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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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


Acting President Vladimir Putin, in the heat of his presidential campaign, on Feb. 22 , Day of Defenders of the Fatherland, intends to visit the Black Sea Fleet, which from a militant formation has been turned into a propaganda base. The story views Putin's planned act as another point in shaping his presidential image, saying that such politicians as Yury Luzhkov and Yevgeny Primakov also used similar acts for their election campaigns. The conclusion, in the form of a question, is: Has all this helped them?

The story shows how Russian politicians express their "devotion" to the church during their election campaign. Thus, a government session, to be presided over by Vice Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko, scheduled for Jan. 19 will discuss a final passing of the church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Fili to the Russian Orthodox Church. Kremlin image-makers are trying to attach to the act the similar pre-election coloring as Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's image-makers did by restoring the Church of Christ the Saviour.

The Union of Right Forces by mid-February promised to form a new political party for the coalition's "shadow leader," Anatoly Chubais, who actually will becom its secretary-general. Chubais decided to form a party for his presidential campaign in 2004 to back his own candidacy. The story examines the plans of Chubais and of the Union of Right Forces. Also covered in Kommersant Daily and Noviye Izvestia.

In an interview, former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin shares his views on the resignation of Boris Yeltsin, acting President Vladimir Putin's recent personnel changes in the Kremlin and the Cabinet, the current developments in Chechnya and Russia's political life in general.

Britain's new Ambassador to Russia - Sir Roderick Line - arrived in Moscow on Friday. He will replace Sir Andrew Wood, who retired Jan 2.

Yekaterina Geniyeva, head of the institute Open Society, and Culture Minister Vladimir Yegorov on Friday signed a protocol on cooperation. The story features this significant event, focusing on major provisions of the document. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

The Central Election Commission has launched a signature collection campaign for four candidates to the post of president. The story describes the campaign. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

St. Petersburg governor Vladimir Yakovlev has failed to combine the city gubernatorial elections with the presidential ones scheduled for March 26. The story comments on the issue.

American television magnate and multimillionaire Walt Anderson on Jan. 14 announced his collaboration with the Energia rocket corporation with the aim of saving the Mir orbital station. Anderson said he intends to turn Mir into a tourist complex for wealthy people. The story details his plans. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

The story comments on Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's angry response to U.S. StateDepartment officials' meeting with Ilyas Akhmadov, "Ichkeria's foreign minister," saying how acting President Vladimir Putin will react to Washington's behavior before the presidential elections March 26. Also covered in Kommersant Daily

The story reports on how three modest heroes of the 20th century - Swedish diplomat Raul Wallenberg in 1945, Swedish politician Ulof Palme in 1949 and former head of the Russian government Alexander Kerensky in 1917 - saved people from death not for the sake of honor and decorations.

U.S. President Bill Clinton's Administration has approved the delivery this year of 300,000 tons of wheat to Russia as a gift. The story views this act as a threat to Russian agricultural producers.

State Duma deputy and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia member Mikhail Gutseriyev Friday was elected head of the Slavneft company. Gutseriyev now will have to quit his post in the lower house of parliament. Also covered in Kommersant Daily and Noviye Izvestia.

In an interview, scandalous journalist Sergei Dorenko, author and host of an ORT analytical news program, speaks about his complicated relations with his colleagues in the television company and about his attitude toward acting President Vladimir Putin.

Mentally ill Muscovite Raisa Krylova, 32, on Thursday threw her 10-year-old son Igor from the window of her 12th-floor apartment in a dwelling house in the southeast of Moscow. The story describes how it happened.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation's sixth congress Saturday nominated leader Gennady Zyuganov to run for the presidency in elections scheduled for March 26. Does he have any chances of winning?

A road accident Saturday killed one and injured another five people on Shcherbakovskaya Ulitsa. The culprit was a police officer, who as witnesses say, was drunk.

The Davos Economic Forum will start its work Jan. 27. Acting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is among the Russian officials to visit it. What can he expect from this forum?

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on Jan. 15 signed a decree on referendum with six questions on it. The major one concerns an amendment giving the president the right to dissolve parliament, another is a no confidence vote to parliament. The story comments on the event.

During his official visit to Tbilisi, Georgia, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel proposed that member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe sign a Caucasus Pact aimed at establishing peace in that region. Georgian head of state Eduard Shevardnadze supported the initiative.

Specialists from the Emergency Situations Ministry have made public their prognosis of catastrophes and natural disasters in Russia in 2000. The story elaborates on their detailed report with a prediction of tragedies, figures and a map.

