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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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


A personal message from Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev was handed over Monday to NATO military attaches accredited in Moscow. The document (its content is not disclosed) most likely outlines the official stance of the Russian military leadership on the current situation in the Balkans. The story comments on the issue.

The Tula regional Duma headed by Communist Ivan Khudyakov has passed a law concerning metal scrap activities, which bans any scrap metal business in the region. The story focuses on several circumstances that have made this legislation necessary.

The government last week failed to submit to the State Duma a new variant of the tax package demanded by the IMF. In view of this, the legislators will have to consider the draft laws, which previously were rejected by the Duma budget committee. This is the first unpleasant surprise to Mikhail Zadornov, the newly appointed special presidential representative for negotiations with international lending organizations, who has nothing new to produce for the IMF at the next negotiations. The story concludes that the Duma may foil Zadornov's mission. (Also covered in Kommersant Daily)

The International Conference sponsored by the Council of Europe, which will open in Moscow on Thursday, will discuss the disputed issue of abolishing death penalty in Russia. The story notes that many experts are opposed to the measure.

The Interior Ministry is facing serious personnel changes, with the majority of its departments awaiting new heads. The story mentions several candidates.

A heated argument over the fate of cultural trophies that were brought to the former USSR after World War II erupted again in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday. Over the past two years the president and the Russian parliament have failed to reach agreement on this problem, which is viewed as acute not only for Russia but for several European countries as well. The story reveals the essence of the issue. (Also covered in Kommersant Daily)

The story examines the procedure of considering a package of 30 draft laws(demanded by the IMF), which the State Duma Council approved yesterday. It seems the State Duma will have a very busy work schedule this month.

Several high-level officials from the St. Petersburg city administration have been arrested recently on charges of abusing power. The story gives a run-down on several cases.

According to a directive of the Moscow government, stricter measures in audio and video trade were introduced in the city yesterday. The story reveals the essence of the measures.

The story describes the joint Russian Belarussian program named "Soyuzny Televizor" (Union Television Set), which was approved last fall by the Executive Committee of the Belarus-Russia Union but has been ineffective so far due to inadequate funds.

Ukraine is doing everything in its power to minimize the total dependence of its economy on Russian gas supplies. With this aim in mind, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoi has discussed with his Polish counterpart the possibility of transporting Norwegian gas to Ukraine through the territory of Poland. The story gives details of their negotiations.


At a session of the government Commission on Strategic Issues yesterday that discussed the development of petrochemistry up to the year 2005, First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko ordered his subordinates to submit documents in a month's time on the creation of an all-Russian investment fund, to which all Russian enterprises will transfer 2 percent of their earnings. The story describes the essence of Aksyonenko's initiative.

What reforms does Russia need today? Oleg Deripaski, head of the Russia Sibirsky Alyuminy industrial group, shares his viewpoint on the issue.

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo has received access to the NATO secret report on the information war around the Yugoslav conflict. The document prepared by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana's advisers contains recommendations to Western diplomatic missions saying how to influence Russia. The story examines several provisions of the document.

The retail prices of meat, fish, sugar and eggs are expected to skyrocket (by15-20 percent) in Russia starting in July. The reason is that the government, starting next month, has considerably cut the list of food products with a lower VAT. The story comments on the measure.

In an interview Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Motorin talks about several novelties in the tax system.

Several Moscow City Duma deputies say what they think of the draft amendment legalizing Moscow's special rights on propiska.

The story presents three British great-great-great-granddaughters of Pushkin - Sasha, Marita and Natasha, though when addressing them one should use " Your Highness". All British Pushkins are relatives of the Royal family.

Eastman Kodak is preparing for a court hearing that is unprecedented for Russia. The company hopes to win the right to the Internet address: The story says what the company would gain from a positive court ruling.

The innermost circle of Yeltsin advisers, including Berezovsky and Abramovich, has failed so far to divide the money (slightly more than 700 billion rubles) of the Rosgosstrakh, the Central Bank, Russian banks abroad and Sberbank. The story says who is claiming that money.

The first stage of the Gubkinsky gas deposit has been put into operation in the Yamal-Nenets Area. The group of the Itera-Gazprom companies has invested into the project, in which Gazprom owns a mere 20 percent of stock. Gazprom has proposed to address this fact and the Russian gas monopoly for the first time has practically handed over its deposit to an outside company.

The Russian Trade Ministry has made public a list of the best Russian exporters in 1998. Not a single company from the fuel-energy sector, whose products amount to 40 percent of all Russian exports, has made it onto the list. The story comments on the rating.

The story presents the British film titled "Onegin", which was shown last week in St. Petersburg. In an interview Liv Tyler and Ralph Fiennes, who star in the film, speak about the Pushkin heroes they love most.


Highly-regarded Soviet writer Anatoly Ivanov, 70, has died in a hospital after suffering a heart attack.

Today a court ruling is expected in the case of Valentina Solovyova, 47 - owner of the infamous "Vlastelina" financial pyramid, that deceived thousands of Russian depositors. She may be sentenced to nine years in jail with a confiscation of her property.

