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Press Review

IZVESTIA (15/1/2004)

Education Minister Vladimir Filippov on Wednesday met with writers and publishers to discuss an acute issue-- how to make children read Russian literature that is the " core of state patriotism and the traditional national spiritual value, and the Russian language is a source of the nation' s spiritual strength" . Children today, when they read at all, prefer foreign literature, above all, Harry Potter. The story describes the meeting, focusing on writers' views on the issue. (1, 2, Kommersant, 8, Gazeta, 2)

The Moscow Meshchansky District Court on Wednesday opened a trial against the former head of the Yukos-Moskva company, Vasily Shakhnovsky, who is accused of tax evasion and documents fraud. The story details his case. In a short interview Shakhnovsky denies these charges. (1, 2, Kommersant, 1, 5, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Gazeta, 1, 3, Vremya Novostei, 1, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 7, MK, 1, 2)

The US District Court in Alexandria (Virginia) on Wednesday launched hearings on the case of former owner of the All-Russian Exchange Bank Alexander Konanykhin and his wife Yelena Gracheva, who were detained on Dec. 18, 2003 when they tried to cross the American-Canadian border. Konanykhin, whose extradition is being demanded by Russia, tried to leave for Canada, because US authorities have deprived him of the status of political refugee. The story examines accusations against Konanykhin who denied them all. (1, 2, Kommersant, 5)

The story describes the procedure of collecting signatures in support of parliamentary and presidential candidates that appears to be a rather complicated process. Several experts share their views on this practice. (3)

The story comments on tough pronouncements by former State Duma Vice-Speaker and now presidential hopeful Irina Khakamada at a news conference on Wednesday when she harshly criticized President Putin, saying that democracy in today' s Russian society is a mere formality and is based on fear. Khakamada is planning to make the exposure of the genuine reasons behind the tragic developments a feature of her election campaign. (3, Kommersant, 3, Noviye Izvestia, 2, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Gazeta, 2, Tverskaya 13, 2, Vremya Novostei, Trud, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Zhizn, 2, 4 Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3, MK, 1, 2)

Homeland (Rodina) co-leader and presidential hopeful Sergei Glazyev at a news conference on Wednesday focused on what he opposes in President Putin' s present policy. In a short interview he talks about real possibilities of doubling the people' s living standards. (3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Gazeta, 2)

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky at a news conference on Wednesday introduced to journalists his party' s nominee to the presidential elections Oleg Malyshkin. Zhirinovsky at last revealed the secret of this nomination. In a short interview Oleg Malyshkin talks about major political and economic tasks today. (3, Kommersant, 3, Gazeta, 2 )

The State Duma tomorrow is expected to endorse a list of United Russia faction members as heads of all 29 committees. The story reports on how other factions regard this situation. (3, Kommersant, 2, Rosasiiskaya Gazeta, 3, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3, Sovetskaya Rossiya, 1)

The domestic oil companies have split into two camps with those fully supporting state-imposed taxes and those who are opposing state fiscal agencies' additional claims. The story names several companies from both sides. Besides, Trade and Commerce Chamber head Yevgeny Primakov at a session of Mercury-Club on Wednesday made a report concerning results of the country' s economic and political development in 2003, in which he mentioned oligarchs and their taxes. (5, Kommersant, 1, 16, Rossiiskaya Gazeta (the text of Primakov' s report) 6, Gazeta, 7, Vremya Novostei, 2)

The Gorky Auto Plant (GAZ) on Jan. 23 will launch a conveyor assembly of the new Volga car GAZ-31105. The story describes it in detail, focusing on how it differs from the old model. Experts shared pessimistic views on its fate. (5)

The owners of the Ulyanovsk Auto Plant (UAZ) --Severstal-Avto-- this year decided to make a modernized auto --UAZ-315195 Hunter, the number of which is planned to reach 33, 000 vehicles. And in 2005 Severstal plans to build a new plant that will assemble foreign cars. The story examines the company' s plans. (5, Vremya Novostei, 8)

China on Wednesday imposed anti-dumping duties on the import of Russian cold-rolled steel. The story comments on the measure, saying how the Russian gvt regards it. (5)

