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What the Papers Say, Aug. 9, 2012

Igor Tabakov


1. Anna Balashova article headlined "Konstantin Solodukhin Registers Resignation" says that the new CEO of mobile phone company MegaFon Ivan Tavrin keeps reshuffling his team: Konstantin Solodukhin, who was in charge of the development of federal corporate sales, to be replaced by Yevgeny Chermashencev; pp 1, 10 (509 words).

2. Sergei Mashkin and Alexei Sokovnin article headlined "Platon Lebedev Brought Closer to Exit From Prison" says that yesterday the Velsk district court reduced former Menatep head Platon Lebedev's sentence by three years and four months; pp 1, 3 (886 words).

3. Svetlana Dementyeva et al. report headlined "Otkritie Placed on Bank Deposit" says that the financial corporation Otkritie will soon buy an almost 20 percent stake in Nomos bank. The deal may be the first stage of a large-scale project on merging Nomos bank and Otkritie's banking business; pp 1, 8 (1,036 words).

4. Ksenia Dementyeva article headlined "Companies Lack Long Ruble" says that although corporate demand for the long-term credit has grown, banks are toughening conditions for long-term loans fearing that companies might face financial troubles soon; pp 1,8 (580 words).

5. Anna Pushkarskaya article headlined "Georgy Poltavchenko's Deputy May Be Replaced" says that representatives of business elite close to the country's leadership are pushing for the resignation of Vasily Kichedzhi, the closest ally of the St. Petersburg governor; p 2 (523 words).

6. Oleg Sapozhkov article headlined "Drought Yields First Billions" says that the government has decided against imposing an embargo or restrictions on exporting grain but will compensate losses to the regions which suffered most from the drought; p 2 (677 words).

7. Sergei Goryashko article headlined "Dmitry Medvedev Defends South Ossetia" says that yesterday, four years after the Russian-Georgian conflict began, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Georgian rebel region South Ossetia and promised Russia's support to the republic. Meanwhile, polls conducted by Levada Center show that some 30 percent of Russians think that Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia should become part of Russia; p 2 (559 words).

8. Ivan Safronov article headlined "Cable Brings Down Couple of Satellites" says that experts are trying to figure out the reasons for why the Proton-M carrier rocket failed to reach orbit. Mechanical damage to the main fuel supply cable is the priority version; p 3 (572 words).

9. Sofya Samokhina article headlined "Second Yukos Case Taken to Boris Titov" says that documents on the second case of the former head of the Yukos oil giant, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, will be submitted today to the Business Against Corruption center, where business ombudsman Boris Titov is one of the co-chairmen; p 3 (565 words).

10. Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Inciting Ignition for Good Machine of Truth'" says that the Volgograd region prosecutor's office wants the leaflet distributed on behalf of the United Russia party via the Good Machine of Truth website launched by Alexei Navalny to be recognized as extremist. The leaflet says that residents of the regions where the United Russia party gained fewer voices at the parliamentary election will have to pay higher utilities tariffs. If the leaflet is proven to incite extremism, the website will be shut down and Navalny will face criminal charges; p 3 (485 words).

11. Taisia Bekbulatova article headlined "Religious Organizations Made to Get Rid of Everything Non Grata" says that the Justice Ministry has drafted amendments to the law on religious organizations that will make the functioning of some religions more difficult; p 3 (484 words).

12. Oleg Kashin article headlined "Prison Term Set for Pussy Riot's Sentence" says that Moscow's Khamovnichesky District Court Judge Marina Syrova will deliver her verdict in the Pussy Riot case on Aug. 17; p 4 (512 words).

13. Marina Yefimova and Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Russia Entrusts Chemical Weapons to Syria" says that Moscow has refused to dispose of the Syrian stock of chemical weapons jointly with the U.S.A. amid fears that if Bashar Assad's regime falls, the chemical weapons will find their way into the wrong hands. Syria has become an arena of acute confrontation between Russia and the West, hence Moscow's tough stance, experts comment; p 6 (510 words).

