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Press Review

IZVESTIA (10/1/2005)

o sooner had South and Southeast Asia recovered from the unprecedented tsunami than a powerful cyclone has hit Europe, including Russia, particularly its St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and the Pskov region. A cyclone warning has been declared in the Novgorod region and Moscow. The story describes the natural disaster and its victims in Europe and Russia. (1, 2, Gazeta, 1, 2, MK, 3)

Palestinians Sunday elected Yassir Arafat' s successor as head of the Palestinian national administration. Though official results are likely to be available today, there is no doubt that the name of the new leader is Mahmoud Abbas. The story describes those who have nominated him, his rivals and the voting. (1, 5, Zhizn, 2, MK, 2)

The story describes how President Putin has punished his economic adviser Andrei Illarionov for his harsh criticism of the Kremlin' s policy. Many believe that Illarionov will resign soon. (2, Gazeta, 1, 2)

Abkhazia today is electing its president and its future. The main intrigue is not who will become president but whether the former rivals -- Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khadzhimba-- who have become one team, will be able to prove to themselves and their people that together they will be able to build post-Ardzinba Abkhazia. The story describes how this election campaign differs from the previous one. (1, 2)

" I strongly hope that pragmatic views will replace pre-election rhetoric after the completion of the election process in Ukraine. "said President Vladimir Putin in Novo-Ogaryovo on Sunday when he received Ukrainian Supreme Rada Speaker Vladimir Litvin. The story describes their meeting. (1, 3)

Turkey views President Putin' s visit to Ankara on Dec. 5-6 as a turning point in bilateral relations. This was stated in an exclusive interview by Turkish Prime Minister Taiip Erdogan (Sp. ?) on the eve of his working visit to Moscow that begins today Jan. 10. Brief. (3)

Russia' s chief rabbi Berl Lazar stated that he does not fully agree with the assessment of the anti-Semitism level in Russia that a couple of days ago was given in the US State Department' s special report. Brief. (3)

Russia soon will deliver about 20, 000 tons of grain, water purification plants and field hospitals to Southeast Asia that has suffered from the deadly tsunami. This was stated by President Putin in the Kremlin on Thursday. Brief. (3)

As many as 53 journalists were killed in 2004, the highest figure over the past 10 years. This is stated in a report by the international organization " Reporters Without Frontiers" . Brief. (3)

Two Soviet secret service agents --the Mukasei married couple -- have described their difficult work for the good of Soviet Russia in their book that was presented by 97-year-old Colonel Mikhail Mukasei. The story offers several episodes from their life and work. (3)

" Spy Handler" , the title of the memoirs of quite the opposite character by former Soviet KGB Colonel Viktor Cherkashin appeared on sale in the USA early this month. In them he reminisces about how in Moscow he took part in detaining American messenger Oleg Penkovsky and in several other intelligence operations. The story reveals the content of the memoirs. (3)

The New Year holidays this year for the first time in Russian history lasted for a recod number of days. Many Russians have confessed that they are sick and tired of these holidays. Does Russia need them? Six politicians, experts and public figures share their viewpoints. (4, MK, 1, 4 )

The official death toll from the tsunami in the Indian Ocean is 170, 000, and this figure is continuing to grow. More than 50 countries have allocated almost $4 billion to struggle the consequences of this horrific natural disaster. The story gives figures on their allocations, saying that 8 Russians are seen as missing. (5, Gazette, 1, 2, MK, 3)

A big scandal has erupted in the Georgian Cabinet of Ministers that has been caused by a quarrel between the former and the present defense ministers -- Irately Okruashvili and Georgy Baramidze. The story reveals the essence of their quarrel, concluding that the Georgian gvt is on the brink of a split. (5)

Seven Ukrainian and one Kazakh peacekeepers have been killed in Iraq. The brief says how it has happened. (5)

Ingush law-enforcers on Saturday conducted a large-scale special operation in a private house in the outskirt of Nazran, as a result of which 5 rebels were killed. They took part in an armed attack on Ingushetia in June 2004. The story describes the Saturday operation. (6, Gazeta, 5, MK, 2)

Georgian police in the New Year holidays released 3 Chechens whom the Russian Prosecutor General' s Office views as bandits and has been demanding their extradition since 2002. The story gives details. (6)

The cargo plane An-12 (it belonged to Russian entrepreneur Yevgeny Zakharov) with a 6-member Russian crew suffered an accident in Uganda on Jan. 8. The story describes the accident and its possible reasons. (6, Gazeta, 4, MK, 2)

Moscow police on Jan. 7 detained two bandits, who on Jan. 4 beat Prosecutor General' s Office employee Alexander Kalugin in his apartment and robbed it. The story gives details. (6)

