The establishment of the Putin-Medvedev “power tandem” has led to a significant increase in the number of bureaucrats in Russia, who attempt to negotiate better salaries as their work is now contract-based. (Vedomosti)
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The privatization of state-owned lands proposed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will allow for more efficient use of land plots, but a clear mechanism for selling those plots needs to be created. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times)
TNK-BP joint oil venture's Russian shareholders have rejected a proposal by BP to pay a $1-billion interim dividend citing the unstable situation on the markets and unresolved problems of TNK-BP corporate management. (Kommersant)
Russia may increase incise tax on Euro-4 and Euro-5 gasoline in 2013-2014 to minimize losses caused by gradual replacement of low-quality gasoline still produced in the country and finance construction of new road infrastructure. (Kommersant, Vedomosti)
Russia is planning to launch production of a series of regional planes for 9-12, 15-20 and 40 passengers in the next five years.
Russia’s Patent and Trademark Office has registered the first aroma trademark in the country. The owner of the new trademark said it would represent her perfume brand which has a smell of natural leather. The sales of the perfume are expected to start in St. Petersburg this fall. (Izvestia)
Russia’s Gazprom Neft and Zarubezhneft have joined “the fight” for assets being sold by Austria's OMV in the Balkan region. (Vedomosti)
The Russian Security Council will make its assessment of the effectiveness of the defense sector in August. However, Russia has no plans to cut back on defense R&D work due to the global economic crisis. (Kommersant)
The Syrian rebellion against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which started as a secular movement for democracy, is gradually turning into a full-fledged religious war. Radical Islamist groups supported by Persian Gulf Sunni monarchies are starting to play an increasingly prominent role in the ranks of the Syrian opposition. (Kommersant, Izvestia)
Members of the notorious Russian female band Pussy Riot have called their “punk prayer” performed at a Christian church an “ethical mistake,” but pleaded not guilty to charges of hooliganism at the start of the trial that can land them in prison for seven years. (Kommersant, Vedomosti, Moscow News)
Defamation has been reinstated in Russia’s Criminal Code as President Vladimir Putin signed on Monday a new bill, which envisions punishment for defamation by community work (up to 480 hours) or a maximum possible fine of 5 million rubles ($160,000). (Moscow News)
President Putin has signed a decree confirming the ratification of legislation regulating the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. In line with the document, American foster parents must register their adopted Russian children in Russian consulates in the United States and make provisions for children to become Russian citizens. (Moscow News)
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