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What the Papers Say, March 20, 2014


1. Ilya Barabanov article headlined "Departure with troops" says a group of Crimean activists have seized the Ukrainian Navy headquarters in Sevastopol. Ukrainian servicemen are asked to either join the Russian Navy or leave Crimea, the article says; pp 1, 4 (943 words).

2. Tatyana Yedovina article headlined "Sanctions do not affect business" says participants in the Russian-Japanese business forum in Tokyo have decided to continue cooperation despite the threat of international sanctions against Russia. Japanese businesses, however, are worried about weakening ruble, the article adds; pp 1, 4 (617 words).

3. Pavel Belavin and Sergei Sobolev article headlined "Interros not in mood for entertainment" says Interros owned by Vladimir Potanin is expected to sell Sinema Park chain of cinemas in Russia. Gazprom-Media holding may purchase the asset, the article says; pp 1, 12 (540 words).

4. Irina Nagornykh and Natalia Korchenkova article headlined "Phone-in session to reach Crimea" says President Vladimir Putin is to hold his traditional phone-in session in April. The Russian merger with Crimea is expected to be the main topic of discussion; p 2 (444 words).

5. Natalia Skorlygina et al. report headlined "Crimea faces Russian energy prices" says Russian energy prices will be charged in Crimea: local businesses will pay smaller electricity bills, while electricity prices for individuals are expected to grow; p 2 (652 words).

6. Andrei Kolesnikov article headlined "Constituent entity being made operational" reports on the Russian government meeting chaired by President Putin where transport routes linking Russia with Crimea were discussed; p 2 (1,068 words).

7. Yelena Chernenko and Maxim Yusin article headlined "Fight for measures starts in Europe" says the EU member states are to discuss anti-Russian sanctions in Brussels on March 20. A number of countries, for example, Germany, Finland, Italy and others oppose tough sanctions against Moscow, the article adds; p 4 (667 words).

8. Nina Sokolova article headlined "Freedom against speech" says the attack of the Svoboda party deputies on Ukrainian television channel head has caused a rift within the Ukrainian ruling coalition. Moderate forces do not want to tolerate radicals, the author says; p 5 (455 words)

9. Anna Pushkarskaya et al. report headlined "Crimea checked with constitution" says the Russian Constitutional Court has approved the bill on the Crimean merger with Russia; p 5 (968 words).

10. Grigory Tumanov article headlined "Rosbalt informed with good news" says the Supreme Court has revoked the Moscow City Court decision to strip Rosbalt news agency of its license. The Russian authorities wanted to close the agency as it posted clips with foul language on its website; p 6 (465 words).

11. Ivan Tyazhlov article headlined "U.K. visas temporary inaccessible" says the U.K. is going to close visa centers in Russia reportedly due to a change in a company operating the visa centers; p 6 (389 words).

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

1. Mikhail Sergeyev article headlined "Eye for eye, KamAZ for KamAZ" says Kiev is going to compensate for the losses over Crimea's merger with Russia by nationalizing Russian assets belonging to businesses and the state in Ukraine; pp 1, 4 (803 words).

2. Alina Terekhova article headlined "Rosneft looking for investors in East" says Rosneft head Igor Sechin has called on Japanese businesses to continue cooperating with Russia despite possible economic sanctions against Moscow; pp 1, 4 (712 words).

3. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Way to State Duma barred for small parties" outlines bill on the regional elections currently discussed in the State Duma. It imposes additional restrictions on small parties, the article says; pp 1, 3 (564 words).

4. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Car tires being burnt in Kiev again" says Kiev is delaying the Ukrainian troops withdrawal from Crimea while the Russian Federation Council is to ratify the documents on the republic's merger with Russia on March 21; pp 1, 5 (1,350 words).

5. Yury Paniyev and Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "Another group of officials to have entry to Europe denied" says the EU summit in Brussels is expected to add new names of Russian officials on the list of people facing travel bans and assets freezes; pp 1, 6 (839 words).

6. Yevgenya Novikova article headlined "Opposition asking about no-fly zone above Syria again" says that as the Syrian diplomatic missions are closing in the U.S., Moscow claims that Washington is getting ready for the replacement of Bashar Assad's regime with the opposition forces; pp 1, 6 (732 words).

