A draft presidential decree to disband the pardons commission under the Russian President has been prepared. This information was disclosed by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference which followed his live interview on TV. According to him, this decree will be signed in the near future. At the same time, the Russian head of state said that the right to compile pardon lists would be transferred to the leaders of the constituent members of the Russian Federation. He emphasised that those lists would be made public by the mass media, including the information why a person had been convicted and the grounds to pardon him. Vladimir Putin reported that the aforementioned lists would be submitted to the Presidential administration for subsequent approval by the President. The President also said that in 2000 he had pardoned approximately 4,000 convicts. Half of them had been convicted for serious crimes, the others, for murders. He added that the lists had been prepared by the Pardons Commission under the Russian President. In this connection, the President voiced his indignation with the fact that the commission had found it preferable to pardon those responsible for serious crimes or murders.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building