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Press Review

IZVESTIA (4/4/2005)

The world public is mourning over the death of Pope John Paul II, a great loss for the whole of mankind. The story examines his epoch-making services, saying that he visited 104 countries, but he failed to make his dream come true-- to visit Russia. (1, 5, 6, Kommersant, 1, 11, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 4, Novaya Gazeta, No. 24, p. 4 Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 7, Vremya Novostei, 1-3, Gazeta, 1, 8, 9, 32, Zhizn, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 1, 3)

A big scandal in the Orel region is connected with the president and regional administrators. The fact is that Putin and governor Yegor Stroyev in the Dobry village early last week visited a newly-built House of Veterans, where, as was officially reported, they have already moved to. But it was all a lie-- a Potyomkin village. As it has turned out, the house has not been completed yet. The story describes the scandal. (1, 2 )

The Moscow Prosecutor' s Office on Friday brought in an indictment against Transvaal water park designer Nodar Kancheli, who is accused of its collapsed roof in 2004 that left 28 people dead. The story comments on the ruling, saying that Nodar and his colleagues are sure that the roof collapse was caused by a blast. (2, Noviye Izvestia, 6, Gazeta, 2, 3, Vremya Novostei, 4. Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3, MK, 2)

President Putin in Sochi today is to meet with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. The story examines several urgent problems they will discuss, focusing on why today as never before they need each other. (2, Kommersant, 9, 12, Vremya Novostei, 6, MK, 2)

The gvt Budget Commission on Friday approved a scenario of forming the stabilization fund -2006 based on the oil price $27 per barrel. The story examines the scenario, saying that Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was the only person in the commission, who voted against this price. (2, Kommersant, 2, Noviye Izvestia, 3, Vremya Novostei, 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 4)

The State Duma late last week passed in the first reading) new amendments to the calendar adding 5 memorial dates. The story looks at them. (2, Gazeta, 4, 5)

Kyrgyzstan' s President Askar Akayev on Sunday announced his voluntary resignation that was registered in a protocol signed as a result of 2-hour negotiations with a delegation of Kyrgyz parliament members headed by Speaker Umirbek Tekebayev. His closed-door meeting with Akayev took place in the Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow. The story comments on Akayev' s decision. (3, Kommersant, 1, 9, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 3, Gazeta, 7, Vremya Novostei, 1, 4, Zhizn, 2, MK, 2)

A new scandal connected with oligarch Boris Berezovsky is brewing in Ukraine. Major Nikolai Melnichenko, who secretly recorded former President Leonid Kuchma' s talks in his office, has accused Berezovsky of an attempt to damage Ukraine' s state interests. Alexander Turchinov, a new head of the Ukrainian Security Service, will make clear what is what in this scandal. In an interview he reveals the essence of the scandal, focusing on Melnichenko' s role in it. (1, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 3)

Self-exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky on Saturday paid a short visit to Georgia. The Georgian television company Imedi reported that Berezovsky had arrived in Tbilisi from Kiev, though he himself rejected this information. The story reflects what he did in the Ukrainian capital. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2, Gazeta, 7, Vremya Novostei, 1 )

The Moldovan parliament today will vote for a new president. The present head of state Vladimir Voronin and President of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences Georgy Duka are claiming the post. The story examines who of them has best chances. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3)

The Overseeing Council of Moskovskiye Novosti on Sunday recommended to the weekly' s owners Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Leonid Nevzlin how to resolve an editorial conflict. In Ekho Moskvy the Council' s spokesman Alexander Yakovlev stated that the Council recommended to the owners to appoint dismissed Lyudmila Telen MN Editor-in-Chief, to restore all journalists, who left MN and to appoint Yevgeny Kiselyov MN Director-General. The story comments on the Council' s decisions. (4, Kommersant, 7, Gazeta, 5, Vremya Novostei, 4)

The Volgograd Regional Duma has passed a bill concerning the social support of families, in which relatives were killed or injured in terrorist acts. Such a document has been endorsed in this city, because many such families live in Volgograd. The story examines the bill' s major provisions. (4)

The Novocherkassk City Police Board has launched a regional project to teach local police to prevent the human rights from being violated. The story examines the project, saying what event has urged it. (4 )

Poland' s President Alexander Kwasniewski intends to nominate his candidacy to the post of UN Secretary General. This was stated by Ekho Moskvy. Brief. (4)

