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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

IZVESTIA (29/5/99)

The Kremlin's behind-the scenes intrigues surrounding the Cabinet formation are continuing with the positions of controversial financier Boris Berezovsky or, to be more exact, of the main shadow player, Sibneft head Roman Abramovich having greater weight. Also covered by Kommersant Daily and Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Saturday was the last day for the government to endorse a package of measures aimed at stabilizing the social and economic situation in Karachayevo-Cherkessia. The planned measures aim to prevent the republic splitting into two parts. The story is an eyewitness account of the current situation in this Caucasian region.

A vigorous campaign to collect monthly "voluntary" donations from all local large enterprises and banks to the so-called Fund of Risk is in full swing in the Kemerovo region, where Governor Aman Tuleyev initiated the undertaking on April 28.

The Novolipetsky Metal Combine, or NLMK, has joined one hundred Russian enterprises that possess an international quality certificate. The NLMK on Friday received the official document in Cologne proving high quality of Lipetsk steel.

On May 25, a KamAZ truck transporting Bank Menatep's financial documents crashed off a bridge into the Dubna River outside Moscow. The driver climbed out of the truck before it sank. With the bank's current position, investigators do not exclude that the truck crash was not accidental. Also covered by Kommersant Daily.

Azerbaijan is doing everything in its power to minimize the amount of oil it exports via Russian territory. The state-owned GNKAR oil company intends to apply to the Azeri International Operation Company, or AMOK, which is responsible for local oil transportation, with the unprecedented request to transport oil designated for the Baku-Grozny-Novorossiisk pipeline by way of Georgia, along the Baku-Supsa route.

The Pravoye Delo, or Just Cause, democratic coalition held its Congress in Moscow on May 29 to discuss three major issues. Also covered byNezavisimaya Gazeta, Vremya MN, Segodnya and Moscovsky Komsolomets.

On June 6, residents of Kursk, Central Russia, will elect a mayor. The tense election campaign has seven candidates vying for the post.

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, arrived on May 28 in Moscow for an official visit as head of the Japanese-Russian Inter-Government Commission on Trade and Economic Issues. However, ex-First Deputy Prime Minister Yury Maslyukov, head of the commission from the Russian side, has quit his post, and Komura's planned negotiations may be frustrated.

Russian and South Korean ministers signed three documents late last week during a state visit by South Korean President Kim Dae-jung to Moscow. Also covered by Kommersant Daily.

The Baikal-Amur Railway region (with a population of about 600,000) is an economic disaster zone. Twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union launched the construction project of the Baikal-Amur Railway, which was always described as "the great construction project of the century." The project was suspended, and today no one knows what to do with it.

Starting last December, Gazprom has been the general sponsor of the St. Petersburg football team "Zenit." In an interview, Gazprom deputy head Pyotr Rodionov speaks about the company's cooperation with Zenit.


Gazprom last week considerably decreased gas prices for Belarus, while UES launched negotiations with the Belarussian side on lowering electricity tariffs. Circumstances have forced Russia to take these measures.

The first world congress of the Russian press will take place in Moscow in June. The government has already signed a special directive on holding this forum, and Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin on Friday agreed to take part. He is expected to make a speech before 200 editors of Russian-language newspapers issued in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Argentina and other countries.

According to the latest decision of the Supreme Court, Russian citizens, starting May 29, may now receive passports anywhere, rather than just in their city of residence.

Sergei Kiriyenko, leader of the Novaya Sila movement, and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, leader of the Voice of Russia regional election bloc, were unable to agree on creating an election bloc. Titov explained that the "leaders' ambitions prevented them from giving up their personal interests for the sake of the victory of the idea."

Mikhail Vanin has replaced former Director of the Federal Border Service Nikolai Bordyuzha. Vanin is neither the protege of controversial tycoon Boris Berezovsky, nor of Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, nor of President Boris Yeltsin. Vanin is, above all, a representative of the old Soviet customs personnel.

The Constitutional Court remains the only agency that really defends human rights in Russia. According to its Friday decision, all citizens who have incurred administrative punishment may lodge a complaint in a court.

In his reply letter (provided) to a Slovenian girl, President Boris Yeltsin assures her that Russia is not going to fight NATO. Also covered by Komsomolskaya Pravda.

AvtoVAZ held its annual shareholders' meeting May 29. According to materials distributed among the shareholders, the enterprise may be declared bankrupt that same day, May 29.

On May 29, Sberbank began to pay the Inkombank depositors who had failed to get to the main registers. Sberbank is also to make payments to clients from four other commercial banks, whose deposits were transferred to Sberbank.

The Orel regional administration on Thursday signed a preliminary agreement with Volkswagen AG to build a factory in Orel to assemble VW Bora autos.

St. Petersburg prosecutors on Friday arrested Nikolai Lugovskoi, head of the city administration consumer market committee, on charges of abusing power.

A new restaurant named Kleopatra has emerged in Moscow on Olympiisky Prospekt. The restaurant treats its customers to Arabic cuisine.


In an interview, Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov, who was suspended by President Boris Yeltsin in April, explains why Russian authorities have prevented him from leaving Russia for Switzerland to attend a special anti-corruption conference there.

The NATO delegation in Kiev has persuaded Ukrainian authorities to take urgent measures aimed at intensifying control over Russian warships, particularly in case they leave the bounds of the Black Sea port.

A group of American Fox TV company filmmakers, who last week arrived in Moscow to shoot a film about the economic situation in Russia, were shocked by what they saw in the restaurant Planet Hollywood.

Moscow thieves last week stole a white Niva sedan containing a new film scrip by popular film actor Yevgeny Morgunov.

Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist Yelena Cherdantseva was trained to be a clairvoyant in a special school in Moscow.

