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What the Papers Say, April 30, 2014

Here you'll find an overview of the main topics covered in the Russian press.


1. Dmitry Butrin et al. article headlined "Unauthorized growth attempt" previews a meeting of the Russian cabinet and the presidential staff due to take place on May 7 that will discuss measures to boost the Russian economy; pp 1-2.

2. Olga Shestopal and Valeria Kozlova article headlined "Contact without contact" says that some 15 banks have suspended cooperation with the Contact payment system after criminal proceedings were launched against a top manager of its operator Russlavbank; pp 1, 8.

3. Nikolai Sergeyev article headlined "Interior Ministry walks on shadow side" reports the details of a major police operation to bust a gang that managed a clandestine money transfer centre that laundered funds embezzled from Russian state-owned companies. The investigation and the operation are said to have been authorized by President Putin himself; pp 1, 4.

4. Andrei Kolesnikov article headlined "Presidential balance" gives an account of President Vladimir Putin's meeting with his Kazakh and Belarusian counterparts in Minsk, where they discussed the prospects of establishing the Eurasian Economic Union; pp 1, 6.

5. Ivan Safronov article headlined "Parade of two victories" quotes a source in the Defense Ministry as saying that President Putin is likely to attend the May 9 parades in Moscow as well as in Sevastopol; p 2.

6. Anna Pushkarskaya article headlined "Minority opinion spreads in Constitution Court" notes that a statement by a Constitution Court judge, Yury Danilov, criticizing the court's decision to reinstate early voting, was removed from the website of the court. Danilov described early voting as a nontransparent procedure that could cast doubt on the legitimacy of elections; p 2.

7. Natalia Gorodetskaya article headlined "Federation Council regulates internet" reports on how the Federation Council discussed and passed two controversial bills — against "the justification Nazi crimes" and the one that requires popular bloggers to registered with the communications watchdog Roskomnadzor; p 2.

8. Yekaterina Yeremenko article headlined "Forest fire reaches shells" says a forest fire has caused explosions at an ammunition depot in Zabaikalsky region and forced the local authorities to evacuate some 1,000 people from their homes; p 4.

9. Sergei Mashkin article headlined "Medical case of kickback" reports new details in a criminal investigation against the head of the Burdenko military hospital and its finance officer, who are suspected of extorting a $1.4 million bribe from a businessman; p 4.

10. Alexander Voronov article headlined "Moscow going down in price" questions Moscow's 15th place on the BackPacker Index as the city's tourism statistics may not be accurate; p 5.


1. Yelena Khodyakova article headlined "Gazprom — No 1 in the world" reports that Russian gas giant Gazprom is the top global company by EBITDA and among the top five by net profit in 2013; pp 1, 12.

2. Pavel Aptekar and Maxim Trudolyubov op-ed headlined "Brezhnev today" compares large-scale demonstrations that are planned for May 1 with those that were typical of the Soviet era; pp 1, 6.

3. Anastasia Kornya article headlined "Black lists taken to court" says that the Association of Internet Publishers is challenging in the Constitution Court the law on restricting access to websites containing prohibited content; p 2.

4. Svetlana Bocharova article headlined "You will answer for occupant" discusses a bill on compensating companies and individuals that have suffered from unlawful rulings of foreign courts. The bill is being drafted by a United Russia lawmaker and is said to be in retaliation for a Ukrainian bill that declares Crimea a temporarily occupied territory; p 2.

5. Aleksei Nikolsky article headlined "Troops retreat for reinforcement" reports on how Russian troops were pulled back from the Ukrainian border following a telephone conversation between Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; p 3.

6. Margarita Papchenkova and Yekaterina Kravchenko article called "Oil dispute of allies" reports that negotiations on the establishing of the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus because the latter is haggling over oil duties; p 4.

7. Nikolai Epple editorial called "Iranian scenario" analyzes the Iran case as a fairly successful example when the world community was able to agree on imposing economic sanctions on a country that was clearly dangerous; p 6.

8. Vyacheslav Inozemtsev op-ed called "Deceitful word" exposes the Russian media coverage of the developments in Ukraine and Russia's stance as deceitful propaganda; pp 6-7.

