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Press Review

IZVESTIA (28, 29, 30/10/2005)

The authoritative American Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting) Analytical Center has confirmed a version of the attack on Nalchik on Oct. 13 that Izvestia stated on Oct. 18. Then the newspaper supposed that Islamist militants' aim may be Nalchik Airport, in which terrorists intended to seize a military-transport plane in order to attack a strategic facility. The American Analytical Center' s report with a reference to sources in the Russian military structures, asserts that terrorists planned to seize a plane and names several strategic facilities as terrorists' further targets. The story comments on American specialists' conclusions. A map. (1, 9, Gazeta, Oct. 28, pp. 1, 11, Krasnaya Zvezda, Oct. 28, 3, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Oct. 28, p. 2, MK, Oct. 28, p. 2)

A statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Sp. ?) ,who has called for " wiping Israel off the face of the earth" has caused an international scandal. Washington, London, Paris, Madrid and Ottawa have expressed their indignation to Teheran, and Moscow joined them later. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summoned the Iranian Ambassador to his office on Thursday in order to tell him an official stand of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The story reveals its essence. (1, 4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 9, Vremya Novostei, Oct. 28, pp. 1, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 6, MK, Nov. 28, p. 2)

Russian convict in a Swiss prison Vitaly Kaloyev on Thursday was visited by his relatives and lawyers. In an interview he says how he has perceived the verdict, saying that he has apologized only before Peter Nilsen' s children. What can Vitaly Kaloyev' s defense do to change the verdict of the Swiss Court? (1, 3, Gazeta, Oct. 28, p. 9, . MK, Oct. 28, p. 2)

Convict Mikhail Khodorkovsky' s site on Thursday posted his first statement. The story examines it in detail, offering a commentary by Alexei Makarkin, expert from the Center for Political Technologies. (2, Gazeta, Oct. 28, p. 8)

Political parties 1. 5 months before the elections to the Moscow City Duma are fighting to win the hearts of electors. The story describes such efforts made by five parties on Thursday. (2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3, MK, 1, 3)

Heads of regional parliamentary administrations on Thursday got together in the State Duma for their annual conference. Its participants learned that the administration staff of the State Duma this year has been cut by 20 percent. The story describes the conference, focusing on issues discussed at it. (2)

The Federation Council on Thursday held hearings to discuss an essential issue-- how to secure equal rights of citizens of the Russia-Belarus union state. The Treaty on equality was signed way back six years ago, but the status of Russians and Belarussians have been different as before. The main problem in this respect is that Russians on the territory of Belarus are viewed as foreigners, and the same happens with Belarussians in Russia. The story comments on this and other serious problems connected with the creation of the union state. Two pie-charts. (3)

Vladimir Kadannikov, head of the AvtoVAZ Board of Directors resigned in connection with retiring on pension on Thursday. The story comments on his decision, saying that his departure signifies the end to the epoch of the so-called " red directors" . (3)

The construction of the century -- a dike in St. Petersburg-- that has been lasting for more than 20 years will soon have a new head: St. Petersburg influential banker Vladimir Kogan will become a new chief of the North- Western Directorate of Gosstroi.

The UN Security Council has launched consultations on the draft of the Anti-Syrian resolution, proposed by France, Britain and the USA. Russia is opposing the draft, but would not like to quarrel with the USA due to Syria. The story examines the draft. (4)

The KGB History and Excursions Center in Belarus has worked out a new excursions aimed at visiting places connected with the life and work of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of VCHKA. The story describes the plan and topics of the excursions. (5)

Today Oct. 30 marks the Day of the Political Prisoner. The day has been marked since 1974 when scores of prisoners in Mordovian and Perm labour camps declared a hunger strike in protest against political punitive measures in the Soviet Union. At the same time they protested against inhuman conditions in prisons and labour camps, against administration arbitrary rule. Are there political prisoners in Russia? Seven politicians, writers, lawyers and public figures, some of whom served sentence in labour camps, share their viewpoints. (7)

Authoritative businessman and member of the Management Bureau of the Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Union (RSPP) Oleg Kiselyov has handed in his resignation. The story comments on his decision, saying that he would not like his criminal case to adversely affect the reputation of Renaissance Capital. (10)

KOMMERSANT (29/10/2005)

