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What the Papers Say, Aug. 16, 2012

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Kommersant

1. Natalya Korchenkova article headlined "Moscow Region Cleanses Elections" says that heads of two towns in Moscow Region have resigned; pp 1, 3 (863 words).

2. Natalya Gorodetskaya interview with the head of the economic policy and development of Moscow department, Maxim Reshetnikov, headlined "Moscow Should Not Turn Into Black Hole Sucking in Everything," who speaks about the strategy of the capital's development until 2025; pp 1, 4 (3,006 words).

3. Anna Balashova and Vladislav Novy article headlined "Nagib Saviris Persuaded by Mikhail Fridman" says that Altimo has bought 14.8 per cent of voting shares of Vimpelcom Ltd. from Egyptian businessman Nagib Saviris, thus increasing its share up to 40.5 per cent; pp 1, 4 (402 words).

4. Ivan Safronov and Sofya Samokhina article headlined "Rocket Man Self-Dispersed" says that the director general of the federal state unitary enterprise Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre (Moscow), Vladimir Nesterov, has written a letter of resignation; pp 1-2 (722 words).

5. Maxim Ivanov article headlined "Voters Exhibit Quantitative Instability" says that the number of voters has dropped by 736,000 people as compared to the number of votes cast in the March presidential election. The opposition and experts refer to this fact as yet another proof of mass vote rigging at the latest election; p 2 (465 words).

6. Yury Barsukov article headlined "July Warms Up Industrial Output" says that industrial production unexpectedly grew in July after a stagnation in June and looks at the reasons behind; p 2 (476 words).

7. Pavel Korobov article headlined "Patriarch Crosses Border" says that today the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is beginning his official visit to Poland. Experts call the visit a historical breakthrough in the relations between the catholic and Eastern orthodox churches; p 3 (711 words).

8. Grigory Tumanov and Alexander Chernykh article headlined "Prosecutor's Office Tuned in to Emergency Situations Ministry's Radio" says that one of the employees of the Emergency Situations Ministry's Krepkoye Radio station, who had to resign over disagreements on the editorial policy, asked prosecutors to initiate a criminal case over tax evasion as the employees were paid part of their salary illegally; p 5 (547 words).

9. Pyotr Sokovich article headlined "Case on Attempted Assassination of Vladimir Putin Reluctant to Leave Ukraine" says that the lawyer of the Kazakh citizen, Ilya Pyanzin, charged with plotting Putin's assassination has challenged the decision of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office and the Odessa court to allow Pyanzin's extradition to Russia; p 5 (553 words).

10. Roman Kryazhev article headlined "Convict in Yukos Case Has His Jail Term Cut by One-Third" says that a Nizhny Novgorod court has reduced the term for the former head of the oil trader company Ratibor, Vladimir Malakhovsky, by four years, thus Malakhovsky will be released in October 2012; p 5 (515 words).

11. Maria Yefimova article headlined "Israel Announces Readiness for War With Iran" says that Israel signals that it may make a decision on a pre-emptive strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities in the coming weeks. Tel-Aviv wants to take advantage of the presidential campaign in the U.S.A. as it believes that ahead of the presidential election Barack Obama will have to render assistance to its strategic ally; p 6 (448 words).

12. Maxim Yusin article headlined "3rd Party Opens 2nd Front in Afghanistan" says that people's uprising against the Taliban in the Ghazni province is intensifying: the Taliban fighters have been evicted from 50 settlements already. The protesters claim they oppose both the Taliban and Hamed Karzai's government. Experts warn that the developments in the Ghazni province give a glimpse of what will happen to the entire Afghanistan after foreign troops will have withdrawn in 2014; p 6 (466 words).

13. Alexander Reutov article headlined "Former Yemeni President's Son Calls Up Old Guard" says that the confrontation between the new Yemeni authorities and the supporters of the former president has intensified; p 6 (347 words).

14. Yelena Chernenko report headlined "Russia to Help With Monitoring Belarussian Election" looks at Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Belarus and says Lavrov promised Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko to provide "fair and unbiased" monitoring of the upcoming parliamentary elections; p 6 (703 words).

15.Vladimir Dzaguto article headlined "Rules of Game" comments on the plans of turning Rosneftegaz into the largest state energy holding; p 7 (362 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Matviyenko's Amendment" says that the parliamentary opposition is drafting a bill that prevents deputies with legislative experience of less than five years to be appointed to the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, like former St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko was; pp 1-2 (776 words).

