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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

Friday, September 1



The article reflects on the possible subject of President Vladimir Putin's talks with former President Boris Yeltsin during Putin's visit to Yeltsin's country home Wednesday. It asserts that the two probably discussed personnel issues. Sources say a condition of the transfer of state power to Putin was that he should not replace power ministers over the next two years without consulting Boris Yeltsin.

Secret negotiations started Thursday with managers from the Norwegian Stolt Offshore Oil Service company on removing the remains of the sailors from the sunken Kursk submarine. Benta Berheim, press secretary for the company's central office in Norway, comments on the talks in a telephone interview.

The government session Thursday turned into a clash between Energy Minister Alexander Gavrin and Economic Development Minister German Gref regarding control over the implementation of the law on production-sharing agreements. The article comments on the government decision. Also covered in Vremya Novostei, Vremya MN and Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

President Vladimir Putin plans to make to make several dismissals and appointments in the Kremlin administration in September. Thus, Kremlin Chief of Staff Alexander Voloshin may be replaced with his first aide, Dmitry Medvedev. Voloshin, notes the story, will not mind as he will be heading national power grid UES.

Moscow has decided to expel two Estonian diplomats in retaliation for Estonia's expulsion of two Russian diplomats. The article concludes that it is hardly coincidence that this happened as soon as the interior ministers of the two states signed a cooperation agreement on mutually cracking down on terrorism. Also covered in Kommersant.

Ruhrgas AG deputy head Burkhard Bergmann, member of the Gazprom board of directors, has refused to meet with another member, Boris Fyodorov. The latter rejected his request to meet with the Ruhrgas representatives, saying he only wanted to talk about dividing the market share with other members of the company's board of directors. The article comments on Fyodorov's proposal. Also covered in Kommersant and Izvestia.

The article says the early resignation of Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is quite possible.

The government on Thursday endorsed a Culture of Russia program from 2001 to 2005, which was mapped out by the Center for Strategic Research. The article looks at its major provisions. Also covered in Kommersant.

The ashes of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova will be brought from London to Russia to be buried in Novodevichy Cemetery on Sept. 14. It was the last wish of the ballerina, who left Russia in 1914 and died in The Hague in 1931.

Denis Tito, 59, a U.S. businesman hoping to become the first space tourist , is to arrive at Star City in two weeks to begin training sessions at the cosmonauts' training center. His space flight is tentatively scheduled for next summer. The article describes his training program.

Political analyst Leonid Radzikhovsky, commenting on Russia's poor economic state and present relations with the United States, concludes that Moscow can not afford a new arms race. With this in mind, there is no need to increase the defense budget.

According to an Aug. 28 poll conducted by the VTsIOM public opinion center, 60 percent of Russians approve of President Vladimir Putin's performance in office. In an interview, VTsIOM Director Yury Levada and Deputy Director Alexei Grazhdankin comment on the rating.

The government on Thursday approved the new wording of the privatization law. The article compares the two versions. Also covered in Kommersant.

In an interview, Grigory Tomchin, head of the All-Russian Association of Private and to-Be Privatized Enterprises, comments on the new privatization law.

The Tax Ministry will as of Friday license the production of cigarettes and the wholesale tobacco trade. Ministry official Sergei Mukhin, responsible for controlling tobacco production and trade, comments on the measure. Also covered in Kommersant.

The story describes 20 Orthodox schools in Moscow and their two main principles.

According to official statistics on AIDS patients in Yekaterinburg, one hundred HIV-infected students will start school today.

In an interview, former Health Care Minister Alexander Tsaregorodtsev cites figures that show many students have serious health problems

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Head of the Federal Tax Police Service, Vyacheslav Soltaganov, said Thursday that his agency would in two weeks submit a draft law on establishing financial police, whose task will be to know everything about people's money. The article comments.

ORT television correspondent Vadim Chelikov and ORT operator Vladimir Agafonov have been discharged from their posts in Chechnya on the grounds that they carried out unauthorized filming at a military base in Khankala. They could have their accreditation taken away. Until now, the article notes, this measure was used only against foreign correspondents.

The temporary extradition to Greece of reputed mobster Vladimir Tatarenkov ? also known as Tatarin ? ends Sept. 3. The article says he will not be returned. In an interview, Tatarenkov discusses what he is accused of.

The Agency for Restructuring Crediting Organizations, or ARKO, may soon cease to exist. The government plans to create a large commercial bank in its place. The article details the government project.

The government has found a way to answer the International Monetary Fund's request for a balance assignment of oil product deliveries to the domestic market. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Thursday instructed his aide Viktor Khristenko to personally distribute quotas on such deliveries instead of the Energy Ministry. The article comments on the measure.

