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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

September 29, 1998.

IZVESTIA (26/9/98)

What factors have prompted the government to impose a monopoly on the production and sale of hard liquor? What will it gain from the measure? What is the State Duma's law aimed at?

The government has made the decision to restore the Ministry of Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs. The story looks at several serious errors made by Russia in economic and trade relations with its neighbors, the former Soviet republics.

The story highlights the Chess City in Kalmykia's capital with 87 new cottages and a five-story chess palace, which were specially built in Elista to welcome the 33rd World Chess Tournament, which opened on Sept. 26.

The Audit Chamber has failed to produce proof that almost $1.5 billion worth of credit was misused in Russia. This was stated at the World Bank's Russian mission.

Chief Military Prosecutor Yury Dyomin disagrees with sending thousands of army servicemen to farms to harvest potato and carrots. The prosecutor said instead of working in the fields they should study military skills.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, speaking in the Senate on Friday, said that China and Russia continue to pose a threat to the security of the United States because they are the major suppliers of nuclear technology to other countries.

Central Bank head Viktor Gerashchenko is the only government official to make public his comprehensive program of action in today's crisis. In his opinion, the Central Bank's further efforts intended to boost the banking system may proceed in three ways. The story details each of them.

Alexei Kuznetsov, head of the RIO investment company, suggests several priority measures to stabilize the economic situation in the country, with restoring the banking system among the major ones.

The Taman nuclear rocket division stationed in the Tatishchevo village in the Saratov region is expected to receive new strategic missiles RS-12M2 or Topol-2 in December, according to General Sergei Ponomaryov, department chief of the Main HQ of the Strategic Rocket Troops. The general talks about several specific aspects of the project, including the financial one.

There is more chances today than several months ago that the State Duma will ratify the START-II Treaty. This was stated by General Vladimir Dvorkin, chief of the Central Research Institute attached to the Defense Ministry. Dvorkin hopes that Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov will help speed up the process. A commentary by military observer Viktor Litovkin.

Moscow Communists intend to launch a campaign of collecting signatures in the city to raise the issue of no- confidence in the president in the City Duma. They hope that they will beable to collect more than 10,000 signatures.

In an interview Nikolai Skatov, director of the St. Petersburg Pushkin House Institute of Russian Literature talks about large-scale preparations launched in his institute to mark Pushkin's 200th jubilee.

Seventy-eight paintings by artist Mikhail Shemyakin are on display in the Armenian Embassy in Moscow. The exhibition is devoted to the 10th anniversary of the Spitak earthquake.

Ural jewelers for the first time in world practice have made jewelry out of palladium, a metal, which is 40 times more expensive than gold. A metal plant in Yekaterinburg is the only one in the world to work with this metal.


The financial crisis has shown that Russia has never had state policy in relation to mass media. As a result, the mass media market has actually ceased to exist. In this complicated situation the Journalists' Union sent a letter to State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov asking him for help to prolong the law concerning state support of mass media. The speaker promised that it may be done at the next session of the duma.

Fifty-three servicemen from the SS Latvian Legion were to be reburied Sunday in the Memorial Cemetery in Lesten, Latvia. Russia's Foreign Ministry stated that "Moscow's reaction will be tough."

Fourteen businessmen, bankers, actors, deputies, writers, scientists and university teachers answer (on a hotline) the question: "Who is living well today?"

Former Leningrad regional governor Vadim Gustov, now first vice-premier, Friday made public the new principles of regional policy, saying that the federal government intends to give equal rights to regions, sharing power and money with them. This means giving them everything they have struggled for over a long period.

The Politics, Economics and Marketing Information Research Center has summed up results of the competition "Brand of the Year". Over four months competition organizers were to find out what goods, structures and public workers looked most attractive in the opinion of Russian mass media and advertising agencies. The story highlights the winners.

An epidemic of rabies, which is raging in the Moscow region among home and wild animals, has already left three patients dead. The story looks at the disease, its victims and a list of districts it has hit over the past several months.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Saturday held a closed government session to work out the final variant of the anti-crisis program in order to receive another tranche of the International Monetary Fund credit. The story looks at the IMF's demands.

The Moscow and Far-Eastern railways on Sep. 24 to 25 ceased to service the post wagons of all Russian railways. The domestic post service is on the brink of collapse. The story says why.

The five-star Golden Ring Swiss Diamond Hotel opened on Moscow's Smolenskaya Ploshchad on Friday. The hotel formerly belonged to the president's administrative affairs department,but the Swiss Matebex group will govern it and receive profits in the next ten years.

A London court last week froze the accounts of Inkombank and Uneximbank in the British branch of the U.S. bank Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. The latter applied to the court because its Russian partners had failed to meet forward contracts on dollar deliveries. If other foreign creditors follow suit, Russian companies' foreign trade will be completely paralyzed.

