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Press Review

IZVESTIA (14/3/2005)

Kishinev police on Friday detained Valery Passat, adviser to the UES head and Moldova' s former Defense Minister, on charges of laundering money. The story gives details, saying that UES head Anatoly Chubais is willing with all legal means to fight for the release of his adviser. (1, 6, Kommersant, 1, 9, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 4, Vremya Novostei, 3, Gazeta, 1, 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 7)

Spanish police late last week arrested 41 people, including Russians and Ukrainians, on suspicion of laundering money. Among them is also a Yukos employee, whose name so far is kept secret. The story comments on the case, saying how Yukos regards the new accusations. (1, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Vremya Novostei, 1, Gazeta, 19, )

Exactly a year ago Vladimir Putin was re-elected president for the second term. This year has seen many various events, including significant, epoch-making and tragic. They all were directly linked with the country' s economy, the business-authorities dialogue, and Russia' s image abroad. The story presents an analysis of Putin' s year of presidency, his ratings and the public mood, saying that Putin' s real political rivals have simply not appeared, and its' not even clear who could claim the role of his successor. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 2)

Saratov governor Dmitry Ayatskov' s term of office expires on April 2. President Putin has proposed him to become Ambassador to Belarus and the governor has agreed. On March 18 Ayatskov is to meet with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. (1, 2, Gazeta, 3, Vremya Novostei, 2)

Officials from the Volgograd regional administration in the London Court today will be questioned as witnesses on the case concerning the extradition of Yukos former employees Natalya Chernyshova and Dmitry Maruyev. The story examines their case. (2)

Tatarstan' s President Mintimer Shaimiyev, the most disobedient of all regional governors, on Friday explained his decision to apply to President Putin with a request to express confidence in him. The story comments on his decision. (2, Gazeta, 2, 3, Vremya Novostei, 2, Russky Kuryer, 5, Novaya Gazeta, No. 18, p. 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2)

MN Editor-in-Chief Yevgeny Kiselyov has refused to extend contracts with five leading journalists, among them his two deputies. The story describes a big scandal caused by Kiselyov' s move, noting that several other employees, whose contracts have been extended, can hand in their resignations. (2, Vremya Novostei, 3, Gazeta, 6, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 5)

The Khanty-Mansiisk Prosecutor' s Office has arrested Oleg Vitku, Director-General of Zapadno- Malobalykskoye, a subsidiary of Yukos and Hungarian MOL. He is accused of an illegal extraction of 424, 5 thousand tons of oil in 2003. The story details his case. (2)

The KPRF has to change its methods of work, which was discussed at a plenary session of the KPRF Central Committee on Saturday. The story examines a report by Ivan Melnikov, the First Deputy Chairman of the party' s Central Committee. (3, Kommersant, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2, MK, 2)

Garry Kasparov, the 13th world chess champion, has announced that it has given up his chess career and decided to take up big politics. The story comments on his decision and plans. (3, 7, 16, Gazeta, 1, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 2)

The standoff between the prime minister and his subordinates over the lowering of VAT down to 13 percent is over at last. The subordinates -- Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Economic Development Minister German Gref-- have gained a victory. The Friday session of the gvt budget commission ended in a scandal -- Fradkov and Kudrin accused each other of incompetence and decided that VAT will not be lowered in the next 3 years. (3, Kommersant, 1, 14, Vremya Novostei, 1, 2, Gazeta, 17, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 4)

The State Duma on Friday rejected the draft bill that actually proposed to revise the whole system of local government. According to this document, the heads of districts and cities should be appointed rather than elected. The draft was submitted by Bashkiria' s State Assembly and was not backed by the State Duma. But the idea itself has not been buried: it' s being actively discussed in the Kremlin now. Oleg Sysuyev, President of the Congress of Municipal Formations, views such initiatives as anti-constitutional. In an interview he shares his viewpoint on the issue. (3)

Vitaly Shlykov, a spokesman for the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, in his forecast admits that new terrorists are most likely to be inevitable. What makes him think so ? (4)

Ukraine' s former President Leonid Kuchma today will be summoned to the Prosecutor General' s Office for the second questioning. The story describes his first questioning, focusing on issues that will be discussed today. (1, 5)

