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Press review: US pushes for new anti-Russia sanctions and Russia's military export in 2016

December 05, 2016, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Monday, December 5

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© Win McNamee/Getty Images

 

Kommersant: Russian president to unveil provisional rates of 2016 arms sales

President Vladimir Putin is set to hold a meeting on military technical cooperation in the near future, Kommersant daily wrote on Monday citing two top defense plant managers and an official invited to the meeting. A source in the presidential administration said the event is scheduled for December 9. President is expected to announce preliminary rates of the country’s arms sales for 2016, the newspaper said.

According to the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, over 8M 2016 Russia’s total export of defense products reached $8 bln, in line with the same period in 2015. Last year’s arms sales amounted to $14.5 bln while product portfolio topped $50 bln, making Russia the second-biggest global arms supplier after the United States. An official in the military technical cooperation system told Kommersant that Russia is likely to see similar results for this year, as well. "Product shipment will be on the rise closer to the end of the year so we expect to reach total revenues of at least $14 bln and $50-55 bln worth of firm orders in the portfolio," the official said, adding that the final results for the whole year will be announced in March-April 2017.

In 2016, Russia’s traditional partners in the military and technical industry have been the most active customers, with India and China taking first place, followed by Egypt, Iraq and Algeria. According to Kommersant, in 2017 the plan is to boost cooperation with new partners, among them Tanzania, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and others. Also, next year will see the formation of an after-sales system as 11 big holding structures will obtain the right for independent international commercial transactions, a source in the aviation industry told the newspaper. Currently, only Russia’s top arms exporter Rosoboronexport has this right.

 

Izvestia: US Congress pushing forward with anti-Russia package

The House of Representatives has moved to further stoke anti-Russian sentiment by passing a bill on tackling the so-called hidden hand of the Russian Federation. The document supported by 390 congressmen, is set to restrict the movement of Russian diplomats across the United States. Now, the outgoing administration of Barack Obama is seeking to approve the anti-Russia package in order to complicate relations between US President-elect Donald Trump and Moscow, Izvestia daily writes citing a source in the Republican party close to Trump’s transition team.

According to the source, the 45th president of the United States has no such law in his plans.

"Donald Trump and his administration have never intended and are not intending to pass such bills. This is not part of our agenda. The President-elect is going to deal exceptionally with internal issues in first months. The current administration is passing documents and assuming measures that have nothing to do with America’s interests. We’re going to revise them. President-elect already said during his presidential campaign that [Barack Obama’s] policy will be revised," the source said.

The US bill on the budget for intelligence services in 2017 totaling $70.3 bln that has been passed by the House of Representatives, contains two items related to Russia. The proposed law calls for the creation of a special committee for "countering active measures assumed by Russia to create a hidden effect," and restricts Russian diplomats from moving freely within the territory of the United States. The document is to be considered by the Senate in the coming days, and submitted to the President for signing if the higher chamber approves it.

 

Kommersant: Kiev bracing for Moscow’s suspension of Ukrainian gas transit

The gas transport system between Russia and Ukraine, which was constructed for transmitting up to 288 bln cubic meters of Russian gas per year, is about to be finished off as Kiev said it would abandon plans to modernize its gas pipelines, Kommersant writes. The country’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz refused to buy equipment worth $156 mln for modernizing three gas-compressor stations in Central Ukraine. According to the company, the equipment "could be used for the reconstruction of compressor stations involved only in transporting gas in the direction of the Black Sea." However, "taking into consideration the agreement between Russia and Turkey on implementation of the Turkish Stream project, which is set to replace the transit of Russian gas to Turkey via the Ukrainian territory this investment is not reasonable."

Russia’s gas giant, Gazprom, has also announced plans to scrap another transit route through Ukraine. Doing so this would mean sure death for the gas transit system, which used to have the world’s biggest capacity, a source in the industry told Kommersant. "The gas transit system will most likely to be used for scrap as the gas producer and the gas transit carrier have failed to reach an agreement," he said.

For Ukraine, apart from the loss of around $2 bln per year, this will means a mountain of technical and economic problems, the newspaper says. It will be difficult to use the reverse scheme for receiving gas from the European Union for western Ukraine, and next to impossible for eastern Ukraine. However, the situation bears risks for Gazprom as well, since neither Turkish Stream, nor Nord Stream 2 have been constructed and even granted all the necessary permits and agreements. The South Stream case and the crisis with Ankara have demonstrated how fast the fate of such projects may change, yet in the meanwhile Europe’s gas consumption may surge, Kommersant writes.

 

Izvestia: Mir payment system tests cutting-edge secure electronic transaction technology

Russia's Mir national payment system has become the first to test the smart 3D-Secure 2.0 transaction checkout system, Izvestia said with reference to several market players. A representative of the National Payment Card System (NPCS) who confirmed the information said that a few Russian banks are participating in the testing. According to Izvestia, which cites its industry sources, at least 10 lenders are involved in the matter.

"The national card payment system has launched the testing of the new EMV 3D-Secure 2.0 technology as its base identification system for e-commerce and tele-collection. It is based on a principally new approach, taking into consideration the level of technical development and consumer behavior," the NPCS representative told Izvestia.

Initially, the new 3D-Secure 2.0 technology may be introduced on a grand scale in Russia and internationally not earlier than in 2018.

 

Media: Kremlin embarks on shift in policy towards regions

With a year and a half left to go before the Russian presidential elections, First Deputy Chief of the Presidential Staff Sergey Kiriyenko is reforming the work of the internal affairs department, the largest unit of the presidential administration, Vedomosti business daily reports. According to two sources in the administration, Kiriyenko plans to change the functions of the regional bloc, the principles of its cooperation with governors and the evaluation framework. A whole new division may be formed later for dealing with elections in Russia’s regions, both sources said.

The new criteria of evaluating governors’ work will be based on each region’s economic results and the governor’s electoral ratings, RBC writes citing its sources in Kremlin. In the near future three lists of regions will be submitted to President Putin: those with positive, negative and vague results. On the base of those lists, the President may decide on dismissing any governor.

 

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

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