The Intel company has announced its long-term program to back the small and medium-sized enterprises of Russia and other CIS states. The story details the project.

The Scottish A.G. Barr company Friday opened its factory in Moscow to make Scottish Irn Bru water. The story highlights the new enterprise and its capacity.

Voronezh police Thursday arrested deputy governor of the region Vadim Sukhoverkhov for abuse of power.

Moscow city police have arrested three gangsters f Yury Morozov, Alexander Biryukov, and Andrei Zaitsev f from the Koptevo criminal grouping, who are accused of killings, robbery, kidnapping and extortion. The story details their deeds.

The Moscow police have expropriated a large batch of counterfeited dollars smuggled in from abroad. Details.

The first international charity festival Rock Fight-98 will take place at Luzhniki on Oct. 3. Who has initiated it and what is its program?


State Duma deputy Sergei Baburin, who is well known for his "patriotic sentiments", has given jobs as his aides to several performers from the Na-Na pop group. The story says why he has done it.

In an interview ex-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin explains why he has refused to run for a seat in the State Duma. He also says that the ruble would not have fallen if Chernomyrdin had headed the Cabinet. He harshly criticizes communist deputies for their double-dealing tactics.

Among 36 yachtsmen from 30 countries, who Sept. 26 started their around-the-world race of individual yachtsmen from the U.S. city of Charleston, is Russian athlete Fyodor Konyukhov, the only Russian representative in the world race. In an interview Konyukhov explains why he is taking part in this venture.

It's most probable that this year will set a record in the number of crimes in the army. In the past nine months of this year alone, the Military Prosecutor's Office has registered 40 army deserters and over 50 killed soldiers. How do generals try to explain these developments?

The story looks at the sad consequences of the financial crisis, which has hit the Moscow city personnel in banks, show business, markets, publishing houses, the fire brigades, the Emergency Situations Ministry, the tax police, Moscow Zoo, metro, education and medicine.

Moscow doctors take urgent measures to combat the flu virus this fall, which has alreadyhit about 50 percent of Muscovites. All Moscow schools have launched an anti-flu inoculation campaign.

Residents from so-called science towns in the Moscow region intend to block seven roads leading to the capital city on Sep. 30 in protest against wage arrears. They also demand the impeachment of President Yeltsin.

The story describes massive beatings in Sokolniki on Saturday , with about 1,500 Spartak and CSKA hockey fans taking part.

Residents (academics, architects and state politicians) from the elite dacha settlement between the sixth and seventh kilometer on Rublyovskoye Shosse have complained that a motorway leading to their dachas has been blocked after major renovation. The story says why.

The first stone was laid in the foundation of the first high-rise building on 28 Bolshaya Ochakovskaya Ulitsa. All in all 60 such buildings will be built along a new ring auto road, according to Mayor Yury Luzhkov's construction project. The story details the plan.

In an interview extrasensory healer Alan Chumak, who several years ago conducted his TV treatment sessions, talks about his new methods of treatment.


According to information from the State Sanitary Department of the Health Ministry, five Russians died and another 30 were hospitalized between Sep.16 and 21 because of mushroom poisoning.

Have government members , state officials and their wives transferred their savings to Sberbank? NainaYeltsina, Yevgeny Primakov, Boris Nemtsov, Viktor Chernomyrdin and Mrs. Chubais answer this question.

What has given rise to rumors about the end to the Booker Prize in Russia? In an interview Yevgenia Harrison, prize coordinator in Ansdell Russia in London, answers this question.

The story features a cultural program prepared by the magazine Playboy and its editor-in-chief Artemy Troitsky (leader of the Rabbit Protection Party) to mark the International Animal Protection Day on Oct. 4.

Who will take care of specially trained dogs, who for more than 20 years have been guarding the Mikoms meat processing factory in Moscow. The factory fired 2,500 workers last month and now nobody needs those dogs.

According to information from the Moscow City Red Cross Committee, an unusual charity service of sick nurses will begin functioning in Moscow starting Oct. 1. The story details the event.

The government has issued a decree on introducing several new types of submachine guns and cartridges for the Russian army.


Merging St.Petersburg city and its region is a long and complicated process that, according to the Constitution, demands the State Duma's approval. So President Yeltsin's consent and order to go ahead with the merger, given recently to First Deputy Prime Minister Vadim Gustov, are not enough.

Taking twice as much time as is allotted by law for the formation of his Cabinet, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov Friday completed it at last, re-appointing Mikhail Zadornov as finance minister.

The general crisis in the military caused by a chronic lack of funds has negatively affected the system of military training. For example the situation is very tense in one of the most prestigious Defense Ministry educational institutions: the Military University, which trains military prosecutors, legal advisers, translators, journalists, psychologists, and other key professional personnel.

