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Press Review

IZVESTIA (3/4/2004)

The State Duma on Friday passed (in the first reading) an amendment to the law concerning the subsistence minimum in Russia. According to its authors, this amendment in the future should result in a higher material standard for a considerable part of the population, but people strongly doubt it. The story examines the amendment with a critical eye, citing results of the recent national opinion poll taken by the Public Opinion Fund. A pie-chart. (1, 2, Kommersant, 2)

REN TV has prepared a new talk-show " Natural Selection" that will be hosted by actor Alexander Abdulov. In an interview he talks about the new program, saying why he has agreed to be its host. (1, 9)

This week has marked 35 years since the launching of the first domestic meteorological satellite " Meteor" . But in December 2003 the last Meteor ceased to exist, thus leaving Russia without its single meteorological satellite, which is a real disgrace. The story features the origin and practical use of such satellites, focusing on the fate of the last Meteor. (1, 12)

The story examines how regional authorities, following federal administrative reform, are trying to implement it in the regions, focusing on its victims. (2)

Moscow drivers being sick and tired of standing idle in numerous daily traffic jams are trying to entertain themselves with TV and radio in their autos. Not all of them, however, can afford it. Now special auto digital television that has emerged in Moscow will change the situation for the better. The story describes the novelty. (2)

The Statue of Nizhny Novgorod famous Minin and Pozharsky will soon appear in their native city. It will be an exact replica of the Statue by Ivan Martos that now stands on Red Square, and it will be made by Moscow sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. The story describes the history of the Statue that was created in 1804. (2)

The State Duma has passed (in the second reading) the presidential draft bill reforming the fate of the domestic bureaucrats. The story comments on the draft' s major provisions. (3)

Washington has lifted the sanctions from 4 Russian organizations (they are named) that previously were accused of helping Teheran obtain banned materials and technologies. The story comments on Washington' s decision. (3)

Highly-regarded political technologist Gleb Pavlovsky at the Higher School of Economics on Friday delivered a lecture " The State of Political Mass Media in 2004-2008" . He dislikes political mass media, because, as he believes, there are too many corrupt journalists in the country. The story examines key provisions of his lecture. (3)

The call to exclude Russia from G-8 that was contained in the Resolution passed recently by the US Congress International Affairs Committee has not been supported by the US Administration. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday called it " not very serious and largely linked up to the internal games in the pre-election period" . In an interview one of its authors Congressman-Democrat Tom Lantos (Sp. ?) explains why this resolution has been passed. (3)

Georgia' s State Security Ministry on Friday accused the leadership of Adzharia of preparing an attempt on the life of President Mikheil Saakashvili. Georgian law-enforcers detained a group of people, who by Adzharian highly-placed persons' instructions prepared an attempt on the president' s life. Brief. (4, Kommersant, 1, 4)

By the decision of the Budapest City Assembly, Stalin will be deprived of the title of honorary citizen of the city. This was reported by the city mayor' s administration. Brief. (4)

Georgia' s President Mikheil Saakashvili will apply his own method of adding revenues to the state budget. The story examines it in detail. (4)

The newspaper on the occasion of the 82nd anniversary of the birth of outstanding filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky offers his testament. (5)

The raw material trend in the domestic economy, namely its oil dependence, is beneficial for raising the competitiveness of Russian innovation industries and for boosting industry on cheap raw material home prices. The story offers answers by leaders from the Higher School of Economics to the following question -- Does Russia agree to be a normal moderately developed country of democratic capitalism, like Bolivia, Brazil or Turkey or does Russia want more? (6)

A group of state officials from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine in charge of creating the single economic zone had to meet in Astana on Saturday April 3. Their stands on the issue lately have changed. In an interview Kazakhstan' s Ambassador to Russia Krymbek Kusherbayev talks about the fate of the Four and about the course of economic reforms in his country. (6)

The Dzerzhinsky Court in St. Petersburg on Friday ruled in Borei-Techno design firm' s favour in its suit against scandalous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, who will have to pay the firm over a million rubles for exquisite chandeliers and lamp-brackets that were specially made for her apartment The story details her case, saying that the court will have to consider three similar suits filed by builders and designers. (7, Kommersant, 1, 4)

Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum, at a news conference on Friday for the first time called the Palace of Congresses in Strelnya (more known as the Konstantinovsky Palace) the affiliate of the Hermitage. In an interview he explains the situation around this Palace. (10)

The dacha season has begun in Moscow, with dachas in the Moscow region being in high demand. Dacha prices due to such a demand this year have increased by $400-$500. The story examines dachas, the comforts, prices and how they are chosen. (11)

The number of illegal foreigners deported from Moscow this year is already 12, 000 as against 24, 000 for the whole last year. There are 7 (for 748 beds) special centers for such illegals The feature story describes life in one such center for women. (11)

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

KOMMERSANT (3/4/2004)

President Putin in his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo on Friday received German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The story describes the meeting, focusing on issues discussed by the two leaders. Several nuances of the meeting that were not stated in the protocol are also reported. (1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 6 MK, 2)

Alexei Ulyukayev, First Deputy Finance Minister, and Dmitry Tulin, seniour banker in the Russian mission in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in the Central Bank (CB) will replace CB First Deputy Head Oleg Vyugin and CB Deputy Chairman Vladimir Goryunov. The story comments on this personnel reshuffle. (1 )

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov at a new conference on Friday stated that he will personally head a new gvt commission aimed at boosting competitiveness that is precisely the key aim of gvt reorganization. (2)

Chechen surgeons in the Gudermes city hospital on Friday were fighting for the life of Shaa Turlayev, chief of the guard of rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who surrendered to Chechen authorities. The story details his case. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2)

Six policemen from the Kaliningrad region were killed in Gudermes in Friday. The story describes how it happened. (3)

NTV Svoboda Slova host Savik Shuster on Friday read out the text of Mikhail Khodorkovsky' s message, in which the oil magnate jailed in Matrosskaya Tishina explained reasons behind the appearance of his article " The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia" in the newspaper " Vedomosti" . The story offers his explanation. (3)

Nizhny Novgorod governor Gennady Khodyrev on April 1 was hospitalized to City Hospital No. 5. The story describes his health problems. (4)

Seven new members (their names s are given) in Brussels on Friday were festively admitted to NATO, which made Moscow-NATO relationships more complicated. The Friday session of the Russia-NATO Council had to resolve the most painful issues. The story examines them in detail, focusing on the session' s decisions. (4)

The London " Times" with reference to sources in Shell reported on Friday that the Sakhalin Energy (SE) shareholders in March increased the planned investments in gas extraction in the Sakhalin-2 project up to $12 billion from $10 billion. The story comments on this information, saying that this increase in the project' s budget is probably Shell' s response to Gazprom' s increased sphere of interests in Sakhalin-2. (5)

UES Management Board spokesman Yury Udaltsov stated on Friday that the UES Board of Directors will again discuss an issue concerning the creation of two territorial generating companies on the basis of Mosenergo. The initiators of this idea are Mosenergo minority shareholders. The story explains why they have initiated this idea. How do UES authorities regard it? (5)

The Belgian Umicore company Friday announced the development of a technology making it possible to replace platinum with palladium in the autos with diesel engines. The story examines how this news can affect the prices of these metals -- in the meanwhile, palladium on Friday went up in price, while platinum became cheaper. (5)

The reform of obligatory medical insurance (or OMS) is being postponed for at least a year. It became clear after the gvt session on Friday when it discussed the draft bill concerning OMS. The Finance and Economic Development ministries were unable to resolve their differences on the document. The story examines their differences, focusing on the fate of OMS reform. (5)

The State Duma on Friday passed (in the first reading) an amendment to the law concerning the state regulation of boosting the aviation sector that allows the foreign investors to have up to 49 percent of shares in the new Russian aviation enterprises. Communists strongly criticized the amendment. The story reveals its controversial nature (5)

The Moscow Arbitration Court' s Appeal on Friday failed to rule in favour of Yukos in its complaint against Nimegan Trading Ltd and N. P. Gemini Holding Ltd. The court left shares of Yukos and Sibneft under arrest. Brief. (6)

The Baltika shareholders' annual meeting on Friday summed up its performance last year. The brief gives figures on its production, saying that its dividends for 2003, despite lower net profits, will be by 25 percent higher than the figure for 2002. (6)