The story gives several effective recommendations of disease preventive measures to save people prom catching the flu that may hit Russia at the end of the month.

Inkombank's head, Vladimir Groshev, stated Thursday that the bank has enough money to return their savings to private depositors in January, and the Agency for Restructuring Credit Organizations, which is governing SBS-Agro bank, intends to begin paying out up to 5,000 rubles ($175) to the bank's clients from their deposits. The story features both banks' payment schemes. Also covered in Kommersant Daily.

The story offers experts' prognosis, saying how blue chips will continue to rise in price.

The story features places with slopes in both the city and Moscow region where people can enjoy skiing.


The Tax Ministry last year collected 339.6 billion rubles ($11.9 billion) in taxes instead of the planned government assessment of 267.3 billion. Tax Minister Alexander Pochinok explains how he managed to do it.

At negotiations Friday with Iranian Secretary of the Higher National Security Council Hasan Ruhani, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev announced Russia's intention of maintaining its cooperation with Iran in different spheres, including the military, saying that his country will not allow any third country to interfere in this cooperation. The story views Sergeyev's statement as a sensation, since Russia 4.5 years ago was obliged to stop its arms deliveries to Iran after 1999. The story also looks at possible tough sanctions against Russia from the United States.

The story looks at the final makeup of the new State Duma, parliament's lower house, focusing on the formula for distributing Duma posts.

Acting President Vladimir Putin has signed a government decree endorsing a concept for boosting the mortgage crediting system in Russia. The story notes that Putin has confirmed that money increases to the electors is a priority for him.

The Chechen-Russian border is closed for men between ages 15 and 60. Thus the Russian military allowed 10- to 14-year-old children to cross the border. Nevertheless, this situation does not suit international human rights organizations, and Russian commanders in Chechnya are likely to see the illegal character of their absurd order and promise to open the border soon.

The Constitutional Court has declared several provisions of the Criminal Code illegal, and, starting Friday, prohibited courts of general jurisdiction to institute criminal proceedings. The story comments on the court's ruling.

Due to a sharp cut in Russian oil prices, oil companies' tax payments have considerably decreased. The government decided to improve the situation through its new decree that will go into force on Jan. 18. The story reveals its essence.

The State Duma Budget Committee at its first session plans to discuss a question of removing the functions of surveillance from the Central Bank. This will become the first step in the campaign aimed at devoiding the Central Bank of its independence.

The U.S. Finance Department has made a sensational decision - to begin buying up internaldebt. This year the department is expected to allocate $30 billion for the purpose.

At their meeting Friday, creditors of the Kuznetsk Metal Combine, or KMK decided to prolong temporary administration and appoint Yury Zverev as its manager. Representatives from MIKOM, the company governing KMK, stated that the decisions of the meeting are illegal. The story describes the conflicting situation at the KMK.



Rumor has it that acting President Vladimir Putin on Friday had to meet with the Kremlin's chief of staff, Alexander Voloshin, and its deputies to discuss who will become State Duma speaker for the next four years. The story reflects on the candidates they discussed.

The second deputy's group - with 40 members - called "Russian Regions - Union of Independent Deputies" has emerged in the State Duma with Oleg Morozov as its leader. The group is expected to submit its registration documents Saturday.

In an interview former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev shares his opinion about acting President Vladimir Putin, who in his opinion seems unprepared to govern the state. Gorby notes that Russia needs a team which will defend the interests of the whole country rather than those of individual groups.

Kiev has at last agreed that 22 Su-17M4 fighters in the 43rd aviation squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet be replaced with modern Su-24M fighters. The agreement on the issue was reached during a recent meeting of Russian Ambassador Ivan Aboimov with Ukraine's Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko. The story comments on the results of the negotiations.

1999 was the year of big human losses in mass media: 33 journalists - they are mentioned here - were killed in many countries, according to information provided by the International Journalists' Protection Committee. The International Federation of Journalists and the International Press Institute offer more staggering figures on last year's journalist death toll.

Deputy Press Minister Alexei Morgun reflects on the character of the upcoming presidential elections, trying to answer the following question: Which democratic candidate will be vying with the left-wing opponent during the upcoming presidential elections?

What do you think of Boris Yeltsin as the first president of Russia? This question was put to readers of Internet-NG Versions. Almost 65 percent of respondents believe that Yeltsin has brought Russia to the brink of catastrophe. The story looks at other results.