Moscow police officers last Wednesday arrested Viktor Parshutkin, head of the Children Adoption Public Fund, who started a business selling Russian children abroad.

The gold fever has hit Moscow and Moscow region residents. A map shows several gold deposits that were recently discovered around Moscow.


First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Zadornov's resignation on Friday means that the "clan" of the other First Deputy Prime Minister, Nikolia Aksyonenko, has scored a victory that may force Cabinet head Sergei Stepashin himself to quit his post. The story comments on the expanding government crisis, which may easily grow into a political crisis. (also covered in Segodnya)

Specialists say that the radical transformation of the governance system in the military-industrial complex proceeding against the background of the current government changes may fail to bring in expected positive results. The story reveals major points of the transformation project.

The fierce struggle for the budget funds allocated for the federal program "Diabetes" is expanding, with pharmaceutical magnate Vladimir Bryntsalov playing a leading role in it. Bryntsalov has accused the acting health minister and his assistants of corruption. The story describes the scandal.

Writer Albert Likhanov, head of the Russian Children's Fund and head of the International Children Funds Association, explains why June 1, World Children's Day, is a day of sorrow and sad thoughts for him since the government has ignored the children's problems. The president and other state leaders in words are willing to back social programs aimed at improving the life of children but in reality they do practically nothing.

The parliamentary election campaign has entered its first "quiet" and so-called"waiting" stage, with political parties and movements holding congresses and conferences. They are in no hurry to make public the names of their nominees to run in the upcoming elections. The story focuses on the situation in the KPRF, describing a split in it. Several politicians and analysts share their viewpoint on the issue.

Former Deputy Prime Minister (responsible for farming issues) Gennady Kulik intends to take part in the upcoming elections to the State Duma. Kulik stated on Friday that the "agrarian faction should boost its authority in the State Duma and with this aim in view the agrarian movement should be used on a greater scale."

In an interview Karl Johansson, Coordinator of the Consultative Foreign Investment Council, talks about the attitude of Western companies to the Russian market, saying that they believe that it's premature to make big investments in Russia.

Rosenergoatom late last week made public the results of its performance in the first quarter of this year. Its executive director Leonid Melamed stated that almost all state-planned assignments have been overfulfilled. The story gives figures to illustrate the point.

The creation of regional precious stone and precious metal funds is one of the most significant items on Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin's economic program - on May 18, even while he was acting prime minister, he signed an appropriate document.

More than a month has passed since the Yugoslav parliament passed a decree on merging the country with the Belarus-Russia Union. The story reports on the reaction the decision has caused in Russia and Belarus.


The story highlights the current court trial in Belarus over three Mogilyov residents (their names are given), who are accused of killing Yevgeny Mikolutsky, head of the State Control Committee for the Mogilyov region, and also of preparing an attempt on the life of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

The Constitutional Court on June 3 is expected to consider the State Duma's inquiry as to whether the president may step down earlier than the end of his term of office due to his steadily increasing incapacity to fulfill his duties. The court received the inquiry more than a year ago - in February 1998, which asked the court to interpret Article 92 of the Constitution.

The campaign for the presidential elections scheduled for October 31 has started in Ukraine, with President Leonid Kuchma planning to run again. The story focuses on the role the Russian ethnic minority (20 percent) may play in the choice of the future Ukrainian ruler.


The story highlights the so-called "smaller politburo", the innermost circle of President Boris Yeltsin's advisers, who possess unlimited powers and, what is more important, who do not care at all what the public thinks or says about their activities. The story concludes that this is a real misfortune rather than a problem.

In an interview (on the occasion of Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura's recent visit to Moscow) Igor Farkhutdinov, governor of the Sakhalin region, speaks about his region's effective cooperation with Japan and about the project to build an underwater tunnel to connect Sakhalin with the mainland.

A big scandal may erupt around the most powerful natural monopoly, Gazprom. Several electronic mass media on Saturday announced sensational news about a government resolution, which is to appear soon. It says that Gazprom shares, which are in the trust of Rem Vyakhirev now, will be placed under trustee management of the newly-elected Fuel and Energy Minister Viktor Kalyuzhny. The document is allegedly being prepared on orders from First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko. The story details the rumors without any comments so far either from the fuel and energy minister or from Gazprom.

The vice president of the World Bank, Johannes Lynn, arrived in Moscow on Sunday night to discuss issues concerning cooperation with the new Russian Cabinet His visit was planned before Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov's resignation and now no one knows whom Lynn will speak to.

In an interview Education Minister Vladimir Filippov talks about the prospects of the Russian education system,saying what measures the ministry is taking to counteract the growing tendency of private education. (also covered in Rossiiskaya Gazeta)

The international VISA Int. payment system between June 1 and August 31 plans to conduct a marketing campaign "You'll Get Lucky with VISA" with the aim of boosting the market for plastic cards in Russia.

The story describes considerable changes awaiting Muscovites starting June in the system of housing and utility payments.

The story examines several places in Moscow where children can take up jobs and earn money during their summer vacations.


The Joint Russia- South Korean Statement. Full text.

The presidential decree concerning the structure of the federal executive power bodies. Full text.

The next session of the CIS summit will take place in Minsk on June 4. when the heads of government will discuss issues pertaining to the creation of a zone of free trade. The CIS newly-appointed Executive Secretary Yury Yarov is responsible for its preparations.


How police officers arrested a photographer and owner of an underground porno film studio in one Russian city. More than 300 children took part in the porno films, which were made for sale in the West.


How First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko built his career when he was the first deputy chief of the Oktyabrskaya Railway, focusing on methods he used to achieve his goals.


In an interview Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov, 34, says that he intends to halve the prison population.