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    WHAT THE RUSSIAN PAPERS SAY

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    March 1

    IZVESTIA

    A book, Vladimir Putin: Where Is He Leading Russia?, has been published in Germany. Its author, Boris Reitschuster, chief of the Moscow office of the German Fokus magazine, believes that Europe still doubts the sincerity of answers to the question, "Who are you, Mr Putin?" In his interview with Izvestia, Reitschuster suggested his own, simpler version, which appears to be much more believable than the ones provided so far. "Everyone can find in Mr Putin the president that he or she wants to find," says the journalist. "This is not a biography or a book about Putin," he says. "Rather, it is a book about Russia under Putin. There is great interest in Russia in Germany and, as far as I can see, it is growing. In my opinion, I have come to know Russia rather well after living there for ten years; I even view it as my second home."

    KOMMERSANT

    In view of the dismissal of the Kasyanov government, the newspaper publishes a rating of countries where governments change most frequently. Russia is high up on the list, though not in first place. The unquestionable leader is Peru, which over the last ten years has had two prime ministers every year (with the exception of 1997, when no one was appointed to the post). The close runner-up is South Korea: 12 premiers in the past decade (with a particular flurry of activity in the summer of 2002). Russia shares 7th place with Sao Tome & Principe (Africa). However, if the Kasyanov government had not been dismissed, Russia would not have made one of the top ten.

    NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA

    A new accident has shaken Moscow: the roof over the car park at the Metro Cash & Carry in Dmitrovskoye Shosse fell in on people and cars. Experts from the Moscow Architecture Committee will investigate the incident. Vladimir Resin, first deputy mayor of Moscow, ordered that a special commission be set up on the day of the accident.

    There were 15 cars in the crash zone; most of them were seriously damaged, which is not surprising, as over 1,000 square metres of roofing fell in. The rescue teams cleared away the debris in search of victims. The work was over by 3 p.m. The injured wounded people (two women and one man) were rushed to hospital and five were given first aid at the scene. According to the preliminary information of the Moscow Rescue Service, the reason for the collapse was a large mass of icy snow formed by the warm spell and rain in the night of Friday/Saturday.

    Inspections are underway at all Metro stores, writes the newspaper and staff are checking above all roofs for excessive snow masses.

    VEDOMOSTI

    The Russian authorities have put Alexander Voloshin, former chief of the presidential staff, on the list of candidates for the board of the country's largest energy holding, RAO UES. The newspaper reports that, in expert opinion, Voloshin will not just regain a post in state service but may even become board chair of the holding. He retired from the post of chief of the presidential staff in autumn 2003.

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