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Press Review

IZVESTIA (2, 3, 4/12/2005)

A gvt draft bill envisaging a transfer to one-year army service is to be submitted to the State Duma in the near future. Such an order was given to the gvt by President Putin. This draft will also determine the number of deferments, which will be considerably cut. The story comments on the content of the bill, focusing on the fate of deferments(1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Dec. 2, pp. 1, 10)

An unprecedented court trial has begun in Vladimir. Tractor plant worker Sergei Yefremov has filed a suit against local extra-sensory healer Vladimir Mironov, who two years ago tried to cure Yevremov of stammering, and Yefremov paid him 17, 680 rubles for that " medical" service. The wonder, however, has not happened. The story describes the case. (1, 8)

The president' s amendments to the law concerning citizenship were submitted to the State Duma on Thursday. The story examines several amendments envisaging the prolongation of a simplified procedure of receiving the Russian citizenship up to 2008. (1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Dec. 2, pp. 1, 2, Gazeta, Dec. 2, p. 3, Noviye Izvestia, Dec. 2, p. 2, MN, No. 46, p. 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Dec. 2. p. 3)

The story examines what special fasting foods the Kremlin cafeterias offer their visitors during the Lent (see Izvestia of Nov. 29) . (2)

Federal authorities should impose monopoly on the whole trade in black caviar and sturgeon The fish dainties confiscated from poachers will be destroyed rather than sold, and the home black caviar market should be practically closed. These proposals were made at a gvt session on Thursday by Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev. Other ministers and many experts did not support this idea. The story comments on Gordeyev' s proposals. (3, MN, No. 46, p, 3, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Dec. 2. p. 2)

A 36-year-old French woman has become the first patient in the world, whom plastic surgeons transplanted half of the face from a dead donor. The story describes this unique surgery that was performed by French Professor Michel Dubernard in an Amiens clinic on Nov. 27. The focus is on several ethic problems. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Dec. 2, pp. 1, 14, Trud, 1, 4, Gazeta, Dec. 2, p. 15 Komsomolskaya Pravda, Dec. 2. p. 2)

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Britain, the country holding the presidency in the European Union, came to Kiev on Thursday to conduct the ninth Ukraine-European Union summit. The story examines the main result of the summit. (4)

The Ukrainian opposition on Thursday conducted massive rallies in protest against Ukraine' s accession to the European Union and NATO. The story describes these protests that were held to coincide with the Ukraine-European Union summit in Kiev. (4)

Nikolai Melnichenko, former Major of the Ukrainian state guard, is expected to arrive on Dec. 5 at the Ukraine' s Prosecutor General' s Office (PGO) to testify on the case of the killing of journalist Georgy Gongadze. Melnichenko on Wednesday came back to Kiev from the USA that has granted him the status of political refugee. The story describes Melnichenko' s return, saying why he is interesting to PGO. (4)

Izvestia' s television critic Irina Petrovskaya has allowed a harsh tone in her reply to Postskriptum program host Alexei Pushkov, who reported in his program' s announcement --" The Newspaper Izvestia is Against Russia' s Pride. Once Again about Poet Yesenin' s Death and about his Persecutors" . (7)

Apart from the four national projects announced by President Putin, what other national projects does Russia need? Seven politicians, State Duma deputies, party leaders and public figures share their viewpoints. (7)

KOMMERSANT (3/12/2005)

The Supreme Court on Friday confirmed the decision of the Moscow City Court that removed the Rodina party from the elections to the Moscow City Duma scheduled for today Dec. 4. Party leader Dmitry Rogozin called this decision a " political order" and announced the birth of a real opposition in Russia. Experts, however are sure that the removal from the Moscow elections does not mean a closure of this project and Rodina in the elections to the State Duma can play the same role like that in the elections-2003. The story describes Friday' s developments in the Supreme Court room, focusing on the court' s ruling. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, and Dec. 2, p. 3, z MN, No. 46, p. 5, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Dec. 2, p. 5, and Dec. 3, p. 3)

The brief looks at the history of Rodina' s participation in the elections to the Moscow City Duma. (1)

