What the Papers Say, May 15, 2013

Kommersant

1. Yelena Chernenko and Ivan Safronov article headlined "Trust credentials" says Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev is visiting Washington to hand over a confidential letter from President Putin to U.S. President Obama. The letter is a response to the recent document with proposals to continue cooperation brought to Moscow by Thomas Donilon, national security adviser in the Obama administration; pp 1, 8 (868 words).
2. Nikolai Sergeiev and Yulya Rybina article headlined "Friendship is one thing but secret services are another" reports in detail on the Federal Security Service's operation to detain U.S. diplomat Ryan Fogle in Moscow, who allegedly tried to recruit a senior Russian intelligence officer, and speculates on how the CIA may have selected the recruitment target; pp 1, 3 (1,023 words).
3. Ksenya Dementyeva and Olga Shestopal article headlined "Banks fail to make money on cards" says Russian banks' practice of providing poor people with credit cards has resulted in huge debts the card holders are in no hurry to pay; pp 1, 9 (661 words).
4. Anna Balashova and Vladimir Lavitsky article headlined "Roskomnadzor undermines Osnova [Rus: basis]" says the Osnova Telekom company co-owned by the Defencs Ministry's structures may fail to launch its 4G network in the summer, as it previously planned. The Roskomnadzor communications watchdog did not approve the allocation of frequencies for the company; pp 1, 13 (700 words).
5. Article attributed to the paper's political section headlined "Irkutsk Region gets millionaire" reviews income declarations filed by regional heads and other top officials in Russia; p 2 (490 words).
6. Ivan Safronov article headlined "No more service chief in defense" comments on the dismissal of Oboronservis head Sergei Khursevich; p 2 (617 words).
7. Irina Nagornykh article headlined "Civil Society Development Fund studies Putin's majority" says the Civil Society Development Fund claims that 48 percent of Russians support President Putin. The fund will continue studying Putin's supporters in more detail; p 2 (637 words).
8. Ivan Buranov article headlined "NGO checks bought to president's level" says the human rights council under the Russian president has asked Putin to speak out for NGOs, currently under pressure from prosecutor's offices; p 3 (547 words).
9. Ilya Barabanov article headlined "TV to recall October" says Russian federal TV channels are preparing documentaries to mark the political crisis of 1993; p 5 (519 words).
10. Yury Barsukov article headlined "Oil gets rid of eastern accent" says the International Energy Agency believes that U.S. shale gas will weaken OPEC's position on the international energy market; p 6 (453 words).
11. Andrei Kolesnikov article headlined "Arguments about S-300 deployed to Sochi" reports on the talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Putin in Sochi, where Putin made it clear that Syria would receive Russian S-300 missile defence systems; p 7 (593 words).
12. Maxim Yusin article headlined "Turkish front opens against Syria" says Ankara is threatening Damascus with revenge as Turkey has accused the Syrian secret services of organizing deadly explosions in the country; p 7 (488 words).
13. Maria Yefimova article headlined "Israeli office surfaces in Persian Gulf" comments on reports alleging that Israel has set up a diplomatic mission in Qatar; p 7 (536 words).
14. Article by Dmitry Polikanov, vice president of PIR-Center, in the "Price of issue" opinion column says the exchange of letters between the U.S. and Russian president aims to show to the two countries' elites that the leaders realize the importance of bilateral relations; p 8 (344 words).
15. Kirill Belyaninov article headlined "American tax collectors come to opposition" reports on a scandal over unscheduled checks of organizations criticizing US President Barack Obama's policy, which has broken out in the U.S.; p 8 (453 words).
16. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "UK prime minister does not hold onto Europe" says UK Prime Minister David Cameron is stepping up preparations for a referendum on UK membership in the EU. Cameron had to yield to pressure from his party as euroskepticism is growing in the UK; p 8 (576 words).
17. Sergei Sobolev article headlined "Press feels alcohol dependence" analyses first-quarter advertising revenues of Russian media outlets; p 12 (600 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Viktor Myasnikov article headlined "Faulty spacecraft downed by meteorite" offers a new theory of the Chelyabinsk meteorite explosion. The author suggests that the phenomenon may have been caused by a spacecraft failure; pp 1, 6 (2,300 words).
2. Andrei Vaganov article headlined "Yury Osipov gives up academy presidency " says Yury Osipov, who has been heading the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1991, withdrew from the election of the new head to be held on 29 May; pp 1-2 (650 words).
3. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Protection of Victory from 'Bolotnaya opposition'" says United Russia wants to once again consider a bill introducing criminal punishment for those who deny the results of World War II. The idea was revived after opposition rallies held on 9 May; pp 1, 3 (800 words).
4. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "IVECO reaches Bastrykin" says yet another criminal case has been opened against the Oboronservis company, which failed to pay customs duties whole importing IVECO armored vehicles from Italy; pp 1, 3 (550 words).
5. Sokhbet Mamedov article headlined "Moscow closes tap for Baku" looks at the Russian government's decision to terminate its oil transit contract with Azerbaijan; pp 1, 7 (550 words).
6. Andrei Kolokoltsev article headlined "Million dollars for treason" reports on the detention of alleged CIA agent Ryan Fogle; pp 1-2 (500 words).
7. Lidya Orlova report headlined "First Chinese invitation" sums up Patriarch Kirill's visit to China; pp 1-2 in the NG-Religion supplement (1,500 words).
8. Roman Silantyev article headlined "Cold spring for Council of Muftis" the Russian Council of Mufti has made some PR mistakes, while some of its branches and Muslim communities have aroused security services' suspicion; p 4 in the NG-Religion supplement (1,000 words).

