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What the Papers Say, Jan. 13, 2013

Kommersant


1. Svetlana Dementyeva and Dmitry Ladygin article headlined "Hole without lining" says that the Central Bank has revealed a shortage of 30.2 billion rubles ($915 million) in Investbank, whose license was recalled on Dec. 13; pp 1, 8 (1,218 words).


2. Natalya Korchenkova et al. article headlined "They are authorized to replace Vladimir Lukin" says that this week the State Duma Council will begin to discuss candidates for the post of the human rights ombudsman. Incumbent ombudsman Vladimir Lukin's term in office expires on Feb. 18. Human rights activists plan to ask lawmakers to extend Lukin's term in office; pp 1, 3 (649 words).


3. Anastasia Fomicheva article headlined "South Ossetia likened to North Ossetia" says that the Energy Ministry has decided to equate Georgia's breakaway republic South Ossetia to troubled Russian regions of the North Caucasus, which means that electric energy tariffs will be by up to 20 percent lower than the market ones. Georgia has criticized the move; pp 1, 9 (633 words).


4. Ivan Safronov article headlined "Space duties to be divided at top level" says that the government will distribute duties among the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. This is said to aim to prevent a conflict between Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko and his deputy Igor Komarov, who will head the corporation; p 2 (501 words).


5. Maxim Ivanov report headlined "President's address not missed by citizens" says that according to a public opinion poll conducted by the independent pollster Levada Center, 12 percent of Russians watched and listened to President Vladimir Putin's annual address to the Federal Assembly on Dec. 12, 2013; p 3 (206 words).


6. Natalya Gorodetskaya article headlined "Regions ready to give up mayoral elections" says that Russian regions have drafted about 300 proposals on the reform of local governments announced by Putin. One of the proposals is to give up direct mayoral elections; p 3 (627 words).


7. Taisia Bekbulatova et al. article headlined "Mayor's office gets stronger with spin doctors" says that spin doctors Dmitry Gusev and Oleg Smolkin have been appointed deputy heads of the department of territorial bodies of executive authority in Moscow. Experts attribute this to the forthcoming election to the Moscow City Duma; p 3 (775 words).


8. Brief report by political department says that the State Duma will hand over to Russia's newly-created state news agency Rossia Segodnya the budget money of the news agency RIA Novosti and the radio station Voice of Russia; p 3 (120 words).


9. Timur Samedov report "Bomb packed into box from juice" says that five members of the local "bandit underground" have been detained in Kabarda-Balkaria; p 4 (500 words).


10. Sergei Manastyrly et al. article headlined "Non-European part of Moldova" says that the autonomy of Gagauzia in the south of Moldova is developing the judicial system uncontrolled by Chisinau and is preparing a referendum on its accession to the Russia-led Customs Union. Chisinau considers this to be an attempt by Moscow to prevent Moldova's integration with the EU; p 6 (523 words).


11. Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Invitation to Geneva being obtained for Iran" previews today's meeting in Paris between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UN special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. Iran's participation in the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria, scheduled for Jan. 22, is one of the key points for discussion, the article says; p 6 (482 words).


12. Sergei Strokan article headlined "Sharon is fighter in field" looks at late former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; p 6 (499 words).


13. Maxim Yusin article headlined "Syrian opposition cleans itself up before conference" says that clashes have broken out between moderate movements and pro-al-Qaida groups in the Syrian opposition. Experts attribute this to the forthcoming Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria on Jan. 22; p 6 (516 words).


14. Yury Barsukov article headlined "Lithuania pulls Gazprom to court again" says that Lithuania plans to initiate yet other arbitration proceedings against the Russian gas giant Gazprom, seeking a decrease in gas prices; p 9 (488 words).


Nezavisimaya Gazeta


1. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "Uyghur issue in secret way" says that Chinese President Xi Jinping has chaired a meeting of the political bureau standing committee on Xinjiang, at which a new strategy to combat separatism in the area was adopted. The article also features a Russian expert's comment on the issue; pp 1-2 (582 words).


2. Andrei Melnikov article headlined "Patriarch defines borders of conservatism" says that judging by the latest scandals involving the Russian Orthodox Church, the Church has become a victim of political ambitions of certain popular people. They see the church as a convenient tool to make political statements, taking advantage of the church's influence on society, the author says; pp 1-2 (687 words).


3. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "Real prison term endangers Navalny" says that opposition activist Alexei Navalny's suspended sentence passed in the KirovLes timber company case may be changed for a real prison term if it is confirmed that he has violated an undertaking not leave; pp 1, 3 (590 words).


4. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Federation Council disagrees with Zorkin" says that the Federation Council has suggested preserving a life-long ban on work for teachers having previous convictions. The ban was introduced in late 2010, but in 2013 was challenged in the Constitutional Court that found it unconstitutional; pp 1, 3 (619 words).


5. Yury Panyev article headlined "Geneva 2 being saved in Paris" says that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris today to discuss the prospects of Iran's participation in the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria; pp 1, 8 (591 words).