North Ossetia' s Supreme Court has announced a verdict to four organizers of a bus explosion in Mozdok on June 5, 2003 The main convict -- Rustam Ganiyev-- has been sentenced to life in prison. The story details the case, commenting on the court' s verdict. (6)

The next 4 days will decide the fate of Moscow-- will it host the Olympic Games -2012? The Evaluation Commission of the International Olympic Committee, after its visits to Madrid, London, New York and Paris, arrived in Moscow on Sunday. (1, 7)

Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko believes that there should be no haste in merging Gazprom and Rosneft. The story reveals his viewpoint on the issue. (9)

A Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) commission late last week announced that an ad with the trade mark " Yat" has violated the law. In FAS' opinion, vodka consumers associate " Yat" with vodka. The TV channels Rossiya and Daryal TV have been ordered to remove these advertisements. (9)

The NOVATEK company in its deal with French Total intends to apply to the French side with a request to revise the price and to increase it. The story comments on NOVATEK' s decision. (10)

The Aeroflot Board of Directors on Friday approved the participation of Vneshtorgbank, Sberbank and Airport Sheremetyevo in the construction of a new terminal Sheremetyevo-3. Aeroflot, however, has no idea how to divide into four the shares of its subsidiary -- Terminal -- that has been created specially for the project. The story examines conflicts in this project. (10)

Pyatyorochka is willing to buy out shares of its partners' businesses in Russian regions and in CIS. But first Pyatyorochka decided to buy its main competitor -- the Trading House " Kopeika" . The story reveals Pyatyorochka' s plan. (10)

The story examines several factors that determine the price of elite housing today. (12)

KOMMERSANT (14/3/2005)

he State Duma on Friday passed (in the first reading) a gvt draft bill concerning the jurisdictionary immunity of the foreign state and its property. The story reveals the essence of the document, focusing on its consequences for Russia if it is passed. (2)

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev in the Federation Council on Friday told Senators about serious current problems of his sector. What are they? (2)

The trade union of market entrepreneurs and small and medium-size business representatives in the Orel region on Friday sent a letter to the president with a request to reject his confidence in Orel regional governor Yegor Stroyev. The story looks at reasons that the local entrepreneurs stated in their letter. (3)

Twenty-one local branches of political parties and public organizations in the Altai region on Friday appealed to governor Mikhail Yevdokimov with a request to quit his post voluntarily. The story comments on the parties' appeal, focusing on the governor' s response. (3)

The Constitutional Assembly of Kababrdino-Balkaria on Friday endorsed several amendments to the republic' s Constitution that make it correspond to the federal legislation. The story examines several significant amendments. (4)

Rodina leader Dmitry Rogozin at a meeting in Ryazan on Sunday, when he spoke about the upcoming elections to the Voronezh Regional Duma, called United Russia the main adversary of his party. Brief. (4)

Khanpasha Movsarov, the so-called emir of the Grozny Jamaat, was killed during a special police operation in Grozny on Sunday. The story describes the operation. (5)

A rally in protest against the new Housing Code took place in St. Petersburg on Sunday. It was organized by the Petersburg Civic Resistance bloc of opposition parties and movements that has been created in St. Petersburg to struggle against gvt reforms. The story describes the rally, saying that the KPRF ignored this act. (7)

The story features the second round of the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday March 13. Authorities had to take measures to prevent any kind of revolution -- velvet, orange or lemon -- from becoming a reality. (10)

Poland has apologized for the precipitate pronouncements of its official Foreign Ministry representative. The Russian side has accepted the apology. The story describes the scandal that erupted on March 9 in connection with the killing of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov. (11)

Thousands of Akhalkalaki (Georgia) residents over the weekend went to the street to protest against the Georgian Parliament' s decree demanding the withdrawal of Russian military bases. The story describes the protest acts. (11)

The story examines results of IPO of Lebedyansky, the leading domestic juice producer. Analysts and stock market participants commented on the company' s successes. (13)

Eight Russian companies -- members and correspondents of the international audit networks -- Moores Rowland International -- decided to unite. Their new association being created on the basis of the Rosekspertiza company will become a leading one on the market of auditing services. (13, 15)

