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Press Review

IZVESTIA (13/3/2004)

The story reflects on methods of anti-terrorist struggle Europe will use after the shocking terrorist acts in Madrid on Thursday March 11 if the version of al-Qaida terrorists' involvement is proven to be valid. How will Europe' s selected methods of this struggle affect Russia and its further relationships with the European Union? (1, Rossiiskata Gazeta, 1, 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 6)

The case on the Madrid terrorist acts on March 11 that left over 200 people dead definitely has an Arabic angle. The London-base Arabic newspaper " Al-Kods" (Sp. ?) received a letter that stated that the " Brigades Abu-Hafs al-Masri" group linked to al-Qaida has taken the responsibility for the blast of the Madrid electric trains. The story reveals the content of the letter. (1, Kommersant, 4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 4, Noviye Izvestia, March 12, pp. 1, 2, MN, No. 9, p. 10, Vremya Novostei, March 12, pp. 1, 3, Krasnaya Zvezda, 1, Trud, 1, 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 6, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3, MK, 3, Sovetskaya Rossiya, 1)

The Moscow Savyolovsky District Court on Friday after an almost 2-year investigation brought in a verdict on the so-called Aeroflot case. All defendants, though they were declared guilty, were not taken into custody. Moreover the court remitted accusations of embezzlement through swindling from the company' s former First Director-General Nikolai Glushkov, former Deputy Director-General Alexander Krasnenker and chief bookkeeper Lidiya Kryzhevskaya. These accusations were replaced with " abuse of power" . The story comments on the court' s verdict. (1, 7, Kommersant, 1, 4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2)

Ukraine is preparing for the presidential elections and is introducing amendments to the Constitution. Moscow is observing these processes, since their results will affect Russian-Ukrainian relations. In an interview Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, a potential president of Ukraine, says what Ukraine is willing to propose to Russia now, focusing on Kiev' s issues on joining the European Union and the World Trade Organization. (1, 2)

Nizhny Novgorod authorities and presidential envoy in the Central Federal District Sergei Mironov decided to extend specially for women the Women' s Day celebrations for another week. The aim of the initiative is to meet all wishes expressed by women. The story describes concrete cases. (2)

Practically all military hospitals, army units and even the military academy located in Moscow on Friday received a special issue of the Defense Ministry' s main newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (KZ) with the front-page sensational interview by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. It was devoted to the problems of sexual minorities in the Russian army and was aimed at discrediting the minister. KZ' s editorial board was shocked when it saw the issue. The story comments on the fabricated interview, reflecting on its aim and possible authors. (2)

Former doctor psychiatrist Pavel Sharshnev has been appointed assessor of the Smolensk mayor with the duties of vice-mayor. Sharshnev will be in charge of shaping the brand of Smolensk and the image of the city administration. He will also be responsible for improving the psychological climate among his colleagues. The story reveals the essence of Sharshnev' s new job. (2)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov through his decree on Friday appointed Valery Nazarov from St. Petersburg head of the Federal Agency on Managing Federal Property. The story comments on his appointment, saying that it means the Kremlin' s aim to intensify control over privatization and management of state-run property. (2, Kommersant, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, )

On March 14 and 15 the building of the Central Election Commission' s information center on Bolshoi Cherkassky Pereulok will be called " Umny Dom" (Clever House) . This name was given to it at its presentation ceremony on Friday. It will receive all information about the presidential voting from all regions. CEC head Alexander Veshnyakov assured journalists from all over the world that his agency was fully prepared for a long election night. The story describes super-modern election equipment at this center. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Trud, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2, 1, 2 MK, 1)

The Central Election Commission on Friday made public the cost of the Dec. 7 parliamentary elections -- about 5 billion rubles, of which 3 billion was allocated from the budget. The story comments on the cited figures. (3, Kommersant, 3, MK, 2)

The Russia-NATO joint military exercises on anti -aircraft defense were completed in Colorado-Springs on Friday. The story describes them in detail. (3)

Georgian diplomats have been shocked by the appointment of French citizen Salome Zurabishvili, 52, Georgia' s Foreign Minister. She was France' s Ambassador to Georgia. Heading Georgian diplomacy was her dream, and President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to make it come true. (4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3)

