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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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


The State Duma discussion of new chapters of the Tax Code yesterday brought several unpleasant surprises to the military: According to government proposals, they may lose all tax benefits they currently enjoy. Instead, the government is promising compensations.

Interior Ministry criminal investigators on Tuesday searched the offices (on Ulitsa Myasnitskaya) of the "Rosmyasomoltorg" company. The raid was conducted within the framework of investigation in the criminal case on looting money earned for sales of US and EU humanitarian aid, and was directly linked to the company's former First Deputy Director-General Mikhail Babich, now Vice-Premier of the Moscow region government on financial affairs.

At the Federation Council session yesterday, senators decided at last to tell the president everything they think of his initiatives aimed at consolidating the power vertical. Presidential representative in the Federation Council Vyacheslav Khizhnyakov stated that the Kremlin is willing to agree on only one out of the 13 amendments proposed by the legislators. Also covered in Kommersant Daily, Vremya MN, Vremya Novostei, Noviye Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, MK.

The story analyses positive results of yesterday's extraordinary session of the Association on the Protection of Investors' Rights that was attended by UES head Anatoly Chubais. Boris Fyodorov, member of the UES Board of Directors, representing the interests of private investors stated that the concept of restructuring the energy sector that Chubais presented in the Kremlin on April 4 was developed without taking into consideration the shareholders' interests. Also covered in Kommersant Daily and Vremya MN.

The Russian Center for Forensic Medical Expertise has completed at last its identification of the human remains found in Chechnya to answer the question whether or not they belong to General Gennady Shpigun, who was taken hostage in Grozny last year. No official results have been announced. Also covered in Kommersant Daily and Vremya Novostei.

The State Duma Information Policy and Communications Committee on Wednesday proposed to prolong the benefits for mass media and book publishers until Jan. 1, 2002. The article comments on this acute issue.

In an exclusive interview Gazprom official Viktor Chernomyrdin, who has arrived in Nice to attend the current 21st International Gas Congress, speaks about changes awaiting the world gas market and the role of his company in them. Earlier Chernomyrdin hinted that he would agree to take charge of the company if Rem Vyakhirev is released from his post.

In an interview former FSB Director Nikolai Kovalyov, newly- appointed deputy head of the State Duma Security Committee and head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee and the State Duma Corruption Commission, shares views on his methods of cracking down on corruption. Kovalyov proposes that the Duma should be empowered to conduct criminal investigations.

The Swiss newspaper "Corriere della Sera" has resumed its publication of cases of corruption in the upper echelons of Russian power. The article gives details.

Two outstanding events in the history of modern Russia took place on June 12, 1990: The Independence Declaration was adopted, and the Press Law was signed. It was the first law in the whole history of Russia that proclaimed the real freedom of speech, determined the journalists' rights and guaranteed them freedom in their professional activities. The article reports on how the nation's human rights activists support the alternative press.


Mayor Yury Luzhkov has signed an agreement with two Swiss companies on giving Moscow (as humanitarian aid) $500 million for funding health programs. The article features this grandiose event.

The State Duma on Wednesday created an inter-faction commission responsible for considering legal issues pertaining to using mineral resources on production-sharing conditions. Yabloko deputy faction head Sergei Ivanenko took charge of it. The article examines duties of the new agency.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov Wednesday appointed Alexandra Levitskaya and Alexei Volin assistants of Igor Shuvalov, head of the government administration. They are known as public relations and mass media specialists.

In an interview American philanthropist George Soros shares his plans of his business activities in Russia.

The creation of the joint venture "VAZ- General Motors" may be postponed for an indefinite time. The story explains why.

It will be announced today that Alexander Livshits, who yesterday was appointed (not on the permanent staff) a financial and economic adviser to the prime minister, has become head of the board of Rossiisky Kredit Bank. The article describes him as a true oligarch.

Avtoframos and the daughter branch of the Austrian Raiffaizen Bank have announced the beginning of their joint program of crediting the purchases of Renault-19 autos assembled in Russia. The article comments on the project.

Two large deals have been struck in the beer market this week f the Carlsberg concern has bought the Norwegian Orkla company and Belgian Interbrew has obtained British Bass. The article comments on these deals.

Shalva and Alexander Chigirinsky, heads of the ST Group, may lose part of their business f Orlovskiye Metally f the former Mtsensky Plant of Non-Ferrous Metals and Alloys. The article features the claims of its creditors.

The British-Dutch Unilever conglomerate has at last reached agreement on purchasing the American Bestfoods company for $20.3 billion. The article details the deal.

The owners of Internet-resources AltaVista f Internet incubator CMGI and the computer-maker Compaq intend to turn the European Alta-Vista branch into an independent firm. The article examines the project.

