Vedomosti, 1 February
'Who is left on the pipeline'
Ain an editorial, Vedomosti comments on the arrest of Raul Arashukov. The former CEO of 'Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Stavropol' and current adviser to the CEO of 'Gazprom Mezhregiongaz' has been accused of misappropriation of gas deliveries worth 30 billion rubles. Although at a first glance this episode has nothing in common with Chechnya's recent attempt to write off gas debts towards Gazprom, the article points out that both events reveal serious problem within Gazprom and its daughter company Mezhregiongaz. The first issue is about the weakness of corporative filters and security controls: how is it possible that Raul Arashukov for 12 years, by using his ties and relatives in the North Caucasus, has managed to hide a criminal scheme and to reach high positions in Mezhregiongaz? The second problem lies in the fact that Mezhregiongaz is a small reflection of Gazprom, which in its turn is a reflection of the State. Gazprom and the State are, for some people at the top, like big cows to 'squeeze' until the last drop of milk.
Spatial development strategy signed: The Strategy was approved by the Government. Strategy speaks of the identification of regional potential economic specializations and identification of GDP accelerating growth centres. The Government concentrates on the following 5 geographically strategic territories in its Strategy: Crimea, Northern Caucasus, Kaliningrad region, Far East and Arctic region. These regions will receive additional state benefits. (Kommersant)
Opposition activist Navalny releases new investigation: Opposition activist Alexei Navalny has released a new investigation into corruption in the North Caucasus. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, meanwhile, reports that an information campaign aimed at discrediting Navalny has been launched. (NG)
Actions in memory of slain opposition politician Nemtsov held in Russia: Reportedly, more than 10,000 people took part in a march on Sunday in Moscow in memory of slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was killed on 27 February 2015 in central Moscow. Police put the number of participants in about 6,000 people. According to the OVD project, one person was briefly detained at the action in Moscow. Rallies were also held in a number of other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg. (ii) Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses the opposition party Parnas' initiative to hold a nationwide referendum on 16 March on President Putin's policies. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MK, NG; ovdinfo.org; see also editorial lines)
North Caucasus: three militants killed in Kabardino-Balkaria: Three suspected militants have been killed in an operation in Nalchik, the National Anti-terrorism Committee (NAK) said on Wednesday. According to the NAK, the militants planned to perpetrate a terrorist attack in Kabardino-Balkaria. (RG, RIAN)