The Prosecutor General' s Office by the inquiry of State Duma deputies Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Maxim Rokhmistrov (LDPR faction) on Friday began to check up the results of the tender for a major renovation of the airfield of Airport Sheremetyevo (MASH) conducted in November by Rosaviatsia and won by the Transstroi corporation. The result of the check-up may become a revision of the outcome of the tender with a budget of 8. 1 billion rubles. The story reveals the essence of the inquiry and the tender. (1)

A Turkish group of investors is suing Russian Alfa-Group demanding a redemption of shares of minority shareholders of the cellular Turkcell company. The story details the case, saying what it means for Alfa. (1)

Yekaterinburg GAI officer Andrei Novgorodov armed with automatic Carbine in the building of the Yekaterinburg telecompany " 4th Channel" took five people hostage. After almost 4 hours of the talks, Novgorodov surrendered. The story details the incident. (1, 4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Trud, 3, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3, MK, 2)

First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday paid his first visit to regions. Together with Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov Medvedev visited a new office of a general practitioner in the Zelyonovka village (Samara region) and Polyclinic No. 15 in Samara. The story describes the visit, focusing on its aim and on the guests' impressions. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3)

Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov on Friday announced a new date for a possible lowering of VAT--Jan. 1, 2009. The story examines how Shatalov explained such a delay, saying that his statement was a reply to Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who this week has instructed the ministry-controlled tax service to calculate the budget consequences of the VAT lowering. (2)

Law-enforcers on Friday conducted two forceful operations against NBP members. The story describes them in detail, focusing on reaction by party leader Eduard Limonov, who believes that " authorities want to destroy his party" . (3)

The Prosecutor General' s Office (PGO) on Friday confirmed the fact concerning the withdrawal of documents in the Bereznki affiliate of the VSMPO-Avisma corporation (see Kommersant Dec. 2, p. 1) . PGO stated that the searches were conducted within the framework of investigating the criminal case on looting and laundering money in Yukos-controlled structures and had nothing to do with the conflict between the present and former owners of the " Corporation VSMPO-Avisma" company, the world' s leading titanium enterprise. The story describes the operation by the investigation group led by Mikhail Tumanov. (3)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky' s lawyers Yury Shmidt and Karina Moskalenko, who came back to Moscow from Krasnokamensk, at a news conference on Friday stated that they intended to submit a complaint to Yury Kalinin, head of the Federal Service for Punishment Execution, and to ombudsman Vladimir Lukin against employees of the Krasnokamensk prison colony. They did not allow the lawyers to meet their client Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The story comments on the lawyers' statement. (3)

The Moscow Basmanny District Court on Friday released a warrant to the Prosecutor General' s Office on the arrest of Moscow lawyer Pavel Ivlev living in New York. Ivlev previously serviced Yukos. Investigators in his absence have accused him as a member of an organized group of looting and laundering $14 billion. The story details Ivlev' s case. (3)

The Forum " The Community of Democratic Choice" (SDV) that was initiated by the presidents of Ukraine and Georgia completed its work in Kiev on Friday. SDV had to unite the states along Russia' s south-east border, but this plan failed to be realized-- the presidents only wasted time. The story comments on the forum' s negative results. (4, Trud, 1, 4, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2)

The Belarussian parliament on Friday passed (in the second final reading) amendments to the criminal legislation, according to which the discreditation of the country will be severely punished. The story reveals the essence of several amendments. (4)

Chechnya' s Supreme Court on Friday sanctioned the arrest of Vakha Baibatyrov, former head of the republican Committee on Compensatory Payments. The Chechen Prosecutor' s Office does not exclude further arrests, which is insisted by Acting Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov. He stated that Friday' s arrest was only the beginning of undoing the whole chain of looting compensatory money. The story details Baibatyrov' s case. (4, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3)

Roman Silantyev, Executive Secretary of the Inter-Religious Council, on Friday had to hand in his resignation after his book titled " The Contemporary History of the Islamic Community of Russia" had caused a serious conflict between the Muftis Council of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate. The story reveals the essence of the conflict. (4)

