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A brief look at the stories making headlines in the Russian-language press

Izvestia
Kommersant
Vedomosti
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Noviye Izvestia
Komomolskaya Pravda
Krasnaya Zvezda
Moskovsky Komsomolets


Izvestia
www.izvestia.ru

A story looks at the widely different assessments of the recent secret meeting between Russian officials and representatives of Chechen rebels aimed at discussing peace terms.

Chechen official Besim Tibuk, who accompanied Chechen administration head Akhmad Kadyrov to the meetings, gives his impressions of the talks.

In an interview, Talgat Tadjuddin, head of the Central Muslim Board of Russia, talks about Osama bin Laden, who he calls "a monster in the family of Islam."

Tadjuddin also talks about Wahabbism in Tatarstan.

A story examines the discovery of a secret laboratory outside the Afghan capital of Kabul where the Taliban allegedly developed anthrax bacteria and what U.S. and British officials make of the find.

The Northern Alliance revealed on Monday that Djuma Namangani, head of the Uzbek Islamists, had been killed in a fight against Taliban forces. The story gives details.



The government on Monday moved to soothe journalists' fears that plans are afoot to freeze budget allocations for mass media, saying it is not being considered. Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said last week that such a move was possible.

Energy Minister Igor Yusufov on Monday met with Mexican counterpart Ernesto Martens, who wanted to get first-hand information about Russia's response to OPEC's proposal to cut its oil exports. The story comments on the meeting.



President Vladimir Putin was expected to head to Novy Urengoi to visit gas extracting enterprises and to discuss problems in the fuel and energy complex. The story examines a program of the visit.

A delegation headed by Alexander Oblov that includes representatives from the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service arrived on Sunday in Kabul. The story examines the group's mission.

Former Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov has been elected deputy of the Federation Council.

Siberian Aluminum, a leading shareholder of the Gorky Auto Plant, announced Monday it had fired Director General Viktor Belyaev, who will be replaced by Dmitry Strezhnev, director general of Ruspromavto. The story examines reasons behind the personnel changes.

A brief gives an assessment of Gazprom-Media 's assets, putting them between $300 million and $500 million.

The Prosecutor General's Office on Monday said it had launched an investigation into claims by writer Eduard Uspensky, who says both Russian and foreign films have illegally used the names of characters from his books.

In an interview, Vladimir Shternfeld, head of the Shtern Tsement company, explains why he opposes the creation of a new political party that merges Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's Fatherland-All Russia and the Kremlin-backed Unity.

The Supreme Court was expected to begin considering whether Mikhail Nikolayev, president of the Yakutia republic, may participate in forthcoming elections. The story looks into the case, focusing on the election campaign there.

A story looks at plans by SIBUR's board of directors to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting on Jan. 9 to re-elect the board. The company, controlled by Gazprom, is also thought to be aiming to increase Gazprom representation on the board.



Housing utility reform, as Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has promised, will be launched on Jan. 1 in all Moscow districts. City tenants will pay 22.99 rubles ($0.78) per square meter of floorspace. The story examines these reforms.

A conflict is brewing in the Moscow region between the Tax Ministry and regional authorities on the issue of vodka trade. The story gives details.

The president and the Cabinet have decided to nominate Moscow to host the EXPO-2010, and Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref are expected to make Moscow's case to representatives from the Exhibition Bureau Tuesday. The story looks into Moscow's chances.

Kommersant
www.kommersant.ru

U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday signed a bill on air transportation security that envisages "aggressive steps" in ensuring the safety of passengers . The story comments on the document.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov questioned Chechen field commander Salman Raduyev during the latter's trial in Dagestan on Monday. The story gives details.

The bodies of four foreign journalists who disappeared in Afghanistan on Sunday have been found. The journalists and their interpreter were killed by an unidentified gang on the road between Jalalabad and Kabul. The story gives details.

In an interview, Bislan Gantamirov, the federal inspector for Chechnya, shares his views on the talks between rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov's envoys and federal authorities.

Russia and Moldova signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation on Monday. The story looks at its major provisions.

The Phillips Petroleum Co. and Conoco Inc. oil and gas extracting companies on Monday signed an agreement to create a new company, ConocoPhillips. The story looks at the implications of this merger.

Andrei Illesh has been released from the post of deputy director general of the ITAR-TASS information agency.



