What the Papers Say, Dec. 6, 2012

Igor Tabakov

Kommersant

1. Oleg Rubnikovich article headlined "Gold Criminals" says that Alexei Shulepov, former top manager of a Vneshekonombank (VEB) subsidiary, and Vitaly Varfolomeyev, general director of the company Pik, have been detained as part of the probe into an illegal acquisition of VEB's gold deposit in the Chita region; pp 1, 4 (800 words).

2. Yelena Chernenko and Maxim Ivanov article headlined "Russia Wants to Be Monitored at Equal Rights" says that the council of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will meet today in Dublin. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will suggest introducing single rules for monitoring elections because Russia believes that international observers are biased to it; pp 1, 3 (900 words).

3. Vitaly Gaydayev article headlined "Open Funds Close Year With Inflow" says that share investment funds have managed to attract more funds than they lost for the first time since 2011; pp 1, 10 (750 words).

4. Dmitry Butrin and Darya Nikolayeva article headlined "Entire Country to Wean Zenit From Being Ill" says that the State Duma wants to amend the laws regulating payments of temporary disability allowances due to illness and accidents or professional diseases; pp 1, 6 (700 words).

5. Viktor Khamrayev article headlined "Date Put Under President's Address" says that President Vladimir Putin will deliver his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Dec. 12 and looks at political parties' and experts' expectations for the contents of the address; p 2 (900 words).

6. Irina Nagornykh article headlined "Protest Postponed Until Federal Elections" says that the Civil Society Development Foundation has made a report dedicated to the one-year anniversary of protests in Russia. Protests have declined, but may revive by the next federal elections, especially if the social and economic situation deteriorates; p 3 (550 words).

7. Natalya Gorodetskaya article headlined "President's Human Rights Council Gets Down to 'Foreign Agents'" says that a working group for the development of NGOs at the president's human rights council has decided to draft amendments to the law on NGOs as "foreign agents"; p 3 (400 words).

8. Alexander Zheglov and Nikolai Sergeyev article headlined "Official Replaces 6-Year Prison Term With Shooting" says that Vladimir Polyutov, former deputy head of the Russian Property Ministry directorate for Moscow, has shot himself. The man was found guilty of abusing power during privatization of Stankoimport back in 2004; p 4 (1,200 words).

9. Alexei Tkachenko article headlined "Flat Repairs Added to Attempt on Vladimir Putin's Life" says that the trial of Adam Osmayev, charged with preparing an attempt on the life of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has begun in Ukraine; p 4 (600 words).

10. Ilya Shepelin and Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Chistiye Prudy [Bulvar] Becomes Memorial" says that an unauthorized opposition rally has been held in Moscow's Chistiye Prudy boulevard to mark the one-year anniversary of the protest movement in Russia; p 5 (400 words).

11. Sergei Mashkin article headlined "Magas Gives Away Militants Without Agreement" says that the criminal case of Ali Taziyev aka Magas, the number two man in the Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate) terrorist organization, has been sent to court; p 5 (600 words).

12. Yury Senatorov article headlined "Nord-Ost Release Left Without Criminal Case" says that the Moscow city court has annulled the Lefortovo district court's decision that obliges the Russian Investigations Committee to open a criminal case against those officials who led an operation to release hostages taken by terrorists in the Dubrovka theater in Moscow in 2002; p 5 (500 words).

13. Alexei Shapovalov article headlined "Sergei Donskoi Accepts Public Advice" says that the Natural Resources Ministry's public council has held a meeting to discuss a draft state forest program until 2020 as well as a number of other projects; p 6 (600 words).

14. Maxim Yusin article headlined "Egyptian Revolution Reaches Palaces" says that protesters have unsuccessfully tried to seize the Egyptian president's residence in Cairo. However, the move did not frighten the president and he is not going to cancel the constitutional declaration, which puts the country on the brink of a new revolution; p 7 (500 words).

15. Andrei Kolesnikov report headlined "Summit of Independent Sovereigns" gives an account of the CIS summit in Turkmenistan, attended by Putin; p 7 (1,200 words).

16. Kirill Belyaninov article headlined "Syria Included in U.S. Military Budget" says that the U.S. Senate has approved an amendment to the 2013 military budget, which obliges the Pentagon to be ready for a combat operation in Syria; p 8 (500 words).

17. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "Palestine Unites and Combines" says that after acquiring the observer state status, the Palestinian authorities have announced their willingness to reconcile with the Hamas movement, have suggested establishing an "international anti-Israel front" and asked the UN Security Council and the UN secretary-general to punish Israel for the decision to resume the construction of Jewish settlements; p 8 (500 words).

18. Dmitry Trenin article published in the regular opinion column headlined "Price of Issue" focuses on U.S. President Barack Obama's policy toward the Syrian conflict; p 8 (400 words).

19. Maria Yefimova article headlined "Hamas Deserves Recognition" says that the European Parliament is considering excluding the Hamas movement, on which the EU has imposed economic and political sanctions, from the blacklist of terrorist organizations; p 8 (450 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Anastasia Bashkatova article headlined "Government Re-Generates Tax Discussion" says that the Economic Development Ministry wants VAT to be substituted with the sales tax as this will give an impetus to a technological breakthrough in Russia. The Finance Ministry is opposing the initiative, thinking that this will ruin the existing budget system; pp 1, 4 (1,013 words).

2. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "WTO Membership Begins With Scandals" says that the European Parliament has found poor the results of Russia's year-long membership in the WTO and accused the country of violating the WTO principles; pp 1-2 (591 words).

3. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Ukraine Plans to Introduce Order in Europe" says that Ukraine's presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2013 begins today; pp 1, 6 (865 words).

4. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Waiting for address" says that a public opinion poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) has shown that the amount of Russian people satisfied with the quality of their life has increased from 26 to 40 percent over the last year. However, the results of an opinion poll made by the Levada Center contradict the VTsIOM's survey. Moreover, according to an opinion poll by the Public Opinion Foundation, the number of people who are ready to take part in protests has increased from 21 percent in October to 29 percent in November; pp 1, 3 (647 words).

5. Igor Naumov and Mikhail Sergeyev article headlined "Road Deadlock of Russian Economy" says that Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov has severely criticized the road policy being implemented in Russia over the last decade and has warned that it is fraught with serious economic consequences; pp 1, 4 (1,225 words).

6. Andrei Serenko article headlined "Patriarch's Guards" says that the Volgograd region branch of the All-Russian Monarchist Centre has suggested establishing a public organization that will defend the Russian Orthodox Church, its property as well as the clergy from encroachment of anti-Orthodox forces; pp 1-2 (520 words).

7. Yevgeny Grigoryev article headlined "Touched Merkel 'Just Dumb-Founded'" says that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union; p 2 (598 words).

8. Editorial headlined "About First Anniversary of Protest" says that the protest movement in Russia has failed to organize the Arab Spring and overthrow Putin. Moreover, a political conflict has changed over a year in such a way that the ruling authorities have an evident lead over the opposition, and prospects for a dialogue between them are poor; p 2 (510 words).

9. Nikolay Popov article headlined "'Vox Populi' on Main Sore Spots of Country" says that Russian people do not always estimate the country's current problems properly because they rely on media reports and personal experience; p 3 (777 words).

10. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Amendment to Constitution Permitted for Discussion" says that politicians and experts have discussed the need for and possibility of amending the Russian constitution and decided that the constitution could be amended only at a pinch. The issue is said to be reflected in Putin's annual address to the Federal Assembly on Dec. 12; p 3 (799 words).

11. Sergei Kulikov article headlined "Energy Ministry Destroys Gazprom's Monopoly" says that independent gas manufactures will be permitted to export liquefied natural gas, thus pressing Russian gas giant Gazprom on the international market; p 4 (551 words).

12. Sokhbet Mamedov article headlined "Russia Does Not Leave Qabala Radar Station" says that Russia's lease of the Qabala radar station in Azerbaijan expires in late December and talks on extending the lease are still under way. A small progress has been achieved on the lease price, a source in the Azeri negotiating team said; p 6 (450 words).

13. Yury Paniyev article headlined "Russian Foreign Ministry Gets Down to Human Rights in EU" looks at a report on the human rights situation in the EU made by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which will be presented in Brussels today; p 7 (690 words).

14. Darya Tsilyurik article headlined "Russia Is Most Corrupt Country in G20" says that Russia has been ranked 133rd in the 2012 corruption rating compiled by Transparency International, having come up by 10 points against 2011; p 7 (672 words).

