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What the Papers Say, July 20, 2012

Igor Tabakov


1.Maria Cherkasova and Denis Skorobogatko article headlined "For Half Percent From Summa" says that the government has selected UBS bank to arrange the privatization of 20 percent of joint stock company Novorossiisky Sea Trade Port; pp 1, 9 (618 words).

2. Andrei Kolesnikov article headlined "Comrades Go Right Way" gives an ironic account of President Vladimir Putin's meeting with members of the parliamentary factions; pp 1-2 (1,780 words).

3. Sergei Sobolev article headlined "Travel Operation Without Guarantees" says that although amendments obliging travel agencies to increase financial guarantees came into effect on July 5, only 12 companies have done so. Leaders on the travel market are not among them; pp 1, 10 (677 words).

4. Andrei Smirnov and Sergei Mashkin article headlined "Terror Ahead of Hajj" looks at a series of attacks on senior Muslim clerics in Tatarstan, as a result of which deputy mufti of Tatarstan Valiulla Yakupov was shot dead and the mufti of Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, was seriously injured; pp 1, 4 (943 words).

5. Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Human Rights Activists Want to Become Foreign Agents" says that Legal Initiative, the biggest foreign NGO in Russia, providing assistance in dealing with the European Court of Human Rights, has applied to Moscow City Court to challenge the ruling on its closure. Experts are confident that even if they win the case it will not prevent another closure of the organization; p 2 (444 words).

6. Pyotr Netreba and Alexei Shapovalov article headlined "Budget Reform Comes Ahead of Time" says the government has passed amendments to the Budget Code that envisage implementation of the unpopular budget reform initiated by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin; p 2 (592 words).

7. Maxim Ivanov and Veronika Vishnyakova article headlined "Muscovites Want to Remove Authorities" says that according to a poll conducted by the Levada Center, around 64 percent of Moscow residents welcome the idea of relocating federal authorities beyond the old Moscow city borders; p 3 (560 words).

8. Irina Nagornykh article headlined "People's Front Gets Foundation" says the Institute of Social, Economic and Political Studies affiliated with the All-Russia People's Front has begun to operate; p 3 (724 words).

9. Irina Nagornykh brief interview with the head of the Institute of Social, Economic and Political Studies, deputy speaker of the Federation Council, member of the All-Russia People's Front and United Russia, Svetlana Orlova, headlined "We Want to Be People's Speaker," in which she talks about the purpose of setting up the institute and its tasks; p 3 (417 words).

10. Oleg Rubnikovich article headlined "Police Find Cocaine Following Banana Trace" says an investigation of a high-profile criminal case of smuggling large batches of cocaine from Ecuador has been completed; p 4 (747 words).

11. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "China Sets Levers in Africa" says China will allocate a loan worth $20 billion to some African countries and will invest another $2 billion in joint projects. Experts attribute Beijing's increased activity to the desire to obtain powerful levers to exert pressure on the African countries' governments; p 5 (524 words).

12. Nikolai Marchenko et al. report headlined "Manufacturing Country Chosen for Explosive Device" says the Israeli authorities have laid the blame for the explosion of a bus with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on Iran and the Hezbollah group. Experts do not rule out that Israel may start pinpoint elimination of Iranian top officials in revenge; p 5 (561 words).

13. Olga Kuznetsova article headlined "Francois Hollande Following de Gaulle's Path" says that France may withdraw from NATO's military structures as the French president has ordered his advisor to consider such a possibility; p 5 (373 words).

14. Maxim Yusin article headlined "Syria on Verge of Chemical Reaction" says the next few days will show whether troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad will be able to maintain control over the capital. If they fail, the country will end up on the verge of collapse as interfaith clashes are intensifying and terrorist groups may get hold of Syria's supply of chemical weapons; p 5 (505 words).

15. Kirill Belyaninov article headlined "Human Rights Activists Get Down to Special Services" says U.S. human rights activists have asked to bring to account high-ranking officials of U.S. special services for killing three U.S. citizens suspected of links with Al-Qaeda; p 5 (536 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1.Gleb Postnov and Andrei Melnikov article headlined "Tatarstan Conflict in TNT Equivalent" says that deputy mufti of Tatarstan Valiulla Yakupov has been shot dead near his home in Kazan and that the car in which the mufti of Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, was travelling has been blown up. The attacks seem to have confirmed the assumption that religious extremists from the North Caucasus have gained a foothold in the region; pp 1, 5 (1,639 words).

2. Alexandra Samarina and Olga Shulga article headlined "Half Billion for Central Elections Commission" says the Central Elections Commission has decided to remit some 508 million rubles to the Federal Center for Informatization to work out measures to prevent vote rigging. Experts doubt the funds will be used efficiently; pp 1, 3 (604 words).

