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Press Review

IZVESTIA (21/2/2005)

Moldova' s authorities have become entangled in determining their line-- on whom to lay the blame -- on Russia or on the West -- for their possible defeat in the upcoming parliamentary elections. President Vladimir Voronin is trying to wage war on two fronts. The story reveals the essence of official Kishinev' s stand. (1, 3, Kommersant, 10, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3, Vremya Novostei, 1, 2, Gazeta, 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 3)

The Russian-American summit will take place in Bratislava on Feb. 24. In an exclusive interview US President George W. Bush optimistically talks about what he is expecting from the forthcoming meeting with his friend Vladimir Putin (as he himself has called the Russian president) . (1, 5, Kommersant, 1, 9, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 4, Vremya Novostei, 3, Gazeta, 6, Russky Kuryer, 8, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 3, 9, 14)

Iran may become a major point of discussion at the forthcoming Russian- American summit in Bratislava. The story examines both presidents' viewpoints on the Iranian issue. (2)

The story examines diplomatic complexities connected with the forthcoming Bratislava summit. (2)

The story reflects on whether the " orange revolution" is possible in Kyrgyzstan, where the parliamentary elections will take place on Feb. 27 and where the presidential North and the opposition South have different political interests. (1, 6, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 10)

St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko has harshly criticized the gvt policy of protecting monuments. She has demanded to make the federal monuments the property of the city. The story comments on her demands, saying what she has promised to do if they are not met. (2)

The recent statement of Ilya Klebanov, presidential envoy to the North-Western Federal District on the need to make Kaliningrad foreign territory has sparked new sentiments in the region. Thus, a new political movement is expected today to convene its founding congress, at which its organizers will discuss the status of autonomy for the region. The story reports on what stands behind the creation of the new movement. (2)

Russia and Georgia in the next two months should find a compromise on six disputed issues in their bilateral dialogue-- such is a main distressing result of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov' s visit to Georgia. The story examines s these six disputed issues. (2, Vremya Novostei, 5)

The political party " Rodina" with Dmitry Rogozin as its leader has chosen a new colour. The story describes the colour, saying what Rogozin' s psychological choice could mean. (3, Kommersant, 4, Noviye Izvestia, 2, Russky Kuryer, 4. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2)

The State Duma on Friday passed (in the second reading) the draft bill concerning the Public Chamber. The story examines the latest amendments to the document. (3, Gazeta, 2, Vremya Novostei, 2, Russky Kuryer, 4)

As many as 226 Chernobyl victims in the Tula region have been on hunger strike since Friday, demanding the payment of back debts and a revision of the major provisions of the monetarization law. Many Chernobyl victims in several other regions are conducting acts of protests with similar demands. The story describes them. (3. Gazeta, 4)

Ufa scientist Oskar Kaibyshev, 66, Director of the Institute of Superplastic Metals Problems of the Academy of Sciences, has been accused of spying for South Korea. The story details his case. (3, Kommersant, 6, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 7, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 7, Vremya Novostei, 3)

President Putin have nominated two other candidacies to the post of regional governors-- the candidature of Nikolai Volkov to the post of head of the Jewish Autonomous Region and the candidature of Leonid Korotkov to the post of governor of the Amur region. (3, Kommersant, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, Noviye Izvestia, 2)

Starting this Monday, Izvestia will have Supplement (in English) containing the best materials from the newspaper " The New York Times" . The story features the joint project. (1, 4) s

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov in his story titled " We Live Better Than it Seems to us" offers official facts and figures illustrating his words. (4)

Security forces in Nalchik (Kabardino-Balkaria) on Sunday completed their operation, as a result of which three terrorists were killed. The story gives details. (7, Kommersant, 5, Gazeta, 10, Vremya Novostei, 2, Russky Kuryer, 1, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, MK, 1, 3)

The investigation of the Alexander Pulmane case last week took an unprecedented twist. The story describes new participants in the crime. (7)

Nizhny Novgorod police have detained deputy governor Mark Pereverzev, who is suspected of taking bribes. The story details his case. (7)

Three unidentified thieves in St. Petersburg on Sunday robbed an office of the human rights organization " Memorial" . A guard, who let them in, was seriously injured. Brief. (7, Kommersant, 6)

LUKoil Vice-President Leonid Fedun on Friday stated that he is in talks with the German Ruhr Ol Gmgh company on buying its 50 percent share. The story describes the possible deal, saying that if it' s a success then LUKoil will receive about 20 percent of the whole German oil-processing market. (9, 10)

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev stated on Sunday that the federal budget' s losses from the shade alcohol turnover amount to 60 billion rubles. Gordeyev added that this figure is twice as much as the annual support of agriculture from the federal budget. Brief. (9)

The Gorky Auto Plant (GAZ) plans to raise prices of its autos. This was stated by Interfax with reference to a GAZ source. Brief. (10)

The Siberian Coal-Energy Company (or SUEK) that extracts 36 percent of the country' s energy coal, has replaced its Board of Directors, in which 50 percent of its directors now are independent. Brief. (10)

