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Press Review

IZVESTIA (17/5/2005)

The Meshchansky District Court on Monday began to read a verdict in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Levedev. The case immediately acquired a political meaning rather than the criminal one and has become a factor decreasing Russia' s investment unattractiveness. The final delivery of the verdict (of several hundred pages) depends on how quickly the judge will read it. The story describes Monday' s developments in the court, focusing on how the defendants' lawyers regard them. (1, 3, Kommersant, 1, 5, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Vremya Novostei, 1, 3, Gazeta, 1, 7, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 7, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 9, Trud, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 5, MK, 1, 2)

The story examines the consequences of the recent riots in Andijan and Pakhtaabad, where Uzbek authorities brutally put down the anti-presidential revolt. The only organization that decided to count victims was the opposition party " Ozod Dekhkonlar" (Free Peasants) . According to its latest report, their number on Monday was 745. (1, 5, Kommersant, 1, 10, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 4, Noviye Izvestia, 4, Vremya Novostei, 1, 2, Gazeta, 6, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2, Trud, 1, 3, Krasnaya Zvezda, 1, 3, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 8, Sovetskaya Rossiya, 3, Pravda, 3)

Saddam Husein allowed Kremlin officials to trade in Iraqi (costing millions of dollars) within the framework of the program " Oil for Food" . His aim was to win Moscow' s support in the UN Security Council -- such a conclusion was made by American Senators after questioning Saddam' s former supporters. They said that among Saddam' s " friends" were Alexander Voloshin and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The story comments on the issue. (3, Noviye Izvestia, 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 6, Gazeta, 2)

President Putin in the Chelyabinsk region on Monday visited the archaeological center " Arkaim" The story describes the place and the president' s impressions. (3, Kommersant, 7, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 9, Gazeta, 2, 3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Trud, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 2)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on Monday appointed former Militia General Yury Zhdanov his aide to be responsible for issues concerning special economic zones. The story comments on the appointment, saying that Zhdanov may become a significant player in a current unofficial competition between the gvt administration and the Economic Development Ministry. (3, Kommersant, 2, Gazeta, 4, Vremya Novostei, 4)

The story examines results of the second domestic competition " Newspaper Design" -2004. Izvestia has won it. (1, 3)

The Council of Europe summit opened in Warsaw on Monday. The story describes this forum and its participants, saying that on the first day they mainly discussed new revolutions. (4, Kommersant, 9)

In an interview (after the first day of the Council of Europe summit in Warsaw on Monday) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talks about issues discussed there, focusing on main criticism of Russia addressed to him. (4, Kommersant, 9)

The Interior Ministry' s Investigative Board of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region on Monday dropped a criminal case on the facts of fraud in the grandiose St. Petersburg construction project " Naberezhnaya Yevropy" (Embankment of Europe) . The case was filed by managers from two Moscow companies. The story details the case, focusing on reasons behind their it. (4)

The black list of Ukrainian enterprises for deprivatization has been drafted. This was stated by President Yushchenko, who thereby confirmed the existing differences in the Kiev ruling team and rejected the words of Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko, who stated in part: " There will be neither lists nor de-privatization -- everything will be decided by courts. "The story examines several enterprises on the list, saying that Timoshenko has no intention to endorse the black list. (1, 8 )

The leadership of the Magnitogorsk Metals Combine by the meeting of the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan in the Chelyabinsk region switched off the first of its 8 furnaces. The story reveals the essence of this decision. (9)

The Economic Development Ministry knows how to lower prices of quality petrol and encourage investments in domestic oil refinery. The ministry has proposed to lower the excise. The story examines this proposal, focusing on what experts think of it. (9, Vremya Novostei, 7)

The USA has begun to sell space flight tickets at the price of $150, 000 each. The first flight should take place in December 2006. The story comments on these plans, saying how such flights will proceed. (9)

This Izvestia Supplement is devoted to Norway. (10-12)

