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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

August 18, 1998.


The government and the Central Bank on Aug. 17 made public a joint statement on emergency measures intended to overcome the aftermaths of the world financial crisis, or to normalize financial and budget policies. The story focuses on its major provisions. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

Three international non-government organizations appealed to President Boris Yeltsin with a letter, saying that unless urgent measures are taken in prisons to combat a terrible tuberculosis epidemic, the latter may become uncontrollable.

The Karamakhi, Chabanmakhi and Kadar provinces in the Buinaks region of Dagestan have declared that they will no longer obey the Dagestani leadership. Also covered in Kommersant Daily and Noviye Izvestia.

State Duma Deputy Vladimir Semago of the Communist faction, a contender for the post of Nizhny Novgorod mayor in the coming elections scheduled for Sept. 27, has submitted 24,638 signatures (the required number is 21,500) to the local election committee. He acts as a trustee for local jailed businessman Andrei Klimentyev.

The story looks at several paradoxes of Russian statistics: one of them is that Russians, who are "underfed, unpaid, fail to pay taxes and can hardly make ends meet," buy ever more television sets, radios, refrigerators and cars.

It's not excluded that former Central Bank boss Viktor Gerashchenko may return to the post soon. Will he be able to save the ruble? The government decision to devaluate the ruble has caused tough reaction from State Duma deputies.

The Cabinet and Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, who initiated the creation of the Trade Ministry, have appeared to be hostages of this idea, because new Minister Yury Maslyukov has demanded unprecedented powers that considerably limit the duties of Economics Minister Yakov Urinson. Where is a way out?

Boris Nikolsky, first deputy prime minister of the Moscow government, has signed a decree on demolishing all shell-form garages that were built without permission from city authorities. Also covered in Moskovsky Komsomolets.

In the opinion of several mass media, it is the Central Bank, Sberbank and other banking structures controlling the biggest part of the domestic financial market, that could make the latter fall with the aim of creating financial and political chaos to topple Sergei Kiriyenko's Cabinet.

Massive privatization in Kazakhstan conducted by the government over the past four years has drawn over $6 billion worth of direct investment to the republic. The story features several foreign companies that are doing good business there.

In an interview, political scientist Alexander Rar, representing the old Russian emigration, assesses Russia's six years of reform, speaking about his attitude to several political leaders and their chances to win the next elections. He also talks about Russia's national idea and ideology.


Alexander Livshits, deputy head of the presidential administration, is the first to respond to the unexpected change of the government's currency policy. On Monday he said that he had tendered his resignation. Will President Boris Yeltsin sign it?

The Russian Federal Property Fund on Monday announced a sale of 25 percent minus two shares of OAO "Svyazinvest." The story reports on how American Appraisal has evaluated its cost.

The story looks at food and non-food products, the prices of which will rise as a result of the ruble's fall.

The Russian advertising market is experiencing an unprecedented collapse during its 10-year history. Specialists say that the volume of ads has decreased 50 percent over the past three months. The story gives other figures to illustrate the point.

Russia's financial crisis has also affected the Japanese stock market: The fall of shares hit the Tokyo stock exchange on Monday, with the Nikkei index showing a record low over the past 12 years -- 14,794.66 points.

The State Tax Service has prepared amendments to be introduced in the directive on the procedure of calculating and paying to the budget the profit tax by enterprises and organizations. The story reveals the essence of the proposed amendments.

Transaero, the third largest Russian air carrier, may soon cease to exist as a whole. A group of its shareholders, controlled by Boris Berezovsky, tried to topple its present leadership. Its head, Alexander Pleshakov, however, refusing to leave his post proposed another "civilized" way out to his opponents.

The Ulyanovsk Car Factory will manage to evade the bankruptcy procedure if it meets all recommendations from the inter-department balance commission of the Federal Insolvency Service. The story looks at these recommendations.

Puerto-Rican authorities have agreed to accept Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli's 600-ton Statue of Christopher Columbus as a gift. The story features a happy end to the many-year talks about the fate of this "work of art."


The Novosibirsk police are seeking a murderer, who last week stabbed a 5-year-old and is continuing his 'hunt' for little children.

Russia will hardly be able to manage to come to an agreement with the Taliban fighters, who have been recognized only by three countries. The story looks at two scenarios, the bad and the very bad, of future events in Afghanistan and on Russia's southern borders. Also covered in Noviye Izvestia.

How to survive the current financial crisis? Six recommendations may help people use their cash savings in a proper way. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

Filmmaker Alexander Rogozhkin is shooting a new comedy "Special Features of National Angling." What is it about? The story is an eyewitness account from the shooting ground.

The story describes a powerful methane blast in the 19th Partsyezd mine outside Lugansk, Ukraine, last week, while 28 miners were in the mine. Twenty-one miners died.

Is it possible to raise the Soviet S-7 submarine that sank during World War II from the bottom of the Gulf of Bothnia? Captain Igor Kulakov, chief of the Search and Rescue Service of the Russian Navy, shares his opinion. Another story is told by sailor Vasily Subbotin, who is among the four sailors that survived.

Economic observer Yevgeny Anisimov comments on the measures taken by the government to save the country's financial system from collapse.

The story looks at amateur art activities of different State Duma factions that have appeared to be rich in talent. The story talks about their concert programs.

Ten short funny stories about state leaders and celebrities.


The story talks about the financial situation on Monday in six Russian leading banks.

Moscow police have arrested a drug dealer, a 23-year-old Tajik, who was selling fresh pepper stuffed with heroin on Petrovsko-Razumovsky market.

Moscow metro authorities decided to conduct a month-long experiment -- to place advertising boards on the floor in the metro station "Varshavskaya."