The Statue devoted to the Soldier of the Fatherland--20th Century was unveiled in Moscow' s Maryino over the weekend. Brief. (13, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 4)

KOMMERSANT (21/2/2005)

The Kremlin is preparing a new youth project to replace the pro- Putin movement " Moving Together" . Its branches should be created in all large cities under direct control of the Kremlin administration. The story examines the project, focusing on its aims and tasks. (1, 3)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov at the recent gvt session on Feb. 17 rejected Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin' s budget ambitions, which sparked a gvt apparat intrigue (See Kommersant of Feb. 18) . The story examines Kudrin' s draft plan to prepare the 3-year budget for 2006-200, which the minister on Feb. 11 submitted this document to the president. (1, 2)

The State Duma on Friday revoked six Audit Chamber auditors, whom it appoints. S. D. will appoint its new auditors on March 18. The story comments on the renewal of the Audit Chamber, saying that it' s not excluded that the move was undertaken by the Kremlin in order to exclude auditors delegated by the KPRF and SPS. (2)

Starting new year, all regions will have only one newspaper to be financed from the federal budget. This was stated by presidential representative in the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak and by head of the Federal Press Agency Mikhail Seslavinsky in Sochi on Friday at a conference devoted to the problems of boosting mass media. The story comments on their statements. (4)

About 600 retired and active officers, delegates from the All-Russian Officers' Assembly, from 50 regions got together in Moscow on Saturday to discuss " catastrophic results of military reform. The story describes their discussion, proposals and decisions. (7, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 2, Vremya Novostei, 1, 3)

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today will pay a working visit to Ukraine. The story examines the aim of his visit, saying that Moscow pins big hopes on them, though the negotiations will not be easy. (10, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 3)

Transport Minister Igor Levitin and Latvia' s Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis in Trakae (Sp. ?) on Sunday agreed on priority development of cooperation between the Kaliningrad and Klaipeda sea ports. The brief reveals the essence of their agreement. (13)

The State Duma on Friday passed (in the second and third readings) amendments to the law concerning the securities market. The story examines several principal amendments. (13)

The Ship-Building Board of the Navy has announced at last a tender for the right to build new frigates that over the past 3 years was postponed more than once. The story describes the conditions of the tender, reflecting on its possible participants. (13, 16)

Belgian Mortier Catering N. V. has accused the Russian Gurman holding and its owner Ruslan Pashkov of misappropriating the trade mark and of unfair competition. The story describes the conflicting situation. (13, 16)

American food export to Russia has considerably increased lately. This is stated in a report by American attache in the American Embassy in Moscow. Brief. (14)

VEDOMOSTI (21/2/2005)

The ExxonMobil oil company by its capitalization and prestige has outstripped General Electric. The story cites figures to illustrate the point. (A1)

A Rosneft employee is trying to prevent Yukos from becoming a bankrupt in the USA. As it has turned out, this person was a guard in a Rosneft subsidiary. (A1)

The consequences of the New Year vacations have not adversely affected the domestic economy. Industry in January slowed down but not to the extent expected by experts. (A1)

The Federal Tax Service (FNS) is mastering a new method of filling the budget. FNS in courts is proving that companies did not simply underpay taxes but did it with the help of deals, the aim of which was deliberately opposite to the fundamentals of justice or morality. (A1)

State Duma deputies have begun to zealously defend the interests of their country in former Soviet republics. Thus, on Friday they threatened to Ukraine planning a wide-scale de-privatization and to Moldova that refuses to lift the blockade of Trans-Dniestria. Experts say that Russia does not have real levers of exerting influence on its neighbours. (A2)

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov' s first visit to Georgia was absolutely fruitless. The Georgian leadership stated that it was ready to make a compromise with Russia but it does not intend to make any concessions. (A2)

A massive transfer to the international standards of book-keeping accountancy can be postponed, because Russian book-keepers are not professionally ready for this new system. (A3)

The export of main oil products from Russia in a month will go up in price by 20 percent: the customs export fee will rise up to $68. 2 per ton. State officials do not think that this can stop petrol price hikes. (A3 )

Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is creating a small consulting company in order to sell recommendations and advice to foreign corporations, Russian businessmen and regions. (A4)

While Russia was asking the Paris Club to grant it a discount on an early clearing off of its Soviet-era debt, creditors demanded to pay them a 2. 5 percent bonus for their consent to this deal. So who should pay for the early payment of the debt? Four experts share their viewpoints. (A4)

In a far-ranging interview Uralkaly President Vladislav Baumgertner talks about his profit-making company, about its owners, about its global competitors, about the company' s priorities and about its role and place on the market. (A5)

VEDOMOSTI. COMPANIES & MARKETS SUPPLEMENT

Coal deposits by the cost have come close to the oil reserves or those of precious metals. Thus, the Yuzhkuzbassugol company has paid over $41 million for only one stretch of the Yewrunakovsky section (B1)

Since December 2004, Yukos has paid out 270. 9 billion rubles in additional taxes and fees, of which 260. 4 billion was received from the sale of Yuganskneftegaz. . This is stated in the Finance Ministry' s press release. Brief. (B1)

