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Press review: third force in Donbass, Bashneft reshuffles and border crossing fees

October 13, 2016, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Thursday, October 13

1 pages in this article


Vedomosti: Rosneft reshuffles Bashneft’s team

Having sealed the deal on purchasing Bashneft’s 50.08% stake for 329.7 bln rubles, Rosneft is gearing up for the extraordinary general meeting scheduled for December 16, Vedomosti business daily writes with reference to sources on Thursday. The plan is to completely reshuffle the board, as the oil giant is not going to keep any of Bashneft’s present top managers, the newspaper says. Andrey Shishkin, Rosneft’s Vice President, is expected to be elected as new president for a five-year term, a source told Vedomosti. Other board members are bound to be Rosneft employees as well.

The change of management is likely to spark anxiety on the market and increase recommendations to sell, as no one knows how the new board will behave, a source in one of Russia’s banks told the newspaper. According to Sergey Patrakeev, a partner at Lidings Law Firm, the dismissal of a whole team the day right after the deal does not seem strange as such steps are usually agreed prior to the transaction. A source in Bashneft told Vedomosti that no announcements have been made in the company yet, as all employees are packing up their belongings. Bashneft’s present team has a reputation that is among the finest on the market, while Executive Director Alexander Korsik enjoyed much authority and had been known for having an independent viewpoint, Vedomosti writes.

Meanwhile, following the deal, Rosneft may launch negotiations with other investors, including those from China, Andrey Polishchuk from Raiffeisenbank says, adding that strategically Chinese investors are ready to buy a stake in Russia’s biggest oil producer.


Izvestia: Ukrainian army units sink into internal strife, fire on each other

The radical nationalist battalions, particularly the ultranationalist Right Sector and Azov, have now started to shell the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces in the area of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Eduard Basurin, a representative of the DPR’s Operational Command, told Izvestia that Ukrainian military are trying to brace themselves for the upcoming cold season from behind the lines. "Speaking about preparations for the winter season, the process has been poorly established there. The Ukrainian military are providing themselves with coal and splitwood by snatching those resources from locals, in other words, looting," Basurin said, adding that as the situation has been exacerbating, artillery fire is being used day and night at the moment.

According to Basurin, it seems like the third force - the extremist nationalist battalions - on the contact line is not controlled by the country’s high command. "Azov has just arrived here, Donbass is here, which has led to an escalation. We also see that they are attacking the positions of the Ukrainian military forces," he noted.

DPR’s Human Rights Ombudsman Darya Morozova told Vedomosti that battalions and the Ukrainian military forces have been locking horns from the very beginning of the conflict, which demonstrates that Kiev’s government has lost total command of the military. Also, she said, the Ukrainian forces also attacking the position of the extremist nationalist groups. "This shows that the Ukrainian authorities do not control their armed forces. Battalions frequently do not obey the government," she added.

Still, Basurin says there is hope that the Normandy group will meet soon. "Probably they will be able to take measures to stop escalation on the line of contact," he told the newspaper.


Izvestia: New UN Secretary General Guterres has deep insight into organization's fine points

The newly-appointed United Nations Secretary General is deeply involved in the complicated mechanism of this global organization, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and Deputy Secretary General Yuri Fedotov told Izvestia. "Antonio Guterres is very active, skilled and experienced," he said, adding that the new appointment would benefit the organization.

"The UN is constantly being reformed as it is a living organism. I think with Guterres in place, the process of the UN’s adjustment to new challenges will continue," Fedotov said. However, he does not expect the new Secretary General to "carry out reforms for the sake of reforms." "I would not say that he is a reformer in his nature. The UN has to adjust to new challenges and threats all the time. I think he is aware of the fact and this will lead in the right direction," he added.

Guterres, Portugal’s former Prime Minister had held the position of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005-2015. He was one of the first candidates to enter the race and won all the six rounds of preliminary voting that took place at the Security Council over the past several months. Now, the Portuguese diplomat has to get an approval at the General Assembly, after which his official appointment will take place. The powers of the outgoing Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon will expire on December 31, 2016.


Kommersant: Russia to charge border crossing fees for vehicles and freight trains

The Transport Ministry has put forward an initiative to offset expenses on reconstruction, exploitation and provision of facilities for border crossing points, a source familiar with the issue told Kommersant. Another source told the newspaper that a fee might be introduced during the second half of next year. The plan is to set up one or several operators for payment collection. Earlier, the ministry said that a total of 250 bln rubles would be needed for upgrading border crossing points.

Market players are skeptical about the initiative and note that this would be an added burden that businesses would have to shoulder. According to Director of Global Supply Chain department at FM Logistic Aleksey Misailov, "as usual, the consumer will pay ‘extra’ for a service, since those direct expenses are related to logistics." However, DPD’s Head of Logistics in Russia, Dmitry Voevodin, explained to the newspaper that "businesses are ready to carry a reasonable burden" if the border crossing time is reduced.


Kommersant: Cybercrooks pilfer 350 mln rubles from Russian accounts using Android viruses

From April 2015 to March 2016 the amount of funds stolen from Russian banking accounts using viruses for Android OS mobile devices had totaled 348.6 mln rubles, Kommersant writes citing a report by the Group-IB. The company is one of the global leaders in preventing and investigating high-tech crimes and online fraud. "The volume of theft soared by 471% compared with the same period in 2014-2015," the report stated.

Around 350 users of Android-devices daily becomes victims of such attacks in Russia, the newspaper writes. Also, the number of dangerous applications for Androids is rising. Trojan programs help "install unnoticed scumware to the user’s device, when loading a hacked website," Kommersant says. Group-IB forecasts the amount of similar robberies will surge by three-digit rates worldwide in the future.


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

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