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What the Papers Say, Aug. 17, 2012

Kommersant

1. Fyodor Maximov and Natalya Skorlygina article headlined "Three Years After Flushing Water" says that three years after the disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, which claimed the lives of 75 people, the facility has almost been restored. Article looks back at the reasons behind the disaster; pp 1, 9 (1,163 words).

2. Ksenia Dementyeva article headlined "Banks Take on Increased Obligations" says that Russian banks have increased deposit interest rates in response to a drastic drop in deposits; pp 1, 7 (779 words).

3. Arina Borodina and Ivan Safronov article headlined "Own Zvezda Comes First" says that Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has written a letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev substantiating why using the frequencies of the Defense Ministry's Zvezda TV channel for a public television channel is unreasonable; p 1 (983 words).

4. Ivan Buranov article headlined "Line of Protests Pierces Moscow" says that residents of several districts in Moscow are protesting against construction of a northwestern motorway, which according to the Moscow city authorities will eliminate traffic jams in four districts; p 2 (534 words).

5. Maxim Ivanov article headlined "Civil Sentence Passed on Punk Prayer" says that polls conducted by the Levada Center show that 44 percent of those polled think that the Pussy Riot trial is fair and unbiased; p 3 (460 words).

6. Natalya Korchenkova article headlined "Ombudsmen Try to Get Right to Influence Officials" says that President Vladimir Putin has backed regional ombudsmen's idea to oblige officials to react to ombudsmen's appeals and oblige all regions to have ombudsmen; p 3 (732 words).

7. Alexei Sokovnin article headlined " Power of Athlete Mirzayev's Blow to Be Evaluated by Justice Ministry" looks at the latest developments in champion Rasul Mirzayev's case; p 4 (593 words).

8. Sergei Mashkin article headlined "'Night Hunter' Halts Before Falling" says that new attack helicopter Mi-28N has crash-landed on the Mozdok military aerodrome, presumably due to problems with the power equipment; p 4 (543 words).

9. Maxim Yusin article headlined "Hezbollah Enters Syrian War" says that the Syrian conflict has destabilized the situation in the entire region as the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon has taken sides with Bashar Assad. The Persian Gulf states have called on their citizens to leave Lebanon, fearing they might be taken hostage; p 5 (558 words).

10. Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Russia Implicated in Syria's Family Affairs" says that Saudi newspaper Al-Watan has published an interview with the Russian presidential special envoy for the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, who, among other things, spoke about a serious injury of Syrian President Bashar Assad's younger brother. The Russian Foreign Ministry denies that the interview took place at all and refers to it as "yet another act of provocation against Moscow"; p 5 (685 words).

11. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "Ecuador Hides Julian Assange in New Way" says that Ecuador has granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It is, however, unclear how Assange will make it to Latin America, as the embassy's building is guarded by policemen around the clock and the British authorities are going to strip the embassy of diplomatic immunity; p 5 (534 words).

12. Kirill Melnikov and Polina Stroganova article headlined "Oilmen Run Late With Modernization" says that Russian oil companies have failed to modernize their facilities by the deadline the state set last year and have asked to give them more time; p 7 (539 words).

13. Maria Cherkasova article headlined "Superjet Detained in Russia" looks at a conflict escalating between the Armavia airline, which has refused to purchase the Sukhoi Superjet-100, and the aircraft producer Sukhoi Civil Aviation; p 9 (661 words).

14. Natalya Skorlygina interview with deputy chairman of the board of RusHydro Rakhmetulla Aldzhanov headlined "Believe Me, Government Did Not Make Mistake," in which he speaks about the consequences of the disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station; p 9 (535 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Sergei Kulikov article headlined "Eleven Points for Governors" says that the Economic Development Ministry has been working on criteria to assess governors' efficiency for seven years now. It was decided to reduce the number of criteria from 74 to 11; pp 1, 4 (658 words).

