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    Digest of the Russian press, December 26

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

    Izvestia

    Vedomosti

    www.vedomosti.ru

    - The country's course - The outgoing year has been a year of precise policy courses. Past years left us doubtful as to the direction the government was steering the country in, whereas 2005 has dismissed those doubts. Professor Konstantin Sonin of the Russian Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) provides comments.

    - 2005 results for fuel and energy complex - The outgoing year has been crucial for the Russian oil and gas sector.

    - Rosneft seeks another $1 billion loan - The state-run company will go to the market to attract some $1 billion to finance purchases in the Irkutsk Region and to cover its cash surplus.

    - Evraz Group President Alexander Abramov may lose $500 million. Before his death in 2003, entrepreneur Aidyn Kurbanov controlled some 10% of the group. Unable to buy out their share, Kurbanov's heirs filed suit with the British High Court against Abramov to obtain more than $500 million from him.

    - In January, Google, Inc., the world's largest Internet search engine, will open a Moscow office. As a result, Russian advertisers should find it easier to post their information on the Google Web site. Rivals expect the corporation to launch a massive advertising campaign in Russia.

    Izvestia

    www.izvestia.ru

    - On January 1, 2006, Great Britain will cede the rotating presidency of the European Union to Austria. What aims will Vienna pursue as the leader of united Europe? An interview with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

    Kommersant

    www.kommersant.ru

    - "Corruption may kill " - The UN Convention against corruption was enacted a few days ago. The document provides a basis for cooperation between law enforcement and prosecutors in arresting and extraditing those accused of corruption. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, urges Moscow to sign the anti-corruption convention as soon as possible.

    - Capital Group to build fourth Metromarket - Moscow authorities have permitted the Capital Group company to build a trading center over the hall of the Shabolovskaya metro station. This will be the largest branch of the Metromarket chain, which already includes three centers. But experts say the developer may fail to attract large operators because of the site.

    Nezavisimaya Gazeta

    www.ng.ru

    - The Asia-Pacific Region to be the center of integration - The first summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and ASEAN leaders in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur was a landmark for development in the region in 2006. Commentary by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev.

    - Moscow at the crossroads between East and West. Economic growth in Asia will soon be very attractive for Russia's economy and foreign policy. Russia does not intend to act as the United States' "junior partner" nor integrate into Europe. Commentary by Carnegie Moscow Center Director Andre Kuchins.

    - Ukraine will have its natural gas supplies cut off at 10:00 a.m. on January 1, 2006. Last Friday, Gazprom ran a test to switch off gas to Ukraine. At almost the same time, Ukraine resumed negotiations on gas with Turkmenistan. Gazprom press secretary Sergei Kupriyanov speaks about the gas dispute and the effect on European customers.

    - Moscow and Washington will always have differences on Iran. The end of 2005 has seen an increase in efforts to settle the Iranian nuclear crisis. Last Saturday, Moscow made another attempt to settle the problem through diplomatic means. Russia's proposal is expected to top the agenda of the negotiations between Tehran and the EU troika (Britain, France and Germany) due in January.

    Novaya Gazeta

    www.novayagazeta.ru

    - Former Deputy Energy Minister Vladimir Milov talks about the gas sector, its major problems, obstacles to its development and who controls it.

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