Two Russians, who were arrested in Qatar on charges of killing the leader of Chechen separatists, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, have allegedly admitted their involvement in killing him. This was reported by London " Times" . Brief. (4)

The story describes how in Izhevsk (Udmurtia) , who first appeared there in 1997 are doing everything in their power to turn Russia into the country of white race. (6)

The Nizhny Novgorod aviation plant " Sokol" making many-purpose aircraft " Gzhel" will take an active part in producing military planes. A memorandum was signed on Friday on Sokol' s merger with the MiG corporation. The story comments on the merger, saying how Ruslan Pukhov, Director of the Strategy and Technology Analysis Center, regards it. (6)

At his first news conference Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, told journalists about his service, its major aims and tasks. (6, Kommersant, 5, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3)

Russian Railways President Gennady Fadeyev has asked for President Putin' s permission for developing a project to deliver Russian oil to China by railway. The story examines the project. A map. (6)

Domestic television channels are experiencing a real boom of serials. The story examines some of them being shown now, saying which ones are planned to be aired soon. (10)

In an interview NTV special correspondent Pavel Lobkov talks about his new program named " The History of Ideas" . It' s a documentary serial about the emergence and evolution of scientific discoveries. (10)

Foreign passports that were issued five years ago expire this year. The Foreign Ministry these days has considerably limited the acceptance of bids for new foreign passports. The number of those who want to exchange them is so big today that the Moscow city passport and visa registration offices had to introduce special coupons to improve the situation. The story describes what has come out of it. (11)

The Moscow City Duma' s Housing Policy and Housing- Communal Reform Commission on Friday discussed 3 new methods of removing icicles from roofs. The story examines them in detail. (11 )

The Izvestia Supplement is devoted to Science (Discoveries and Commentaries) . (12-15)

The story examines a technical project -- the construction of an additional water overflow system on the bank of the Yenisei River that is necessary today to make the exploitation of the Sayano-Shushenskaya electric power station more effective. The project is to be endorsed in mid-2004, and its construction is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2005. (12)

KOMMERSANT (13/3/2004)

Nature Ministry new head Yury Trutnev on Friday told journalists about his claims to his predecessor Vitaly Artyukhov. The fact is that licenses he signed on Wednesday were frozen and an investigation is on in the ministry, which will probably interest the prosecutor' s office. The story gives details. (1, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Trud, 1)

The Moscow Basmanny District Court on Friday ruled in favour of the Prosecutor General' s Office in its petition concerning the freezing of Yukos employees' and shareholders' bank accounts that have been blockaded in Switzerland. Mikhail Khodorkovsky in turn stated that this money has an absolutely transparent source of origin and does not belong to the company' s shareholders. Later Group MENATEP, a major Yukos shareholder, stated that the Prosecutor General' s Office had also froze the accounts of the pension fund " Veteran Petroleum" that employs about 40, 000 Yukos staff. The story examines the situation. (1, 5)

Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Friday for the second time published the text of Presidential Decree No. 314 of March 9, 2004 concerning the system and structure of the federal executive power bodies. The previous variant of the decree was published with a technical mistake. The story looks at it. (1, 3)

President Putin on Friday met with Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov. The story describes how Putin has undeliberately complicated his fate in the public eyes. (2)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on Friday held the first session of the interdepartmental commission on the system and structure of the federal executive power bodies. What Fradkov demanded from the commission was to cut the staff and to make the remaining members work more effectively. In order to rapidly manage these tasks, the prime minister included former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin into the commission. (2)

Perm regional governor Yury Trutnev. who on Tuesday was appointed Natural Resources Minister, named his successor for the post of regional governor. Oleg Chirkunov has been appointed acting governor, who will keep this post up to December 2005. (3)

The function of registering mass media outlets has been passed over from the Press Ministry to the Justice Ministry. This was officially stated on Friday by the latter' s spokesman. Brief. (3)

An unidentified assailant in Grozny on Thursday evening tried to kill Chechnya' s Foreign Minister Sultan Satuyev. The story gives details, focusing on the major version. (4)

The defense enterprise Irkut and MDM-Bank on Friday made public conditions of the enterprise' s pushing to the domestic stock market. The Irkut shares immediately went down in price by 16 percent. The story describes how Irkut will trade in its shares. (5)

The palladium quotations on Friday reached the 16-month maximum -- $280 per ounce. Analysts say that auto-makers begin to refuse to buy too expensive platinum in favour of more cheap precious metal. (5)

All the enterprises in Estonia from now on will pay taxes on bribes they have paid. The story comments on this tax, saying what analysts think of it. (5)

Vneshtorgbank' s Overseeing Council on Friday approved the concept of boosting VTB' s regional network. According to its press service, VTB' s regional network will be expanded up to 68 affiliates and 279 offices and embrace 65 regions. Brief. (6)

Wimm-Bill-Dann on Friday received permission from the State Securities Commission to additionally concert 3, 186, 999 ordinary shares of the company into ADR, which is 7. 24 percent of the company' s charter capital. Brief. (6)


A new 9- member commission responsible for holding a reorganization of the gvt is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov. The commission on Friday held its first session to discuss a plan for its work. During the next week, starting March 15, practically all ministries and departments will submit to the commission drafts of their normative acts concerning the functions of the federal ministries, services and agencies, and also their proposals on the number of staff and salaries. (1)

The Belarussian gvt intends to decrease the share of natural gas consumption down to 48. 6 percent in 2020 from 62 percent in 2003. This is stated in the gvt program submitted to the republic' s parliament over the weekend. The story gives several other figures given in the program. (2)

Bankruptcies' debt to the budget in Kuban last year decreased by 600 million rubles and the number of insolvent enterprises decreased by 2. 5 times. The story comments on local authorities' policy toward bankrupt enterprises. (2)

The newspaper today offers the full text of the Number 110 gvt decree concerning the improvement of procedures of state registration and registering legal entities and individual entrepreneurs. This document finalizes the rules of using the Single State Register of taxpayers. The story comments on the document. (3, 7)

All essential reforms are in full swing today. They should be only brought to a logical outcome. This was stated on Friday by highly-regarded economist and leading teacher at the Higher School of Economics Yevgeny Yasin. He shared his view on some of reforms. (3)

March 13 marked the 50th anniversary of reclaiming virgin lands in the former Soviet Union. Was there a need to reclaim them? Five agricultural specialists share their views on the issue. (6)


Why will the vote " against all" work precisely in favour of Vladimir Putin ? Editor-in-Chief Yevgeny Kiselyov has been asked this question many times. The story offers his answer. (1, 2)

As many as 54 former State Duma deputies today are wanted by GAI, since they have failed to hand in their deputy auto license plates. (3, MK, 1, 2)

While the current discussions are concentrated on the latest firings and appointments in the Cabinet of Ministers, Kremlin agencies are seeking a presidential candidate-2008. The story examines 4 major influential groups, each of which is preparing its own candidates. (4, 5)

There are six new ministers in the new gvt. The story gives their names and their posts, saying how they have been selected for gvt work. (6, 7)

Viktor Kazantsev has lost his post of presidential envoy (or governor-general) in the Southern Federal District. The story comments on his firing, saying that the reason is the fall of the president' s rating in the region. (8)

Krasnodar governor Alexander Tkachev running for the second term believes that indigenous voters in his region are suffering from immigrants. The story comments on his viewpoint, focusing on his ethnic policy. (9)

China in a couple of days plans to announce the imposing of the green card system (long-term permit residence) for foreigners. The story comments on this measure of the Chinese gvt, saying that in this way it draws talented specialists and private investors to China. (13)

Russia during Putin' s rule has chosen the path of authoritarian modernization. The successful foreign economic situation and reasonable economic policy have ensured a success to this movement. There are several sectors, however, where the authoritarian model does not work. State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov examines them in detail. (13)

Several human rights organizations for the last time before the March 14 presidential elections sponsored a rally " For Russia Without Putin " on Pushkin Square. MN political analyst Yury Vasilyev comments on its aims and demands. (13)

