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Press Review

IZVESTIA (21, 22, 23/1/2005)

ccording to reports from special services, ethnic Russian Pavel Kosolapov, a Cossack from the Gorbatovsky village in the Volgograd region, has organized several terrorist acts (they are all mentioned) , The feature story describes what his relatives and friends told journalists about his transformation from a decent teenager into Chechen terrorist, who converted to Islam and became close to Shamil Basayev and a ringleader of a terrorist groups. (1, 7)

Abu Talib (better known as Anatoly Stepchenko) , Chairman of the recently created National Association of Russian Muslims, believes that there were two waves that have encouraged ethnic Orthodox Believers to concert to Islam. The brief examines them. (7)

In a far-ranging interview Dmitry Kozak, the presidential representative in the Southern Federal District, says how he regards the current monetarization of social benefits and how he envisions further power reform He also examines serious problems experiencing by his district today. (1, 10)

Ukraine' s president-elect Viktor Yushchenko today will be sworn into office. President Putin has congratulated him on the victory, and in return, Yushchenko' s press service announced that his first foreign visit on Jan. 24 would be made to Moscow, after which he would fly to Strasbourg, where he would made a speech in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The story examines preparations for the inauguration ceremony in Kiev. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Jan. 21, p. 8. Vremya Novostei, Jan. 21, pp. 1, 3, Gazeta, Jan. 21, p. 2, Trud, Jan. 21, pp. 1, 4, Trud, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 5, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 2)

Presidential representatives in the federal districts have launched the first consultations with local legislative assemblies to discuss gubernatorial candidates. The story describes how they are doing it in the Central Federal District and in the Far Eastern Federal District, focusing on serious problems. (2, Gazeta, Jan. 21, p. 2, Vremya Novostei, Jan. 21, p. 4, Moskovskiye Novosti, No. 3, p. 3)

Special forces officer Mikhail Grachev' s father this week has returned to the state the Order of Courage, with which his son was awarded posthumously. In this way Nikolai Grachev has voiced his protest against the state' s injustice toward his family. The story describes his behaviour. (2)

Despite many analysts' forecasts, the monetarization of social benefits has not caused a catastrophic fall of President Putin' s approval rating. This is evidenced from results of an opinion poll conducted this year by the Public Opinion Fund The story gives figures to illustrate the point. (2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 2)

The North Caucasian Board of the Prosecutor General' s Office on Thursday completed its investigation of a criminal case concerning the killing of 7 young businessmen on Oct. 11, 2004 in the dacha of Aliy Kaitov, the son-in-law of Karachayevo-Cherkessia' s president. Sixteen persons will go on trial. The story details the case, examining results of the investigation. (3)

The creation of a new big political coalition was announced on Thursday when " The Patriots of Russia" signed an agreement with the People' s Party of Russia. The story describes the coalition, its aims and tasks. (3)

Inflation in the first 17 days of this year alone amounted to 1. 9 percent. This was stated on Thursday by Economic Development Minister German Gref. In the meantime, the gvt officially forecasts that the growth of consumer prices this year will amount to a mere 8. 5 percent. This means that the first 17 days showed over one-fifth of the whole planned annual inflation. The story examines what experts think of it. (3)

Tatarstan' s authorities have instituted several new holidays. The brief names them. (3)

The Primorye District Prosecutor' s Office has brought an indictment against Dalenergosbyt former Director Sergei Khromov, who is accused of suspending electricity supply to military units last year. Brief. (3)

A new diplomatic scandal has erupted between Riga and Moscow. Foreign Ministry' s official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko has accused Latvia' s President Vaira Vike-Freiberg (Sp. ?) of an attempt to distort the history of World War II. The story gives details. (4, Krasnaya Zvezda, 3)

The story describes the inauguration ceremony of George W. Bush to the second term of his office, focusing on how the world public regards Bush: thus, according to BBC' s opinion poll, 58 percent people in the world believe that the re-election of Bush has made the world more dangerous than before. (5, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Jan. 21, p. 8, Krasnaya Zvezda, Jan. 21, p. 1, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 6, )

Russian and American specialists in Moscow on Thursday presented their joint report devoted to Russian-American relations that was timed to coincide with the inauguration of George W. Bush. The story examines several basic provisions of the report, noting that it would be thoroughly studied by those who are laying the groundwork for the Russian-American summit in Bratislava. (5)

The investigation of the developments in Blagoveshchensk on Dec. 10-13 when local police conducted an unusual mop-up, during which without any reasons they detained and beat 371 people, has taken a new unexpected twist. The story examines it in detail. (6)