The network Paterson is breaking off its relations with the most popular in Russia producer of Ukrainian vodka-- the Nemiroff company. The story says why. (13, 16)

Viktor Zubkov, head of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, on Friday stated that 10 domestic banks are being suspected of laundering money. And Central Bank First Deputy Head Andrei Kozlov 10 days ago stated that licenses can be recalled from two banks that most probably are involved in laundering money. Is it the beginning of the banking crisis? (13, 15)

VEDOMOSTI (14/3/2005)

Russian businessmen may not fear repression from the new Ukrainian leadership. In order to say it, Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev on Saturday urgently gathered Russian leading entrepreneurs. The story describes the meeting. (A1)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the once wealthiest person in Russia, now does not have even $100 million, his lawyers say. The story reports on what experts think of it. (A1)

The Russian financial regulator has worked out a plan to make the stock market more efficient. The story examines the plan. (A1)

According to the American magazine Forbes, Russians by the number of dollar billionaires, have outstripped Germans and have taken up the second line (after Americans) in the rating of the wealthiest people in the world. (A1)

Tatarstan' s President Mintimer Shaimiyev has joined the cohort of governors, who have been supported by President Putin. In experts' opinion Putin will nominate his candidacy in exchange of higher control over the region. (A2)

The deal with Elbit aimed at modernizing Soviet-era military helicopters for Bulgaria can be canceled. The Israeli company has failed to come to agreement with Rosoboronexport that owns a license on doing necessary work. Experts hope that a possible victory in the repeat tender will help Russia restore its lost positions in re-equipping Soviet-era machines. (A2)

Ukraine has determined the level, up to which it is willing to unite its markets with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In the Single Economic Space of the four, Kiev is interested only in the zone of free trade, and the other " obligations" can hamper its integration with the European Union and its accession to the WTO. This was stated by Ukraine' s Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk. (A3)

World chess champion Garry Kasparov has decided to devote himself to politics in order to oppose Putin' s dictatorship. Can Kasparov beat Putin in political chess? Four experts share their viewpoints? (A4)

In a far-ranging interview, Anatoly Bykov, former head of the Board of Directors of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant (KrAZ) , reveals his ambitious plans, saying that he supports the president' s new scheme of nominating the governors. (A5)


Investors have favoured the possibility to buy part of shares of the Lipetsk juice producer Lebedyansky. After IPO, the company by capitalization outstripped Wimm-Bill-Dann that by sales is ahead of Lebedyansky. (B1)

The Nature Ministry has specified the list of deposits to be auctioned this year. Europe' s leading deposit Sukhoi Log is again absent from the list. The lucky ones are copper companies: the Udokan deposit can be sold already in November. (B1)

The Spanish police are suspecting Yukos employees of laundering money. The story examines the case. (B1)

Russia, Greece and Bulgaria on April 15 plan to sign a memorandum on implementing a project of the Burgas-Eleksandrupolis oil pipeline. This was stated by Greek Deputy Development Minister Georgios Salagudis. Brief. (B1)

The Agrotorg company managing the network of Pyatyorochka shops is considering the possibility to buy out shares in the companies-franchise, developing their networks in Russian cities, in Kazakhstan and in Ukraine. Brief. (B1)

The Indian ONGC company is considering the possibility of participating in the development of the Kovykta gas condensate deposit, the license on developing of which belongs to RUSIA Petroleum. Brief. (B1)

The merger of Gazprom with Rosneft will be completed in the first 6 months of this year, believes Viktor Khristenko, Industry and Energy Minister. Brief. (B1)

SUAL-Holding has launched a construction project of an alumina plant in the Sosnogorsky District in the Komi Republic. This was stated by Komi deputy head Pavel Orda. Brief. (B1)

Tatneft' s main shareholder -- the Svyazinvestneftekhim holding -- has proposed in the Tatneft Board of Directors to pay out huge dividends for 2004. The brief gives their figures. (B1)

UES head Anatoly Chubais spoke in favour of German Siemens that Russian authorities do not allow to buy Siloviye Mashiny. Chubais has called the gvt' s behaviour " horrible" . (B2)