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

October 23, 1998.


At yesterday's government session Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov reported about the guidelines of government budget and tax policy, including provinces-federal center financial relations. He managed to pass over in silence the budget deficit theme. And Yevgeny Primakov in his speech focused on two criteria his cabinet will proceed from in distributing transfers.

The new Ukrainian anti-crisis program for the first time ever views relationships with Russia as secondary, giving preference to cooperation with the West. The story looks at the program's basic provisions to prove the point.

Why have you left the government? What is your party today? Who lobbies the interests of the president? How can the latter preserve his political image in such a complicated situation? Who do you think could become president? In an interview Alexander Shokhin, a leader of the Our Home is Russia movement, answers these and other questions.

The story features Chechnya's President Aslan Maskhadov's meeting with field commanders Thursday, at which both sides failed to reach compromise. The opposition Council of Commanders insists on Maskhadov's resignation. The story concludes that Chechnya is on the brink of internecine war. There is also an interview with Maskhadov in Kommersant Daily.

Several highly-placed bureaucrats, deputies of former Krasnoyarsk governor, Valentin Zubov, have been arrested of late on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Among them was former Deputy Governor Valentina Cherezova arrested on Oct.21. Also in Kommersant Daily.

In the case of direct threat to the sovereignty and state integrity of Russia as a result of external aggression, Russia will regard it as possible and legitimate to use all permissible means, including nuclear weapons. This was stated by Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev when he spoke at the Chinese Academy of National Defense.

President Boris Yeltsin made the decision to send the draft CriminalCode to the Council of Europe to see if it is in compliance with Russia's international obligations following from the Human Rights and Freedoms Convention. The story comments on the president's decision.

Director of the Border Service Konstantin Troitsky assured the Tajik leadership that the CIS southern borders (though they are not Russian) remain Moscow's state border Number One. The story features his latest visit to Dushanbe.

Ville Sonn, a Baltic citizen, was detained Oct.22 in the Pskov region where he was collecting secret information. The story details his spying activities.

What advantages would the candidacy of Yevgeny Primakov have for the post of president as compared with those of Lebed and Luzhkov? Political analyst Maxim Sokolov offers his viewpoint.

President Boris Yeltsin has signed a decree imposing additional sanctions against the Angolan armed opposition f the National Union for Angola's Full Independence. The story reveals the document.

The story looks at the way several television channels marked the forthcoming birthday (Oct. 24) of illustrious Soviet bard Alexander Galich, who was ousted from the country as a dissident. The story harshly criticizes NTV for its programs devoted to the poet.


The story describes how First Deputy Prime Minister Yury Maslyukov's anti-crisis program, yet to be announced, was compiled and how some excerpts leaked to the press.

The Central Bank has imposed another limit on the circulation of foreign currency, concerning non-cash dollars this time. The story, however, says that, despite Gerashchenko's assurances, the Central Bank will next limit transactions with currency in cash.

How do State Duma deputies assess the law on laundering illegal earnings, which they passed this week? The story criticizes the document, saying that it will help make Russia a police state.

Andrei Kozlov, deputy head of the Central Bank, yesterday revealed to the members of the State Duma budget committee, the Central Bank'splan for restructuring the banking system. The story focuses on the plan's major points.

St. Petersburg prosecutors have declared illegal a package of anti-crisis directives, issued by governor Vladimir Yakovlev.

Forty children were hospitalized Monday as a result of poisoning in the children's anti-tuberculosis sanatorium "Kiritsy" (Ryazan region). The story describes how it happened.

The story features Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's meeting yesterday with leaders of Moscow theaters f Oleg Yefremov, Galina Volchek and Mark Zakharov f to discuss and resolve several significant issues. The story features some of them.

In an interview Samara governor Konstantin Titov talks about how his region is living through the crisis today f their losses, regional banks, food products, medicines and their import.

The Russian and Ukrainian prosecutor generals have agreed on the extradition of banker Vladimir Mazukhin, former deputy director of the Novotroitskbank (he was arrested in Kharkov), who is accused of looting 14 billion old rubles. The story details his crime.

In an interview American-Russian oilman Semyon Kukes, head of the Tyumen Oil Company, says among many other things how Aug. 17 has affected the company.

The merger of the two Russian old brokerage companies f RINAKO-plus and Aton f has failed to take place. The story says why.

Film critic Andrei Plakhov previews Vyacheslav Sorokin's new film, "The Totalitarian Novel," which has opened a new season in the Central Filmmakers' Club.

The Tretyakov Gallery has opened a painting exhibition devoted to the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov.

Forty years ago it was announced that writer Boris Pasternak had been awarded the Nobel Prize for his novel "Doctor Zhivago." The story highlights that event.


In an interview Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky says that "Yevgeny Primakov was appointed prime minister to be a political assistant of Yeltsin. As far as the economy is concerned he is unable to resolve the task because he has chosen an absolutely wrong (Soviet) method of forming the cabinet." Yavlinsky also reveals the essence of Yabloko's package of anti-crisis proposals submitted to the government.

The story looks at election passions raging in Kazakhstan where the presidential elections are scheduled for Jan. 10, 1999.

The Moscow Art Theater (MHAT) is celebrating its centennial Saturday. In an interview, theater critic Vitaly Vulf talks about the theater's hallmarks and about its illustrious actress Angelina Stepanova.


When speaking at the Moscow-Invest-98 conference in London, Mayor Yury Luzhkov did his best to assure the 338 'captains' of Western business that, unlike federal Russia, Moscow always plays fair game with foreign creditors, saying that it opposes the Aug. 17 debt moratorium.

