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What the Papers Say, Jan. 15, 2014


1. Irina Nagornykh et al. article headlined "Anti-terror act" says a group of four lawmakers, all of whom used to work for security agencies, are to introduce a set of bills in today's legislative session that would toughen punishment for assistance in terrorist acts. One of the bills envisages restrictions and closer control over online payments; pp 1, 3 (775 words).

2. Pavel Tarasenko article headlined "Millionaires will be asked to become migrants of a more labor kind" says Britain is going to raise the price tag for its so-called Investor Visa that now enables businessmen and their families to take out three-year UK visas in return for investing 1 million pounds in the country; pp 1, 6 (574 words).

4. Vadim Visloguzov and Tatyana Grishina article headlined "Russia gets in touch with offshore centres" says Russia is about to ratify the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention that would enable Russian taxation services to share information with their foreign colleagues and fight offshore tax avoidance more effectively; pp 1-2 (849 words).

5. Vladislav Novy article called "Customs to check buyers" discusses a new extended list of documents that online shoppers are now required to submit to clear their purchases through Sheremetyevo Airport customs; pp 1, 8 (564 words).

6. Maxim Ivanov and Taisia Bekbulatova article headlined "Moscow to be handed over to single seat winners" says the United Russia faction in the City Duma has proposed amendments to the city electoral law that will provide for the city parliament to be elected through single-seat constituencies; p 2 (571 words).

7. Taisia Bekbulatova et al. article called "Nikita Belykh and Vyacheslav Gayzer toe the starting line" looks at the prospects of Nikita Belykh and Vyacheslav Gayzer to be re-elected as governors of the Kirov region and the Republic of Komi respectively; p 2 (717 words).

8. Sofya Samokhina et al. article entitled "Citizens prefer elections" sums up the results of a poll that shows growing support for elections as a means of solving current-day problems; p 3 (353 words).

9. Andrei Kolesnikov article called "Under Miller's surveillance" reports on President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; p 3 (607 words).

10. Grigory Tumanov et al. article headlined "Citizens won't be allowed to construction site" says the Public Chamber is going to debate a bill that would restrict people's involvement in the discussion of major infrastructure projects; p 4 (647 words).

11. Ivan Buranov article called "New course declared for drivers" outlines new driver training regulations that might come into force as soon as in February; p 4 (636 words).

12. Oleg Rubnikovich and Anna Pushkarskaya article headlined "New suspect appears in Headquarters" offers an update on an embezzlement investigation in connection with renovations at the General Staff Building in St. Petersburg that now belongs to the Hermitage Museum. Fraud charges have been brought against Moscow businessman Arkady Akhmechet whose companies are believed to have illegally received 55 million rubles as subcontractors; p 4 (765 words).

13. Vladimir Barinov article called "Ankle monitors pulled together in separate case" reports that the Moscow investigations directorate has completed an investigation into a well-publicized case in connection with the procurement of ankle monitors for the Federal Penal Service; p 5 (856 words).

14. Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Russia-EU summit transferred into future" previews a Russia-EU summit in Brussels scheduled for late January, saying its agenda is likely to be curtailed; p 6 (502 words).

15. Ivan Safronov and Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Russia military bidding last farewell to Syrian chemical weapons" details Russia's involvement in transporting Syria's chemical weapons out of the country; p 6 (533 words).

16. Sergei Strokan and Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Syria and Iran may not reach agreement any time soon" points to an escalating information war between Iran and Saudi Arabia ahead of the Geneva 2 peace conference. As a result, both of them may not take part in the conference; p 6 (484 words).

17. Kirill Melnikov and Anna Zanina article headlined "Ronsneft face fines in Yukos case" reports that a U.S. court has ordered a subsidiary of Russian state oil company Rosneft to turn over assets to the U.S. in order to pay $186 million to a company linked to bankrupt oil company Yukos; pp 7, 9 (550 words).

18. Yegor Popov et al. article headlined "Rostec in control" says Aleksey Aleshin, who is believed to be affiliated with Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov, has been appointed as head of the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Atomic Inspection, or Rostekhnadzor ; p 9 (466 words).

