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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

Wednesday, August 9



When asked, in an electronic Ekho Moskvy opinion poll, whether they believe Chechens were behind the blast in the Pushkin Square underpass Tuesday, 3,180 respondents answered in the affirmative and 1,868 in the negative.

Highly regarded political and public figures who are concerned about the threat of authoritarianism in Russia are calling on progressive intellectuals to create a new public and political movement based on the ideas of freedom, conscience and creed. Also covered in Kommersant, Izvestia, Vremya MN and Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

The article offers an analysis of President Vladimir Putin's achievements and failures, comparing them with the results of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. In interviews Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev, former Deputy Kremlin Chief of Staff Igor Shabdurasulov and political scientist Liliya Shevtsova share their views on Putin's time in power. Also covered in Kommersant, Izvestia, Vremya MN, Vremya Novostei and MK.

The Times of London on Tuesday printed an article entitled "Kasyanov Accused of Attempt to Give $500,000 Bribe." It says in part that Krasnoyarsk Yabloko member Viktor Gitin, deputy head of the State Duma Budget Committee, was offered money to suspend the investigation of the circumstances of the 1998 financial crisis. In an interview Gitin sheds light on the case.

The Prosecutor General's Office has lifted travel restrictions on Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky, who had angered the military by his coverage of the Chechnya campaign. Also covered in Kommersant and Vremya Novostei.

President Vladimir Putin has instructed the Federation Council to develop a concept for a State Council. With this aim in view, its leadership was expected Wednesday to get together for a session of the political council to work out this concept. The article discusses different opinions on the future power agency.

According to reports from Uzbekistan, its interior and defense ministries, army units and border troops have for several days been fighting against Islamic terrorists, who have arrived in the republic from the neighboring Tajikistan. The article describes these developments. Also covered in Kommersant and Vremya Novostei.

Russia has the option of receiving Russian newspapers archives dated from 1900 to 1917 from the British National Library for free. Russia, however, is in no hurry to accept the gift, says the article. Also covered in Kommersant and Noviye Izvestia.

The Moscow government discussed Tuesday the city's budget for 2001. Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov sees future city economic and financial prospects as "not attractive" because of the poor state of city industry and federal policy. The article comments on his statement. Also covered in Kommersant, Izvestia, Noviye Izvestia, Vremya Novostei and Vremya.

The government has initiated a revision of the agreement reducing Russian steel deliveries to the U.S. market. This is to be discussed at the September session of Russian-American consultations. The article comments on the issue.

The draft master plan of Moscow's development, which has been considered by the City Duma in the first reading, is not ready to become law because of its poor ecological aspects. The article considers them in detail.

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State Duma deputy Mikhail Lapshin, head of the Agrarian Party of Russia, is making frenzied efforts to save his party from splitting. The story features the current situation in the Agrarian Party.

During his July 28 meeting with 21 top entrepreneurs, President Vladimir Putin approved the creation of a council for regular meetings of high-level state bureaucrats with oligarchs. The decision to create it has been made, but a source in the Ministry of Anti-Monopoly Policy, who is responsible for forming the council, said Tuesday that those who are considered oligarchs are not willing to join it.

Vladimir Yakovlev, executive secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union and St. Petersburg governor, said Tuesday that a parliament center of the United States would emerge on the Neva bank in 2 to 3 years. The story features the project and its sponsors.

Prosecutor General's Office criminal investigator Nikolai Volkov, who is investigating the Aeroflot embezzlement case, is expected to be discharged from this duty in the near future. The article provides details.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Thursday said that the federal government would clear off Moscow's debts on bonds. If this operation succeeds, notes the story, a dangerous precedent will be created of the federal authorities paying out local administrations' debts. The article provides comments.

In accordance with an international court ruling, Anderson Consulting on Monday quit the Anderson Worldwide holding to become an independent structure. Andersen Consulting will be forced to give up the Andersen name. The article provides details.

The Molochny Kombinat shareholders' meeting Tuesday ended in a scandal because representatives from the Wimm-Bill-Dann group, which owns 40 percent of Kombinat's shares, were not allowed to attend the meeting. The article gives details.

