Russian press review, 13.03.07

Russian press reports on how the country’s government tackles corruption, tries to find out what makes Russian natural resources unattractive to foreign investors and also writes about a new activity at state universities. 

Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry has given corruption another severe blow, reports Rossiyskaya Gazeta. The ministry has drawn up a list of people banned from taking up state or managerial positions. The list includes all those ever convicted of work-related abuses and those legally banned from heading a company. Starting from April 1, employers must check the list before hiring a new director or manager. Those who fail to do so and end-up hiring people on the blacklist will be fined. The paper says the move is aimed at preventing those with criminal records from taking on positions of responsibility which could possibly put them back on the road to corruption.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes Russia's laws on the use of natural resources needs to be streamlined. It says the different organizations regulating the exploitation of Russia's natural deposits work completely independently. The result is that there are multiple laws for certain areas and none at all for others. It means companies have to spend extra time and money to ensure they obey all the rules, which can put many of them off. The paper goes on all these administrative barriers are making Russian natural resources unattractive to foreign investors.

Novie Izvestia writes about a new activity at state universities. Since the onset of a lack of high school funding, most universities are earning money by leasing out some of their grounds to retailers. It adds to the university’s budget while students successfully combine education with shopping. Some find it convenient but others say it is damaging to the quality of education. But the paper says until the 30% financing deficit is reduced, students will continue to have the opportunity to choose where to buy their break-time sandwich or to buy a new necklace between lectures.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta also takes a looks at the bureaucratic nightmare facing people who choose to have sex changes. Basically it takes two steps. The first one is the physical change itself. The second is sorting out the documents. A person who has undergone surgery needs a medical certificate to prove he or she has changed gender. But currently there is no standard medical document. Law makers have told the Health Ministry to draw-up a standard sex-change certificate. Then Register Offices say they will be able to alter passports for all those who've decided they were in the wrong body.