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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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


State Tax Service head Georgy Boos has been promoted to Tax Minister. The story says the emergence of the new ministry will have unprecedented consequences, particularly in the social and pension spheres. What are they?

A story analyzing the financial position of state-owned company ORT tries to answer the question: With the company in bankruptcy, where has its $9 million profit gone?

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky stated that he would rather prefer the post of Sverdlovsk governor to the presidential seat. The present governor, Eduard Rossel, has nothing against this idea.

In an interview, Ingushetia's President Ruslan Aushev talks about Russian leaders' errors in their policy toward Chechnya and about his relationships with that republic.

The Federation Council on December 24 rejected the draft Law on Military Reform in the Russian Federation. The story explains why.

Serious differences have emerged between Our Home is Russia leader Viktor Chernomyrdin and State Duma Our Home faction head Alexander Shokhin. As a result, the latter has been fired from his post. The story examines the major reasons. Also reported in Kommersant Daily.

In an interview, Vladimir Dmitriyev, First Deputy Head of Vneshekonombank, talks about Russia's foreign default, particularly the default on USSR debt, and its possible negative consequences.

UES head Anatoly Chubais said that last week he signed an agreement of principle with Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev on the size and structure of UES's obligations to Gazprom. The story provides commentary on the document.

The IMF and the World Bank were reported to launch an additional fund ($200 million) to extend material aid to six CIS countries. Russia supported the initiative, saying that it lacks money to meet its financial obligations.

The story highlights several laureates of the Self Devotion Prize, awarded by the Open Society Institute to a large group of ordinary Russians: roofers,teachers, doctors, librarians, poets and priests, all of whom are true enthusiasts for their profession.

For the first time, a public opinion poll indicates that of the right-of center bloc has the ability to overcome the 5-percent barrier in the next parliamentary elections. In the new VTSIOM rating, the bloc now shares fourth place with Alexander Lebed's Russian People's Republican Party. Both political organizations have collected six percent. Other results of the poll are included in the story.

The Central Election Commission on December 25 issued a decree on using secret election documents during the elections next year. The story describes them in detail.

Russia's Emergency Service on December 27 celebrated its professional holiday of Rescuer's Day. Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu gave Izvestia the full text of the Prognosis for Emergencies in Russia for 1999, which was produced by a group of scientists from various research centers. The story offers a short list of the troubles and misfortunes awaiting us all in the upcoming year.

Border troops on the Kuril Islands are fully resolved to do everything in their power to resist Japanese reoccupation of the islands. The story discusses their plans.

The Supreme Shariah Court of Chechnya ruled that President Aslan Maskhadov has violated the Constitution. At the same time, the Court considered that the violations were not serious enough to remove the president from his post. Behind these developments, however, is the fact of a radical change in the political system of Chechnya, which on December 25 became an Orthodox Moslem state. The story details the latest political events in Ichkeria.

The trial of Sergei Salomadin and Alexander Gruzin, founders of the Russky Dom Selenga financial pyramid which collapsed in 1994 and defrauded more than 2 million depositors, began last week. Both 'dealers' are accused of stealing about 14 billion rubles ($7 million).

AvtoVAZ shareholders held an extraordinary meeting on December 26 to discuss plans to turn the company into a state-owned enterprise. What factors have forced them to take the decision to change the status of theircompany? Also reported in Kommersant Daily.

Former basketball player Vilis Krishtopans has been appointed Latvia's prime minister. In an interview, he speaks about several serious issues holding back the development of an equal partnership and friendly dialogue with Russia.

The Kremlin meeting between the Russian and Belarussian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Alexander Lukashenko on December 25 created a sensation: next year will see the formation of a new state: the United State of Russia and Belarus. What will the Russian and Belarussian peoples gain from this integration?

In an interview, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who recently formed Rossiya Molodaya (Young Russia), his own political party, shares his views on the current economic and political situation in the country.

The State Duma Impeachment Commission has taken time off, and will resume its work on January 11. The story considers several unpleasant surprises which President Boris Yeltsin and his team may face early next year.