Moscow police yesterday detained an extremely dangerous gangster Dmitry Rozhkov, 28, who is accused of three contract killings. He managed to flee during an investigation experiment conducted in mid-September near the metro station Belyaevo.

The Moscow City Duma Wednesday passed the draft law concerning the municipal service in city districts, which considerably limits the social benefits for municipal executives. The story looks at the document.

According to traffic police information, the road signs of the new generation will be introduced in the capital city already this year. The project will begin with the Ring Road.

The story features prima donna Alla Pugacheva as she is today and a series of her latest concerts.


The 27-page plan for restructuring the banking system does not mention a single bank, besides the Central Bank and its subsidiaries. The program says in part that all the 1,550 credit institutions will be divided into four groups, with 862 well-performing banks to be included in the " High League." The story reveals program's major provisions.

An essay on the Lessons of the Financial Crisis by American economist Milton Freedman, Nobel Prize winner in economics.

Vitaly Morozov, head of the Moscow Food Department, and Edvardas Maglis, Lithuania's Agriculture Minister, have signed an agreement on food deliveries to Moscow.

Due to inadequate funds to increase social welfare payments, Moscow city authorities made the decision to run a network of special food shops for low-income categories of Muscovites. The story looks at the project.

After the Aug. 17 the market for the population's cash savings has been ruined and without its restoration, it will be impossible to expect any economic growth. What are the main mechanism of reviving the savings market? Four economists offer their proposals.

Though foreign investors were shocked by the Aug. 17 events, they seem to have recovered by mid-October. This is evidenced by the results of the fourth annual conference on capital and investment markets in Russia and the CIS, which has taken place in Moscow this week. The story looks at its results.


Unprecedented severe measures have been introduced by Murmansk authorities against those tenants who have failed to pay their rent f they are ousted from their apartments without anywhere to go. The story comments on the measure.

Over 100,000 road accidents took place in Russia over the past nine months of this year, leaving about 130,000 injured and over 17,000 dead. A year ago these figures were considerably lower. How is this increase explained? Are the GAI changes at fault? In an interview, GAIhead General Vladimir Fyodorov answers these and other questions.

American farmers Louse and Harold Biggers and their son Michael from Washington state

decided to make a present to Chukotka f to send 800 boxes of fresh apples to its people.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov, speaking at the Moscow-Invest-98 international conference on Wednesday, said that "the philosophy of Moscow f to work in the capitalist way, to distribute in the socialist way and to develop under conditions of full democracy f should be spread throughout Russia." How did the London public respond to Luzhkov's philosophy?

The story features homeless children in an orphanage near Borisovskiye Ponds run by the Red Cross organization, which it opened four years ago. Today the orphanage may close because it lacks funds.


The beginning of a new round of the Moscow-IMF negotiations on extending Russia its delayed loan tranche has coincided with two events: U.S. President Bill Clinton yesterday at last signed a bill on allocating the IMF nearly $18 billion to replenish its reserves; economist-monetarist Milton Friedman and former Secretary of State George Schultz proposed abolishing the Fund. The story comments on the events.

Legislators have prepared two draft bills concerning the Constitutional Assembly (the presidential side is expected to soon submit its own draft). The story examines their major points.

The National Committee on Compensation Payments to holocaust victims headed by Vladimir Gusinsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress, intends to launch a campaign in a couple of days to pay compensations to the Jewish victims of genocide during World War II. The story details the project.

Our Home is Russia leader Viktor Chernomyrdin has stepped up his activities aimed at seeking political allies for forming a large-scale right-center bloc for the presidential elections.

The Taiwan visit by a LDPR delegation led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky hascaused a diplomatic scandal. At its plenary session today the State Duma intends to consider a draft decree, which, as Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said, will state that the lower house of parliament has nothing to do with this visit since it did not sanction it. The story reveals the scandal.

The war of compromises has reached its peak in Ukraine , where its former head of government Pavel Lazarenko, leader of the Gromada opposition party, stated that his opponents are plotting to kill him.

Moldova's Foreign Ministry has broadcast its statement saying that the timelimit of the former Russian 14th army's stay in Transdnestria has expired. In view of this, it should leave.

The De Beers-ALROSA negotiations on prolonging the timelimit of their cooperating agreement have yielded positive results: The two sides will sign an appropriate agreement in Moscow on Nov. 3.

The Auditing Chamber has concluded that the Academy of the National Economy was privatized in 1993-1994 illegally. The story describes how it was done.

The story cites several examples saying that what has made the Russian market collapse is a myth, or to be more exact, an exaggeration that was widely spread at home and abroad about the incredible attractiveness of the Russian market.

The Central Bank has requested that the State Duma Budget Committee approve its proposal that the international Cooper's and Lybrand firm be the bank's auditor for 1998.

The former Kiriyenko Cabinet's attempt to replenish the budget through foreign trade was officially declared unsuccessful. The government decree cancelling an additional import duty imposed on Aug. 15 went into force yesterday. What will the government gain from this measure?

Gazprom, the State Tax Service, the Energy and Fuel Ministry and the Finance Ministry are expected to sign an agreement soon on a scheme of settling accounts between Gazprom and the state ministries. A special scheme of tax on the oil sector will be suggested. Will the measure help overcome the economic crisis ? In an interview Vladimir Popov, chief of a State Tax Service Department, who initiated the newschemes, talks about their advantages.

The Moscow Arbitration Court yesterday declared Pepsi-Cola-AO joint-stock company bankrupt. The company represents Pepsi International's interests in Russia.

The Moscow city Vympelkom cellular communications company has launched a system, which will operate in a new standard for the company f called the GSM-900, which means that the company has become the only Russian operator to work in all existing digital standards.