International organizations have more than once viewed Norway as the best place in the world to live in. The story describes what its authorities do to maintain such a high rating. (10)

Moscow city authorities have begun at last to seek money to renovate the Soviet-era famous sculpture " The Worker and Female Peasant" . Mayor Yury Luzhkov is to meet with Economic Development Minister German Gref to discuss this financial problem. The story describes the fate of this sculpture. (13)

A serious property re-division has begun in the taxi cab service. The Moscow city gvt, the leading player on this market, intends to quit it. A list of taxi cab fleets with the city' s shares in them has been prepared to put up these shares on sale before the end of this year. The story features the situation on this market, commenting on the Moscow gvt' s decision. (13)

The Moscow Prosecutor' s Office (MPO) on Monday made city courts deliver their rulings against 16 heads of Moscow enterprises, who violated the labour legislation. This was stated by MPO' s press service. (13)

KOMMERSANT (17/5/2005)

Grain export from Russia has been practically suspended-- customs agencies are demanding from companies- exporters special quality certification of each grain batch, and the forms are not ready. The story describes this problem. (17)

President Putin in Chelyabinsk on Monday held a session of the city and region administration to discuss issues concerning the social and economic development of the Ural Federal District. The story examines several complicated problems discussed and resolved at the session. (2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 9, Gazeta, 2, 3)

The Rodina faction on Monday submitted to the State Duma draft decrees changing the procedure of distributing the commanding posts in the State Duma and correcting the rules of the factions' access to mass media. The story comments on Rodina' s drafts, noting that in this way Rodina without awaiting United Russia' s initiatives decided to make its own contribution to implementing the president' s proposals contained in his state of the nation speech. (4)

The Rodina Presidium has declared Saturday' s conference of its Voronezh branch as illegal and excluded its leaders from the party. The story comments on the decision, focusing on its related factors within the party. (4)

The Solikamsk Prosecutor' s Office has brought in an indictment against American citizen Max Dloogy (Sp. ?) , former head of the Board of Directors of the Solikamsk Magnesium Plant, on charges of trying to embezzle $9 million. The story gives details, saying that the businessman, starting November 2004, has been on the wanted list. (6)

The Krasnoyarsk Regional Legislative Assembly' s extraordinary session on Monday was devoted to the tragedy caused by the perish of 5 children. Deputy Regional Prosecutor Yury Antipov made a report, focusing on two versions of their perish. The story examines them in detail. (6)

Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Monday introduced amendments to the city gvt' s decree concerning the further development of the system of pay parkings in Moscow. The story examines the main amendments. (7)

The St. Petersburg Federal Court on Monday seized a city apartment belonging to world-famous musician Mstislav Rostropovich and opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya. The story describes the reason. (7)

Chechnya' s authorities on Monday stated their intention to re-bury the remains of federal troops killed on the republic' s territory during the anti-terrorist operations. First Vice- Premier Ramzan Kadyrov is sure that the federal gvt should help them. The story examines the initiative, saying who has supported it. (7)

The Federal Service for Financial Markets has issued several strict warnings to the non- state pension funds due to their failure to correspond to license demands. The story examines the warnings focusing on their aims. (13)

The St. Petersburg Liviz distillery belonging to Federation Council deputy Alexander Sabadash in a couple of days will begin to distill Gzhelka vodka. The story reports on how Kristall distilling Gzhelka today has reacted to Liviz' s intention. (13, 17)

LUKoil has put up for sale its leasing subsidiary " LK Leasing" , which is the first sale of a leasing company in Russia. The story says s how experts regard it. (13, 16)

The story describes the petrol crisis in Ukraine. Its two companies (their names are given) have imposed limits in the sale of petrol on their gas filling stations. The story describes the petrol crisis. (13, 15)

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has proposed to the gvt to deal with the social and economic development of the regions and with the perestroika of the municipal level of the budget system. Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev has been appointed perestroika coordinator. (13, 14)

