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Press Review

IZVESTIA (11, 12, 13/2/2005)

President Putin in the Kremlin on Thursday met with a group of theatrical workers (their names are given) to discuss reforming theaters and to listen to their opinions. The story describes the meeting, concluding that, as it has turned out, the fate of any reform in this country depends on one person alone, and everyone knows him. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Feb. 11, p. 9, Vremya Novostei, Feb. 11, p, 3, Trud, Feb. 11, p, 3)

In an exclusive interview Georgia' s future Prime Minister Zurab Nosgaideli, whose candidacy the parliament is to endorse in several days, talks about his new job and about his successful joint work with the late Prime Minister, Zurab Zhvania. He also focuses on his tough principles. (1, 4, Trud, Feb. 11, p. 2)

Criminal investigators up to now have failed to say who is guilty of the Transvaal tragedy. The version of a blast, however, is not excluded. The story examines this version. In an interview Chief Designer of the water park Nodar Kancheli says that he disagrees with the State Commission' s conclusions. (1, 16, 17)

Moscow City Court Chairwoman Olga Yegorova has sent a letter to Justice Minister Yury Chaika, demanding that 3 lawyers (their names are given) should be deprived of their status as lawyers. In her letter Yegorova explains the reason behind her demand. (2, Vremya Novostei, Feb. 11, p. 3)

The Russia- NATO Council held its session on Thursday that was attended by defense ministers. The story describes the session, focusing on Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov' s statement concerning Russia' s possible military assistance. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Krasnaya Zvezda, Feb. 11, p. 1, Vremya Novostei, Feb. 11, p. 4)

State Duma Information Policy Committee head Valery Komissarov on Thursday persuaded his colleagues to recommend to deputies to reject amendments to the mass media law that forbid violent scenes on television. The story examines the fate of the law. focusing on several proposals. (3, Noviye Izvestia, Feb. 11, p. 3)

The Deluxe Alliance Company on Thursday announced the launching of the Vladeni cross- marketing project that will work on the de-luxe commodity and services market. According to the rules, the cost of commodities proposed by the project participants should not be lower than $1 million The story reveals the essence of the project, saying how it was initiated. (1, 3)

The Third Congress of the Russian Ecological Congress took place in Moscow on Thursday. The story examines its main aim and results summed up by Sergei Baranovsky, President of the Russian Green Cross(3)

The State Duma Council at a session on Thursday recommended deputies to discuss amendments to the Criminal Code that envisage the imposing of death penalty for terrorism and hostage taking. Brief. (3)

In an interview Ukraine' s Foreign Minister and career diplomat Boris Tarasyuk examines major trends of foreign policy to be pursued by the leaders of the orange revolution. He focuses on his good relations with his long-standing Russian friend Sergei Lavrov, with whom he is now laying the groundwork for President Vladimir Putin' s visit to Ukraine. (4)

The story comments on Georgia' s President Mikheil Saakashvili' s speech at the first spring session of the parliament, focusing on deputies' reaction. (4)

North Korea has announced itself to be a nuclear power. " We have resolutely withdrawn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and made several nuclear charges for self-defense" --this sensational statement by a NKorean official spokesman for the Foreign Ministry was spread by the Central Telegraph Agency of Korea. The story comments on the statement, saying what has urged Pyongyang to make it public. (5)

Famous tennis player Anna Kournikova is suing her American admirer William Lepeska (Sp. ?) , who is accused of stalking the tennis-player. The story details the case. (6)

In an interview Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel talks about the only terrorist -- Nurpash Kulayev -- who has survived in the Beslan hostage-taking crisis. Shepel talks about results of the current investigation of that tragedy. (6)

The Moscow Interior Department has solved a swindling case, as a result of which American entrepreneur Frank Newman (Sp. ?) has lost almost $5 million. The brief shows how it happened. (6)