19. Anastasia Fomicheva article headlined "Rosatom conquers Hungary" says Hungary has agreed to hire Rosatom to build two NPP reactors worth around 12 billion euros. Russia will be the main investor in the project, despite its own fiscal problems; p 9 (514 words).

20. Sergei Sobolev article headlined "Olympics converted into audience" quotes a report by Initiative advertising agency as saying that Sochi Olympic broadcasts are unlikely to substantially boost Russian television channels' viewership, which is high already; p 10 (705 words).

21. Roman Rozhkov article headlined "Facebook finds itself on Yandex" reports on search engine Yandex and Facebook having agreed to add the latter's user-generated content to Yandex search results; p 10 (447 words).


1. Bela Lyauv article called "Viktor Vexelberg to knock down and redevelop ZiL" says Viktor Vexelberg's development company Kortros (formerly Renova Construction Group) is likely to win a bid for redeveloping the territory of the Moscow-owned ZiL car factory; pp 1, 18 (600 words).

2. Editorial headlined "That's enough of shopping" looks at stagnating consumer spending in Russia; pp 1, 6 (400 words).

3. Lilia Biryukova et al. article called "Duma against terror" says the parliament is to consider amendments to the Criminal Code and banking regulations that are aimed at countering terrorist activity. The bills would also extend security services' mandate to conduct a personal search; pp 1-2 (1200 words).

4. Maria Zheleznova and Lilia Biryukova article headlined "No alternative found" says that Nikita Belykh and Vyacheslav Gayzer, two of the eight regional governors whose term in office expires this winter, have been appointed as acting heads of their regions and are likely to get re-elected. The article estimates the chances for survival of the other six governors; p 3 (450 words).

5. Polina Khimshiashvili article headlined "Short talk with EU" says the 28 January Russia-EU summit in Brussels is unlikely to avoid raising such burning issues as Ukraine and the South Stream project; p 3 (400 words).

6. Margarita Lyutova article called "Shutting the stream" looks at the Russia-EU standoff over the South Stream pipeline project; p 4 (450 words).

7. Maxim Tovkaylov and Alexei Nikolsky article entitled "Controller of business" profiles the new head of Rostekhnadzor, Alexei Aleshin; p 5 (400 words).

8. Ramazan Alpaut op-ed called "Big Caucasus coming to Europe" argues that the Caucasus countries should be considered a part of Europe rather than Asia due to their adoption of democratic values and cultural bonds; pp 6, 7 (1100 words).

9. Ilya Klishin's column "Maximum retweet. Social networks against sacredness" looks into Russian politicians' attitude to online life and social networks, saying that president Putin is probably the last Russian president who is not a keen internet user; p 7 (500 words).

10. Darya Borisyak article headlined "VTB Group bids farewell to Fitch" reports that VTB Group, Russia's second-largest bank, has severed all its relations with Fitch Ratings after the rating agency lowered VTB's issuer-default rating in January 10; p 14 (550 words).

11. Anastasia Golitsina article headlined "Facebook switches on the search in Yandex" reports that the Russian search engine Yandex is launching a social search feature that will show Yandex visitors' public posts from Facebook alongside other search results; p 10 (450 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Ivan Rodin article called "Party money boxes taken under surveillance" says the government has proposed to introduce regulations as regards bank loans that political parties are allowed to take out to finance their election campaigns. The move is explained by willingness to make sure that election campaigns are not sponsored from abroad, by state-owned companies and fly-by-night companies; pp 1, 3 (714 words).

2. Igor Naumov article headlined "Stagnation kills domestic demand" looks at consumer spending in the last quarter of 2013 that went down by 5 percent as compared to the same period in 2012; pp 1, 4 (752 words).

3. Viktoria Panfilova article entitled "Russian prosecutor's office might get hold of Ablyazov" says a court in Aix-en-Provence is likely to authorize the extradition of Kazakh banker Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia. He is wanted in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan on bank fraud charges; pp 1, 7 (784 words).

4. Svetlana Gamova article called "Chisinau offers its airfields and aircrafts to NATO" says the breakaway Trans-Dniester region has accused the Moldovan Defense Ministry of negotiating with NATO to allow the alliance to use the local air force infrastructure; pp 1, 7 (838 words).