In the opinion of lawyer Genrikh Padva, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev can receive a presidential amnesty on the occasion of the 60th Victory Anniversary. The story looks at this possibility, saying that the Moscow Meshchansky District Court today will listen to speeches by Khodorkovsky' s and Lebedev' s lawyers. (8)

Two construction workers-gastarbeiters on Saturday were found killed in a house under construction in the west of Moscow. They worked for the construction company " Zhilaya Sfera" . Brief. (8)

The Prosecutor' s Office of the Koryak Autonomous Area has instituted criminal proceedings against Viktor Vasyuk, chief of the Tilichiki port, who is suspected of looting a huge batch of coal. The story details the case. (8)

The gvt this week is expected to consider an issue concerning higher gas, electricity and railway transportation tariffs in 2006. The gvt session has been postponed already twice due to Gazprom' s proposal to liberalize gas prices. In an interview Yakov Urinson, deputy head of the UES Management Board, says how this proposal (if it is adopted) will affect the rest of the economic sectors and will become with energy tariffs. (9, 11)

The community of entrepreneurs has launched a struggle for lowering taxes. Thus, RSPP late last week made public its statement demanding a considerable easing of the tax burden. The story examines what is holding back this lowering. (9)

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev late last week attended the Congress of Farmers, at which he proposed something extraordinary -- to turn all villages into a free economic zone and not to pay taxes. The congress participants met his proposal with ovation, while it made the Finance Ministry indignant. (10)

Kaliningrad Avtotor in May will begin to assemble trucks of the South Korean Hyundai firm. Before in Russia it assembled only cars. The story comments on the firm' s decision. (10)

French Total in its letter to President Putin stated its intention to invest $1 billion in the Russian oil and gas complex. Brief. (10)

Gazprom is considering the possibility of buying 11. 8 percent of state-controlled shares of the Hungarian oil and gas MOL Rt. concern. Brief. (10, Kommersant, 16)

The Urban Construction Planning Council under the Moscow Mayor on Friday approved a construction project of the Nagornaya Center for all seasonal sports in the water-meadow of the Kotlovka River. The story examines the project. (12)

KOMMERSANT (4/4/2005)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization in Tajikistan today is launching a military exercise codenamed " Rubezh-2005. The story examines its aim, program and participants. (1, 9)

Mordovia' s State Assembly on Friday endorsed the candidacy of Alexander Smirnov, First Deputy Head of the Federal Tax Service, to represent the republic in the Federation Council. The story comments on this candidacy. (2)

Altai regional governor Mikhail Yevdokimov today intends to conduct consultations in the presidential administration to learn the leadership' s opinion about the regional parliament' s no-confidence motion for him. The story examines the scandalous situation around him. (3, Gazeta, 2, Vremya Novostei, 5)

Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov on Friday visited Mineralniye Vody in the Caucasus to see the conditions, under which benefit-recipients rest and receive medical treatment. The story describes what he saw there, saying that he was pleased. (4, Novaya Gazeta, No. 24, p. 6)

A coalition of parties that will like jointly to oppose United Russia and anti-popular reforms is being created in Nizhny Novgorod. Local Rodina and Party of Pensioners are the leaders of the coalition. The story describes their efforts. (4)

The Yakutsk City Court has sentenced businessman Vladimir Fyodorov, deputy of the republican parliament to 4 years in prison. In the summer of 2003 he injured 3 persons. The story details his case. (5)

Law-enforcers in Shakhty (Rostov region) late last week detained Vladimir Torosyan, Director-General of the Gold Ugol company, who is accused of shady deals and money laundering. The story details his case. (5)

The Novosibirsk Regional Court has sentenced Seniour Lieutenant Alexei Kostenko, Chief of Criminal Police of Buryatia' s region, to 18 years in prison. He is accused of grave crimes. The story details his case. (6)

A new youth movement " Oborona" in Moscow on Sunday held its first rally under the slogan " Enough of Putin!" . The story describes the rally and its participants. (7, Gazeta, 4)

Ukraine' s President Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday went to the USA on a 5-day visit, one of the results of which should be a cancellation of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. But the most significant event will take place on the first day of his visit -- Viktor Yushchenko and George W. Bush will make public a joint political declaration that will determine the parameters of Ukrainian-US relationships. The story describes how Yushchenko' s visit was prepared and what should be expected from it. (10)

Representatives from the leadership of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Trans-Dniestria got together in Moscow on Sunday to prepare a summit of these unrecognized republics' heads in Sukhumi, where these republics should show their resolve to Georgia and Moldova to take radical moves to come closer to Russia unless Tbilisi and Kishinev give up their pressure on separatists. (10)