The assets of Yuganskneftegaz, a major Yukos oil-extracting subsidiary, will not be used in the Gazprom-Rosneft merger. This was stated by Kremlin staff deputy chief Dmitry Medvedev, head of the Gazprom Board of Directors, before the New Year holiday. The story comments on his statement. (9, 10)

The American Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal in their annual rating of economic freedom have put Russia on the 124th place, the rating that was given to Russia in 1995. The story comments on the rating. (1, 9, MK, 2)

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has rejected State Duma deputies' proposal to make the minimum labour remuneration equal with the subsistence minimum level. The story explains the minister' s rejection. (9)

Rosneft' s deal to obtain Yukos' Yuganskneftegaz has been completed. On Dec. 30 Rosneft transferred for it about $7. 6 billion to the court marshals' accounts in MDM-Bank. And on Dec. 31 the new owners of Yuganskneftegaz replaced the director-general and the managing company. The story examines the latest developments in the deal. (10, Gazeta, 1, 7)

Lithuania hopes to take control of the national oil holding Mazeikiu Nafta before the Yukos company ceases to exist. The story describes what the holding means to Lithuania. (10)

The international rating agency Moody' s on Jan. 4 decreased the main rating of Yukos down to " Ca" from " Caa2" , which, according to the rating scale, means Yukos' position close to default. Brief. (10)

Yukos' back tax payments have helped the Justice Ministry and its head Bury Choice to make progress in 2004. In an interview the minister cited figures to illustrate the point. (10)

The Federal Tax Service (or FN. ) before the New Year holiday decreased its tax claims to Vympelcom down to $17. 6 million from $157 million. This, however, does not mean that the company will have no problems in the future. Its Director-General Alexander Izosimov during the New Year holidays warned investors that tax claims to the company will probably be made for 2003. Analysts believe that Vympelcom for 2001-2003 may pay up to $75 million. The story reveals the essence of Izosimov' s statement. (11, Gazeta, 7)

Russian tour agencies have announced their preliminary losses from the tsunami in South and Southeast Asia. Thus, in Thailand alone they have lost $3million -$5 million. The tour agencies already on Jan. 11 will begin to individually consider compensation applications from those, who have refused to go to Southeast Asia after the tragedy. The story examines who could get compensations and how tourists can defend their rights. (11, Gazeta, 3)

The transnational In-Bev-6 corportation on Jan. 6 took at last full control of Russia' s second large brewery--SUN Interbrew. Alfa-Eko (part of Alfa Group) agreed to sell its package of shares for 260 million euros. This is one of the largest deals in the history of domestic beer production. The story examines the deal, reporting how an ordinary resident in the Smolensk region could have foil it. (11)

The G-8 countries will freeze foreign tax payments for Asian states that have suffered from the tsunami. This was stated by BBC with reference to a spokesman for the British Finance Ministry. Brief. (11)

Insurance companies' losses caused by the tsunami sparked by the undersea earthquake in the zone of the Indian ocean will not be large. The brief says why. (11)

Irina Dorovskikh, editor-lawyer in the magazine " Zakon" (Law) reveals the essence of the Family Code' s Article 34 concerning the division of the common property after the married couple' s divorce. (12)

The Central Bank has made public the latest statistical figures on consumer crediting that began in 2003 and became very popular in 2004. The story offers figures to illustrate the point. (12)

The head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development a couple of days ago made a strange statement, saying that the Russian economy last year became more attractive both for foreign and Russian investors. The story examines how the bank intends to back its statement with deed. (12)

Moscow authorities are continuing to expand the list of city streets with one-way traffic. This year their number will increase up to 70 streets. The story examines the project, focusing on its cost to the city budget-- 8 billion rubles. (13)

The construction of the Main Library of Moscow State University will be completed by Jan. 15. The brief looks at finishing touches (13)

There was a fight on Moscow' s Komsomolskaya Ploshchad on Jan. 5 between municipal taxi-drivers and private drivers, who were struggling for passengers. Brief. (13)

Moscow authorities plan this year to build marriage registration offices in several new city districts. The brief names some of them. (13)

Famed bass Boris Shtokolov, a leading soloist at the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theater, who was called Soviet Shaliapin, died on Jan. 6. The story describes his rare talent. (15)


Bashkiria' s Interior Ministry (Police) in Blagoveshchensk on Dec. 10 that marked the World Human Rights Day, conducted a so-called " prophylactic" operation that lasted for 4 days and turned the life of many residents into real hell. As a result of this operation, hundreds of men and teenagers were beaten and dozens of young girls were raped. The story describes its horrors. (1-3)

