Russia 101217 Basic Political Developments

Russia contacts Soyuz after glitch

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Russia contacts Soyuz after glitch

December 17 2010 at 03:22am

Moscow - Russia said it was in full contact with its Soyuz spaceship and the International Space Station on Thursday after a brief loss of contact, Interfax news agency reported.

Russia's mission control had lost communication with the Soyuz for approximately six hours, Interfax reported, quoting an unnamed source in the space industry.

The Soyuz spaceship blasted off on Wednesday carrying an American, a Russian and an Italian astronaut to the International Space Station.

“At the current time there is a sustainable connection between the Krasnoznamenski (military satellite control centre) and Korolyov (Space central command),” the news agency reported Defence Ministry spokesperson Alexei Zolotukhin as saying.

The Russian Soyuz TMA-20 capsule was expected to dock at the space station on Thursday at 23h12 Moscow time (20h12 GMT).

The Soyuz flight is one of the last before the United States retires its reusable Discovery shuttles, leaving astronauts completely dependent on Russian craft for missions to space. - Reuters

Roman Abramovich seeks reelection to Chukotka parliament

09:51 17/12/2010

Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich intends to run for reelection to the legislative body of Chukotka, in Russia's far north, a deputy chairman of the electoral commission said on Friday.

"Abramovich personally submitted the documents to the district electoral commission in Pevek [a town in the Chukotka Autonomous District]," Anna Seredyuk said.

A candidate has to collect 134 signatures to be registered for the election due in March 2011, she said. After that the commission will make the decision on his registration.

Russian billionaire and Chelsea owner, Abramovich was elected as governor of Chukotka in December 2000. He resigned in July 2008 but continued to fund charity projects in the region.

In October 2008 the ex-governor, who was awarded the Order of Honor for his contribution to the development of the region, was elected lawmaker of the Chukotka Duma, gaining 96.99% of the vote. He was later elected its chairman.

Earlier this month, Abramovich said he was ready to finance sports facilities for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Russia won the bid to host the World Cup for the first time, defeating bids by England, Portugal/Spain and Holland/Belgium.

VLADIVOSTOK, December 17 (RIA Novosti)

Baturina to sell Inteko – reports
by Andy Potts at 17/12/2010 10:51


Expectations are building that Elena Baturina is about to sell her construction company Inteko.

Business web site reported on Friday that the wife of Moscow’s former mayor Yury Luzhkov is ready to cash in on her most lucrative asset.

And Coalco’s Vasily Anisimov is named as the most likely buyer, although there has been no formal comment from the construction, real estate and agriculture specialists.

Baturina and Luzhkov are said to be in Vienna to seal the deal at her company’s office in the Austrian capital, Marker reported.


Capital portfolio

Coalco’s current assets include a dozen commercial real estate projects in Moscow and the satellite town of Bolshoye Domodedovo to the south of the city.

Anisimov is 40th on Forbes list of Russian billionaires, with a net worth estimated at $1.6 billion.

He owns a fifth of Metalloinvest, and earlier this year broadened his interests by buying more than a dozen distilleries which had once belonged to state-owned group Rosspirtprom.


VTB not interested

Another bid to buy the company was rumoured to be coming from state-owned bank VTB.

The bank’s head Andrei Kostin said on Thursday that there was no plan to buy Inteko, and there had been no requests to finance a deal for anyone else.


Rebuilding Moscow

Inteko enjoyed a dominant position in the Moscow construction market, prompting claims that the firm benefitted unfairly from a cosy relationship with City Hall.

Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was among many critics who accused the husband and wife team of carving up the city’s construction contracts for their own benefits as Baturina became Russia’s richest woman.

Baturina took legal action against Nemtsov in 2009 and won 60,000 roubles in compensation, but that verdict was overturned in October, not long after Luzhkov’s dismissal from office.

Under new Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin Inteko has also suffered from the reversal of permits to build a “space age” city in Setun district, and is facing a criminal investigation over illegally acquiring land.

Inteko representatives have repeated denied any planned sale of the company.

PRESS DIGEST - Russia - Dec 17
3:31am EST

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The following are some of the leading stories in Russia's newspapers on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sounded more menacing and aggressive than last year while answering questions from the Russian people in a televised phone-in on Thursday, the daily says.

- The authorities of the town of Chelaybinsk in Urals have filed a suit against local military over ground tremors, which frightened local residents into thinking they were victim to earth-quakes, the daily said.

- Investigators have brought charges against Nikolai Nevolko, a former director of Russia's biggest hydro power plant in Siberia, Sayano-Shushinskaya, over a disaster in August last year that killed 75 people.

Six other officials will also face charges for failing to ensure the safety of the workers, the daily adds.


- Putin made several statements that contradicted President Dmitry Medvedev's policies or failed to take them into account, the daily says of Putin's question-answer session on Thursday.

- The merger of Russia's Uralkali (URKA.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Silvinit (SILV.RTS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), to be announced on Monday, will move the two toward a monopoly over Russia's potash market, the daily says.


- The state's stake in Russia's economy will shrink to 40 percent and even less by 2015 as a result of the government's privatisation drive, the proceeds of which are due to be invested in modernising the economy, the daily says citing officials.

- Russia should do away with obligatory court rulings on prisoner parole to avoid court bribes, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov was quoted as saying.


- Russia's experts expressed doubt that Russia and NATO will reach an agreement on the creation of a joint missile defence system, the daily says of talks on the issue in Brussels.

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