14. Alexander Reutov article headlined "Syrian Opposition Loses Sense" says that the Syrian opposition announced that they had killed Russian General Vladimir Kuzheyev, who was adviser to the Syrian defense minister, and accused Russia of participating in military actions on Bashar Assad's side and crimes against humanity. A few hours later Kuzheyev told a news conference in Moscow that he had resigned from the army back in 2010. The opposition hoped to prove that Russia supported one of the sides in the Syrian conflict and thus limit its participation in the settlement of the conflict, experts comment; p 6 (571 words).

15. Yelena Chernenko and Anastasia Gorshkova article headlined "Auction to Decorate Debts" says that in September the building of the Russian trade representative office in Sweden, valued at 7 million euros ($8.7 million), may be sold to pay off a debt to a German businessman. The attempts of the Swedish Foreign Ministry to prevent the auction have resulted in a major scandal; p 6 (705 words).

16. Maxim Yusin article headlined "Egypt Loses Self-Control" says that new Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi is facing an acute crisis as a guerrilla war is beginning in the Sinai Peninsula; p 6 (413 words).

17. Anatoly Veprentsev article headlined "Investors' Road to Gold to Be Made Easier" says that the government is ready to help out foreign investors willing to work in gold production; p 9 (573 words).

18. Vladislav Trifonov article headlined "Manezhnaya Ploshchad Cleared Up" says that Moscow's Tverskoi District Court ruled to sentence one of the defendants in the case of Manezhnaya Ploshchad unrest in 2010 to three years in prison. Earlier, five more people were found guilty; p 4 (400 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Svetlana Gamova article headlined "Battle With Swedes Under Ivenets" says that Belarus is recalling its ambassador to Sweden and pulling out its entire embassy staff as a scandal over Swedish pilots dropping teddy bears with signs calling for free speech is intensifying; pp 1, 6 (830 words).

2. Olga Shulga article headlined "Pussy Riot, Christ and Whores" says that after defendants in the Pussy Riot case made their final pleas the judge announced that the verdict would be made public on Aug. 17. The defendants' lawyers attribute the delay to the international reaction the trial has triggered; pp 1, 3 (647 words).

3. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "Cairo Strikes at Terrorists in Sinai" says that Egypt has conducted a military operation against Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula in response to the murder of 16 Egyptian soldiers at a border checkpoint; pp 1, 7 (527 words).

4. Maria Bondarenko article headlined "Patrol With Strong Core of Faith" says that Cossack brigades have begun patrolling streets of the town of Stavropol and recalls a scandalous statement made by Krasnodar region Governor Alexander Tkachyov, who suggested that Cossacks should be used to counter illegal migration from the Caucasus; pp 1, 5 (563 words).

5. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Another Zigzag in Yukos Case" says that the Velsk District Court reduced Platon Lebedev's sentence by three years and four months. Experts attribute the decision to the authorities' intention to make the tough stance regarding political opposition more lenient, as well as to convince the European Court of Human Rights that they are ready to listen to the voice of the world community. Experts, however, differ on the prospects of a similar sentence reduction for former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky; pp 1, 3 (1,180 words).

6. Oleg Vladykin and Viktor Myasnikov article headlined "General Killed in Damascus Resurrected in Moscow" says that the 'Russian military adviser' whom the Free Syrian Army claimed to have killed outside Damascus has turned up in Moscow safe and sound; p 2 (730 words).

7. Editorial headlined "No Dialogue. Neither With Makarevich Nor With the Country" says that in his response to the open letter by the famous musician Andrei Makarevich, Russian President Vladimir Putin carefully avoided answering why corruption has grown so much and why the Russian justice system has completely collapsed; p 2 (530 words).

8. Oleg Noskovich article headlined "Pussy Riot Case as Mirror of Russian Protest" says that the Pussy Riot trial is the result of the conflict of interests between the authorities with the Russian Orthodox Church and civil society; p 3 (790 words).

9. Igor Naumov article headlined "State Pretends to Be Leaving Economy" says that in July and August Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reduced the number of governmental commissions to 30. There were 200 commissions eight years ago; p 4 (562 words).

10. Anastasia Bashkatova article headlined "China Wants to Make Gold" says that China is going to replace dollar reserves with gold, which may cause panic on the global market; p 4 (798 words).

