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What the Papers Say, April 21, 2014

Kommersant


1. Dmitry Butrin and Petr Netreba article called "Search for exceptions to budget rule" reports on the April 18 expanded meeting of the board of the Economic Development Ministry that discussed a budget plan for 2015-17 and the possibility of adjusting the so-called "budget plan" — a policy that puts a cap on public expending — in view of the current economic slowdown; pp 1, 8 (750 words).


2. Ivan Safronov article headlined "'Kalashnikov' shoots and hits Rosgranitsa" quotes sources in the office of the Russian government as saying that former CEO of the Kalashnikov concern Konstantin Busygin has been appointed as head of the Federal Agency for State Border Development and Maintenance, or Rosgranitsa; pp 1, 3 (800 words).


3. Sergei Mashkin article called "Doubt cast on Anatoly Serdyukov's merits" says the Central Military Prosecutor's Office is looking into the grounds for granting amnesty to former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. The latter faced negligence charges, but in February agreed to an amnesty that was offered to him; pp 1, 4 (900 words).


4. Oleg Trutnev article headlined "Americans to take Russian medications" says banker Roman Avdeyev is selling his 81.1 percent stake in the pharmaceutical company Verofarm to Abbot; pp 1, 12 (700 words).


5. Irina Nagornykh article titled "Team of rivals selected for Altai governor" looks at the list of seven candidates who will compete for the governor post in the United Russia party primaries alongside incumbent governor of Altai republic Alexander Karlin; p 2 (650 words).


6. Maxim Ivanov and Viktor Khamrayev article headlined "A Just Russia remembers imperative mandate" says the A Just Russia party faction in the State Duma is preparing amendments to the law "On the status of Federation Council member and State Duma deputy" that would make it possible to prematurely strip lawmakers of their seats if they fail to fulfil their legally established responsibilities. The party has a group of members who have repeatedly voted against legislative initiatives of the Russian leadership, including the bill on Crimea's merger with Russia; p 2 (700 words).


7. Musa Muradov article titled "Republics prefer party lists" says a new parliament of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia republic is to be elected by proportional representation, rather than on a single-seat constituency basis. The election is due to take place in September this year; p 2 (700 words).


8. Viktor Khamrayev article called "From property to gold and works of art" dwells on a set of anti-graft recommendations that have been devised by Transparency International Russia and the Civil Initiative Committee. They suggest that a special body should be set up to verify the accuracy of income statements filed by government officials and public representatives should be on anti-corruption committees; p 3 (450 words).


9. Sergei Goyashko and Sofia Samokhina article headlined "NGOs make appointment with Public Chamber" names some of the candidates who have been nominated by NGOs and public associations for seats on the Public Chamber of Russia; p 3 (400 words).


10. Kirill Belyaninov and Yelena Chernenko article called "Ambassador of not good will" says that by selecting John Tefft for the post of its ambassador to Russia, the White House steps up its policy on Russia's isolation; p 7 (900 words).


11. Maxim Yusin and Yanina Sokolovskaya article headlined "De-escalation with firearms in hands" reports on developments in Ukraine over the last weekend; p 7 (500 words).


12. Kirill Belyaninov and Pavel Tarasenko article called "America fails to beg sanctions from China" quotes a diplomatic source as saying that the U.S. has tried but failed to exert pressure on China to make the latter introduce targeted visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials; p 7 (400 words).


13. Sergei Goryashko article headlined "Equal among first" reviews the results of a VTsIOM poll showing that 63 percent of those interviewed believe that Crimea and Sevastopol should get as much public funding as other regions of Russia, while only some 25 percent said the regions needed to be provided with more money that others; p 8 (300 words).


14. Yury Barsukov article called "Shelf for Shell" argues that by backing Shell's LNG plant project in Sakhalin, President Vladimir Putin has taken sides with Shell's partner Gazprom in the latter's rivalry against Rosneft; p 9 (40 words).


15. Yulia Galliyamova article headlined "Crimean rails to be turn to east" says Russia may have to spend some 3.6 billion dollars to build railway links to Crimea bypassing Ukraine; p 9 (400 words).


16. Dmitry Butrin column called "Rules of the game" voices amazement at constantly growing figures of public expenditures and deficit in the budget plans for 2015-17; p 9 (500 words).