Internet media companies APN and Gazeta reported Thursday that Media-MOST holding managers have suspended negotiations that Vladimir Gusinsky had conducted with the aim of selling his media business. The managers stated their priority right to buy out Gusinsky's shares in the closed joint-stock companies of the holding.

In an interview, GAZ auto plant chief Nikolai Pugin speaks about his plant's frequent problems with the customs and tax services, about the fate of its restructuring plan and about its new automobile models.

The Israeli aviation company Isra Air on Thursday announced the launch of regular flights between Tel Aviv and Moscow starting Sept. 3. Another Israeli company Arkia will start flights to Moscow. The article notes the cost of air tickets for this route may drop by 40 percent.

The article describes a boom on the Moscow city realty market, with apartment prices soaring at about 5 percent a month.

The first school for autistic children was to be opened in Moscow on Friday on Ulitsa Kashenkin Lug. The story features the first pupils.

Lawyer Boris Kuznetsov has sent Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov an application on instituting criminal proceedings against Interior Ministry investigators and prosecutors, who he says are guilty of the death of U.S. citizen Yefim Skurkovich. The article details the case.

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The Railways Ministry on Thursday made public a new side of its concept of reforming the railways transport, which shows the ministry has voluntarily given up the function of regulating tariffs on railway transportation.

Roman Aguas, director of the Russian section of the international BigBoard company, left his office early this week, taking the firm's seal and important documents with him.

The Russian Trading System Index, the main barometer of the Russian stock market, celebrated its fifth birthday Friday. The article looks at several achievements in the history of this market.

A three-party system may develop in Russia in the next two years. This was announced by Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais in Tambov on Thursday. Chubais believes leftist forces will not be represented by the Communist Party, which split Friday.

Russia intends to stop grain imports this year, and to join the world's five leading grain exporters by 2010. This was stated Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev, who is responsible for agriculture.

Political analyst Olga Romanova features President Vladimir Putin's likes and dislikes in different spheres. She points out a Wall Street Journal article that says: the catastrophic accident with the Kursk has put an end to Putin's honeymoon with the Russian mass media, which had backed him during the military campaign in Chechnya and played a significant role in ensuring his victory in the presidential elections.

Which CIS states will Russia establish a visa regime with? Six experts discuss the issue.

Slavneft oil company, on the occasion of local Oil and Gas Day, on Thursday awarded 3 decorative pins to its best workers.

The government has decided to keep the 30 percent norm of the surveyed mineral reserves that are being developed on the basis of the production-sharing agreements. The article comments on the issue.

The government on Thursday approved in general a new draft version of the privatization law. Several government officials, however, believe that if the document is passed, corruption will considerably expand.

Vedomosti. Companies and Markets

The import of coffee into Russia nearly tripled over the first six months of this year. The article says Russians now need more coffee, as it has become very fashionable to drink it.

The New Community holding plans to increase its share in the charter capital of Rostselmash to 51 percent during the placement of an additional issuance of shares, which is to take place before the end of the year.

Azeri President Geidar Aliyev signed a decree Thursday on awarding LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov a Glory Order on his 50th birthday. Aliyev stressed the significance of LUKoil's participation in the implementation of large-scale projects on the Azeri shelf of the Caspian Sea.

Slavneft and the Belarussian state-owned Belneftekhim are considering the purchase of a share in joint ventures to develop oil deposits on the territory of Western Siberia. Belneftekhim head Ivan Bambiza said his concern had reached agreement with the Nenets oil company on launching a joint venture.

The East Siberian Oil and Gas Company, or ESOGC, will not stay much longer in the same hands. Sibneft has sold its controlling stake in the ESOGC to Rosnefgegazstroi and Argomar Oil. Its owners were to negotiate its further sale Friday ?this time to YUKOS.

The supposition that television blackouts in Moscow would cause advertisers to target the Internet has not been justified. The article provides details.

At the SIBUR-Neftekhim shareholders' meeting Friday, the firm's ownership was to be discussed. Gazprom daughter enterprise SIBUR was expected to remove its partner, the state-owned Norsi oil refinery, from management.

Irkutskenergo head Viktor Borovsky on Thursday accused Russian Aluminum, his company's new shareholder, of scheming to decrease tariffs for the Bratsk Aluminum Factory. The article details the conflict.

Saudi Arabia, a leading oil exporter to the world markets, has announced plans to work with other OPEC countries toward increasing oil deliveries with the aim of stabilizing the market.

The British Minaret Group in Baku has drastically reduced its investment in the Azeri oil sector. The article provides details.