Ria Novosti On Major Events Of The Year In Russia

The Russian Information Agency Novosti presents the most significant events of the outgoing year in Russia as viewed by the agency's analysts. 1. A unique operation to retrieve from the seabed of the Barents Sea the Kursk nuclear-powered submarine which sank on August 12, 2000. As of December 25, 2001, 78 bodies of submariners out of the total 118 crewmembers were found and 73 of them were identified. 2. The strongest flooding in the Yakutsk city of Lensk (in the north of the Far East). Water flooded 98 per cent of the city's territory. By October 1, 3,000 families had received new housing; 4,000 apartments and private houses had been repaired; schools, hospitals and cultural facilities had begun to work again. 3. A high-profile scandal in the mass media linked with the change of the owner of the largest private TV channel NTV. 4. The end of the 15-year space Odyssey of the Mir orbiting station. The return of the Mir orbiter became a spectacular event observed by millions of Earthlings. 5. The adoption by the State Duma of a number of laws crucial for the country's further development: the Land, Criminal Procedure and Labor Codes, the law on political parties, amendments to the laws allowing for spent nuclear fuel imports into Russia. 6. The arrest of Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union State Pavel Borodin in the New York airport, his extradition to Geneva, subsequent release on bail and endless interrogations, for which he comes to Switzerland. 7. The appearance of the first large centrist party "Yedinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) on the political scene of Russia. It united the "Yedinstvo" (Unity) party, the "Otechestvo" (Fatherland) and "Vsya Rossiya" (All Russia) movements. 8. The introduction of a flat 13-percent tax on incomes of Russian citizens from January 1, one of the lowest in the world. The introduction of the flat tax has raised its collection by 50 percent and led to a considerable growth in budget revenues. 9. The trial of one of the most known Chechen terrorists Salman Raduyev in Dagestan. On December 25 the Supreme Court sentenced Raduyev to life imprisonment. 10. The tour of Russia by North Korean leader Kim Chong-il, the most continuous trip in the world history of foreign visits at the highest level. The visit took place against the background of protests by Russians against mass cancellations and delays of trains from the Far East to Moscow and sarcastic comments by the press.

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