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What the Papers Say, Feb. 18, 2014

Kommersant


1. Valeria Kozlova article headlined "Beneficial mortgage being built vertically" reports on plans to set up a single operator for social mortgage programs aimed to provide public sector workers with housing. The residential mortgage agency wants to run the project; pp 1, 8 (1,047 words).


2. Alexei Dospekhov article headlined "Second already" comments on the Russian athletes' victory that made the country second after Germany in the number of medals won at the Sochi Olympics; pp 1, 12 (729 words).


3. Nikolai Sergeyev article headlined "Investigation turns out to be provocation" says officers from the Interior Ministry's directorate for economic security and combating corruption are being accused of an attempt to stage a provocation against a senior Federal Security Service officer; pp 1, 4 (536 words).


4. Pavel Belavin article headlined "Cinemas shown its place" says Russia becomes second in Europe in the number of cinema tickets sold. The number of cinema goers grew by 10 percent in Russia last year; pp 1, 10 (583 words).


5. Ivan Safronov and Olga Shkurenko article headlined "New broom reaches Baikonur" says space agency head Oleg Ostapenko has replaced the head of Baikonur Cosmodrome, Yevgeny Anisimov; p 2 (614 words).


6. Alexei Shapovalov article headlined "Industry takes rest during frosts" says industrial production decreased by 0.2 percent in January. The Federal Statistics Service has registered economic stagnation; p 2 (498 words).


7. Maria Yefimova interview with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtan Lamamra speaking on his visit to Moscow and the aftermath of the Arab Spring in the Middle East; p 6 (511 words).


8. Article by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton headlined "It is time to stop discussing spheres of influence" responds to a recent article by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which he criticized the Western stance on Ukraine. The EU senior official is trying to assure Moscow that the EU did not threaten its ties with neighbors; p 6 (756 words).


9. Maxim Ivanov article entitled "'None of the above' option will have to be added" says members of the State Duma are not considering amendments to the corresponding bill as they are going to take into account the numerous comments made, in particular, by the government that is concerned of growing expenses in case the "none of the above" option gains the majority of votes; p 3 (400 words).


10. Taisia Bekbulatova and Maxim Ivanov article headlined "City Duma candidates checked for eligibility" says the Political Technologies Center headed by Igor Bunin is conducting a poll to find out Muscovites' attitude to potential candidates for the job of City Duma members from the authorities and the opposition, in view of the election to the held on Sept. 14 ; p 3 (500 words).


Nezavisimaya Gazeta


1. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Waiting for personnel changes" predicts that a number of senior officials including governors may lose their jobs after the Sochi Olympics. The author reports on the meeting of the State Council chaired by Putin where the president raised the issue of the implementation of his election promises; pp 1, 3 (1,033 words).


2. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Fight against Chinatowns begins" says the government is drafting a law prohibiting foreigners to own property in Russia without special permission by the authorities; pp 1, 3 (1,102 words).


3. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "'None of the above' option will take votes away from United Russia" says a recent public opinion poll has proven that only the four parliamentary parties have chances of getting seats in the new parliament, while including the "none of the above" option in ballot papers may seriously damage the chances of the ruling party; pp 1, 3 (581 words).


4. Oleg Vladykin article headlined "General Staff ready to protect Arctic" says the Northern Fleet and a number of ground units stationed in the Arctic may be merged into a single group defending Russian interests in the Arctic; pp 1-2 (463 words).


5. Grigory Mikhaylov article headlined "Criminal assault from Syria" says Kyrgyzstan is becoming a region to recruit would-be jihadists for a war in Syria; pp 1, 6 (462 words).


6. Yevgenia Novikova article headlined "U.S. blames Moscow for disrupting Geneva-2" says Washington has criticized Moscow for supporting the Syrian regime. As Iran and Hezbollah are also assisting Damascus, the efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict in a diplomatic way cannot yield positive results, the U.S. believes; pp 1, 7 (764 words).


7. Editorial headlined "Olympics as chance to be recognized" analyses Russian foreign policy and says that Moscow is using the Sochi Olympics as a way of showing itself to the world and an attempt to gain recognition and respect; p 2 (506 words).


8. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Protesting Ukrainian regions left without gas supply" says Naftogaz has started suspending gas supplies to regions having outstanding energy debts. Regions protesting against Kiev's policy and advocating European integration are among the ones left without gas; p 6 (1,453 words).


9. Roza Tsvetkova interview with member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and expert in conflict studies Anatoly Dmitriyev, entitled "'[Former Defense Minister] Anatoly Serdyukov behaves in very competent way'" in which the expert speaks about the damage and benefit of political rows as a way to communicate between the authorities and society; pp 9-11 (2,000 words).


Vedomosti


1. Bela Lyauv and Galina Starinskaya article headlined "Rosneft to build its headquarters" says the city authorities have allocated a plot of prestigious land in central Moscow for Rosneft to build its office; pp 1, 18 (400 words).