Bashkreditbank officials on Monday said that shareholders have decided to change the banks' name to Uralo-Sibirsky Bank. The story comments on the change.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia opened its second congress on Monday. A story looks at the agenda.

Vedomosti
www.vedomosti.ru

The Cabinet is expected to discuss a plan submitted by Unified Energy Systems for creating generating companies. The story examines its main aspects.

Starting next year, the price of medical insurance for companies could rise and employees may be forced to pay in full. The Tax Ministry has demanded that income taxes be levied on medical insurance dues.

Monopolies claim the higher tariff limits introduced by the government in its 2002 macroeconomic prognosis do not go far enough. Gazprom, Unified Energy Systems and the Railways Ministry are all demanding even higher tariffs. The story looks at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's response to these demands.

Revenues of all types to the consolidated budget this year will amount to 2 trillion rubles, up from 1.4 trillion last year, according to the Tax Ministry's press service.

State Duma Deputy Speaker Georgy Boos has submitted draft bills taking into account mass media proceeds that are exempt from both value-added and profit taxes. Boos expects them to be considered in the first reading in December and passed before the end of this year.

For the first time during Russia's 10-year IMF membership, the country's debt will be less than its quota in the IMF charter capital. Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin stated that this would happen by the end of the year. The story comments on his statement.

Former Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov has returned to big time politics with his election as Federal Council deputy from the Buryatia Republic. Skuratov has called his appointment an element of political rehabilitation, though not all of his new colleagues agree.

Ukraine's parliament last week ratified inter-government agreements concerning the terms of reserve deliveries and payments for Russian natural gas and guaranteed continued gas transit through Ukraine. The story comments on the documents, focusing on the issue of Ukraine's debt for Russian gas.

In an interview, George David, head of the board of directors and chief executive director of the United Technologies Corporation, talks about his company. The firm posted annual turnover of $25 billion and has invested about $400 million in various joint ventures in Russia.

Vedomosti. Companies and Markets

Will SIBUR clear off its bonds on Dec. 3? The company has announced that its shareholders will help it collect 2 billion rubles ($67.5 million) for the purpose. The story comments on the company's financial problems.

The board of directors of Philip Morris Izhora has announced dividend payments of $50 million to its shareholders. The American corporation has begun to get profits from its investment in Russia.

A story looks at American promises to help Russia gain entry to the WTO ahead of schedule.

AvtoVAZ and General Motors may work together on a new model automobile, according to AvtoVaz's press center.

The consolidated net profit of the national power grid Unified Energy Systems over the first nine months of 2001 amounted to 15.3 billion rubles, up from 12.1 billion last year.

Tatyana Trefilova , head of the Federal Financial Improvement and Bankruptcy Service, said she wants to see bankruptcy proceedings against the Tomsk petrochemical factory halted.

The London Electricity company, an affiliate of French Electricite de France, said it had purchased the Eastern Electricity network that belonged to the U.S.-based TXU corporation. The story examines this deal.

A story examines how world oil prices are holding the Russian stock market hostage.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta
www.ng.ru

In an interview Viktor Zubkov , head of the newly-created Financial Monitoring Committee ( dubbed the Financial Intelligence ) talks about his agency, focusing on its aims, tasks and powers. (1,2 )

The story examines five reasons saying why Russia should fear oil falling prices. Economic analysts forecasts a new default in Russia in 2003. (3)

Russia over 10 years already has been suffering from investment shortages , which has become the headache of the gvt. The story examines what a dear price this headache costs the country. (3)

The construction of the Tyanvanskaya Nuclear Plant is a major economic project of cooperation today between Russia and China. The cost of the contract on building two plant units with reactors exceeds $3 billion. The story examines the project 's technical specifications. (3)

It's no secret that the struggle for the presidential seat in the Republic of Sakha today is nothing other than the struggle for control over the local diamond "ALROSA" company. The story presents an in-depth analysis of this acute issue. (5)

Noviye Izvestia

According to results of a recent opinion poll ( 500 respondents ), conducted by the independent ROMIR Sociological Center for the Study of Public Opinion, 56.8 percent of Muscovites have no intention to keep their savings in euros that will be put into circulation in January 2002. The story offers other figures. (1)

