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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

April 29, 1998.


Today's CIS summit will decide the future fate of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Also covered in Kommersant Daily, Noviye Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will sign an agreement on dividing the bed of the northern part of the Caspian Sea on another date (instead of today, as was agreed earlier) in the Kazakh capital of Akmola, where the Russian president will go for an official visit. The stand of other littoral states on the issue is also addressed. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

Through its top-secret directive of Nov. 3, 1994, the government transferred 8.5 billion old rubles ($1.4 million) to the interior troops of the Interior Ministry for "special purposes" -- for paying the ransom for Russian POWs of the Chechen war. According to available documents, Interior Ministry commanders transferred the money to commercial banks. Former Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov's knowledge of the matter is addressed.

European Union foreign ministers have removed Russia from the list of states with a nonmarket economy. The effect of this significant decision on Russian exporters is discussed.

As recommended by the president, former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has been appointed as chief military adviser to the state-owned company Rosvooruzheniye. Also covered in Kommersant Daily and Noviye Izvestia.

The ORT and ORT-Reklama board of directors has made a decision to remove all commercial ads on Victory Day, May 9.

Gazprom has bought a blocking package of stock in Promstroibank according to a statement Tuesday by the bank's chief, Yakov Dubenetsky.

The Federation Council on Tuesday approved a city building code. The provisions of the new code are discussed.

As it has turned out, Russian smokers with medium-size incomesprefer the "dirtiest" cigarettes. The story gives itemizes the brand names of such cigarettes.

The government approved on Tuesday the results of the bank competition for the right to service the presidential program State Housing Certificates program. The winners of the bid are announced. Also covered in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

The administration and labor union of subway construction company Mosmetrostroi warned the government that if it fails to find 900.6 million new rubles ($150 million) to pay wage arrears by May 1, metro builders will stage an indefinite strike. The possible consequences of such an action are addressed.

One year ago, the government increased the customs tariffs on packaged tea from 10 percent to 20 percent. At the same time, the customs tariffs on nonpackaged tea have remained unchanged. This government measure has only complicated the situation on the domestic tea market. Also covered in Noviye Izvestia.

The demand for Russian specialists is growing both abroad and in Russia. Three stories illustrate this point.

The reliability and effectiveness of the Lubyanka hotline is discussed. Facts and figures, provided by the Federal Security Service, are given.


According to a statement Tuesday by Anatoly Ryzhov, the department chief of the State Taxation Service, starting in 1999, the government intends to lower personal income tax.

The conflict around censorship of the mass media by Moscow Customs ended Tuesday with a victory for the journalists. The Moscow Customs administration stated that the matter was a "misunderstanding."

The story is a commentary on the structural changes and first appointments of the new Cabinet.

First Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Mikhailov reported to defense-factory directors that they will receive neither new state orders nor money for the work they have already done. In view of this, Mikhailov recommended that they expand their activities on foreign markets.

The Central Election Commission head Alexander Ivanchenko said he has received "very serious" complaints about violations in the course of the recent gubernatorial elections in Krasnoyarsk.

An interview with Alexander Lebed reveals that he has changed his opinion on Boris Berezovsky.

The Presnensky court has refused to accept Anatoly Chubais' lawsuit against the journalist Alexander Minkin and radio station Ekho Moskvy.

Despite a previous denial from the State Anti-Monopoly Committee, the Moscow Mayor's Office has received the legal right to issue licenses to all gas stations in the city.

The continuing conflict between businessman Vladimir Dovgan and his former partners from the company Dovgan is elucidated.

The Tverskoi court has completed a criminal case of Stanislav Silkin, a DJ at the Aerodens nightclub, and his friend Dmitry Belevich. The two were accused of smuggling several thousand doses of drugs from the Netherlands to Russia. Silkin has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

Yury Potapov, 34, vice president of the All-Russian Federation of Unarmed Self-Defense, was killed in Vladivostok.

The Moscow city government has approved a major renovation project for the city's main department store -- GUM, located on Red Square. The companies participating in the project are named.

A draft law to revive "pocket" banks in Russia has been submitted to the State Duma for consideration.

Alexander Braverman, a first deputy State Property Minister, stated Tuesday that the government forbade Rosneft to sell its assets. According to the article, the government is trying in this way to insure itself from the risk of cancelling the competition to sell Rosneft for $2.1 billion.

Yukos, part of the Yuksi oil holding, signed a cooperation agreement with Kirovsky Zavod Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev on Monday signed a decree on building a factory to produce alcohol. The project will be completed in 2000 and will meet the demands of 40 percent of the local vodka factories.

The Leningrad region has announced that it will suspend the issue of its bonds for some time. The reasons for this decision are addressed.

The Moscow City Duma has passed in the first reading a draft law on building monuments in the city.

The Third Congress of the Moscow Film-Makers' Union opened in Moscow Tuesday. Its participants will discuss among other issues the acute problem of distributing profits from the activities of Kinocenter.


The birth of a fifth child has made Afghan war hero General Boris Gromov extremely happy.

A terrible scandal has broken out in the Siberian city of Angarsk, where, as it turns out, slavery is flourishing in the 17th city district. The administrators from a retirement home are allegedly making young mentally-ill women work for them.