Uzbek " Uzmyasomolprom" association head Makhmud Kholov stated on Friday that Russian " Cherkizovsky" intends to buy up to 76 percent of Tashkentgusht (Tashkent meat combine) . He added that the deal will be completed before the end of this year. Brief. (6)

Rosoboronexport on Friday officially reported about the fulfillment of the contract on a delivery to India of T-90 C tanks and their parts for a license assembly of these tanks at an Indian plant in the city of Avadi. Cited figures show the number of tanks stated in the contract. Brief. (6)

The brief states how the Parmalat collapse could affect the term of office of the next head of the Italian Central Bank. (6)

Vladimir Dolgushin, deputy head of the Ramensky District of the Moscow region, reported on Friday that Korean KOYA in the Moscow region this summer plans to launch into action a plant making Doshirac (Sp. ?) fast food noodles. Brief. (6)

Vodka Yat co-operative association Chairman Leonid Vigdorovich on Friday announced a purchase of the Steklo (glass) plant in the Smolensk region. The plant' s capacity is 130, 000 bottles a day. Brief. (6)

ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA (3/4/2004)

The gvt has proposed to the employers to provide their employees with just three days' paid sick leave. The story reveals the essence of this proposal, focusing on factors that have caused it. (1, 2)

Embezzlements in Chechnya last year reached terrific dimensions. Thus, out of 22 billion rubles allocated from the federal budget on restoring the republic' s economy, over 2 billion was squandered. Such shocking information was made public on Friday by presidential representative in the Southern Federal District Vladimir Yakovlev. The story looks at reasons behind this looting. (1)

The story examines Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov' s new managing mechanism, in which his White House looks like a real plant management board. The story features this mechanism with all distributed roles (posts) in it. (1, 2)

President Putin through his decree on Monday made several appointments. The story gives new names and posts. (2)

The State Customs Committee is discussing new rules of its work with foreign autos. Now the Central Excise Customs will issue documents on some of their categories only after their cost has been agreed upon with the Main Federal Customs Revenues Board. The story examines several new rules at customs. (2 )

The State Duma on Friday passed (in the second reading) a draft bill concerning the state civil service in Russia. The story reveals the essence of its several provisions, saying that at the end of this month it can arrive at the president' s office for signing. (2)

The story names several regions that may be flooded this spring due to melting snow and local river overflows. (2)

Kuban governor Alexander Tkachev has decided to liberalize bread prices. The story reports on how he has explained the measure/(2)

MOSKOVSKIYE NOVOSTI #12

Editor-in-Chief Yevgeny Kiselyov shares his view on Western journalists' assessments of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky ' s essay " The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia" , which with he disagrees. (1, 2, 7, 15)

The Kola Energy System (or Kolenergo) company this week has imposed limits on electricity supply to municipal enterprises in Severomorsk. Kolenergo does not exclude that they can break off the agreements with the city administration and several state enterprises due to their 45 million ruble debt. And what do some of its residents think of that? (3)

The feature story describes the spring army conscription campaign -2004, the first one after the Law concerning the alternative civil service took effect. Who will be lucky to be the first to use it ? And is it really a benefit? (4, 5)

Authorities and groups close to them have begun to think seriously who will replace the Moscow mayor, Yury Luzhkov, whose political position has undoubtedly complicated lately. The story examines all his " weak points" , saying that it' s obvious that someone let it be known to Luzhkov that it' s time to retire on pension. (6)

The Yevrofinans bank will buy the controlling interest of the NTV television channel. This is stated in a press release that the NTV main shareholder -- Gazprom Media-- will made public in a couple of days. It says in part that the plan was announced a year or so ago. The story tries to answer the following question -- Can it happen so that Yevrofinans will completely control NTV? (10)

MN political observer Tatyana Skorobogatko comments on the draft bill concerning the procedure of holding public rallies and demonstrations. The author examines the document with a critical eye. (13)

The story paints a political portrait of Alexander Zhukov, who has become the only vice-premier in the new gvt. He is neither a silovik, nor a Peterburger, nor even a judoist. Why then has he been honoured to receive such a high post ? (20)