The Izvestia Ekspertiza section offers its economic and financial forecasts for 1999. Economists try to answer the question: When will living standards return to Fall 1997 levels?

At the recent meeting with TV channel heads, President Boris Yeltsin described the role of national television -- not merely a mass media, but also a power department to be directly controlled by the president. TV observer Irina Petrovskaya comments on Yeltsin's statement. Also reported in Kommersant Daily.


What do State Duma faction leaders think of the 1999 draft budget? Seven faction heads share their views on the draft.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov stated in early December that Russians will be allowed to open accounts in foreign banks. Do Russians trust foreign banks? The story offers results from recent opinion polls.

The State Tax Service this year has collected 75 billion rubles ($37.5 million) in income taxes and next year the Tax Ministry plans to collect 90billion with the help of a new law, which takes effect on January 24, which allows the state tax control over citizen spending in proportion to their earnings.

The story reports on a scandal that has emerged between Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Lebed and powerful local businessman Anatoly Bykov, director of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Factory.

In an interview, ex-presidential press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky says why he has agreed to become Vice-Premier of the Moscow government.

The story highlights the best Moscow restaurants in 1998, which earned high ratings for their democratic nature and low prices.

Will Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Generalov be able to convince Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak that a national oil company should be created by merging Rosneft, Slavneft, ONAKO and Zarubezhneft? Generalov's idea has met fierce resistance from oil magnates.

YUKOS has announced a project to use the gas released in oil extraction, most of which is now simply burnt. Japan is expected to partly fund the project. Japan's Eximbank is expected to fund the construction of several new ecologically clean refineries in Russia. The story details the YUKOS project.

The Ulyanovsk auto factory (UYAZ) announced that in March 1999 it will begin to assemble a new model of UYAZ-2931, to be called Bars. The story describes the advantages of the new model.


Russia's own Ded Moroz (Santa Claus) arrived in Moscow yesterday from his native city of Veliky Ustyug. He is played by Russian Army Theater actor Dmitry Nazarov, who went there just a week ago. Is Veliky Ustyug really the native land of Ded Moroz? Boris Rybakov, a specialist in Slavic mythology and Russian culture, answers this question.

Moscow police have detained "dealers" from several companies, LOGIC among them, who have managed to defraud many people. The story tells how they did it.

The story describes a competition of snow and ice statues, devoted to characters from Pushkin's fairy-tales, which is now being held at Pushkin Square .

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov late last week signed a decree with the North Caucasus Republic of Adygei on opening a wildlife park in the republic, which will become a branch of the Moscow Zoo.

What taxes will cat and dog owners pay in 1999? In an interview, Sergei Bugayev, chief of the Moscow City Fauna Department, answers this and other questions about keeping animals in city apartments.

A story gives a list of picturesque locations in the Moscow region for skiing, accompanied by a map.

The Moscow Regional Association of Privatized and Private Enterprises has come out in support of shuttle traders. The story quotes deputy chief Yuly Nisnevich on the issue.


President Boris Yeltsin and Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko Friday signed the Declaration On Further Integration between Russia and Belarus and two other bilateral documents in the Kremlin. The story comments on the documents. Also covered in Segodnya.

In an interview, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak talks about the fuel and energy serious problems and about the government's decisions to resolve them.

State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov has kept his promise to his Ukrainian counterpart Alexander Tkachenko: the lower house of Russian parliament has ratified the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine. Story reveals how other deputies including Vladimir Zhirinovsky reacted to this event.

Several other deputies may leave the State Duma Our Home Is Russia faction after its head, Alexander Shokhin, was fired from his post. The story comments on negative consequences of Shokhin's resignation.

The Sibneft oil holding late last week registered an additional printing ofshares (300 million shares for 0.0016 rubles each). The main aim of the project was to replace the shares of different enterprises comprising the holding (above all Noyabrskneftegaz and Noyabrsknneftegazgeofizika) with Sibneft unified shares.

Two stories highlights what two television channel have prepared for New Year's.


The story features results of the latest army conscription campaign . According to reports from the Defense Ministry, the number of army draftees has reached 158,512 people. The story also looks at methods used by potential army conscripts to evade serving.