Russia for the first time over long years will receive new territory. The fact is that the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan --Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev-- in late January signed the border treaty, and as soon as it is ratified by both parliaments Kazakhstan will pass over to Russia a settlement Ogneuporny. The feature story describes it and its residents. (7)

TV critic Irina Petrovskaya harshly criticizes Vladimir Solovyov' s recent program " K Baryery" on the NTV channel that aired a clash between two generals-- cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and State Duma deputy Communist Albert Makashov. The latter spoke about his hatred of Jews. (8)

Though the State Duma on Wednesday retracted the no-confidence in the gvt motion, opposition deputies are continuing to demand the resignation of one-two ministers responsible for conducting welfare reforms. The question is can the resignation of a state official resolve the state problem? Nine politicians, entrepreneurs, trade union leaders, financiers and public figures share their views. (9)

Yakov Urinson, deputy head of the UES Management Board, stated on Thursday that about 50 percent of all competitive purchases by UES enterprises will be made already this year through the Internet. The story examines how it will be done. (13)

KOMMERSANT (12/2/2005)

Lieutenant-General Sergei Shlyaev, Chief of the Central Clothing Board of the Defense Ministry, on Friday made public Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov' s order, according to which the symbol of the Russian army--the double-headed eagle with a sword and a laurel wreath in its claws -- will disappear from the servicemen' s headgear. The story comments on the order that was signed on Dec. 27, 2004, but for some reason was kept secret. (1, 3)

Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev in the State Duma on Friday stated that the domestic companies should stop to be offshore ones. The story comments on his statement, saying that it' s not excluded that the offshore companies will lose their licenses and their access to the auctions for the right to develop deposits. (1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2)

Gazpromneft (sold by Gazprom) on Friday morning submitted its petition in the Houston Bankruptcy Court on dropping the suit in court on Yukos bankruptcy. The story comments on such a behaviour of Gazpromneft that can only considerably confuse the court case. (1, 5)

Director-General of the Magnitogorsk Metals Combine company Viktor Rashnikov at a session of its Board of Directors on Friday stated that he will quit his post in April. The story comments on his decision. (1)

At his latest meeting with Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. , President Putin urged him to pay out Russia' s expensive foreign debt as quickly as possible. The story comments on Putin' s instruction. (2)

Education Minister Andrei Fursenko at his meeting with institute rectors in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday promised to cancel benefits for school graduates when being enrolled in higher schools. He promised to give preferences to those school -graduates who have won high prizes at math or other contests. The story examines what conclusions should be made from the minister' s promise. (2)

The State Duma United Russia faction on Friday expelled from its ranks Valery Gartung, the leader of the Pensioners Party, who, in the opinion of his faction colleagues, has lost contacts with them. Gartung is sure that he has left the faction by his own wish due to serious differences on several essential issues, including the no-confidence in the gvt one. The story comments on the deputy' s fate. (3)

The North-Caucasian Board of the Prosecutor General' s Office on Friday submitted to court the criminal cases on the murder in October 2004 of seven businessmen of Karachayevo-Cherkessia in the dacha of the President' s son-in-law Ali Kaitov. The story examines their cases. (3)

The Moscow Meshchansky District Court, considering the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, on Friday ruled in favour of practically all petitions submitted by Khodorkovsky' s defense. The story describes the court session, focusing on several petitions. (3)

Several American Senators (their names are given) visited Kiev on Friday when they stated that the USA in a couple of days will cancel the Jackson-Vanik amendment in relation to Ukraine. (Russia has been working in vain for this cancellation for several years. ) The story describes the visit, focusing on this American gift to " orange Kiev" . (4)

FBI permanent representative in Georgia Brian Palmen (Sp?) stated on Friday that " Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania had died as a result of an accident. "At the same time, Parliament Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze came out against the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the death of the prime minister. The story describes Friday' s session of the Georgian parliament and its decisions. (4)

