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What the Papers Say, Dec. 17, 2013


1. Sofya Samokhina and Irina Nagornykh article headlined "Amnesty with a flourish" says an amendment allowing the upcoming amnesty to be used towards people on trial over mass disturbances will be submitted to the State Duma today. The deputies are to correct some technical mistakes in the document; p 1 (782 words).

2. Alexei Shapovalov article headlined "Industry pulls to the bottom" says no industrial growth can be observed in Russia despite warm weather and Gazprom's pledge to launch its investment program by the end of 2013; pp 1, 8 (591 words).

3. Yury Barsukov article headlined "Gazprom's investments to be shown to prime minister" says Gazprom's investment program is to be discussed at the government meeting chaired by Dmitry Medvedev today. Some sources expect it to be criticized, however, Medvedev's stance on the program is still unknown; pp 1, 11 (606 words).

4. Roman Rozhkov and Pavel Belavin article headlined "E-commerce not to be distinguished from retail trade" says the Russian authorities are going to equate online trade with retail trade and to take online commerce under control, as the budget is losing money due to grey import schemes used in online trade; pp 1, 13 (592 words).

5. Anna Pushkarskaya and Viktor Khamrayev article headlined "Legal command structure built in new way" says President Putin has submitted to the State Duma amendments to the legal reform that would change the structure of the legal department of the Supreme Court and would ensure the rotation of the federal courts heads; p 2 (867 words).

6.Taisia Bekbulatova article headlined "European regulations asked for dual citizenship" says member of the federal political council of the PRP-Parnas opposition party Vladimir Kara-Murza has complained to the European Court of Human Rights about the Russian ban on standing for elections for people with dual citizenship. He believes that Russian legislation violates international standards, while the Central Electoral Commission believes the ban to be right; p 2 (473 words).

7. Natalya Korchenkova et al. report headlined "Shelf life extended for TV products" says the State Duma plans to pass a bill obliging Russian television channels to store all television programs for a year. The move is expected to help people suing media over defamation; p 3 (603 words).

8. Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Russia and EU drift apart on Independence Square" says Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met his EU colleagues to discuss the agenda for the next Russia-EU summit, criticized European politicians over their involvement in the political situation in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the EU pledged to help Ukraine find sources of financing if the country reaches the association deal with Europe; p 7 (677 words).

9. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "Britain sees labor migrants in Europeans" says the British authorities want to impose limit on the EU labor migrants coming to work in the country by 75,000 people a year. London is afraid of a possible influx of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania, as the residents of these countries will be able to move freely and work in any EU country as from 2014; p 7 (420 words).

10. Galina Dudina article headlined "Three times chancellor" says the inauguration of Angela Merkel for her third term in office will be held in Berlin today. She is expected to help the German economy stay afloat, however, no improvements in relations with Russia are expected; p 7 (531 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Svetlana Gamova article headlined "Gagauz people make step towards independence" says the Gagauz autonomy in the south of Moldova is developing is electoral code and the court uncontrolled by Chisinau. The move is seen as a step towards independence of the region; pp 1, 6 (892 words).

2. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Passions run high over Putin's amnesty bill" says the State Duma is to start discussing the presidential amnesty bill today, however, the deputies are expected to do what the Kremlin tells them; pp 1, 3 (794 words).

3. Tatyan Ivzhenko article headlined " "Russian can give loan to Ukraine and bring down gas price" says the Ukrainian opposition leaders have warned President Yanukovych against signing a deal with Russia to join the Customs Union. Yanukovych is visiting Moscow today; pp 1, 6 (1,090 words).

4. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Person involved in Oboronservis case complains about investigation" says lawyers of Yevgenia Vasilyeva being under investigation as part of the Oboronservis corruption case have filed three complains against investigators. The Investigative Committee believes that Vasilyeva is stretching the time to wait until the presidential amnesty comes into effect; pp 1, 3 (623 words).

5. Alina Terekhova article headlined "Forces reduction of livestock numbers and cattle slaughtering under way in country" says food import grew in Russia by 4 percent this year compared to the figures of 2012; pp 1, 4 (761 words).

6. Darya Tsilyurik article headlined "Tiger of Chinese corruption caught on trap" says former Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang is being investigated for corruption; pp 1, 7 (599 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Microscopic democracy for Russia" says the All-Russia People's Front has drafted two versions of the municipal reform in the country, both of them abolish direct mayoral elections; p 2 (498 words).

8. Viktor Litovkin article headlined "Army tasks on New Year's Eve" says Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has given tasks to his subordinates with tough deadlines at a meeting with senior army officials following the instructions for the army President Vladimir Putin issued during his annual address to parliament on Dec. 12; p 2 (486 words).

9. Yekaterina Trifonova article headlined "State Duma draws conclusions from Euro-Maidan" says a Russian lawmaker has suggested that Russian media and NGOs should be barred from receiving foreign funding and historians who forge historical facts should face criminal charges; p 3 (593 words).