When making a speech Tuesday devoted to the 200th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding Russian diplomat Alexander Gorchakov, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov focused on the basic principles of Russia's foreign policy today. The story discusses some details of Russia's present foreign policy.

Unlike the Moscow-Grozny political talks, which have reached a deadlock, current negotiations on Caspian oil transportation along Chechnya are proceeding successfully, with an understanding of each side's interests.

In an interview, the leader of the gubernatorial elections in Krasnoyarsk, Alexander Lebed, makes it clear that if elected, he is going to defend his region's financial and economic interests in the Federation Council.

In the first interview with Armenia's Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan in the Russian press, the minister talks about Yerevan-Ankara relations and his vision of Armenian-Russian relations.

A sociology expert comments on the results of a public-opinion poll conducted in April by the Russian Independent Institute of Social and National Problems. The story address what Russians think of the Commonwealth of the Independent States.

Vera Zoshchenko, the wife of Russian writer Mikhail Zoshchenko, writes about her husband. The article includes several excerpts from her diary and two letters to Stalin, who, as she believed, could save Mikhail from NKVD persecution.


Lev Rokhlin, the head of the State Duma Defense Committee, and his Movement in Support of the Army intended to stage a national protest act April 27, which was to start in Volgograd. Rokhlin plans another protest May 9 in Moscow.

A parliamentary observer predicts which government posts Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko will offer to State Duma deputies.

A working group for the International State Station on Tuesday stated officially when the epoch of the Soviet orbital space program should end.

The Amur Regional Council has approved its regional budget. An economic observer examines its revenue and expenditure articles.

British Prince Andrew, 38, will visit St. Petersburg in May.

Tula Governor Vasily Starodubtsev, the agriculture minister of Zyuganov's "shadow cabinet," has suggested that ineffective collective farms sow maize and sunflowers this spring on 5 percent of all arable land in his region.

In an interview, poet Bella Akhmadulina says that a great poet, the likes of Pushkin, will be born in 1999. Bella also talks about her numerous audiences throughout Russia, with whom she always finds mutual understanding.

The Chinese violinist Vanessa Mae, 19, will give her only concert on the stage of the Moscow Kremlin Palace on May 1. SEGODNYA

The board of directors of United Energy Systems yesterday failed to appoint Anatoly Chubais as its head. Why? Will it ever happen and if yes, then when?

The Tsar's Tower cultural and exhibition complex was opened in Kazansky Station yesterday.


In an interview, the chief cardiologist of the Leningrad region and the director of St. Petersburg's Military Medical Academy, Yury Shevchenko, speaks about painting and music, which help him in his work. The surgeon also says that it's the psycho-emotional element that largely determines the state of human health.

What will happen if Alexander Lebed becomes governor of Krasnoyarsk region? What are his opponents afraid of and what is he himself afraid of?

An act of vandalism was committed Monday at the grave of writer Arkady Gaidar in the center of the Ukrainian city Kanev.

Are there real facts proving the existence of aliens? Academician Vladimir Azhazha of the International Information Technology Academy, and Yury Polishchuk, director of the clinical department of the Moscow Psychiatry Institute, offer two opposing views.

Who can be considered rich in Russia? What is the gap between rich and the poor? The latest reports from the State Statistical Committee show that 1.5 percent of Russians own 65 percent of national wealth.

In an interview, Valery Boldin, former adviser to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, reminisces about those happy days when he enjoyed great power. He also says who initiated the much-hated anti-alcohol campaign.

Outstanding Soviet pianist Svyatoslav Rikhter became famous in the second half of the 1940s and won many official prizes. But a sad fact from his life at that time is that he did not have an apartment.

Should prostitution be legalized in Moscow? Alexander Musykantsky, prefect of the Central Administrative District, and writer Maria Arbatova offer opposing views.

What theater productions were dominant in Soviet times? Was Soviet art ideologically devoted to communist ideals? In an interview, Boris Golubovsky, a professor at the Theatrical Institute, named People's Artist of Russia answers these and other questions.


Boris Berezovsky's new program is intended to obtain control over Unified Energy Systems and Gazprom by splitting these state companies into pieces. Why does the government need this program?

There are several private agencies in Moscow where women can pay $5,000 for the murder of their husbands.

Though political scientists talk and write a lot about an early death of the Commonwealth of Independent States, it is still stable. What unites people in it and what sets them apart?


Lieutenant General Vladimir Novikov of the General Staff of Russia's armed forces answers questions on the safety of serving in Russia's military today.


A federal program titled "Children of the North" has been operating for five years already, but the life of children there has failed to improve.


Kuzbas Governor Aman Tuleyev talks about miners' low living standards, which he views as his greatest headache.


Veniamin Yakovlev, head of the Supreme Arbitration Court, answers questions such as what role do arbitration courts play today? What are the most frequent cases they have to consider? What number of casesdoes the state usually lose? And how many court decisions has it fulfilled lately?

Political scientist Alexei Kiva says Russia's new political system is a "capitalist freak" with numerous victims.

Like in Soviet times, today too, informers are likely to be highly respected.