15. Nikolai Surkov article headlined "Egyptian Islamists Regain Initiative" says that confrontation between Islamists and liberals has intensified in Egypt ahead of a referendum on a new constitution; p 7 (529 words).

Vedomosti

1. Olga Kuvshinova et al. article headlined "2% of GDP on Roads" says that according to Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov, poor road infrastructure in Russia whittles down the Russian authorities' efforts to improve the investment climate in Russia. Spending part of petrodollars on road infrastructure will help change the situation for the better, the minister thinks; pp 1, 3 (819 words).

2. Natalya Kostenko and Maxim Glikin article headlined "Money for Votes" says that the ruling United Russia party has decided to change the financing scheme of its regional branches. Election results, but not the membership of a branch, will determine the amount of financing; pp 1-2 (634 words).

3. Ksenia Dodukina article headlined "Gazprom Yields Its Clients" says that the independent gas manufacturer Novatek will supply gas to Moscow's energy generating company Mosenergo; p 1 (482 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Compliance With the Regime" says that the Kremlin is annoyed with speculations about Putin's health. The authorities' readiness to speak about health problems of political leaders depends on a political regime, article says; pp 1, 4 (543 words).

5. Yevgenia Pismennaya et al. interview with Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov, headlined "'Everything Requires Money,'" who speaks about the economic situation in Russia and prospects for its development as well as his proposals on budget spending; p 5 (5,948 words).

6. Alexandra Terentyeva article headlined "$10Bln for Peace" says that one of the terms of an amicable agreement between Interros and UC RusAl, the shareholders of the Norilsk Nickel mining and metals company, is that the company will pay $10 billion worth dividends to them during the next three years; p 7 (656 words).

7. Maria Zheleznova article headlined "Guarantor of Bolotnaya" says that the Civil Society Development Foundation has made a report about the myths and realities of the Russian protest movement. Protests are not longer a fashionable trend, protest leaders have failed to find a common language with protesters and most protesters have nothing against Putin, the report says; p 2 (465 words).

8. Irina Kezik article headlined "Iraqi Addition" details the Russian oil company LUKoil's expectations for the West Al-Qurnah-2 oil project in Iraq; p 8 (440 words).

9. Dmitry Dmitriyenko article headlined "Gazprom Goes by Sea" says that the Russian gas giant Gazprom has, for the first time, delivered liquefied natural gas from Norway to Japan by the Northern Sea Route; p 8 (302 words).

Izvestia

1. Svetlana Subbotina article headlined "Government to Facilitate Privatization for Small Business" says that a bill making it easier for companies of small and medium-sized business to privatize offices will be submitted to the State Duma within the next few days; pp 1, 4 (650 words).

2. Vladimir Dergachev article headlined "They Want to Strip United Russia Member Burmatov of Seat" says that the A Just Russia party has initiated a procedure to deprive the first deputy head of the State Duma education committee, United Russia member Vladimir Burmatov, of a deputy seat over plagiarism in his dissertation; pp 1, 3 (500 words).

3. Andrei Gridasov and Dmitry Yevstifeyev article headlined "Yelena Skrynnik's Former Subordinate Put on Wanted List" says that Oleg Donskikh, former head of the Agriculture Ministry's legal department, charged with embezzling about 800 million rubles (some $25.8 million) through Rosagrolizing in 2007-09, has been put on the international wanted list; pp 1, 4 (800 words).

4. German Petelin et al. article headlined "Prosecutor-General's Office Removes Luzhkov's Associate From Criminal Case" says that the Prosecutor-General's Office has cancelled the Interior Ministry's order to open a criminal case against former Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kosovan over the abuse of office; pp 1, 4 (1,000 words).

5. Anna Akhmadiyeva article headlined "RBK-TV Ready to Change Editor-in-Chief" says that Anna Uvarova, the current editor-in-chief of RBK-TV, is about to leave due to disagreements with the channel head over the content and strategic development; p 3 (400 words).