FSB Colonel-General Yury Zaostrovtsev, head of the economic counter-intelligence service and First Deputy FSB Director, has been released from his post in the FSB and has been sent to work in Vneshekonombank. The story examines what stands behind this change that at first glance seems very simple. (21)

Mark Urnov, head of the Ekspertiza Fund of analytical programs, comments on results of the recent sociological poll that shows that Russian majority (up to 75 percent) are supporting nationalistic slogans. (25)

KRASNAYA ZVEZDA (3/4/2004)

In an interview Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev says what he and his regional administration are doing to help the army, to consolidate the defense capability of Russia and to defend its national interests. (1, 2)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (3/4/2004)

A treasure of ancient gold coins (one coin costs scores of thousands of dollars) has been found in the burnt building of the Central Manezh Exhibition Hall. The story gives details. (1)

April 3 marks Palm Sunday. The story examines the origin of this religious holiday, saying how it' s being marked. (2)

The key event of this week was a publication of oil magnate Mikhail Khdorkovsky' s essay " The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia" in the newspaper " Vedomosti" that obviously was contemplated as the oligarch' s repentance. The story features what has come out of it in reality. (3)

In an interview Yevgeny Timlev, deputy chief of the Investigative Committee (52, 000 employees) attached to the Interior Ministry, talks about specific features of his staff' s jobs, focusing on upcoming reform of his agency. (9)

In a far-ranging interview Vice-Mayor Vladimir Resin, head of the City Construction Department, talks about his working day (by hours and minutes) . He also speaks about large -scale housing construction, explaining why Moscow apartments are going up in price. (11-11)

Specialists from the Environmental Protection Department do not recommend Muscovites that they drink water from natural springs, saying that they all are infected. The story comments on specialists' statement. A map of Moscow, showing the location of natural springs in Moscow. (12)

All extrasensory healers in Moscow are controlled by the FSB. In an interview FSB official Nikolai Orlov, 52, talks about his job to monitor extrasensory healers' activities. (13)

Poet Andrei Voznesensky at the Bolshoi Theater on Monday April 4 will name a young poet, a winner of the literary Pasternak Prize. In an interview he talks about the prize and candidates. (20)

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS (3/4/2004)

The story gives concrete cases showing how convicts in Penal Colony No. 2 in Zelenograd use cellular telephones to deceive people. (1)

Mikhail Kodanev, co-Chairman of the Liberal Russia party, who ordered the killing of State Duma deputy Sergei Yushenkov, tried to commit suicide The story gives details of those developments, saying what Kodanev wrote in his testament. (1, 3)

Sensational news. Russian specialists in Samara have found a new type of a pre-historical animal. As a result of a six-month thorough study, paleontologists arrived at the conclusion that bones found outside Samara in the summer of last year belong to another ancient animal. The story describes it in detail. (1, 2)

Specially trained cleaners have begun to wash windows in the Kremlin, the State Duma, the Federation Council and the Audit Chambers. The story describes how they are doing it. (1)

The controversial draft bill concerning holding protest acts will undergo serious changes. Thus, the territories adjoining the buildings of administrative power bodies in Moscow and regions will be excluded from the banning list. Brief. (2)

The story gives figures showing how pensions will increase year, and in what months. (2)

Former Labour Minister Alexander Pochinok is one among a few officials who has not been offered any job in the Mikhail Fradkov gvt, and he is the only one who has not been offered any job anywhere. In an exclusive interview Pochinok talks about his situation today and about his plans. (2)

Though the Moscow City Duma previously assured that it will be outside politics and that there won' t be any factions in it, the faction " United Russia (17 deputies out of the 35) appeared recently. The story describes the event. (2)

A large-scale exhibition " Moscow -Berlin. 1950-2000. Contemporary View" opened in the State History Museum on Friday. The story describes the event, its sponsors and its most interesting exhibits. (3)

Police in the Krylatskoye Department of the Interior Ministry on Friday applied to the President and the Interior Minister with a request to restore the Constitution in the Interior Department of Moscow. Krylatskoye police demand to pay compensations for extra hours of work. The story says that it' s only the beginning, since police in other city districts want to join. (3)

The feature story highlights Moscow State University lecturer Valentin Makuyev, who collects scissors, the number of which exceeds 500 pieces already. (8)