6. Editorial headlined "Syrian war from Beirut to Baghdad" says that the conflict in Syria is gradually turning into a regional war. Moreover, Syria could become al-Qaida's new "terrorist base"; p 2 (536 words).


7. Vladimir Mukhin article published in the Carte Blanche regular column headlined "Pre-Olympic rebuff to terrorism" says that the "terrorist underground" has stepped up activities in Russia's southern regions close to the Krasnodar region, which hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics. Experts say militants want to wreck the event, but assure that Russian law-enforcement and security agencies will succeed in ensuring security during the Olympics; p 3 (884 words).


8. Yekaterina Trifonova article headlined "Anti-corruption purges to be carried out in Federal Penitentiary Service" says that human rights activists have suggested establishing a special center in Moscow to keep convicts who have reported instances of corruption in jails; p 3 (652 words).


9. Nikolay Vardul article headlined "Maneuvers or investment" contemplates the effectiveness of the measures that have been taken to ensure Russia's economic growth in the near future; p 4 (1,322 words).


10. Darya Tsilyurik article headlined "Obama asked to pardon Snowden" says that journalists from The New York Times and The Guardian have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. The White House is not ready for this move, the article says. Meanwhile, reforms in the U.S. intelligence agencies will be made public this week; p 8 (652 words).


11. Yevgeny Grigoryev article headlined "Berlin not to change rank of priorities, but to enliven dialogue with Moscow" says that the deputy head of the Social Democratic Party of Germany faction in the Bundesrat, Gernot Erler, has become the coordinator of German-Russian intersocietal cooperation; p 8 (548 words).


12. Dmitry Orlov article headlined "Russia's hundred leading politicians in 2013" features a rating of Russia's most influential politicians in 2013. President Vladimir Putin tops the rating, followed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov; p 9 (2,281 words).


13. Alina Terekhova report "Number of reliable creditors to double in Russia" says that the Central Bank has proposed new criteria for recognizing banks as strategic; p 2 (600 words).


Vedomosti


1. Yelizaveta Sergina article headlined "Prime minister's fellow student to establish mobile communications" says that former general director of the Svyazinvest communications company, Vadim Semenov, is considered to be the most probable candidate for the head of the joint venture between the Rostelecom communications company and the Tele2 Russia mobile operator; pp 1, 16 (563 words).


2. Margarita Papchenkova article headlined "Offshore areas to pay Russia" looks at measures being taken in Russia to combat withdrawals of money through offshore schemes; pp 1, 4 (728 words).


3. Editorial headlined "Emergency Olympics" says that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is a special project to prove Russia's image and Putin's image. That is why the Kremlin has taken the toughest security measures; that is why militants have stepped up activities to wreck the event; pp 1, 6 (409 words).


4. Alexander Knobel article headlined "Freedom of trade: Cost of Customs Union" focuses on Russia's expenses as the mastermind of the Customs Union; pp 6-7 (1,584 words).


5. Editorial headlined "Last respects for hawk" praises late former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for being a decisive politician; p 6 (347 words).


6. Margarita Lyutova and Maxim Tovkaylo article headlined "IMF to replace National Welfare Fund" says that Russia will render financial aid worth $5 billion to Ukraine in the form of SDR (special drawing rights); p 5 (552 words).


7. Yelena Morozova et al. article headlined "Left city" says that an opposition candidate may win an early mayoral election in Novosibirsk as the ruling United Russia party has failed to find a strong successor to mayor Vladimir Gorodetsky who voluntarily resigned; p 3 (569 words).


8. Lilia Biryukova et al. article headlined "Export of spiritual ties" says that several ministries and agencies will deal with Russia's information policy abroad and will be in charge of advocating Russia's traditional values in foreign countries; p 2 (592 words).


9. Kirill Kharatyan report "Person of week: Andrei Kurayev" looks at high-profile member of the Russian Orthodox clergy, Andrei Kurayev; p 7 (300 words).


Izvestia


1. Dmitry Yevstifeyev article headlined "They want to take Oboronservis case away from Investigative Committee" says that Natalya Dynkova, targeted in the Oboronservis case, has asked the court to send the case to the prosecutor's office for reconsideration because it is the Interior Ministry, but not the Investigative Committee, that should investigate economic crimes; pp 1, 4 (683 words).


2. Svetlana Subbotina and Anastasia Kashevarova article headlined "Seven deputies may lose seats over lawsuits" says that seven State Duma lawmakers have loan and child support debts. They could be deprived of deputy seats if they evade debts using deputy immunity; pp 1, 3 (778 words).


3. Natalya Bashlykova article headlined "Nikita Belykh to stand in election as self-nominee" says that Kirov Region governor Nikita Belykh, whose term in office expires on Jan. 15, may stand in the governor election as an independent candidate. The ruling United Russia party is backing him, but experts say that he will face a difficult campaign if he is appointed an acting regional head; p 2 (753 words).


4. Alexei Krivoruchek article headlined "Industry and Trade Ministry prepares for Ukraine's integration with EU" says that the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry will consider negative consequences of Ukraine's integration with the EU for the Russian defence industry; p 3 (727 words).


