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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Russia's Primary Exports Get More State Scrutiny

The Presidential decree of June 12 on the export of ""strategically important raw materials"" was targeted at exactly those industries where Russia has the biggest export capacity, from oil to minerals and from metals to timber. The decree, which came into effect on July 1, tried to improve the government's finances by increasing export duties. As compensation to exporters, it changed foreign currency sale rules in a way that has made exporting more attractive. But one less easily understood aspect of the decree was that it required all exporters of a long list of raw materials to obtain a license from the government. Applications are processed by the Foreign Economic Relations Committee, which issue a decision within two months. When the decree was announced, some thought the government wanted to reimpose control over the burgeoning export trade.

Moscow, City Have a Deal

The Moscow city government has signed a resolution to lease 14. 7 hectares to the Russian company City in the first step of a real estate project valued at $8 to $9 billion, the company said Wednesday. City, headed by Russian entrepreneur Alexander Hazhakyan, will receive a 49-year lease on property near the Moscow Expocentre. City will not pay for the lease, but has agreed to build the roads, water and sewer lines for its leased property and a surrounding 95 hectares. City plans to build its own real estate projects on its 14. 7 hectares and expects to sign an agreement within three weeks to become the manager for the entire 110-hectare project. The agreement clears the way for the company to begin a unique share issue to pay for the project's infrastructure. City plans to release 1. 5 billion rubles worth of securities to the general public and to domestic and foreign companies to finance the construction.

Showing the Way to Fledgling Russian Charities

For the past two years. United Way International has been quietly tracking the rebirth of charities in the former Soviet Union. Now, with the emergence of about 300 charities, the organization has taken on the task of confronting obstacles that hinder local charities here. ""We realized that there is a new and very different task here"", said Mary Yntema, director of programs at the United Way Moscow Liaison Office. ""There are no laws to operate tax-free charities. and there is a deeply-rooted distrust of such groups in this country, where charities were prohibited for more than 70 years"". In the United States, United Way raises funds every autumn that are dispersed to a multitude of charities. The organization is launching a fund raiser in Moscow this month, but the money will be used to pay for programs that support local charities. Despite the difficulties of operating charities here, more than 130 new charities were registered in Russia between March and June of 1992.

The Right To Choose Not to Abort

A symposium on women's reproductive health held in Moscow this week highlighted one of the worst plights of Russian women: abortion. It is not an uncommon experience here at dinner parties with Russian friends for the conversation to turn to Birth control and the hostess to mention casually that she has just had her sixth abortion. ""Six abortions! "" we think, and then everyone continues with their meal. Birth control is not high on the list of priorities in Russia, but it is an issue that affects every Russian, male or female. Abortion has been the primary means of family planning in this country since it was legalized in 1955. Since then, the pharmaceutical industry in the West has developed a wide array of birth control devices, most notably the pill. But in Russia these contraceptives rarely reach the people who need them. Women still become pregnant when they don't want to and end up returning to abortion centers.

Luxury Golfing Is A Chip Shot Away

Move over Porsches, health spas, and upscale restaurants. The ultimate symbol of suburban splendor, the luxury country club, is coming to town. The Moscow Country Club, a 200-acre club, will open next year with an 18-hole championship golf course, 300 homes, a casino, a hotel, a full health club, tennis courts and a business center. The par 72 golf course is being designed by the world's premier golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The club is located about an hour's drive from the center of Moscow. Membership, which will be restricted to 650 slots, will certainly be exclusive. Just consider the prices. A lifetime membership for one person costs $75, 000. The least expensive dacha, a 169-square-meter house, will rent for $84, 500 a year. A 50-year-lease costs $507, 000. Potential members, who were wooed with champagne at the club's sneak preview last week, seemed a bit taken aback by the prices. ""It's a fantastic idea"", said Michiya Aoyama, general manager in Moscow for C. Itoh & Co. Ltd.

Yeltsin Hands KAL Data to South Korea, U. S.

President Boris Yeltsin gave 9-year-old transcripts of conversations from the cockpit of the downed KAL-007 flight to American and Korean delegations Wednesday. Calling the incident ""a Cold War catastrophe and the most terrible tragedy of our country"", Yeltsin said, ""We regret that we are not capable of undoing the wrong"". The transcripts taken from the black box in the airplane - which was shot down by a Russian pilot over Sakhalin Island on Sept. 1, 1983, killing all 269 passengers and crew - were among 12 documents transferred. Yeltsin gave the information at ceremonies in the Kremlin's St. Catherine's Hall to four Korean officials and five American family members. He also gave identical papers to Izvestia, which, he said, will make them available to the mass media. He also regretted ""that our country did not tell the truth about what happened"", he said. It was unclear what the documents, all translated into Russian, will reveal about the flight.
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