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Press review: changes in Russian political tune and new strategies in fighting PR wars

November 10, 2016, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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A reception at Spaso House, the residence of the US Ambassador to Russia

A reception at Spaso House, the residence of the US Ambassador to Russia

© Vyacheslav Prokofiev/TASS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Trump’s victory may make Russia change its tune

Moscow’s rhetoric that has described the US as its chief adversary for quite some time can change as a result of Donald Trump’s victory in the US election, as evidenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first statements, saying that Moscow is ready for rapprochement with America, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

However, the authorities will not be able to renounce anti-Americanism altogether, Nikolai Mironov, the head of the Center for Economic and Political Reforms, told the paper. According to Mironov, Russian media will now start saying that "the Putin administration will be able to come to terms with the US."

On the other hand, Alexei Makarkin, First Vice President of the Center for Political Technologies, believes that it will depend on Trump’s actions whether the anti-US propaganda will be remain or disappear. "If he is well-disposed towards Russia, they will not criticize him, they will probably even praise him. There will be negative reports about the US elite, the military-industrial complex, Hillary Clinton and the ‘bad’ establishment."

Meanwhile, head of the Political Expert Group, Konstantin Kalachev, noted that "the intensity of the anti-American propaganda is likely to subside." "It turns out that it is not America that gave rise to enmity on our part but its inconsistency with our expectations. Now these expectations have come true, that was why the State Duma (lower house of parliament) applauded Trump’s victory."

 

Izvestia: Russian car exports in demand far beyond CIS

Russian automobile exports to countries that are not members of the Customs Union (Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus) doubled in the first eight months of this year, Izvestia writes. Due to the crisis, demand for Russian cars has plummeted, both domestically and in the CIS market, so car manufacturers are beginning to open new foreign markets for themselves.

According to the Autostat analytical agency, 19,200 cars were exported to these countries between January and August 2016 compared to 9,000 within the same period last year. The largest number of cars - more than 3,300 - was sold in Germany. Russian-made cars were also in demand in Egypt, Latvia, Lebanon, Hungary and China. The most popular brands were Lada, Volkswagen and Hyundai.

"The partial reorientation in Russian car exports in favor of non-CIS countries is primarily due to a drop in hydrocarbon prices and subsequent devaluation in the national currencies of most post-Soviet states, which led to a drop in consumer demand," Daniil Kirikov, Managing Partner of Kirikov Group, told the paper.

He noted though that once the economic situation stabilizes in Russia and in countries that are its traditional automobile clients "export flows are likely to be shifted towards supplies to CIS markets."

 

Kommersant: Moscow-Kazan railway’s modernization picking up steam

The Russian Cabinet wants the largest infrastructure project in the country’s modern history - the Moscow-Kazan High-Speed Rail - to be upgraded, Kommersant writes citing a letter sent to the relevant agencies by the government’s Department of Industry and Infrastructure.

The 770-kilometer-long Moscow-Kazan railway project worth 1.2 trillion rubles ($20 bln) is due to be carried out in two stages - Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod-Kazan.

Although negotiations with Chinese and German investors are in progress, government officials intend to double-check all key parameters, including passenger traffic, the cost and funding sources.

According to Pavel Ivankin, Director General of the Railway Transport Research Institute, the desire to modify the project before the development partner is chosen is a result of budgetary constraints forcing the government to use additional tools to reduce sovereign risks. In his view, a major risk is the volume of passenger traffic, which is affected by ticket prices.

 

Izvestia: Political experts to build strategies for Russia to fight PR war

Participants to the 2nd congress of the Russian Political Science Association opening in Kazan on November 11 are planning to send a report to the Russian Presidential Administration. Among the main issues that they will be addressing are how to sufficiently defend Russia from a media blitz and evaluating citizens’ political activism in the run-up to Russia’s presidential election campaign.

The upcoming event will bring together experts from Russia, Europe, Latin America and CIS-member-countries, in addition to seasoned political scientists and federal agencies representatives. A key issue on the agenda is adapting the current political system to a new world order.

"Officials today are seeking to rely on scientific data collected by researchers," says Elena Shestopal, Head of the Political Sociology and Psychology Department at Moscow State University. "This is relevant, because in the run-up to long preparations for the election campaign it is extremely important for the authorities to understand what is going on with the public and how people react to certain political decisions."

According to Andrei Manoilo, member of the Russian Security Council’s Scientific Council, Western info-wars have always been there. However, it has become more fierce after Crimea’s incorporation into Russia. "Literally a day after that, our country became a target of a PR war," he said.

 

Vedomosti: Italy’s Enel selling Russian electric power plants

Enel Russia, the power generation company, can be sold as one unit, the Inter RAO energy holding company is eyeing the possibility of such a deal, three informed sources told Vedomosti. The deal could be inked as early as mid-December, one of them said. The sum of the deal has not been disclosed.

Attracting foreign investors to the Russian energy sector was an important step, which pointed to the success of the reforms by the power major, RAO UES of Russia, says Natalia Porokhova, head of AKPA’s Research and Forecast Group. They were promised that the electric power industry would be liberalized. However, a lot was left to be done before the deadline, she said, adding that investors’ expectations about the future of the electricity market remain fairly conservative.

For the Inter RAO company, the purchase of Enel Russia looks logical, according to Vladimir Sklyar, an analyst with Renaissance Capital. If controlled by Inter RAO, Enel Russia’s power stations will be able to expect a 10-percent gas discount from Rosneft as well as coal from the Ekibastuz coal field (in northeastern Kazakhstan), since Inter RAO owns 50% of the Ekibastuz GRES-2 power station, the expert said.

Enel purchased a stake in Enel Russia in 2007 for 85 bln rubles (about 2.4 bln euros). The Italian company was the first foreign investor in the Russian electric power industry.

 

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

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