How do show-business stars treat politics and political leaders and whom are they going to support during the next elections? Twelve stars speak out.

Russia has lost the world highest mountain hotel "The Shelter of 11" on the Elbrus at the height of 4,200 meters, which last Sunday was completely destroyed by a fire. Also covered in Izvestia.


The Russian government and the Central Bank Monday radically changed their policies on currency and internal state debt. They also revised, temporarily, the attitude to foreign creditors. The story looks at the major culprits of the current financial crisis, and their efforts to evade responsibility. What official have actually done is devalue the ruble, but they failed to say it honestly. (see also Segodnya)

President Boris Yeltsin on Monday appointed Boris Fyodorov, head of the State Tax Service, to the post of Deputy Prime Minister. As a deputy, he is responsible for issues pertaining to macroeconomics and the state debt.

Which government officials should share responsibility for the financial collapse? Editor-in-Chief Vitaly Tretyakov looks at their gross mistakes and lack of courage to admit them.

In addition to President Boris Yeltsin, all state officials responsible for the financial crisis have been invited to attend the State Duma's extraordinary session scheduled for Aug. 21. The story looks at the way deputies and factions assess the anti-crisis measures.

Domestic machine and tool manufacturing is in a serious slump. In an interview, Nikolai Panichev, head of the Rosstankoinstrument joint stock company, talks pessimistically about the future prospects in this economic sector.

Chechnya's relationship with Georgia has played a significant role in the former's ambitious play in the project to create a Caucasian Common Market in a bid to bring prosperity to the entire region.

Several finds by the Daghestani- American-Spanish scientific expedition near the Velikent settlement of the Karabudakhkentsky District are sensational because they tell a lot about the ancient civilization that existed there 6,000 years ago.

The federal TV and Radio Broadcasting Service is expected to issue two licenses free of charge to the Children's Project and the Russian Orthodox Church. Why does the latter need its own TV channel?


The only way to interpret Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko's phrase -- "The change of the currency corridor does not mean a devaluation of the ruble" -- is that the ruble has not been ordered to fall, but was only allowed to do it, economic and political observer Otto Latsis notes in his commentary on the government's desperate actions.

The Moscow regional government Monday approved a draft bill on the sale of land plots by privatized enterprises and other real estate. A look at the major provisions.

The thunderstorm that tore across the city in July has played a crucial role in the creation of Moscow's own weather service.

The extraordinary arrival in Moscow of International Monetary Fund officials testifies tothe presence of an acute financial crisis in Russia. A look at several urgent issues the IMF mission will deal with during its visit.

Several shuttle traders selling their goods in the Dynamo outdoor market raised prices last Sunday by 15 percent on rumors of the coming ruble devaluation.

The government intends to impede the outflow of foreign capital from Russia. With this aim in mind, Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko announced several other draft bills to be added to the latest package of measures submitted last week to the State Duma.

The Bratsk water reservoir has been polluted with mercury. How did this ecology tragedy occur? How, and when, did the mercury contaminate the water?


Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev headed a large delegation Monday to Angola. On the eve of his departure he discussed his visit with President Boris Yeltsin, who told the defense minister to discuss several issues of military cooperation with counterparts in the African country. The story looks at the state of Russian-Angolan military affairs.

Five Federation Council members speak out about the financial crisis.

Several high-ranking government personnel changes are expected in light of the financial crisis, and one expected target is the "banal treasurer," the Finance Minister.

The terms of the sale of the second package of the Svyazinvest telecommunications holding have been finally defined. The appropriate documents were expected to be sent out Tuesday to potential bidders. The starting price of the package, 25 percent minus two shares, will amount to 6,492 billion rubles.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has released the first $10 million tranche to AO Magnitogorsky Metals Combine, a leading ferrous metals producer in Russia, for funding export metals deliveries.


It is the opinion of several foreign bankers working in Russia that the federal government has gone bankrupt. Despite the creation of an anti-crisis program, and the receipt of a stabilization package from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the government has been unable to radically change the spheres of budgeting and taxation. The story features two scenarios (acceptable and unacceptable) of future economic and financial developments in the by the fall.

Starting Sept. 1, Ukrainian authorities intend to impose tougher rules on foreigners staying in the border areas. In order to reach Yalta, Yevpatoria, Alushta, Sevastopol and the seaside Odessa region, travellers must have a special permit.

State Duma deputy Leonid Sheinis, of the Yabloko faction, says what politicians should do to overcome the current financial crisis.

On Aug. 20-21 1968, Soviet warplanes landed in a Prague airfield while troops from theUSSR, GDR, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria invaded the territory of Czechoslovakia. How do Czechs feel about Russians today?

Soviet authorities 30 years ago launched their propaganda campaign on the invasion of Czechoslovakia long before the event by firing most of the staff writers from the magazine, "Zhurnalist," as well as its editor-in-chief Yegor Yakovlev.

The financial crisis was the main topic of the recent telephone conversation between President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton. Excerpts from their talk.

Lenfilm Studios has suspended the shooting of all films because of a lack of funds. In an interview, filmmaker Alexander Sokurov talks about the situation.

The Russian Architects' Union will sponsor for the sixth time the Architecture-98 festival from Sept. 7-11.

Sergei Kaledin has written a new novel titled "The Club of Student Song," which nearly all thick literary journals have refused to publish. In an interview, he explains why.

The road traveled by the Russian pelmeni (a kind of meat ravioli) industry, from the Russian revolution to today, from acute shortages to abundance.


What three opponents should Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko defeat in order to overcome the financial crisis and retain power?


The full text of a statement by the federal government and the Central Bank concerning a package of measures intended to normalize financial and budgetary policies.