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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

August 6, 1998.


The government has created an inter-department group, headed by Boris Nemtsov to be responsible for heating and electricity supplies to 12 regions in critical need. The Fuel and Energy Ministry is expected to sign special agreements with them providing state support. This year UES head Anatoly Chubais will take an active part in fuel and energy preparation for winter. The story reports on how five of these desperate regions are preparing for winter.

The story highlights the military successes of the Taliban units, which now control 90 percent of Afghanistan's territory. Russia is facing a difficult dilemma -- to either recognize the Taliban in Kabul or to continue to back the forces of military commanders Rabbani and Dustum, hoping that the Islamic regime will soon fall. Washington has already made the choice.

Both Russian and foreign investors will be able to take part in the auction to sell five percent of Gazprom stock. This was stated by First Deputy State Property Minister Alexander Braverman (also appears in Kommersant Daily).

The Land Policy Ministry has submitted to the government a draft of the federal presidential program "Land Reform in Russia in 1998-2001," which should be completed by the beginning of 2002.

According to President Yeltsin's instruction, the Stalin Archive should be handed over from the president's archives to the public federal archives in 1999. The story looks at the content of the Stalin archives and what this act means for science.

The Moscow government has approved the concept of mortgage crediting and will begin releasing the first of such credits in September. The story reveals the essence of the concept.

Chelyabinsk governor Pyotr Sumin has imposed "special administering under emergency conditions" in his region rather than a state of emergency (as many mass media reported yesterday). The situation in the region, which has been made hostage by striking miners, is truly critical.

The Federation of Air Controllers' Labor Unions has declared an indefinite strike beginning August 9. The air controllers demand payment of back wage debts (over 120 million new rubles). The story focuses on the hardships they've encountered (also appears in Kommersant Daily).

The government has agreed to give money to the Sakhalin striking miners on the condition they lift the blockade of the Sakhalinskaya electric power station. A government delegation headed by Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kudryavy, which is to leave for the island in a couple of days, will bring the miners a timetable for paying off all the debts.

The $200 million contract that Russian signed with Algeria to repair two Algerian warships at the Kronstadt Marine Ship-Repairing Factory may be broken off. The contract endangerment is the result of Rosvooruzheniye's unexpected decision to change the timetable of the contract.

The story features the Cherkizovsky Meat-Sausage Combine, which has transformed itself from a backward enterprise into a leading modern company comprised of 12 different factories. Its director Igor Babayev says that it uses only ten percent of domestic raw materials.


Beginning in August, the government has tripled the pension tax to be levied on the population, thereby outlawing itself. According to the Criminal Code, the 37 Cabinet members who made the decision may be sentenced to seven years in jail for abuse of power.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's information empire may become the most powerful in Russia next year. The State Property Ministry made the decision on privatizing and handing over the information printing combine "Moskovskaya Pravda" to the Moscow city government, which Luzhkov has been running for six years. On the eve of the 2000 elections Luzhkov's media holding Metropolis will receive one of the largest printing-houses in Russia.

In an interview Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, who takes a leading post in the Federation Council, says that he will encourage his colleagues not to approve higher tax rates introduced by the government without Parliament approval.

The monument to Peter the Great by illustrious Soviet sculptor Lev Kerbel will be unveiled soon on Izmailovsky Island in Moscow, though the decision was to do it on July 28 -- Navy Day. But lack of funding for the event prevented following through on original plans.

The U.S. Congress has voted in favor of suspending payment of its share to the MAGATE Fund, saying that this international organization actually helps Iran develop its nuclear program.

The Perovsky People's Court in Moscow has sentenced Muscovite Vladimir Kotov to six months of corrective labor on charges of killing his cat.

Ussuri businessman Sergei Lantvoyev, 40, was shot dead yesterday in the center of Vladivostok. Several minutes before the tragedy, he was appointed manager of a large commercial company.

