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What the Papers Say, Aug. 31, 2012

Igor Tabakov


1. Ilya Barabanov et al. article headlined "Vladislav Surkov Thrown Onto Religion" says that government chief of staff Vladislav Surkov has headed the government commission for religious associations. The commission will now focus on fighting religious extremism, government sources say; p 1 (888 words).

2. Sergei Sobolev article headlined "'Capital Tour' on Especially Large Scale" says that businessman Mikhail Prokhorov's bank International Financial Club has managed to initiate criminal proceedings against Inna Beltyukova, general director of tour operator Capital Tour, which collapsed in November 2010, for submitting inaccurate accounting documents in loan applications to the bank; pp 1, 10 (609 words).

3. Svetlana Dementyeva article headlined "'Otkritie' Closes Deal" says that financial corporation Otkritie, which recently bought a 20 percent stake in Nomos Bank, has decided to buy the whole bank; pp 1, 8 (1,024 words).

4. Anna Pushkarskaya and Maxim Ivanov article headlined "Checkrow Meters" says that St. Petersburg authorities are concerned about United Russia DeputyVladimir Pekhtin's plans to reclassify a plot of land he owns in the city into a category that allows for construction of buildings. Opposition activists believe it is a disguised commercial project to build a road; pp 1, 2 (1,088 words).

5. Irina Nagornykh and Maria Plyusnina article headlined "Regions Fill Communication Gap With Kremlin" says that deputy regional governors met in the Kremlin to discuss cooperation between the presidential administration and regional authorities; ; p 2 (616 words).

6. Natalya Bashlykova and Anton Zaritsky article headlined "United Russia Members Help Entire Opposition" says opposition candidates running for governor in Ryazan region have managed to collect votes required for submitting election bids thanks to the votes of municipal heads and deputies from the United Russia party. Experts say a split in the regional elite is behind the situation; p 2 (717 words).

7. Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Opposition Chooses Putin's Route" says the opposition will file an application with Moscow authorities to stage the next March of Millions on Tverskaya Ulitsa, which leads to Red Square, on Sept. 15; p 4 (500 words)

8. Alexei Sokovnin article headlined "Justice Ministry Experts Quit Rasul Mirzayev's Case" provides the latest developments in the trial of martial arts champion Rasul Mirzayev, charged with murdering a Moscow student; p 3 (472 words).

8. Another article by Alexei Sokovnin headlined "Ex-Colonel of Main Intelligence Directorate Not Allowed to Expose FSB Agents" gives an update on the trial of former intelligence colonel Vladimir Kvachkov charged with attempts to organize an armed revolt and involve people in terrorist activities; p 3 (383 words).

9. Alexander Zheglov and Igor Lesovskikh article headlined "Former State Duma Deputy Wanted for Personal Case" says that former State Duma Deputy Valery Panov has been put on a wanted list after police averted the assassination of former Chelyabinsk region town mayor Fyodor Sakharov; p 3 (650 words).

10. Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Pentagon Programmed on Attack" says the U.S. Air Force has announced its purchase of viral software that could be used to destroy an enemy's computer networks and control centers. The Russian Foreign Ministry referred to the move as "the first round of the cyber arms race"; p 5 (564 words).

11. Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Opposition to Go Vladimir Putin's Way" says that the opposition will submit an application Friday to hold yet another March of Millions on Sept. 15 along Tverskaya Ulitsa, the venue of the May 1 rally in which the Russian leaders took part; p 5 (519 words).

12. Alexander Voronov and Sergei Sobolev article headlined "U.S. Extends Visas for Russians" says the U.S. is to start issuing three-year visas for Russians on Sept. 9; p 5 (616 words).

