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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A brief look at the stories making headlines in the Russian-language press

Saturday, October 24, 1998.


The fifth flying tests of the new $30 million nuclear missile Topol-M or RS-12M2 on Oct.22 ended in a crash. Specialists say that the analysis of its reasons may hold back for an indefinite time the placing of this strategic rocket on a combat duty. Topol-M is Russia's only and last hope for strategic nuclear deterrence in the first decade of the 21st century. The story highlights the unsuccessful test and plans to modernize the domestic aging fleet of strategic rockets. Also in Kommersant Daily.

The story looks at the position of the Russian delegation (headed by Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov) at the London negotiations on the fate of Russia's GKO debt. What do Western creditors demand from Russia? Also in Kommersant Daily and Segodnya.

The State Duma this week intends to consider its two draft bills on state guarantees to be provided to the president after he resigns. Legislators believe that without this law it's impossible to ensure political stability in the near future.

Several events have been planned in Moscow to mark the 80th anniversary of the Komsomol or Young Communist League. What hopes does Mayor Yury Luzhkov pin on this organization? Also in Segodnya.

In an interview, Valery Draganov, head of the State Customs Committee, comments on a complicated situation in foreign trade, which has been seriously hit by the financial crisis resulting in a considerable import decrease.

The story features the first 18-year-old army draftees, who, according to tradition, will serve in the presidential detachment in the Kremlin. Also in Segodnya.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has appointed Tatyana Aristarkhova, former head of the press service of the Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations, his press secretary. Igor Shchogolev, who acted as Primakov's press secretary for a 1 1/2-month period, has been appointed head of the government's information board. Also in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

According to Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's directive, all Cabinet ministers will receive ordinary citizens to listen to their complaints and proposals.

The Transformation of the North f a Union of public and political organization f has been registered in the Komi Republic. Its aim is to prepare for the next parliamentary elections. The story looks at its initiators.

Russian sea ports may be placed soon under regional control. As a result, governors would have another source of replenishing their local budgets, while the federal budget would be deprived of a source of tax collection. The story looks at the recent "offensive" by Krasnodar governor Nikolai Kondratenko on the federal property in Novorossiisk.

The St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly has endorsed two laws instituting public control over the activity of executive power bodies. Legislative Assembly deputy Nikita Ananov, who is one of their authors, comments on the documents.

The Summit of the European Union will take place in Vienna on Oct. 27. President Boris Yeltsin will take part in it within the framework of the so-called "dialogue 1+2." The storylooks at major points he will focus on in his speech and on several proposals he intends to make there.

The story highlights the political profile of Mayor Yury Luzhkov, one of the main contenders for the post of president.The story looks at his political position in 1993 and today. And what will it be in the future? Also in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Television commentator Irina Petrovskaya says the financial crisis has dramatically changed many television advertisements making them foolish. The author gives several examples to illustrate the point.


Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has fired Leonid Nevzlin, Itar-Tass first deputy director-general, for failing to put into effect a plan to turn this powerful information agency into a joint-stock company. The story gives several reasons behind his failure.

Though Cabinet head Yevgeny Primakov has limited mass media's access to government information, Kommersant this month managed to obtain major government materials. Primakov Friday made several personnel changes, which will begin a new stage in Cabinet ministers' contacts with the press. The story details the changes.

Chechen authorities' ultimatum to criminal groups demanding that they release all hostages before Oct. 23 has turned out to be an empty threat. The Shariah Security Ministry intends to launch special massive police operations to wipe out local criminals, which most probably the ministry will fail to do since the 300 criminal groups will resist the efforts of the officials in Grozny.

Historian Alexander Avdonin, head of the Yekaterinburg Obreteniye Fund, rejected the recent statement made by Moscow court expert Sergei Nikitin, saying that the remains of tsar Nicholas II's children f Maria and Alexis f were found near Yekaterinburg. Avdonin found some remains but he doesn't know whom they belong to.

A two-day struggle by workers in culture for the right to spend their earnings independently ended in their victory: Cabinet head Yevgeny Primakov on Friday evening canceled the Kiriyenko government's last decree No.1001.

Alexander Ilyin, Konstantin Nikiforov and Vladimir Kadatsky, the last speech writers from the old presidential team f quit their jobs Friday voluntarily.Their departure, however, shows thatthe president today does not need their service any longer. The story says why they left their offices.