6. Yury Matsarsky article headlined "Egypt Does Not Await Revolution, But Gets Ready for Battle" says that protesters in Egypt have come to the presidential palace, demanding that Morsi steps down immediately; p 5 (500 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Yulia Krivoshapko interview with the head of the Russian oil company LUKoil, Vagit Alekperov, headlined "Painting in Oil," who speaks about oil and petrol prices and a shale gas revolution in North America; pp 1, 5 (1,952 words).

2. Sergei Vanin article headlined "Code of Year 2013" looks at the history of annual addresses to the Federal Assembly in Russia and says that Putin will deliver this year's annual address on Dec. 12. Three TV channels — Channel One, Rossia 1 and Rossia 24 — will broadcast the address live; p 2 (496 words).

3. Yekaterina Vlasova article headlined "Central Elections Commission Increases" says that the Central Elections Commission has decided to increase its staff by 50 people in 2013; p 3 (491 words).

4. Vladimir Kuzmin article headlined "Shanghai Accounts" gives an account of the prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries in Bishkek; p 3 (627 words).

5. Yuriy Gavrilov article headlined "Military Medicine to Be Cured" looks at Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's decisions concerning medical support for servicemen and the future of military hospitals and clinics; p 3 (495 words).

6. Viktor Feshchenko article headlined "First Dollar to Aircraft" says that the U.S. Senate has approved the military budget for 2013. The Pentagon will receive $631 billion; p 8 (565 words).

7. Kira Latukhina article headlined "Council of 11" looks at Putin's participation in a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State in Turkmenistan; p 2 (900 words).

RBK Daily

1. Anton Verzhbitsky report "Cookies From State Department" says that the Russian anti-virus company Dr. Web has established what websites in the Russian Internet leave cookie files most of all. LiveJournal tops the list; information from its cookie files may be obtained not only by advertisement networks, but by consulting companies that cooperate with U.S. state agencies; pp 1, 9 (800 words).

2. Svetlana Makunina report "Fate of Main Law" says that the authorities have lifted a taboo on discussions of amendments to the constitution. The Constitution may be amended and Putin may voice some ideas on the matter in his annual state-of-the-nation address this year; pp 1-2 (700 words).

3. Alexander Litoi report "Losing Voice" quotes Lilia Shibanova, head of the election watchdog Golos, as saying that the organization had to dismiss almost all its staff in November after USAID's operations were banned in Russia; p 2 (600 words).

4. Valeria Khamrayeva report "Money to Be Tested" says that Russia has been rated 133rd of 174 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; p 2 (550 words).

5. Anastasia Litvinova report "Translation Difficulties" says that foreign companies are ready for closer cooperation with Russian colleagues. However, language barrier and weak corporate management are impeding the cooperation, Economist Intelligence Unit has said; p 3 (500 words).

6. Katerina Kitayeva report "From Newspaper to Digit" says that Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications) has allowed all companies interested to participate in a contest for the second digital multiplex; p 9 (600 words).

Krasnaya Zvezda

1. Viktor Ruchkin report "Patriots Come First" says that the NATO Council has agreed to deploy Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Syrian border; p 3 (650 words).

2. Sergei Medvedev report "Pyongyang's Missile Argument" says that North Korea plans to launch a long-range rocket in December; p 3 (700 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Dmitry Smirnov report "Putin Shared Secrets With CIS Presidents" looks at the CIS summit in Ashgabat; p 2 (600 words).

2. Viktor Baranets report "We Are Innocent! We Did What Our Bosses Told Us" looks at the course of the investigation of the Oboronservis fraud case linked to the Russian Defense Ministry; p 3 (500 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta (weekly)

1. Konstantin Novikov interview with Minister for Relations with the Open Government Mikhail Abyzov, headlined "Which Key Opens Government?" who speaks about the Open Government project; pp 22-23 (1,948 words).

2. Mikhail Barshchevskiy interview with Alexander Torshin, deputy speaker of the Federation Council; p 8 (1,300 words).

Zavtra

1. Article headlined "Russian Army: If War Begins Tomorrow" features comments of political and military analysts as well as high ranking officers on the problems facing the Russian Armed Forces; pp 2-3 (5,000 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti

1. Anastasia Gladilshchikova report "Moscow Is Not Place for Rallies" publishes comments of organizers of opposition protests as to why recent rallies have been banned in Moscow; p 2 (500 words).

Dec. 6, 2012/BBC Monitoring/©BBC 

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