Russia's geopolitical situation in the world may change radically by the end of this week. The Russia-EU summit on Friday will clearly be quite unusual, and not only because it will be the first summit for Russia and the 25-member union. The point is that today the EU may lift its objections concerning Russia's accession to the WTO.
The main issues of the Russia-EU summit will be the discussion of four common spaces: the economic space; freedom, security and justice; external security; and research and education. Their creation provides for the development of bilateral relations in these spheres and the sides should determine forms of this co-operation at their summit. The relevant agreements are to be signed at the next summit meeting in The Hague in November this year.
According to the official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexander Yakovenko, Russia hopes the EU will fulfil its pledge to ensure respect for the rights of Russian speakers in the Baltic countries, liberalise the visa system with Russia, and sign a special agreement on Kaliningrad transit.
Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has presented to President Putin suggestions concerning the structure of the new cabinet. The document is so far classified but Kommersant has learned that it does not provide for rectifying the mistakes made at the first stage of the administrative reform. The largest structural innovation provides for the establishment of the post of a second vice-premier. Another suggestion is concerned with granting the Federal Financial Markets Service the right to issue normative acts.
As for personnel issues, nominations to the posts of vice-premiers and ministers will be officially presented to the president only after he approves the new structure of the cabinet. Nobody expects any sensations in this sphere.
During talks in the Moscow City Hall, the Chechen authorities received the framework agreement of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to use Moscow construction firms for the restoration of Grozny. According to sources in the City Hall, the Chechen administration will provide the money for this project. The idea is to use the Moscow experience of annually modernising 150,000-180,000 square metres of floor space in five-floor blocks in the Chechen capital.
In the past, Yuri Luzhkov and Akhmad Kadyrov signed a co-operation agreement that stipulated the demolition and reconstruction of a number of residential blocks in Grozny. Luzhkov confirmed the agreement at the current talks and now the Chechen administration and the Moscow government should determine the private companies that will be involved in the project.
Another ceremony revering the memory of a Nazi criminal has been held in Estonia. A monument to Estonian Alfons Rebane, a non-German who made the most brilliant career in the German SS and received the highest decoration of the Third Reich - the Knights Cross with oak leaves - has been erected at the settlement of Viitna. During the ceremony, a deputy of the Estonian parliament praised SS Standartenfuehrer Rebane as a national hero whose life achievements help "preserve the historical memory for future generations and maintain the spirit of the Estonian nation."
The ceremony in Viitna, where a second monument to Rebane has been established, shows once again that Estonia, a new member of NATO and the EU, has no regard whatsoever for the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal denouncing the SS as a criminal organisation guilty of crimes against humanity without a statute of limitations. At the same time, political life in Estonia is noted for claims presented to Russia for damage done during "the period of Soviet occupation."
Last week, a commission of the Estonian parliament came to the conclusion that Russia owes Estonia $4 bln for damage done to its environment by the deployment of the Soviet Army on its territory.
On May 18, a leader of the ruling Res Publica party, Urmas Reinsalu, sent to the Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar a letter, demanding that the names of Soviet military leaders - General of the Army Ivan Fedyuninsky and Colonel Vasily Vyrka, division commander of the Estonian Infantry Corps, who led the liberation of the Estonian capital from Nazi troops in 1944 - be removed from the list of honorary citizens of the city. His letter says, "It is inadmissible to honour those who fought against Estonians and governed the occupation of Tallinn by foreign troops." At the same time, Estonian politicians think it is their patriotic duty to revere the memory of senior SS officers.
The so-called senior leaders, such as Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, looked funny in politics when they lost their bearings. It appears that the current leaders of the Communist Party of Russia (KPRF), including Gennady Zyuganov, have also lost their bearings in time and space after three years of fighting Gennady Semigin, head of the executive committee of the People's Patriotic Union.
After employing every imaginable method of discrediting the opponent without any result, they have decided that they simply must give him the boot - and excluded Semigin from the KPRF.
Even the most loyal allies may start leaving the weakening Zyuganov soon, showing that his political death is imminent. This will crown Zyuganov's communist career. Indeed, it is impossible to endlessly pretend to be a fervent revolutionary; the fraud will be laid bare sooner or later, and he will be asked to leave the post of the KPRF leader. Those who see what is coming are leaving. Those who don't are fired in disgrace.