Several domestic companies and politicians on Friday rejected conclusions made by the UN Commission headed by Paul Volcker that investigated into abuses during the implementation of the Oil for Food Program in Iraq. Thus, Zarubezhneft stated that the UN report has a slandering character and " corresponds to methods of Gebbels' propaganda" . State Duma Vice-Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has called the accusations the proof of the " agony of the USA" . And former head of the Kremlin staff Alexander Voloshin presented documents used by Paul Volcker' s commission and said that they were fake. The story comments on the UN Commission' s report, focusing on the Russian side' s response. (1, 4, Trud, 4) , MK, 2)

UES Board of Directors chief Alexander Voloshin after studying Paul Volcker' s report, stated that though accusations against him turned out to be groundless, the commission' s work as a whole was honest and professional. In an interview he shares his view on the UN report. (1, 4)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov through his directive on Friday appointed Culture Ministry official and former Kremlin staff employee Igor Fyodorov to the post of acting chief of the administration of the Public Chamber. The story comments on the appointment, revealing Fyodorov' s functions. (1, 3)

A draft bill with a proposal to increase four-fold fines according to the Code on Administrative Offenses has been submitted to the State Duma. One of its authors Federal Council deputy Vladimir Fyodorov stated that sanctions contained in all 16 chapters of the Code should be toughened. The story examines the draft, saying that State Duma deputies are not sure that all proposals will be passed in the form they were submitted. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2)

The AvtoVAZ Board of Directors on Thursday rejected the General Motors company' s proposal on launching a joint venture in Tolyatti to make FAM-1 motors. The story says why. (1, 5)

President Putin in the Kremlin on Friday awarded orders and medals to almost 50 Russians. The story features the ceremony, focusing on the winners of high state decorations. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Trud, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 2)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on Friday with an aim of lowering VAT in 2006 down to 13 percent from 18 percent proposed how to compensate a decrease in budget revenues -- to intensify customs administering and to collect more customs payments. As much as 300 billion rubles will have to be compensated, and in this situation importers will have to loosen their purse-strings. The story describes the gvt' s efforts to lower VAT, which look like a real fight inside the gvt administration. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2)

The feature story describes Friday' s meetings of convicts Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev with their wives. The focus is on what Mikhail Khodorkovsky' s wife Inna told about her visit to the prison colony outside Krasnokamensk in the Chita region. (3, Komsomolskaya Praavda, 4, MK, Oct. 28, pp. 1)

Two unidentified attackers on Oct. 27 brutally beat Ivan Starikov, SPS Federal Political Council member, who insisted on a political motivation of the attack. The story gives details. (3, Zhizn, 2)

The Norwegian Coast Guard on Friday released the Russian vessel " Kapitan Gorbachev" that was detained on Oct. 24 on suspicion of poaching. The vessel belongs to the Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet. The trawler " Dmitry Pokramovich" belonging to the Murmansk Rybprom company was also released. The owners of these vessels had to pay deposits, since an approaching storm threatened to the safety of the vessels and their crews. The story gives details. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Trud, 2, Krasnaya Zvezda, Nov. 28, p. 1, Moskovskiye Novosti, No. 42, p. 18, Vremya Novostei, Oct. 28, pp. 1, 3)

Domestic wine-makers intend to submit their appeal to the gvt with a request to launch an investigation in relation of the import of Moldovan wine, which may result in imposing import quotas. Moldovan wine-producers state that alcohol import quotas contradict the WTO norms. The story comments on the domestic wine-makers' intention, saying how experts regard it and what they expect from the Russian gvt. (5)

The formation of mutual stock funds managed by Andora Meriden Group and aimed at the Russian stock market has begun this week. The managing company from this rather conservative European offshore for the first time intends to offer Russian securities to investors. This offshore with time may successfully compete with Cyprus that is well-known to Russians. The story comments on Andora Meriden Group' s decision, focusing on the company' s chances. (5)

Group Severstaltrans is expected to launch the first Moscow-St. Petersburg private elektrichka in a couple of days. The story examines the project, saying that several intermediate projects that have been declared over the past several years have remained on paper so far, though Transmashholding promises to launch the Tverskoi Express already early in 2006. (5)

The United Metals Company (OMK) , the third large domestic pipe holding, before the end of this year will complete a deal to sell 25 percent of shares of the Lysvensky Metals Plant (LMZ) in the Perm region. Group Insayur, an AvtoVAZ subsidiary, will buy the shares. The story examines the agreement on the deal that was reached several weeks ago. Its cost is kept secret, but related analysts say that its cost is between $7. 5 million and $10 million. (5)

Ukraine' s State Property Fund and Mittal Steel Germany GmbH have signed an agreement on a purchase-sale of 93. 02 percent of shares of Krivorozhstal. This was stated by the Fund' s press service. Mittal Steel Germany GMbH on Oct. 24 won the auction to sell 93. 02 percent of shares of Krivorozhstal, having offered 24. 2 billion hryvnas ($4. 79 billion) for the package. Brief. (6, Moskovskiye Novosti, No. 42, p14)