17. Olga Mordyushenko article headlined "Uralkali and Minsk make peace" doubts that the April 18 meeting of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with co-owner of Uralkali Dmitry Mazepin could lead to the resumption of joint potassium exports any time soon; p 11 (800 words).


18. Anastasia Fomicheva article titled "Rosatom looking for new market in China" says the Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation is seeking to enter the Chinese market, offering its TVS-Kvadrat lead fuel assemblies; p 11 (600 words).


19. Pavel Belavin and Roman Rozhkov article headlined "Not everything to be found in blogs" reports that the Russian search engine Yandex has switched off its blog ranking service. The company says it does not want the service, that has not been updated for several years now, to be used by the authorities as a weapon against bloggers as the most popular of them may soon be required to register as media outlets; p 12 (600 words).


20. Brief report by the newspaper's politics department headlined "Vladimir Putin's plans for 2018 so far unknown to his press secretary" says that presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov does not know if Putin will stand for president in 2018; p 3 (80 words).


Vedomosti


1. Margarita Papchenkova article headlined "Tax schemes to lead to criminal offense" looks at amendments to the Tax Code that, if passed, will criminalize many of the tax optimization schemes that are in use today; pp 1, 5 (600 words).


2. Editorial by Pavel Aptekar called "Playing at Novorossia" takes a quick look at the history of the southeast of Ukraine to conclude that the Russian media and the Russian leadership are not telling the whole truth when they try to make people believe that the area in question has never been part of Ukraine territorially and culturally; pp 1, 6 (400 words).


3. Anastasia Kornya report "Served for discussion" says that the bills drafted on the president's instructions, will be offered for public discussion during several days; p 2 (400 words).


4. Polina Khimshiashvili report "Donetsk does not take orders from Geneva" says that the Geneva process is not being implemented in Ukraine as the Ukrainian parliament has failed to adopt the laws necessary for the truce in the east of the country; p 3 (450 words).


5. Alexei Nikolsky report "Ready to withdraw" says that according to experts, Russia is ready to begin to pull out its troops from the Ukrainian border to implement the Geneva agreements; p 3 (450 words).


6. Dmitry Kamyshev article titled "Person of the week. John Kerry" comments on the results of the April 17 meeting in Geneva; says Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has actually acted as the representative of Ukrainian anti-government forces and Russia will be held accountable for their disarmament. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appears as the true winner because he managed to ensure the Geneva meeting took place; p 7 (350 words).


7. Andrei Sinitsyn article called "Measuring by our own standard " forecasts that the Russian government is unlikely to invest in human capital because the economy that is based on the export of raw materials does not really needs a lot of professionals; p 6 (400 words).


Nezavisimaya Gazeta


1. Viktoria Panfilova article called "Caspian Sea being divided again" previews a meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran in Moscow on April 22 in preparation for a meeting of the heads of the state due to take place in September. The primary issue on the agenda will be the legal status of the Caspian Sea; pp 1, 2 (650 words).


2. Mikhail Sergeyev article headlined "Country on brink of budget crisis" challenges Putin's positive assessment of the government's economic policy as it has effectively led to stagnation; pp 1, 4 (800 words).


3. Alexander Chernyavsky article titled "Lev Kuznetsov's seat being fought over in Krasnoyarsk" reports on the intricacies of the fight for the governor post in Krasnoyarsk region; pp 1, 6 (600 words).


4. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Calling for peace, preparing for war" reports on the developments in Ukraine over the Easter weekend; pp 1, 7 (1,800 words).


5. Yury Paniyev article called "Language of sanctions instead of diplomacy" says that despite the agreements on the de-escalation of the Ukraine crisis that were reached in Geneva on April 17, the U.S. and Europe continue to threaten Russia with more sanctions; pp 1, 8 (600 words).


6. Vladimir Skosyrev article titled "Japan fears clash with China" says Japan is building new military bases to watch over China as the latter is overhauling its army and may make a claim for disputed islands; pp 1, 8 (500 words).


7. Editorial headlined "Why RAN charter has not been approved yet" speculates that the government's reluctance to approve the charter of the reformed Russian Academy of Sciences actually means that the government wants to "finish off" the academy; p 2 (450 words).


