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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

August 13, 1998.


Besides the three already known burials of Polish officers, priests and noblemen who were shot by Soviet NKVD in Russia in 1940, there is one more burial, which was found recently near Tavda in the Sverdlovsk region, 400 km from Yekaterinburg. The story sheds light on the terrible fate that befell many Poles in the former Soviet Union.

During a special police operation, called "Zakhvat," on August 12, law enforcement officers detained two members from a criminal group in South Ossetia, who are suspected of killing its vice-prime minister, Valery Khabulov, several months ago.

President Yeltsin has signed decrees on selling Svyazinvest stock and on the terms for selling Gazprom shares. The story notes that the government has missed the opportunity of selling state oil company stock when it was no problem. Today, the situation is quite different.

Due to the government failure to compensate the huge losses sustained by Volgograd farmers during the recent drought, the region has no money to launch a winter crop sowing campaign. And, as a result, Russia next year may be left without a grain harvest (a similar story also appears in Kommersant Daily).

Serious personnel cuts are expected to happen in the Finance Ministry where one in every five employees will lose their jobs, Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov said yesterday (a similar story also appears in Kommersant Daily).

St. Petersburg's regional branches of eight large democratic parties and movements have created their own bloc to take part in the winter elections to the local legislative assembly.

Mikhail Shishkhanov, head of the Moscow BIN Bank, one of the most dynamically developing and stable banks in Russia, tells of the current situation in the banking sector of the economy and of his short-term plans.

In an interview, the chairman of the Muftis' Council in Russia, Ravil Gainutdinov -- who is also head of the Ecclesiastical Board of Moslems of Russia's Central European Region -- talks about Islam-Orthodoxy dialogue and about his attitude to Wahhabism.

A closed military hospital in Podolsk is treating 30 HIV-infected servicemen.


The Moscow government and several large oil companies have sustained 25 billion rubles ($3.7 billion) in losses as a result of the performance of the NikOil company, whose director general, Nikolai Ushakov, fled abroad. As it turns out, authoritative communist functionaries, with Oleg Shenin -- leader of the Union of Communist Parties -- being among them, back him. The story features the company and its head Ushakov.

The Republic of Yakutia-Sakha has become the first Russian region to become a bankrupt as a result of the financial crisis. The Yakutian government yesterday stated that it is unable to clear off the bonds of the republic's loans. Other regions may soon follow suit.

The Justice Ministry made the decision to toughen control over public organizations. With this aim in mind, it would like to get additional powers, similar to those enjoyed by the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office. These requests are written in the draft bills it has prepared to submit to the government.

The largest auto bridge across the Volga River in Ulyanovsk has been in an emergency state for 11 years already and may collapse at any time. This was stated by an experts' commission sent there by Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. However, it will be closed for major renovation only in 2000.

The Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District declared illegal the largest deals signed by Andrei Vavilov when he was First Deputy Finance Minister. Vavilov handed over bonds of the internal currency state loan -- worth $656 million -- for trustee management to the Moscow regional administration, which immediately gave them to Unikombank. The Finance Ministry, however, has failed to receive either the bonds or money.

Major Yury Klimenko, deputy chief of the operative department of St. Petersburg's Kresty Prison, has been arrested on charges of abuse of power. The story looks at what he has done to this prison.

Chechen kidnappers of Vladimir Grigoryants, director- general of the Kizlyar brandy factory, and his wife, demand $1.2 million in ransom. Otherwise, they threaten to kill the two in several weeks.

Because of an aggravated situation on the domestic financial market this week, the Central Bank yesterday decreased limits on currency sales to large commercial banks.

The State Property Ministry decided on Tuesday to make a list of all state property. With this aim in view, it intends to ask the Interior Ministry, the State Tax Service and the Federal Tax Police Service for help.

The hydrocarbons to be extracted on Sakhalin's continental shelf should help the government sell Rosneft. The story describes the extraction promises being made to prospective company owners in the future.