The gvt at a session today is expected to discuss the draft bill concerning obligatory medical insurance. The story examines its difficult fate, saying that, according to a gvt source, the bill will not be approved today. (6, Kommersant, 14, Vremya Novostei, 2)

Bailiffs Wednesday suspended the seizure of the Russian " water" market by the Swiss Nestle company-- they froze 100 percent shares of the Nestle Water Coolers CIS company, with the help of which Nestle planned to seize two-thirds of bottled drinking water. The story examines the conflicting situation. (6, Kommersant, 17)

Vympelcom Wednesday stated its intention to file a suit against Gossvyaznadzor that makes the company change the system of its relationships with its clients. The story examines reasons behind the company' s intention. (6, Kommersant, 17, Gazeta, 7)

The Tu-334 project in the production plan of the MiG avia corporation has lost its chances to be realized. The story explains reasons, citing experts' views. (6)

Greenpeace activists Wednesday launched a wide-scale campaign to compile a " black list" of food stuffs made with the help of genetic engineering. They started with the Moscow supermarket " Sedmoi Kontinent" on Ulitsa Bolshaya Gruzinskaya. The story examines the aim of the campaign. (7, Gazeta, 1, 9)

In an interview First Deputy Moscow Mayor Yury Roslyak talks about the city gvt' s economic policy for 2004. (7, Noviye Izvestia, 3, Vremya Novostei, 3)

Thirteen newly-borns in a maternity home in Krasnoturyinsk (Sverdlovsk region) over the past 2 weeks fell ill and six of them died. The local Prosecutor' s Office is investigating the case. The story details it. (8, Kommersant, 8, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 6)

The Dubai Shopping Festival has been opened in the United Arab Emirates. It will last up to Feb. 15. The story features the event and its participants. (9)

KOMMERSANT (15/1/2004)

Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko Wednesday held a session of the gvt commission on reforming electrical energy. Khristenko approved the reforming projects of 4 regional energy companies, including Mosenergo. The story examines the projects. (2)

Chechen President Akhmat Kadyrov as head of a gvt delegation on Wednesday left for Saudi Arabia, where he intends to stay for 3 days and to tell the Arabs about a new emerging life in his republic. Kadyrov hopes to receive investments. The story examines a program of his visit. (4)

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov continued his visit to the Siberian Military District on Wednesday when he arrived in Krasnoyask to meet with military commissars of Siberian territories. The story describes the meeting, at which the minister harshly criticized local commanders for poor work. (4)

A heavy snowstorm on Wednesday paralyzed many services on Sakhalin. , including its air and marine communications with the mainland. The story describes a tense situation, saying that the weather will continue to worsen. (8)

The Efremov Kautschuk GmbH company affiliated with Tatneft is among auction participants claiming to buy 63 percent of stakes of the Czeck leading oil refinery Unipetrol. The number of bids is 7. Brief. (13)

The Krasnoyarsk Airlines company (KrasAir) this year will use 2 Boeings-767 for its daily flights The brief says how it intends to obtain them. (13, Vremya Novostei, 8)

The Central Bank, starting today, will lower the refinancing rate down to 14 percent from the present 16 percent. The story comments on the reason behind the measure. (13, Gazeta, 7, Vremya Novostei, 7, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 4)

The euro rate toward the dollar on Wednesday reached the $1. 2625 mark. Its decrease over the past 3 days amounted to 2 percent. The story examines the euro position in Europe today, predicting it for February. (14)

The British analytical company-- The Center for Global Energy Studies-- has published a report containing optimistic forecasts of oil extract in Russia. The story examines the report. (15)

ALROSA Wednesday held a news conference devoted to last year' s results. The photo caption gives the major ones (figures) . (15)

The leading domestic Pyatyorochka retail network that was created in 1999 and that today has 259 shops in 10 regions plans to open its shops in Kazakhstan. The story reveals its plan. (17)

VEDOMOSTI (15/1/2004)

The story examines arguments, with the help of which Yukos intends to defend itself from attacks by the Tax Ministry that has accused the company of evading to pay 98 billion rubles in taxes. What do analysts think of the company' s decision ? (A1)

