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What the Papers Say, Feb. 25, 2013

Kommersant


1. Dmitry Butrin article headlined "Raul in bushes" says Russia and Cuba have come to an agreement on writing off Havana's debt to Moscow, while Russia will get access to the Cuban shelf where oil deposits are said to have been found; pp 1, 8 (1,012 words).

2. Vladislav Trifonov article headlined "Conditions for bank loan revised for Anatoliy Ballo" says the Russian Prosecutor General's Office has sent the results of its inquiry into the work of first deputy head of Vneshekonombank Anatoliy Ballo to the Investigations Committee demanding that a criminal case be opened against the official. The committee previously did not find elements of crime in the work of Ballo; pp 1, 4 (922 words).

3. Anna Pushkarskaya article headlined "State Duma accused of violations of speed limits" says the Russian Constitutional Court has published a special opinion by one of its judges Vladimir Yaroslavtsev criticizing the controversial law on rallies which had been developed and passed by the State Duma in a hurry; pp 1-2 (631 words).

4. Yekaterina Gerashchenko article headlined "Good riddance on railway" says Russian railways have selected several partners to organize fast food restaurants at railway stations and terminals; pp 1, 9 (668 words).

5. Irina Nagornykh article headlined "Front members to gather without staff" reports on the preparation for the All Russia People's Front congress; p 2 (570 words).

6. Ivan Safronov article headlined "They look for appropriate head for space science" says the Russian Federal Space Agency is looking for candidates for the post of the director general of the Central Scientific Research Institute of Machine Building. Viktor Khartov from the Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association may be appointed for the post; p 2 (555 words).

7. Viktor Khamrayev article headlined "Gennady Zyuganov keeps party under control" reports on the Communist Party congress held in Moscow where party leader Gennady Zyuganov was re-elected for another four-year term; p 2 (449 words).

8. Natalya Korchenkova and Sergey Goryashko article headlined "TEFI kept without great three" says experts believe that TEFI TV award loses its importance as three leading TV channels, NTV, Rossia and Channel One, had withdrawn from the participation in the contest; p 3 (628 words).

9. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "South Korea being pushed towards northern way" says an increasing number of South Korean experts believe that the development of nuclear weapons may become the only way of counteracting attacks by Pyongyang; p 7 (666 words).

10. Maria Yefimova article headlined "Israel waiting for new war of stones" says the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may result in a large-scale war; p 7 (403 words).

11. Sergei Strokan article headlined "Iranian atom becomes stronger" says that despite the fact that the Iranian authorities had for the first time officially acknowledged the devastating effect of international sanctions on the country's economy, Tehran is not going to wind down its nuclear program; p 8 (719 words).

12. Georgy Kunadze, former Russian Foreign Minister, in opinion column headlined "Price of issue" calls on the participants in the international talks on the Iranian nuclear program to take a joint tough stance on Tehran and pass new sanctions against the country if it is reluctant to stop the development of nuclear weapons; p 8 (376 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta


1. Viktor Litovkin article headlined "General Staff raises alarm" says the Russian military command have summed up the results of an exercise carried out without previous warning in the Central and Southern military districts; pp 1-2 (931 words).

2. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Different tactics of Russian foreign policy strategy" says experts have noted a pragmatic approach in the Russian relations with the USA as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said there are no serious disagreements with Washington ahead of the meeting of the two countries' foreign ministers; pp 1, 3 (1,303 words).

3. Igor Naumov article headlined "Putin reminded Gazprom about national duty" says President Putin has told Gazprom gas monopoly that the supply of Russian regions with gas is one of the company's priorities, however, the company is mostly interested in gas exports; pp 1, 4 (837 words).

4. Sergei Kulikov article headlined "Darkness for Russians, light for Chinese" says Russia is selling electric energy to China at prices twice as low as the cost Russian consumers have to pay; pp 1, 4 (928 words).

5. Andrey Serenko article headlined "Case not for records" reports on a dispute between the Kalmyk Republican electoral commission and Elista commission over the setting up of district electoral commissions in the city; pp 1, 7 (473 words).

6. Viktoria Panfilova article headlined "Dushanbe offers its territory to NATO" says Tajikistan has suggested that ISAF forces should use its territory for Afghan transit. The UK is said to accept the offer, while the USA say they had not considered the country as a transit territory; pp 1, 8 (827 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Reality of 'soft power'" reviews the Russian Foreign Policy concept published by the Foreign Ministry and calls for a change in the approach to former Soviet states; p 2 (523 words).

8. Eduard Lozansky article headlined "Russian assault force in Washington" criticizes the Russian opposition and their American "friends" for demanding a tougher stance on the Kremlin's policy from US President Barack Obama; p 3 (810 words).

9. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "UK credit rating cut" says David Cameron's cabinet has suffered a blow as the ratings agency Moody's has cut the UK's top rate from AAA to Aa1; p 9 (520 words).

