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Press Review

IZVESTIA (17/2/2005)

Mayor Yury Luzhkov is opposing the law concerning the monetarization of social welfare benefits, saying that he will appeal some of its articles in the Constitutional Court. The story reveals his stand on the gvt' s unpopular social welfare reform, focusing on how experts regard his stand. (1, 3, Kommersant, 1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 4, Noviye Izvestia, 3, Vremya Novostei, 2, Gazeta, 5, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2, MK, 2)

The State Duma on Wednesday passed (in the second reading) amendments envisaging stricter rules concerning illegal parking. The story examines several amendments. (1, Kommersant, 7, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3)

The Moscow City Prosecutor' s Office on Wednesday replaced the previous counts of an indictment for 39 activists from the radical National Bolshevik Party with the new less grave ones. The story comments on the decision of the Prosecutor' s Office. (1, 3, Kommersant, 7, Noviye Izvestia, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 6)

Yury Kalinin, head of the Federal Punishment Execution Service, on Wednesday made a sensational statement, saying that he has no idea of the whereabouts of special service agents Anatoly Yablochkov and Vasily Pugachev, whom the Qatari Court on June 30, 2004 sentenced to life in prison, and who on Dec. 23 were extradited to Russia. According to international practice, however, they should be in prison. The story comments on Kalinin' s statement. (1, 2, Vremya Novostei, 1)

The State Duma on Wednesday passed (in the second reading) the draft bill concerning security (anti-terror) measures in the airports. The story examines some of the amendments, saying that now police will replace private guards there. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Noviye Izvestia, 2)

The story reports on what is standing behind the current scandal around Ryazan governor Georgy Shpak. (2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 4)

The Defense Ministry stated on Wednesday what weapons it plans to deliver to Syria. The story comments on the ministry' s statement, saying that it has made Prime Minister Ariel Sharon seriously concerned. (2, Kommersant, 1, 9, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, 8, Vremya Novostei, 5, Krasnaya Zvezda, 1, Trud, 4, Nezavisimata Gazeta, 1, 5 )

St. Petersburg abductors on Tuesday evening themselves released thirty-three Israeli businessman Boris Suris, who on Wednesday came back to his father' s apartment in St. Petersburg. The story describes the case. (3, Kommersant, 6, Noviye Izvestia, 6)

Vladimir Legislative Assembly Chairman Anatoly Bobrov stated on Wednesday that President Putin proposed to the Assembly to elect present governor Communist Nikolai Vinogradov to the next gubernatorial term of office. The story comments on the candidacy nominated by the president. (3, Kommersant, 3, Noviye Izvestia, 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 4)

According to the international Human Rights Watch organization, over 1, 000 people were abducted in Chechnya last year. But there are some other figures: Chechen ombudsman Lema Khasuev stated that more than 2, 500 people were abducted in the republic over the last 4 years. Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has cited 1, 700 people as abducted over the 11 months of last year. The story comments on these figures, saying that, as Human Rights Watch official Anna Neistat stated. , more than 30 abductions in Chechnya is committed by federals. (3)

Nefteyugansk Mayor Viktor Tkachev has been discharged from his post. The story reflects on reasons, saying that his resignation is most probably connected with the Yukos case. (3, Kommersant, 5)

The Committee-2008 at a news conference on Wednesday told journalists about its latest sessions, its participants, about their serious differences and decisions. (3, Kommersant, 3, Gazeta, 2, Vremya Novostei, 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2)

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday presided over a session devoted to republican television and mass media. He harshly criticized several Western mass media and local newspapers. The story comments on his criticism. (1, 5)

Vladimir Razuvayev, Director-General of the Center for Economic and Political Studies, examines ten theses, explaining why Georgia' s independence is favourable to Russia. (4)

The story examines Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko' s first instructions concerning ministers and governors. The conclusion is that Yushchenko has already shown that he is a more demanding chief than his predecessor Leonid Kuchma. The focus is on Yushchenko' s support of the Russian language in the republic. (5)

Georgia' s Defense Minister Irakly Okruashvili has sacked the whole Georgian General Staff. . The story comments on the measure, focusing on its aim. (5, Kommersant, 10)