5. Dmitry Yevstifeyev article headlined "Yevgenia Vasilyeva carried away by materials of case" says that former Defense Ministry official Yevgenia Vasilyeva charged with fraud has begun to study the materials of her criminal case. She reads up to 10 volumes a day and may finish studying them within a month, the article says; p 4 (768 words).


6. Dmitry Yevstifeyev interview with Anastasia Rybachenko, a participant in the so-called Bolotnaya case on the May 6, 2012 riots on Moscow's Bolotnaya square, who has fled to Estonia and who was granted amnesty in late December, headlined "'I will be glad to return to Russia'", speaking about her case; p 5 (505 words).


7. Konstantin Volkov article headlined "Tbilisi looks for Berlin's aid in improving relations with Moscow" says that Georgia pins hopes on Germany in improving its relations with Russia after the Russia-EU summit in late January; p 7 (573 words).


8. Article by opposition activist Eduard Limonov headlined "Cowardice" welcomes the release of Ilya Farber, a rural teacher accused of bribe-taking, who has spent more than two years in custody, but criticizes his plans to become a human rights activist. Passion for human rights activities shown by Farber and other prominent convicts, who were granted amnesty in late December, is attributed to their being afraid of real political activity, the author said; p 9 (578 words).


9. Dmitry Drobnitsky article headlined "Obama's heritage in light of Gates's memories" looks at the reaction that former U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates's book of memories, which cast a slur on U.S. President Barack Obama, has provoked. The author also shares his own view of Obama as the U.S. president; p 9 (908 words).


10. Dmitry Runkevich report "State Duma to limit price of gifts" says that the State Duma will debate amendments to the law on the status of lawmakers concerning the procedure of accepting gifts by members of the parliament; pp 1, 3 (600 words).


11. German Petelin et al. report "Killed mafia boss asks to deprive him of crown" looks at the investigation of the murder of a crime boss in the Moscow region; pp 1, 4 (1,700 words).


12. Pavel Chernyshev report "Great Britain toughens rules of issuing visas" says that Russians who want to go to Britain for more than six months, will have to obtain a certificate proving they are not ill with TB; p 10 (500 words).


13. Taras Podrez report "Current malfunction in Vkontakte predicted two years ago" looks at causes of malfunction in the social network Vkontakte on Jan. 10; p 10 (450 words).


Rossiiskaya Gazeta


1. Tatyana Zamakhina article headlined "Wars go to internet" looks at the cyber-security strategy drafted by the Federation Council; p 2 (395 words).


2. Kira Latukhina report headlined "Where do we fly" gives an account of President Vladimir Putin's meeting with the leadership of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), at which the development of the rocket and space industry was discussed; p 2 (712 words).


3. Yulia Krivoshapko interview with businessmen's rights ombudsman Boris Titov, headlined "Money not used here", speaking about Russia's business climate; p 10 (1,935 words).


4. Maxim Makarychev article headlined "He fight for life during eight years" looks at late former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; p 5 (616 words).


5. Anna Roze article headlined "To storm Berlin" says that Russians were ranked the second in the number of bids to get political asylum in Germany in 2013, which is five times more than in 2012. The bulk of bidders were natives of Chechnya; p 5 (472 words).


6. Ivan Yegorov article headlined "Star struck" says that Ilya Farber, a rural teacher accused of bribe-taking who has spent more than two years in custody, has been freed. He and his eldest son organized a performance to celebrate the release, which insulted Russian servicemen and excited indignation among Russian bloggers; p 6 (663 words).


7. Mikhail Falaleyev report "Smell of death" says that the Interior Ministry has announced a tender to design equipment to detect explosive devices; p 2 (500 words).


Moskovsky Komsomolets


1. Tatyana Fedotkina article headlined "Strange society of left human rights activists" tries to explain why rural teacher Ilya Farber, who has recently been freed, and Pussy Riot punk group members, who have recently been granted amnesty, have decided to become human rights activists; pp 1, 3 (450 words).


2. Konstantin Dobrynin article headlined "Terrorism: Connivance as crime" defends amendments to the Criminal Code introducing officials' personal responsibility for terrorist attacks; p 2 (650 words).


3. Konstantin Smirnov article headlined "They may take $100Bln from Russia" looks at former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky's visit to Israel; p 2 (600 words).


4. Andrei Yashlavsky article headlined "Death of Bulldozer " pays tribute to late former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; p 2 (500 words).


Novaya Gazeta


1. Yevgeny Titov article headlined "They forced them to their knees and shot them point-blank" details the currently ongoing counterterrorism operation in the southern Stavropol region. Novaya Gazeta's correspondent in the region details the background of the recent Stavropol killings; pp 2-3 (900 words).


2. Yelena Shafran interview with former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin following Nevzlin's recent meeting with Mikhail Khodorkovsky; p 7 (800 words).


3. Yulia Polukhina article headlined "There is no truth in guilt" details current proceedings in the Bolotnaya Square mass riot case; pp 16-17 (800 words).


4. Olga Timofeyeva et al. interview with Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky headlined "It is written in our constitution: Censorship is banned"; pp 19-21 (3,000 words).

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