2. Anton Khodasevich article headlined "Lukashenko's Another Sharp Lurch" says that as Europe is to limit political contacts with Belarus, Russian-Belarussian relations are getting warmer; pp 1, 6 (609 words).

3. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "High-Profile Scramble at Local Level" says that heads of three Russian towns have resigned this week thereby demonstrating the intensity of political struggle at the regional level; pp 1, 3 (748 words).

4. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Language Tsunami Threatens Ukraine" says that the law on regional languages passed recently in Ukraine may aggravate the division between Ukrainian regions; pp 1, 6 (1,146 words).

5. Yury Paniyev article headlined "Pentagon Catches Tehran Red-Handed in Helping Damascus" looks at Pentagon's stance on Syria, Iran and Afghanistan recently voiced by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta; pp 1, 7 (729 words).

6. Sergei Kulikov article headlined "Russia Weaned of High Oil Prices" looks at forecasts for the Russian economy made by the Morgan Stanley bank and the International Monetary Fund, which imply that Russia should get used to the low oil prices; pp 1, 4 (858 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Unfair Direct Gubernatorial Elections" says that acting governors are bound to win the upcoming gubernatorial elections in five Russian regions as the municipal nomination filter will become an unsurpassable barrier for opposition candidates; p 2 (512 words).

8. Darya Tsiryulik article headlined "French Slums Ablaze Again" looks at another clash between residents of poor suburbs and the police in Amiens; p 2 (638 words).

9. Darya Garmonanko article headlined "Wavy motion around Yukos case" says that the imprisonment term for director general of the Ratibor oil trader Vladimir Malakhovsky, convicted in relation with the Yukos case, has been reduced. Experts are not very optimistic about the development as the changes in the Yukos case are minor and are used as a red herring by the authorities; p 3 (451 words).

10. Olga Shulga article headlined "Trade Union Bosses Eager to Become Human Rights Activists" says that the head of the Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC), Mikhail Fedotov, has received more than 160 applications from candidates for vacant posts at the council. Meanwhile, experts say the new rules for forming the council raise a lot of questions; p 3 (613 words).

11. Sergei Turanov article headlined "Russia's Best Lobbyists in July 2012" features a rating of the most influential representatives of state and commercial structures engaged in lobbying projects reflecting the interests of certain structures, industries and regions; p 5 (1,412 words).

12. Grigory Mikhailov article headlined "While Moscow is Planning, Washington is Building" says that while Russia is outlining plans for expanding cooperation with Bishkek, the U.S.A. is acting: it has built a barrack, a dining room and a building for the headquarters Kyrgyz border guards; p 6 (676 words).

13. Artur Blinov article headlined "Europe Retreats" says that the recent statistics on the situation in the euro zone shows that the problems have only aggravated and the anti-crisis measures remain inefficient; p 7 (631 words).

14. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "Seoul Wants Japanese Emperor to Repent" says that Japan's territorial disputes with its neighbors are intensifying as a group of Chinese activists has landed on the one of the disputed islands; p 7 (660 words).

Vedomosti

1. Igor Tsukanov article headlined "VimpelCom Not Divided by 3" says that Alfa Group has bought out 14.8 percent of voting shares from Egyptian billionaire Nagib Saviris thus restoring parity with its Norwegian partner Telenor; pp 1, 11 (977 words).

2. Margarita Papchenkova article headlined "Savings Are Main Thing" says that the Finance Ministry has drafted a "road map" for the International Financial Center in Moscow; pp 1, 3 (674 words).

3. Anastasia Golotsyna article headlined "Asteroid Hunters-2" says that the Russian company 12BF Global Ventures has invested in the U.S.-based Planetary Resources company that plans to extract water and mine platinum and gold on asteroids; pp 1, 11 (632 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Job We Do Not Like" says that according to polls quite a lot of Russians are not satisfied with their jobs or salary but they do not want to change anything; pp 1, 4 (542 words).

5. Yekaterina Kravchenko article headlined "Breaking Free From Russia" says that Ukraine has opened its deposits of mineral resources to international oil companies striving to reduce its gas dependence on Russia; p 3 (768 words).

