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What the Papers Say, March 12, 2014


1. Viktor Khamrayev et al. article called "Vacant part of land" reports on the recent developments over Ukraine, deposed President Viktor Yanukovych's statement that he made in Rostov-on-Don and how Russia and Europe are handling the issue of the legitimacy of Crimea's looming referendum; pp 1, 3 (941 words).

2. Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Emergencies Ministry opens fire" says the Emergencies Ministry forecasts forest fires and peat bog fires to start early this spring as many regions of Russia had too little snow last winter; pp 1,5 (614 words).

3. Stanislav Kuvaldin and Anastasia Manuilova article headlined "Trade unions allowed outside restricted area" looks at amendments to the Law on Trade Unions that have been drafted by the Labour Ministry. They are expected to make the hierarchy of trade unions more flexible and make life easier for independent trade associations; pp 1-2 (573 words).

4. Yury Barsukov and Yegor Popov interview with head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev called "It's better to do without maximum sanctions". The service is holding a meeting of its board today to sum up the results of 2013; pp 1, 10 (2,660 words).

5. Maxim Ivanov and Irina Nagornykh article called "Upper chamber to become 10 per cent more vertical" says amendments to the Russian Constitution have been tabled to the State Duma that would enable the Russian president to appoint up to 10 percent of members of the Russian Federation Council; p 2 (530 words).

6. Taisya Bekbulatova and Natalya Gorodetskaya article headlined "Mayoral elections taken out of big cities" says the State Duma is to consider a local government reform that would effectively abolish direct mayoral elections in big cities that are divided into districts. A mayor will be elected out of the local deputies and will head the city duma, whereas economy-related issues will be delegated to the city managers; p 2 (655 words).

7. Unattributed "Rules of the game" column headlined "Viktor Yanukovych makes wrong reference to U.S. laws" explains that Yanukovych probably misinterpreted the legislation provision that prohibits the U.S. from providing financial aid to the countries whose leader has been deposed as a result of a coup and that the law is hardly applicable in his case; p 3 (239 words).

8. Yelizaveta Kuznetsova article headlined "Sky over Simferopol becomes Russian" says that Simferopol airport has been taken over by Crimea's "self-Defense" forces and is now handling only flights from Moscow. The restrictions will be in place until the March 16 referendum; p 3 (548 words).

9. Dmitry Butrin article called "Crimea moves from budget to charity" says "a financial war between the region and Kiev" has begun as the Ukrainian Finance Ministry has blocked the autonomous republic's accounts; p 3 (657 words).

10. Natalya Gorodetskaya and Viktor Khamrayev article headlined "Debit of Caucasus" looks at the limitations of the government's policy in the North Caucasus that has failed to solve its economic and development problems; p 4 (1,146 words).

11. Natalya Gorodetskaya interview with Irina Starodubrovskaya of the Gaidar Economic Policy Institute headlined "Caucasus society is not archaic". Starodubskaya argues that society in the North Caucasus is undergoing transformation and suggests a liberalization program that could ensure the region's development; p 4 (511 words).

12. Viktor Khamrayev interview with Denis Sokolov of the National Economy and Civil Service Academy headlined "Caucasus is trap for vertical". He says local authorities in the North Caucasus are deeply corrupt and terrorism is being used as a weapon in political competition; p 4 (519 words).

13. Vladislav Trifonov article called "Embezzlement without heritage" reports that the criminal case against former head of the Moscow directorate of the Federal Property Management Agency Anatoly Shesteryuk in connection with embezzlement has been sent to court. Shesteryuk and the former chair of the board of Moskovsky Kapital Bank Viktor Krestin are suspected of putting up Moscow-owned heritage buildings as collateral to get loans from the bank; p 5 (672 words).

14. Yelena Chernenko article headlined "Plan with view to Crimea being prepared for Georgia" quotes sources in the NATO HQ and the U.S. State Department as saying that Georgia might receive a NATO Membership Action Plan already in September if Crimea votes for joining Russia at the March 16 referendum; p 6 (608 words).

15. Galina Dudina interview with German pundit Volker Perthes, called "Nobody is talking about military support for Ukraine" on Europe's stance on the Crimea crisis; p 6 (534 words).