11. Dmitry Orlov article "Rating of Regional Heads of Russian Federation in July 2012" features a rating of influence of heads of 83 Russian regions in July 2012; p 5 (598 words).

12. Sokhbet Mamedov article headlined "Azeri Poets Tried in Tabriz" says that a trial over Azeri poets arrested three months ago may increase tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan; p 6 (592 words).

13. Yury Paniyev article headlined "Ramadan No Obstacle for Taliban" says that despite it being the holy month of Ramadan, terrorist attacks continue in Afghanistan; p 7 (662 words).

14. Yevgeny Grigoryev article headlined "Greece Selling Out Gas Concerns" says that the Greek government is drafting a bill on a new large-scale privatization of state property; p 7 (524 words).

15. Darya Ciryulik article headlined "Russia to Enter Iranian Club of Syrian Friends" says that Iran is intensifying work on creating an international coalition in support of the Syrian government; p 7 (400 words).


1. Olga Plotonova article headlined "Friendly Investment" says that tycoon Suleiman Kerimov has decided to deposit $50 million in the SMP bank owned by the Rotenberg brothers; p 1 (643 words).

2. Vladimir Shtanov article headlined "Prices for Foreign-Made Cars to Increase in New Way" says that foreign-made cars will not get cheaper after Russia's accession to the WTO. On the contrary, they may become more expensive; pp 1,8 (600 words).

3. Dmitry Kazmin and Alexandra Terentyeva article headlined "Tax on Days Off" says that lack of attention when reading the Tax Code article relating to dividends has cost over 650 million rubles ($20 million) to the Fosagro company; pp 1,3 (729 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Letters to World Behind Looking Glass" comments on President Vladimir Putin's response to an open letter musician Andrei Makarevich wrote to him; pp 1, 4 (544 words).

5. Tatyana Voronova article headlined "Central Bank Frightens Depositors" says that the probe conducted by the Russian Central Bank has cost the National Reserve Bank owned by tycoon Alexander Lebedev 6 billion rubles ($190 million); p 9 (453 words).

6. Yekaterina Kravchenko et al. article headlined "Oil Exchange" says that Iran is offering buyers exchanging its oil for goods in order to avoid international sanctions; p 3 (416 words).

7. Lilia Biryukova et al. report headlined "Medvedev Did Everything in Time" says that the anonymous film entitled "Lost Day" blaming then President Dmitry Medvedev for delaying the decision to react to Georgian military action in August 2008 shows that the struggle within the elite has intensified; p 2 (476 words).

8. Editorial headlined "Administration Above Government" says that the recently announced procedure of calculating salaries for the employees of the presidential administration puts it beyond government control; p 4 (265 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Natalya Kozlova interview with the deputy chairman of the Investigative Committee, head of the Main Military Investigative Directorate, Alexander Sorochkin, headlined "Generals Land in Prison", is devoted to recent tough sentences given to top military officials; pp 1, 6 (1800 words).

2. Natalya Kozlova article headlined "Code of Tragedy 08.08.08" describes about Georgian actions in South Ossetia in August 2008 and the respective criminal investigation started by Russia; pp 1, 3 (800 words).

3. Kira Latukhina article headlined "Peace Without War" says that President Vladimir Putin shared some details of how the decisions during the Russian-Georgian conflict in August 2008 were made. Also, it mentions President Vladimir Putin's meeting with his Armenian counterpart; p 2 (1200 words ).

4. Sergei Ptichkin article headlined "Defense of 5th Generation" says that the Russian Air Force will soon get fifth-generation aircraft and new missiles; p 2 (200 words).

5. Vladimir Kuzmin article headlined "Familiar Road to Tskhinval" says that on the fourth anniversary of the Russian-Georgian conflict Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited South Ossetia and commented on an online film entitled "Lost Day" blaming him for a delayed reaction; p 3 (800 words).

7. Maxim Makarychev article headlined "The Killed [General] Is Safe and Sound" says that the Syrian opposition claimed they had killed General Vladimir Kuzheyev who allegedly was a Russian military advisor to the Syrian defense minister. Kuzheyev, however, appeared fit and well at a news conference in Moscow; p 8 (600 words).