According to the Central Bank, the volume of the monetary base of Russia as of Oct. 24, 2005 amounted to 2. 2 trillion rubles as against 2. 14 trillion rubles as of 17, 2005. Thus, the monetary base for this period increased by 6. 6 billion rubles. Brief. (6)

The Statistical Committee (Yevrostat) on Friday reported that inflation in the countries of the European zone in October 2005 amounted to 2. 5 percent a year. Inflation in September was 2. 6 percent a year. The European Central Bank strives to retain inflation in the European zone within the limits of 2 percent a year. It managed to do this in March 2004 when the consumer prices increased by 1. 7 percent a year. Brief. (6)

The Moscow Russian Fashion Week finished its work on Thursday. The story describes its results, noting that the collections of the majority of designers this time were worse that their previous ones. (8, Gazeta, Oct. 28, p, 19, Moskovskiye Novosti, No. 42, p. 26)

Highly-regarded French writer and public figure Marek Alter (Sp. ) has presented in Moscow his trilogy " The Biblical Heroines" . In an interview he talks about his new book, explaining its title. (8)

Legendary tiger-tamer Margarita Nazarova, the first such one in the Soviet Union, died in Nizhny Novgorod at the age of 78. Her son Alexei works in a circus in France. He visited his mother in Nizhny Novgorod seven years ago, and since then he had not seen her due to their family quarrel. (9, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 4)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (28/10-29/10/2005 )

The World Bank on Thursday made public several provisions from the study titled " Economic Growth, Poverty and Inequality in the countries of Eastern Europe and of the Former Soviet Union" .The story examines some of the provisions, focusing on a commentary by Vladimir Drebentsov, a seniour research associate and employee at the World Bank' s Economic Management and Lowering Poverty Level. (1, 3)

The Legislative Assembly in the Irkutsk region did not dare to overcome a veto of region head Alexander Tishanin that he on Sept. 22, 2005 imposed on the bill concerning introducing amendments in a prognosis plan to privatize regional state property.

Television channel Russia Today that should be launched before the end of this year has caused many questions that have been left unanswered. For example, what is this channel for? How does it intend to broadcast? On what money will it exist? In an interview its Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan answers these and other questions about the new channel and its work. (1, 3)

On the threshold of the KPRF Congress that took place on Saturday Deputy Party Chairman Ivan Melnikov shares Communists' plans to modernize the party. He also reveals the essence of the party' s claims to the Justice Ministry and PACE. (2)

The story offers results of an opinion poll taken by the Public Opinion Fund, in which respondents were asked to name several modern Russian politicians, whom they would like to vote for. The focus is on President Putin' s ratings. (2)

The story examines in detail Yukos minorities' financial claims to the company, saying how Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko regards them. (3)

A long-standing conflict between the Moscow alternative operator ASVT and AFK Sistema over the shares of MTS has entered a new stage. ASVT has filed several suits against its opponent, one of which the Moscow Arbitration Court has been ruled in its favour. The story reveals the essence of the conflict. (3)

A new youth movement New People have appeared in Volgograd, in which it was officially registered on Thursday. Its leader Maria Mincheva stated that the movement will struggle against revolutions and coup d' etats whatever colours they are and also against corruption and bureaucratic arbitrary rule. The story describes the movement, focusing on its ideology. (4)

The opposition forces in Georgia have united into the Democratic Front, which evidences changes in the political alignment of forces in the country and a split in the executive power and the crisis in the legislative one. The story examines a tense situation in the republic, saying that not all people in the entourage of President Mikheil Saakashvili agree with the resignation of Former Minister Salome Zurabishvili. (5)

Russia' s main fighter with financial violations Sergei Stepashin himself has become a person, who will be checked up by the National Control-Auditing Board of Britain (NKRU) that is an analogue of the Audit Chamber. On Monday Oct. 31 it will officially make public its report titled " The Functional Review of the Russian Audit Chamber' s Activities" . The story examines the report' s main provisions, focusing on NKRU' s several conclusions. In an interview NKRU head Sir John Born (Sp. ?) talks about the work done by his agency and about his impressions about the Russian Audit Chamber. (9)

ROSSIISKAYA ROSSIYA (29/10/2005)

India' s Foreign Minister Natvar Singh (Sp. ?) in Moscow on Friday met with President Putin. In an exclusive interview the Indian guest talks about results of his negotiations with the Russian President. (1, 3)

