News From Russia: December 23rd, 2008!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 23.12.2008, Moscow 13:06:47.The investigative committee of the RussianWindows to Russia! Prosecutor’s Office has registered 162 civilian deaths caused by the military operations in South Ossetia that began on the night of August 7-8, the committee’s chief Alexander Bastrykin told journalists today. He added that 157 servicemen had been wounded, and 10 of the 48 soldiers killed were Russian peacekeepers. Bastrykin specified that the figures included only those victims whose personal data had been identified. Meanwhile, more than 5,000 civilians have been acknowledged as victims of the conflict. Over 1,000 houses were completely destroyed, and more than 2,000 buildings partially destroyed. “What was seen there causes shock, anger, and indignation,” Bastrykin said. He added that more than 33,000 South Ossetian residents had been forced to leave the republic, and the criminal case consisted of more than 300 volumes. Meanwhile, according to the South Ossetian leadership’s data, 2,100 civilians were killed in the conflict.

RBC, 23.12.2008, Moscow 16:53:53.The government commission for stabilizing the Russian economy has approved a list of more than 250 core companies that may receive government aid, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said following the commission’s meeting today. She explained that the list included large employers, companies providing the main source of employment for particular towns, infrastructure companies, and those possessing unique technologies. Nabiullina pointed out that the list was not set in stone: other companies could also be added, and the list itself could be amended.

RBC, 23.12.2008, Moscow 15:20:50.The Gas Exporting Countries Forum must play the key role in coordinating natural gas suppliers’ operations, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced during the organization’s meeting in Moscow today. He stressed that the forum’s operations were completely in line with international standards. The forum must become a permanent organization with its own statute and headquarters, the PM said, adding that this will enable it to represent the interests of gas producers and exporters worldwide. Russia believes that the forum must develop through interaction, which is especially important during the global financial and economic crisis, Putin concluded.

RBC, 23.12.2008, Moscow 13:38:51.The investigation into the genocide of South Ossetian residents may be completed by April 2009, at which point prosecutors intend to pass the case files on to the Russian Foreign Ministry, chairman of the investigative committee of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office Alexander Bastrykin told journalists today. He explained that the case files would be used during international court proceedings.

RBC, 23.12.2008, Moscow 13:31:34.In August 2008, representatives of the Ukrainian nationalistic organizations UNA (Ukrainian National Assembly) and UNSO (Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization) took part in the military operations in South Ossetia on Georgia’s side. In addition, subversive groups of Americans, Czechs and Turks also took part in the operations, said Alexander Bastrykin, head of the investigative committee of Russia’s Prosecutor’s Office.

RBC, 23.12.2008, Cairo 12:17:56.According to the latest data from the Russian embassy in Egypt, seven Russians died in a bus crash yesterday night near Egypt’s Dahab. The coach bound for Sharm-el-Sheikh overturned in the Sinai peninsula. The death toll includes five men and two women. Six people died at the site of the accident, and one more died later in the hospital. Between 15 to 17 more tourists were injured. Four Latvians were also on board with Russian tourists, the embassy said.

RBC, 23.12.2008, Moscow 10:43:00.Sberbank will defer payments on non-mortgage loans or offer the option of paying by installments for people losing their source of income, Sberbank’s head German Gref stated at a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday. Deferred or installment payment terms can be offered for a term from half a year to a year until the borrower regains his income. The option will be available to laid-off people or people suffering a sharp drop in income, provided it is confirmed by relevant documents, Gref stated.