In an interview, former Izvestia editor Nikolai Bodnaruk, a new editor-coordinator of Literaturnaya Gazeta, says what awaits the newspaper in the near future and why he is not its editor-in-chief (a similar story appears in KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA.)

A powerful blast on Tuesday in a new Russian's apartment sauna on the 11th floor of an elite house on Osenny Bulvar made tenants think it was a terrorist act. After firefighters did their job, nearly all apartments on lower floors sustained water damage (this story also appears in Kommersant Daily).

On August 10, a group of armed bandits attacked a group of five children and teenagers in Karachayevo- Circassia, seriously wounding the group's guide, 24-year-old Muscovite Nina Ignatenko. The story gives details of the accident.

Economist Alexei Makurin answers four questions about an alarming situation on the domestic financial market. Why have Western creditors failed to help?

State Duma deputy of the Communist faction Vladimir Semago is starring in MP filmmaker Stanislav Govorukhin's new film "The Sicilian Defense." The story details the film's plot and main characters.


After the recent gas blast in an apartment house on Shcherbakovskaya Ulitsa, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and his team intend to endorse a program of obligatory housing insurance. What will Muscovites gain from it?

New FSB Director Vladimir Putin has ordered that all documents on criminal cases instituted against the striking Russian miners be collected. The FSB intends to thoroughly study all documents and after that launch a Soviet-style security plan against any "mutineers." All Putin's efforts are intended to discredit and split miners' movements at any cost.

The Moscow Inter-Urban and International Telephone company made the decision to impose new tariffs on inter-urban and international telephone calls starting September 1. Prices will go up 30 percent on the average.

The State Museum of Ceramics and the Kuskovo Country-Estate is the first museum in Russia to use a unique system of 250 automated devices, replacing guides and interpreters.

The Federal Television and Radio Broadcasting Service may lose all its property this week, because it has failed to pay its 8,000 ruble debt to the federal budget.


The story features the fate of the Federal Ecological Fund (it was created six years ago according to a government decree), which the Finance Ministry decided to close. The Fund has applied to the government with a request to cancel the decision.

An unexplainable fall of the financial market on Tuesday is evidence of one thing -- the Sergei Kiriyenko government will most likely collapse before the end of August, and it is due to neither the economic crisis nor the situation in South East Asia . Extremely powerful and influential political forces want to topple it. There is a mighty coalition, which is speeding up Kiriyenko's resignation.

With an the all-embracing national crisis today, the priority task is to work out a new political course for the government. The first step in this direction should be a consolidation of the state's positions -- this is the viewpoint shared by Primorye Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko, member of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee.

There are 15 priority draft bills, which Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko has submitted to the State Duma for consideration at its upcoming extraordinary session scheduled for August 19 to 20.

The Russian Federal Property Fund early this week announced a commercial competition (with investment conditions) to sell a state-owned package of stock of Sayansky Aluminum Factory .


Two young people on Monday came into one of Archbishop of Chelyabinsk and Zlatoust Iov's offices, and under threats demanded that he leave the city. Father Iov refused to give their names to journalists, though, as he said, he knows his adversaries. Analysts say it was Chelyabinsk Orthodox fundamentalists, who 'attacked' him because his stance allegedly lacks conservatism.

In an interview, Armenia's President Robert Kocharyan talks about the country's most serious problem -- overcoming the economic crisis. The president talks about foreign investors and about the fate of the CIS.

In a short interview, Alexander Zhukov, head of the State Duma Budget, Taxes, Banks and Finances Committee, speaks pessimistically about the upcoming State Duma extraordinary session.

Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world. According to different estimates, Russian smokers' needs in tobacco are from 100 billion (VTSIOM data) up to 240 billion

(Deloitte and Touche data) and even 420 billion cigarettes a year, of which 60 percent is produced at home, and 40 percent is imported. The story looks at the situation on the domestic tobacco market and at the quality of cigarettes made at home.


