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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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


Scientists from four countries Friday will open the graves of several victims of the world's

most destructive flu (Ispanka) epidemic -- which claimed 20 million lives in the 1900s -- in Longyer (Spitsbergen). Two things make this an unprecedented, and complicated, exhumation: the scientists must take tissue samples from the bodies in permafrost, as well special precautions to defend themselves from the extremely dangerous virus.

The money that will be released through a moratorium on servicing the domestic debt -- 80 billion rubles this year, and 140 billion the next -- will pay the wages of state employees in an effort to stave off socialunrest. (see also Kommersant Daily)

Thirty years ago five Warsaw Pact countries sent 500,000 troops to Czechoslovakia to kill its spirit of freedom. Several participants of those events in Russia and the Czech Republic recollect. (see also Kommersant Daily)

Former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin Thursday night consulted with factions of the State Duma in a bid to win their backing for the government's crisis plan Friday during an extraordinary meeting. (see also Kommersant Daily)

Dnepr, the Russian anti-missile station in Skrunda (Latvia), will suspend its work beginning Sept. 1 -- the day U.S. President Bill Clinton will start his visit to Russia.

Russia imports more than it exports. The trade imbalance registered by the State Statistics Committee is another symptom of Russia's sick economy.

At the end of this month Muscovites will see the new GAZ-31-11 automobile at the Motorshow-98 exhibition in Krasnaya Presnya. The car, designed by several foreign engineering companies, was assembled in Nizhny Novgorod.

Several St. Petersburg enterprises, on order of the Nuclear Power Ministry, have created the first ferrous-concrete container in the world capable of storing and transporting radioactive waste.

Not all Russian banks are problematic: credit agencies, such as AKB BIN, are stable. In an interview, head of the agency, Mikhail Shishkhanov, talks about how his bank has managed to earn such a high reputation.

In an interview Steven Goldstone, president of R.J.R.Nabisco -- who visited Moscow early this week -- says that the company has invested considerable funds in the Russian economy without any fear.


Presidential envoy to Chechnya, Valentin Vlasov -- who was kidnapped in May -- turned 52 Thursday. Chechen kidnappers are demanding $2 million for his release. Several attempts to free him were aborted after his captors changed locations.

Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko Thursday put an end to a long-standing conflict betweenthe State Property Committee and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov over the four blocks of the Sklifosovsky Medical Institute.

Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov sent a letter to his Taliban counterpart, Khassan Akhund, proposing the establishment of diplomatic relations and official missions in Grozny and Kabul.

Moscow ranks first in the number of killings per 100,000 residents among the 29 largest cities in Europe and America, according to the results of an investigation conducted by the British Interior Ministry.

Vladimir Lebedev, businessman and former leader of the Sverdlovsk regional branch of the Afghan Veterans' Union, was killed Wednesday night in Yekaterinburg.

BaltONEXIMbank applied Thursday to an arbitration court in a bid to sequester the accounts of Yakutia, and force it to pay debts on its bonds. If the bank wins, it will be able to take the federal authorities, who have frozen GKOs, to court.

The Minsky Auto Plant (MAZ) became the first victim of the Russian financial crisis among auto factories in the CIS when its main conveyor was stopped Thursday.


Illustrious writer Viktor Rozov, who turns 85 Friday, says that he will celebrate in the Central Children's Theater, which staged his first play, "Her Friends."

The current financial crisis has several positive features. Who has gained? Who has lost?

A look at six politicians who plan to run for president in 2000, yet have no chance to win.

The St. Petersburg City Court is expected to preside over the murder trial of an 11-member gang accused of killing 13 people, mostly pensioners whose apartments they expropriated.

The female orangutan, Monika, lives in the St. Petersburg Zoo -- where she paints pictures that are shown in exhibitions and bought by new Russians.

Pop musician Yuri Shevchuk talks about his new musical program.


The story highlights a 'modest' castle,

Boris Yeltsin's daughter, Tatiana, has bought a "modest" castle in the Alps, in the German city of Garmish-Partenkirchen. Locals call the site the "palace of fairytales."