Russian aluminum companies gradually find their way to foreign markets. Thus, a Czech newspaper stated late last week that the creditors of the Czech company Kovohute Bridlicna AS are discussing sale of this company to Russia's Sibirsky Aluminum company. The latter's press service has confirmed this information. The story looks at its future plans.

Economist Alexei Shteftel presents his in-depth analysis of the agricultural sector of Russia, trying to answer a key question - Why is it falling behind now as in all previous years?

Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze will undoubtedly take part in the Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Moscow, though several deputies in the Georgian parliament believe their head of state should not participate because of Moscow's tough and unfair stand in relation to Tbilisi. The story says what Shevardnadze will discuss with acting President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Sergei Yastrzhembsky's departure from the post of vice prime minister of the Moscow city government automatically means his quitting the commanding post in the TV-Tsenr Moscow Channel. The story offers several versions for reasons behind his resignation.

In an interview Valentin Lazutkin, head of the television and radio organization of the Belarus-Russia Union, talks about his organization, focusing on reasons behind its failure to launch television broadcasting.


A story highlights two powers, which for the first time in many years have revealed themselves in Russia lately - the first is secular power, and the second is ecclesiastical power - both now officially exist side by side. In view of this, the story tries to answer the following questions - What is Russia today? And what does it place its trust in? These questions seem to obvious to many people but in reality they are rather dangerous.

Who might head the State Duma Security Committee, which provides access to information? The story examines several candidates from different factions.

Fifteen political parties and movements in Tatarstan have addressed acting President Vladimir Putin with an unusual request - to appoint a presidential representative in Tatarstan with the aim of supervising the observance of the Russian Constitution and federal laws. The story reveals the essence of the request.

The agricultural enterprise called Omsky Bekon occupies the top place in a list of the 300 largest and most effective enterprises in Russia today. It is a powerful pig-breeding complex in the Luzino village situated in the Omsk region. The story describes its history, managers, production output and investors.

The current visit by Turkey's President Suleiman Demirel to Tbilisi and his negotiations with Georgian head of state Eduard Shevardnadze show that Chechnya is merely a catalyst of deep geopolitical processes that began in the region after the break-up of the Soviet Union. CIS disintegration and the desire of Georgia and Azerbaijan to distance themselves from Russia coincide with Turkey's struggle to play the role of superpower in the region. The story comments on the issue.

The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch has made public its report with a detailed list of terrible crimes committed by islamic rebels in Chechnya against Russian POWs and civilians. The story hopes that the report will help Western human rights activists to see what terrific crimes are committed by Chechen "freedom fighters." The story describes the content and essence of the report.

State Duma deputies are sharply debating not only the distribution of commanding posts among them but also the ownership of prestigious offices. Many deputies think that oligarchs Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich are claiming the best offices in the building. The story features their disputes and conflicts.

In an interview Yabloko co-leader Sergei Stepashin shares his views on the problem of electing State Duma speaker and the SD committee posts which his party would like to take up.

Regional governors are pursuing their own interests when they demonstrate their "devotion" and "loyalty" to acting President Vladimir Putin today, who, they are sure, will win the presidential elections in March.


A story describes how and why three Russian-Ukrainian An-124 planes are day and night performing a unique operation to transfer participants in the Dakar-2000 auto race from Niger's capital city, Niamey, to Libya.

A story examines the annual report titled "Economic Freedom in the World" compiled by leading economists in many countries. Russia ranks 93rd for its level of economic freedom.

A special HQ has been created in the Health Ministry to restore the health care system in the liberated regions of Chechnya. A key problem facing the republic today is to open hospitals and finddoctors and medical nurses for them. The story comments on this acute issue.

In terms of quality of life, Novosibirsk and Kazan are the worst Russian cities to live in. This is indicated by the results of a special study conducted by the world-renowned consultating agency Willian Mercer. The story presents the major results of the study.

A story highlights a new oncological medical center in the Sverdlovsk region, the construction of which was initiated by Boris Yeltsin in 1984, when he was a party secretary of the local CPSU Committee. On Jan. 11 the first operation was performed in the center.


Former Moscow Prosecutor Sergei Gerasimov, who was fired last week, has been offered a job of chief of the Research Institute of Office of Public Prosecutor. The post was once occupied by Yury Skuratov.

On the eve of the year 2000, authors of the Guinness Book of World Records gave a prize to the widow of Belarussian artist Alexander Kishchenko, who died two years ago, for the biggest tapestry. The tapestry, measuring 266 square meters and weighing 286 kilograms, was created between 1990 and 1995. It depicts Christ and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. A story features this huge tapestry.