The gvt today is expected to consider an issue concerning the regulation of the banking sector, though it was expected to consider Gazprom' s long-awaited investment program-2005 that is a scheme of a Gazprom-Rosneft merger, but it is not ready for discussion. The story examines some of the amendments to the draft bill that toughen demands to bank owners (9, Kommersant, 13)

Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov at a news conference on Wednesday described negative consequences of the Kyoto Protocol that took effect on Feb. 16. He said in part that, due to " kyotism" , the gross domestic product by 2050 will decrease by 65 percent. (9)

Swedish IKEA on Wednesday announced that it will build its new complex together with the agricultural firm " Belaya Dacha" that was founded by State Duma deputy Viktor Semyonov, former Agriculture Minister. The story explains why it' s good for IKEA. (10)

Domestic export in 2004 reached a record high figure $183 billion, which has surpassed import by $88 billion. Experts say that 2004 was the last year of this kind. The story says why. (10)

Aeroflot intends to suspend its cheap transportations on its internal lines. And, starting Feb. 19, the company will stop to fly to Nizhny Novgorod. The story says why. (10)

A big scandal has broken out between the federal gvt and Moscow authorities over Tsaritsyno. The story reveals its essence. (13)

Moscow City Hall on Wednesday released new rules concerning cracking down on snow in the city. According to the rules, GAI will have a major role in this campaign. The story examines the new rules. (13)

KOMMERSANT (17/2/2005)

The US Senate International Affairs Committee today is expected to hold a hearing on the Yukos case, with Menatep Group Executive Director Tim Osborn and Yukos CEO Steven Theede as main reporters. The story examines several provisions from Theede' s report, focusing on its conclusions. (1, 10)

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev in the State Duma on Wednesday told deputies about serious problems of agriculture, and named his adversaries. The story examines his report. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3)rime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on Wednesday attended an enlarged collegium of the Interior Ministry (or MVD) . He stressed that it was by order from the president. The story examines his fierce criticism. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1. 9)

The presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan -- Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev-- in the Kremlin on Wednesday held negotiations to discuss economic cooperation and the position of Russians in the republic. The story examines some positive results, focusing on their future plans. (2)

An unidentified assailant in Kizlyar on Wednesday tried to kill Dagestani Vice-Premier Amuchi Amutinov and Security Council Secretary Akhmed-Nabi- Magdigadzhiyev. A car blast spearheaded against them left three people dead and another 8 injured. the high officials survived. The story details the case. (5)

The Moscow Meshchansky District Court considering the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on Wednesday refused to consider a petition filed by the lawyers of Khodorkovsky on his release. The story examines how the court explained its refusal. (5)

Chechen First Deputy-Premier Ramzan Kadyrov on Wednesday testified to the republic' s Prosecutor Vladimir Kravchenko within the framework of the investigation into a criminal case concerning the abduction of Aslan Maskhadov' s relatives. Besides that, investigators went to Tsentoroi and searched the basements of Kadyrov' s estates, in which, as human rights activists say, the relatives are being kept. (6)

A mass protest (1, 000 participants headed by Committee-2008 leader Garri Kasparov) against the monetarization of social welfare benefits took place in front of St. Petersburg' s Mariinsky Palace on Wednesday. They demanded the resignation of the president and the gvt. (8)

The Ukrainian Supreme Rada' s official newspaper " Golos Ukrainy" reported on Wednesday that Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin will be probably recalled to Moscow. Brief. (10)

Group Renova decided to take up the extraction and processing of platinum group metals in South Africa, in which local companies swill be Renova' s partners. (13, 14)

The story offers the Central Bank' s statistics on import and export of foreign currency by the authorized banks in December 2004. (15)

VEDOMOSTI (17/2/2005)

On the threshold of the privatization of Svyazinvest, the Information and Communications Ministry decided to take up the management of the company. Thus, the holding will install by several representatives from the ministry to the boards of directors of all its subsidiaries. (A1 )

Russian private dealers and down-hill skiers, who last December chose Europe for their winter vacations, bought up euros so actively and swiftly that they set a national record. During that month alone they obtained in exchange points over 1. 1 billion euros. (A1)