9. Andrei Kolesnikov op-ed headlined "Hybrid war going on" argues that neither Russia, nor the West can do anything to de-escalate tension in Ukraine because paramilitary guerrilla forces operating there and so-called "people's mayors" will not listen to them; p 7.

10. Mikhail Serov and Yelena Khodyakova headlined "Chinese contract closer" says Russia and China have agreed to sign a contract on natural gas deliveries to China via a pipeline in May. Experts say Gazprom is extremely interested in the deal because it needs to secure itself against sanctions from the West; p 12.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta


1. Ivan Rodin article headlined "Chaika presents Bastrykin with bill" views accusations of illegal arrests that Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika made against the Investigative Committee when speaking at the Federation Council as yet another round of conflict between the two agencies; pp 1-2.


2. Yevgenya Novikova article called "Moscow and Tehran resisting sanctions" says Russia and Iran are discussing an energy deal worth around $10 billion. Washington cannot help being concerned about it as the intensifying cooperation between the two countries could effectively nullify economic sanctions imposed on them; pp 1, 10.

3. Yury Paniyev article titled "FBI to look for Yanukovych's money" reports on an international conference of law-enforcers in London that agreed to set up a working group to help Ukraine track down funds that were allegedly embezzled by former Ukrainian officials, including deposed President Viktor Yanukovych; pp 1, 10.

4. Svetlana Gavrilina article headlined "St. Petersburg buried under election leaflets" reviews some of the campaign newspapers and election leaflets that St. Petersburg residents have already started finding stuffed in their mailboxes and in local supermarkets, well ahead of the municipal election that is due to take place in September; pp 1, 2.

5. Anastasia Bashkatova article titled "Russian pensioners to face relative poverty" quotes a report by the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences that criticizes a new pension scheme saying that it will result in a drop of the average replacement ratio from 35 per cent to 19 per cent; pp 1, 4.

6. Tatyana Ivzhenko article headlined "Kiev fears new political attempts on lives" reports on the recent developments in Ukraine where the parliament started debating a constitution reform; pp 1, 9.

7. Editorial headlined "Loyalty test of sanctions" points out that Russia should probably start paying attention to smaller companies in Europe as well as businesses in Asia and Latin America as potential partners and investors as bigger ones, such as Siemens, might reconsider their plans for Russia for fear of sanctions from the U.S.; p 2.

8. Anton Khodasevich article headlined "IMF mission gives no hope to Minsk" forecasts that economic problems might lead Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to call an early presidential election; p 2.

9. Yekaterina Trifonova and Alexandra Samarina article called "Work visas offered to migrants" mulls over the probability of Russia introducing work visas for migrants arriving from the CIS countries that are not members of the Customs Union; p 3.

10. Andrei Baklanov column headlined "Carte Blanche. Return of superpower" says the U.S. is losing its "exclusive" role on the world arena as Russia is emerging as a self-sufficient superpower with a strong army and a consistent and firm stance on what is going on in Ukraine; p 3.


1. Ivan Cheberko article headlined "Mission control centre in middle of criminal case" says the Interior Ministry has initiated criminal proceedings for abuse of authority. The case involves two Russian space industry workers; pp 1-2.

2. Vladimir Zykov and Taras Podrez article headlined "Almost half of developers leave Vkontakte" says about nine developers have said goodbye to Russian social network Vkontakte after the resignation of its director-general Pavel Durov; pp 1, 4.

3. Yelena Malai and Dmitry Runkevich article headlined "Transneft switches to rubles" says Russian pipeline company Transneft has decided to receive payments in rubles rather than in dollars when delivering oil to China; pp 1-2.

4. Alexander Potapov article headlined "Rosneft dividends to increase by almost 60 percent" is an interview with Igor Sechin, the head of Russian energy giant Rosneft. Sechin says the U.S. sanctions against him will not reduce the efficiency of the company; pp 1-2.

5. Konstantin Volkov and Darya Tsoi article headlined "Our military presence in Egypt to be renewed" says Russia and Egypt will hold a joint counterterrorism exercise in 2015; p 8.

