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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

Sept. 3, 1998.


The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has driven itself into a corner when it refused to sign a political pact with the president. Now the deputies have nothing else to do but hope that the Federation Council will be able to persuade President Boris Yeltsin to nominate another candidate to the post of Cabinet head. This is the only chance the left opposition has to remain the political force to be reckoned with. The story describes a political bargain going on in the lobbies of both parliament chambers.

China is expected to release $540 million to Russia to stabilize its position. This financial aid will be allocated through the IMF budget. This was stated by an official from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

The Union of Popular Rule and Labor movement led by State Duma Deputy Andrei Nikolayev, former director of the Federal Border Service, joined the main opposition association the People's Patriotic Union of Russia on Sep. 1. Also covered in Noviye Izvestia.

The story looks at the negative effect that the Russian financial crisis has had on the consumer market in Belarus, where tough rationing was introduced in several regions.

The domestic food market is on the verge of collapse due to a poor grain and potato harvest this year. Will Russia buy food abroad and how much?

SBS-Agro bank head Alexander Smolensky stated Wednesday that if the Central Bank tries to nationalize this banking group, it will view this step as an emergency measure, forcing it to act as if in a force majeure situation. It's a direct hint that in this case the bank will fail to honor its obligations before foreign creditor.

Though the Moscow government assured that gasoline prices will not go up in the capital, it will not be able to keep its word. In five to 10 days the cost of one liter of gasoline will increase by a third.

The Yantar system of detecting radioactive substances began functioning Wednesday at the Sheremetyevo-1 airport. The system was designed at the Dubna Nuclear Center in Russia and certified in a U.S. national laboratory.

A special section to crack down on crime in the budget sphere that was created in the Krasnoyarsk interior department by governor Alexander Lebed, has instituted the first criminal proceedings against several bureaucrats from the region's previous administration.

The Ulyanovsk Car Plant has switched off its main conveyor line until Sept. 7, saying that it is suffering from financial difficulties.

The story talks about the recent arrest of First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov, which is clouded in mystery. A Finance Ministry source connects it with the political crisis. Also covered in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

The country's economic situation is not only complicated, it's also contradictory: Many problems have been added by unfair competition and excessive efforts by the tax police to drive out taxes from companies doing legal business. The story describes what has happened with the Tekila company importing cigarettes from Kazakhstan.

What do Western creditors intend to do in reply to Moscow's imposing of the 90-day moratorium on paying out several types of debts? The story looks at several variants of Western creditors' planned measures.

The story features the 11th Moscow International Book Fair, which opened Wednesday at the All-Russian Exhibition Center, the former VDNKh. As many as 1,500 publishers from 50 countries are taking part. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.


What, do you think, are the major reasons behind the current economic and political crisis? What are the ways to overcome it? In an interview, Menatep bank head Alexander Zurabov answers these questions.

Private deposits in six banks -- SBS-Agro, Menatep, Inkombank, Promstroibank, MOST-bank and Mosbiznesbank -- have been frozen startingThursday until Nov. 15. This is the way the Central Bank has begun to implement its program (announced two weeks ago) to guarantee private deposits. Also covered in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

In an interview, Magomed Tolboyev, former secretary of the Security Council in Dagestan, paints a gloomy picture of the present crime situation in the republic where all laws are ignored.

Igor Sorin, former soloist from the Ivanushki International band, jumped out of the sixth floor window Tuesday night and was hospitalized with numerous broken bones. The story describes how it happened.

The Supreme Court canceled the so-called temporary 2 percent tax to the Pension Fund that was imposed within the framework of the anti-crisis program.

The OPEC president stated Wednesday that the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries session scheduled for November plans to consider the possibility of decreasing oil extraction by another 20 percent in order to raise oil prices on the world market. The OPEC members fear that a financial crisis, like the one in Russia today, may hit their countries.

The Justice Ministry has submitted to the government a draft bill on amnestying 115,000 convicts. The story looks at the document.