Much-needed medecines are increasingly difficult to find in pharmacies, not because people anticipating the crisis bought out all the imported brands. The shelves in customs warehouses are full of medications, but Russian wholesalers are not able to buy them up because of skyrocketing prices. One such warehouse is at a terminal of the Moscow Customs Board. Also covered in Saturday's Segodnya.

State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Zvolinsky, head of the State Duma Land Resources Subcommittee, has authored a draft law on the Constitutional Assembly.

Siberian breeder Alexander Sidorov from the Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology defends a corn hybrid he created called Sibiryachka, which regional authorities are trying to forbid.

Analysts say they hope Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko will be able to revive Russia's ailing banking sector, citing past actions in his career in banking.

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov is described as an excellent military commander in both the Soviet and Chechen armies, a model family man with two children, and a politician.

Advertising magnate Sergei Lisovsky says Russia has no effective laws governing human rights.


Mikhail Karpeshin, 39, chief of the fire-brigade rescue team, can support the weight of a car with one person inside, lying on broken glass.

Two Meteor-200 hydrofoils will go to China if they are tested successfully. They were assembled at the Zelenodolsk Shipbuilding Plant, which won an international tender on the delivery of fancy river boats to China.

Twenty-two out of the 25 deputies in the Volgograd Regional Duma voted to rename the city Stalingrad, its World-War-II era appellation.

Due to the financial crisis, the Moscow city government has had to postpone quite a number of investment projects intended to modernize and beautify the city.

Colonel Mikhail Bergman, commandant of the Tiraspol regiment of the army, has won the lawsuit he had lodged against Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, who will have to pay him 12 million rubles.

At the Angarsk Petrochemical Company, a leading oil refinery in Eastern Siberia, workers have not received their pay since May. The wage debt to them has reached 85 million rubles. At protest meetings they demand that the refinery's owner f currently the Sidanko company f be changed, because the workers believe Sidanko has put the Angarsk refinery onto the brink of bankruptcy.

President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov have backed the idea of merging several provinces, but the plan faces serious obstacles. Also covered in Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Segodnya.

SEGODNYA (26,28/9/98)

The Army General Staff has warned Cabinet head Yevgeny Primakov that the lack of vital supplies to the army is threatening Russia's very existence.

The Standard and Poor's international rating agency assessed negatively the Ukrainian government's plan for exchanging state bonds owned by foreign investors. The agency views the plan as a default.

The Russian Space Agency lacks the funds to buy the Soyuz-U rocket booster from its producer, the Progress design bureau in Samara, to send a cargo ship with food, drinking water and new equipment to the Mir space station, which is awaiting the supply ship Oct. 17-18. It may be delayed until early November.

Securities trade during the escalation of the financial crisis has started to yield profits. The story describes efforts by the Russian Trading System, which before the crisis launched trade in enterprises' shares.

The musical channel MTV-Russia, designed by its director Boris Zosimov, began to broadcast Saturday.

The number of Russian orphans has considerably increased in the past several years. Many of them join the nation's army of criminals as they grow up.

Belarussian law enforcement agencies are being restructured in order to coordinate to crack down on crime.

President Yeltsin has signed a decree on creating a committee to see in the new millennium. Sergei Kortunov, adviser to the head of the presidential administration, said Yeltsin will become the committee's honorary chairman, while Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov will be appointed the committee's " working" head. A grandiose space project, whose cost is estimated at $12.5 million, is to be launched in honor of the occasion.

Another bronze statue of Russian tsar Peter the Great, this one by sculptor Lev Korbel, was unveiled in Moscow's Izmailovsky Park on Saturday.

Newspaper kiosk traders say that over the past several weeks Muscovites show lively interest in political, financial and economic events, saying the national newspapers sell outvery quickly in the morning andin the afternoon only entertainment periodicals are left.

The voucher investment funds, with about 20 million Russians as their shareholders, will cease to exist by the beginning of next year. They have either to be transformed into new structures or to be eliminated.

In the current crisis, some Russians have changed their occupations, while others have left the country in search of a better lot.

NOVAYA GAZETA #38 (28/9/98)

Three cosmonauts f Talgat Musabayev, Nikolai Budarin and Yuri Baturin f who returned home from the Mir space station not long ago, have have asked Primakov if there is really a to sink the station. They believe that it could remain in service for several more years. The cosmonauts' statement said that "if we lose the station we shall lose outer space."

In an interview, entrepreneur Alexander Panikin talks about several positive effects of the current economic and financial crisis.

The Mikoms Meat-Processing Plant in Moscow has suffered from the effects of the crisis, but, from all indications will be able to survive.

In an interview, Igor Malashenko , director general of NTV television, talks about the role and place of his channel in Russia's political life.