The second minister meeting between OPEC and the European Union took place in Vienna on Friday when it was devoted to a restraint of world oil prices. Cartel representatives promised not to lower production and demanded from Europeans that they lower prices; Europeans rejected the demand. The sides agreed that in the next several years oil prices will depend on oil refining capacities, which means that they will remain high: OPEC needs huge money and much time for oil refining. The story describes the meeting, its participants, their discussion and decisions. (5)

St. Petersburg leading distributors of printed matter have raised prices of almost all television guides--now any of them costs eight rubles. Experts believe that if regional distributors apply St. Petersburg experience it may mean the death of local teleguides: with raising prices they begin to compete not among themselves but with more attractive semi-glossy editions. The story describes prices established by St. Petersburg distributors, saying how they may change. (5)

The Central Bank on Friday announced another change of the structure of the bicurrency basket, on which it orientates in conducting transactions on the currency market. Now its contest is determined by the 0. 4 euros-$0. 6 rate. This decision has coincided with a rather dramatic rise of the dollar on the Russian market, approaching the 29 rubles/$ mark. The story looks at opinions shared by market participants. (5)

Governor of the Irkutsk region Alexander Tishanin stated that Irkutsk authorities were in talks on the sale of 11. 29 percent of shares of Verkhnechonskneftegaz to Rosneft for $76 million. The regional administration formally cannot sell the securities now: they continue to belong to the East-Siberian Gas Company, an operator of the project of gas supply to the Irkutsk region. And in order to strike a deal with Rosneft, the regional authorities will have to return shares to themselves through court. (5)

Leading British banks, issuers of credit card-- Barclaycard, Co-op Bank, Egg and Abbey-- on Friday announced their intention to introduce the practice of exchanging detailed information about their clients. The story examines what information they will share with one another. (5)

Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) head Igor Artemyev on Friday signed an order on including enterprises, parts of Yevrotsement Group, into the federal section of the register of economic regions having a 35 percent share of a certain type of goods on the market. Yevrotsement Group has been included in the register by two types of services: cement production and wholesale cement trade. Brief. (6)

The Italian Mediobanca investment bank will open its mission in Russia next year. This was stated by its head Philippo Bokkino (Sp. ?) , who said that the corresponding documents for the registration of the mission have been submitted already to the Central Bank. Brief. (6)

The Aeroflot Board of Directors decided to create the company' s affiliate in St. Petersburg. The company' s press release spread on Friday stated its aims and tasks. Brief. (6)

The domestic AlterVest company, a leading producer of ice-cream, plans to create a network of shops of one step' s accessibility in the Moscow region. The company' s president Viktor Litovinov said that already early next year AlterVest will open its first shop in the Naro-Fominsky District of the Moscow region. Another 3-4 shops will appear soon in Moscow. Brief. (6)

Brothers and Co in 2006 plans to increase the numbers of its restaurants in the Sbarro network up to over 90. This was stated by Merab Yelashvili, chief of the Board of Directors of Brothers and Co. (exclusive franchasie of Sbarro in Russia, CIS and Baltic states) and owner of several brands (their names are given) . As many as 51 Sbarro restaurants are working in Russia today--45 in Moscow and 6 in St. Petersburg. Brief. (6)

Moscow UBEPofficers in the small trading centers in Moscow (their names are given) on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 confiscated a batch of vodka " Gzhelka" distilled by Kaluga Krystall. The brief states the reason behind the measure. (6)

The prices of raw sugar on the New York stock market have grown by 3. 9 percent and reached a record high level over the past 10 years. The brief gives figures to illustrate the point. (6)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (2/12-3/12/2005)

Moscow' s unique chance on the occasion of its first presidency in Big Eight and in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is becoming darkened due to an atmosphere that has shaped around Russia in connection with preparations for this event. Big Eight (also called the word gvt) and the Council of Europe, an old political organization, are the priority international clubs for Russia. And though Moscow is attaching special attention to its preparations for them, last days' events forecast considerable complications that Moscow will have to come up against on the international arena in the next several months. The story examines several such complications. (1, 6)

The Voice of Beslan public organization that has split from the Committee " Mothers of Beslan" has applied to the US president and Congress and heads of state of the European Community, to the European parliament and to all journalists who worked in Beslan on Sept. 1-3, 2004 for help in investigating the seizure of School No. 1. The Voice of Beslan has applied to US President George W. Bush asking him in person for help. The story reports on what help Beslan activists can count. (1, 7)