10. Yvgenia Novikova article headlined "America resumes support to Syrian opposition" says the U.S. resumes the non-lethal weapons supply to the Syrian opposition despite the growing power of Islamists among the opposition; p 7 (719 words).

11. Yury Panyev article headlined "European lunch with Ukrainian side-dish" says Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov participated in a meeting with EU colleagues, where the situation in Ukraine, the next Russia-EU summit and a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis were high on the agenda. During the meeting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bild criticized Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych for his "double standards", in the same time accusing Russia of "propaganda campaign against Ukraine", whereas Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's representative at the EU, compared the EU actions against Kiev with a steam-boiler; p 7 (708 words).


1. Maria Dranishnikova article headlined "Developer Mamut" says tycoon Alexander Mamut and former senator Alexander Gordeyev will soon become owners of a 16-percent stake in the PIK developer group; pp 1, 18 (611 words).

2. Editorial headlined "Company party Russia" says an increasing number of Russian state controlled corporations are canceling New Year parties or personnel are paying for the events themselves following President Putin's criticism over wasting money on company parties; pp 1, 6 (408 words).

3. Lilia Biryukova article headlined "Replacement for Poltavchenko" says the Russian leadership are deciding who is going to replace St Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko as he is not likely to get re-elected at the next polls; pp 1-2 (631 words).

4. Polina Khimiashvili et al. article headlined "Loan without union" says the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych visiting Moscow today is willing to reach an agreement on a large loan without any obligations to join the Customs Union. The move is expected to help Yanukovych stay in office at least until the next election in 2015; p 2 (668 words).

5. Another editorial headlined "Shifting blame" says Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov did not mention the most acute problems for the Russian business climate when speaking about doing business in the country; p 6 (319 words).

6. Maxim Glikin and Anna Shcherbakova interview with St. Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko headlined "The city is a like a bog, not the one to stage protests" in which the governor speaks about his work at the KGB (name for Federal Security Service in Soviet times), the city management and gubernatorial election plans; pp 8-9 (4,055 words).

7. Svetlana Bocharova and Lilia Biryukova article headlined "Dissenters may be pardoned" says activists of the Bolotnaya riots case and Arctic Sunrise case may be amnestied before the court brings in the verdict; p 3 (250 words).

8. Maxim Tovkaylo article entitled "Olympic investors get two years" says as a result of a meeting between Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Olympic investors, the latter were allowed not to give back loans to VEB bank before 2016 — by that time it will have become clear whether they need additional support; p 4 (700 words).

9. Margarita Lyutova article headlined "Industry's nosedive" says the industry decline gathered pace in November; the situation in the economy may exacerbate following the stagnating industry; p 2 (250 words).

10. As part of the "Quote of the week", Kirill Kharatyan's comment on French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius's statement to the effect that the French authorities will not attend the Sochi Olympics suggests that the Russian authorities are reaping the fruits of their own victory; p 7 (300 words).


1. Pavel Kochegarov article headlined "Investigators find kickbacks in Federal Customs Service" says the Federal Customs Service officials are being suspected of receiving kickbacks when making purchases for the service; pp 1, 3 (585 words).

2. Yelena Teslova article headlined "Opposition wants extremists and drug-addicts amnestied " details amendments to the presidential amnesty bill drafted by the parliamentary opposition; p 1 (903 words).

3. Alexander Yunashev and Yelena Teslova article headlined "Marine Le Pen shocked by Holland's refusal to go to Sochi" says French President Francois Hollande's political rival Marine Le Pen says she was shocked by the president's decision to ignore the Winter Olympics in Sochi; pp 1, 4 (400 words).

4. Natalya Bashlykova article headlined "Civic platform demands resignation of Nikolai Tsukanov" says the Civic Platform party slams the Kaliningrad region governor Nikolai Tsukanov over his failure to prevent the closure of the largest regional bank, Investbank; p 3 (712 words).

5. Igor Yavlyansky et al. report headlined "Jewish organizations of U.S. indignant over McCain meeting with Tyahnybok" says Jewish organizations in the U.S. are indignant over senator McCain's meeting with one of Ukrainian Nationalists actrivist, Freedom party leader Oleh Tyahnybok notorious for his anti-Jewish statements during McCain's visit to Ukraine; p 7 (568 words).

6. Andrei Dubinksy and Yanina Sokolvskaya artile entitled "Independent Square becomes open house" comments on support from abroad of events at Maidan and interviews a Polish lawmaker, Malgorzata Gosiewska, who explains why she has put up a tent in the square in support of protesters; p 7 (700 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Roman Markelov and Tatyana Shadrina article headlined "Bypassing cash register" says Russians may be obliged to pay taxes on goods they buy on foreign online shopping websites; pp 1, 5 (625 words).

2. Natalya Kozlova article headlined "Negligence in 50 volumes" says former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has started reading the files of his case; pp 1, 9 (583 words).