3. Sergei Kulikov article headlined "Pension Fund Reports With Dead Souls" says the Pension Fund has made a report full of discrepancies on results of a controversial state program to co-finance pensions; pp 1-2 (607 words).

4. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Ukraine May Get in Oil Trap" says that in its attempt to diversify sources of gas supplies, Kiev may become dependent on supplies of Russian oil and looks at the state of the Ukrainian oil-processing industry; pp 1, 6 (751 words).

5. Nikolai Surkov article headlined "Clashes in Damascus Coincide With Struggle in Security Council" says that Russia and China have vetoed a resolution on Syria drafted by Western countries. As clashes between government troops and the insurgents continue, the United States has started talks with Israel on measures to destroy the Syrian stock of chemical weapons in case chaos and anarchy take hold in the country; pp 1, 7 (633 words).

6. Vladislav Maltsev article headlined "Pussy Riot's Old Sins Recalled" says that State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina has asked the prosecutor general to check whether Pussy Riot's previous actions violated the law; pp 1, 3 (781 words).

7. Vladimir Mukhin article headlined "Generals Exceed Target" says that in 2012 the Defense Ministry called up more conscripts than the president's decree demanded; p 2 (515 words).

8. Editorial headlined "Growing Polarization" looks at polls conducted by the Associated Press and the Russian branch of GfK in early June. Russians consider drug addiction and corruption to be the most acute problems in the country and are more concerned about economic problems than political ones; p 2 (509 words).

9. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "Kudrin Suggests That Policemen Be Replaced With Sheriffs" says that Alexei Kudrin's Civic Initiatives Committee along with the Indem foundation have drafted a concept to drastically change the police; p 3 (807 words).

10. Sergei Turanov article headlined "Russia's Best Lobbyists in June 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 4 (1,436 words).

11. Oleg Nikiforov article headlined "Innovation Boost" looks at the International Youth Innovation Forum Forsazh held in Kaluga Region in July; p 5 (638 words).

12. Andrei Serenko article headlined "Kalmyk Head Asks for Early [Election]" says that some sources in the Kalmyk capital of Elista have said that Kalmykia leader Alexei Orlov has asked the presidential administration to conduct an early gubernatorial election in the republic before the end of the year. The opposition says this scenario is the only way for Orlov to retain power. Supporters of the incumbent head, however, are sure his position is unshakable; p 5 (441 words).

13. Viktoria Panfilova article headlined "President Elected in Artsakh" looks at the presidential election in Nagorny-Karabakh. NATO, the European Union, Turkey and Azerbaijan have already stated that they do not recognize the election in the unrecognized republic; p 6 (694 words).

14. Svetlana Gamova article headlined "Moldova Offered to Become Federation" says that a public movement advocating a new principle of the country's reorganization as a federation has appeared in Moldova. The majority of the population perceives the idea of a federation as a protest against the integration of Moldova into Romania, which the ruling alliance is actively pushing; p 6 (653 words).

15. Artur Blinov article headlined "Romney Gets Ahead of Obama" looks at the presidential campaign in the United States; p 7 (649 words).

16. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "Russians Complain About Summer Schools in England" says the Russian consulate in London has warned parents sending their children to English schools for summer educational programs that they may be accommodated in bad housing conditions and face rudeness; p 7 (498 words).


1. Maria Dranishnikova and Nadezhda Zaitseva article headlined "Flat With Surprise" says that flats built by the company Su-155 have been sold and the buyers were not informed that the developer has pledge agreements with the Nordea bank for this property; p 1 (700 words).

2. Natalya Biyanova article headlined "MDM's Credit Holiday" says that the Fitch ratings agency has downgraded MDM bank's rating; p 1 (478 words).

3. Olga Kuvshinova and Yevgenia Pismennaya article headlined "Will Have to Borrow Somewhere" says that according to some experts, the government will have to use money from the Reserve Fund in the second half of the year to finance budget expenses; pp 1, 3 (747 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Expensive Screws" says that repressive bills that the State Duma has hurried to pass will require additional expenses from the federal budget; pp 1, 4 (521 words).

5. Lilia Biryukova et al. report headlined "Gain From Agents" says that a high-ranking Kremlin official has stated that independent mass media outlets will not be equated to foreign agents and persecuted, and attributed the rumors to the struggle for the position of the head of the State Duma's Information Committee; p 2 (454 words).

6. Yulia Garayeva et al. report headlined "Reach Kazan" looks at attacks on senior Muslim clerics in Tatarstan's capital Kazan and at the reasons behind them; p 2 (367 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Issue of Waste" says the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use has stated that an experiment on separate trash collection has failed, and the regulator has begun to advocate the construction of waste-burning plants; p 4 (317 words).