Though Russia is no longer an IMF debtor, the fund is continuing to keep an eye on its economic policy. Thus, IMF experts recommend to the Russian gvt that it give up the idea of lowering VAT down to 13 percent. (A1)

The story reveals the essence of the proportionate system of elections of State Duma deputies. (A1, A5)

Russia' s plans to sell " Strelets " nuclear complexes to Syria cause the USA' s serious concern, and in view of this Russia can be made to give up these plans. (A2)

New developments in the Yukos case often take place now outside Russia. Thus, Yukos CEO Steven Theede at a hearing in the US Senate today will make a report about the Yukos case, and on Wednesday the Houston Bankruptcy Court began to consider a petition from Deutsche Bank, insisting that this court does not have the right to make a decision on Yukos bankruptcy. (A2)

The Ukrainian gvt' s view on privatization results differs from that of President Yushchenko. Thus, Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko with the help of the Prosecutor General' s Office intends to contest the sale of 3, 000 companies, and Yushchenko agrees on 30-40 companies. (A3)

The Natural Resources Ministry would like to exclude foreigners from participation in auctions to sell East-Siberian oil and gas deposits. Officials in other ministries are perplexed at the ministry' s stand on the issue: they believe that the more investors the better for the country. (A3)

Should the salary be insured? Six experts share their viewpoints on the issue. (A4)

Ernst & Young Manager in Russia and CIS Dag Gardner believe that the Yukos case has not discouraged foreigners from investing in Russia. (A5)

In an interview to WSJ (a week before US President George W. Bush' s visit to Europe German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expresses his support to President Putin, saying that he has done a great deal for his country ' s democratic development. (A5)

VEDOMOSTI. COMPANIES & MARKETS SUPPLEMENT

Last year became successful for many domestic companies and, therefore, many of them have shown their generosity in paying out dividends. The story names several companies that have been the most generous ones in this respect. (B1)

Developer Shalva Chigirinsky, who has won the right to pull down Hotel Rossiya and to build something new in its place, has begun to introduce changes into the project. One of the conditions of the competition was the construction of a new movie-theater. Chigirinsky has agreed to keep it in the project, but only with his changes of its outward look. The story looks at the project. (B1)

Luxembourg Arcelor is in talks with Russian metals enterprises with the aim of expanding its presence on the Russian market. This was stated by Vladimir Tsukrov, head of the company' s mission in Russia. Brief. (B1)

The Magnitogorsky Metals Combine is considering the possibility of appearing on the market of ADR and IPO this year. This was stated by the company' s First Deputy Director-General Andrei Morozov. Brief. (B1 )

Menatep Group on Wednesday sent Rosneft an official notification with a demand to recover a $900 million credit. This was stated by the company' s Director Tim Osborn. Brief. (B1)

The world demand for oil this year will grow at a faster pace than was previously expected. This was stated by OPEC. Brief. (B1)

American International Paper intends to invest about $150 million in the organization of new production of pulp in Svetogorsk. This was stated by the enterprise' s Director-General Sergei Pondar. (B1)

State-controlled 20 percent of shares of Volgotanker can be sold this year. What is unusual about this company is that it has considerable tax claims. The story looks at them. (B2)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (16/2/2005)

How serious is the State Duma' s two-month ultimatum imposed upon the gvt over the weekend ? In an interview State Duma Vice-Speaker Oleg Morozov answers this and other questions about the gvt' s poor work, focusing on the State Duma majority' s further plans to lead the country out of the current social crisis. (1, 2)

The federal budget in 2004 was fulfilled with a 730. 7 billion ruble surplus against the 505. 7 billion ruble figure stated in the budget. This is stated in the Finance Ministry' s official documents. Brief. (3)

The overall investments in boosting the Moscow metro in 2005 will amount to 5 billion rubles. This was stated by metro chief Dmitry Gayev at a news conference on Tuesday. Brief. (3)

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis on Tuesday completed his visit to Moscow. He had several significant meetings with Russian top officials. In an interview he sums up results of his visit. (5)

TRUD (16/2/2005)