Best sport horses, among them Russia' s many-time champion Amaretto, can suffer a great deal due to a conflict among owners of the sport equestrian complex " Novy Vek" located in the Moscow region. The story looks at the conflict. (A1)

US President George W. Bush is willing to send a manned spaceship to Mars and found a base on the moon. This ambitious project may cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. But Bush wants to outstrip his rivals-Democrats and European competitors. (A1)

According to UNCTAD, the volume of direct investment in the Russian economy grew last year up to $5. 2 billion from $2. 4 billion in 2002. Brief. (A1)

The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Bureau tomorrow will get together for its first session this year to discuss RSPP' s participation in the upcoming presidential elections. The story reports on how several businessmen regard it. (A2)

The Central Bank' s statistics show that savings in cash currency last year decreased by $5. 5 billion or by 15 percent. The main reason was the lowering of the dollar rate toward the ruble. The story gives experts' views. (A3)

All Russians soon may have their own entry in the All-Russian electronic data base. The gvt at a session today will discuss this proposal by the Economic Development Ministry. The story reveals its essence. (A3)

The story examines what the Tax Ministry is demanding from the Yukos company. (A4)

According to the study " Big Russian Business-2003" , 10 big integrated business-groups ensure 38. 7 percent of industrial output (as against 30-32 percent in South Korea; 27 percent in the USA and 15 percent in Germany) . Isn' t the figure for Russia too high? Four experts share their viewpoints on the issue. (A4)

Former Norilsk Nickel top manager and Vice-Chairman of the State Sports Committee Dmitry Zelenin has been elected governor in the Tver region. In an interview he explains his decision, focusing on major provisions of the pre-election program aimed at boosting the region' s economy and people' s material and living standards. (A5)EDOMOSTI. COMPANIES & MARKETS SUPPLEMENThe Arbat Prestige network, a leading company on the domestic perfume market, can cease to exist in early March. The French retail Marionnaud company can announce its purchase. (B1)

The Tatneft company that for long scrapped ambitious projects has decided to make several purchases abroad. The story looks at them and at the company' s chances to do them. (B1)

Enron Financial Director Andrew Fastow, one of the main swindlers in corporate America over several past years and organizer of swindling schemes, has pleaded guilty. He will spend 10 years in prison and pay $20 million in fine. (B1)

ALROSA First Vice-President Alexander Nichiporuk on Wednesday reported about his diamond monopoly' s plan to release eurobonds. " We are interested in placing long-term financial instruments for a period of up to 10 years, " he said. Brief. (B1)

Sibneft today is functioning as an independent company, the business and management of which are controlled by Yukos. This was stated by Sibneft Press Service head Alexei Firsov. Brief. (B1)

Five companies, including Russian Gazprom, intend to take part in a tender for selling the state-controlled packages of shares of two Romanian gas companies (they are named) . Brief. (B1)

Tatneft has intensified control over Nizhnekamskshina, a leading domestic producer of tires. It has increased its share in the voting stakes up to 75 percent from the 50 percent figure. (B2)

The US fourth car-maker Chrysler on Wednesday announced a recall of more than 2. 7 million autos. The recall can also concern Russian Chrysler owners, who own the model 300M. (B2)

Sigma Group has bought about 40 percent of shares of the Biisk boiler plant (Altai region) . This was stated by group Director General Pavel Svirsky. Brief. (B2)

The Moscow Inter-Bank Currency Exchange has refused to trade in Gazprom shares until the liberalization of this market. The story comments on the decision, saying how market participants regard it. (B3)


The most successful political bloc " Homeland" (Rodina) that achieves good results at the Dec. 7 parliamentary elections can cease to exist in a couple of weeks. The story says why. (1, 2)

The story examines behind-the scenes intrigues in the Kremlin administration that negatively affects its personnel. The focus is several victims. (1, 2)

Air Force Chief Commander Vladimir Mikhailov spoke about funds that will be allocated this year for obtaining new aircraft. The story gives concrete funds and planes that will be purchased. (3)

Tula governor Vasily Starodubtsev has fired Alexander Mesitov, the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper " Tula Izvestia" that published an advertisement of the Yukos oil company. The story details the case. (4)

