On August 13 Gennady Sklyar, general director of the Russian Television andRadio Broadcasting Network (RTRN) told the press about the results of thework of this company, founded a year ago. Since the 'divorce' from theprevious owner of TV and radio broadcasting stations, the Russian State TVand Radio Broadcasting Corporation (VGTRK), has been practically completed,the RTRN head intends to start broadcasting in digital TV format all overRussia and to introduce charges for TV viewers. The RTRN Federal StateCompany was founded in accordance with a presidential decree of August 13,2001 by means of a merger of the Main TV and Radio Broadcasting Center andthe Main Control Center for Radio Broadcasting and Backbone RadioCommunication Networks (The Ostankino TV Tower), as well as the separationof radio and TV broadcasting centers from the VGTRK. The RTRN currentlyconsists of 94 regional branches. The RTRN general director is convincedthat the transition to digital broadcasting should be expedited, andtherefore, the government should revise the deadline for its introduction.The introduction of digital broadcasting, scheduled for 2015 can beboosted. It requires just a state loan of $3bn, which will allow foradopting the new broadcasting format within 5 years. "If Europe transits todigital broadcasting, and we retain the analog format, this will be anenclave, which will be unable to develop," Sklyar lamented. As for digitalTV sets, in the opinion of the RTRN head, they will appear in Russia assoon as in 2003. Sklyar admitted that the new TV sets would not beaccessible to everyone. Therefore, digital broadcasting can be started onthe basis of analog TV sets, using special devices costing about $1,000. InSklyar's view, "they can be given to the people free of charge" at theexpense of the same loan, but at the same time, "there should be chargesfor viewers," the Kommersant newspaper wrote..
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia