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Press Review

IZVESTIA (5/4/2004)

The Economic Development Ministry has lost the status of the ministry of reforms: Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will be responsible for them personally-- this is what he said at an informal meeting with journalists on Friday. The story concentrates on his most significant pronouncements. Several facts from his biography are also given. (1, Gazeta, 1, 2, Vremya Novostei, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 4)

The Emergency Situations Ministry in a couple of days plans to launch the second stage of delivering humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs. The story examines its components. (1, 2)

Soviet-era composer Nikita Bogoslovsky has died at the age of 90. The story features several episodes from his life and creative endeavour. (1, 2, Kommersant, 21, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 6, Gazeta, 1, 4, Vremya Novostei, 3, Noviye Izvestia, 5, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 8, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 1, 3 )

After Moscow authorities have failed to pay out by court rulings compensations to Nord Ost terrorist act survivors, their lawyer Igor Trunov has applied to the Moscow Prosecutor' s Office with a request to punish those city gvt officials as criminals. The story comments on the case. (2)

The story reports that the terrorist act at the Dubrovka theater in late October 2002 has a German angle. The story gives details. (2, Gazeta, 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 7)

French President Jacques Chirac (Sp. ?) on Saturday arrived in Moscow and at the invitation of President Putin visited the Main Center of Space Troops in Krasnoznamensk, which not a single foreign guest has ever been honoured to see. The story describes the visit, focusing on problems the two leaders discussed. (3, Kommersant, 1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Gazeta, 3, Vremya Novostei. 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 6, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 2)

The story comments on main results of the Russia-NATO session that completed its work in Brussels on Friday. (3, Kommersant, 10, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Gazeta, 1, 2, Vremya Novostei, 1, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 11)

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Sunday arrived in Moscow. The story examines the aim of his visit, saying that today as never before he needs Russia' s support. (3, Kommersant, 10, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Gazeta, 5)

Right -wing structures that have lost the Dec. 7 parliamentary elections are losing their youth organizations that have found themselves without control. The story comments on this acute problem. (3)

The San Jose District Court (California) today will open a trial over Ukrainian citizen Maxim Kovalchuk, who in May last year by American authorities' request was arrested in Thailand on charges of an illegal sale of piratic computer software. The story details his case, saying that as for Russian hackers, American courts over the past 10 years convicted 3 of them (their names and cases are given) (5)

Grigory Tzimeronov, former President of the Yoshkar-Ola bank (in the Mari El Republic) , is wanted by federal police. He is accused of abusing power. The story details his case. (5)

A stretch of the Mozdok- Gazimagomed gas pipeline that supplied gas to Makhachkala and several neighbouring settlements was blasted in Dagestan on Friday. This pipeline also supplied gas to Azerbaijan. The similar accident in half an hour happened on a stretch of the Baku-Novorossisk gas pipeline. The story describes the accidents, saying that, in investigators' opinion, those blasts were sabotage. (5, Kommersant, 5, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Gazeta, 6)

The story raises an acute problem for the army-- its supply with non-piloted probes, and what should be done to provide the army with such probes. (6)

The Baltic Fleet is the leader in its ability to earn money. The story describes how it earned 200 million rubles last year. (7)

Russia before the end of 2006 is expected to build and put into effect 6 plants for destroying chemical weapons-- this is how Moscow will be able to meets on time its international obligations according to the Concept on Banning, Developing, Storing and Using Chemical Weapons. Russian specialists say that the West' s aid does not exceed 20 percent of what is needed and a major culprit is the USA. (7)

Work to build an office complex of the Vladimir Pozner Television School on 22, Malaya Bronnaya Ulitsa should begin this month. But this construction has already become one of the most scandalous projects over the past several years. The story says who is opposing it and why. (11)

In an interview two construction experts say what materials will be used in making a new roof in the restoration project of the burnt Manezh Central Exhibition Hall. (11)

Figures made public late last week by the Federal State Statistics Service, show that Russians today buy less cash foreign currency, but, as before, are willingly putting their savings on bank deposits. The story offers facts to illustrate the point, noting that Sberbank is losing its clients. (12)

The Ukrainian gvt has again raised an issue of canceling VAT that was imposed by the Russian gvt on the delivery of Russian oil and gas to Ukraine. The issue was discussed at the recent meeting in Moscow between Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yanukovich and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. The story describes their discussion and decisions. (12)

The story examines the situation on the bus tour market and major players on it, above all the Polish Lekier company in Russia. (12)

The Big Three of automobile concerns of the USA are again lowering prices, trying to regain prestige among home consumers. The story describes how they are trying to do it. (13)

The story describes what First Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, who has received a commanding post in the Central Bank, will be doing there. And Dmitry Tulin, who has quit his high post in Vneshtorgbank. will take up a job in the Central Bank as Deputy Head. (13, Gazeta, 10)

Tver and Veliky Novgorod administrations this year are expected to impose a realty tax as an experiment. The story describes the measure and its aim and expectations. (14)

KOMMERSANT (5/4/2004)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has set forth the task before his gvt --" to use all possible means to achieve a technological breakthrough in the domestic economy " . And the aim of reforming the Cabinet of Ministers is to raise the competitiveness of the state, business and people. The story examines documents on the latest developments in administrative reform. (2)

The best joke of popular satirical actor Mikhail Yevdokimov is that he is almost a governor. The story offers results of the gubernatorial elections in the Altai region. (3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 3)

The story examines preliminary results of the gubernatorial elections in the Koryak Autonomous Area. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2)

The Committee-2008 on Saturday held a session at which it decided to join the action " The Civil Society Against the Police State" that has bee initiated by the Yabloko party. Brief. (4)

The so-called siloviki -- the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry -- that are directly subordinated to the president-- do not have any plans to change their structures. This was stated by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in Oslo on Sunday. Brief. (4)

The Russian-German SPAG firm that in the ' 90s dealt with investments in the St. Petersburg realty market and that then received consultations from the present President, Vladimir Putin, is suspected today of laundering criminal money. The story details the case. (6)

A massive fight between soccer team Spartak and CSKA fans took place on Profsoyuznaya Ulitsa on Sunday afternoon. Three Spartak fans were injured. Brief. (6, Izvestia, 5)

Famous NHL hockey-player Pavel Bure in Restaurant Metropol on Sunday marked his 33rd birthday. The story describes the celebration party and its participants. (8)

In an interview David Berdzenishvili, leader of the Georgian Republican Party, talks about the political situation in Georgia that shaped after the March 28 parliamentary elections there. He also speaks about a possible fate of Adzharian leader Aslan Abashidze. (10)

The American administration late last week announced the new rules of entry to the country. They new rules will take effect on Sept. 30. The story examines them in detail. (11, Izvestia, 4)

Renaissance AKB President Dmitry Orlov and Moscow region Vice-governor Alexei Panteleyev on Friday held talks, at which they agreed that the obligations concerning the Moskvich auto plant' s credit debt will be taken by the gvt of the Moscow region. The story comments on the latest developments around Moskvich. (13)

Soyuzplodimport decided to perform revolutionary changes in the structure of production and sale of Stolichnaya vodka. The story details these changes, saying how alcohol market participants regard them. (13)

LUKoil on Friday announced its strategy on extracting hydrocarbons outside Russia in the next 10 years. It prefers to extract oil in North Africa. The story comments on its decision. (13)

A retail company uniting two perfume-cosmetic networks and two pharmacy networks is being created in Russia. The story describes the project. (13)

Purneftegaz securities last week went up in price by over 40 percent. Puneftegaz is a subsidiary of the state-run Rosneft oil company. (13)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on April 2 said that he will not sign a directive for state representatives in the UES Board of Directors on the privatization scheme of the wholesale generating companies until he personally studies the issue. Along with this, Fradkov promised to sign the document not later than June 30. He assured that the revision of UES reform will not take place. (14)

VEDOMOSTI (5/4/2004)

MDM industrial group co-owners Sergei Popov and Andrei Melnichenko decided to liquidate the group, and to merge their coal and energy assets on the basis of SUEK. MDM Bank head Vladimir Rashevsky on Friday was appointed head of the new coal-energy company. (A1)

The deal to sell the most famous soccer club " Spartak" will be completed this week. A structure close to LUKoil Vice President Leonid Fedun is called its buyer. Analysts estimate the deal at $50 million-$70 million, and Spartak President Andrei Chervichenko will be replaced. (A1)

Gazprom is creating its own oil company --Gazpromneft. In several years it will have to extract 30 million-40 million tons of oil and gas condensate, which is almost the same as the figures for the Sibneft company. . (A1)

Inflation in March amounted to about 0. 8 percent. This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov with reference to reports from the Federal Statistics Service. Brief. (A1)

Alexander Shokhin, member of the RSPP Management Board, has proposed his own way of legalizing the privatization results. Shokhin' s proposal is to sell enterprises only by a special permit from the state and after a large-scale check-up of the enterprise' s performance. This proposal has shocked both businessmen and experts. (A2)

EU Foreign Ministers in April intend to discuss an issue concerning lifting the embargo on weapons deliveries to China. The USA is trying to persuade Europeans that it' s too early to deliver European weapons to China. (A2)

Re-estimating in mid-last week the balance of payments-2003, the Central Bank on Friday published a preliminary estimate of the balance of payments in the first quarter of 2004. The story offers concrete figures and a table. (A3)

State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov in his article " The April Theses on Liberalism? concentrates on several provisions in Mikhail Khodorkovsky' s essay " The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia" that are unpleasant for Russian liberals. (A4)

In a far-ranging interview VympelCom Director General Alexander Izosimov talks about his company' s positive results last year and about its major tasks this year. (A5)EDOMOSTI. COMPANIES & MARKETS SUPPLEMENTwedish IKEA has received at last 3 plots of land for the construction of its own shop in Moscow. The story looks at its project and at the company' s plans. (B1)

The domestic electrical energy sector has obtained an new strategic investor--businessman Yevgeny Ustimenko from Kazakhstan, who confessed that he has bought up shares of several Russian energy companies for boosting his the network and marketing business. (B1)

The Magnitogorsk Metals Combine that, due to record high steel prices in 2003, received over 20 billion rubles in net profit is willing to share only one-tenth of its earnings with its shareholders. The story says why, analyzing the company' s calculations. (B1)

The spendings of the British Dutch Royal Dutch/Shell company on putting into effect the Sakhalin-2 project can increase this was stated by the company' s spokesman. Brief. (B1)

Verkhnechonskneftegaz (Irkutsk region) will borrow $19 million through placing before the end of this year an additional issuance of shares. This was stated in the company' s press release. Brief. (B1)

The way of selling heating wholesale generating companies created in the process of energy reform will be determined before June 30. This was stated by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Brief. (B1)

Belgian Umicore has developed a technology making it possible to use palladium in catalysts for autos with diesel engines. This metal before was used only in catalysts for autos with petrol engines. (B2)

Severstal is continuing to pay its shareholders intermediate dividends, but today they have become much more modest than they were 1 year ago. The combine by the results of the last year' s last quarter and first quarter of this year would like to allocate $53 million for these aims. (B2)

The Russian Funds company has accused the ALROSA investment group of attempts to withdraw assets from Aldanzoloto. Its shareholders plan to launch a court feud after the Aldanzoloto shareholders' meeting scheduled for April 29. (B2)

LUKoil is going to sell part of its extracting assets both in Russia and abroad. The story names several such assets. (B3)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (5/4/2004)

The American administration that recently lifted economic sanctions against six Russian enterprises that were suspected of selling modern rocket technologies to Iran, has imposed such sanctions against another 2 Russian enterprises and one private person. The story names them and their alleged " sins" . (1, 4)

The story features an acute struggle inside the Agrarian Party, in which forces opposed to its present leader Mikhail Lapshin want to topple him from his post. (1)

Several significant personnel reshuffles took place in the Kremlin administration late last week. The former independent pardon structure has ceased to exist, and its functions have been passed over to the United Constitutional Rights Board. (2)

Is the draft bill concerning street rallies that has been passed by the State Duma (in the first reading) a one-time political project or is it the beginning of the whole chain of actions aimed at curtailing the rights and freedoms of people? Five influential policy-makers and political technologists share their views. (2, Novaya Gazeta, No. 23, pp. 6, 7)

The State Duma on Friday passed several purely technical amendments to several draft bills, including the Labour Code. The story looks at some of them with a critical eye. (3)

The Prosecutor' s Office of the Ivanovo Region has instituted criminal proceedings again governor Vladimir Tikhonov, who is accused of abusing power and of machinations with housing privatization. The story gives details. (3)

Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev last week decided to withdraw 4 licenses for geological survey of oil deposits in the Nenets Autonomous Area that were signed by his predecessor Vitaly Artyukhov on the last days of his office. The story examines what companies have lost the licenses and why. (4)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky' s lawyers Anton Drel and Vasily Aleksanyan have filed an appeal to the Moscow City Court against the decision of the Basmanny District Court to frozen their bank accounts in Switzerland. The lawyers believe that such a decision has violated the legislation. (7)

The story explains why the West has observed suspiciously the course of the recent election campaigns in Russia. (9)

NOVAYA GAZETA #23

Independent political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky reflects on how positively Russia may change during the second term of Vladimir Putin' s presidency, optimistically looking at Russia' s future with him. (2)

In an exclusive interview Adam Mikhnik (Sp. ?) , Editor-in-Chief of the Polish central newspaper " Gazeta Vyborcha" (Sp. ?) , says how he envisions today' s Russia, how it differs from his country and how communist legacy is being overcome in his Poland. (2, 3)

The Nuclear Energy Ministry is in talks with Hungary on importing to Russia 1, 500 tons of Hungarian nuclear fuel waste. According to the Hungarian prime minister, it should be exported to Russia before May this year. The story explains this deadline. (4)

The draft of the Forestry Code was discussed by the State Duma on March 29. In an interview Academician Alexei Yablokov, head of the Environmental Policy Center, shares his negative view on the document. (8)

ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA (5/4/2004)

The Finance Ministry on Friday submitted to the gvt another package of tax draft bills that the State Duma should consider before it begins to discuss the draft budget- 2005. The story examines several new drafts. (1, 2)

The Council of the Rectors Union in Yaroslavl on Saturday held a session that was for the first time attended by the newly-appointed Education and Science Minister, Andrei Fursenko. The story examines issues that were discussed at the session, focusing on the minister' s remarks about the single state examination. (1, 2)

What conclusions have been made by the Moscow city gvt commission that investigated reasons behind the collapse of the roof in the Water Park in Yasenevo? In an interview Vice Mayor Vladimir Resin answers this and other questions. (1, 4 )

Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov on Sunday arrived in Brazil and then will go to Chile. The story examines the aim of his visit and his planned meetings. (3)

Uzbekistan' s General Prosecutor Rashid Kadyrov examines (in a chronological order) a new wave of violence and terrorist acts in the republic, focusing on results of recent police special operations to destroy terrorists. (3)

All foreign students coming to St. Petersburg to study, starting next Sept. 1, will receive special instructions saying how to survive in St. Petersburg with growing extremism. The story looks at some of the instructions. (5)

In an exclusive interview Alexander Gerasimov, a host of the NTV program " Lichny Vklad " (Personal Contribution) , talks about several acute problems in his channel, saying how journalists often distort information about it. (17)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (5/4/2004)

The governors of the Tyumen region and of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area late in March signed a document concerning the merger of these areas into a single region. The story comments on the document, and on how it was regarded in these areas. (11)

Lent is coming to an end. This week before Easter on April 11 is called Holy Week. The story says how Believers should behave this week (14)