VEDOMOSTI (17/5/2005)

Rosneft President Sergei Bogdanchikov has received what he wanted: there are practically no chances for his company' s merger with Gazprom. This was stated by Gazprom in its information memorandum(A1)

The story describes in detail Monday' s developments in and around the Moscow Meshchansky District Court that began to read a verdict to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. (A1)

The Leonid Rozhetskin case that has been filed by the Moscow militia can be dropped soon, since the Prosecutor General' s Office has found no grounds for prosecuting the investment banker. (A1)

Entrepreneurs are sick and tired of spending their money on additional training of young specialists with university diplomas, who are employed by their enterprises. In view of this, experts in the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs are preparing their proposals that, in their opinion, will help reform the education system. (A1, A4)

Presidential representative in the Ural Federal District Pyotr Latyshev and Chelyabinsk region leaders on Monday tried to persuade President Putin to influence Kazakhstan and ask it to resume its delivery of iron ore to Russia for the Magnitogorsk Metals Combine. (A2)

According to the State Statistics Service, almost 50 percent of the domestic economy is in the hands of state bureaucrats, who regulate prices of 221 out of the 445 commodities and services controlled by the State Statistics Service. (A3)

China by the year 2020 intends to increase its gross domestic product by four times. Experts have no doubt that it will do it thanks to a high labour productivity. (A3)

The Kremlin has proposed a new procedure of nominating candidates to the gubernatorial post-- from among representatives of the party that has won the regional elections. Will this new system raise the governors' responsibility before their electors?Four experts share their viewpoints. (A4)

In a far ranging interview entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov, Director-General of Gazprominvestholding, talks about how he created his company, focusing on his recent substantial purchases and on his ambitious plans. (A5)

VEDOMOSTI. COMPANIES & MARKETS SUPPLEMENT

Alfa-Group is trying through court to strip its telecommunications business partner Norwegian Telenor' s representatives in the Board of Directors of VympelCom of the right to vote on an issue of purchasing a cellular operator in Ukraine. (B1)

Rosimushchestvo and ALROSA this week are expected to sign an agreement with an valuating company on doing a valuation of ALROSA that is necessary for Russia' s consolidation of the controlling state in the diamond-extracting company. Brief. (B1)

The Federal Service for Financial and Budgetary Surveillance (Rosfinnadzor) on April 14 demanded a $61. 9 million fine from Gazprom on suspicion of violating the currency legislation. Brief. (B1)

Siloviye Mashiny in 2004 increased its consolidated net profit three-fold -- up to $10. 015 million against $3. 237 million in 2003. This is stated in the company' s accounting report. Brief. (B1)

Gold Fields has applied to its shareholders calling on them to reject Harmony' s proposal on buying out shares. Brief. (B1)

Rosneft has returned to its extracting enterprises 75 billion rubles taken from them not long before buying Yuganskneftegaz. The story says what that money was spent on. (B1)

The managing Delta Private Equity Partners company has formed a $120 million fund--Delta Russia Fund -- of direct investments. The company' s Managing Director Kirill Dmitriyev stated that 90 percent of the fund will go to finance Russian projects. Brief. (B1)

Russian steel smelters' actions can provoke the fall of steel prices, believes Standard & Poor' s. Unlike their European colleagues, Russian smelters in the first quarter increased steel production. If they continue to do it, it will be impossible to retain prices at the present level. Russian steel smelters disagree. (B2)

Entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov and Vasily Anisimov have proposed to the gvts of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to create a Eurasian Mining-Metals Company on the basis of five GOKs. Such a company may become the world' s fourth ore extracting company and its capitalization could amount to $10 billion -$12 billion. (B2)

The Indian ONGC oil company would like to buy new assets in Russia. Thus, it wants together with Rosneft to take part in the project Kurmangazy on the Caspian Sea. (B3)

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (17/5/2005)