The Swiss Nakosta Ag firm yesterday announced the purchase from Rossiisky Kredit Bank of 46 percent of Lebedinsky Metals Combine stock. The metals producer is located in Gubkin, Belgorod region.

The Central Bank and the Finance Ministry have found themselves on the brink of war and leading Russian banks may get involved soon. The reason behind conflict is the Finance Ministry proposal to take into account Central Bank specialists' expert evaluation and not the banks' failure to meet the Central Bank's directives (norms) in conducting futures tenders.

The RosNIIROS State Institute, which deals with the registration of Internet addresses in Russia has found a list of names of Webservers, the registration of which was forbidden for different reasons.

The Finance Ministry early this week announced a new program of borrowings on the external and internal markets. In an interview Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov reveals the essence of the government program.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov on Tuesday met with General Secretary of the International PEN Club Alex Blow to reach a preliminary agreement on holding the 67th PEN Congress in the summer of 2000 in Moscow.

The Russian Photo Fund has instituted a national photo contest called "Bulla." The first prize will be awarded late in May in 1999.


In a short interview, Irina Fyodorovna, wife of the deceased composer Alfred Schnittke, says that the funeral ceremony to bid a quiet farewell to the great Russian composer, will take place in Moscow's Grand Hall of the Conservatory on August 10. This has become possible thanks to the efforts of Mstislav Rostropovich (another story on the composer's death is featured in Kommersant Daily).

Three of the last criminals who on August 30 fled from a prison on Cape Schmidt, were detained yesterday. They surrendered without fight.

The Trans-Dniestrian Military Court today is to consider a lawsuit lodged by Colonel Mikhail Bergman, former commander of the Tiraspol Garrison, against Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev.

Three Russian wheelchair athletes from the Shparo Adventure Club for the first time completed the longest race in the American northernmost state, Alaska.

A tavern called "Kazemat" and fashioned as a prisoner's cell has opened in the St. Peter and Paul Fortress near the graves of Russian tsars.

Military observer Viktor Baranets answers nine questions about a new military concept signed recently by President Boris Yeltsin.


Cars in traffic jams pollute the atmosphere much more than when they are moving. In view of this, five ecologists in their recent letter to President Yeltsin asked him to back a Moscow government program to mount special neutralizers on all autos.

In an interview, former Grozny Mayor Bislan Gantamirov, who is staying in Matrosskaya Tishina Prison on charges of embezzlement, says that it's not in his manner to betray those Russian officials who initiated the war in Chechnya.

Today there are crowds of visitors arriving at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg to bid farewell to the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. And who visits the Lenin Mausoleum these days? A story by its guard Sergei Gerasimov.

The Moscow City Court, for the first time in the practice of city courts,has sentenced Doryshev, an owner of four brothels, to 4 and a half years in jail.

The Moscow city government has decided to equip most city public libraries with computers to conform to Western standards.

The press service of the Moscow government and Mayor Yuri Luzhkov have issued a statement saying that they oppose any measure by the federal authorities to use force to evict the striking miners on Gorbaty Most.


Central Bank boss Sergei Dubinin deliberately made the federal government '"bankrupt" on July 20 when the Central Bank took away the last $1.5 billion from the Finance Ministry, leaving the state without a kopek for the whole week.

Despite the fact that there are no tangible results and no new agreements were signed during Kiriyenko's recent meeting with Chechen President Maskhadov, there is hope for some progress in settling Moscow-Grozny relations.

Pilot-Cosmonaut Yuri Artyukhin, hero of the Soviet Union, died Tuesday -- no reason is stated). It was reported by the Russian State Cosmonauts' Training Center.

Opel, a sister enterprise of General Motors, has agreed to launch a joint venture with AvtoVAZ -- an assembly factory -- at the first stage with an annual capacity of 35,000-50,000 autos.

Britain's Defense Minister George Robertson speaks about Russia's place in Britain's defense policy and its strategic revision, which was announced on July 8.