Moscow police on Wednesday detained three young people, who are suspected of beating two rabbis in the underpass on Ulitsa Sushchovsky Val on Jan. 14. The story details the incident. (6)

The FSB Board in the Republic of Mariy El has instituted criminal proceedings against chief specialist Ivan Ablinov in the company " Maryisky Trest of Surveing and Construction Works" . He is accused of divulging the state secret to another company and may be given a 4-year prison sentence. The story details his case. (6)

What will be the consequences of the current so-called social benefit crisis? Ten authoritative politicians, economists, financiers, party leaders and public figures share their viewpoints. (9)

The gvt on Thursday approved all proposals made by the Economic Development Ministry to amend the draft bill concerning bankruptcy (see Izvestia of Dec. 20) . In this connection, the gvt decided to consider issues relating to the bankruptcy of strategic enterprises that the president has included into a special list. Minister German Gref was against, but he was made to discuss the idea of expanding the state agencies' rights to bankrupt the strategic enterprises under their control. The story examines the discussion. (12)

The existing structure of the domestic economy does not allow it to develop at the pace higher than 5-6 percent a year. This grim news was announced on Thursday by Economic Development Minister German Gref at a session of the Competitiveness Council under the gvt. The story reveals the essence of the minister' s statement. (12 )

The deadline of Gazprom' s merger with Rosneft can be postponed again. The story examines objective reasons saying why the merger will not take place in the " near future" , as was stated before. (13)

The Volga-Dnepr aviation company may be announced winner of the NATO tender to rent out transport planes. Sources of the German newspaper " Handelsblatt" in Germany' s Defense Ministry assert that the question has already been solved, and NATO will lease 6 planes An-124-100 " Ruslan" .The story comments on Russians' possible victory. (13 )

The latest session of the Moscow gvt discussed how to change the image of the city. The story examines the discussion, proposals and decisions. (17)

KOMMERSANT (22/1/2005)

The Prosecutor General' s Office (PGO) on Friday held an enlarged session of its Collegium that was attended by top state officials headed by President Putin. PGO summed up results of its work last year. The story examines several critical provisions from Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov' s report, focusing on the advantages of PGO over other law-making units of the civil society. Commentary is also made regarding a report by ombudsman Vladimir Lukin. President Putin pronounced several concluding remarks. (1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3, Krasnaya Zvezda, Trud, 1, 3)

Isn' t it time for Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov to take over the post of Prime Minister? Twelve entrepreneurs, former prosecutor generals, Senators, State Duma deputies, financiers, governors, human rights activists and party leaders speak out. (2)

Current mass protests against the monetarization of social benefits have sparked a fall of President Putin' s approval rating to a minimum level over the whole period of his presidency. This is evidenced from results of a recent opinion poll taken by the Public Opinion Fund. The story comments on results, saying that sociologists call the electorate' s reaction quite natural, but they don' t view the presidential rating' s fall as a tendency. (1, 3)

The State Duma on Friday made at last its claims to the gvt and governors, who are guilty of a failed start of the monetarization of social benefits. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who came to the State Duma, acknowledged that the gvt had " exposed" the president and the State Duma. He, however, promised to correct the mistakes. Rodina faction leader Dmitry Rogozin did not believe him, and together with 4 other party members declared a hunger strike, demanding to suspend the monetarization and immediately discharge the gvt. The story describes turbulent developments in the State Duma on Friday. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Trud, 2)

The Kommersant Publishing House (or ID) on Friday received two rulings from the bailiff concerning the fulfillment of Alfa-Bank' s suit against the newspaper Kommersant. The bailiff obliged Kommersant in the next 5 days to fulfill the ruling of the Arbitration Court on recovering losses in favour of Alfa-Bank and compensating on " reputation damage " . The story comments on the case, saying that ID lawyers contested this decision in the Court of Appeal and filed a petition on suspension of the court ruling. (1, 5)

The KPRF intends to submit to the State Duma Council a draft decree on passing the no-confidence in the gvt motion in early February. The Communists managed to collect 80 signatures in support of the initiative on the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Rodina faction and several United Russia members on Friday joined the Communists. (3 )

Self-exiled Boris Berezovsky on Saturday turned 59. Writer Vasily Aksyonov has congratulated him on his birthday. The brief offers his hearty congratulation. (3)

Pensioners in several regions on Friday continued their acts of protest against the monetarization of social benefits. The story describes their protests and their concrete demands. (3, Trud, 1, 2)

