Russian press review 20.11.06

Russian press devotes its pages to WTO accesion deal between Russia and the US and its consequences, expected crisis on the Russian grocery market, fight with smoking habit among Russian schoolchildren.

Entering the WTO has two sides for the Russian economy – one good, one bad.

And the worry is that the negative effect will be on the Russian manufacturing industry – or so writes “NezavIsimaya Gazeta” daily.

The reason they give is an expected increase in imported goods on the Russian market.

WTO accession will also inevitably affect a number of industries, including agriculture, food and pharmaceuticals.

However, the paper points out it's best if those losses are simply accepted if Russia wants to strengthen its position on the world market.

“Novye Izvestia” newspaper warns its readers of an impending crisis in Russia's grocery market.

Last week, the Russian government approved a regulation decreasing foreign participation in Russia's grocery retail business.

And once most of the foreign vendors leave the grocery market in Russia, prices for some products most certainly will go up, some imported products will disappear from the shelves.

And the Northern regions will be hardest hit, as almost all fruit there is imported.

The paper also asks who'll man the market stalls if not migrants?

“Novye Izvestiya” also writes about a move against smoking which started in schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Some teenage pupils have signed a declaration saying they will not smoke. If the children succeed in staying away from cigarettes for the next 5 months, they'll each receive a prize of 50 thousand rubles, which is about two thousand dollars!

Though Russian legislation bans smoking in schools and universities, around 80% of Russian pupils try smoking at some point.

The paper quotes experts blaming TV and radio for promoting smoking as part of a “glamorous” lifestyle.
“Vedomosti” business daily writes that Russians spend more on celebrating the New Year holiday than any other nation in the world, .

The paper publishes the results of an annual Deloitte survey into consumer activity, which includes Russia for the first time.

Russians, it seems, spend up to thirteen percent of their annual income on presents, food, and amusements at New Year, while the figure for the Irish, for example, is much less – at 4%.

Deloitte’s spokesman says the record holiday expenses in Russia can be explained by the length of the New Year holidays, which last 10 days.