16. Kirill Belyaninov article called "Aide in standby mode" previews Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk's visit to the U.S. today, says he is unlikely to secure any extra support from the U.S. government; 6 (425 words).

17. Roman Rozhkov column "Rules of the game" looks at amendments to anti-piracy legislation that are to be considered by the State Duma today. The new provisions would grant internet services providers wider powers for blocking websites with illegally copied content; p 7 (345 words).

18. Ksenia Dementiyeva article called "Subsidiary capital for mortgage" says the state-owned Mortgage Agency has decided to amend its strategy in order to be able to set up three subsidiaries that could be privatized; p 7 (546 words).

19. Anna Solodovnikova article "Pipeline being shut for independent oil refineries" reports that Russia's major oil companies oppose a proposal by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to simplify access to pipelines for new oil refineries; p 8 (442 words).


1. Margarita Lyutova article called "Central Ring Road getting costlier on the way" says the budget of the ambitious Central Ring Road project near Moscow that was initially estimated at 52.4 billion rubles (about $1.4 billion) will have to be reviewed to account for growing prices of construction materials; pp 1, 4 (750 words).

2. Editorial called "Phantom of legitimacy" analyzes the contents of Viktor Yanukovych's statement for the media, concludes that he is only a tool in the hands of Russia; pp 1, 6 (400 words).

3. Alexei Nikolsky article headlined "Ukraine is no fighter" says Ukraine's army has proved not combat ready. Meanwhile, Russia is seeking to have its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea indefinitely and does not need to worry that the U.S. will deploy its ABM shield elements in Ukraine as the latter does not have such plans; p 2 (400 words).

4. Svetlana Bocharova and Lilia Biryukova article called "Selective division" details a new local government reform that is to be sent to the State Duma today. The reform is formally meant to bring authorities closer to people, but opposition lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov says it would actually abolish direct mayoral elections; p 2 (450 words).

5. Anastasia Kornya article headlined "Voting for early" says the Constitution Court is to hear an enquiry from the Vladimir Region legislature that wants the option of early voting to be available to all voters, not only those who live in remote areas; p 3 (300 words).

6. Polina Khimshiashvili and Svetlana Bocharova article called "Crimean mechanism" concludes that the declaration of independence adopted by Crimea prior to the March 16 referendum eliminates legislative barriers to its merger with Russia; p 3 (550 words).

7. Margarita Lyutova and Sergei Titov article headlined "Regions do not need private partners" looks over the nine years that have passed since the federal law on public-private partnerships came into force and concludes that only a handful of Russian regions have taken advantage of it, having implemented 131 PPP projects in total; p 4 (400 words).

8. Yekaterina Kravchenko article called "Special tariff 'Ukraine'" says the European Commission has already reduced the import duties on Ukrainian goods, with Ukrainian agricultural producers likely to benefit most; p 5 (300 words).

9. Editorial headlined "Faith as excuse" comments on the results of opinion polls that show a growing tendency of Russian society getting more religious. However, traditional values such as family and tolerance are in decline, the polls show; p 6 (400 words).

10. Nikolay Rozov op-ed called "Big exchange or smoldering conflict" spells out his view as to how Russia and the U.S. should negotiate a solution to the Crimea crisis; pp 6, 7 (1,600 words).

11. Ilya Klishin column headlined "Web we find ourselves in" warns that tougher state regulation of the Russian part of the internet will soon make users realize their freedom of speech has been restricted; p 7 (500 words).

12. Maxim Tovkaylo et al. interview with Russian Construction and Utilities Minister Alexander Men, headlined "Fraudulent schemes exist, unfortunately, everywhere"; pp 8, 9 (2,900 words).

13. Yelena Khodyakova article called "Russia holds stake on independence on gas market" forecasts that by 2025 Russia might control up to 20 percent of the LNG market thanks to export liberalization; p 10 (400 words).

14. Anna Afanasyeva et al. article headlined "Arguments, facts and debt" gives details of the Moscow government's acquisition of the debt-ridden Argumenty I Facty weekly newspaper; p 11 (450 words).