Ingush parliamentarians have submitted to the State Duma a draft bill demanding temporarily to abolish the jury court. The story explains why it does not suit them today. Such a court is non-existent only in Chechnya. (1, 2)

The Congress of the Union of Right Forces (SPS) is scheduled for May 28. The story examines its agenda, saying that the existence of right-wing liberal forces in Russia largely depends on its outcome. (1, 10)

Alexei Yablokov, President of the Center for Ecological Policy, on Monday announced the creation of the Pan- Russian Green Party. Its Founding Congress is scheduled for June 5 in Korolyovo (Moscow Region) . (2)

NOVIYE IZVESTIA (17/5/2005)

State Duma deputies are willing to raise fines for violating driving and parking rules up to 15, 000. The story examines the corresponding controversial draft bill that the State Duma is expected to consider soon. (1, 2)

In an exclusive interview Ukraine' s Transport and Communications Minister Yevgeny Chervonenko talks about results of his work at this post for the first 100 days, focusing on serious problems. (1, 4)

Helsinki police have detained 10 narco dealers, including two conductors of the " Repin" express train Plying between St/. Petersburg and Helsinki. Customs have confiscated 18, 000 ampoules of drugs and other substances. The story describes the case. (1, 4)

Former President Boris Yeltsin with his wife Naina on Monday arrived in Minerniye Vody in the Caucasus to spend two week in a sanatorium. The brief looks at his vacation program. (2)

President Putin through his decree on Monday appointed Vladimir Shamanov head of a new inter-departmental commission on POWs, internees and those missing. The Defense Ministry will be responsible for the commission ' s work. The story examines the commission' s duties, saying that human rights activists have doubts about the commission' s positive results. (2)

The State Duma Information Policy Committee on Thursday plans to invite editors-in-chief of several newspapers and magazines to talk about deputies' cooperation with print mass media with the aim of an objective reflection of the State Duma' s work. Brief. (2)

There will be no free parkings left the center of Moscow by the end of this year. The city gvt intend to impose a new system of pay parkings. The story examines the system in detail. (3)

The official rate of the American dollar fixed by the Central Bank for today is 28. 02 rubles/$. The story examines factors that have affected the dollar' s rise. (3, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 3)

The story describes how Ukrainian ice cream producers are preparing to win the Russian ice-cream market, saying that ice cream export from Ukraine to Russia over the past year has more than trebled. (3)

Moscow police for the eighth day have been trying to detain a mysterious clergyman, who has managed to rob two highly-regarded conductors. The story describes how it happened. (6, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 6)

All bridges in St. Petersburg need major renovation-- this was stated on Monday by Mostotrest Director Yury Petrov. The story describes several city bridges that may collapse any day. (7)

The Management Board of Russian Railways over the weekend approved a financial plan and an investment program in 2006-2008 of the country' s main railway company. The story offers several provisions and figures from the financial plan. (7)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (17/5/2005)

Eighteen-year-old Natalya Nikolayeva from Rostov-on-Don will take part in the beauty contest " Miss Universe" that is scheduled for May 31 in Thailand. The story highlights this pretty girl, who in a short interview says what she fears most of all. (2)

The Agriculture Surveillance Service (or Rosselkhznadzor) , starting May 16, has banned the export of vegetables and fruits from Moldova. The story examines reasons, saying that the political ones prevail. (4)

The story describes another scandal around a 5- year-old Russian girl, who several years ago was adopted by a 46-year-old divorced American from Pensilvania. (4)

Spin doctor Andranik Migranyan, Professor at the Moscow Institute of International Relations, examines four questions that Russian political elitehould answer today. His conclusion is the following :" Unless our elite perceives its guilt for the break-up of the USSR, it will not be able to uphold Russia. ". (10)

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS (17/5/2005)

The story features a 11-year-old Moscow schoolgirl, who will soon become a mother, and her friend is a 14-year-old schoolboy. (1, 5)

The story highlights several Federation Council deputies, who are not against of calling themselves Varangians. (4)