2. Editorial headlined "Ukrainian choice" comments on the signs of reconciliation among the Ukrainian authorities and the opposition. Pro-European protesters are likely to continue monitoring the situation in the parliament to prevent behind-the-scenes deals between President Yanukovych and opposition leaders; pp 1, 6 (400 words).


3. Another editorial headlined "Canonization of history" comments on attempts to write a single history book in Russia and to adopt one single interpretation of Russian history; p 6 (300 words).


4. Natala Biyanova and Olga Kuvshinova interview with Mikhail Zadornov, president of VTB-24 bank, speaking on the Russian Central Bank policy of stripping troublesome banks of their licences and on the bank's business plans; pp 8-9 (2,200 words).


5. Alexei Nikolsky article entitled "Who to command in Arctic" says Russia will set up its group of troops in the Arctic by the end of 2014 and in order to control it, the structure of strategic command will be changed; p 2 (600 words).


6. Sergei Belousov article headlined "Future of Vkontakte" looks at the fate of the popular social network as an Internet player and in political terms; p 6 (600 words).


7. Igor Nikolayev et al. article headlined "The price of Russia: 10 years later. Devaluation of industry" looks at the results of a new assessment of Russia' national treasure, conducted 10 years after the first projects was completed; p 7 (800 words).


Izvestia


1. Ivan Cheberko article headlined "Missile engines allowed to go to the U.S." says the Security Council has authorized the supply of Russian rocket engines NK-33 to the U.S., where they will be used for Antares rockets; pp 1, 8 (716 words).


2. Pavel Kochegarov article headlined "Drug Control Service ready to cure all drug addicts" says the Federal Dug Control Service is asking the president to allow it to take the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts under control. Experts and rights activists oppose the move as they believe that special medical centers should be engaged in this work; pp 1, 3 (700 words).


3. Svetlana Subbotina interview with senior official from the Labor Ministry Dmitry Basnak speaking on special tests candidates willing to work as officials will have to take; p 2 (1,256 words).


4. Dmitry Runkevich and Yelena Malay article headlined "St. Vladimir may appear instead of Dzerzhinsky" speaks about the plans of the Russian Orthodox Church to have a monument to St. Vladimir erected on Lubyanskaya Ploshchad in central Moscow, where a monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Russian secret service, once stood' pp 1-2 (600 words).


5. Yegor Sozayev-Guryev article entitled "The authorities will help 'rank-and-file' citizens and not only those in need" reports on the session of the Russian State Council chaired by President Putin held in Cherepovets on Feb. 17 ; p 2 (400 words).


6. Vadim Shtepa article headlined "Geography versus History" looks at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics; p 9 (900 words).


7. Oleg Bondarenko opinion piece entitled "Foreign roles of Euro-integrators" compares Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych to other leaders of European countries; p 9 (700 words).


Rossiiskaya Gazeta


1. Tatyana Shadrina article headlined "Unbearable locality of network" says the Internet may no longer be a global network if the EU adopts proposals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for developing their own information transfer standards providing better security for European users. The move may cause technological and economic problems; pp 1, 9 (600 words).


2. Igor Zubkova article headlined "Barrel has leading score" says that judging by the state economic development program, Russia will not be able to diversify its economy and become less dependent on oil exports in the near future; p 7 (500 words).


3. Leonid Radzikhovsky article headlined "Statistics knows" comments on statistics showing that the economic results of 2013 were very modest; p 8 (700 words).


Moskovsky Komsomolets


1. Mikhail Rostovsky article headlined "Kiev: happy ending or deadlock?" comments on the recent developments in the political crisis in Ukraine and compares Kiev with Poland in the 18th century. The author blames Ukrainian politicians for leading their country toward economic and political collapse; pp 1, 3 (827 words).


2. Irina Stepantsova article headlined "The way it sounds in Russian" report on the controversy over Russian figure skater Yevgeny Plushchenko's decision to withdraw from the Sochi Olympics. The athlete reportedly spoke on pressure from Russian sports authorities in his interview with CNN; pp 1, 8 (919 words).


RBK Daily


1. Maria Makutina article headlined "Billion-dollar wife" says Elada Nagornaya, the wife of Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Oleg Sorokin, is supposedly the richest of the Russian officials' wives; pp 1-2 (400 words).


2. Alexander Litoy and Ivan Petrov article headlined "Biryulyovo unpunished" says participants of the ethnic clashes in Moscow's Biryulyovo district have been amnestied; p 2 (600 words).


Krasnaya Zvezda


1. Viktor Ruchkin article headlined "U.S. intended to pressure Damascus" says unless the Western states "abandon a unilateral position in relation to the Syrian conflict", there will be little hope for peace; p 3 (600 words).



Feb. 18, 2014 / BBC Monitoring / ©BBC


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