8. Vladimir Mukhin report called "Carte Blanche. Kurils being given military and strategic look" says Russia is apparently re-establishing the 68th army corps on Sakhalin that was disbanded in 2010. Expert Lieutenant General Yury Netkachev says this is being done in response to Japan stepping up its military expenditures and due to the need to defend the Sea of Okhotsk that was recently recognized by the UN as part of the Russian territory; p 3 (500 words).


9. Yekaterina Trifonova article headlined "Sex reassignment under control" reports that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is working out amendments to the law "On protection of personal data" that would require that surgeons share the details of their sex reassignment patients with the police; p 3 (550 words).


10. Alexei Gorbachev article called "Direct elections in one amendment" covers the forum "For direct mayoral elections" that took place in Nizhny Novgorod over the weekend. The forum strongly criticized the local government reform that is now being considered by the State Duma and its proposals are likely to be summed up in an amendment against the abolition of direct mayoral elections; p 3 (600 words).


11. Igor Naumov article titled "Silk Route as protection against U.S. sanctions" looks at the tone of reporting in the Chinese press on the Ukrainian crisis and sees prospects for furthering economic cooperation between Russia and China; p 4 (700 words).


12. Alina Terekhova article called "Officials lay new Crimean path" says that brining tourists to Crimea could be a real headache as the multimodal ticket project that has been proposed by the Russian government as a land transport alternative to air travel will hardly appeal to families with children; p 4 (500 words).


13. Essay by philosopher Vladimir Sokolov called "World in the eyes of people" interprets the results of surveys on the values that Russian people appreciate the most; p 9 (2,900 words).


Rossiiskaya Gazeta


1. Georgy Porozhnyak article called "Checkpoint. Easter. Fire" reports on the developments in Slovyansk where the Right Sector forces have attacked unarmed militia fighters guarding a checkpoint; slams the authorities in Kiev for not wanting to comply with the Geneva agreements; pp 1, 7 (750 words).


2. Yaroslav Nikolayev article headlined "Plastic to be taken on surety" says the National Finance Market Council has devised a way to protect Visa and MasterCard holders from sanctions by creating a single processing system that would unite banks' own payment processing centers; pp 1, 6 (300 words).


3. Tamara Mikhaylova article titled "Lout sector" says the State Duma ethics commission will look into a case against LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky who has insulted a pregnant journalist at a news briefing. Some members of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights call for criminal prosecution of Zhirinovsky; p 2 (700 words).


4. Ivan Yegorov interview with acting prosecutor of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya headlined "Twenty minutes with prosecutor". She denies having accounts on social networking websites and says she and her staff are now working hard to switch over to the Russian legislation; p 6 (1,400 words).


5. Yevgeny Shestakov article called "Maidan, surrender arms" accuses Kiev of intentionally misinterpreting the provisions of the Geneva agreements in order to avoid complying with them; p 7 (750 words).


Izvestia


1. Arseny Pogosyan report "U.S. sends combat dolphins to Black Sea" says that American combat dolphins will take part in the NATO drill in the Black Sea this summer; pp 1, 4 (600 words).


2. Yelena Malai report "People to be allowed to film police actions" says that a State Duma deputy from A Just Russia has prepared a bill on amendments to the law on police; pp 1-2 (800 words).


3. Maria Gorkovskaya report "Blood spilled again in Slovyansk" says that Russia and supporters of federalization in Ukraine have accused the Kiev authorities of violating the Geneva agreements; p 8 (600 words).


4. Vsevolod Nepogodin report "Ukraine moves to collapse" looks at the situation in Ukraine and at its authorities' decision to ban Russian men aged between 16 and 60 from entering the country; p 9 (600 words).


5. Sergei Podosenov report "They want to take mandate from those who violate party discipline" says that the A Just Russia faction in the State Duma is drafting a bill allowing to revoke a deputy mandate from the parliament members who violate the party discipline; pp 1, 3 (700 words).


Moskovsky Komsomolets


1. Svetlana Samodelova report "'They were coming to kill us. All of us!"' says that militants from Ukraine's Right Sector have violated the Easter truce near Slovyansk. They attacked unarmed people at a checkpoint; as a result, four people have been killed, newspaper says; pp 1-2 (700 words).


2. Melor Sturua report "Can President Obama 'cross Russia out' of his political agenda?" looks at the U.S.' policy towards Russia and at a new U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Tefft; pp 1-2 (700 words).


