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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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


The Swiss voters Sunday participated in a national referendum on opening the sale of all types of drugs in pharmacies. A majority of voters (73.9 percent), however, rejected this "revolutionary" referendum.

During his visit to Alma-Ata late last week, Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais bought an electrical power station with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts from Kazakhstan for $239 million.

State Duma deputies believe that a decrease of deductions in social non-budget funds planned by the government will deal the final blow to the social sphere.

This story looks at several arguments favoring Russia's chance of receiving a loan from the International Monetary Fund.

President Boris Yeltsin declared 1998 as Human Rights Year in the Russian Federation. Political scientist Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the presidential Human Rights Commission, talks about what has been done in this sphere in Russia during the past several years.

In an interview, Vneshekonombank head Andrei Kostin comments on the recent agreement the Finance Ministry and his bank signed with the London Club of Creditors on restructuring Russia's payments on credits issued to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He also talks about the general situation of Russia's foreign debts.

Differences have emerged among foreign banks and holders of Russian state securities.

What circumstances caused the conflict between Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov and head of the State Tax Service Georgy Boss when they discussed the acute issue of tax decreases?

This story looks at the current situation of the construction of the High-Speed Railway, which has caused so many scandals.

How has the crisis affected Russia's foreign trade? This story gives facts and figures showing Russia's great losses.

Gazprom and LUKoil are discussing a "Nigerian way" of development for their newly emergent alliance. General Ike Navachukvu, Nigeria's formerforeign minister, who visited Moscow last week, proposed that Gazprom and LUKoil establish close contacts with the Nigerian National Oil Company.


Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has declared war on criminals, and not in the figurative way this time. Primakov promised to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

How has the Interior Ministry responded to Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's pledge to "prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law"?

In Geneva on Monday, the court trial of Sergei Mikhailov began. Mikhailov, also known as Mikhas, is said to be a leader of Russia's Solntsevo criminal gang.

An intriguing situation is unfolding in the Moscow-Washington-London triangle, a result of which may be that Russia gets a chance to receive $2 billion.

The negotiations between Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Michel Camdessus, International Monetary Fund executive director, scheduled for today may introduce serious amendments to the 1999 draft budget.

Oleg Sysuev and Anatoly Chubais, who both signed the Statement on creating the right-of-center political bloc, are risking arrest, since the Law on the Fundamentals of the State Service in Russia forbids state officials of B Category to take part in creating political parties and movements.

Ruslan Kolyak, 39, a television producer and head of several security organizations, is also known as Pucheglazy, a leader of the Tambov criminal gang. He is suspected of murdering lawmaker Galina Starovoiteva.

The German Ehrmann company last week launched construction of a dairy plant in Ramenskoye in the Moscow region. This is an example of a positive consequence of the crisis, when the rise in ruble prices of imported food and other items leads to Western producers building factories in Russia.

The Sistema joint-stock financial corporation intends to take the State Communications Committee to court because of a conflict with BeeLine.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov late last week signed a decree concerning several categories of precious stones that are unsuitable for making jewelry. Who will gain and who will lose from this decree?

Leading Russian alcohol producers for the first time have met with state bureaucrats at the negotiating table to discuss the authorities' emergency measures aimed at imposing a state monopoly on the production and sale of ethyl spirits.


State Duma Deputy Vasily Kobylkin, who left the Communist Party faction long ago, reports on the usual practice in the lower house of Parliament where Communists bribe deputies to vote for bills in their favor. Also covered in Moskovskiye Novosti.

Yachtsman Fyodor Konyukhov, who is participating in the Around Alone International Yacht Competition, talks to his son, Oskar through a satellite link. His son recorded their conversations, which reveal his father's risky adventures on the open ocean.

A split in the Democrats' new public-political association emerged in St. Petersburg immediately after the murder of democratic lawmaker Galina Starovoiteva. Also covered in Izvestia.

Today marks World Anti-AIDS Day. The number of HIV-infected patients registered in the world is approximately 33.4 million, of whom 10,000 are Russian. By the year 2000 their number is predicted to reach 110,000, according to forecasts by Russian doctors. The most severely affected regions and cities in Russia are Kaliningradskaya, Tverskaya, Rostovskaya, Saratovskaya, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Also covered in Izvestia.

Vladimir Filippov, minister of General and Professional Education, answers questions from readers about the coming changes in the educational system.

The first generation of "new Russians" in the Aland Islands in theBaltic Sea were the children of soldiers and officers who appeared in the 19th century. The Russian Consulate recently left the island's capital of Mariehamna, which was named after Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna. What is the reason behind the departure?


Moscow prosecutors late last week accused State Duma Deputy Sergei Belyaev, the former head of the State Property Committee and former leader of the Our Home Is Russia faction, of corruption.