13. Anna Solodovnikova article headlined "Statoil Heads for Sea of Okhotsk" says Russian oil company Rosneft and Norwegian oil company Statoil have signed basic agreements on the joint development of oil deposits on the shelves of the Sea of Okhotsk and Barents Sea; p 9 (506 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "People's Front in Free Flight" says that opposition State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov has published yet another batch of information about United Russia members receiving immense profits from businesses. Meanwhile, the All-Russia People's Front is trying to dissociate itself from United Russia and plans to hold a meeting and be registered as a public movement headed by Vladimir Putin in the fall; pp 1-2 (1,062 words).

2. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Editors-in-Chief Called in to Okhotny Ryad [seat of the State Duma]" says that editors-in-chief of leading print, electronic and Internet media will be invited soon to become members of the State Duma's prospective council for cooperation with the mass media; pp 1, 3 (378 words).

3. Grigory Zaslavsky article headlined "They Fired... and They Appointed Again" says the Moscow culture department has announced an open competition to fill the vacancy of director of Moscow theater Novaya Opera (New Opera); pp 1-2 (1,250 words).

4. Alexander Ryabushev article headlined "Looters Demolish Garrisons by Bricks" says that several abandoned military garrisons have been completely demolished by looters in Kaliningrad region. Meanwhile, another military garrison, of the Baltic Fleet in the region's village of Donskoye, has been forsaken; pp 1, 6 (621 words).

5. Anastasia Bashkatova article headlined "Moscow Region Challenges Moscow" says that Moscow region authorities have suggested banning housing development for those who work in Moscow; pp 1, 4 (846 words).

6. Yury Roks article headlined "Jihad Prepared for Georgian Authorities" says that Georgia's interior and defense ministries have been running a joint special operation to eliminate a group of armed people in a village not far from the Russian-Georgian border. The Dagestan Vilayat, a unit of the radical Islamic organization Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate), has indirectly claimed responsibility for the developments; pp 1, 7 (808 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Gene of NTV" comments on the recent controversial announcements of TV programs made by NTV television to attract as many viewers as possible; p 2 (568 words).

8. Sergei Nikanorov article headlined "Foreign Media Outlets Revise Attitude Toward Pussy Riot" says that the Western mass media has switched from condemning the Pussy Riot punk band girls' verdict to discussing it. Leading media outlets have agreed that many countries would deal in a strict way with people who violate generally accepted values and morals; pp 3 (513 words).

9. Olga Shulga and Ivan Rodin article headlined "Duma Arithmetic" says the opposition wants to amend State Duma regulations to give the speaker and the leaders of the party factions the right to cast a vote when discussing meeting agendas. Currently, United Russia alone defines the agendas; p 3 (681 words).

10. Dmitry Orlov article provides a list of 100 leading Russian politicians as of August 2012 and says that the main trend of the month was the strengthening of positions of new ministers and government officials as well as the heads of law enforcement and security agencies. Putin remained first on the list followed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; p 5 (1,836 words).

11. Vyacheslav Danilov article headlined "It Really Works" contemplates the advantages and disadvantages of the so-called municipal filters that candidates standing in elections should overcome to get registered; p 6 (812 words).

12. Nikolai Surkov article headlined "Egypt Stops Making Advances to Iran" says the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran has not yielded any good results concerning the situation in Syria. Moreover, the statements made by the new Egyptian leader, whose participation in the meeting was seen as Cairo's willingness to stick to a new foreign policy, have cast doubt on cooperation between Egypt and Iran to settle the Syrian issue; p 7 (428 words).

13. Yury Paniyev article headlined "Republicans Dream About U.S.'s Global Leadership" focuses on the Republican party convention in Florida; p 7 (618 words).

14. Gleb Postnov article headlined "Punk Band Signed Off With Blood" says that the words "Free Pussy Riot," written in blood, were left at a murder scene in Kazan; p 2 (300 words)


1. Alexandra Terentyeva article headlined "UC Rusal Borrows to Pay Off Debts" says that company UC Rusal is holding talks with Russian and foreign banks to get an $800 million loan to pay off a large debt; p 1 (689 words).