There are nine functioning atomic power stations. This article reveals their names, who's guarding them, who controls their air defense and problems that may arise because of their existence.

The Burdenko Neurosurgery Research Center is moving to a new 13-story modern building in downtown Moscow with unique medical equipment and brilliant specialists. The story describes its operation wards and its unique procedures.

What several State Duma deputies think about the draft for the 1999 budged which was passed Thursday is revealed in this article

The Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reported alarming news: The draft 1999 budget has left small businesses without any state support. How this could have happened is discussed.

The story cites several anti-Semitic comments made by Hitler among his close associates that are very similar to those made publicly by Communists Zyuganov, Makashov and Russian National Unity Party leader Alexander Barkashov.


Former President Mikhail Gorbachev makes his New Year's Eve Address, giving his assessment to the outgoing year and his forecasts for 1999.

The story describes how a 12-meter-high Christmas tree was mounted and decorated on Sobornaya Ploshchad on the territory of the Kremlin.

Famous Soviet writer Fazil Iskander explains why democracy in Russia has turned out to be of little attractive to its people and what should be done to change democracy's negative image.

The story describes "Sharashka," a play staged by Taganka Theater chief artistic director, Yury Lyubimov. The play was based on Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel "In the First Circle" and celebrates the writer's 80th birthday. Political observer Alexander Minkin describes Lyubimov's artistic designs.


The full text of the Declaration On Further Integration between Russia and Belarus, signed by the two presidents on Dec. 25, is given in full text.

The treaties signed between Russia and Belarus on equal rights of their citizens and the creation of equal economic conditions are given in full text.

In an interview, First Deputy Prime Minister Vadim Gustov, who is responsible for the State Youth Committee, talks about its complicated problems.

The National Plan for Action aimed to protect the natural environment of Russia in 1999-2001 is given in full text.

The guidelines for the Unified State Monetary-Credit Policy in 1999, from the Central Bank is given in full text.


The latest collegium of the Interior Ministry held late last week was devoted to acute personnel problems. Minister Sergei Stepashin stated that his agency will now focus on the quality of training for the staff. Circumstances that may have caused that decision are discussed.


About two million people in Russia use drugs and the number of registered drug addicts has exceeded 500,000. In an interview, Viktor Shushakov,deputy chief of the Anti-Narcotics Department of the Interior Ministry, comments on the alarming drug situation.

The VTSIOM Sociological Research Center conducted an opinion poll from Dec. 18 to Dec. 22 to see if the public approves of Boris Yeltsin's work as president and Yevgeny Primakov's work as prime minister. Results are given.

In an interview Maks Sokol, head of the Taxation Agency, discusses who will have to file income declarations, how it should be done, and the procedure for calculating the total income in 1998.


On Dec. 29, Former President Mikhail Gorbachev will present his new book and sign autographs at the Terra Bookshop.

The Moscow government has made the decision to provide apartments in new city housing developments using toilets with an improved design that aim to economize water. The story details the project.

The story features several episodes from the life of Soviet composer Isaak Dunayevsky, dubbed the supreme genius of the Soviet epoch. The story reveals female celebrities, who inspired the composer to create his music.

The story describes continuing dog fights in Serebryany Bor, despite numerous police raids, which often leave the animals dead or injured.

Moscow regional police last week arrested sex maniac Komarov, a physical education teacher at the Nadezhda Children's Home in Elektrostal. More than a dozen boys were his victims.

City authorities made the decision to launch a voluntary registration of Moscow enterprises and commercial organizations. The story looks at the purpose of this measure.

Three army generals, ex-Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, former Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov and people's deputy Valentin Varennikov, made the decision to create a new army structure called The Trade Union of Russia's Servicemen, which on Dec. 26 held a founding congress. Its main leader, Igor Rodionov, stated that the "new association has no intentionof dealing with politics," which leaves open the question of what topics it will deal with.

Aeroflot Tour Group, a tourist association which Aeroflot launched this year, has radically changed its plans for next year. The story looks at the major changes.