The leading domestic tobacco factory " Petro" (St. Petersburg, belongs to Japan Tobacco International, JTI) in a couple of days may suspend production, because it lacks funds to buy raw materials. The St. Petersburg Board of the Federal Tax Service late last week froze the factory' s bank accounts, demanding from Petro $15 million in fine. JTI intends to apply to court. (13, 15)

The Federal Nuclear Energy Agency (Rosatom) late last week completed to draft its proposals on reforming the nuclear energy sector. The story examines several proposals. (15)

The British Peter Hambro Mining plc company intends to expand its business in Russia. Thus, its subsidiary Aricom plc by 2007 plans to begin to develop a titanium deposit in the Amur region and by 2008 to build a plant in Tynda to make dioxide titanium. The story examines the British company' s plans in Russia. (16)

VEDOMOSTI (4/4/2005)

The Finance Ministry has edited the president' s promises to entrepreneurs. The new rules of collecting VAT written by bureaucrats will not ease the position of business but will only complicate its life. (A1 )

Corporations willingly employ sons and daughters of oligarchs. The story gives several concrete facts to illustrate the point. (A1)

Can oil cost more than $100 per barrel? Goldman Sachs analysts believe that it can become a reality already in 2007. But in Russia such dollars will hardly bring luck. (A1)

The gvt did not want to lose financial stability for the sake of doubling the gross domestic product. The Budget Commission has given preference to a conservative variant of economic development: in 2006 investments in the infrastructural projects, the support of separate branches and tax novations will be ensured at the expense of reduced budget expenditures, including the social ones. (A3)

The Audit Chamber would like to close the popular scheme of minimizing the single social tax with the help of outsorting work force from public disabled organizations. Gvt officials agree that companies employ too many disabled, but they believe that lobbyists will be able to uphold the social benefit (A3)

State officials have become more optimistic about the prospects of the domestic economy. The Economic Development Ministry has raised its forecast of the growth of the gross domestic product in 2005 up to 6. 5 percent from 5. 8 percent. Several independent experts view the future of the domestic economy as bright. (A3)

What American goods can Russia do without ? Five economic and trade experts share their viewpoints on the Issue. (A4)

Group Buket this week plans to announce a completion of a joint stock conflict on the Moscow Grease Combine. In a far-ranging interview Vladislav Burov, the founder and co-owner of Group Buket, says why he has chosen business as his profession, focusing on the origin and history of his company and also on its plans. (A5)

The story highlights former Tula engineer Vera Kiryunina, who has managed to create a weekly newspaper " Sloboda" . Her publishing business is very successful. What is its secret? (A7)


Investors last week parted with Mosenergo, the company that only 6 months ago cost 50 percent of the Unified Energy Systems (UES) company. A week before it was divided into separate companies Mosenergo almost halved in price. UES believes that it is a temporary event, and the companies created in place of Mosenergo will cost more money together, but experts are not sure of that. (B1)

Rusal announced the completion of the deal to buy 20 percent of shares of the Queensland Alumina plant in Australia from the Kaiser Aluminium company. Brief. (B1)

Hungary this time either was unable to choose a buyer for a 99. 95 percent of a state- run package of the national aviation company Malev. All competition proposals were not interesting for the country' s gvt. Brief. (B1)

Renault has invested 230 million euros in a new auto plant to make Logans in Moscow. This was stated by Avtoframos, a joint venture of Renault and the Moscow city gvt. Brief. (B1)

Wimm-Bill-Dann food holding founders, including the company' s manager Sergei Plastinin, decided to sell part of their shares. Analysts say that it' s not a very good signal for investors, but simultaneously with the sale of shares, the quotations of Wimm-Bill-Dann ADRs in New York have increase. (B1)

The Federal Service for Surveillance in the Sphere of Transportation (or Rostransnadzor) has warned UTair aviation company that it may lose its exploitation certificate if the company fails to clear off a 135 million ruble debt before the end of this month. Brief. (B1)

The fate of the deal to buy by Siemens a share in Siloviye Mashiny may be decided soon. The presidential administration has asked Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to determine its stand on the deal before April 20. (B2)

Having yielded to the European Union' s demands, Gazprom has allowed its West-European partners to re-export its gas. The last llimits of re-export were lifted from the contracts with German E. ON Ruhrgas. (B3)

