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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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

Izvestia
Kommersant
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Noviye Izvestia
Rossiiskaya Gazeta
Komomolskaya Pravda
Moskovsky Komsomolets


Izvestia
www.izvestia.ru

The story examines several controversial provisions of the land code draft. While its authors see nothing revolutionary in it, State Duma agrarian faction leader Nikolai Kharitonov views several of its articles as containing "elements of national betrayal". Also covered in Noviye Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Vremya Novostei

The story suggests that World Bank head James Wolfensohn's visit to Russia that ended Friday was 87.5 percent effective, rather than by 100 percent. Also covered in Kommersant Daily, Noviye Izvestia, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Vremya Novostei

The story highlights Juan Antonio Samaranch of Olympic fame, who presided over the 112th session of the International Olympic Committee in Moscow. Also covered in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda

Ekho Moskvy Radio editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov answers questions from Izvestiya readers about the future of the radio station, about its current financial position, about freedom of speech and about his opinions concerning the complicated situation at the station.

The State Duma on Friday passed in three readings the draft bill on lowering exporters' hard currency proceeds share for a mandatory sale from 75 percent down to 50 percent. Central Bank head Viktor Gerashchenko, however, on the same day, proposed to postpone the issue until the fall. The story comments on the conflicting situation, with the Central Bank resisting hard currency liberation. Also covered in Kommersant Daily, Vremya Novostei

A significant part of the construction project of the presidential residence in Strelnya outside St. Petersburg is on an artificial island in a channel flowing into the Gulf of Finland. Its architects have dubbed it the "Water Pavilion", designed for the head of state's secret deliberations. The story describes the pavilion, and discusses the preliminary cost of the project — $170 million.

In an interview the State Duma deputy from Chechnya, Aslanbek Aslakhanov speaks about his recent meeting with President Vladimir Putin and explains that Putin is aware of recent 'mop-up' operations in Chechen villages. Also covered in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vremya Novostei

The Saratov region has received about 6 million rubles in funding for an ecological program to clean the Volga River, within the framework of the federal ecological program "The Rebirth of the Volga". The story examines the project.

President Vladimir Putin on Friday made several significant appointments by decree in the Defense Ministry, and discharged Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov from his post of chief military diplomat. The story comments on Ivashov's possible new appointment. In a short interview Ivashov speaks about his future plans. Also covered in Kommersant Daily, Noviye Izvestia, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Friday signed a directive on creating a state-controlled, experimental "City Vagrancy, Begging and Crimes Prevention Center for Underaged Children" from regions of Russia and former Soviet Republics. Brief. Also covered in Komsomolskaya Pravda, Moskva Supplement

Ingushetia's President Ruslan Aushev stated Friday that he was indignant and shocked at the behaviour of the 58th army stationed on the territory of the Dzheirakhsky District of Ingushetia, where its servicemen acted as vandals and destroyed historical and archeological monuments from the Middle Ages. Brief. Also covered in Kommersant Daily

The Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, the Australian Technoimport Co., and the Hollywood production firm Destiny Productions on Friday signed an agreement on a commercial project, a television game show called Space Trial. The story describes the new television program.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin is scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Sunday. The purpose of his visit is to sign a major new treaty between Russia and China. The story examines the program of the visit. Also covered in Noviye Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiiskaya Gazeta Komsomolskaya Pravda

Alexander Sharavin, Director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, examines the USA-China-Russia triangle and the role played by each side in it.

The story features the Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery, situated in a forest reserve near Lake Raifa, 30 kilometers from Kazan. The place has been frequently visited lately by many top policymakers and public and cultural figures. The story examines why this spot has become so popular.

The new television company Soyuz-TV, created to meet the needs of the Russia-Belarus Union, has been initiated by policymaker Andrei Zapekly, who has drafted a plan for the creation of the new company. However the telebroadcasting organization of the Russia-Belarus Union already exists, with Valentin Lazutkin as its head. In an interview he speaks about the conflicting situation.

According to Reuters, the leadership of the Afghani Taliban movement has banned the use of the Internet on all the territories it controls. Brief.

The United States Congress has endorsed a draft bill on U.S. financial aid amounting to $15.2 billion to foreign states in 2002. The former Soviet republics, including Russia, will receive $768 million. Brief.

Kommersant
www.kommersant.ru

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Friday spoke at the next to last session of the State Duma before its recess. Kasyanov called Russia, with its new market-oriented laws, a "renewed country that has reached a new level of development". The story examines with a critical eye Kasyanov's pronouncements.