7. Alexei Gorbachev article headlined "Russian intelligentsia speaks out for Ukraine" says a group of Russian public figures have spoken out against the Kremlin policy towards Crimea as it leads to Russia's isolation and a serious rift within Russian society; p 2 (445 words).

8. Editorial headlined "Military physics: every action causes counteraction" says that Russian military might allow Moscow to ignore the U.S. opinion on its policy. The article welcomes the re-equipment of the Russian armed forces as a strong argument in the international politics; p 2 (494 words).

9. Yekaterina Trifonova article headlined "Cossacks to be banned from joining parties" says the State Duma is to pass a bill prohibiting Cossacks from joining any political parties. At the same time they will be able to become a part of movements such as the All-Russia People's Front, the article adds. Experts believe the authorities are turning Cossacks into an absolutely loyal force; p 3 (783 words).

10. Vladimir Skosyrev article headlined "Ice age comes to Russian-Western relations" says a new cold war between Russia and the West is unlikely to happen due to the European dependence on Russian energy, however, relations between Moscow and the West have reached their lowest point; p 6 (555 words).


1. Margarita Papchenkova article headlined "Russians to account for every percent" says the Finance Ministry plans to take offshore companies of Russian owners under control. Russian businesses will have to pay taxes for all companies if they have at least 10 percent stake in them, the article says; pp 1, 5 (500 words).

2. Editorial headlined "Operation rating" says President Vladimir Putin's rating is soaring thanks to Crimea's merger, however, the emotional rather than rational support can easily vanish due to economic problems; pp 1, 6 (400 words).

3. Anastasia Kornya et al. article headlined "Transition problems" looks at possible problems the Crimean authorities and residents might face during transition period after the republic's merger with Russia; p 2 (700 words).

4. Editorial headlined "Local activity" reviews the results of a recent survey suggesting that even those Russians who take active part in their local community events do not really care about political protests; p 6 (400 words).

5. Vasily Kashin article headlined "Chance to avoid losses" says the West is unlikely to impose large-scale economic sanctions against Russia over the situation with Crimea; p 6 (600 words).

6. Mikhail Serov article headlined "Company of week: Chernomorneftegaz" says the Crimean energy company, Chernomorneftegaz, has become the first key assets in Crimea to be sold at an auction as the region merges with Russia. Russian energy giants, Gazprom and Rosneft are likely to fight for the asset, the article adds; p 7 (300 words).

7. Mikhail Serov and Yelena Khodyakova article headlined "Crimea to change investors in shelf zone" says Russia's Gazprom might become a new investor in the Black Sea shelf development as Crimea is planning to review the agreement on this matter adopted by Ukraine in 2013; p 12 (400 words).


1. Sergei Podosenov article headlined "Deputies suggest that historical name be returned to Crimea" comments on an initiative by some Russian lawmakers to rename Crimea into Tavrida, the name the peninsula had in the tsar's Russia; pp 1, 4 (469 words).

2. Lyudmila Podobedova article headlined "Gazprom choosing price for Ukraine" says Russian gas monopoly Gazprom is considering raising gas prices for Ukraine up to $500 per 1,000 cubic metres; pp 1, 4 (909 words).

3. Yelena Teslova article headlined "Ilya Ponomarev can leave Novosibirsk mayoral election race" says opposition politician Ilya Ponomarev may quit Novosibirsk mayoral election race as he believes the authorities are threatening him via a heavy metal group suing him over violations in his election campaign; pp 1-2 (536 words).

4. Dmitry Runkevich article headlined "Defense Minister asked to set up cyber detachments in armed forces" says State Duma lawmakers have asked the Defense Ministry to set up special cyber detachments in which IT specialists will maintain security of government websites; p 3 (520 words).

5. Yelizaveta Mayetnaya and Vladimir Suvorov article headlined "'Everybody will feel safer, when the border is established" gives details of an exchange of fire in Crimea that killed several Ukrainian servicemen and Crimean activists; p 5 (1,104 words).

6. Svetlana Povoraznyuk article headlined "Interfax optimizes personnel and closes Finmarket" says Interfax news agency is going to close its financial branch, Finmarket, journalists working there have already started looking for new jobs. Financial problems are believed to be the main reason for the move, the article adds; p 7 (563 words).

Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Petr Likhomanov article headlined "Freedom comes to Ukrainian television" reports on the attack of Ukrainian nationalists from the Svoboda, or Freedom, party on the head of Ukraine's state television company, Oleksandr Panteleymonov; pp 1, 7 (501 words).

2. Yulia Krivoshapko interview with Vadim Tretyakov, head of the Osobye Ekonomicheskye Zony, or Special Economic Zones, joint stock company speaking on ways of attracting Asian investors to the Russian Far East; pp 1, 5 (1,677 words).

3. Yury Gavrilov article headlined "Attention to flag" says Russia plans to strengthen the Black Sea Fleet with new submarines and warships; p 6 (416 words).

4. Vladislav Vorobyev article headlined "Who to pay for hysterics?" says that only a few of European countries approve of imposing sanctions against Russia; p 9 (400 words).

Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Natalia Vedeneyeva and Yelena Yegorova article headlined "Four years to reach Crimea" details plans to build a bridge across the Kerch straight connecting Crimea with the Russian territory; pp 1, 3 (1,434 words).

2. Yelena Gamayun and Ignat Kalinin article headlined "Quiet end of Ukrainian navy" reports on the situation over the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Crimea; pp 1-2 (727 words).

3. Analyst Yevgeny Gontmakher article headlined "Dozen of knives in back of euphoria" looks at possible economic and infrastructure problems of Crimea that Russia will have to deal with; p 3 (700 words).

4. Natalia Rozhkova article headlined "Crimea changes opposition" says that the latest developments in Ukraine and Crimea's joining Russia have seriously affected the Russian opposition; p 4 (1,200 words).

5. Igor Subbotin article headlined "U.S. breaks off relations with official Damascus" features an expert comment on Washington's decision to break off diplomatic relations with Syria. According to the expert, the move might have been provoked by Crimea's joining Russia; p 5 (400 words).

RBK Daily

1. Yelena Ivankina and Yevgeny Novikov article headlined "Crimea tea-party" says that President Vladimir Putin and Russian businessmen will discuss possible investments for development of Crimea; pp 1, 3 (500 words)

2. Maria Kutina et al. article called "Moscow elections to be fenced off from non-systemic opposition" says Russian lawmakers have proposed new amendments to the bill on elections tabled to the State Duma, which make it even harder for small parties to take part in regional elections; p 2 (600 words).

3. Alisa Shtykina article called "He is not my brother" says the Finance Ministry has published a bill saying that all entities and individuals that have shares of 10 percent of equity capital and more in offshore companies should report it to tax authorities; p 3 (400 words).

4. Vladimir Pavlov et al. article headlined "Costly sanctions" ponders on possible political sanctions European leaders may impose against Moscow over Crimea's joining Russia; p 4 (400 words).


1. Sergei Frolov article headlined "We are together again, Crimea and Sevastopol!" analyses President Putin's address on Crimea's joining Russia given on March 18; p 2 (600 words).

2. Sergei Ilchenko article called "While West threatens, Chinese size up where to invest" says today's Simferopol is overpacked with Chinese delegations and, at the same time the Crimean authorities do not hide their interest in German investments; p 4 (1,000 words).

Komsomolskaya Pravda

1. Yevgeny Arsyukhin article headlined "In name of counter-revolution: where from does Kiev government have its extortionate fervor?" criticizes the Kiev authorities for their intention to seize enterprises that belong to Russian businessmen and the state; p 5 (700 words).

2. Alexander Grishin interview with the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Oleksandr Yakimenko, saying that Washington stands behind the coup in Kiev; pp 6-7 (1,900 words).

3. Alexander Gamov interview with former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk saying that Boris Yeltsin, first president of the Russian Federation, asked Ukraine to return Crimea during his presidency; p 10 (1,100 words).

4. Mikhail Bocharov article headlined "Twenty-nine states want to secede from U.S." saying that following Crimea's accession to Russia the White House has received petitions from a number of American states saying that they want to secede from the U.S.; p 4 (250 words).

March 20, 2014 / BBC Monitoring / ©BBC

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