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PRESS TOP 5: Monday, September 26

September 26, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Internet traffic decryption, non-state pension funds, progress in Minsk talks, tax hikes and the new Glonass satellite
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© EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

 

Kommersant: Decryption of Russians’ Internet traffic officially confirmed

A member of the Presidential administration’s working group Natalya Kasperskaya has officially confirmed that the authorities are discussing mechanisms for decrypting and analyzing all of Russian citizens’ Internet traffic, according to Kommersant that reported on the issue earlier citing its sources.

"The topic of transferring the SSL-certificate to the authorities was discussed, and it is being lobbied by the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, and the Federal Security Service, which need it," Kasperskaya told the newspaper. "And this requirement of the certificate is absolutely the right thing, because now we have a portion of the Internet, which is completely not controlled domestically… Data collection is carried out on a global scale by many entities, and unfortunately, these "entities" are outside our country, which is completely wrong," she added.

Russia’s federal executive body for overseeing mass communications and the Federal Security Service (FSB) did not give further details to Kommersant on this information.

According to one of the newspaper’s sources, the FSB advocates decrypting all traffic in real time and analyzing it based on key parameters, for example inquiries with the word "bomb", and the ministries insist on traffic decryption only for those users who attract attention of law enforcement authorities.

 

Izvestia: Central Bank sees no decline in non-state pension funds’ financial stability in long term

The financial sustainability of non-state pension funds shows no cause for concerns in the next 5-10 years, and there are no grounds for a serious decline, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central Bank Vladimir Chistyukhin said in an interview with Izvestia.

"If you are referring to the financial stability of non-state pension funds, currently it is not causing any problems, and in the next 5-10 years we see no grounds for its serious deterioration," Chistyukhin said, answering the newspaper’s question about activities of state pension funds in the move to modernize the pension contribution system.

According to the central bank official, an inflow of funds will reduce the cost of non-state pension funds’ services for the public. "This business does not have a pronounced effect of economies of scale. The Central Bank's function here is just to ensure that the savings are distributed to people’s accounts, rather than a disproportionate growth of non-state pension fund’s profits. I think we have enough regulatory and supervisory authority in order to achieve these goals," Chistyukhin told Izvestia.

According to him, in addition non-state pension funds must work on improving their customers’ awareness. "People must know what is happening with their money and how they can control it," the Deputy Chairman said.

Earlier, the Russian Central Bank and the Finance Ministry submitted proposals on modernizing the contribution pension system, promoting the concept of "individual pension capital."

 

Kommersant: Portuguese Foreign Minister stresses importance of any progress in Minsk accords

Portugal believes that a dynamic dialogue leading to any progress in fulfilling the Minsk Agreements must be taken into account when talking about anti-Russian sanctions. Meanwhile, Russia and Portugal intend to increase the number of flights between the two countries, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said in an interview with Kommersant.

The Portuguese top diplomat met earlier with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. According to the minister, the sanctions against Russia were not discussed during the meeting, as Portugal’s position on the issue is well-known. "It is necessary to fulfill the Minsk Agreements, their implementation is a needed and sufficient step for lifting the sanctions," Silva told Konmmersant.

"Any progress on the Minsk Agreements must be considered. At the same time, it should be a parallel process by both parties. We need a dynamic dialogue. Like Germany, we believe that the sanctions are only a means to promote a political solution to the conflict. Any steps in the right direction should be rewarded," the minister added.

"We discussed bilateral relations and decided to increase the number of flights between Moscow and Lisbon. We are also preparing a new agreement on economic and technical cooperation," Silva noted. The acting document was signed in 1987.

"As for trade and economic relations - in the first semester of this year, trade turnover between the two countries increased by 23% year-on-year," Silva told the newspaper.

 

Vedomosti: President Putin rejects tax hikes

At a recent meeting, President Putin decided to keep the tax regime unchanged until 2019, six federal officials told Vedomosti. According to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, the issue of tax redistribution was discussed at the meeting.

"Various proposals from the Finance Ministry on increasing the tax burden on businesses and the public were discussed in the summer, but the debate became particularly intense in the fall," Vedomosti wrote. According to the newspaper, the draft budget for the next three years will be submitted to the State Duma without fundamental changes in taxes. However, due to lower oil prices, budget revenues have dropped to 12.3 trillion rubles ($192.31 bln), according to the Ministry of Finance’s forecasts.

An official from the financial and economic bloc told Vedomosti, that under these circumstances, the chief difficulties with the budget would haunt the Finance Ministry in 2018. "With oil prices at $40 per barrel, the hole in the budget for 2018-2019 would exceed 2 trillion rubles ($31.28 bln)," another federal official told the newspaper, who hopes however, that oil will be more expensive.

"Costs must be cut even more. There are no actual reserves and no places to get the money. The alternative would be to borrow more, but then the budget’s interest costs would rise," Alexander Suslin from the Economic Expert Group told the newspaper.

"The budget is a simple thing. You either have to increase revenues, or reduce costs," Vladimir Tikhomirov from BCS Financial Group told Vedomosti. "If the aim is not to raise taxes, it is necessary to increase the debt - political consent was obtained. It is not being announced publicly, but the Finance Ministry and the government hope that oil prices will be above $40," Tikhomirov concluded.

 

Izvestia: New Glonass satellite equipped with Russian components to be available by 2020

The Glonass-K-2 navigation satellite made from Russian components will roll off production lines by 2020. The satellite is currently manufactured using mainly imported electronics, CEO and Chief Designer at the JSC Information Satellite Systems - Reshetnev Company Nikolay Testoedov stated in an interview with Izvestiya.

"The development work has begun. Glonass-K-2 will be based on domestically made components, its mass production will start in late 2019 - early 2020," Testoedov said. "It is difficult to make the satellite 100% Russian. It would be more accurate to talk about achieving guaranteed availability and independence from imports, when at the slightest threat of any disruption in supplies, we would be able to shift quickly to using our components," he told Izvestia.

According to Izvestia, the decision to redesign the Glonass-K-2 board equipment with Russian electronic components and new circuitry was adopted after the United States had imposed anti-Russian sanctions. According to Testoedov, the company considers the possibility of procuring alternative electric radio products from China. "So far, the company does not directly purchase Chinese electric radio products. But we are studying this issue very closely, carefully examining the ways China and Russia can cooperate in terms of exchange and mutual supplies of an electronic component base," he said.

Currently, there are 3 experimental Glonass-K satellites in orbit manufactured using mainly imported electronics. "We have seven Glonass M devices in stock ready to use. We will operate them as necessary. Then Glonass-K satellites will be set into orbit," Testoedov told the newspaper.

 

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

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