A regular Olympic meeting held to hear reports and elect new officials will take place in Moscow between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31. The meeting will elect a new president of the Olympic Committee of Russia (OKR) , First Vice- President, vice presidents and OKR Secretary. Legendary figure skater Irina Rodnina will claim the post of OKR President. (1, 4)

Tatarstan' s State Council on Friday by the majority of votes approved a draft treaty on dividing powers between power bodies Tatarstan and of the Federal authorities. The story examines how the document was worked out by a two-party working group that was created in October last year. The story examines how President Mintimer Shaimiyev regards the draft. (1, 2)

The Moscow Tverskoi District Court on Friday sanctioned the arrest of Oleg Kiselyov, head of the Board of Directors of the domestic Renaissance Capital investment group. He is accused of looting shares of Mikhailovsky GOK. But at the time being he is not available since he is undergoing treatment abroad. The story gives details. (2)

Domestic mass media for three weeks already have been observing the situation that has shaped around the VSMPO-Avisma corporation. The story reveals the essence of this conflict. (3)

The first energy unit was put into exploitation on the main generating heating electrical power station. The story describes the station, saying that the Kaliningrad regional now has its own source of electricity (TETS-2) . (3)

MOSKOVSKIYE NOVOSTI #42

A two-day conference devoted the deadly H5NI strain of avian flu and attended by health ministers from 30 countries, including the USA, Mexico, China, Kazakhstan and South Africa, has been held in Ottawa. The story describes concrete issues discussed at the conference, saying that the world' s population has failed to perceive to the end the whole threat of this terrible disease. Canada' s Health Ministry estimates the number of potential victims of the avian flu virus in Canada at 10. 6 million. In Russia' s capital Moscow alone the virus is expected to hit 2 million. (1)

The change of the MN owner has caused a stormy reaction from the public, and in this connection the MN editorial board has asked MN new owner Arkady Gaidamak to answer several questions worrying MN readers. In an interview he talks about his interest in a new for him media business, about his vision of the media market in Russia and how it differs from the Western one and about his plans to boost the newspaper. (3)

The feature story is devoted to the Tula region that has been hit by bird flu, and where residents have no idea about this disease, believing that their chickens have died not due to bird flu but due to some other infection. (4, 5)

Due to bird flu raging in Europe, the latter stated that it refuses to exchange birds with the Moscow zoo. Before this exchange was popular and useful for both sides. (5)

Russia so far is not ready to counter the biological threats -- such is an opinion shared by Rector of the Moscow Medical Academy Mikhail Paltsev. He is one of the organizers of the Moscow International Conference " Molecular Medicine and Safety" . Its participants also discussed the threat of bird flu. In an interview Mikhail Paltsev talks about a real threat of bird flu for people. (6)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (29/10/2005)

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev unexpectedly on has visited local police stations in the Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, and Omsk regions to check up their work and labour discipline. The story describes what he saw there, focusing on his reprimands of local police chiefs. (2)

The story describes an incident that happened on Friday on a training shooting ground of a military unit in Seversk (Tomsk region) , during which a recruit by accident injured a commander and then committed suicide. Colonel Vasily Panchenkov, chief of the Press Service of the Interior Ministry Troops. (2)

According to the forecast of the World Health Organization, the flu epidemic is expected to hit Russia in December and January. The story focuses on a statement made by Chief Sanitary Physician Gennady Onishchenko. (3, MK, Oct. 28, p. 12)

The Federal Migration Service on Friday discussed mechanisms of a so-called immigration amnesty that envisages a legalization of migrants, who have illegally arrived in Russia and who have s not committed any offenses. The story examines the discussed mechanisms. (3)

Tax agent Nikolai Bashkirov, 32, a graduate of the Tax Academy and a specialist in countering political extremism, was arrested in Moscow on Thursday. He is suspected of extorting a 1. 5 million euro bribe. The story details his case. (6, MK, 1 )

The International Exhibition " Avto-Avtomekhanika-2005" has opened in St. Petersburg. The story describes its most interesting exhibits and its participants. (10)

The feature story highlights several celebrities and their new hobby -- horses. How much are pure-breed horses in Russia? And how much is the rent of stables in the Moscow region? (16, 17)

Yury Syomin, has resigned from the post of chief coach of the soccer national team, and signed a $1, 500, 000 contract with the Beitar soccer club in Jerusalem. The story comments on his decision. (19, Moskovskiye Novosti, No. 42, p. 27, Zhizn, 15)