1. Anastasia Kashevarova article headlined "Finance Ministry getting ready to allocate more than 30 billion rubles for Crimea" details the changes that await Russia's budget in case Crimea joins Russia as the Crimean Autonomous Region. The sum to be allocated for the needs of Crimea will go beyond 30 billion rubles (about $823 million at the current exchange rate), a source within the Finance Ministry told Izvestia; pp 1-2 (600 words).

2. Andrei Gridasov article headlined" Anatoly Yakunin stripped of independence in employment policy for one year" says that following the results of a large-scale check, a special one-year-long control regime over the employment policy in Moscow police forces was introduced; pp 1, 4 (750 words).

3. Pundit Boris Mezhuyev op-ed headlined "This bitter word — legitimacy" analyzes the present-day understanding of "legitimacy" through the prism of the Ukrainian crisis; pp 1, 9 (800 words).

4. Yegor Sozayev-Guriyev article headlined "Viktor Yanukovych plans to come back to Ukraine" features a report on Yanukovych's most recent public statement as well as pundits' comments on the role of the president in the ongoing crisis; p 2 (600 words).

5. Dmitry Runkevich and Yelena Malai article headlined "Prosecutor General's Office to check Khodorkovsky's speeches in Ukraine" says that Russian State Duma lawmaker Roman Khudyakov has sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office asking to check the speeches of the recently released former head of the Russian oil company Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for signs of extremism; p 2 (400 words).

6. Ruben Garsya article headlined "Majority of Crimeans see themselves as Russian citizens" reviews the results of a recent poll, saying that some 79 percent of those polled are skeptical over new government's promises of bright and happy future for Ukraine; p 2 (400 words).

7. Yelena Malai article headlined "CPRF demands that Investigative Committee eliminates terrorists Yarosh and Muzychko" says that the representatives of the Communist Party demand that tougher measures be taken against the authors of the coup in Ukraine; p 2 (300 words).

8. Konstantin Volkov interview with Valery Kosarev, the head of the recently set-up Crimean civil committee for the protection of rights of those activists who suffered during the anti-Maidan protests; p 8 (600 words).

9. Daria Tsoi article headlined "Libya uses North Korean tanker as reason to start war" says that the Libyan authorities are to launch a military operation aimed at restoring control over the areas in the western part of the country. The reason for that was the attempt of militants, who currently control the west of Libya, to sell oil without Tripoli's consent; p 8 (500 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Ivan Rodin article called "Report everyone, report always" says new amendments to anti-corruption legislation would allow government officials and lawmakers report any conflict of interest to the presidential Council on Countering Corruption. Experts say the new rules might be used as a pressure leverage against opposition legislators; pp 1, 2 (720 words).

2. Alexandra Samarina article headlined "Kremlin ready for talks, but from its base" quotes experts as saying that Russian legislation is being adjusted on an ad hoc basis to cater for Crimea's merger with Russia, which is not good for Russia's reputation in the world; pp 1, 3 (1,262 words).

3. Alina Terekhova article called "Russians not scared by bank cleansing" reports surprising results of an online poll that shows 70 percent of Russians approve of the Central Bank's policy of stripping unreliable banks of their licenses despite the fact that that as of February, customers of banks that were shut down lost some 52 billion rubles ($1.4 billion); pp 1, 4 (562 words).

4. Svetlana Gavrilina article called "St. Petersburg prosecutor's to check Bible for extremism" says St. Petersburg lawyer Arkady Chaplygin has asked the local prosecutor's office to check the Bible for signs of extremism as the book contains calls for genocide, war and killings; pp 1, 5 (549 words).

5. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Kiev to fight for Crimea" reports on the latest developments in Ukraine where Crimea has declared its independence, while the leadership in Kiev is determined to fight against separatism; pp 1, 6 (1,494 words).

6. Statement by Boris Shpigel, head of the Moscow-based World Without Nazism NGO, who declares that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as a result of an unconstitutional armed coup and calls on the world community to take steps to prevent the spread of nationalism in Ukraine; pp 1, 7 (1,113 words).

7. Editorial headlined "Intrusion of archaic approach into world order" criticizes Russia for using obsolete methods in establishing its superiority as a world power because in the 21st century no country expands its influence by annexing territories; p 2 (495 words).

8. Article headlined "Our aim is to influence American expert community" by Alexei Arbatov and Vladimir Dvorkin of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, who respond to a report by the Russian Institute for Strategic Research that accused the centre of "consistently and aggressively rebroadcasting political and ideological views and values of the U.S. establishment"; p 2 (1,301 words).