President Yeltsin arrived yesterday at his summer residence in Valdai to continue his vacation. The local administration hopes the president will have the time of his life there. He may go to Novgorod as he promised Governor Mikhail Prusak earlier.

In an interview Shamil Basayev, supreme commander of Chechnya's armed forces, accuses the Russian special secret services of its latest assassination attempts in Grozny and Nazran, saying that big war in the Caucasus suits Russia best.

Members from the "White Brotherhood" sect applied to the State Religious Committee of Ukraine with a request to register it as the World Church of the Great White Brotherhood Yusmalos.

Military expert Boris Khalosha from the Academy of Military Sciences looks at major non-military aspects of Russia-NATO cooperation, which in his opinion, has good prospects.

Historian Nikolai Popov, research associate at the Bureau of Applied Sociological Studies, offers an in-depth analysis of people's attitudes, hopes and concerns about the president and his government.

Russian prisons have remained the best place for reading. What do convicts read there andhow are their local libraries supplied with new books?

The 11th Moscow International Book Fair will take place September 2 to 7 in the All-Russian Exhibition Center (former VDNKH). In an interview, its general director, Nikolai Ovsyannikov, talks about the participants.


Chitaenergo, due to its huge debts, yesterday suspended the electrical supply to more than 20 military facilities in the Transbaikal military district.

There is discussion on whether12-year schooling be introduced in Moscow schools this year.


The story looks at several provisions of the draft law banning Nazi insignia and literature (the document has been submitted to the State Duma for consideration), which makes the law ineffective.

The miners' picket line on Gorbaty Most has turned into a permanent camp. How are the miners getting on there? The only thing they lack is the official status of living in Moscow(1,6)

The Moscow Mayor's Office lately has recently acquired a strange, possibly dangerous, way of responding to press criticism sent to their address and particularly to Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. All those who do not praise them to the sky are viewed as their enemies.

In an interview, lawyer Henri Reznik talks about the extraordinary situation when the government issues decrees, the latest being tax decrees, putting them into effect without parliamentary approval. Reznik also advises that Muscovites should not open doors to the tax police if the latter have no proper documents.

A his recent meeting with Western and Russian bank officials, Alexander Livshits, deputy head of the president's administration, stated that the government has a firm intention to defend their rights and help them in clearing off "agricultural" bonds.


Alexander Goldfarb, director of the $10 million George Soros program to curb TB in Russia, expresses concern over a rapid spread of its new incurable form.

The Moscow Bureau of Forensic Medicine will soon mark its 80th anniversary. Its director, Vladimir Zharov talks about his 'laboratory's past and present.

Six Moscow judges have come to Obshaya Gazeta's legal section to share their views about numerous cases of arbitrary rule and abuse of power by higher ranking city judges.

Last week 59 gray whales with cubs came to the Sea of Okhotsk where the Sakhalin Energy company created in 1991 is developing the oil shelf here. Many ecologists believe that the so-called Sakhalin-2 project may kill the whales and destroy the unique nature of this sea.

The story looks at two potential candidates, Yuri Luzhkov and Alexander Lebed, for the presidential elections in 2000.

The story explains what has happened to one-year-old Russky Telegraf (30,000 copies) financed by ONEXIM Group and whether the newspaper has a future.


In an interview Nationalny Reserve Bank boss Alexander Lebedev answers questions about

the priority line in a bank's policy and its significance to the defense-industrial complex.


A letter signed by five leading ecologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences addressed to President Yeltsin expresses their concern over an alarming ecological situation caused by gas exhaust from millions of city cars.


Alexander Smyshlyaev, First Deputy Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety Minister of Ukraine speaks about the radioactive situation in the Chernobyl zone.


In an interview, head of the State Tax Service, Boris Fyodorov talks about his "special qualifications" to collect taxes. He also speaks about his hobby -- compiling an English- Russian crediting banking dictionary.


Editor Valentin Chikin and Zavtra editor Alexander Prokhanov are discussing the current political developments, including the current financial and economic crisis, and a hot upcoming political fall.