The story features the Moscow Registration Chamber that registers new businesses. By 9 AM every day crowds of people form a long line outside the building to get inside to receive all necessary information before collecting documents. (4)

The story gives facts showing how the property department of the Belarussian presidential administration trades in stolen autos. (5)

Komomolskaya Pravda
www.kp.ru

Vice-Admiral Mikhail Motsak, commander of the Northern Fleet, in his interview on Saturday is likely to have confessed to lying about the real state of things on the "Kursk" submarine already on Aug. 15, 2000. The story offers excerpts from his interview. (2)

In poverty-stricken villages in the Ulyanovsk region locals prefer to be jobless and live on social benefit allowances, because low wages are not paid on time. The story gives facts to illustrate the point. (10)

In July the Finance Ministry came up with the initiative to withdraw 11 general education secondary schools ( including one school in St. Petersburg ) from the list of budget recipients . And now this initiative is likely to become a reality -- 10 best schools in Moscow city and region will be closed. And what will happen to teachers and pupils? Moskva Supplement. (1)

In an interview "Prosveshcheniye" Publishers Editor-in-Chief Margarita Leontyeva talks about school text-books , which, in her opinion, each teacher should select for his pupils. Moskva Supplement. (5)

An Assembly of the Russian business community will open in Moscow on Nov. 22. It will be devoted to the creation of a favourable investment climate , the shaping of a positive image of domestic entrepreneurship and its socially-oriented ideology. The "Sotsialnaya Initsiativa" investment- construction corporation is a general sponsor of the Assembly . In an interview its head economist Nikolai Karasev talks about the event , its participants and significance. (20 )

The story features an unusual experiment in the Toporkovo village ( Moscow region) to create an Orthodox boarding - school , the construction of which was launched a year ago. The school is designed for homeless children , who will have here their own church. Its construction project will be completed by Christmas. (21 )

Krasnaya Zvezda

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov at a news conference for Russian journalists on Sunday commented on the most vital problems of world and home policies, focusing on military reform , the current developments in Afghanistan , Russia's national priorities, etc(1, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 9 )

Moskovsky Komsomolets
www.mk.ru

Crime. The Prosecutor General's Office, on the basis of MK's materials, has instituted criminal proceedings against Lieutenant-General Alexander Orlov, the ex-Interior Minister's aide ( dubbed "grey cardinal ), who is accused of abuse of power. The story details his crimes. (1,2 )

Crime. An unprecedented case happened in the Natalya Sats Children's Musical Theater on Sunday when a theater worker , a pedophile, raped a 7-year-old girl, who together with her father and younger sister came to the theater to see its production. The story gives details. (1, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 7)

The story describes how President Vladimir Putin's Internet site will change in the year 2000. (2)

Georgia's head of state Eduard Shevardnadze Monday stated his willingness to fight terrorism together with Moscow. The story comments on his statement, focusing on what it means in reality. (2)

Eleven leaders of human rights organizations, who will participate in the Civil Forum (scheduled for Nov. 21-22 ) has sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin stating human rights violations in Chechnya and giving a list of people, who suffered from violence in this republic over the past 2 years. (2)

The State Duma on Nov. 18 passed amendments to the Criminal Code that on Nov. 19 were signed by President Vladimir Putin. The amendments will take effect in a couple of days. The major new feature is that the court rather than the prosecutor now will sign arrest warrants. (2)

Pages of history. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Battle for Moscow, Gavriil Popov, head of the International University in Moscow, reports true facts about the Battle , saying that in Soviet times those events were presented in a distorted manner. (2)

An unprecedented action will take place today at 7PM at the municipal Exhibition Hall "On Solyanka": Russian artists will present their paintings to "United Way", the New-York- based international charity fund to help those who suffered from the Sept. 11 terrorist acts in the USA. The artists will sponsor a display-sale of their paintings and the money thus earned will be sent to the families that suffered from the hand of Osama bin Laden in the USA and Afghanistan. (3)

Specialists from the Serbsky State Research Center of Social and Forensic Psychiatry have made public results of an opinion poll carried out among Moscow seniour - graders to see their relationships with parents and major problems of their concern . The poll was conducted in several schools for the rich and for the poor in the Moscow Central Administrative District. The story gives interesting results. (3)

The story is devoted to numerous presents for President Vladimir Putin from his foreign guests and colleagues, saying what he does with them. (4)

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