2. Vladimir Mukhin article headlined "Collective-Peacemaking Defense" says that a new law-enforcement structure has appeared within the Collective Security Treaty Organization: peacemaking contingents that are to conduct their first drills in October. The new structure is to be used to settle conflicts in the former Soviet republics; pp 1-2 (765 words).

3. Anastasia Bashkatova article headlined "Economic Development Ministry Miscalculates Crisis" says that the Industry and Trade Ministry as well as the Finance Ministry have criticized the crisis scenario drafted by the Economic Development Ministry as too optimistic regarding industrial production and investment; pp 1, 4 (1,132 words).

4. Sokhbet Mamedov and Svetlana Gamova article headlined "Tornados at Reasonable Price" says that Kiev has denied information regarding the covert sale of weapons to Armenia via Moldova. Although officials in Baku have not commented, Azeri experts think that Ukraine did attempt to wrap up the deal; pp 1, 6 (753 words).

5. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Ombudsmen and Emptiness" says that President Vladimir Putin has instructed regional ombudsmen to work out a plan to consolidate ethnic groups within Russian society and society as a whole. Experts doubt that the task is necessary and, most importantly, realizable in the current conditions; pp 1, 3 (710 words).

6. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "Assange Under Siege" says that Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the British Foreign Office warned it may strip the Ecuadorian embassy of its diplomatic status and arrest Assange; pp 1, 7 (615 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Do Authorities Need Internet?" says that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's attitude toward the Internet has changed recently; article explains that the Internet is no longer a focus of his political interests; p 2 (456 words).

8. Vladislav Maltsev article headlined "Russian Orthodox Church Aligns With Catholics Against Secularists" says that Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill is expected to sign a landmark declaration with Catholic bishops in Poland; p 2 (703 words).

9. Olga Shulga article headlined "Russians Support President in Advance" says that polls conducted by the Levada Center have shown that 35.2 percent of Russians think that people trust Putin because they do not see any other leader to rely on. Experts comment that the president still has people's trust, but its level is getting dangerously low; p 3 (531 words).

10. Mikhail Sergeyev article headlined "Roskosmos Finds Medicine for Failures" says that the head of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), Vladimir Popovkin, has suggested turning the agency into a state corporation, which would help the space industry overcome the crisis and stop unsuccessful launches. Experts are skeptical about the idea and say that the status of a state corporation would make Roskosmos even more independent from public control; p 4 (778 words).

11. Yury Roks article headlined "Georgia's Authorities and Opposition to Meet in Rustavi" says that an unauthorized opposition rally in Rustavi on August 19 may have the most serious consequences for Georgia; p 6 (755 words).

12. Anton Khodasevich article headlined "Election Amid Teddy Bear Scandal" says that ahead of the arrival of independent observers for the Belarussian election, Minsk has voiced doubt that the observers' opinion will be unbiased. The authorities say they know that the West will not recognize the election as free and legitimate and that they are preparing the electorate for it, experts comment; p 6 (726 words).

13. Daria Tsiryulik article headlined "Syrian Fire Spreads to Lebanon" says that unrest in Lebanon is intensifying after the Free Syrian Army kidnapped a Lebanese citizen; p 7 (746 words).

14. Yury Paniyev article headlined "U.S. Legalizes Illegal Immigrants' Children" says that U.S. President Barack Obama has made immigration rules more lenient to allow the children of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation. Republicans have accused Obama of humoring the Latin American electorate ahead of the presidential election; p 7 (580 words).

Vedomosti

1. Anton Trifonov and Yevgenia Pismennaya article headlined "Scale of Thousands of Billions" says that the former head of Deutsche Bank may become head of the Russian Finance Agency that is being set up now; p 1 (593 words).

2. Bela Lyauv article headlined "Do We Need New Moscow?" says that the decision to relocate federal officials to new territories recently joined to Moscow has been postponed until March 2013; pp 1, 3 (503 words).