The Moscow City Court today is expected to begin consideration of the criminal case of Colonel Viktor Pavlov, former deputy chief of the FSB Academy, who is accused of extorting $3 million.

The Institute of Medical and Biological Problems has completed a medical experiment with a group of macaques who were taught to play computer games for their next flight on the Mir space station.

Moscow police late last week arrested a 20-year-old sex maniac from the Kostroma region who they say committed three acts of rape in one hour.

Where does the Communist Party get the funds for its existence? And who will finance its next State Duma election campaign?


The role of law-enforcement agencies in Russian politics is growing. They are becoming a powerful independent political force for the first time since the beginning of the 1990s.

The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts together with the Pushkin Literary Museum have prepared an exhibition devoted to the great poet's upcoming anniversary.

The story describes Russian-German economic, financial and trade relations, viewing Germany as Russia's major creditor, with 40 percent of all foreign investment at the end of this year arriving from Germany.

The gubernatorial elections in the Moscow region will take place only in a year (December 1999), but the "offensive" from below on the positions of the present 'master' of the region , Anatoly Tyazhlov, has already begun now. On Saturday, Nov.28, Yevgeny Sobakin, State Duma deputy of the Yabloko faction held a founding congress of the regional public movement called "Revival of the Moscow Region."


Having lost the struggle for Rosvooruzheniye, First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov will be finally "put aside" from the sphere of military-technological cooperation in the near future. Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov intends to exercise full control over arms exports. This decision has been made and the Cabinet will have to finalize it in its document.

The Justice Ministry has set up a federal agency to legally protect the results of intellectual work of military.

In an interview, Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais speaks about a complicated situation with the 1999 draft budget, possible financial aid from the IMF, measures aimed at boosting tax collection suggested by State Tax Service head Georgy Boos and future prospects for the right-of-center bloc.

According to a report from the City AIDS Prevention Center, the growth of the AIDS rate in Moscow this year has amounted to 216 percent against the level last year. The number of HIV-infected patients in Moscow city and region is 1,222 people aged up to 25 years.


Through the presidential decree Valentin Vlasov, the plenipotentiary representative of the head of state to Chechnya, has been awarded with the order "for services to the Fatherland."

The Agriculture Ministry is secretly preparing for a competition to see who among Russian importers will distribute 3 million tons of American humanitarian food aid. Since the aid agreement was signed at an interstate level, the right to choose competition participants belongs to the state.

In an interview State Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina of the Yabloko faction comments on the "emergency" initiatives from law enforcement officials.

A conflict erupted inside the Permskiye Motory leadership early last week, which was caused by the struggle for the sphere of influence at this leading aviation engine-building enterprise.


Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who attended the Moskovskiye Novosti press club session late last week, spoke about Mayor Yury Luzhkov, about Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and his Cabinet.

The story looks at several criminal features of the current St. Petersburg election campaign for the elections to the Legislative Assembly scheduled for Dec. 6. Many analysts connect the murder of Galina Starovoiteva with the fact that criminal groups have fielded their own candidates in many constituencies .

It would be unwise to ignore the fact that the Communists and the KPRF have taken a strong foothold in Russia's political life lately . The Democrats are unable to create a unified party with effective branches in localities, and mass media's many years of efforts to defeat communism have failed.

Eighteen text files, about 300 pages, of disreputable material about highly-placed state officials were unexpectedly discovered last Thursday on the Russian server on the Internet.

The government intends to submit to the State Duma 21 draft bills cardinally reforming the existing tax system.

Many prominent politicians and economists, including Gennady Seleznyov, Viktor Chernomyrdin and Andrei Kokoshin, were involved in the Roseltrans joint-stock company , which through a presidential decree was closed three years ago. Last month State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov sent a letter to Cabinet head Yevgeny Primakov in support of the company.

Where did the World Bank's "social" loans go? The Auditing Chamber has conducted several checks to see that the money was spent on state bureaucrats' personal objectives rather than on the needs of children and poor people.

In an interview, the first one for the press, Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko explains what the "social orientation" of the government economic policy means. She also speaks about an acute issue of wage arrears to teachers and pensioners.


French singer, composer and actor Charles Aznavour is arriving in Moscow for two concerts scheduled for Dec.4 and 5 in the Grand Kremlin Palace .

In an interview, Arnold Butov, head of the Russian Beekeepers' Union, says how Mayor Yury Luzhkov encouraged him to boost the beekeeping sector. He also says that Luzhkov,who likes bees and looks after 30 bee families in his dacha gave 400 kilograms of honey to orphanages last year.


In an interview, Igor Fyodorov, rector of Moscow Bauman State Technical University and head of the Association of Russian Technical Universities, talks about the problem of professionally training young specialists . He also discusses how easy it is for them to find professional positions.


The story comments on the forthcoming negotiations of Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and IMF Executive Director Michel Camdessus in Moscow.