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Press review: Putin’s agenda for his new term and San Marino as Russia’s window to Europe

May 08, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Tuesday, May 8

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© Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS

Izvestia: President Putin outlines agenda for his new six-year term

On Monday, Vladimir Putin took office as president of Russia for the fourth time. The domestic agenda and improving the quality of life for every citizen will become the priorities of Putin's new presidential term, according to his inaugural speech. Once again, he noted the need for a breakthrough and assured that the public’s well-being will occupy a central place in the country’s development. Experts told Izvestia that the president not only outlined a course for change, but also guaranteed stability when carrying out those key objectives.

In his speech, President Putin noted that he is acutely aware of his colossal responsibility to the country, its multinational people and history. The key objectives, according to him, include Russia entering a new stage of development and making breakthroughs. According to Head of the ISEP Fund Dmitry Badovsky, Putin expressed his determination to implement a plan to attain such quantum leaps. "This becomes the main subject and the most important goal of the presidential term," the expert told the newspaper.

Addressing the citizens, Putin noted that Russia must keep pace with global changes. The country is always open to dialogue and stands for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all states. However, it is necessary to conduct a modern social policy, tuned to the needs of every person, to improve the quality of education and health. Political scientists told Izvestia that the domestic policy is the semantic basis of the president's policy for the next six years. "Vladimir Putin's previous term was devoted to external issues, now, returning Russia to the position of a world superpower, and ensuring the security of our borders, it is time to move on to domestic affairs," Director of the International Institute of the Newest States Alexei Martynov told Izvestia.

The idea that people are the main force behind transformations - chiefly the citizens of Russia - was part of the president’s speech and was reiterated when Putin talked to representatives of a volunteer movement, Badovsky told the newspaper. "Using the notion of a unified team that can overcome anything and achieve anything, Putin not only extends it to the state apparatus, but society in general, and the entire country," he said. At the same time, Putin drew attention to the fact that the authorities now have a special responsibility.

According to Badovsky, this means that the government will be formed quite quickly and other organizational and personnel decisions will be made in a timely manner.

 

Izvestia: San Marino ready to become ‘window to Europe’ for Russian companies

The Republic of San Marino is bracing to transform into a "window to Europe" for Russian companies, since the country did not join the anti-Russian sanctions, San Marino's Secretary of State for Internal Affairs Guerrino Zanotti told Izvestia on the sidelines of the First international meeting in Almdorf. In addition, according to Banca Intesa Chairman Antinio Fallico, the European Union should participate in the Eurasian integration processes in order to create a safe and economically sound space from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

International sanctions and new duties imposed by the United States hamper the development of international economic cooperation. These restrictions have no place in the globalized world, Zanotti told Izvestia. According to him, San Marino is ready to become a "window to Europe" for Russian companies that want to enter the EU market, since San Marino did not join the sanctions against Russia. The republic is not part of the European Union, but has signed an association agreement, like other micro-states. However, San Marino does not intend to participate in those restrictive measures.

According to Zanotti, companies from Russia who want to enter the European market can do so through San Marino as its jurisdiction can be used as a service.

According to Antonio Fallico, it is necessary to develop a dialogue on the Eurasian continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Such work is carried out by the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and within the framework of the Chinese One belt One Road initiative, only EU countries are missing, he noted.

 

Kommersant: Bill on Russian countersanctions headed for deep discussion

On May 11, the Council on Legislation under the State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin is going to discuss the draft law on Russian countersanctions and after that the bill is expected to be approved on May 15 in the first reading. Volodin told Kommersant, on that same day the lawmakers will adopt the State Duma’s decree and will describe the main approaches to the bill's adoption in the second reading, so that the text of the project does not mention "specific industries or products."

Volodin told Kommersant, on May 11, representatives from the business community, sectoral ministries and experts within the legislative council of the State Duma would once again discuss the draft law, introduced on April 13. Its authors include Volodin himself, and the leaders of all State Duma factions. Several State Duma co-executing committees later criticized it, since the bill’s stance on imports of pharmaceuticals, as well as working conditions for energy companies raised concerns.

The relevant committee on economic policy will discuss the bill on May 11 after the meeting of the council, its chairman Sergey Zhigarev told Kommersant. He noted that the plan had "many amendments", in addition, it has "an unusually large number of co-executors," whose reviews should be studied in detail.

"Many people are inclined to make the norms of the bill universal without mentioning specific industries and products," Volodin told Kommersant. He noted that adopting the bill on May 15 and then adding notes for the second reading on the same day would help society "get an understanding of what we will eventually come to, and that we will adhere to the principles of transparency and dialogue."

Meanwhile, a source in the State Duma told the newspaper, that adopting the bill was necessary in order to save its authors and calm all interested parties.

 

RBC: Rostec, Sistema plan to create microelectronics joint venture by June

Rostec State Corporation and the investment giant Sistema plan to close a deal on establishing a joint venture in the field of microelectronics in late May or early June, which may include about 20 enterprises, RBC wrote, citing sources in both companies.

According to RBC sources, Sistema is going to control the joint venture, while Rostec, in addition to its assets, will have to pour another 1.5 bln rubles ($23.9 mln) into the project. The deal was planned to be wrapped up in March 2018, the newspaper noted, but this deadline was postponed because of the need to agree on legally binding documentation and complete a due diligence report. A source told RBC that corporate approvals are currently underway.

Sistema Spokesman Sergei Kopytov confirmed to the newspaper that the companies are "in the final stage of completing the deal", without going into any further details.

Originally, Rostec was expected to get control over the joint venture, but in mid-2017, Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov said that Sistema claimed control. He also added that if the value of the assets produced by Sistema in the joint venture would be lower than the cost of Rostec enterprises, Sistema would have to pour in funds. Chemezov also did not rule out attracting a financial partner to the deal, whose stake would be subsequently purchased by Sistema.

A source close to Sistema told RBC that the option of attracting a financial partner is still being considered, it may appear after the completion of the JV deal.

 

Vedomosti: Telegram ban in Russia harms 400 internet resources

The actions by Russia’s telecom watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, which tried to block the Telegram instant messaging service, adversely affected the operation of 400 Internet resources, the service told Vedomosti. Now the watchdog together with the Regional Public Center for Internet Technologies (ROCIT) works with those companies impacted by the ban.

According to the newspaper, the Russian watchdog said it believes that this was because Telegram and foreign hosting providers are evading the court ruling, and the watchdog makes local decisions that would allow the Internet resources of these companies to continue working.

The federal service began blocking Telegram on April 16, but the messaging service began using the resources of cloud hosting providers Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The Russian media watchdog responded by blocking entire subnets of IP-addresses, and innocent services that also used it were blocked.

Numerous reports of failures in the work of Internet services forced the watchdog to open a hotline on April 20. According to Vedomosti, the federal service is not revealing the exact number of complaints, but reports that only 1,300 calls indicated specific Internet resources or IP-addresses that were blocked. The remaining several tens of thousands were either outright spam, or letters without any specifics, the service affirmed. Verification of addresses showed that the operations of 400 resources had been affected by the efforts to block Telegram, RBC wrote.

 

TASS is not responsible for the material quoted in these press reviews

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