10. Nikolai Surkov article headlined "Al-Asad's opponents turn down Moscow and Washington" says the Syrian opposition leaders have rejected invitations by Moscow and Washington to start talks on the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis; p 9 (492 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets


1. Natalya Rozhkova article headlined "Zyuganov to resign in 18 months?" reports on the Communists' congress in Moscow and notes that party leader Gennady Zyuganov has 18 months to choose his successor and make him popular ahead of the State Duma elections; pp 1-2 (598 words).

2. Yulia Kalinina article headlined "Law on children surveillance needed" calls for measures to protect children from pedophiles and notes that children should not be left unattended in Russia; pp 1-2 (560 words).

Izvestia


1. German Petelin article headlined "Serdyukov approved sales schedule in Oboronservis" says the investigation has found out that former defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov had personally approved liquidation of businesses sold in a fraudulent way; pp 1, 4 (1,195 words).

2. Maksim Krasnov and Svetlana Subbotina article headlined "Deputies fail to declare their spending" says the State Duma deputies may do without declaring their spending in 2013 as there are still no documents regulating the procedure; pp 1, 2 (433 words).

3. Anastasiya Alekseyevskikh et al. report headlined "Financial centre to be built at expense of pensioners" outlines the government's plans to build an international financial centre in Moscow; pp 1, 4 (1,080 words).

4. Sergey Ispolatov and Margarita Kazantseva article headlined "Oil companies ask for monopoly on Belarusian market" says five Russia's largest oil companies have asked the government for a monopoly right on oil supplies to Belarus; pp 1, 4 (890 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta


1. Yulia Krivoshapko article headlined "Keys from flat where money are stored" says new standards for charging individuals for public utilities services come into effect in Russia; pp 1, 3 (738 words).

2. Maksim Kantor article headlined "Stalin's son made traitor" says the article by Der Spiegel on Stalin's son Yakov surrendering to Hitler's army has used false information; pp 1, 9 (2,072 words).

3. Niva Mirakyan article headlined "Lobby against Pope" details a scandal involving senior clerics of the Catholic Church following the Pope's decision to resign; p 5 (523 words).

Vedomosti


1. Bela Lyauv article headlined "Contracts to all friends" says the largest contractors in building roads in Moscow are the companies belonging to President Putin's cronies; pp 1, 19 (716 words).

2. Yelena Khodyakova article headlined "Yanukovich gives response" says Kiev has expressed readiness to let the county's gas transportation system on hire. It is unclear whether Gazprom or the EU are interested in renting the pipelines; pp 1, 13 (473 words).

3. Editorial headlined "Putin's transformation" says an anti-corruption campaign launched in Russia is used by president Putin to improve his image; pp 1, 6 (446 words).

4. Another editorial headlined "Cuba without Castro" looks into political changes to be carried out in Cuba; p 6 (281 words).

5. Maksim Glikin article headlined "Person of week: Pavel Astakhov" slams the stance of children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov on the scandal with the adoption of Russian orphans by US citizens. The author notes that Astakhov had studied in the USA and used to call the country his second motherland; p 6 (365 words).

6. Bela Lyauv interview with Moscow deputy mayor Natalya Sergunina speaking on the tax policy and housing projects of the Moscow city authorities; p 8 (2,929 words).

RBK Daily


1. Anastasiya Novikova article headlined "Bargaining over time on air" says State Duma MP Vladimir Fedotkin has come up with an initiative to provide each deputy and Federation Council senator with 30 minutes of air time on the state control media to allow them to inform the electorate of the results of their work; p 2 (400 words).

2. Ivan Petrov article headlined "Strasburg without facade" says Russians are losing confidence in the European Court of Human Rights, saying it would not pay enough attention to their demands; p 2 (500 words).

3. Andrei Kotov article headlined "Russia not expensive" says the main reason the Russian market remains so unpopular is that most of its trading companies are not efficient ; pp 1, 3 (1, 500 words).

4. Galina Starinskaya article headlined "Foreigners to be allowed to big oil" says the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources has put forwards a series of legislative initiatives as regards the oil extraction sector. Foreigners should be guaranteed the right to extract oil at deposits of federal importance discovered by them; p 7 (600 words).

Novyye Izvestia


1. Yulia Zabavina article headlined "More expensive than Olympic constructions" says the capital outflow for Russia will amount to about 50bn dollars in 2013. Economic experts looks at what Russia may loose because of the non-ending capital outflow; pp 1, 3 (500 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti


1. Aleksandra Ilyina article headlined "Young and red" provides commentaries by young Russian Communist Party members regarding the party, non-systemic opposition, Stalin etc.; pp 6-7 (900 words).

Feb. 25, 2013/BBC Monitoring/©BBC

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