Starting Sept. 1, senior pupils in all Moscow secondary schools will study elementary military training.

The Moscow City Court has sentenced two men -- Alexander Yakovenko,45, and Semyon Yaropolov,30 -- to 15 years in prison for the deaths of five female shuttle traders. Their codefendant, 22-year-old Natalya Motrenko, received a 10-year term.

Managers of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences squandered a huge sum of money, according to an audit that has uncovered gross violations.

Interior Ministry General Alexander Sergeyev, who was assigned to "work" in a Venezuelan-Russian criminal organization, helped detain drug dealers who smuggled about 500 kilograms of cocaine into Russia.

Relations between traders and buyers at Moscow city markets are often antagonistic. Why? A look at Butyrsky Rynok.


What Russia needs badly today is a strong government, but can it be found? A commentary by Editor-in-Chief Vitaly Tretyakov.

The story looks at results of the visit to Dushanbe by General Chief of Staff Anatoly Kvashnin and Federal Border Service Director Nikolai Bardyuzha. There, CIS officials discussed a plan of unified action in case of a possible emergency at the border with Afghanistan.

The Federation Council intends to obtain its own TV channel if it can find the money.

A slumping financial market has helped former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who was dumped in March, parlay the mistakes of his successor to make a successful debut as a "crisis manager." (see also Segodnya)

The Volgograd administration may be drawn into an international scandal. Several years ago an agreement was signed between Russia and Germany to ensure bilateral cooperation in the maintenance of World War II graves. According to this document, a cemetery would be built in Rossoshki (Gorodishchensky District) for German soldiers killed in the Stalingrad Battle. The project has been suspended, even though theGerman side has honored its obligations.

A TB epidemic has caused a state of emergency to be declared in the Tyumen region. Local doctors complain that they lack funds to combat the disease.

Chelyabinsk MAKFA joint-stock company, in conjunction with Sosnovsky Bread Complex, is completing the construction of a new mill that will produce pasta of European standards. Up to now, Russian pasta is viewed as a food for the poor because of its bad quality.


After the Moscow-St.Petersburg Super-Speed Motor Road sustained a fiasco, authorities have proposed tolls on the existing Moscow-Minsk Highway.

The Alfa group intends to take to federal arbitration court the Krasnoyarsky Aluminum Plant (KAP) in connection with the dispute over the Achinsky Alumina Combine.

A look at the domestic fruit market, and its major domestic and foreign suppliers.

Forty performers are taking part in the second round of the Maya Ballet Contest in St. Petersburg.


The Central Bank's initiative to form an anti-crisis pool for Sberbank has been backed by only one large bank -- Promstroibank. Spokesman Sergei Abdurakhmanov said: " We hail the Central Bank's initiative to defend depositors' savings through the creation of a system of mutual guarantees of banking deposits. Promstroibank hopes that it will cooperate with all commercial banks."

Unified Energy Systems sustained $15 million in damages in a fire Thursday night. Some of the funds for the repairs will come from the federal budget.

A look at the positive results of Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev's trip to Angola, where he managed to push forward the interests of Russian businesses.

In an interview Andrei Sakharov, director of the Institute of Russian History, compares the current financial crisis with the 17th century disturbance during the rule of Tsar Ivan the Terrible.


What do Western experts, analysts, politicians and journalists think of the current situation in Russia? What are their prognoses for the near and distant future?

The position of women in Russia has worsened. In an interview Alevtina Aparina, head of the State Duma Women's Family and Youth Committee, gives facts in support of this statement.

In an interview Alexander Lebedev, head of Natsionalny Reserve Bank, talks about his bank's commercial activities in Ukraine.

In an interview Valery Nosov, director-general of the ZIL auto factory, talks about new car models and high quality assembly work.

Full text of the rules of delivering paid veterinary services.

Full text of the government decree on introducing amendments concerning the use of automatic teller machines when settling cash accounts.

In an interview Yevgeny Ginsburg, author of many popular TV programs during Soviet times, talks about his current work.