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    Digest of the Russian press, December 21

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    (RIA Novosti does not bear any responsibility for the articles published in the Russian papers)



    - Russian natural gas: will there be anything left for us? Today many countries count on Russian natural gas. Its volume is estimated as the difference between production and consumption in Russia. Natural gas production is expected to increase up to 690 billion cu m in 2010-2012. It turns out that Russia is not good at forecasting the growth of domestic consumption. Commentary by Igor Bashmakov, executive director of the Center for the Effective Use of Energy.

    - The Federal Tax Service may claim 3.7 billion rubles ($129.08 million) in taxes from the steel plant VIZ-Stal in Yekaterinburg. This amount might force Italy's Duferco, the owner of the plant, to speed up a deal on selling the plant to the Novolipetsk metallurgy works plant, which had its own plans for VIZ-Stal.

    - Nornikel to be rid of a mediator. The newspaper learned that the Russian Finance Ministry asked the government to cancel the monopoly of Almazyuvelireksport on the export of platinum metals. Experts said Nornikel currently pays its mediator more than $10 million per year.



    - Estonians know how to obstruct the construction of a pipeline. Russia and Estonia are facing two main issues in their relations - there is no agreement on the border between the two countries and the Russian and German agreement on the construction of the East European gas pipeline. Members of the Reformations Party, the Republic Party and the Fatherland Union party know how to solve these problems.

    - Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans turned down an executive post in the oil major Rosneft due to personal obligations. But it was hard to imagine a more attractive proposal. Top foreign managers say they like to work in Russia since there is more money and opportunities.

    - Private Banking is rapidly developing in Russia. Recent reformations in the country helped some people emerge with legal large private capitals. Such clients demand more than a standard set of banking services and financiers offer them special service, which takes into account all their needs, wishes and demands.

    - Bankers chose a product of the year. Each year in December the newspaper holds a survey among bankers on the product or technology of the year. This year polled bankers cast their voices in favor of a credit card with a grace period. They said the next year would be the year of mortgage, credit cards and SMS-banking.

    Nezavisimaya Gazeta


    - Khodorkovsky breaks a machine. Former CEO of embattled oil giant Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky received his first reprimand after two months of imprisonment in a penal colony in East Siberia's Chita Region.

    - The Moscow City Duma holds its first session Wednesday of the legislative season. Few know that the outcome of the elections to the City Duma highly depends on Interior Ministry experts who control the process of the ballot count. Commentary by Vladimir Martynov, the head of the Interior Ministry's Criminal Expert Center.

    Rossiiskaya Gazeta


    - Who will bear the cross of energy? Russian academicians concerned over the main sector of the economy. The Russian Academy of Sciences is hosting an annual meeting dedicated to problems in the energy sector. How could this sector hamper the country's development and national programs? Interview with member of the academy, Vladimir Fortov.

    - The process of the elimination of chemical weapons in Russia is progressing rapidly. Russia increased financing of the process of the elimination of chemical weapons, the result was tangible and the world evaluated it positively. The Hague hosted the 10th session of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Head of the Russian delegation to the session and deputy head of the Federal Industry Agency Viktor Kholstov spoke in the interview with the newspaper on the session's work and Russia's position on the issue.

    - Mutual understanding of mixed property. The government and private business agreed on the mutual development of Tolmachyovo airport in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. This is the first and unique project for the Russian economy that would be based on state and private partnership. Interview with Aleksei Chertenkov, the head of the Tolmachyovo Airport company.