3. Tatyana Zykova interview with Vladimir Denisov, head of the Moscow Region Technical Inventory Bureau, speaking on changes in calculating property taxes for businesses in Russia; pp 1, 11(3,144 words).

4. Article by political scientist Leonid Radzikhovsky headlined "Pillar or barrel" praises President Putin's address to the Federal Assembly as he did not show any aggression towards his political opponents, but expressed pragmatic approach towards Russian economic problems; p 3 (797 words)

5. Anna Fedyakina article headlined "On brink of European abyss" says Moldova's breakaway Dniester region has become an economic hostage of Moldova's European integration plans as the region risks turning into an "appendix" of great Romania; p 8 (808 words).

6. Vladislav Vorobyev article headlined " Ghost of Maidan wandering around Europe" says some EU countries are willing to pass laws banning protests by government buildings following opposition rallies in Ukraine; p 8 (470 words).

7. Yury Gavrilov article entuitled "Serving without call-up paper" says Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's proposal to set up centers of training Defense Ministry reserve in higher educational institutions; p 2 (500 words).

8. Vitaly Petrov article entitled "Sports with comfort" on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Sochi to inspect the sports facilities; p 3 (400 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Yulia Kalinina article headlined "Serdyukov's negligence: slap or spit in face?" says negligence charges brought against former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov can be attributed by the decision of the Russian authorities not to jail the former top official; pp 1, 3 (434 words).

2. Mikhail Rostovsky article headlined "Profligates against adultery or Poles and Yankees as main 'Ukrainians'" slams Western politicians for their involvement in the Ukrainian political crisis; pp 1, 3 (779 words).

3. Yeva Merkacheva interview with Audit Chamber head Tatyana Golikova speaking on problems of the Russian banking sector and checkups Russian state companies are facing; p 2 (578 words).

4. Natalya Rozhkova interviews with Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of Institute of CIS countries, and Alexei Makarkin, deputy director at the center for Political Technologies, headlined "Sitting on two unions". The pundits give their expert opinion on the situation in Ukraine; p 3 (400 words)

5. Oleg Bazak article headlined "Yanukovych makes sacrifices" says Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych has called an emergency meeting of the Party of Regions on the morning of Dec. 16, where he reportedly refused to sack the country's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to fulfill one of the requirements of Maidan protesters, but agreed to a sweeping cabinet reshuffle; p 3 (350 words).

RBC Daily

1. Tatyana Aleshkina article headlined "Six months of stiff hand" reviews the outcomes of this year's activities of Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Central Bank of Russia; pp 1, 7 (1,100 words).

2. Inga Vorobyeva article headlined "Yanukovych comes to Moscow for loan" features expert comments on the Russian-Ukrainian relations; p 2 (400 words).

Noviye Izestia

1. Tatyana Sazonova article headlined "'People who stand on Maidan are not a crowd but citizens'" is and interview with Ruslan Grinberg, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Economics Institute, on various topics, including Ukraine and Russian economy; pp 1, 3 (1,000 words).

2. Artem Lunkov article headlined "Brought to despair" reports on a rally in front of the office of the mayor of Sochi. Citizens are unsatisfied with public utilities and are urging the mayor to resign, the article says; p 2 (500 words).

3. Sergei Putilov article headlined "Bargain relevant?" features comments by Russian experts on possible outcomes of today's visit of Yanukovych to Russia; p 3 (600 words).

Moskovskiye Novosti

1. Yelena Malysheva article headlined "Money — back!" says most experts and business people say it is possible to implement President Vladimir Putin's recent call for "de-offshorization" of the Russian economy, although the implementation would supposedly be connected with certain risks; pp B2-B3 (1,000 words).

2. Irina Granik article headlined "Budget deficit or activity deficit" says Putin, in his annual address to the Federal Assembly, has told the Russian regions how to increase the quality of life; p B7 (800 words).

3. Alexandra Beluza article headlined "Russia to strengthen nuclear triad" says that, according to Putin's annual address to the Federal Assembly, some countries' concept of an immediate global strike threatens agreements on nuclear disarmament; p B8 (700 words).


1. Alexander Protsenko article headlined "Russian style for your own money" says the World Bank has lowered its forecast on the Russian economy growth in 2013; pp 1, 3 (900 words).

2. Sergei Rubakhin article headlined "According to precepts of Serdyukov" comments on appointment of Ursula von der Leyen as Germany's defense minister, wondering if the appointment will affect the Bundeswehr in a negative way; p 1 (400 words).

3. Sergei Frolov article headlined "Between little streams" says there is a feeling that friends and enemies of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych expect nothing but betrayal from him; p 2 (400 words).

4. Mikhail Vasilyev article headlined "VIP tribunes get quieter..." comments on European Commission deputy head Viviane Reding's decision not to come to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, saying that the games will be used to step up foreign pressure on the country; p 2 (300 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Viktor Baranets article headlined "General Staff ordered to prepare against U.S. immediate strike" reviews instructions given by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to the General Staff; p 2 (100 words).

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