Izvestia

1. Anton Mardasov article headlined "Andrei Fursenko to become new curator of innovations foundation" says the former education minister and currently a presidential adviser, Andrei Fursenko, will be appointed the Kremlin's supervisor of the Skolkovo Foundation; pp 1, 4 (431 words).
2. Alexander Grigoryev article headlined "First defendant appears in Skolkovo" says Alexei Beltyukov, former vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation, is to be charged with misuse of public funds as he was the one to sign a contract with opposition lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov under which the latter received $750,000; pp 1, 3 (812 words).
3. Article by Sergei Mironov, head of the A Just Russia faction in the State Duma, headlined "Ilya Ponomaryov's path deviates", urges lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov to leave the party as his actions contradict the party's policy; p 1 (200 words).
4. Tatyana Shirmanova and Maria Kinle article headlined "Businesses to be subjected to 'offshore' tax" says the Russian Audit Chamber has come up with an initiative to impose a special tax on Russian companies cooperating with firms registered in offshore zones; pp 1, 4 (721 words).
5. Alexei Mikhaylov article headlined "Defense Ministry to scrap legendary planes and helicopters" says the Russian Defense Ministry is holding a tender to scrap some 400 aircraft and helicopters, including unique Tu-160 bombers; pp 1, 4 (540 words).
6. Ivan Cheberko article headlined "Roskosmos keeps mum about loss of Main Intelligence Directorate satellites" says the Russian space agency has decided not to report yet another failed satellite launch that took place on Jan. 15, 2013; pp 1, 4 (798 words).
7. Pundit Boris Mezhuyev commentary piece "Limonov as educator" looks at author and radical politician Eduard Limonov's role in Russian politics and his relations with the rest of the opposition; p 9 (750 words).
8. Eduard Limonov's response to the above article, headlined "Why don't you like us, Granddad?" p 9 (600 words).

Vedomosti

1. Maxim Glikin article headlined "Khloponin's Caucasus clan" says people close to presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin will develop the North Caucasus Resorts corporation after the resignation of the company's former head Akhmed Bilalov; pp 1-2 (852 words).
2. Olga Kuvshinova and Maxim Tovkaylo article headlined "Early recession" says while the Economic Development Ministry is worried by the possibility of a recession in the autumn, the Russian economy has already started showing signs of slowdown; pp 1, 5 (612 words).
3. Editorial headlined "Licence for patronage of arts" says the authorities have made it more difficult for Russian scientists to receive foreign grants, as foreign charity funds will have to undergo expert examination of the Russian Education and Science Ministry; pp 1, 6 (324 words).
4. Another editorial, headlined "Due to state' great need", slams the Russian government's plans to simplify the procedure of seizing plots of land from their owners to build World Cup 2018 facilities; p 6 (358 words).
5. Polina Khimshiashvili and Yekaterina Kravchenko article "Agent was betrayed by two wigs" looks at the detention of a U.S. diplomat in Moscow by the Federal Security Service on suspicion of espionage and the implications this incident will have for Russian-U.S. relations; p 2 (250 words).
6. Anastasia Kornya article headlined "Revolution stations" says searches as part of the Bolotnaya Ploshchad unrest case are under way in the Russian regions that opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov visited in summer 2012; p 2 (555 words).
7. Timofei Dzyadko and Irina Kezik article headlined "Gunvor discloses revenues" says one of the most closed companies, oil trader Gunvor Group, whose co-owner Gennady Timchenko is widely believed to be close to President Vladimir Putin, has for the first time disclosed its figures; pp 10, 13 (400 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Tatyana Zykova article headlined "No longer scared" says Russian businesses making less than 300,000 rubles (around $9,500) a year are likely to be allowed to pay lower social insurance contributions; pp 1, 5 (563 words).
2. Yury Gavrilov interview with Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky speaking about the dismissal of Oboronservis head and the ongoing probe into corruption in the Defense Ministry; pp 1, 4 (1,854 words).
3. Andrei Petrov article headlined "Arrested red-handed" gives details of the detention of a U.S. diplomat who is said to be a CIA agent in Moscow; pp 1, 3 (303 words).
4. Mikhail Barshchevsky interview with Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov speaking on an international legal forum which opens in St. Petersburg; p 6 (1,053 words).
5. Alexander Gasyuk article headlined "Trust to melt permafrost" says Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to discuss prospects for cooperation in the Arctic with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of an international Arctic forum that is under way in Sweden; p 8 (423 words).
6. Olga Dmitryeva article headlined "David's fight with Europe" says the British ruling coalition cannot come to agreement on the country's membership in the EU; p 8 (397 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Irina Bobrova interview with writer Yury Felshtinsky headlined "Inner side of Berezovsky's death" in which the man who used to know the Russian tycoon personally speaks on reasons which may have prompted Berezovsky to commit suicide; pp 1, 7 (3,620 words).
2. Irina Finyakina commentary piece headlined "Hello, Tajik Russia!" comments on the Russian government's plans to give citizenship to children of migrant workers receiving education in the country; pp 1, 3 (571 words).
3. Andrei Yashlavsky article headlined "Wigged diplomat caught red-handed" says a new spy scandal with the detention of a U.S. diplomat in Moscow is likely to further spoil relations between the two countries; p 2 (400 words).
4. Pundit Alexei Mukhin article "Help from above" looks at the motives and implications of decisions being taken by some of the richest people in Russia, most recently tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, to transfer their assets to charity funds and concentrate on other things in life; p 4 (500 words).
5. Marina Perevozkina feature headlined "Road to jihad" traces Chechen militants' traces in Georgia; p 9 (1,900 words).