Popular Soviet actor Yury Yakovlev has lodged a lawsuit in the Tverskoi Court against the Art-City Advertising Agency for using his face on the street board advertising Stern vodka. The actor demands that the advertising boards be removed and 500,000 rubles in compensation be paid out to him in damages.

According to reports from the State Statistics Committee, the domestic auto factories in September made 10 percent less cars than in August. Most auto producers decreased their output during the whole year. The story says why.

Aeroflot has insured itself for unlimited responsibility for its passengers on European routes. The previous limit of the company's responsibility for the life and health of everypassenger was $20,000. However, it's too early for passengers to rejoice. The story says why.

St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev has begun a velvet nationalization of local banks, which were offered the chance to hand over to the city administration the blocking package of their stock in exchange for permit to work with the local budget. The story looks at the measure.

Aeroflot, starting Nov. 1, intends to lower the price of flight tickets for the Moscow- Dubais-Moscow route down to $150. What has caused such a measure?

The Sormovo sweet factory run by the Konditer joint-stock company in Nizhny Novgorod put out 8,900 tons of products in the nine months of this year, which is 7.4 percent less than the figure for the same period last year. Konditer Director General Nikolai Rozhkov states the main reasons.

The State Institute of Theatrical Art has celebrated its 120th anniversary. Its old student Iosif Slutsker tells of the Institute's Ballet Department.

The story looks at the situation on the market for tourist services, which has been hit by the crisis.

The atmosphere of aggression, which is a common feature of Russian everyday life, has intensified in the past several weeks. The story offers several hints on how to behave in order not to become a victim of this aggression.


Politician and businessman Boris Berezovsky has helped lately to release several hostages from Chechen captivity. The story says how he did it.

The story highlights the first stage of the election campaign for the early presidential elections in Kazakhstan f the registering of candidates' applications. The story looks at its results.

The 60th anniversary of the birth of writer Venedikt Yerofeyev, and author of the controversial poem "Moscow-Petushki," was celebrated on Oct.24. The story features people's immeasurable love of this "great alcoholic."

The number of jobless people has dramatically increased in the recent weeks. An estimated 55,000 specialists from the so-called "prestigious professions" have found themselves in the street, while 200,000 middle class representatives will lose jobs by the end of this year. The story describes the current unemployment situation in the capital city, giving more figures to show its extent.

The story describes several accidents at Sheremetyevo Airport because of flying birds, saying that if its authorities fail to take urgent measures, the number of accidents will increase considerably.

The Judiciary Chamber on Information Disputes last week considered an application on the youth magazine COOL's indecent behavior, which was filed by a group of State Duma deputies headed by Alevtina Aparina, chairwoman of the Duma's Women's Committee. The story looks at the chamber's final decision.


Logically, the number of suicides during social upheavals sharply increases, but that is not the case for teenagers. The reasons behind their decision to commit suicide are exclusively personal, having nothing to do with the economic crisis or the ruble devaluation. The story discloses several reasons.

GAI intends to issue new examination rules for future drivers, who will have to answer 20 questions now instead of the present ten.

The Military Court has sentenced a 34-year-old lieutenant colonel, the deputy commander of the Cheryomushki District Military Committee, to ten years in prison for a rape committed on Nov. 14,1997. His victim was a 12-year-old girl.

The Defense Ministry will suspend funding of business trips to Russia made by foreign inspectors to control armaments cuts. The story reveals the decision's major provisions.

Moscow chief children's toxicologist Yan Lutsky says many cases of derthyl poisoning have been registered lately among small children. This Hungarian medication used to treat cattle against intestinal worms was forbidden for use in agriculture in the early 1990s but its stocks have still remained since then and today they kill children.

The 21st bridge f Berezhkovsky f across the Moscow River is to open for traffic on Oct. 31. Designed to replace the Luzhniki metro bridge, Berezhkovsky was built in only one year to connect the Mosfilm district with Luzhniki.

Central Bank deputy head Yevgeny Kolyaskin, Gerashchenko's long-standing friend, who in 1994 had to leave his former Central Bank post because of corruption, will now be responsible for reforming Russia's main bank. The story reveals his case.

The story describes an exclusive evening party of sado-masochists, which was held late last week in a Moscow club. Such parties have been held once a month this year.