MN former Editor-in-Chief Yegor Yakovlev has opened a new column titled " Re-Editing Oneself" .The author compares his story " The Country of Unlearned Lessons" written almost 8 years ago about peoples' tragedies in World War II and the Chechen war and the present day when people, like that time, are unable to learn the whole truth. (14)

Two weeks have passed since MN publication, saying that the Interior Ministry' s Organized Crime Board was possibly informed long in advance about that terrorist act in the Moscow metro. But the board has been still silent about that. The story offers information from MN' s own sources in the law-enforcement agencies. (14)


In an interview Chief Commander of the Ground Forces Nikolai Kormiltsev reveals the essence of the notion " competition" under new conditions in the army. (1, 2)

NATO Secretary General Yaan de Xoon Sheffer (Sp. ?) within the framework of making acquaintance with all states, either NATO members or those that will be such very soon. He is visiting the Baltic states bow with the aim of inspecting their final preparedness for NATO membership. The story describes the situation, focusing how Russia' s Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov regards it. , and on NATO military bases in the Baltic states. (1, 3)

The number of arms and ammunition looting in the army and the navy has considerably increased lately. How successful is the crack-down on this evil? In an interview Justice Colonel Yury Timofeyev, seniour assistant of the Military Prosecutor of the Moscow Military District, gives concrete facts to show how it' s done in the Moscow Military District. (2)

TRUD (13/3/2004)

Pensions, starting April 1, are reported to increase by an average of 121-135 rubles. This was stated by Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov at his meeting with President Putin on Friday. This increase will concern all the pensioners, whose number today stands at 38 million (1, MK, 2)

Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the Politika Fund, examines five revolutionary changes (within the framework of so-called administrative reform) that have taken place with forming the new Cabinet of Ministers. (2)

Shops in the Voronezh region offer an imposing variety of imported meat and dairy products. And what about local producers? Why are local cows being slaughtered ? Who gains from such a situation? The story examines what happening to Voronezh cattle farms ? (3)

The Ulyanovsk Regional Court has completed the 2-year investigation of a criminal case of gang ringleader Grigory Akopyan and his 5 accomplices, who killed many people in several regions. The story examines their case, and their punishments. (3)


In an interview Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev shares his first positive impressions about the new gvt, focusing on his negative assessment of his predecessor' s work. He also speaks about his sports hobbies (2)

Moscow State University, the St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum, the Nizhny Tagil Metals Combine, the Bakulev Cardio-Vascular Surgery Center, the ALROSA company, the Plekhanov Economic Academy and many others have become laureates of the Russian National Prize Olymp. The story features the prize, the awarding ceremony and winners. (4)

The story offers some interesting facts that has been obtained by the Italian newspaper " La Stampa" during its own investigation of presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin' s mysterious disappearance in Kiev. (7)

President Vladimir Putin in his residence Novo-Ogaryovo (Moscow region) early in March received Paris MaTcH correspondent Michel Peirar (Sp. ?) . Their conversation was unofficial, and the Russian leader spoke frankly about everything he was asked about. The newspaper offers the most interesting excerpts from this interview that Paris MaTcH published on Thursday. (8, 9 )

The story features the history and the present day of the Apatit fertilizer combine that in the mid ' 90s was sold to Group MENATEP. This year the combine is celebrating the 75th anniversary. (10)

The story looks at new jobs of eight recently fired ministers from the Cabinet. (16, 17)


Chiefs of domestic penal colonies and prisons have received an instruction to turn all convicts into Christian Believers. Prison authorities will even receive special booklets saying how they should do it. The story describes religious facilities in many prisons with few Believers among convicts. (1)

According to The Financial Times, oligarch Roman Abramovich is selling its major wealth --50 percent of the Sibneft company. The story comments on his decision. (2)

Anatoly Perminov, Commander of the Space Troops, has been appointed head of the Federal Space Agency. The story comments on his appointment, saying what it' s linked to. (2)

Falling icicles this winter have left 2 Muscovites dead and another 29 s injured. The story describes 3 new methods that Moscow city authorities plan to use in their crack-down on icicles. (2)