The International Olympic Committee in Moscow on Friday elected Beijing as the host of the Olympic Games for 2008. The story describes the election procedure and several opinions concerning the results. Also covered in Noviye Izvestia, Vremya Novostei, Rossisikaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda

Television journalist Nikolai Nikolayev's program "Independent Investigation" on channel ORT, which is devoted to solving the murder of Galina Starovoiteva, aired a show on Thursday in which remarks by State Duma deputy Konstantin Borovoi and Democratic Union Party leader Valeria Novodvorskaya were censored and omitted. The full version of the program was aired to Russia's eastern regions, while European Russia was shown an abridged form. The story explains why. Also covered in Komsomolskaya Pravda

The Moscow City Duma on Friday passed an amendment to the City Charter. The story examines the changes to the document. Also covered in Nezavisimaya Gazeta

A Ukrainian government delegation in Paris on Friday signed a treaty with the Paris Club on restructuring its $580 million debt for 12 years, with a 3 year benefit period. Russia, a major creditor of the Ukraine and a member of the Paris Club, acted as a mediator in the negotiations. The story comments on Ukraine's Prime Minister Anatoly Kinakh's statement.

Washington has for the first time officially admitted that it intends to violate the American-Soviet 1972 ABM Treaty. US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wulfovits on Friday announced the beginning of a program in Alaska in April 2002 that will be conducted in spite of certain provisions of the treaty. The story comments on his statement made only a week before the Genoa G-8 summit, and suggests that this latest development is only part of a massive psychological attack on Russia.

President Vladimir Putin on Friday met with Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, adviser to Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori. Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov introduced his colleague to Putin. The story comments on the meeting.

Audit Chamber official Sergei Shokhin announced the beginning of a comprehensive checkup of Vneshekonombank. The story notes its expediency.

Swissair has announced a sale over the next one and a half years of its superfluous assets to the tune of 3 billion Swiss francs ($1.7 billion). The company is trying to clear off its huge debt that may still lead to bankruptcy.

A regional credit bureau is being created in Yaroslavl. It will become a think tank of credit histories of equities and individuals. Any bank may check its potential clients.

Deputy anti-monopoly minister Anatoly Golomolzin announced Friday that Transneft and its leaders will be fined for violating anti-monopoly legislation in drafting treaties with oil companies on oil pumping. The story examines Transneft's reaction to Golomolzin's statement.

The State Duma Friday passed in a third reading the draft bill on auditing activities. The brief says why several auditors are displeased with the draft.

The State Duma Friday passed in the third reading the draft bill on state registration of equities. The brief mentions its expediency.

Slavneft, its daughter enterprise Slavneft-Belgium, the Russian Bank Eurofinans, and German Select Energy Trade and Bayerische Landesbank Girozentrale have signed a treaty on providing Slavneft with a 28 million euro credit. The brief explains why.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta
www.ng.ru

Russia has decided to cut its military forces in Kosovo. This information has been confirmed by well informed diplomatic sources, who say that it's an element of the Kremlin's new international policy aimed at reducing Russia's military presence abroad. The story comments on the issue, focusing on factors urging these measures.

The State Duma on Friday voted for a withdrawal of the package of pension draft bills from parliament. The story describes how it was done.

The newspaper may illustrate the first steps of lobbying activities by new Gazprom head Alexei Miller, who has sent a letter to economic development minister Gherman Gref with a request to revise a chapter of the land code draft. The story discusses Gazprom's interest in the code, and what section Gazprom wanted changed.

According to diplomatic sources, the upcoming G-8 summit scheduled for July 20-21 is expected to examine two important documents -— a communique and a statement on regional issues. Brief.

Russia is on the list of countries that are ignoring a crackdown on the illegal transportation of people. This is stated in a report issued by the US Department of State. The report notes in part that from Russia, women are illegally transported for prostitution in Western Europe, in the Middle East, in North America and in North Asia. Brief.

President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Friday met with famous sculptor Mikhail Shemyakin to discuss the unveiling of a statue of former St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak on his grave site. Brief. Also covered in Rossiiskaya Gazeta

According to a court ruling Colonel Yury Budanov, who has been accused of killing a young Chechen girl, Elza Kungayeva, will undergo another examination in the central forensic and medical laboratory of the Defense Ministry. In an interview expert Fyodor Kondratyev reveals the details of the examination; also Budanov's lawyer Anatoly Mukhin comments on the issue.

President Vladimir Putin in a couple of days will submit to the State Duma a new wording of the law concerning major guarantees of citizens' election rights that has been drafted by the central election commission. The story examines two global problems that the new law will help resolve.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov this week has signed a document titled "guidelines for reforming the unified energy systems monopoly" that were drafted by the Economic Development Ministry. Does this mean that Vladimir Putin has taken the side of Chubais, while the State Council, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and presidential adviser Andrei Illarionov have sustained a political defeat? Three experts share their viewpoints on the issue.

