US - Russia
Chronology from Oct 2003 to Dec 2003
: Putin tells a visiting Iraqi delegation that Moscow is ready to write-off more than half of the $8 billion that Iraq owes Russia.
: PM Mikhail Kasyanov arrives in Japan for a three-day visit. He meets with PM Koizumi, FM Kawaguchi Yoriko, and top Japanese officials on trade and energy issues.
: U.S. Embassy officials start fingerprinting Russian citizens hoping to visit the United States, which exacerbates the already tense visa issue in U.S.-Russian relations.
: U.S. bars French, German, and Russian companies (and other non-supporters of the war) from competing for 18.6 billion in reconstruction contracts in Iraq.
: In reaction to the elections White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, “The OSCE … expressed concerns about the fairness of the election campaign. We share those concerns.” FM Ivanov later lashes out at the West’s “interference in Russia’s internal affairs.”
: Russian parliamentary elections yield an overwhelming victory for the pro-Putin political party United Russia. Large gains are also registered by two nationalist parties. The Bush administration joins European human rights officials in expressing concern about the fairness of the elections.
: After Nov. 2 election results are invalidated, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze leaves office in the face of wide public protests.
: FM Igor Ivanov criticizes U.S. “excessive” tendency to use force and said the violence raging in Iraq had confirmed that Russia was right in opposing the U.S.-led toppling of Saddam Hussein.
: U.S. and Russia agree to collaborate in returning weapons-grade uranium to Russia from vulnerable nuclear reactors throughout the former Soviet Union.
: Moscow and Washington reached an agreement to collaborate in returning weapons-grade uranium to Russia from vulnerable nuclear reactors in the former USSR. In a brief meeting with Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham in the White House, President Bush calls for a continuation of U.S.-Russian programs in the sphere of nuclear materials security.
: In an interview in Moskovskiy Komsomolets Defense Minister Ivanov states that Russia and the U.S. cannot be called allies at this point.
: State Department spokesman Richard Boucher questions whether Russian laws were being enforced selectively following the arrest of Khodorkovsky.
: Ambassador to Russia Vershbow says, “We won’t comment on the legal basis for Khodorkovsky’s detention, it would appear though, that the law is being applied selectively at the very least.” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also adds, “We are concerned about the potentially negative implications for the rule of law [in Russia].”
: Russian special forces arrest the head of Russia’s largest oil producer, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and prosecutors in Moscow charge him with tax evasion and fraud.
: Putin meets with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi in Bangkok to discuss North Korea and bilateral trade relations.
: Putin leaves Moscow on a 10-day trip to Malaysia, Thailand, and Kyrgyzstan. During the trip Putin attends the APEC summit in Bangkok and calls on APEC members to invest in the development of oil and gas resources of Russia’s Far East and East Siberia.
: At a summit between Putin and visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov declares that Russia reserves the right to intervene militarily within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to settle disputes that cannot be solved through negotiation. Ivanov also says that his government expects the American military to withdraw from bases in two former Soviet republics in Central Asia once the mission in Afghanistan was completed.
: Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov attends NATO Ministers of Defence meeting in Colorado. Participants review the Alliance’s transformation in the context of the future security environment at an informal meeting. During Ivanov’s visit, Kremlin unveils new doctrine for Russian military preparedness in the 21st century.
: Moody’s Investor’s Service upgrades Russia to “Baa3” from “Ba2,” surprising the market and prompting a rally in Russian bonds and stocks.
: Putin grants a long interview to The New York Times and speaks of the U.S.-Russian relationship, which he describes as a natural fit and says a “strategic choice” for Russia; he further says Russia does not agree with U.S. policy either in Iran or Iraq.
: According to a Public Opinion Fund survey only 29 percent of Russians believe President Putin’s September visit to the United States yielded important results.