among 1,600 Russians on December 28-(drop hyphens? Needed?) found that 45 percent of the respondents supported Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s decision last month to ban a planned congress in Moscow by the ultranationalist Russian National Unity (RNU) movement. Nine percent said they opposed Luzhkov’s decision, 14 percent said they had no opinion, and 32 percent said they had never heard of RNU.
…WHILE HUMAN RIGHTS SUPPORTERS BRISTLE AT NEW FINGER-PRINTING PLAN.