8. Maxim Glikin et al. report "27% for Putin" says that in Moscow, the share of people who do not approve of President Vladimir Putin has surpassed his approval rating, and that only 21 percent of residents are ready to vote for the ruling party; p 2 (500 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1.Mikhail Falaleyev interview with Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky headlined "Rules of Hospitality" in which he details how Russian migration policy will change; pp 1, 6 (1, 300 words).

2. Svetlana Brailovskaya report headlined "Kazan. 1100" looks at the attacks on the mufti of Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, and deputy mufti of Tatarstan Valiulla Yakupov; pp 1, 7 (800 words).

3. Vitaly Petrov article headlined "Partners of First Order" says that President Vladimir Putin has presented a state award to the King of Spain for his achievements in humanitarian activities; p 2 (600 words).

4. Ivan Yegorov article headlined "Borderless Migration" says that Moscow and Moscow region prosecutors are concerned about drug addiction and illegal migration in the region; p 6 (700 words).

5. Viktor Feshchenko article headlined "Living in Volcano" says that Syrian President Bashar Assad may have fled Damascus; p 8 (500 words).


1. Dmitry Yevstifeyev article headlined "Deputy Mufti Killed in Kazan Fought Against Wahhabis" says that Islamic radicals may be behind the recent terrorist attacks on senior Muslim clerics in Tatarstan; pp 1, 3 (704 words).

2. Pyer Sidibe article headlined "Oleg Chirkunov Gets Down to Science" looks at former Perm region Governor Oleg Chirkunov's plans; pp 1, 4 (478 words).

3. Ivan Cheberko article headlined "Launch of Satellites for Glonass May Be Postponed" says the simultaneous launch of three Glonass satellites set for this fall is very likely to be postponed as all the satellites in orbit are functioning properly; pp 1, 4 (845 words)

4. Vladimir Zykov report "Anti-Pedophiles Quarrel on Vkontakte" says that the administration of social network Vkontakte has published on its website an appeal to the Interior Ministry asking it to stop activities of fake anti-pedophiles; pp 1, 4 (600 words).

5. Igor Yavlyansky interview with Vladimir Farafonov, a Russian blogger living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, headlined "Russian Blogger Not to Appeal in Kyrgyzstan," in which Farafonov explains why he is not going to dispute a court's decision to impose a fine of around $1,000 on him for inciting ethnic enmity; p 5 (518 words).

6. Article by writer Dmitry Drobnitsky headlined "Reflections Against Syrian Background" says the collapse of Bashar Assad's regime, which looks inevitable, is fraught with tragic consequences for the Middle East and the entire world; p 8 (887 words).

7. Article by political analyst Boris Mezhuyev headlined "Inappropriate Khodorkovsky" says that jailed former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky has low chances of becoming the leader of the liberal movement when he is released; p 8 (983 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Sergei Bychkov et al. report "Day of Jackals" looks at recent terrorist attacks in Tatarstan; pp 1-2 (800 words).

2. Alexander Minkin's open letter to the president headlined "Baker's Dozen" looks at high-profile laws recently approved by the Russian parliament and at the situation in the country; pp 1, 4 (1,000 words).

3. Mikhail Rostovsky report "Agent 'Kremlin' Fails to Communicate" looks at a bill on mass media submitted to the State Duma by a United Russia deputy; pp 1, 3 (600 words).

4. Renat Abdullin report "West Exerts Pressure on Assad" says that despite terrorist attacks, rhetoric in relation to the regime in Syria has not changed; p 2 (300 words).

Novaya Gazeta

1. Yulia Latynina report "Not Evil Deed, But Hooliganism" says that President Vladimir Putin will not be able to impose restrictions on the Internet like the authorities have done in China and says what the Russian opposition should do; p 7 (600 words).

2. Unattributed article "Kremlin Defense" says that the editors of the newspaper have obtained presidential administration documents dedicated to preparation for the fall elections of different levels; p 9 (800 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti

1. Sergei Minenko report headlined "Punishment for Traditions" looks at attacks on Tatarstan's mufti and his deputy; pp 1, 3 (700 words).

2. Anastasia Yamshchikova report headlined "Two on One" looks at the Magnitsky law that could be passed in the United States; p 2 (500 words).

3. Marina Lepina report "No One Will Hear Pussy Riot" says that the trial of the punk group Pussy Riot will be a closed one; article is followed by an interview with the lawyers involved in the trial; p 3 (900 words).

Noviye Izvestia

1. Olga Kim report headlined "Perestroika Begins With Trousers" says that changes are taking place in North Korea, but their meaning is unclear so far; p 12 (600 words).

RBC Daily

1. Tatyana Kosobokova report "Vertical Divides in Two" says that Dmitry Medvedev is forming a chain of power of his own and parallel to that of Putin; p 1 (700 words).

July 20, 2012/BBC Monitoring/©BBC

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