Having lost its chance to buy gas assets of Hungarian MOL, Gazprom hopes to buy a share in the company itself. The Russian concern is claiming 11. 8 percent of shares of MOL. Will it be lucky this time? (B3)


fter a series of working meetings in Sochi and his trip to Germany, President Vladimir Putin already at the end of this month will deliver an annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly. The story reflects on what can be expected from this presidential speech. (1, 2)

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko today has begun his 3-day visit to the USA. Washington is receiving the leader of the orange revolution at the highest level, and Kiev, too, prepared this visit thoroughly. The story examines the program of Yushchenko' s visit. (1, 3)

Should much attention be paid to State Duma deputies' private life ? Seven authoritative politicians, political scientists, S. D. deputies, party leaders and public figures share their viewpoints. (2)

The State Duma today will hold hearings on how the gvt is implementing the law on replacing social benefits with cash payments. Invitations have been sent to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov and Transport Minister Igor Levitin. The story reflects on what deputies expect to hear. (2)

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili late last week received his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharyan. One of the discussed issues was the Russian military base in the Georgian Akhalkalaki city. The story comments on the issue, saying how the Armenian president regards it. (3)

The LUKoil leadership decided to give up its participation in two oil and gas projects (their names are given) that are very significant for Azerbaijan. This Russian decision has seriously complicated relationships between Baku and LUKoil. The story describes the conflicting situation, saying that the Azeri Tax Ministry intends to sue LUKoil. (4)

The Inteko company belonging to Mayor Yury Luzhkov' s wife Yelena Baturina has sold its cement business to the Yevrotsement Group company. The sum of the deal is not given, but, according to mass media information, it is $800 million. Brief. (4)

The gap between Moscow' s elite and poor quarters is swiftly expanding. How dangerous is this process and how will it affect ordinary Muscovites ? In an interview German Vetrov, Director of the Municipal Economic Development Fund " The Institute of City Economics" , and Denis Vizgalov, head of the projects section of the Fund, share their viewpoints. (5)


The Moscow gvt is discussing a proposal on raising municipal parking tariffs -- for how long ? some drivers may ask, often paying 50-100 rubles without knowing that in reality the official price of a municipal parking lot is 9-11 rubles per hour. The story comments on the proposal. (1, 2)

Vitaly Mutko, a new head of the Russian Football Union, at a new conference on Sunday told journalists about his first moves on this post. The story looks at them, saying that Mutko intends soon to radically change the strategy of boosting domestic soccer. (1, 7, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 8)

The Moscow Consumer Market Department will soon present a comprehensive scheme (with addresses and potential investors) of food shops located a short walk from home. The story describes the project, saying that this guide should become the basis of the city social program. (1, 4)

The RG editorial board has sent its political observer Alexander Sabov to the state archives to find out what new facts have become known about World War II on the occasion of the 60th Victory Anniversary and how this additional archive truth is tied up with today' s new views on the history of World War II. The story comments on these issues. (1, 5)

How much democracy is there in Russia? Sociologists from the Public Opinion Fund answer this question. (2)


Moscow authorities decided to build an industrial zone in Kurkino, where plants and factories will be moved soon from the center of the city. And not long ago elite apartment blocks were built there, and authorities called this housing development " Moscow Switzerland" , promising their residents fresh air and beautiful landscape. The story describes the conflicting situation, saying that all this may cause a scandal connected with elite housing construction. (1, 7)

The administration of the Ruza District in the Moscow region stated late last week that it intends to close the Recreation House " Ruza" . This is probably how local authorities decided to punish an owner of the cottage settlement, who has provided housing and a rehearsal ground to dancers from the popular Chechen dance ensemble " Lovzar" . The latter has been evicted from Staraya Ruza-- local police have explained that the " concentration of Chechens " is unacceptable for residents of such a quiet nook in the Moscow region. The story describers the local ethnic conflict. (1, 7)

Tatarstan' s separatists on Saturday called on people to fight for the republic' s independence The new leader of the All-Tatar Public Center, stated that he will use general social tensions in the country to organize mass rallies. Experts say that at first separatists will try to destabilize the situation in Bashkiria, where local authorities are limiting Tatars' rights. (2)


A jet with Peruvian " Miss World" Maria Julia Garcia has landed in Moscow today. The story describes the world beauty and the aim of her visit to Moscow. (3)

The story describes how Moscow regional authorities are preparing for emergency situations due to spring floods and summer fires. (5)

The next year promises to become crucial for the gas sector. Gazprom head Alexei Miller' s proposal to liberalize the domestic gas market for industrial consumers has been approved by practically all interested structures. The story reveals the essence of Miller' s proposal, focusing on how the gvt views it. (5)