Beslan residents on Friday continued their protest, demanding an objective investigation into the September hostage-taking crisis. They also demanded a resignation of North-Ossetian President Alexander Dzasokhov, who tried in vain to persuade protesters to " come to their senses" and lift the blockade of the Kavkaz highway. The story describes a tense situation in Beslan. (4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, Moskovskiye Novosti, No. 3, pp. 8, 9)

Ukraine' s president-elect Viktor Yushchenko, besides foreign guests, has invited his predecessor Leonid Kuchma and his former presidential rival Viktor Yanukovich to attend today' s inauguration ceremony. Viktor Yushchenko on Friday made public his first 11 decrees. The story examines some of them. (4)

Patriarch Alexy II on Friday awarded Moldova' s President Vladimir Voronin with the Order of the Russian Orthodox Church for his aid to the churches and monasteries of the Kishinev-Moldovan metropolitan see. Brief. (4)

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday responded to the latest pronouncements about Belarus by US President George W. Bush during the inauguration ceremony. The Brief looks at Lukashenko' s reaction. (4)

The Economic Development Ministry has prolonged for 3 years the investment agreement with the Transaero company that completely liberates the carrier from paying the 3. 7 billion ruble customs dues for the import of foreign planes. The story reveals the essence of the agreement, focusing on the ministry' s decision. (5)

The RTS Stock Exchange on Friday opened an access to all companies (working on the exchange) to trade in the regime of negotiated deals (or RPS) with postponed fulfillment. Thus, the trading ground expands services to professional participants and hopes to encourage their role. The story reveals the essence of the regime, focusing on RTS' s contribution to the general volume of trading. (5)

The Patent Dispute Chamber attached to the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (former Rospatent) on Friday removed a legal guard from the trade mark " Gzhelka" that was registered by structures of former Rosspirtprom head Sergei Zivenko. The story comments on his loss, saying that, in experts' view, nothing now can prevent Federal Council member Alexander Sabadash from working for this trade mark and from launching the production of vodka Gzhelka at his Liviz distillery. (5)

The American Georgia Pacific company intends to launch the production of toiletries (with trade mark Lotus) in Shcholkovo (Moscow region) . The first unit of the plant will become operational in early 2006. Brief. (6)

LUKoil-Neftekhim (LNK) Director-General Alexei Smirnov stated on Friday that the company will take part in an auction to buy shares of Polief, an uncompleted complex to make poliethelentereftalat (Sp. ?) . Besides that, LNK plans to take part in the privatization of Romanian Oltchim. Brief. (6)

The Vladivostok-avia company, starting Feb. 1, will make its flights to Moscow through Airport Vnukovo. Before Vladivostok-avia made its daily flights to Cheremetyevo-1. Brief. (6)

The InBev brewery on Friday announced its official decision on a purchase of shares of Sun Interbrew (SI) belonging to Sun Trade and Russian Alfa-Eko. As a result, InBev will own 98. 5 percent of the general charter capital of SI. Brief. (6)

Wimm-Bill-Dann has begun to export its products to the European Union countries. It was stated by the company' s press service on Friday. Brief. (6)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (21/1-22/1/2005)

The Central Bank on Thursday reported on a record lowering of the gold and currency reserves (or ZVR) . Thus, between Jan. 7 and 14, ZVR decreased by $4, 5 billion and amounted to 120. 1 billion rubles. This is the biggest weekly fall of ZVR over the past time. If such a pace keeps on, the reserves will last approximately for 6 months. The story examines reasons that have caused such a considerable fall. (1, 3)

Estonia' s President Arnold Rjuitel (Sp. ?) in the Kremlin on Thursday met with President Putin and Patriarch Alexy II. The meeting did not make it clear whether the Baltic leaders will take part in the festive celebrations in Moscow of the 60th Victory Anniversary. In an interview Rjuitel shares his view on the issue. (1, 6)

Ella Pamfilova, Chairwoman of the presidential Council on Boosting the Civil Society and Human Rights Institutions, says that the gvt has discredited the idea of the monetarization of social benefits. The author focuses on 4 main reasons behind the failure of this reform. (2)

MOSKOVSKIYE NOVOSTI #3

Editor-in-Chief Yevgeny Kiselyov among those guilty of the failure of monetarization of social benefits names the State Duma that passed the bill on abolishing the benefits and President Putin, who signed the bill into law. And the president then was warned about possible consequences. The author examines Putin' s specific style -- to uphold his point of view to the end ; to persist in his wrongness, like in the case with Ukraine. (1)