The Israeli government stated that it has worked out a plan to receive 100,000 Jewish emigrants from Russia, because of the current economic crisis.

The Russians, who are vacationing in the Crimea, in Ukraine, cannot return home because Ukrainian authorities' actions, which have made them hostages of the economic crisis. The story describes these actions.

Russian regional leaders more often than not resort to separatism today as the only method to survive in the present economic, financial and political crisis. If this dangerous process is not stopped Russia will dissolve.

Bandits on Tuesday bombed a dentist office of private stomatologist Boris Uchitel in an apartment building No. 3 on Ulitsa Borisa Galushkina. Thisterrorist act most probably is a sad outcome of a conflict between the doctor and workers from Moldova, who were repairing his office.

The Central Bank on Wednesday conducted the first auction to place its bonds. Not a single bond was sold. The story explains why.

In an interview, Konstantin Korishchenko, head of the Central Bank department of open market transactions, explains the failure of the auction to place the Central Bank bonds. He also talks about the Bank's plans.

Rossiisky Kredit bank has given up its share in the Lebedinsky Ferrous Metal Combine and sold its package of stock. A bank official on Monday left the overseeing council of the enterprise.

The Rostelekom telephone company made the decision to lower the tariffs on telephone communications with America -- from 9.8 rubles down to 8.8 rubles per minute starting Sept. 1.

The Sav-Entertainment firm, an organizer of the guest performances of the British group Depeche Mode, has found itself in a complicated situation because of the financial crisis in Russia. Besides, several Russian show-business stars canceled their previously planned concerts.


The Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange will resume currency trading Thursday in its currency hall on the fourth floor of the high-rise building near the Krasniye Vorota metro station, after which the Central Bank will establish the exchange rate. The story describes its procedure.


What is happening to President Boris Yeltsin? Is he healthy enough to govern the country? Political observer Alexander Khinshtein offers his investigation.



Friday, the Institute of Economic Analysis headed by economist Andrei Illarionov will make public its calculations proving the inevitability of Russia's default. The government will have to admit its default on the state foreign debt. What does it mean and what is its threat to Russia?

For how long will this hard currency corridor last and how will it change in the future? The story blames the Central Bank for its hopelessness and inaction in changing the situation on the financial market.

The story looks at several the different reasons for the recent arrest of First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov.

Will the a stabilization dictatorship replace the current economic, financial and political crisis? The story says its inevitable.

Viktor Chernomyrdin, also called CHVC, tomorrow will make yet another attempt in the State Duma to persuade the deputies that he is really the best candidate for the post. However, the leftist opposition disagrees.

The story tries to answer the following questions: Why is the size of the present old-age pensions so insufficient and what principles are used in their calculation? Old people fail to get even a half of what they honestly earned when they worked.

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov through decree has appointed Yusup Soslambekov vice-premier and presidential special envoy for foreign policy matters. It's not clear then what Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov will do. Will the two officials have similar duties?

What military and disarmament aspects were discussed at the recent Russian-American summit? Bill Clinton expressed serious concern over the prospects of ratification of the SALT-2 Treaty and the development of the SALT-3 Treaty.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA's LIBRIS Supplement describes new booksthat are delivered to the Russian National Library (formerly Leninka). The supplement also highlights the program of cultural events for the 11thMoscow International Book Fair in the All-Russian Exhibition Center, which opened today.


The Journalists' Union of Russia issued a statement assessing the latest pronouncements in the State Duma by the Communists and LDPR deputies as direct demands for an urgent restoration of censorship for mass media. The statement stresses that the Union will not allow it.

Mosgorkhlebprodukt Director General Yevgeny Strelkov assured that there won't be any flour or cereal shortages this winter. He gives several figures of grain supplies in Moscow to prove his point.

Political observer Otto Latsis comments on the Kremlin-State Duma-games. Latsis confesses that he can hardly explain what is currently going on nor what the different factions and their leaders are striving for.