The Central Bank yesterday withdrew the temporary administration from Tveruniversalbank. The article looks at its further fate. Also covered in Izvestia.

Heads of seven leading international banks (their names are given) on Tuesday announced their intention to create a currency electronic exchange The article examines the plan in detail.

Yakutian diamonds will go up in price by 20 percent. ALROSA Wednesday announced that it will sell them with VAT. The article comments on the decision, focusing on its negative consequences.



Sergei Stepashin's Audit Chamber may turn into a powerful power agency with punitive, judiciary and even with some legislative duties if State Duma deputies approve Stepashin's proposals to reform his agency.

Starting next year, the Russians will pay a 13 percent income tax, a record low over the past decade. The State Duma on Wednesday passed (in the second reading) Chapter 24 "Taxes on the Individuals' Incomes" of the second part of the Tax Code.

The Russian Trading System today is expected to conduct a conference "Taking Out Shares of Russian Hi-Tech Companies to the Market of Capital." The article features the event.

Political analyst Dmitry Volchek examines proposals for a peaceful settlement in Chechnya made by a group of Chechen representatives headed by Ilyas Akhmadov. Results of Moscow's 10 month military campaign in the North Caucasus are described as depressing, with the aim of the "anti-terrorist operation" having been left unfulfilled.

Will UES shareholders and managers be able to resolve the conflict around the plan for restructuring the company? Four experts share their views on the issue.

The most advanced part of society f foreign investors f has come out against the concept of restructuring the national power grid "Unified Energy System" that was developed by its head Anatoly Chubais and his team. The article comments on the disquieting situation around the company and Chubais' response to all recent developments.

The Federation Council yesterday discussed the presidential initiatives to reform the state power bodies and, above all, the draft law on the procedure of forming the upper house of parliament. The article features fierce debates and results.

The Constitution Court yesterday declared that several provisions of the Altai Constitution, including the republic's sovereignty, are not in line with the federal constitution. The article comments on this acute issue.

The Center for Strategic Planning will continue its existence on the money allocated by joint stock structures. The article looks at the center's future fate and plans.

Margarita Tsarkova, head of Svyazbank, which is her third "child," says how she created it overcoming numerous difficulties.

In an interview Alexander Shokhin, head of the State Duma Credit Organizations and Financial Markets, explains why his agency has rejected practically all big projects considered by his committee.


Anatoly Chubais, head of the national power grid Unifies Energy Systems, has promised his indignant shareholders that he will create a council to protect their rights in connection with his project aimed at restructuring the company.

The Komi republic decided to help Europeans meet their demands in deer meat. With this aim in view, the republic is willing to invest $1.5 million in building a deer slaughtering center. The article reveals its ambitious project.

The struggle of the Russian-Belarussian Slavneft company with its shareholder f the Tyumen Oil Company f has entered a new stage. Slavneft announced that it has begun to buy up its daughter enterprises.

Tatarstan intends to hand over to Tatneft a nearly 35 percent package of stock in the Russian tire factory Nizhnekamskshina. In exchange, the oil company will have to fund the major renovation project of the tire enterprise.

AvtoVAZ for the first time officially admitted that one of its large, closely-related enterprises f the Dimitrovgrad Auto-Assembling Plant (in the Ulyanovsk region) f is governed by a group of the SOK companies. The article describes this group.

The Exchange Council of the Moscow Inter-Bank Currency Exchange has endorsed rules of conducting trading in short-term contracts. If all goes smoothly, Russia already this fall will have a short-term market after a two-year break.

Moscow is gradually changing the structure of its borrowings: Credits will be ousted by bond loans, and loans themselves will become smaller. The article describes the structure of borrowings.

Electronic trade is expanding: thus on Tuesday seven large world banks announced a creation of an electronic exchange for conducting currency trading.

Does your company plan to conduct an emission of securities in the Russian stock market? If not, say why. What circumstances should change in order for you to make a positive decision? Eight businessmen answer these questions.

Home Depot, a leading American network of shops selling materials and instruments for home repairs, has expanded its program of issuing credits to buyers. The article describes its services.


In an interview Georgy Poltavchenko , presidential representative in the Central Federal District, speaks about his major duties determined in the presidential decree.

The academician Gennady Mesyats, vice president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, examines negative effects on science of the new Tax Code if the latter takes effect.

The article discusses the fate of the Amur Islands on the Russian-Chinese border, which may become an apple of discord in two country's relations.

In an interview Bolshoi Chief Artistic Director Vladimir Vasilyev comments on a myriad of rumors swarming around the Bolshoi Theater.


The "GAZ" auto factory, starting June 3, has raised selling prices of its autos by 2 percent to 14 percent. It was stated yesterday by Inna Petrova, chief of the GAZ press bureau. The article gives new prices.