Many analysts doubt the expediency of conducting the all-Russian census, which is scheduled for fall 1999), which, according to latest official estimates, will cost 1.3 billion rubles. The story concludes that it's significant to know how many people live in Russia.

Police on Tuesday found nearly 300 kilograms of ammonium in an unguarded warehouse on Turgenevskaya Ploshchad. It turned out to belong to Metrostroi agency Number 5.

This fall promises to be early and rainy. The story offers an explanation by Mark Naishuller, head of the Gidrometcenter laboratory on why Moscow has so little sunshine this summer, promised by weather specialists

The objective of President Yeltsin's "politburo" is to retain power up to 2000.

Moscow city authorities have endorsed a program of festivities in honor of City Day scheduled for September 5 and 6. The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday September 5 at 11:00 on Tverskaya Ploshchad in front of the City Administration Building.

In September all bottles of carbonated water with artificial flavoring will disappear from all Moscow shops according to the decision made by the city government. Sanitary specialists say that these drinks contain cancerogenic substances.

Moscow's Gorky Park of Culture and Rest marked its 70th anniversary Wednesday. T


In an interview, Alexander Sergeyev, leader of the Miners' Independent Labor Union, which for already two months has been picketing the White House, talks about the striking miners'political demands. And later on Tuesday, Moscow city police detained him on charges of his refusal to voluntarily come to the Interior Department to testify about the miners' blockade of railways in the Chelyabinsk region.

Moscow city human rights advocates have initiated a project of publishing a special AIDS booklet for prostitutes, who have little knowledge about the disease. The project has been financed by the British Council.

Ecologists say that over 30 percent of Muscovites suffer from city noise, which causes several diseases. The story describes the places in the city, in which the noise level exceeds all possible norms.

State Duma leaders are not sure yet that deputies should interrupt their vacation to go to Moscow for an extraordinary session. In an interview, First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Vladimir Ryzhkov answers questions about why are doubtful and other questions about the upcoming session.

Is the current political and economic situation really so explosive that it may lead to uncontrolled social discontent? Four experts in political forecasting give their explanations.

In an interview, illustrious filmmaker Karen Shakhnazarov talks about his youth, about his family, his life in Soviet times, his attitude to what is happening in Russia today and his new films.

How will Russky Telegraf change after August 18 when it resumes its publication? In an interview, Mikhail Kozhokin, Mass Media Director in the INTERROS holding of the ONEXIM Group, answers this and other questions about the fate of the newspaper.

Russian television this spring announced the launching of a huge Russian-American project titled "Stars of the 21st Century."

The SOS children's village in Tomilino (outside Moscow) is so far the only one of its kind in Russia built after the model of great Austrian teacher Gherman Gmainer.


Mayor Yuri Luzhkov talks about ties connecting Moscow with small Russian towns, to which he attaches much significance.

Surgeons at First City Hospital may boast of a unique collection, already 25 years old, consisting of different things they take out from their patients' stomachs during operations.

Fyodor Pospelov, head of the Ogni Moskvy bank, talks about the bank's clients and about its charity programs.

Two Moscow city realties -- MIEL and Le-Ru -- made the decision to merge.

The Russian nuclear research center, the Kurchatov Institute, has turned 50 this year. The story featuresits extensive cooperation contacts and the way it earns money , since its radiation safety program costs approximately 50 million new rubles a year.

In an interview Andrei Lapshin, 27, general director of the Sokolniki Cultural and Exhibition Center, talks about four major exhibition centers in Moscow, which control thewhole exhibition market in the city. Lapshin also speaks about the role played by foreign companies taking part in international exhibitions.

The situation with school textbooks in Russia (except Moscow) is even worse this year than it has been in the last years. Complicating the problem is also book piracy, in which those products do not differentiate from the originals.


Philosopher Richard Kosolapov looks at Stalin's role in the history of the former Soviet Union and Russia where interest in the Stalin theme is growing today.