The gvt has endorsed a list of 58 research organizations that has been granted the status of the state-run scientific centers. The story looks at the list, saying what is awaiting other research organizations. (1, 3)

Six tons of Afghani drugs is smuggled to Russia every year through the Altai region, in which the Rubtsovsk is the smuggled drug center. The story describes local authorities' efforts to establish control. (3)

NOVIYE IZVESTIA (16/2/2005)

The State Duma in a couple of days is to consider (in a first reading) amendments to the Law concerning physical culture and sports that for the first time introduce the notion " doping" . Besides that, deputies proposed to make responsible not only athletes using forbidden preparations but also their coaches and doctors who give them to athletes. The story examines several amendments. (1, 7)

Azerbaijan' s President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday arrived in Moscow on a 3-day working visit. He plans to discuss with the Russian leadership a program of boosting bilateral economic cooperation, the problem of Nagorny Karabakh and bilateral efforts in cracking down on terrorism. The story examines the program of the visit. (1, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 5)

St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko at a gvt session on Tuesday stated that in 2004 Petersburgers earned more money than the year before. But the regional branch of the Russian Medical Workers Labour Union did not agree, saying that city doctors have announced the launching of an act of protest against decreased salaries. The story describes those who did not believe what the governor said at the official gvt meeting. (2)

Organized Crime and Terrorism Department of the Interior Ministry on Tuesday summed up results of its work last year. According to the main report, there are about 100 criminal communities in the country with 4, 000 bandits, and this criminal army is controlled by 200 reputed mobsters. The story examines the report. (6)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (16/2/2005)

Show -business star Filipp Kirkorov after a long break gave a concert in Minsk on Feb. 14 on the occasion of Valentine' s Day. In an interview Filipp says where he was and what he did during this long time. (2)

Belgorod governor Yevgeny Savchenko has taken several tough measures to make parents bring up their children. The story looks at his special proposed program. (3)

The story describes Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov' s visit to Rostov on Tuesday, when he decided to check medicine supplies in several local pharmacies. The minister on that day managed to speak with several clients. (3 )

The Health Ministry has drafted amendments to the Law concerning the so-called consumer basket. The story examines several amendments. (5)

The terrible December natural disaster -- the tsunami -- that swept away dozens of resorts and coastal settlements in the Indian Ocean helped recover the ancient Indian city Mahabalipurama. The story describes this wonder, saying what it would symbolize. (5, Noviye Izvestia, 4)

How many stray dog can Moscow afford? And what will happen if these animals disappear? Several experts share their views on these questions. (9)

Moscow authorities intend to close the dogs' shelter " Solnyshko " on Lyuberetsky Proezd, and, as a result, 200 dogs will be evicted. The story describes what is awaiting them on winter streets. (9)

The Italian newspaper " La Repubblica" has published a sensational story about Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko ' s war with Belarussian long-legged photo models. The story comments on the story. (12, 13)

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS (16/2/2005)

As it has turned out, it' s not a problem in Moscow to buy a baby even if it' s not born yet. The feature story describes several concrete facts showing how it' s done. (1, 5)

The murder committed by 38-year-old entrepreneur Sergei Tokarev in an elite settlement in Novogorsk (Moscow region) on Tuesday morning shocked its residents. Tokarev without any reason killed his wife and daughter. The story details this terrible case. (1)

According to Ruslan Aushev, head of the Servicemen- Internationalists Committee attached to the Council of CIS Heads of Government, more than 2, 500 servicemen die in CIS in military actions every year. Brief. (2)

There are 100 criminal associations involving about 4, 000 people in Russia today. This was stated by Nikolai Ovchinnikov, Acting Chief of the Economic Crime and Terrorism Department attached to the Interior Ministry. He stated in part that about 70 criminal groups commit crimes in the economic sphere, and the rest--in the general criminal one. Brief. (2)

The metro authorities on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Moscow metro decided to mark this event with a special jubilee train-- a true moving museum -- on the Sokolnicheskaya line (red colour on the metro plan) that was the first line to launch the metro service. The story describes the train. (2)

The story describes victims of the unprecedented snowfall in Moscow city and region, where the snowfall will continue on Thursday. (1, 3)