6. Yelena Malai article headlined "Sergei Neverov and Lyudmila Shvetsova not scared of EU actions" quotes lawmakers Neverov and Shvetsova as saying that they are not upset about the Western sanctions against them; p 8.

7. Igor Karaulov article headlined "Gangster language of sanctions" comments on the Western sanctions and on Gazprom's announcement that the events in Ukraine may disrupt its gas deliveries to Europe. The announcement may force Europe to quickly look for an alternative to the Russian gas, it says; p 9.

8. Vadim Levental article headlined "The time is right" says Russia needs an economy that could not be punished with external sanctions; p 9.

9. Maxim Sokolov article headlined "Divided kingdom" says the sanctions on Russia will not help Ukraine to maintain its unity; p 9.


Rossiiskaya Gazeta

1. Vladimir Bogdanov article headlined "Pentagon vs White House" says the U.S. Department of Defense is against imposing sanctions on Russian defense firm Rosoboronexport, as Russia is a supplier of Mi-17 V-5 helicopters to Afghanistan under a contract with the U.S. government; p 2.

2. Petr Likhomanov article headlined "President of one polling station" blames Kiev for effectively disrupting the May presidential election as people in the southeast of the country have been excluded from voting and candidates who oppose the incumbent authorities are not allowed to conduct their campaigns; p 8.

3. Fedor Lukyanov op-ed headlined "Is Hillary back?" looks at the prospects of Hillary Clinton running for U.S. president; p 8.


Moskovsky Komsomolets

1. Nikolai Makeyev article headlined "They could have come up with more complicated things" features Russian expert comments on the Western sanctions on Russia; pp 1-2.

2. Marina Perevozkina article headlined "Donetsk citadel" reports on the self-proclaimed Donetsk people's republic in Ukraine; pp 1, 4.

3. Matvei Ganapolsky article headlined "Who has problems with isolation" says the officials will suffer less than common citizens from the Western sanctions on Russia; p 3.


Novaya Gazeta

1. Olga Bobrova report "'Grandmothers on duty' confuse situation" looks at the situation in Ukraine and at supporters and opponents of the Ukrainian authorities; pp 2-3.

2. Olga Musafirova report "'Condition is serious, close to very serious'" looks at an attempt made on the life of Kharkiv Mayor Hennady Kernes and says that the attack may be linked to his rejection of separatism; p 3.

3. Yulia Latynina report "MBKh test. Why Donetsk republic is fake, in fact" looks at the situation in Ukraine's self-proclaimed Donetsk people's republic; pp 4-5.

4. Boris Vishnevsky report "Empire of hypocrisy" says that Russia's double standards as exemplified by the "Ukrainian campaign" are obvious. The worst thing is that this escapes notice of the majority of Russian citizens; p 6.

5. Alexander Mineyev report "It was not yet ordered to target 'sectors'" says that the EU has blacklisted 15 more Russians who are responsible, as it believes, for the destabilization of Ukraine; p 7.

6. Pavel Felgengauer report "Two lines on space scale" looks at launches of commercial satellites from Russia's cosmodrome BaIkonur in Kazakhstan and says that the "psychological and financial blow to Russia's most hi-tech industry by the U.S. sanctions will be devastating"; p 7.

7. Olga Prosvirova report "Slanting rain and direct line" says that a few "well-disposed" words said by Putin about the beleaguered liberal web-based broadcaster Dozhd TV have given the channel a "chance for a second life"; p 14.


RBK Daily

1. Timofei Dzyadko report "Gazprom shares risks" says that Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller has not been included in the new sanctions lists of the USA and the EU, but the gas giant does not rule out that restrictions may be imposed against the company in the future; pp 1, 5.

2. Tatyana Aleshkina et al. report "SMP Bank: First day under sanctions" says that American sanctions have made the bank's owners, brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, give up part of their business; pp 1, 7.

3. Mikhail Rubin report "To have time before crisis" says that governor election campaigns may be carried out in one-third of Russia's regions; p 2.

4. Alena Sukharevskaya report "Russia will pull Europe" says that the IMF has warned 22 countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe of economic consequences of the Ukrainian crisis; p 3.