Noviye Izvestia

1. Alexander Kolesnichenko interview with Lilia Shibanova, executive director of election monitoring NGO Golos, speaking about pressure from the law enforcement agencies; pp 1, 5 (2,092 words).
2. Yulia Zabavina article headlined "Free circulation" loox at business ombudsman Boris Titov's proposal for an amnesty to all people convicted of economic crimes, its prospects and implications for jailed former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky; pp 1, 3 (900 words).

Novaya Gazeta

1. Interview with entrepreneur Pyotr Ofitserov who is charged with fraud together with opposition activist Alexei Navalny. The defendant speaks on the Kirovles timber company case; p 11 (1,229 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Dmitry Smirnov article titled "'I am working on my Russian'" recaps on yesterday's meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; p 2 (400 words).
2. Yelena Chinkova article titled "'If you want to soften one of our people's hearts — show him the Orthodox cathedral in Harbin'" looks at Russian Patriarch Kirill's visit to China; p 2 (350 words).
3. Alexander Grishin article titled "People to be held accountable for insulting Victory" says United Russia lawmaker Sergei Zheleznyak has proposed making the justification of fascism a criminal offense; p 3 (250 words).
4. Alexander Grishin article headlined "Spy walked around Moscow with compass" recaps on the latest U.S.-Russian spy scandal following the detention of an alleged U.S. spy in Moscow yesterday; p 5 (450 words).
5. Alexander Kots and Dmitry Steshin report from Afghanistan titled "Third bet on zero" analyses the situation in the country ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2014; pp 10-11 (1,400 words).

RBK daily

1. Yevgeny Krasnikov article headlined "Fake Churovs counted" says Central Elections Commission chairman Vladimir Churov found out about fake accounts in social networks in his name and asked the Russian media watchdog to delete them; pp 1, 9 (600 words).
2. Inga Vorobyeva article titled "Putin pushes gas" says state-owned energy giant Rosneft is ready to spend 60 billion rubles ($2 billion) on building 1,000 fueling stations as part of a program for transferring public transport to gas fuel by 2020. Rosneft president Igor Sechin said that the spending was contingent on the authorities giving the company access to the national gas transport system; p 3 (450 words).
3. Polina Stroganova article headlined "Gunvor will not extract oil" says the Gunvor oil trading company, co-owned by Gennady Timchenko, had to sell its stake in a license for a strategic Caspian Sea oil deposit. The company is unable to start development works without state energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom; p 7 (250 words).
4. Valery Perevozchikov article titled "Of his own for unauthorized construction" says Sochi's chief architect, Konstantin Matskevich, has tendered his resignation, having spent only six months in the job; p 8 (450 words)

Trud

1. Sergei Frolov article headlined "To finish Livanov off" looks ahead at today's meeting between President Vladimir Putin and heads of the four State Duma factions. The paper predicts that lawmakers will once again ask the president to sack Education Minister Dmitry Livanov; pp 1-2 (600 words).
2. Alexander Dmitryev article "We have a hut made of ice" reports from the eighth ministerial session of the Arctic Council that is taking place in Kiruna, p 3 (550 words).

Krasnaya Zvezda

1. Alexander Tikhonov article "What has inspection revealed?" sums up the results of a large-scale surprise drill that was held in the south of Russia on March 28-29 to check the troops' readiness; p 1 (600 words).
2. Vladimir Zhukovsky interview with Russian Baltic Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Viktor Kravchuk, headlined "There are new voyages ahead"; p 2 (1,000 words).
3. Academician Vladimir Kozin article, headlined "Territory of dialogue or confrontation?" looks at military presence in the Arctic; p 3 (1,300 words).

May 15, 2013/BBC Monitoring/©BBC

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