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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

02/20/2004

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Business in Brief

Jailhouse Rock MOSCOW (MT) -- Police have busted a music bootlegging gang working out of a Novosibirsk prison. Officers seized 170,000 CDs and tapes. The warden and several local businessmen are being questioned, the BBC reported Thursday. Though music and video pirates often operate on the territory of legitimate factories and even defense plants, this is believed to be the first time a penal institution has been targeted in a sting operation. The Ananova news site said prison authorities had known that inmates were making music in the penitentiary and were aware that a contract had been signed with a company that paid the prisoners and supplied them with equipment. Prison officials were quoted as saying they ""didn't know it was illegal."" EBRD Ruble Bonds LONDON (Bloomberg) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the biggest investor in Central and Eastern Europe, plans to sell bonds denominated in rubles for the first time by July, EBRD President Jean Lemierre said.

Irkut IPO Scheduled for March

Siberian aerospace firm Irkut has slated its Russian initial public offering for the second half of March, a senior executive said Thursday, but the firm will not issue eurobonds this year as formerly planned.

Press Review

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

Foreign Investments Jumped 50% in 2003

Russia attracted a record $29.7 billion of foreign inflows last year, led by foreign loans, as the longest economic expansion since the fall of the Soviet Union boosted demand for credit.

Hard Currency Reserves Rocket to Record $88Bln

The nation's foreign currency and gold reserves surged $3.7 billion last week to a record $88 billion, the biggest weekly gain since 1998, the Central Bank said Thursday.

Upgrades Expected This Year

Russia merits an investment-grade rating for its international debt, thanks to high Central Bank reserves, and could be raised to the coveted status by Standard & Poor's and Fitch by the end of 2004, a Reuters poll showed.

Illarionov Likens Kyoto to Gosplan

Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov lashed out Thursday at the Kyoto Protocol, likening the plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions to Soviet-era state planning and accusing the European Union of trying to impose ""Kyotism"" on Russia.

Jury Frees Yasenevo Suspect

A jury at Moscow City Court on Thursday acquitted the chief suspect in a violent attack by skinheads on vendors at the Yasenevo outdoor market in southern Moscow, on the occasion of Adolf Hitler's birthday in April 2001.

Rybkin Denied Right to Take Part in Debates

Election officials said Thursday that Liberal Russia's Ivan Rybkin would not be allowed to participate in televised presidential debates.

Military Tests New Breed of Weapon

Russia successfully tested a prototype new weapon that can penetrate any prospective missile defenses during this week's military exercise, a senior general said Thursday.

An Unstable Partner

Democracy is not going to bloom in Russia this spring. On the contrary, President Vladimir Putin's certain victory in next month's presidential election will severely compromise Russian democracy for at least the next decade.

Will the Buck Stop at City Hall?

At least once a year, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov organizes a public dressing down of his construction deputy, Vladimir Resin, for the shoddy quality of construction in the city and threatens that heads will roll.

Managing the Kremlin or the Vegetable Plot

X???????? is whatever the ?????? owns, runs or manages -- from the smallest garden plot to the country's economy. It is most commonly used to describe a farm or agricultural holding, but you still need to know the context to translate a simple sentence such as: "" ???? ??????? ????????? (he has a big farm/business/factory/garden).

News in Brief

Abu Walid Allegation MOSCOW (MT) -- A security services source said Thursday that Chechen-based Arab fighter Abu Walid was paid $4.5 million to organize the Feb. 6 metro bomb, Interfax reported. The source said the money was paid into a foreign bank account, Interfax reported. The source, who was not identified, did not say which country the bank account was in or how the security services had discovered the information. Federal Security Service officials have named Abu Walid as a possible organizer of the blast, which they have said was a suicide bombing. Metro Bomb Poll MOSCOW (MT) -- Forty-five percent of Russians believe that the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service should bear responsibility for failing to avert the metro bomb earlier this month that killed 41 people and left more than 100 injured, an opinion poll found. Another 22 percent blamed the federal government as a whole, according to the nationwide poll conducted by leading sociologist Yury Levada's Analytical Service on Feb. 13-16.

Investors Get a New Guide to the Regions

A book that is being billed as the most comprehensive resource on investment in Russia's regions was presented in Washington on Thursday.

Power Struggle Splits Communists

The Communist Party's leadership remains too embroiled in an internal power struggle to pay much attention to the presidential race, leaving its candidate, Nikolai Kharitonov, high and dry, party officials said.

Furious Belarus Bows to Gazprom

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday furiously accused Russia of resorting to ""terrorism"" by cutting gas supplies but then caved in to demands that Belarus pay more for Russian gas.

Chechens Come Back to a Shattered Home

When a truck packed with explosives leveled the Chechen administration building in 2002, the blast blew out the remaining windows in the derelict factory dormitory that is Olga Sakhugova's home.

30,000 Sing to Niyazov on His Birthday

Turkmenistan celebrated the 64th birthday of President Saparmurat Niyazov on Thursday for the first time with a gala celebration in a new stadium bearing his name -- but the man who has ruled here since 1985 stayed away.
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