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Press review: Russia-US joint flights to Venus and a documentary that may help Viktor Bout

November 01, 2016, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Tuesday, November 1

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Planet Venus seen as a small black dot against the massive surface of the Sun

Planet Venus seen as a small black dot against the massive surface of the Sun

© EPA/Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA

 

Izvestia: Russia and US eyeing joint unmanned flights to Venus

An unmanned flight mission to Venus is being planned by Russia’s State Space Corporation (Roscosmos) which may be carried out in collaboration with NASA, Izvestia writes, since the Americans have confirmed their interest in this mission and have mapped out several flight plans together with Russian scientists, Lev Zelyony, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute, told the paper.

"In October, a joint working group came up with several flight strategies, in which the Russian and US jurisdictions complement each other," he said. "After a conversation that we had with NASA’s Deputy Administrator, Dava Newman, she confirmed her interest in the Venus D project. We have discussed possible cooperation on the implementation of the Venus D project with NASA for about two years now within the framework of a joint working group made up of Russian and US experts."

According to Zelyony, in recent years research of Venus has been overshadowed by projects to study Mars and the Moon. He added though that "this planet has its uncovered secrets, which are of considerable interest to scientists."

The Venus D mission may be launched in 2026 - that’s the date proposed by scientists. Interest shown by other countries increases the chances that the project could withstand possible budget cuts. So, NASA’s interest in Venus D is a major event for Roscosmos, the paper emphasized.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Credit crunch pushes Russian industry to near zero

During the first nine months of this year, Russia’s industrial production index grew by an insignificant 0.3% in a year-on-year basis, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes citing a monitoring by the Russian Economic Development Ministry.

According to the ministry, one of the factors adversely affecting Russia’s industrial production is the lack of available loans for both businesses and the population.

Experts interviewed by the paper noted that Russia’s industry has been affected by an array of factors, such as the sanctions, the ruble’s devaluation and a drop in demand for goods. Besides, a key factor for such stagnation is a low availability of loans for enterprises. "This is a key element that reduces economic growth and investment activities," said Vladimir Tikhomirov, Chief Economist at the BCS Financial Group. "Moreover, it can be an important driver of growth in economy and industry in the future, if the Central Bank copes with task of reducing inflation, which, in turn, will reduce the cost of loans for both companies and the population."

On the other hand, Andrei Koptelov, Director of the Center for Economic Research at Synergy University, believes that a key factor that could determine Russia’s industrial growth is entering foreign markets. "However, this is a difficult task, since Russian enterprises have no competitive advantages, both technologically and in terms of management models. That is, in most cases Russian products can only compete price-wise on Western markets," he explained.

 

Kommersant: Documentary sheds light on new evidence on Bout case

Russian businessman Viktor Bout is appealing for a review of his case in light of new evidence, Kommersant writes referring to a documentary about the links of Andrew Smulian, Bout’s accomplice, to US intelligence agencies.

Evidence comes from an unusual open source, The Notorious Mr. Bout documentary directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. The movie notes that Smulian may be an informant who worked on setting up Bout.

The New York Court of Appeals earlier began considering the complaint filed by Bout.

"The agents involved in the operation clearly stated that they had connections with Andrew Smulian, which means that there could be no conspiracy between Smulian and Bout aimed at committing a crime," Bout’s lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, told the paper.

According to Tarasov, the version that Smulian was involved in the sting operation from the very beginning is confirmed by the fact that after his arrest in Sofitel hotel, the Briton was extradited to the US with his consent within 11 hours.

"If the Court of Appeals rules in favor of Viktor Bout, the Russian citizen will probably face another trial, which will consider his case in the light of the new circumstances," said another representative of defense, Andrei Garkusha.

 

Izvestia: Kurds assist Russian experts in surveying northern Syria’s archeological treasures

Russian archeologists will be returning from an expedition to monitor the World Heritage Sites in Syria’s north later this week, Izvestia writes. The researchers’ camp is located in the Aleppo province, in city of Afrin, the capital of the self-proclaimed Kurdish region, Timur Karmov, the head of the expedition, informed the paper.

"We worked according to the agreements we have with the Kurds, at our own risk, one can say," he noted. "Sometimes we could hear artillery fire, but, in general, everything was quiet, no one shot at us, and we are being accompanied all the time. However, in some places our itinerary was just two kilometers away from the frontline. As for the Kurds, I was truly impressed by military units staffed entirely by young girls who are fighting the IS (banned in Russia) and terrorists no worse than men are."

Karmov added that there is an opportunity to establish cooperation with the local agencies, which, "in spite of very difficult conditions, are trying to monitor the monuments." "They provide invaluable assistance to us, for which we are very grateful."

The current expedition is part of Russia’s assistance to Syria, just like the previous one to Palmyra. It took place after the Russian Defense Ministry organized the experts’ delivery to the area through the Hmeymim air base.

The expedition’s main objective is to survey Jabal Semaan-4, a large archeological and architectural site dating back to the late Roman and early Byzantine era. Until recently, this area was cut off from the outside world by militants, but the local road has of late been reopened.

 

Vedomosti: City Hall looking to relocate businesses from downtown Moscow

Moscow’s municipal government experts have come up with a new idea to develop the capital’s real estate space, a source familiar with the situation has told Vedomosti. A documented plan drafted by them suggests accommodating business centers close to various transport facilities under construction, including the recently launched Moscow Central Circle railway, the paper writes, citing the document it has available.

The main problem Moscow is facing is structural disproportion. About 40% of jobs are concentrated in the downtown area, or the center, while it is home to 8-9% of Moscow’s population, according to Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Mayor of Moscow.

New business districts are due to appear in areas close to large transportation hubs. In all, plans are in the works to create 9 business areas, in locations where traffic thoroughfares intersect. Each area is supposed to offer up to 300,000 jobs as well as municipal buildings and housing areas. To shift the number of jobs from downtown Moscow, lucrative commercial and tax conditions for these new areas are in the cards.

"Encouraging the construction of new business centers outside Moscow’s Third Transport Circle is logical," said Olesya Dzyuba, Director of CBRE’s research department. "The development of transport infrastructure by opening the Moscow Central Circle, subway stations and new highways will improve transport accessibility outside the Third Transport Circle. However, tax incentives can only attract developers to this area if they are set for a long period of time."

 

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

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