3. Maxim Glikin article headlined "Putin's Rating at Its Minimum" looks at the results of polls conducted by the Levada Center that show that President Vladimir Putin's approval and trust ratings have significantly dropped; pp 1-2 (838 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Reform of Evaluations" comments on the government's plans to reduce the number of evaluation criteria to assess regional administrations' efficiency and to increase financial motivation for efficient territories; pp 1, 4 (495 words).

5. Article by Financial Times correspondent Courtney Weaver headlined "World Map: Trial of Anti-Putin Punks" looks at the participants in the Pussy Riot group; p 4 (442 words).

6. Natalya Kostenko and Anastasia Kornya article headlined "President's Allies" says that President Vladimir Putin has given a warm welcome to regional ombudsmen. The presidential administration is trying to create an alternative to the rebellious presidential human rights council, experts say; p 2 (440 words).

7. Igor Tsukanov article headlined "Telenor Between Three Fires" says that Naguib Sawiris is selling the remaining 3.5 percent of his Vimpelcom shares to Telenor; p 7 (921 words).

8. Maria Zheleznova article headlined "Everyone to Court!" says that many opposition activists and famous public figures are going to come to Moscow's Khamovnichesky District Court, where a verdict in the Pussy Riot case will be delivered Friday; p 2 (359 words).

9. Article by political analyst and Public Chamber member Sergei Markov headlined "Punk Prayer and State's Responsibility: Why They Cannot Be Forgiven" says that if the defendants in the Pussy Riot case avoid punishment, it will result in numerous negative consequences for Russia and the defendants themselves; p 4 (1,087 words).

10. Article by the editor-in-chief of magazine Russia in Global Politics, Fyodor Lukyanov, headlined "Punk Prayer and State's Responsibility: State Must Be Softener" ponders why the Pussy Riot case has sparked such a broad reaction in the West and says that the state should act as a shock absorber in this situation to avoid negative consequences; p 4 (642 words).

11. Yekaterina Kravchenko et al. report headlined "Retroactive Law" says that U.S. President Barack Obama has extended the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) that lists Russia among other threats to U.S. national security and ponders how it may affect Russia; p 3 (370 words).

12. Editorial headlined "Side Effect" looks at the road map to set up the International Financial Center in Moscow drafted by the Finance Ministry, which lists privatization and pension savings among prerequisites for its creation; p 4 (299 words).

13. Lilia Biryukova report "To Talk to Opposition and Gays" says that participants in the summer camp of United Russia's Young Guard movement are being taught new methods of work; p 2 (600 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Roman Markelov article headlined "Season of Bad Prices" says that inflation is very likely to grow in fall; pp 1-2 (900 words).

2. Tatyana Shadrina interview with Federal Air Transportion Agency head Alexander Neradko headlined "Aviation Not for Dummies" in which he speaks about the problems Russian aviation is faced with; pp 1, 5 (1,700 words).

3. Kira Latukhina article headlined "President's Allies" describes President Vladimir Putin's meeting with regional ombudsmen; p 2 (800 words).

4. Valery Vyzhutovich article headlined "Trial With Accent" looks at the trial of athlete Rasul Mirzayev, who is charged with the killing of Moscow student Ivan Agafonov; p 3 (800 words).

5. Olga Dmitriyeva article headlined "Battle at Assange" looks at the conflict intensifying between Great Britain and Ecuador over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; p 8 (550 words).

6. Vladislav Vorobyev article headlined "Do Not Kill in Front of Camera" looks at the visit of U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman to Moscow to discuss the situation in Syria; p 8 (500 words).

Izvestia

1. Yelizaveta Mayetnaya article headlined "Top Management of Rosvodresursy to Bear Responsibility for Tragedy in Krymsk" says that State Duma deputies have asked the Prosecutor General's Office to check the Federal Water Resources Agency and how it used budget money in relation to the flood in Krasnodar region; pp 1, 3 (983 words).