Several financial and economic experts share their viewpoints on the fall of the ruble rate. The most interesting one belongs to economist Andrei Illarionov, director of the Institute of Economic Analysis.

In an interview State Duma deputy Lyubov Sliska, candidate to the post of State Duma speaker, talks about her family, about her political career and about her likes and dislikes.

VEDOMOSTI (17/1/2000)

Acting President Vladimir Putin has urged the Finance Ministry that it submit to him a plan of paying regional wage arrears to teachers, doctors and public utilities employees. Theministry will have to find approximately 5 billion rubles to cover the arrears and, in so doing, provide Putin with 7 million potential votes.

According to reports from the consumer market and services department of the Moscow government, the majority of Moscow champagne producers have failed to generate the huge profits they had hoped for leading up to New Year's Eve, because champagne sales in the city before the holidays markedly decreased - by 40-50 percent as compared with 1998.

The story offers results of the first opinion poll conducted by the ROMIR research center (for Vedomosti) among 260 companies' heads and their deputies in 12 Russian cities to see whom they would vote for if the presidential elections took place today.

Five economists and financiers estimate how much the rehabilitation of Chechnya's infrastructure and economy will cost?

Gallup Media's latest results in Moscow show there is a tough confrontation between ORT television's "The Sergei Dorenko Program" on Saturday and Yevgeny Kiselyov's Sunday news analytical program "Itogi" on NTV television.

State Duma faction leaders over the weekend discussed the distribution of commanding posts. From all indications, the post of Duma speaker will go to Gennady Seleznyov.

The story reports on how Moscow on Friday responded to the visit to Washington by Ilays Akhmadov, head of the Foreign Ministry of the self-proclaimed republic of Ichkeria.

According to the Toronto Star, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan intends to introduce radical amendments in the country's immigration policy with the aim of increasing immigration to up to 300,000 people a year.

According to the rating list made by the international consulting firm, William M. Mercer, that analyzed the quality of life in 218 cities of the world, the Swiss capital city Bern takes top place in the rating list.

Oil prices have increased in response to information that OPEC may prolong the effect of the agreement - which expires March 31 - on oil extraction cuts. OPEC ministers who last week got together for a session of the monitoring subcommittee agreed to recommend a OPEC conference be scheduled for March 27 to prolong the agreement.

In an interview, Sergei Chizhov, adviser to the prime minister on fuel and energy industry matters, talks about several profit-making projects in the fuel and energy industry, focusing on acting President Vladimir Putin's views on state control over fuel and energy.


The British Trans World Group, which last week refused to collaborate with businessman Lev Chernoi, has to face another unpleasant thing: the Novosibirsk Electrode Factory, in which TWG controlled a considerable package of stock, will soon be under new ownership that won't include TWG.

Charles Schwab's recent purchase of the banking house US Trust for $2.7 billion is a rare deal, affecting the alignment of forces providing financial services through the Internet.

The first and the only bankruptcy of SIDANKO, a leading Russian oil company, will come toan end in Late January. Shareholders will not have to pay for clearing debts, since SIDANKO creditors have agreed on a five-year restructuring.

In an interview Slavneft new head Mikhail Gutseriyev says why he has been appointed to this post and what he will do to boost the company's prestige. (B2)

Primorye region's new Governor, Yevgeny Nazdratenko, has decided to revise reforms in the sphere of power engineering, which former Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Kiriyenko carried out to overcome the acute energy crisis in the region in 1997.

January 18 will be the last day banks need pay additional money to the Obligatory Reserving Fund, according to new normative acts. Though bankers do not sell hard currency to meet this demand, the Central Bank has gained what it's purpose in that banks have less money in correspondent accounts and hence, fewer possibilities to flood the currency market with rubles and lower the ruble rate.

Inkombank late last week made public the conditions of agreement with its creditors. It's the third large bank that has been declared bankrupt and that has offered to its creditors a scheme of restructuring its debts .

Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham pharmaceutical companies intend to resume merger talks.

Czech border authorities, starting Feb. 1, intend to impose new rules of entering the country. Foreign travelers will be divided into two categories: citizens of developed countries and those of so-called "problem" states, which include Russia.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is expected to release a $18 million credit in the next several weeks to expand the capacity of the Don-Beer brewery . Its deputy director general Alexander Guryanov elaborated on the plans of his enterprise.