2. Bela Lyauv et al. article headlined "Lobbyist of Moscow Region" says that Moscow region Governor Sergei Shoigu has asked President Vladimir Putin to allocate 170 billion rubles ($5.3 billion) from the federal budget to construct roads in the region; pp 1, 3 (514 words).

3. Margarita Papchenkova and Olga Plotonova article headlined "MMM in India" says that Sergei Mavrodi, the founder of Russia's largest financial pyramid, MMM, has launched a similar project in India; p 1 (501 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Our Candidate" looks at what U.S. foreign policy and the U.S. stance toward Russia in particular will be following the November presidential election; pp 1, 4 (488 words).

5. Lilia Biryukova article headlined "For Old Sins" says that charges against A Just Russia Deputy Gennady Gudkov relate to his previous term in parliament, not to the present one; p 2 (400 words).

6. Maxim Trudolyubov article headlined "Republic: Way to Sacred Power" says that judging by Putin's first 100 days in office, the authorities have chosen to create enemies, mythologize the past and present, and sanctify power as their policy; p 4 (404 words).

6. Editorial headlined "Life by Norm" says the government has approved the introduction of social norms for the use of housing and utilities services. Rates will be higher if the norms are exceeded; p 3 (315 words).

7. Natalya Kostenko article headlined "Generation With Cross" says that a group called the All-Russia Association of Youth Orthodox Organizations may be set up in Russia following the case against punk band Pussy Riot. President Vladimir Putin has promised his support for the organization; p 2 (651 words).

8. Anastasia Kornya article headlined "Listed Observers" says the Public Chamber has proposed granting the right to monitor elections to public activists included on a list created by the Central Elections Commission. Experts fear they will not be admitted to polling stations; p 2 (333 words).

9. Maia Kucherskaya article headlined "Worship Cross" comments on the felling of wooden crosses in several Russian regions in response to the Pussy Riot trial; p 4 (301 words).


1. Tatyana Shirmanova article headlined "Finance Ministry and Central Bank Prepare for Crisis Shock" says that the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank have developed a mechanism for supporting investment companies that do not have banking licenses in case of an economic crisis; pp 1, 3 (746 words).

2. German Petelin and Vladimir Barinov article headlined "Russia Loses Control Over Transport Security" quotes transport security experts as saying that a series of railway and car accidents and air crashes could be expected in Russia following a large reduction in the staff of the transport safety watchdog; pp 1, 3 (652 words).

3. Yulia Tsoi and Svetlana Subbotina article headlined "Gudkov to Test Scheme of Depriving Deputy Status for Business Activity" says that if State Duma regulations are amended to deprive A Just Russia member Gennadiy Gudkov of his seat in the Duma for combining deputy work with business activity, it will create a precedent that contradicts the Russian constitution and will give United Russia party a green light to get rid of political opponents in the lower house of parliament; p 1 (688 words).

4. Dmitry Runkevich and Dina Ushakova article headlined "Charitable Funds to Be Freed From 'Foreign Agent' Status" says that the Strategic Initiatives Agency has submitted to the government its ideas on supporting projects being implemented by NGOs. The agency suggests establishing a Public Charity Institute in the government to work with charitable funds; p 2 (598 words).

5. Yury Matsarsky and Artyom Nikitin report headlined "She Gets Into Role of Female Suicide Bomber" looks at the state of affairs in Dagestan following the assassination in the republic of spiritual leader Sheikh Said Atsayev; p 4 (1,585 words).

6. Stanislav Khatuntsev article headlined "[What] If Tomorrow Is Syria?" comments on the war in Syria, focusing on the strength of the Syrian army and France's increased activity regarding Syria; p 5 (848 words).

7. Vladimir Abelin article headlined "Royal Welcome" looks at the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in London; p 8 (512 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Alexei Sorokin and Darya Fedotova article headlined "Serial Killer Stands Up for Pussy Riot?" says that two women have been slaughtered in their flat in Kazan. The killer left a blood-written message on a wall saying "Free Pussy Riot"; pp 1, 3 (627 words).