3. Marina Ozerova report "Trap for bloggers" says that this week the State Duma will pass in the third and final reading a bill that will allow the authorities as from August 1 to control bloggers and put them into a special registry; p 2 (450 words).


Novaya Gazeta


1. Pavel Kanygin article headlined "Donetsk-Geneva: no mutual understanding" is a report from the self-proclaimed "People's Republic of Donetsk" focusing on local pro-federalization activists' attitudes towards the agreements on Ukrainian settlement signed in Geneva; p 3 (1,100 words).


2. Alexander Mineyev editorial headlined "Geneva gets a 'B'" Analyses the possible effect of the Geneva agreement on the Ukrainian crisis's settlement; p 7 (800 words).


3. Maria Yepifanova article headlined "Parting with what they had brought: same diplomatic standoff now with lowered shields" covers the Russian authorities' reaction to the Geneva agreement on Ukraine; p 8 (600 words).


4. Olga Musafirova article headlined "Easter eve gift may result in loss of Donbass" covers the Ukrainian authorities' reaction to the Geneva agreement on Ukraine; p 8 (400 words).


5. Zinaida Burskaya article headlined "... Not even trains are coming" argues that Crimea has been rendered inaccessible for Russians as it is largely off limits to many airlines and railway companies for political reasons; p 9 (1,300 words).


6. Roman Anin article headlined "'Rossia' sold in brotherly manner" is an investigative piece exploring a recent deal between sanction-hit bank "Rossia", allegedly controlled by Vladimir Putin's associates, and Russia's gas giant Gazprom; pp 12-13 (1,800 words).


7. Yulia Polukhina article headlined "Process focuses on morals" details a court hearing on the case against opposition politician Aleksey Navalny; p 15 (1,100 words).


8. Nadezha Prusenkova and Vera Chelishcheva article headlined "No special agents found" details the current state of affairs in the trial on journalist Anna Politkovskaya's murder; pp 16-17; (1,800 words).


RBK Daily


1. Katerina Kitayeva article headlined "Mamut at helm" covers the announcement made by Rambler and Co. media company president Alexander Mamut, who said he would take part in the holding company's work on the operational level; pp 1, 9 (400 words).


2. Alexander Artemyev article headlined "Easter truce broken" is a fact-based piece covering reported fatal clashes in east Ukraine's Slovyansk on the night of April 19; p 2 (700 words).


2. Alisa Shtykia article headlined "Crimean off-shore" details tax cuts and other benefits proposed by Russian lawmakers for Crimea; p 3 (600 words).


Novaya Izvestia


1. Sergei Putilov article headlined "No-resort mood" examines the economic situation in Crimea, where locals are expecting an influx of Russian tourists, but some have their doubts; pp 1, 3 (900 words).


2. Dmitry Durnev article headlined "Easter shooting" recalls recent clashes in east Ukraine focusing on the shoot-out that reportedly occurred in Slovyansk on the night of April 19; p 2 (500 words).


Komsomolskaya Pravda


1. Yevgeny Chernykh article headlined "Totalitarian sects seized authority in Ukraine?" argues, among other things, that the Maidan revolution in Ukraine was largely inspired by the Church of Scientology; pp 1, 7 (1,900 words).


2. Alexander Kots and Dmitry Steshin article headlined "Easter on blood" is a heavily opinionated piece on the reported April 19 shooting near east Ukraine's Slovyansk; p 5 (700 words).


3. Yelena Chinkova interview with Ukraine's pro-Russian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev headlined "Worst is still ahead", p 8 (300 words).


Tvoi Den


1. Unattributed article headlined "Out brothers are being killed" covers a recent statement by the "people's mayor" of east Ukraine's Slovyansk addressed to Vladimir Putin; p 2 (200 words).


2. Unattributed article headlined "Bloody Sunday" is a heavily opinionated piece on the reported April 19 shooting near east Ukraine's Slovyansk; pp 2-3 (300 words).


3. Unattributed article headlined "I was not told there was war here" is allegedly a brief interview with a member of Ukraine's Right Sector party detained in east Ukraine's Slovyansk; p 3 (100 words).


April. 21, 2014 / BBC Monitoring / ©BBC

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