2. Vladimir Zykov and Pyotr Kozlov article headlined "Interior Ministry Looks for Hacker Hell" says that investigative actions are being conducted to identify the hacker who got access to opposition activist Alexei Navalny's email and posted it in the Internet; pp 1, 3 (470 words).

3. Polina Potapova article headlined "Some 500Bln Rubles to Be Borrowed to Relocate Officials" says that the Finance Ministry suggests borrowing 500 billion rubles from foreign banks to relocate federal officials to the new territories of Moscow; pp 1, 3 (542 words).

4. Marina Obrazkova et al. article headlined "'It Is Impossible to Take Explosives Out of New York'" says that an aircraft flying from New York to Moscow had to land in Iceland due to an anonymous call about a bomb on board the airliner; pp 1-2 (662 words).

5. Anastasia Kashevarova report headlined "Russia's Biggest Mosque to Be Built in Moscow" says that the spiritual directorate of Muslims of Moscow and the central region have filed documents to Moscow authorities to obtain a land plot to build a new mosque and a cultural center in the city; pp 1, 3 (600 words).

6. Maria Zhebit article headlined "Government to Deal With Chinese Raiders" says that a special commission to oust Pacific Andes and other Asian fishing companies from the Russian territorial waters will be set up; p 3 (546 words).

7. Article by political analyst Alexander Rahr headlined "Saying Goodbye to All-European Home" says that relations between Russia and Germany have deteriorated and looks at the prospects of the St. Petersburg Dialogue project; p 5 (550 words).

8. Alexander Genis report "Two Americas" says that a convention of the Republican Party will begin in Florida on August 27; p 5 (600 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Natalya Vedeneyeva report "Things Are in Bad Way in Orbit" says that Roskosmos has said that the Briz-M upper stage is the cause of the recent failed Proton-M rocket launch; pp 1, 3 (600 words).

2. Ignat Kalinin report "Will They Treat Pussy Riot in Christian Way?" looks at the Pussy Riot trial; pp 1, 3 (500 words).

3. Stanislav Belkovsky report "Will Putin's Autumn Become Opposition's Spring?" says that "neither the authorities nor their opponents will allow the country to have a rest in fall"; p 3 (900 words).

4. Renat Abdullin report "Storming Embassy in London Delayed" looks at the situation surrounding Julian Assange; p 5 (300 words).

Novaya Gazeta

1. Yelena Masyuk interview headlined "Pussy Riot: We Will Not Ask Putin to Pardon Us" with jailed group member Yekaterina Samutsevich; pp 1; 3-5 (1,800 words).

2. Alexei Pomerantsev report "Who Will Assange Leave Britain For?" looks at the situation with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; p 9 (300 words).

3. Andrei Kolesnikov report "New York Times Speaks and Shows" says that former BBC head Mark Thompson has become head of The New York Times; p 11 (800 words).

4. Vasily Blazhenny report "Vladimir Putin: Anatomy of Personality" looks at President Vladimir Putin; pp 12-13 (2,000 words).

RBK Daily

1. Yaroslav Nikolayev report "Business of Good Samaritans" says that the Yukos case will give rise to a new type of lobbyism in Russia; pp 1, 3 (700 words).

2. Yuliya Nikolayeva report "They Do Not Give That Much" looks at the Pussy Riot trial; pp 1-2 (600 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Andrei Syromyatnikov article headlined "Syrian Opposition Prepared to Form a Bloc With Al-Qaida" looks at the crisis in Syria; p 4 (300 words).

Trud

1. Sergei Frolov article headlined "The Siege of Assange" looks at the situation with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; p 2 (500 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti

1. Igor Kryuchkov report "WikiLeaks Founder to Be Stormed" says that Britain has found grounds for capturing Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London; p 1 (600 words).

Aug. 17, 2012/BBC Monitoring/©BBC

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