The Levada Sociological Center has made public results of its study " The Public Opinion -2004" . One of its questions concerned a comparison of the role of the United Russia party today with the Role of the CPSU in Soviet times. The story examines results. (3)

Acting Director of the Publishing House " Grand Russian Encyclopaedia" Nikolai Artemov has issued a directive on disbanding the literature and language editorial board that dealt with preparations of a biographical dictionary " Russian Writers 1800-1917" . The story examines this unique edition, saying that when Soviet power seized to exist, the publishing of this dictionary was suspended. (3

Is your party willing not only to support but to head mass public protests against the monetarization of social benefits? Nine party leaders share their viewpoints. (5)

Syria' s President Bashar Asad is arriving in Russia. Alexander Shumilin, Director of the Center for the Near Eastern Conflicts Analysis, examines what Asad would like to receive from Moscow. (7)

The Prosecutor General' s Office has announced that the basic investigation into the criminal case on Bislan hostage taking in September 2004 has been completed, and that in March the case will be submitted to court. Correspondents from the German magazine " Spiegel " have conducted their own investigation into the Bislan tragedy. The story examines its results. (8. 9)

It was reported late last year that Moscow and PACE were preparing for inter-Chechen negotiations. The information was rather scarce: Russian authorities and the European Parliament have reached understanding that there was a need for a dialogue between Chechen representatives from various clans The lists of participants are kept in secret but they are far from being final. And a couple of days ago Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, reported that a round-table will take place in Moscow on March 3. The story comments on his statement. (10)

The story examines what BBC ' s investigation devoted to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is based on. In an interview John Sweeny (Sp. ?) author of the BBC television documentary (not long before it was aired) talks about the investigation and conclusions made on its basis. (12)

The story examines what Russian businessmen could gain from Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko' s economic policy. His economic moves on his high post could be forecast long beforehand looking at his behaviour when he was Prime Minister on Dec. 22, 1999-April 27, 2001. (14)

TRUD (22/1/2005)

In an interview Yury Sharandin, head of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, and Konstantin Simonov, the Director of the Political Situation Center, comment on the new procedure of electing the regional governors. (2)

The leadership of the Federal Space Agency (or Roskosmos) on Friday made public results of its check-up, connected with a food shortage that emerged on board the International Space Station late last year. Roskosmos spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko comments on the results. Valery Bogomolov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems, shares his different view on the situation. (2)

In an interview highly-regarded children' s doctor Mikhail Rokitsky, State Duma Health Committee spokesman shares his negative view on reforming the medical sphere. (3)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (22/1/2005)

Chief Sanitary Physician Gennady Onishchenko has banned to sell alcohol-free energy drinks in school cafeteria and in discos, saying that such drinks they are harmful for health. The story describes such drinks and its ingredients. (3)

" We' ll remain here (in the State Duma) on a hunger strike until our demands are fully met (the resignation of the gvt) . The story describes the Rodina faction deputies' decision. (5)

Twenty -four ducks died in the Lyublino pond on Thursday. The story describes the tragedy and possible reasons behind it. A specialist' s commentary. (6, Trud, 1)

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS (22/1/2005)

A group of former African students from the People' s Friendship University is living in a forest not far from the metro station " Kaluzhskaya" . They are from different African countries (they are named) and, due to different reasons, have no intention to go home. The story describes their life in the forest. (1, 2 )

The story describes the latest NTV program " K Baryeru" Jan. 20, in which poet Andrei Dementyev defeated LDPR leaderVladimir Zhirinovsky. The story describes the show. (1, 2)

All the 22 patients, whose eyes were operated on in the Kharkov branch of the well-known Eksimer network of ophthalmological clinics on Nov. 22, last year, went blind. The Prosecutor' s Office in the Moscow Central Administrative District is investigating into the circumstances of the case. The story examines it in detail. (1, 3)

Sixteen blue Cuban crayfishes in the spring of this year will go into space to help scientists find reasons why cosmonauts feel nauseous in the conditions of weightlessness. The story describes the experiment being prepared by specialists at the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems. (1)

The Belorussky Railway Terminal will be overhauled by the 60th Victory Anniversary celebrations. The story examines the major renovation project, saying that its hit will be a museum of military glory. (1, Trud, 1)

In his letter to FIDE, the 13th world chess champion, Garri Kasparov reported that he will not play with FIDE world champion Rustam Kasymdzhanov. The brief says how Kasparov has explained his refusal. (2)

The State Duma Education Committee is drafting a bill abolishing benefits for seniour school-graders with gold and silver medals when they enter institutes and universities. The story looks at the draft. (3)