* Nineteen lawmakers in the Urals city of Kirov have initiated non-confidence vote procedures against regional governor Nikita Belykh. Police have recently searched Belykh office in connection with alleged fraud that took place in 2010 and was linked to prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
* Russia’s Opposition Coordination Council has agreed the main provisions of the country’s new Constitution. The essence of the draft alternative fundamental law is the transition from the “super-presidential” to a parliamentary republic. The authors of the document insist that only the parliamentary republic can ensure the real division of power under the ‘trias politica’ principle.
* The Russian opposition will launch its preparation for 2014 Moscow Duma elections on March 2 with a March for the Rights of Muscovites. Members of the organizing committee are expected to announce the plan for the march on Tuesday.
* Russia will hold the 2014 Group of Eight (G8) summit in its southern Black Sea resort of Sochi, the city that will also host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The infrastructure being created in Sochi for the Olympic Games is practically ready and meets the requirements for the summit, the Kremlin argues.
* Russian lawmakers should not travel abroad under diplomatic passports, miss parliament sessions or discredit the parliament, according to a draft of the Codex of Ethics for State Duma deputies that has been introduced in the lower house.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
* Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov believes it is realistic to achieve the 4% inflation rate by 2018 if the government sticks to stringent budget policies, which exclude the “revival” of the Investment Fund in the form of the Development Fund.
(Kommersant, Moscow News)
* Russia may resume imports of Georgian wines and mineral water as early as in the spring of 2013. Acording to experts, the Georgian winemakers may expect a 2-3% share of the Russian market compared to 8.2% that they had before the ban introduced by Russia after a brief war with Georgia over South Ossetia in 2008.
* Russia is expecting the arrival of Ukrainian negotiators this week for a new round of gas talks. Moscow and Kiev have not yet agreed on ways to lower the price of Russian gas regardless of whether Ukraine joins the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
* Russia may soon abolish national roaming for mobile phone communications. Mobile phone users travelling around the country will pay only tariffs determined by local providers, according to a draft proposal by the Ministry of Communications.
* The development of a new piloted spacecraft to replace the current Soyuz by 2020 will cost Russia about 160 billion rubles ($5.3 bln). Russia’s Energia space corporation has outlined the technical parameters of the future spaceship.
* Yekaterina Smetanova, a suspect in a large-scale fraud at the Russian Defense Ministry, has been released from custody with travel restrictions after fully cooperating with investigation. She had also been put under state protection due to “potential threats to her life and health.”
(Kommersant, Rossiiskaya Gazeta)
* Prosecutors have asked the Moscow City Court to sentence former State Investigations Department officer, Col. Vladimir Kvachkov, to 14 years in prison for an alleged attempt to stage a state coup and assist terrorism. Kvachkov was earlier twice acquitted by Moscow City Court juries in a case dealing with an assassination attempt on former Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais.
* Moscow lawmakers have passed amendments to legislation introducing fines of up to 50,000 rubles (about $1,700) for the use of foul language in the media, books, movies, and at theater performances or concerts.
* Russia may soon introduce restraining order practices, similar to those that exist in all civilized countries, against private life violators. Relevant amendments to the Civil Code are being prepared by lawmakers.
* 80% of internet users in Russia are registered in social networks, according to a survey of 100,000 online customers in eight Russian federal districts conducted by the Romir pollster.
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