6. Anastasia Kornya et al. report headlined "Neighbors Under Scrutiny" says that the presidential administration has ordered a set of studies of the political and economic situation in a number of the former Soviet Union republics. These are part of preparation for the Eurasian Union, the Kremlin explains; p 2 (399 words).

7. Interview with Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov headlined "Agriculture More Than Close World to Me" where he speaks about problems the farming industry in Russia faces, about his appointment as the minister and the authorities' stance on the freedom of speech; p 5 (3,487 words).

8. Editorial headlined "Unhealthy Humbleness" says that although Russians are aware of the upcoming economic crisis most of them are not doing anything to protect themselves; p 4 (357 words).

9. Article by the director general of the Agency for Political and Economic Communication, Dmitry Orlov, headlined "Election on Oct. 14: Kremlin's Conditions" comments on the upcoming direct gubernatorial elections set for Oct. 14; p 4 (714 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Yevgeny Shestakov article headlined "To Forget About Teddy Bears" looks at Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Belarus; p 2 (500 words).

2. Irina Nevinnaya interview with the chairman of the State Duma Legislative Committee, Pavel Krasehninnikov, headlined "Not More Valuable Than Money," who speaks about amendments drafted by the committee to protect participants in financial deals; p 4 (900 words).

3. Sergei Ptichkin article headlined "U.S.A. Tests Super-Rocket" says that the U.S.A. has tested the supersonic X-51A WaveRider plane; p 6 (500 words).

4. Sergei Ptichkin article headlined "Where Submarines Go" says that the U.S. printed media are savoring the scandal over a Russian nuclear-powered submarine cruising along the U.S. coast; p 6 (450 words).

Izvestia

1. Yury Matsarsky article headlined "Syrian Insurgents Asking for Airborne Support" says that the Syrian opposition has asked Jordan and Turkey to ensure a no-fly zone on the Syrian territory adjacent to the border; pp 1-2 (475 words).

2. Dina Ushakova article headlined "Olga Golodets to Reregister All Private Pension Funds" says that Deputy Prime Minister in charge of social issues Olga Golodets has instructed the Finance Ministry to draft a bill obliging private pension funds to reregister with the state authorities; pp 1, 3 (863 words).

3. Svetlana Subbotina interview with former mayor of the town of Khimki in the Moscow region Vladimir Strelchenko headlined "'Nobody Exerts Pressure on Me'" where he speaks about his resignation; pp 1-2 (1,085 words).

4. Maria Zhebit article headlined "Rosnedra Officials to Be Punished for Delays in Trebs and Titov Project" says that the Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency has failed to draw up papers for the license for the Trebs and Titov oil fields; pp 1-2 (475 words).

5. German Petelin article headlined "Incidents With President's Helicopter Concealed" says that the pilot whose private plane dangerously cut in front of the president's helicopter in May was fined 2,000 rubles ($63); pp 1-2 (668 words).

6. Article by political analyst Alexander Pavlov headlined "Avalanche of Glory" comments on the reaction the Pussy Riot case has triggered in Russia and abroad; p 5 (899 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Igor Subbotin and Anastasia Rodionova article headlined "Europeans Try on Pussy Riot's Masks" looks at what supporters of Pussy Riot did in Finland and Austria; pp 1-2 (682 words).

2. Renat Abdullin article headlined "Assange Expected in Ecuador?" says that Ecuador has not made a decision on whether it will provide WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with a political asylum; p 8 (424 words).

RBK Daily

1. Kristina Yust article headlined "Gazprom Going to Mexico" says that the Russian company launched its expansion in Latin America with registering trademarks in Mexico. Gazprom sees the country as a potential market for the liquefied gas; p 5 (600 words)

Noviye Izvestia

1. Svetlana Basharova article headlined "Military Medical Secret" says that one-third of Russian conscripts to be drafted in the next spring may fail to pass medical examination; p 1 (500 words)

2. Yulia Savina article headlined "Acts Like Political Police" says that Col-Gen Yury Kokov leaves post of the head of the Centre E (anti-extremism police). Human rights activists say the Centre E fights the opposition, not extremism and nothing will change under its new management; p 2 (600 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti

1. Article headlined "'Pussy March' in Berlin" says that pop singers Peaches and Simona Johnes placed a video in support of the punk band Pussy Riot on the Internet. The singers explain why they support the three girls on trial in Moscow; p 7 (650 words).

Aug. 16, 2012/BBC Monitoring/©BBC

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