Kyrgyzstan' s Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov on Friday completed his visit to Moscow. The story comments on the aim and results of the visit. (4)

The Moldovan authorities on Friday evicted a group of Russian human rights activists, who were accused of illegal pre-election campaigning in favour of the opposition. The story details the case. (4)

The Belarussian Supreme Court on Friday sentenced Yegor Rybakov, former Chairman of the State Teleradio Company, to 11 years in prison on charges of bribery. The story details his case. (4)

Estonia' s President Arnold Ruutel on Thursday evening sacked Foreign Minister Christina Oyuland (Sp. ?) . The reason was the stolen secret documents, which was revealed during an auditing check-up. Brief. (4)

Twenty-four pharmaceutical companies for the first time on Friday signed an agreement with the gvt that envisages lower prices of subsidized medicines that previously were coordinated with the gvt. The story examines the agreement, noting that the companies decided not to lose a gvt $1. 7 billion order and to help Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov draw aside accusations of irrational use of budget means. (5)

The Ontario (Canada) Supreme Court on Monday will complete to accept bids on purchasing the assets of the bankrupt Stelco steel-smelting company that is being claimed by Russian Severstal-Group, American US Steel and Deutsche Bank. For Severstal Stelco may become already the third obtained Western company with financial difficulties. The story describes the Stelco company. (6)

The story reports on how several leading rating agencies on Friday assessed Severstal' s deal to buy 62 percent of shares of Italian Lucchini for $420 million. (6)

Swedish Swedbank on Friday offered $1. 8 billion for 40 percent of shares of Estonian Hansabank, wishing to bring its package up to 100 percent. The story shows how the market has reacted to this offer. (6)

Presidential representative in the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak in Krasnodar on Friday presided over a session that discussed how to boost the resort-recreation complex in the federal district. The story examines the session' s decisions. (6)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (11, 12/2/2005)

Ukraine' s Supreme Rada intends to consider a draft bill concerning lustration that can divide all citizens into two camps-- the persecutors and the persecuted. Special lustration commissions will have functions of the arbitration tribunal. The story reveals the essence of the bill. (1, 5)

The Central Election Commission acknowledged the existence of influential forces favouring the cancellation of the direct presidential elections. The story looks at several representatives of such forces, focusing on their stands on the issue. (1, 2)

The NATO head' s summit is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Bratislava. But Russian President Putin' s meeting with US President George W. Bush will be a hit of this summit. What can be expected from their meeting? IN an interview Sergei Rogov, Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, answer this and other questions about the upcoming summit. (1, 9, 2)

KPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov at a news conference on Thursday told journalists about new public protests initiated by Communists in all regions. Besides that, the KPRF in the State Duma in two months will again initiate the no-confidence in the gvt vote. The story examines the KPRF' s plans for further protest acts. (2)

The gvt on Thursday decided to approve measures aimed at putting land reform into effect. Economic Development Minister German Gref, however, was displeased. In his report on land reform he more than once stressed that he needed political support rather than simple approval of the concept of transformations. He failed to get it. The story comments on results of the gvt session. (3)

Russia on Thursday for the first time received an IMF mission, not being the Fund' s debtor. Mission head Paul Tomsen (Sp. ?) arrived in Moscow to discuss the macroeconomic situation in Russia with its authorities. The story comments on the tasks of the IMF mission. (3)

The Second Congress of the Lawyers' Union opened in Moscow on Thursday. The story looks at its agenda and participants. A list of public associations of lawyers. (7)

All know The Voice of America and BBC, but few people know the Golos Rossii radio station that recently celebrated its 75th jubilee. In an interview its Chairman Armen Oganesyan talks about his radio, its main aims, tasks and its listeners. (11)

ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA (12/2/2005)

resident Putin on Friday demanded from Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to do everything in his power to pay out the foreign debt ($115 billion) as quickly as possible. The story describes how this debt was formed. (1, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 4)