Foreign companies' subsidiaries registered in Russia will receive access to planned auctions in 2006 for 40 deposits in Eastern Siberia. . This was stated by Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Anatoly Temkin. Brief. (B1)

UralSib Bank in the 4th quarter of 2004 sold approximately 2 million shares (about 0. 24 percent of the charter capital) of LUKoil. This is stated in the bank' s press release. Brief. (B1)

AvtoVAZ official dealers, starting the second half of 2005, will launch the organization of the second hand market of Lada autos. This was stated by the company' s press center. Brief. (B1)

The Magnitogorsk Metals Combine and Italian Group Ruscalla intend to launch a joint venture in Russia to make steel for fencing auto roads. This was reported by Italian mass media. Brief. (B1)

Vladimir Antonov, head of the Board of Directors of Konvers Group has consolidated 64 percent of shares of Konversbank, and intends soon to increase his package up to 85 percent. The story explains why he has disclosed this information. (B1)

The story describes a new sources of funding Russian Railways' projects. Thus, the company intends to propose to the gvt to refuse from receiving dividends for last year. (B2)

The Lenenergo Management Board decided to halve its investment program for this year in order to meet demands from UES for increasing profits. (B3 )

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (21/2/2005)

The Committee-2008 at its latest session on Saturday made another unsuccessful attempt to merge the Union of Right Forces (SPS) , Yabloko and other liberal forces into one big and strong party. Will a full-fledged liberal structure emerge in Russia, and if yes then from the top or from the bottom? Eight authoritative politicians and spin doctors share their viewpoints. (1, 2)

It took authorities two months to make clear the situation with VympelCom' s debts in 2002. The company late last week received the tax agencies' final decision, saying that its debt for 2002 amounts to 344 million rubles (approximately $12. 4 million) plus 129. 1 million rubles in fines ($4. 7 million. The story describes the company' s debt situation. (4)

NOVIYE IZVESTIA (21/2/2005)

The Bureau of the Yabloko Party over the weekend held a session to discuss an issue concerning the creation of a united democratic party. The story describes the discussion, proposals and the decision. (2)

The domestic fishing industry today is in deep crisis: fishing business and crime merged long ago, and clear-cut state policy in relation to this economic sector is practically non-existent. The story describes the situation, explaining why Russian fishing trailers prefer foreign flags. (3)

The State Duma late last week paid attention to big statements made by the new Ukrainian gvt. Deputies instructed the S. D. Property Committee to study and submit to the Duma information on a possible hurting of interests of Russian investors in connection with the beginning of de-privatization ion Ukraine. The story comments on the issue. (3)

The international rating Standard&Poor' s Agency in its latest report says that the economy of Russia shows the symptoms of the Dutch disease. The story reveals them in detail, saying that for treating it experts recommend to put reforms on a fast track, not to restrain the ruble rate and not to exert pressure on business. (3 )

Wives and mothers of 12 Russian sailors now being kept in a Nigerian prison on charges of the oil contraband, declared a hunger strike in Novorossiisk on Sunday. They demand that Russian authorities defend their citizens, who over a year have been kept in inhuman conditions. The story gives details. (1, 7 )

In an interview State Duma deputy Oksana Dmitriyeva, former Labour and Social Development Minister reveals the essence of the claims to the executive power that were contained in the State Duma document. (1, 3)

NOVAYA GAZETA #13

The story describes many medical and insurance companies that were founded by Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov or by his relatives. The story focuses on his interest in shady business. The story also tries to answer the following question: Why do subsidized medicines cost more than the usual ones? (1-3)

The medals " Together Against Terrorism" with the images of President Putin and US President George W. Bush appeared recently on the two popular Internet-auctions. The auction Molotok. Ru in the section " Military Decorations" offers this given lot at the starting price of 750 rubles. The story describes the origin of this decoration. (5)

The story is devoted to the Stabilization Fund, focusing on different sources, feeding it. The monetarization of social welfare benefits is likely to have been designed for receiving access to the " emergency" money. It' s not excluded that due to the fall of the dollar, the Stabilization Fund (700 billion rubles) has dried out by almost $1 billion. (8, 9)

The story examines federal authorities' gross mistakes, focusing on what subordinates are usually chosen by their bosses, including by the president. The story stresses that it' s more and more difficult today for bosses to find employees who would be more stupid than they themselves. (10)

The US Senate for the first time after the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Moscow has responded to what Washington has called the " retreat of democracy in Russia" . And its verdict is sensational -- Democracy in Russia has not retreated ; democracy in Russia has been killed" . The story comments on this verdict. (11)

In an interview Arseny Roginsky, Chairman of the " Memorial" Association and member of the Council of the Founders of the Public Verdict Fund (it was founded a year ago) , talks about the expediency of this fund for the domestic human rights movement. (12)

In a far- ranging interview former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev harshly criticizes the gvt for current social reforms, saying in part: " We should stop the gvt' s destructive work in the sphere of education, science and medicine. "(16, 17 )