8. Vladislav Vorobyev article headlined "War Begins in Sinai" says that the Egyptian military have eliminated over 20 Islamist terrorists in the Sinai peninsula; p 8 (200 words).

9. Nikolai Dolgopolov article headlined "Princess Atop a Horse" says that Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter has won a medal at the Olympics. It the first Olympic medal won by the royal family; p 13 (900 words).


1. Alexandra Yermakova article titled "Olympic Construction Gets First Criminal Cases" says that criminal investigations have been launched into overexpenditure on the construction of Olympic facilities for the Sochi 2014 Olympics; pp 1-2 (900 words).

2. Olga Tropkina and Mikhail Rubin article headlined "Opposition TV to be Paid for From Abroad" says that the opposition plans to finance its own TV service, which is set to be launched in September, through fundraising dinners; p 1 (400 words).

3. Natalya Galimova article titled "Four Years After the War" looks at Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia on the anniversary of the Russian-Georgian August 2008 war; p 2 (1,000 words).

4. Anna Akhmadiyeva interview with Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of Russian English-language state-owned broadcaster RT, headlined "'This Is Sort of Like the Ministry of Defense,'" where she describes the channel's plans for the future; p 3 (750 words).

5. Mikhail Rubin article titled "Prokhorov Starting With Single-Seaters" says that businessman Mikhail Prokhorov's newly established party will test its popularity already this autumn during the regional election campaign by running in single-seat constituencies; p 3 (450 words).

6. Ilya Desyaterik article titled "London Losing Out to Beijing on the Country's Main Channels" considers Russian TV viewer statistics for the Olympic Games; p 12 (600 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Darya Fedotova article headlined "Following Platon's Theory" says that former Menatep head Platon Lebedev may be released in March 2013; pp 1, 2 (546 words).

2. Yulia Kalinina article headlined "Beautiful Swans Pussy Riot" looks at a campaign in support of the defendants in the Pussy Riot case in Russia and abroad and ponders possible consequences if the court hands down a tough sentence; pp 1, 3 (434 words).

3. Mikhail Rostovsky article headlined "Tandem War Goes On" says that the Internet film on the war with Georgia in August 2008 entitled "Lost Day" highlights a major split in the Putin-Medvedev tandem; pp 1, 2 (717 words).

4. Marina Perevozkina article headlined "Truth Which Was Concealed for 4 Years" calls the anonymous film entitled "Lost Day" the most honest film about the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008; p 2 (919 words).

5. Matvei Ganapolsky article headlined "Musician Andrei, Write More" says that President Vladimir Putin's response to the open letter by musician Andrei Makarevich, in which he spoke about growing corruption and collapse of the justice system, shows the authorities' impotence and implies that there will be even more corruption and lawlessness; p 3 (1,070 words).

Noviye Izvestia

1. Konstantin Nikolayev and Mikhail Vinogradov article headlined "Is 'Big Game' Worth the Effort?" says that Russia has to take extreme care before getting engaged in intensifying conflicts in the Middle East; pp 1-2 (1200 words).

2. Katerina Serebrennikova article headlined "Crusade" reports from the Madonna concert in Moscow. Despite visual effects and her support for Pussy Riot, the singer failed to impress spectators at the Olimpiisky stadium; p 2 (800 words).

RBK Daily

1. Alexander Litoi article headlined "Old-Fashioned Protest" says that the opposition is launching talks on the next wave of protests scheduled in the second part of September hoping to attract more people to rallies. The authorities will try to split the protesters into those who want to overthrow current regime and those who do not question Putin's legitimacy; p 2 (600 words).

2. Ilya Shepelin article headlined "Court Waiting Room" says that the defense lawyers for the Pussy Riot female punk band are preparing to stage public protests on Aug. 17, the day when Moscow's Khamovnichesky District Court will announce the ruling over the case; p 2 (300 words).

3. Yulia Yakovleva article headlined "'Moment of Truth' for Magnitsky Case" says that American lawyer and former manager for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Jameson Firestone, has asked the Russian Investigative Committee and the anit-corruption committee under the Russian president to launch a criminal investigation over the embezzlement of $800 million by high-ranking officials; p 3 (300 words).

August 9, 2012/BBC Monitoring/©BBC

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