A unique Russian flag, which will be glued to the external side of the space module "Zvesda" to be launched into space on July 12, was created in the Research Center of Space and Aviation Materials in Pereslavl. Brief.


According to information from the "Russia. Regions" Agency, the Anapa Distillery has obtained an exclusive right to deliver quality red wine (kagor) to monasteries, eparchies and parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church. The project of church wine deliveries has been called "Bratskaya Trapeza" (Brotherly Dining Table). The article comments on the project.

The staff of the Center for Strategic Planning does not want Gleb Pavlovsky, head of the Effective Policy Fund, to be appointed (by the Kremlin) to the post of director of the center. The article says why.

In an interview Vitaly Savelyev, head of the Board of Directors of MENATEP Bank, says what he and his staff expect from the president and the new Cabinet. Savelyev also says when he thinks Russian may refuse from foreign investment.

How to boost the domestic economy to make it correspond effectively to the national interests? LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov offers his economic program.


State Duma deputies are displaying a different approach to the current tax reform. In an interview State Duma deputy speaker Georgy Boos examines major changes of the existing tax system proposed by the government.

American philanthropist George Soros, whose personal fortune is estimated at $4 billion, has announced that he intends to scale back his business in Russia. In an interview he speaks about his impressions about the great changes in Russia and about his plans.

In an interview Mayor Yury Luzhkov shares his views on the presidential initiatives to reform the state power structures.

In an interview Press Minister Mikhail Lesin says, "If we (his ministry) strictly observed the letter of the law, we should have closed you (newspapers) long ago." Nevertheless, Lesin promises not to use any tough measures against violators of the law.


In an interview Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who among other VIPs accompanied President Vladimir Putin in his recent trip to Italy, speaks about his positive views on Putin's initiatives to reform the state power vertical.

Incident. The article reports on how show business star Filipp Kirkorov on June 6 during his concert in Minsk lashed out verbally at OMON troops who were standing near the stage and had to step aside.

The article features a secret military base in the Nizhny Novgorod region, where old intercontinental strategic missiles are being destroyed.

Former reconnaissance officer in Afghanistan Musa Keligov has become vice-governor of the Nenets Autonomous Area. He could not imagine then what difficulties he would have to resolve in peaceful times.

Kazakhstan on June 10 will mark the second anniversary of its capital city Astana. In an interview its Mayor Adilbek Djaksybekov speaks proudly about his beautiful city.

In an interview Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov, shares his views on the decision to include seven presidential representatives (in the federal districts ) into the Security Council. He also speaks about the future fate of Chechnya, about gross financial violations there and about his way of life.

In an interview the brilliant KP feature journalist from '70s Valery Agranovsky, who together with his brother writer Anatoly, took part in writing Brezhnev's books "Small Land," "Virgin Soil" and "Rebirth," reminisces about those years and his work.


Western investors (25 percent of stock) are collecting votes in favor of releasing UES head Anatoly Chubais from his post. This sensational news was printed yesterday in the London newspaper The Financial Times. The article explains why his former supporters have changed their attitude to him.

How many children's theaters are there in Moscow today and what productions do they offer to their young audience? Theater critic Olga Fux presents her detailed account of the most interesting theater productions for children.


According to official statistics, the wages of more than 3 million Russians amount to 200-250 rubles per month, though the average subsistence level approved by the government in the first quarter of this year was 1,137.6 rubles. How can these people receiving $7-$9 a month possibly exist? foreign experts inquire. Political observer Vitaly Golovachev describes whole regions (shown on a map) that are living below the poverty line.

The Federal Labor Inspectorate is responsible for control over the observance of labor safety rules in enterprises, construction sites and production shops. More than 5,000 died last year because of violations of those rules. In an interview Inspectorate head Vladimir Varov, deputy labor minister, talks about different aspects of this complicated situation.

The Omsk Medical Academy has a unique anatomic museum with 1,500 rare exhibits, including the most interesting one, which was a result of an embalming experiment conducted by an ordinary laboratory associate nearly 70 years ago. The article describes the experiment and includes a photo.


To put the recently announced amnesty into effect, the government will need 40 million rubles, which is not envisaged by the budget. Convicts are demanding money to pay for their trips home from prisons, threatening to sabotage the decision of the State Duma if the money isn't forthcoming. The article comments on the issue.

Crime. Thieves on Wednesday night robbed a dacha of former Soviet Interior Minister Nikolai Shcholokov in the elite settlement Nikolina Gora (Moscow region). The story gives details.

Moscow authorities decided to launch a production of insulin in the city to help diabetes patients. The article features the project.

The Moscow government plans to create a network of night shelters for homeless children by 2003. The article features the project.