In an interview Brazil's ambassador to Russia, Tereza Maria Mashado Kintella assesses the present state of relations, particularly economic and commercial,

between Brazil and Russia, saying what has been done lately to make them more friendly.

Noviye Izvestia

Chechnya is again becoming a point of contention in the complicated relationships between Russia and the Council of Europe. PACE Chairman Lord Russel Johnston has appealed to world political leaders maintaining close relations with Vladimir Putin, urging them to use their influence to exert pressure on Russian authorities to change their policy in Chechnya. Recent events have indicated that the human rights situation in Chechnya is getting worse. The story comments on Lord Russel Johnston's appeal.

The head of the Belarussian federation of labour unions Vladimir Goncharik on Friday sent an open letter to President Alexander Lukashenko concerning the disappearance of certain prominent political figures. Attached to the letter were 33 pages of documents showing that adversaries of the present head of state had been abducted and killed. The documents have confirmed previous statements by prosecutors and investigators. The story gives details.

In an interview deputy power engineering minister Anatoly Yanovsky examines several serious problems concerned with restructuring of the coal industry.

Legendary tenor Placido Domingo on Wednesday will give his only charity concert in Moscow. The story describes the maestro's recent visits and concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Primorye's power engineering system is to undergo major renovation — instead of two major energy companies, Dalenergo and LuTEK, there will be a single holding, the Far-Eastern Power Engineering Managing Company. From all indications, the national power grid Unified Energy Systems made a decision to radically change its approach towards the management of energy companies in critical regions. The story examines the company's new approach.

According to information leaked from the office of the Moscow architecture and construction committee headed by Vladimir Resin, a major city residential construction company, DSK-1, is about to go bankrupt, which indicates that someone intends to privatize the company. The story describes its present position and the possible origin and aim of the rumors.

Rossiiskaya Gazeta
www.rg.ru

In order to evade the possibility of its state-owned property being frozen abroad, Russia is trying to cancel a suit filed by the Swiss firm Noga in foreign courts. In an interview deputy finance minister Sergei Kolotukhin reports on how Russia's debt to this firm originated.

Document. The Federal Law Concerning Political Parties. Full text. State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov comments on the document.

In an interview on the eve of his visit to Russia, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin answers the following questions — What do you expect from your visit ? When did you meet with Vladimir Putin for the first time? What are the prospects for Chinese-Russian economic cooperation? What are some reasons behind worsened relations between China and the United States? What is your attitude towards U.S. policy in the sphere of anti-missile defense?

The agricultural sector last year made 13 billion rubles in profit. By 2000 results, the agro-industrial complex has taken third place in the federal budget revenues, which is far above Soviet levels. Anticipation runs high concerning future results. Will Russia be able to feed itself without food imports? In an interview presidential envoy in the central federal district Georgy Poltavchenko answers these and other questions.

Document. The federal law concerning limiting tobacco smoking, signed by President Vladimir Putin on July 10, 2001. Full text.

Document. The federal law concerning the fulfillment of the budget of the pension fund in 1999 signed by Vladimir Putin on July 10, 2001. Full text.

Komomolskaya Pravda
www.kp.ru

Russians are far behind Americans in toilet paper consumption. World paper production has reached 300 million tons a year. Per capita annual paper consumption in Russia is 80 kg; the figure for the USA is 270 kg.. The story describes six major domestic paper producers.



The story reports on how a young woman from the Yaroslavl region on Thursday unexpectedly gave birth to a child in the Moscow metro station Fili. Also covered in Moskva Supplement.

The Moscow government decided to renovate the world-renowned architectural ensemble the St. Bazil's Cathedral, which this year will be 440 years old. The story describes the project. Also covered in Moskva Supplement

Moskovsky Komsomolets
www.mk.ru

In an interview poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko speaks about his life in America and in Russia, about his family, about his poetry and prose, about his meetings with famous artists, about his English wife and son Sasha Yevtushenko, about his fourth wife Masha and about his script that is now the basis for a film, which is being shown at the Yermolova Theater in Moscow.

The story suggests that media-tycoon Boris Berezovsky invented a plan to seize power in Russia that subsequently failed. Berezovsky has been living abroad for 8 months.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov devotes his feature story to the restoration of the Church of Christ the Savior, a plan that would have been inconceivable during Soviet times.

The 4th Open Puzzling Championship that has ended recently in Moscow has shown that it's finances that are concentrated in Moscow, but talent is spread all over Russia. The story describes the interesting competition.