5. Yevgenia Novikova article called "Riyadh backs Sunni uprising in Iraq" says Iraq has finally managed to persuade the UN Security Council to look into reports about Saudi Arabia financing terrorists on the territory of Iraq; pp 1, 8 (731 words).

6. Vladimir Mukhin article headlined "Moscow preparing base in Middle East" examines Russia's ongoing effort to strengthen its positions in the Middle East and the Mediterranean through expanded military cooperation with Iran and Mediterranean states; pp 1, 8 (886 words).

7. Yury Paniyev article called "Russia does not want to see American journalist for five years" looks at how the Western mass media responded to the ousting of U.S. journalist David Satter from Russia; p 2 (649 words).

8. Editorial headlined "Utility prices do not listen to ministers" says utility prices soared by around 12 percent last year, twice the rate of inflation, and concludes that the national utility sector is a "black hole"; p 2 (550 words).

9. Viktor Litovkin article called "Petr Veliky controlling transportation of Syrian chemical weapons" gives details of a challenging military operation to transport Syrian chemical weapons from the country, emphasizes Russia's leading role in it; p 2 (737 words).

10. Alexei Gorbachev and Darya Garmonenko article called "Nikita Belykh becomes acting governor until September" weighs Nikita Belykh's chances of getting re-elected as the Kirov region governor; p 3 (616 words).

11. Andrei Serenko op-ed "Carte Blanche. Ghost suicide bombers threatening Russia" analyzes the December terrorist attacks in Volgograd, saying there are groups of "ghost suicide bombers" operating in Dagestan that recruit men rather than women and whose tactic has so far proved effective; p 3 (640 words).

12. Yekaterinburg Trifonova article called "Yet another judicial reform" says human rights advocates and lawmakers call for including members of public on judges qualification boards; p 3 (705 words).

13. Anastasia Bashkatova article headlined "Center failing to cope with North Caucasus" looks at an expert report that reveals the failure of the Russian government's economic policy in the North Caucasus; p 4 (974 words).

14. Alina Terekhova article called "On opposite sides of South Stream" says "the Kremlin is bracing itself for a conflict with the European Union over the South Stream pipeline." Expert Mikhail Krutikhin says that neither Gazprom nor the European Commission want to make compromises on the issue; p 4 (718 words).

15. Kirill Velikanov essay entitled "Ukraine, Europe and Russia" argues that it would be good for Ukraine as well as for Russia if the former became part of the EU as it would ensure a solid presence of the Russian language in Europe; p 5 (1,788 words).

16. Tatyana Ivzhenko article called "Every second Russian does not approve of loan for Ukraine" looks back at Ukraine's financial hardships that led to its signing a deal with Russia in December on a $15 billion loan; p 7 (1,034 words).

17. Darya Tsilyurik article headlined "Egyptian military legitimize themselves through constitution" reports on a referendum on the new constitution that is taking place in Egypt; quotes pundit Irina Mokhova as saying that Muslim Brotherhood won't give up easy; p 8 (548 words).


1. Anastasia Kashevarova article headlined "Terrorists and their accomplices to be jailed for life" says that State Duma deputies have drafted a set of anti-terrorist amendments to the law envisaging life-long imprisonment for terrorist activities. The amendments are to be passed down by the end of the Duma's spring session, the paper says; pp 1-2 (900 words).

2. Andrei Gridasov article headlined "Serdyukov's friend asks to be presented with charges" says the defendants of the high-profile Oboronservis fraud case have complained to the Investigative Committee, saying the case materials are presented to them in chaotic order and don't have a clear understanding of what they are actually charged with; pp 1, 4 (700 words).

3. Lyudmila Podobedova article headlined "Agency to deal with shelf projects" says that the State Duma and manufacturers of oil and gas equipment have suggested to set up a national integrator that would control shelf projects for the benefit of market players and the Russian economy in general; pp 1, 5 (900 words).