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has proposed to the Itera company to build an electrical power station in Belarus, the generated energy of which will be sold to Western Europe. The story comments on Lukashenko' s proposal, viewing it as a blow to Gazprom. (5)

The story comments on Russia' s firm stand on the presence of its 2 military bases on the territory of Georgia. (5)


The special services tap the telephone calls of the Indem anti-corruption Fund. Its President Georgy Satarov in his story describes the special services' business hunting season that was opened after the creation recently of the Anti-Corruption Council under the president. (6)

In an interview former Prosecutor General' s Office top official Yevgeny Myslovsky, and now President of the Anti-Mafia Fund on Countering Organized Crime and Corruption, shares his negative view on the recent presidential decree on the creation of the special Anti-Corruption Council. (7)

Those, who suffered from the terrorist blasts of apartment blocks in 1999 and from the seizure by Chechen terrorists of the Dubrovka theater in 2002 have made public their Appeal to presidential candidates with 10 concrete questions. The story examines the origin of this appeal, focusing on answers from 3 presidential hopefuls -- Irina Khakamada, Nikolai Kharitonov and Ivan Rybkin. (8, 9)

The Moscow City Court has brought a verdict to 2 bandits involved in terrorist blasts of apartment blocks in Moscow and Volgodonsk in the fall of 1999. The story describes the court trial against them. (10)


The Pension Fund Wednesday summed up results of citizens' choice of private companies to manage their pension accumulations. The story examines results that have turned out to be rather pessimistic -- slightly more than 1 percent from the whole number of registered future pensioners have trusted their money to such companies. (1, 3)

Turkmenia today reminds of Russia in the ' 20s -- Turkmen siloviki in villages are confiscating surplus grain from peasants. The operation is being conducted by order from President Saparmurat Niyazov. The story comments on the disturbing situation in the republic. (1)

Gubernatorial elections will take place in 11 regions on the same day as the presidential ones -- on March 14. The story names regions and gubernatorial candidates. (2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 4)

Former State Duma deputy Vasily Shandybin has not given up efforts to get to the new State Duma. The story looks at his concrete attempts. (2)

China' s Ministry of Trade on Wednesday made public a special report on foreign investment in the country in 2003. Its volume amounted to $53. 5 billion, while the figure for Russia is $4. 665 billion. The story comments on the report. (3)

TRUD (15/1/2004)

Agricultural enterprises and individual farmers, starting Jan. 1, on the voluntary basis, can pay the single agricultural tax. In an interview Vladimir Labinov, Executive Director of the Union of Dairy Enterprises, reveals the essence of the new taxation system for agricultural producers. (9)

The Russian Book of Records appeared in 1991 How does it differ from the American Guinness Book of Records? In an interview Valentina Ponomaryova answers this question, focusing on specific features of national wonders. (19)

As many as 60, 000 Russians commit suicide every year. In an interview Academician Tatyana Dmitriyeva from the Serbsky Center of Forensic Psychiatry, examines general reasons behind suicides. (21)


The Prosecutor General' s Office on Jan. 12 marked the 282nd anniversary. In an interview on this occasion Major-General Alexander Nikitin, chief of the Organizational and Analytical Board of the Main Military Prosecutor' s Office, talks about the latter' s role in implementing measures to improve the social, economic and judicial position of servicemen. He focuses on what the Main Military Prosecutor' s Office did in this sphere in 2003. (1, 2)


American space specialist Steve Whingate (Sp. ?) has studied the photos that have been received from American " Spirit" on Mars. In his opinion, one photo shows a metal object that is staying not far from the Marsian equator. The story describes the photos, focusing on the specialist' s commentaries. (2)

FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev on Wednesday passed over to Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi Auguste Rodin' s two small sculptures that 4 years ago were stolen from the Museum-Panorama " The Stalingrad Battle " . The story describes their history. (4)

The story describes several new taxes that Russians will have to pay this year. A list of taxes that have been changed or abolished lately. (5)

In an interview Valery Bogomolov, Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia party, talks about his post in the party and about how he came to know Vladimir Putin in 1992, who, as he believes, recommended him to this party post. (9)

Theatrical actor and film star Vasily Lanovoi on Jan. 16 will turn 70. In an interview he talks about his brilliant artistic career. (12, 13)