9. Vadim Venediktov column "Carte Blanche. Ukraine does not make it to parade of independent churches" reports on the summit of the patriarchs of Orthodox churches that took place on March 6-9 in Istanbul; p 3 (637 words).

10. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "Kudrin suggests having back counties" says the former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, has come up with his own municipal reform project; p 3 (652 words).

11. Sergei Nikanorov article called "How to strangle oil sector to death with your own hands" argues that the government should encourage competition in the oil sector and support independent oil companies that are now struggling; 4 (910 words).

12. Mikhail Sergeyev article headlined "Every Ukrainian will pay $1,000 for crisis" estimates that Ukraine will need $40 billion this year to address its most urgent needs, which is more than all pledges of financial aid taken together; p 4 (966 words).

13. Nikita Krichevsky op-ed called "Key element of agricultural infrastructure" looks at the key role that Rosselkhozbank plays in the development of the Russian agricultural sector; p 5 (847 words).

14. Viktoria Panfilova article headlined "Nazarbayev might become intermediary between East and West" says Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been called in to help mediate the Ukrainian crisis; p 6 (674 words).

15. Vladimir Mukhin article called "Step away from referendum, half-step away from war" voices concern that Ukrainian armed forces might be preparing for an assault on Crimea or a acts of provocation; p 7 (793 words).

16. Konstantin Simonov article called "Horror stories of blockade" mulls over the future of Crimea's economy in view of the threat of a blockade from the mainland; p 7 (1,110 words).

17. Yury Paniyev article called "West preparing black lists of Russians" looks at the sanctions that the U.S. and Europe are reportedly preparing against Russia; p 8 (728 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Igor Zubkov article called "Hryvna brushed up" admits that Russian banks might be hit hard by U.S. sanctions and that the Russian stock exchange market has plummeted, but once the conflict in Ukraine is resolved, the ruble exchange and market indices will be rising again; pp 1, 7 (743 words).

2. Yulia Krivoshapko article headlined "Salo, gas and dollar" consists of an interview with head of the Higher School of Economics Yaroslav Kuzminov on whether Russia and Ukraine can maintain economic cooperation under the new conditions; p 4 (350 words).

3. Fyodor Lukyanov column headlined "Script for concert of nations" says the Ukrainian crisis was a result of legal and conceptual chaos reigning on the world arena that fine-tuned 19th century diplomacy is needed to find a compromise, but the skill has been lost; p 8 (687 words).

4. Yakov Mirkin op-ed headlined "What big fish keeps mum about" compares the Russian and Ukrainian economies and concludes that they are almost identical structurally, but Russia has enjoyed a growth thanks to rising gas and oil prices, so liberal market reforms are needed badly to ensure economic growth; p 7 (1,191 words).

5. Igor Yelkov article headlined "Crimean Sunday" reports on how Crimea is gearing up for the March 16 referendum on its independence; p 9 (728 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Marina Ozerova article headlined "Crimean law" looks at the legal procedures through which Crimea can become part of Russia, and the practicalities of how the parliamentary republic will function within Russia; pp 1-2 (750 words).

2. Mikhail Rostovsky article headlined "They are 'nothing to do with it' here" criticizes deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's statement yesterday, and says that the time when Yanukovych could really influence the political process has gone; it also criticizes elements of the lecture given earlier this week by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Kiev; pp 1, 3 (550 words).

3. Mikhail Zubov article headlined "Tears of Khodorkovsky and tears of Putin" features the opinion of pundits Alexei Mukhin, Georgy Satarov and Gleb Pavlovsky as to why Khodorkovsky "has gone into politics"; p 3 (400 words).

4. Ignat Kalinin article headlined "Ukraine has nothing to fight with" features comment by Vasily Kashin, an expert from the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, on the capabilities of Ukraine's armed forces; p 3 (350 words).

5. Vadim Levental article headlined "Misleading picture of the world" looks at the harm caused by misinformation in the "information war"; p 3 (800 words).

6. Yekaterina Petukhova article "Crimean war, so far an information one" reports that Crimea has taken Ukrainian television channels off air as Kiev "is continuing a information war" against the republic; it gives examples of how Crimea is being portrayed to viewers in Ukraine; p 3 (450 words).