Communists are trying to discredit LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is being accused of committing several acts of rape. The story is told by an alleged victim, Valya Novak.


The story highlights the activities of mysterious oligarch Roman Abramovich,33, who is viewed as a key person in Yeltsin's inner circle.

Moscow city authorities have decided to open a new cemetery, the 65th in the city, called Perepechinskoye, near Sheremetyevo-1 Airport.

Radon environmentalists have examined the southern part of Kolomenskoye city's nature reserve, and discovered a seat of radioactive contamination. The story provides data backing up the findings.


Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin at a government session Tuesday stated that the Cabinet would discuss the general scheme of the draft budget-2000 on June 10 and in early August it would submit the draft budget to the State Duma.

The Revival and Unity movement with Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev as its leader will hold a founding congress on June 5 in the Moscow region. The story examines the movement's election strategy and its possible allies.

Museum workers in Kungur (Perm region) have found documents in the local archives proving that Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito stayed in this Ural city as a POW in 1915-1917, working on a construction project of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

A well-informed source in the Kremlin stated yesterday that a group of the innermost circle of Yeltsin advisers (their names are given) on Monday discussed its strategy for the new situation after the formation of the Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin's Cabinet. The source also said that they focused on possible ways of influencing NTV and TV Tsentr channels. The story tried to guess the plans of the circle around President Boris Yeltsin.

In an interview, the head of the National Reserve Bank Alexander Lebedev answers the following questions - Will the IMF at last issue a credit to Russia and how will the IMF's demands change the economic situation in Russia? What should be done to decrease the number of beggars in Russia today? What do you think of the Primakov Cabinet's resignation - Was it a mistake?

The story highlights Russian-Ukrainian relations that have considerably complicated lately due to a serial production of the regional turbo-jet plane An-140. The point is that all passenger Ans were designed in the Antonov design bureau in Kiev (now called ANTK "Antonov"). This bureau was moved to Kiev from Novosibirsk, where it was a branch of the Yakovlev aviation design bureau.


The 10th Russian Film Festival"Kinotavr" will open tomorrow on June 3 in Sochi. The story looks at its participants.

The story highlights a cultural program for ORT and Gorky Park to honor the 200th anniversary of Pushkin on Saturday and Sunday.

Thousands of Kaliningrad residents are involved in illegal amber business, which is highly profitable today. An eyewitness account.


First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko, who is being widely criticized by mass media has found a worthy defender - LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who in the Ekho Moskvy program yesterday said -" A strong minister should not receive a heavy whipping" . Why has Zhirinovsky come to like him?

The Information and Sociological Center of the Russian Academy of State Service under the president last week conducted a sociological monitoring, with 475 executives and 186 regional elites in 19 regions and 2,109 ordinary voters in 21 provinces taking part. The aim of the survey was to see how the electorate treats the elections in general. As a result, only 27 percent of all respondents said they support and will take part in them. The story examines other results.

The Central Bank has completed its inspection of the Inter-State Bank (MB) and, though the results have not been disclosed yet, rumor has it that the leadership of this CIS Bank may resign soon. The story shows who stands behind this "attractive" financial feeding-trough.

A list showing how much money the federal departments (committees and services) will receive from the federal budget this year.

UES head Anatoly Chubais is close to his victory over First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko, who lately has taken great interest in all developments in the fuel and energy complex, especially in the Unified Systems of Russia company. Thus he intended to begin lowering electricity prices, which later on could negatively affect the company's financial position.


The newspaper offers a scheme of governing Russia with President Boris Yeltsin's "family" on top and seven financial units under its control. The scheme also shows five "targets" (companies and the Central Bank ), which the "top power" intends to place under its control in the near future.

In an interview, Sverdlovsk governor Eduard Rossel answers an interesting question - Which politicians would you take to your government if you had to form it today? Rossel explains why he would not take Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. Rossel also says how he was twice offered bribes.

The Kremlin recently through its prot?g? Viktor Chernomyrdin announced its priority task - to conduct the December elections to the State Duma without party lists. The dominance of the left opposition in the lower house of parliament already for the sixth year has been a source of a permanent headache for President Boris Yeltsin. The story examines how the presidential administration itself came out with the idea of the party elections in 1993.

The story features regions which delay wages, though their administrators never fail to get their pay on time. Besides, 94.3 million budget rubles that were for wages last year and early this year were not spent for the intended purpose.

The story explains why doctors do not recommend swimming in Moscow ponds, saying that if the latter could only express their feelings they would writhe in hysterics. A map of dirty ponds in Moscow.


The State Duma's latest attempt to take some powers away from the president has suffered a setback : Boris Yeltsin has vetoed a draft bill, changing the rules of official publication of government documents. In his official Note to Federation Council head Yegor Stroyev and State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov, Yeltsin explains why he disliked the document.


In an interview Moscow City Speaker Vladimir Platonov speaks about several laws that the City Duma has passed lately, focusing on specific features of Moscow legislation.