4. Denis Telmanov article headlined "Head of Kalashnikov concern denied U.S. visa" says the ousting of U.S. journalist David Satter from Russia could be a response to the incident of December 2013, when the head of the Kalashnikov weapon production concern, Konstantin Busygin, was denied a U.S. visa; pp 1, 4 (600 words).

5. Yelena Malay article headlined "Corruption in security services proposed to be equalled to state treason" says that lawmaker Oleg Nilov from A Just Russia Party is to draft a bill that would equal the abuse of power of security services' employees to state treason; pp 1-2 (500 words).

6. Egor Sozayev-Guryev article headlined "Russia to help Hungary by means of loan for nuclear power plant" looks into he highlights of the meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; p 2 (400 words).

7. Natalya Bashlykova article headlined "CPRF wants to toughen ban on foreign financing" says that the Communist Party has introduced a bill that would ban all the parties from receiving funding from non-commercial foundations, as the money often comes from abroad; p 3 (450 words).

8. Svetlana Povoraznyuk interview with journalist Mikhail Leontyev, who has been appointed oil giant Rosneft's vice-president with responsibility for PR; p 5 (600 words).

9. Konstantin Volkov and Yury Matsarsky article headlined "New Egyptian constitution written in favor of military men" reports on the ongoing referendum on the new constitution that is taking place in Egypt, noting the high level of tension that resulted in several casualties already; p 8 (600 words).

10. Boris Mezhuyev opinion column headlined "Entire Europe looking at us" looks into recent developments in the Russian-European relations; p 9 (600 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Natalya Kozlova interview headlined "Not private business" with head of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, who speaks about his agency's legislative initiatives aimed at preventing fraudulent privatization of state-owned assets; pp 1, 2 (805 words).

2. Alexander Yemelyanenkov article called "Frost hits, postgraduates in fever" voices astonishment over the Education Ministry's decision to suspend the operation of 602 university dissertation committees across Russia, including a few at Russia's major universities; pp 1, 6 (976 words).

3. Alena Uzbekova interview with Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov headlined "Menu for new year"; pp 1, 9 (1,800 words).

4. Yulia Krivoshapko interview with first deputy chair of the Central Bank Ksenia Yudayeva headlined "Ruble is free" on the Central Bank's police regarding the ruble exchange rate; p 3 (1,221 words).

5. Fedor Lukyanov op-ed headlined "Echo of 20th century" pays tribute to the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; p 8 (725 words).

6. Alexander Gazyuk article called "Correspondent non grata" reports on the expulsion of U.S. correspondent David Satter from Russia, says that in addition to his "signature sharp criticism of the Russian political system" Satter often makes very "weird conclusions", for example when he says that "Russia is sabotaging the U.S. fight against terrorism"; p 8 (735 words).

7. Pavel Dulman article headlined "Klitschko punched" slams Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko, saying he supports Ukrainian nationalism and noting the destructive nature of the Ukrainian opposition in general; p 8 (500 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Marina Ozerova article headlined "Tale of frozen time" speculates on possible winter time reversal that might be introduced in Russia after the Sochi Winter Olympics; pp 1-2 (300 words).

2. Mikhail Rostovsky article called "Primakov attacks White House" says that former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has fiercely criticized the government for not concentrating on a set of measures necessary for economic growth; pp 1-2 (550 words).

3. Mikhail Zubov article headlined"United Russia not allowed to lose Moscow city elections" reports that the Moscow election code may soon be changed so that it will let only candidates running in single-seat constituencies to participate in the elections; p 2 (300 words).

4. Vladislav Inozemtsev essay headlined "Swore friends and best enemies" looks at the possible Russian partners and enemies in the approaching global stand-off and speculates on the creation of a union between Russia, Japan and the United States; p 3 (700 words).

5. Natalya Rozhkova article headlined "Scenario for Caucasus leads to mental house" sums up the report on the situation in the North Caucasus drafted by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin's Committee for Civil Initiatives, adding that it probably, won't be sent to the government due to its harsh criticism of the regional authorities' policy, p 3 (300 words).