One of the main consequences of Aug. 17 "Black Monday" is a gradual change of main "players" on the Russian political scene -- "non-liquid" oligarchs are being replaced by regional governors. The story shows how it's happening.

Has the economic and financial crisis affected the Russian Orthodox Church? The story looks at several factors that help the Church survive today.

Whereas the former Soviet Union produced 70 percent of its

own medicines, with the rest being imported from Warsaw Pact countries, the present situation is quite different: Russia today imports about 90 percent of all its medicines, with only 10 percent being domestically produced. This is has caused great concern among Russian pharmacologists.


The Moscow City Telephone Networks has raised tariffs on tokens and electronic cards for street pay-telephones. The story details new prices.

President Yeltsin instructed Viktor Chernomyrdin, who has not been approved by the State Duma, that he form a new cabinet. A commentary.

The story describes the quarrel between Beltechexport (Belarus) and Rosvooruzheniye (Russia) caused by Russia's current financial crisis. Apparently, Belarussian export dealers wanted to boost their arms sales abroad.

State Duma deputies yesterday considered three draft bills concerning natural monopolies. One of them is on introducing amendments to the Federal Law on Joint-Stock Companies. The story reveals the essence of the document.

The story describes a 10-day environmental experiment conducted in the Moscow region with the aim of controlling garbage collection.


What do the Muscovites think of the current economic and financial crisis in the country? They answer two questions of the VTSIOM sociological research center. The story looks at the results.

A special commission from the Culture Ministry has closed a central cathedral in the Suzdal Kremlin, which because of old age, may collapse any day. The city administration, however, lacks funds for its major renovation.

It was officially admitted for the first time late last week that the Central Bank sometimes spends budget money on its own objectives. Federal Securities Commission head Dmitry Vasilyev said that the Central Bank spent the hard currency funds (intended for backing the ruble and investment in the Russian economy) on buying securities and building dachas. The story cites documents illustrating the C.B.'s illegal actions.

Innocent human rights advocate Vasily Chaikin has been kept in a Novorossiisk jail for over a year already. All charges against him were fabricated. OG journalist Alexandra Samarina has sent an Appeal to Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov asking for help.

More than 400,000 Russians lived in Azerbaijan until January 1990, whiletoday the number is about 180,000. Many emigrants would like to return to Baku, but they cannot afford propiska, which now cost $500 to $1,000. Who will help them?

Which of all numerous buildings you've built in the city are your favorite? What are your relationships with Mayor Yury Luzhkov? What does the construction sector mean to Moscow today? What do you think of the new complex on Manezhni Square? What will Muscovites gain from the mortgage system? What's your attitude to criticism and to the press? In an interview, First Deputy Premier of the Moscow city government, Vladimir Resin, answers all these questions.

Another variant for a possible outcome of the State Duma-Chernomyrdin-Yeltsin game is being discussed in the corridors of power: After the election of Stroyev to the post of prime minister, four presidential candidates -- Zyuganov, Lebed, Luzhkov and Yavlinsky -- go to Boris Yeltsin and try to persuade him to resign. A political commentary.

Political scientist Dmitry Furman analyzes major reasons behind three simultaneous crises in Russia -- in the economy, finances and banking system and in politics, saying why they suit the political elite.

After two serious warnings to the newspaper Zavtra on its numerous violations of the Law on the Mass Media, the Russian Press Committee has lodged a lawsuit against it. Will the newspaper be closed?

What will MENATEP, ONEXIMBank and MOST Bank gain from their recent merger? The story is an analysis of their present state, their assets and their future fate.


According to the president's decree, all federal bodies of executive power -- ministries, state committees, commissions and services -- now put their normative acts (decrees, laws and directives) into effect through having them published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

The full text of the government decree concerning the military schools of professional education sponsored by the Defense Ministry is printed.

The full text is printed of the Program of Boosting Atomic Energy Facilities in Russia in 1998-2005 and for the period up to 2010.

The Provision on the State Committee of the Russian Federation on the Affairs of the North. Full text.