OPEC president Ali Rodriguez said Monday that Russia's participation in the September OPEC summit is "very desirable." His words, however, were nothing more than a gesture of courtesy, notes the story, as Russian bureaucrats do not have any influence on the world oil market.

The Nizhny Novgorod City Hall decided to take the British newspaper The Sunday Times to court for slandering. One of its July 30 stories has caused a scandal. The article gives details.

August 9 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of composer Dmitry Shostakovich, who some considered the chief composer of the Soviet Union. The article honors the memory of Shostakovich and his music.

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Moscow authorities and the Federal Security Service, or FSB, say the explosion, which killed eight and injuring another 53 people, in the crowded underground passageway on Pushkin Square on Tuesday was a terrorist act. The article details the occurance.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin was expected Wednesday to make public the parameters of the draft budget for 2001. The article gives the major issues covered in the budget.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, on Monday conducted searches in the offices of MIKOM, a former leading player in the metals market, as part of an investigation into a recent assassination plot against Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev. The FSB confiscated several documents from the firm.

Political analyst Vitaly Portnikov, commenting on the pre-election campaign in Yugoslavia, concludes that the absence of civic society in the country has created a situation where national interest is turned into a circus show with funny clowns, courageous tamers and directors behind the scene.

What else can Siberian Aluminum buy in the auto sector? Four experts share their views on the issue.

Neither Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref's strategy, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's program, nor the president's state of the nation address contains a word on the government's anti-monopoly policy. Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute of Globalization Problems, comments on this issue, calling it absurd.

Constructive opposition, which has been the main topic of oligarch Boris Berezovsky's month-long discussions, has begun to acquire clear-cut outlines, with presidents of republics rather than governors taking its top positions. Kremlin officials and political scientists call the initiative "unrealistic."

The Moscow city government has approved a draft of the city's budget for 2001 Tuesday and submitted it to the City Duma for consideration. The article looks at the document.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said Tuesday that he has nearly persuaded the federal government to compensate for the city's losses due to the imposition of the new Tax Code. According to the article, the Finance Ministry is willing to take care of a part of the regional debts.

Michael Camdessus, who in February quit the post of International Monetary Fund executive director, will again be responsible for regulating debt obligations ? but this time in the Vatican.

The article says that the balance of payments for the first quarter of 2000, which the Central Bank printed Tuesday in its Vestnik, is the best in the period of economic reform. The results of the second quarter may be even better. The article gives details.

The International Arbitration Court in Paris has split up sister companies Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen, thus putting an end to the longest conflict in corporate history. The court has placed the blame for the companies' division on their mother company, Andersen Worldwide.

Wholesale traders of perfume and cosmetic products are expected over the next couple days to sell the last bottles of Flowers of Russia, a popular perfume brand. The article features its unhappy end.

A new round in the struggle of Tyumen Oil Company, or TNK, to take part in managing Slavneft could begin later this week. TNK intends to foil extraordinary meetings of shareholders of Slavneft and its daughter companies to make them include TNK representatives in their boards of directors.

The MinFin group of companies announced Tuesday that it is willing to launch a court investigation that may result in the bankruptcy of Norilsk Nickel. The article explains why the MinFin is so confident.

Siberian carrier Tyumenaviatrans intends to exact over $48 million from the aircraft-building Aviakor plant for unfinished contract work. The article describes the conflict.

Russian diamond-maker Alrosa on Tuesday placed another ? the 3rd ? 500 million rubles of its bonds. The article features its results.

The Information Rating Center on Tuesday printed a list of leading banks according to their performance up to July 1, 2000. The list given in the article has hardly changed from last year's.

Moscow authorities are planning a scheme to attract trading enterprises to the city. The plan is expected to be made public within a month.

The Interior Department of the Moscow Lefortovo district has officially registered a statement by the acting head of the Kristall distillery, Vladimir Svirsky. It says former chief Alexander Romanov, who has seized the building of the plant's administration, is hampering the execution of an Aug. 4 arbitration court decision.

The Moscow region administration, following the example of the Moscow city government, has decided to regulate its network of small-scale wholesale bazaars. The article looks at several documents that will help in carrying out this plan.