RBK Daily

1. Yevgeny Krasnikov report "Absorbed by reading Flirt" says that Pavel Shapkin, head of the national union for protection of consumers' rights, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and asked him to take steps in relation to the magazine Flirt and check whether its activities are legal; pp 1, 9 (650 words).

2. Alexander Litoy report "Acting winner" says that Kirov region governor Nikita Belykh and the head of the Republic of Komi, Vyacheslav Gayzer, are likely to be re-elected in September; p 2 (800 words).

3. Inga Vorobyeva report "Generous atom" looks at the meeting of President Vladimir Putin with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and says that Russia is ready to invest in the construction of two nuclear power units in Hungary; p 3 (450 words).

Novaya Gazeta

1. Yulia Polukhina report "Appalling court" slams the trial of Vladimir Topekhin, who is paralysed, at Moscow's Tverskoi court; p 2 (750 words).

2. Vera Chelishcheva report "Magnitsky's second case" says that according to the investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, new criminal proceedings have been instituted in relation to Sergei Magnitsky, the fund's lawyer who died in a Moscow remand center in 2009; p 3 (900 words).

3. Olga Prosvirova report "Five years without 'Liberty'" looks at David Satter, the U.S. journalist who has been refused a Russian visa after "violating migration regulations"; p 4 (600 words).

4. Boris Vishnevsy report "'Against all' option to be reinstated" says that the State Duma intends to reinstate the "Against all" option in ballot papers. This will serve the interests of the authorities, author says; p 7 (850 words).

5. Vera Chelishcheva report "Politkovskaya case being drowned in scandals" looks at the case of Anna Politkovskaya, prominent journalist and a Kremlin critic, killed in 2006, and says that both law enforcers and defendants want to drown the results of the probe in idle talk; p 10 (800 words).

6. Yelena Masyuk interview headlined "Church's channels of self-purification are littered" with Andrei Kurayev, a proto deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church and the critic of the church and the government; pp 11-13 (4,300 words).

Noviye Izvestia

1. Vera Moslakova report "Tight tie or garrotte" says that the State Duma has approved in the first reading a bill introducing amendments to the law on political parties, which are aimed at "increasing transparency of providing funds to political organizations". According to the opposition, the bill will "strangle" opposition parties; p 2 (800 words).

2. Vardan Ogandzhanyan report "Will flat be likened to Butyrka?" looks at the corruption case of the Defense Ministry's subsidiary Oboronservis and says that according to experts, the main suspects, former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and former head of the Defense Ministry's property department Yevgenia Vasilyeva, will get very lenient sentences; p 2 (650 words).

3. Konstantin Nikolayev report "Via correspondence" says that Nobel Prize winners have called on Putin via The Independent to cancel the law banning "gay propaganda" among minors; p 2 (400 words).

4. Sergei Putilov report "Will war write off everything?" looks at a new economic mobilization plan being introduced in Russia from 2014 and says that it may undermine the country's economy; p 3 (700 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Anastasia Moryleva report "Cost of terrorist attack in Volgograd is 700 rubles" looks at possible organizers of explosions in Volgograd in December 2013 and at who could carry them out; pp 1, 5 (500 words).

2. Viktor Baranets report "Our seamen decontaminate Syria" says that Russian warships are escorting vessels carrying Syrian chemical weapons; p 2 (400 words).

3. Alexander Grishin report "Okhlobystin leaves Yevroset himself" says that Russian actor and former priest Ivan Okhlobystin has said in his Twitter that he has quit the post of creative director of the mobile phone retailer Yevroset "not to expose to danger his friends and their families"; p 4 (150 words).

4. Alexei Mukhin report "When power of truth changes truth of power" looks at political success of Vladimir Putin; p 4 (1,400 words).

5. Darya Aslamova's second part of report "Why Russia needs Caucasus" featuring author's comments on her trip to Dagestan; pp 8-9 (2,800 words).

Krasnaya Zvezda

1. Viktor Ruchkin report "Geneva 2 will decide many things" looks at the forthcoming international conference on Syria to be held in Switzerland on Jan/ 22 ; p 3 (1,000 words).

Argumenti i Fakti

1. Yekaterina Barova interview with Valery Fedorov, head of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM); p 5 (1,500 words).

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