2. Alexander Melman article headlined "Children's Surprise" comments on the age ratings for TV programs required by a new law protecting children from harmful information, which comes into effect on Sept. 1, and features an expert's comment on the issue; pp 1-2 (664 words).

3. Anastasia Rodionova article headlined "Election of Opposition Leaders Comes With Fee" looks at candidates who have gotten registered for the October election to the opposition Coordination Council; pp 1-2 (686 words).

4. Mikhail Zubov article headlined "Moskovsky Komsomolets Learns Secrets of Gudkov's Construction Empire" describes a journalist's visit to the open-air construction market owned by A Just Russia Deputy Gennady Gudkov in the Moscow region town of Kolomna, part of a media tour organized by Gudkov himself. He is accused of combining deputy work in the State Duma with business activity and is facing expulsion from parliament in September; p 2 (506 words).

5. Marina Ozerova article headlined "Pretzel Becomes Cult" looks at a new batch of information about business activity of United Russia deputies published online by opposition activists; p 2 (630 words).

6. Marina Perevozkina article headlined "Who Are Georgian Special Forces Units Bumping Off in Kakhetia?" says that a special operation to eliminate a terrorist group that allegedly came from Russia in a village near the Russian-Georgian border has many oddities; p 2 (422 words).

7. Stanislav Belkovsky article headlined "How Everything Is Pussy Rioted..." criticizes the opposition for the steps taken regarding the trial of punk band Pussy Riot and the searches at the office of opposition activist Alexei Navalny; p 3 (1,134 words).

8. Marina Perevozkina interview with Mikhail Bergman, special presidential representative for the Dniester region, headlined "Mikhail Bergman's Truth," in which he speaks about the Dniester region issue; p 15 (2,579 words).

9. Zurab Nalbandyan article headlined "Woman Who Shook Monarchy" commemorates the death of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car accident 15 years ago; p 17 (768 words).

10. Another article by Zurab Nalbandyan headlined "Spectators Bite at Paralympics Opening Ceremony" describes the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in London; p 17 (493 words).

RBC Daily

1. Ivan Petrov article headlined "Kolokoltsev's 5 Principles" says that a working group set up by Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev in mid-June has drafted a "road map" of five steps to make the Russian police more effective; pp 1-2 (800 words).

2. Vitaly Petlevoi article headlined "Android for Defense Ministry" says that a Defense Ministry research institute has created an operating system based on Google's Android; pp 1, 10 (500 words).

3. Yulia Yakovleva article headlined "Great Five" says that A Just Russia deputies Dmitry Gudkov and Ilya Ponomaryov have published yet another batch of information about the incomes and property of United Russia deputies. Political analysts say they have a good chance of succeeding in the fight against United Russia; p 2 (600 words).

4. Alexander Litoi article headlined "Certificate From Obama" says that Russian human rights organizations Moscow Helsinki Group and Movement for Human Rights have received a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama that says Russian human rights activists are not U.S. agents. The letter will be used in a campaign against the new law on NGOs; p 2 (600 words).

5. Anton Bursak report "Wait Until Neutrality" says that Deputy Communications and Press Minister Denis Sverdlov has promised communications operators that he will raise the issue of introducing a principle of technological neutrality to facilitate the use of frequencies; p 10 (500 words).

Novaya Gazeta

1. Andrei Kolesnikov article headlined "Russia Catches Up With Portugal" says that the Russian Foreign Ministry has drafted instructions for Russian negotiators at talks on Russia's accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. If Russia is accused of being non-democratic, the negotiators should say in response that Spain and Portugal joined the organization while their governments were dictatorships; p 6 (616 words).