Alexander Safonov, Director of the Labour Relations Department of the Health and Social Development Ministry, has proposed to impose an obligatory insurance of the risk in the non-payment of wages. Deputy presidential representative in the Southern Federal District Alexander Pochinok was the first to make public this idea in early January. The story reveals the essence of Safonov' s proposal, saying that 1. 9 million Russians today fail to receive their wages on time. (1, 5)

The cost of the housing and utility sector' s services has risen by 25 percent since the start of the year. , and Russians have begun to pay monthly by 272 rubles more. In several regions these figures are much higher. Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev and Federal Agency for Construction and Housing and Utility Sector head Vladimir Averchenko during their on-line conference calls in Friday tried to find out a mechanism of soaring utility and housing tariffs. The story examines what they managed to find out. (1, 2)

Twenty-three Uzbek convict Ikram Narbutayev, who was imprisoned for raping, escaped from the Matrosskaya Tishina Prison on Friday. The story gives details. (2)

The Kaliningrad region is to receive the status of foreign territory. This was stated on Friday by presidential representative in the North-Western Federal District Ilya Klebanov. The story comments on his statement. (2)

The American administration is continuing to harshly criticize Russia for its agreements with Venezuela on arms deliveries to this country. The story comments on the issue, saying how the Russian Foreign Ministry has reacted

Cosmodrome Baikonur today is marking its 50th jubilee. On Feb. 12, 1955 the USSR Council of Ministers adopted a resolution (for office use only) on the construction of a proving ground in the Kazakh steppes to test intercontinental ballistic missiles. The story describes the cosmodrome and how it was built. (5)

MOSKOVSKIYE NOVOSTI #6

The State Duma (S. D. ) on Thursday tried to sack the gvt. A large part of the United Russia faction, however, did not take part in voting at all. What does it mean? Independent deputy Oksana Dmitriyeva and United Russia faction deputy head Vladimir Katrenko share their viewpoints. (2)

The opposition parties--Yabloko, the KPRF and the Committee-2008 -- have launched their preparation for the parliamentary elections in 2007. Their first move is a court suit in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The story describes their demands. (8)

The story tries to find out where Rosneft has found money ($9. 35 billion) to buy Yuganskneftegaz. Four economic and financial experts share their views. (9)

Moscow is preparing to sign a treaty on dividing powers with Chechnya and to conduct talks with Chechen separatists. In interviews Umar Khambiyev, Aslan Maskhadov' s envoy abroad, and Khaled Yamadayev, State Duma deputy, talk about the possibility of such negotiations, saying what can be expected from them. Abdullah Istamulov, a spokesman for the Center of Strategic Studies and Development of Civil Society in the North Caucasus examines the main provisions of the draft of the treaty. (10)

Alexander Torshin, head of the Commission on the Beslan terrorist act, is willingor a talk with President Putin, and it' s unclear whether Putin is ready for it. The collection of materials on the Beslan terrorist act is being done by a special parliamentary commission and its investigation has been lasting for already 5 months. In an interview Federation Council Vice-Speaker Alexander Torshin answers several difficult questions about that Beslan tragedy. (13, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2)

The story highlights businessman Leonard Blavatnik, who is viewed as the wealthiest foreigner (with $6. 3 billion as his fortune) among those, who are doing business in Russia. (15)

ZIL Director-General Konstantin Laptev has submitted to the Moscow city gvt his program of leading this auto plant out of the crisis. The story examines the program. (26)

In a far-ranging interview First Deputy Moscow Mayor Vladimir Resin talks about the most successful construction projects last year, focusing on high-rise projects in the city. (27)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (12/2/2005)

The American PR Rock Creek Creative company for the first time has officially confirmed that it had worked out and supported the Internet- site of the Ukrainian opposition. The story reveals its role in the orange revolution. (4)

The feature story describes a 18-year-old girl, who was found alive on an uninhabited island 1, 5 months after the tsunami. (5)