NG special correspondent Anna Politkovskaya has devoted her feature story to the late Chechen President, Akhmat Kadyrov' s son Ramzan Kadyrov, who late last month was granted the title of Hero of Russia. This Hero has blundered the terrorist act that was committed against his own father, after which Raman received all power to crack down on terrorists in the Caucasus. The story gives concrete facts showing how he and his team are using their power against their own people. (6)

President Putin not long before the New Year holidays granted First Deputy Premier of the Chechen get 28-year-old Raman Kadyrov the title of Hero of Russia. This is not Ramzan' s first high title: in 1997 the then President, Aslan Maskhadov, granted him the title of Hero of the Nation for courage and heroismhown in fighting against Russian troops in 1994-1996. Military observer Vyacheslav Izmailov reports on how much these titles cost. (7)

The story reflects on facts trying to explain why Ukrainians protest against similar violations of election results that Russians and Belarussians would consider quite normal. (8)

The story describes how Belarussian authorities have removed Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko' s rival -- renowned politician Mikhail Marinich -- for the next presidential elections scheduled for this year. (9)

2005 opens up a new period of Vladimir Putin' s presidency In a far-ranging interview highly-regarded economist Professor Yevgeny Yasin, science director at the Higher School of Economics, examines the economic results of the previous years, focusing on their political consequences, and on what he thinks of the possibility of the Orange Revolution in Russia. (10, 11)

Despite State DMA Speaker Boris Gryzlov' s optimistic statements and assurances about the emergence of the " social optimism sentiment" in the Russian society, prices in reality in 2004 upgraded by 25 percent, and industrial production decreased by 7 percent. The story offers several concrete facts proving the point. (10, 11)

The process of drawing up certificates on state registration of the rights to own land, a very confused, unexplained and expensive procedure, will be completed on Jan. 27, 2005. This means that the image of the contemporary village will begin to radically change on Jan. 28. The feature story by the example of a Krasnodar village reveals the essence of this procedure, trying to answer the following questions -- Will Russia remain without peasants, who will be turned into farm-labourers? How is it possible to imagine Russia without peasants? (12, 13)

EU representatives have brought 1. 5 billion euros to the UN International Conference on the humanitarian crisis in South Asia that is expected to open in Geneva on Jan. 11. This money will be transferred to tsunami victims. And Germans in one day alone have raised 11 million euros to help them. The two stories feature people' s with to help people in trouble. (14)

Lawyer Pavel Astakhov in court defends the interests of the newspaper " Kommersant " . On July 7 it published a story titled " The Banking Crises Hits the Street" that has dealt a serious blow to the business reputation of Alfa-Bank that is suing the newspaper. In an interview Astakhov reveals the essence of the case, focusing on its possible outcome. (16)

In an interview authoritative academic Dmitry Lvov, head of the economics section of the Public Sciences Department of the Academy of Sciences, shares his negative view on the gvt concept concerning reforming sciences. (18)


President Putin on Christmas Jan. 7 visited the Tver region not far from his native village Pominovo, where he was present at the divine service in the God' s Mother Nativity Church. The feature story describes his visit, focusing on how local parishioners regarded it. The following day Putin went to Klin to visit the Tchaikovsky Museum. (2)

Muscovites at a one-hour lesson for 149 euros at a Japanese restaurant can be taught how to make Japanese food sushi. For more information one should apply to the Present Show company (tel. 789-98-55) . (4)

Moscow city authorities since Jan. 1 have imposed a system of releasing documents according to the " one window " principle. The story reveals its essence, giving a long list of documents that can be released according to this principle and the cost of the service. (6, 7)

The newspaper offers briefs featuring the life of 25 world celebrities, who died in 2004. (10, 11)

In an interview Vyacheslav Koloskov, President of the Russian Soccer Union, talks about the opening of anew soccer season on Jan. 15, saying what we can expect from it. (12)


Why is this winter anomously warm this year? Leading weather expert at the Hydro-Meteorological Center Olga Guseva answers this question. (1, 3)

The American dollar on the world markets has been on the rise over several recent days. The story examines different views, saying what can be expected from the dollar in Russia. (1, 2)

Unidentified Moscow thieves last week robbed an apartment of Anatoly Yezhov, Rector of the International Institute of Management, taking away precious things and foreign currency worth of $1 million. The story gives details. (1 )

There is a unique pigeon loft in the Moscow zoo that existed in the late 19th century and was restored more than 100 years ago. It' s located in the attic of the tower of the main zoo gates. Usually closed to the public, it was opened on the New Year holidays when visitors, including many children could see rare birds. The story describes this place and its inhabitants. (2)