2. Alexander Pumnyansky article headlined "Mitt Romney and Others" looks at the Republican party convention in Florida, the role of the party in U.S. political life, as well as at party presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan; pp 7-8 (1,816 words).

3. Irina Gordiyenko article headlined "Someone Wants War..." describes the role in Dagestan of Sheikh Said Atsayev, who was killed in a suicide bombing, and features comments by Dagestani spiritual leaders and officials; p 2 (1,274 words).

4. Yelena Milashina article headlined "Strasbourg Complaint About Beslan Case Weighs 43 Kilograms" describes how victims of the 2004 terrorist attack on a school in the North Ossetian town of Beslan are demanding justice in Russia and in international courts; pp 1, 3-4 (2,278 words).

5. Alexei Tarasov article headlined "Deripaska Reduces Aluminum Facilities" says that businessman Oleg Deripaska's company UC Rusal has decided to close down four aluminum plants because of their low profitability; p 6 (709 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Yelena Chinkova report "Only Weak and Bad Ones Escape From Me" looks at Syrian President Bashar Assad's interview to Al-Dunya TV, aired on Aug. 29, in which he accused Turkey of sparking a war; p 3 (200 words).

2. Kirill Shlykov et al. report "Killer of Two Women Wrote 'Free Pussy Riot' With Blood on Wall" looks at a recent murder in Kazan; p 4 (600 words).

3. Political analyst Pavel Danilin report "Society Takes Tough Stance of Condemnation Against Gang of Defilers" in which he says that "a group of supporters of the gang of hooligans Pussy Riot has achieved what it wanted: one in eight Russian citizens knows about the blasphemous act in Christ the Savior Cathedral"; p 5 (800 words).

4. Alexander Grishin report "Navalny Becomes Chirikova's Volunteer. For 1 Hour" looks at how opposition activists gathered signatures for Yevgenia Chirikova, who is running in the Khimki mayoral election in Moscow region; p 10 (750 words).

5. Mikhail Ozerov article headlined "Diana Knew They Wanted to Kill Her" contemplates whether Princess Diana's death was an accident or a plot and looks at the relations within the royal family after her death; p 11 (905 words).

Noviye Izvestia

1. Svetlana Basharova brief report "Pussy Riot Case Provoked 'Small Civil War'" looks at the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Levada Center about an idea to set up Orthodox patrols in Russia; p 1 (100 words).

2. Unattributed article headlined "'Crankshaft' Not Needed Alive" says that a book written by a U.S. marine that describes an operation to eliminate Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin-Laden and says that Bin-Laden was killed unarmed but not during an attempt to offer resistance is expected to hit U.S. bookshelves on Sept. 4; p 12 (838 words).

3. Vladimir Mashatin article headlined "Minute of Silence With Princess Diana" shares his impression about Princess Diana's visit to Russia in 1995; p 13 (950 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti

1. Alexandra Beluza report "Ruling Party Stumbles Over Anti-Rating" says the ruling United Russia party is experiencing problems with candidates that could stand in local elections in the so-called problem regions; pp 1, 4 (750 words).

2. Mikhail Moshkin report "Madness, Guile or Act of Provocation" looks at the incident in Kazan in which two women were killed in their flat. "Free Pussy Riot!" was written in their blood on the wall; p 4 (700 words).


1. Alexander Protsenko report "Everything Is Ours" says that today, Russians know for sure what the country's economy is based on: oil and gas; pp 1, 3 (600 words).

2. Yury Malygin report "Dagestan: What Next?" says that after the murder of one of the spiritual leaders of Dagestan, Sheikh Said Atsayev, the head of the republic has suggested that self-defense units to fight against terrorists be set up in the republic; p 2 (500 words).

Tvoi Den

1. Elvira Sharafiyeva report "Dancing on Blood" looks at an incident in Kazan and says that "Pussy Riot's supporters stabbed to death two women and wrote with their blood the demand that the singers be freed"; pp 1; 4-5 (400 words).

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