7. Lidia Grafova article headlined "Russia under lock and key" says an "iron curtain" exists on Russia's border, causing problems for people wanting to enter Russia; p 4 (1,400 words).

Novaya Gazeta

1. Andrei Lipsky article called "Miracles in Crimea" predicts that the so-called self-defense units in Crimea will soon reveal their real identities and turn out to be Russian soldiers; p 8 (950 words).

2. Yevgenia Pishchikova article headlined "Do Russians want war? Now the answer is yes!" looks into reasons why the majority of Russians wants Crimea to join Russia; p 6 (850 words).

3. Olga Musafirova article headlined "Dons, or Yanukovych's gang" provides brief descriptions of close associates of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with comments from Ukrainian pundit Konstantin Bondarenko; pp 11-14 (4,000 words).

Argumenty i Fakty

1. Unattributed article headlined "Crimean card is trump one" provides expert opinions on what Russia's benefits will be following its possible merger with Crimea and a timeline of the latest developments surrounding the referendum on the status of Crimea; pp 4-5 (1,550 words).

2. Vyacheslav Kostikov article headlined "Difficult to be Putin" looks into challenges Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing; p 9 (1,100 words).

3. Georgy Alexanderov article headlined "Self-defense of Crimea" reports about the current situation in Crimea, pp 2, 6 (1,200 words).

4. Georgy Zotov article headlined "Eastern front" reports about the situation and the people's attitudes in pro-Russian Donetsk; p 7 (700 words).

5 Lev Vershinin article headlined "Two Ukraines are better?" speculates on the future of Ukraine and its territorial integrity; p 11 (1,100 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Sergei Markov article headlined "Amid collapse of legitimacy" defends Crimea's right to break away from Ukraine and to join Russia, at the same time referring to the authorities in Kiev as illegitimate; p 7 (1,000 words).

2. Alexander Gamov interview with former president of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity who says that the situation around Crimea resembles the one around the Russian-Georgian war in 2008; p 8 (550 words).

3. Sergei Semushkin article headlined "Crimea takes Ukrainian ships" says that the pro-Russian self-proclaimed prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, has announced the nationalization of Ukrainian Navy fleet; p 9 (400 words).

RBK Daily

1. Stepan Opalev et al. article headlined "Independent peninsula" says the Crimean authorities have followed the Kosovo scenario, thereby allowing Crimea to join Russia without changing its legislation; p 2 (900 words).

2. Alisa Shtykina article headlined "How much Crimea costs?" says Russian parliamentary LDPR party has figured up that Russia's financial assistance to Crimea will amount to 90 billion rubles ($2.47 billion); p 3 (400 words).

Noviye Izvestia

1. Arina Raksina article headlined "Costly 'gift'" says that Crimea's potential merger with Russia will involve huge financial spendings for the Russian side. Only initial financial support has been estimated at $3 billion per year, the paper says; pp 1, 3 (600 words).

2. Diana Yevdokimova interview with Russian human rights activist Pavel Chikov; pp 1, 5 (1,100 words).

3. Yana Sergeyeva article headlined "'Hint' at right choice" says that the Crimean parliament adopted the independence declaration ahead of the referendum; p 2 (400 words).

4. Sergei Putilov article headlined "Inflammable tears" says that the drop of the ruble rate and the Ukrainian events could result in sharp rise in prices on petrol; p 3 (600 words).

Krasnaya Zvezda

1. Viktor Ruchkin article headlined "Ukraine: will good sense win?" reports on Kiev "ultra-nationalists" exerting pressure on Crimea, and the West forcing Russia to change its stance on the Ukrainian events; pp 1, 3 (1,800 words).

2. Vladimir Nesmeyanov article headlined "Berkut does not give up" features the stories of Berkut policemen who were injured during the fierce clashed in Kiev; p 2 (1,700 words).


1. Sergei Ilchenko article headlined "Crimea: Night to stand firm, day to hold out" says that the less time it remains until the referendum on the status of Crimea, the more concerns are looming around it; pp 1-2 (1,050 words).

March 12, 2014 / BBC Monitoring / ©BBC

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