The Moscow Lefortovo District Court on Thursday gave to Alexei Kurtsin, deputy head of the Yukos-Moskva property department, gave a 14 -year prison term. Top managers have accused him of looting and laundering 342 million rubles. The story details his case, commenting on the court' s ruling. (1, 7)

The story examines what measures the authorities of the Far Eastern Federal District take to save the region from pollution coming from China. Their inaction leads to the worsening of the ecological situation in the region. (2)

Gleb Pavlovsky, President of the Fund of Effective Politics, and Sergei Markov, Director of the Institute of Political Studies, at a news conference at the Central Artists Club on Krymsky Val on Thursday in the company of two members of the Public Chamber Vyacheslav Glazychev, Director General of the Europe Publishing House, and Alexei Chadayev discussed the problem pertaining to orders of political literature. The story reveals its essence. (2)

Oleg Vyugin, head of the Federal Service for Financial Market, at the Second Investment Forum on Thursday criticized the situation in his sector of the econony. In his words, Russia has gotten behind the needs of the economy. Thus, he said in part: " We have lost the moment and today domestic companies are seeking money all over the world rather than at home" . The comments on his statements at the forum. (3)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov at a gvt session on Thursday attached much attention to boosting the fishing industry. He proposed to raise its significance, making it a national project. The story examines Fradkov' s statements. (3 )

ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA (3/12/2005)

The session of OSCE foreign ministers will take place on Slovenia on Dec. 5. The Russian side expects from it the beginning of a real process on reforming this international organization In a far-ranging interview (on the eve of the meeting) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says what problems the meeting will discuss and what he expects from it. (1, 4)

The national project " Health" envisages that next year the budget will allocate 10. 5 billion rubles for improving medical aid to future mothers with the help of birth certificates. The Health Ministry has endorsed the form of a new document, and the Fund of Social Insurance has worked out a mechanism of paying the certificates that should ensure special conditions and professional medical help to the expectant mothers and women in childbirth. The story examines the new certificates that will be introduced starting new year. (1)

Presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak at a session of the Council of the Districts Heads of the region on Friday stated that external administration may be imposed in three regions. Kozak for the first time named candidates to bankrupts -- Ingushetia, Dagestan and the Republic of Tyva. The story reveals the essence of his statement. (1, 2)

President Putin in the Kremlin on Friday received Austria' s Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Shuessel (Sp. ?) The story describes their negotiations, saying why this visit is particularly important for Russia now. (2)

In five -ten years the Topol nuclear complex alone will remain in place of the present 6 types of nuclear complexes. This was stated by Strategic Nuclear Troops Commander Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov. The story comments on his promise. (2)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on Friday went to Yerevan to conduct negotiations with the Armenian leaders. The story examines issues they discussed and decisions s they made. (3)

The presence of Russian pilgrims in Abkhazian churches should not be viewed as Russia' s interference into the affairs of the Georgian Orthodox Church. This was stated by the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday in a reply to an unfortunate statement by the Georgian Church. The story comments on the statement by the Georgian Church. (3)

TRUD (3/12/2005)

he Research Institute of the Morphology of Man of the Academy of Medical Sciences has conducted an unexpected and even to some extent a sensational study concerning the death of live cells on the earth orbit. Several scientists believe that the orbital station should be protected more rigorously. The story reveals some results of the study. In an interview biologist Sergei Savelyev tells about results of interesting experiments. The scientists' conclusion is that the cosmonaut' s profession is very dangerous for health. (1, 3)

Specially equipped taxi-cabs for disabled will begin to work in Moscow this month. This was stated by First Deputy Mayor Lyudmila Svetsova. The story comments on her statement. (2)

The story highlights thirty-six-year-old writer Denis Gutsko, who with his novel " Bez Puti-Sleda" , has won the literary Prize " Booker-Open Russia" . The focus is on the jury' s choice. (2)

Almost all air flight controllers even if only once have seen an unidentified flying object -- this is stated by pilot Igor Smirnov in the Belgorod newspaper " Meridian" , who has devoted 25 years of his life to aviation. He cited several interesting cases. (5)