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Press review: Reinforcements from Asia possible in Syria and Russia mulls data leak woes

June 23, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Friday, June 23

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© Russian Defense Ministry Press Office/TASS

Kommersant: Russia seeks Kazakh and Kyrgyz observers for Syria

One of the guarantor states of the ceasefire in Syria, Turkey, announced Russia’s new initiative - sending soldiers from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to the territory of the republic. According to Kommersant, the matter concerns a possible dispatch of observers who, together with Russian military police, will ensure the rule of law in the Syrian province of Idlib.

According to Kommersant sources in the military command and control agencies, it would be more accurate to talk about joint work of the Russian military police and the military from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan enforcing law and order in Idlib, but not about direct warfare. "Analysis showed actions of Russian military police battalions in Aleppo were effective," one of Kommersant sources said. "It was suggested to expand this practice for units of several countries. In addition, if the ceasefire regime is violated in the de-escalation zones, the opinion of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) observers would be important," the source said.

Experts interviewed by the newspaper suggest that Russia would like to receive support not only from its CSTO partners, but also from China. Beijing, however, prefers to refrain from any form of participation in the conflict, the paper writes.

"In addition to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, other CSTO countries might also participate, although it would be beneficial for Russia to bring in China. Beijing, however, is unlikely to do this," Retired Colonel Viktor Murahovsky told Kommersant.

Kommersant source in the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed consultations with the Chinese military on participation in the Syrian campaign, but called the chances of making any positive decision "very slim."

 

Vedomosti: Qatar softens visa regime for Russian citizens

Russian citizens will be able to obtain a visa to Qatar without an invitation and approval of Qatar’s Interior Ministry, Vedomosti writes referring to the official statement of the Qatari Ministry the newspaper received.

Russians will be able to receive visas for one month upon arrival in Qatar. This will cost tourists 100 Qatari riyals ($27). In order to obtain a visa, a passport valid for at least six months after arrival, a hotel reservation, at least $1,500 and a return ticket are also necessary.

According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, in 2016, 66,000 tourists from Russia visited Qatar.

At the end of last year, Qatar softened the rules for staying in the country for tourists traveling through the capital of the country, Doha. At the discretion of the authorities, passengers of Qatar Airways with a transit between flights exceeding 5 hours might be allowed to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours without an entry visa. This does not cancel the need to obtain an entry visa for tourists, which in November 2016 led to massive denials of entry to the country for Russians.

 

Vedomosti: Russian government ready to subsidize loans for renewable energy sources

The Russian government is discussing subsidizing loan rates for projects in renewable energy. The issue was included in the country’s draft Energy Strategy-2035 among measures that will promote the development of renewable energy, Vedomosti writes.

Possible forms of concessional financing include three options: preferential funding of rates on bank loans, Development Bank (VEB) providing financing at rates below the market, or financing projects through a special fund for the development of renewable energy.

The government currently supports the development of renewable energy in Russia by means of capacity supply agreement, which guarantee investors a return with a base yield of 12%. At the same time, production of equipment for such projects should be localized by 65% by 2020.

"Usually, renewable energy projects are 70-80% financed by debt instruments, as Russian energy companies currently borrow money with rate of 10-11%," Renaissance Capital analyst Vladimir Sklyar told Vedomosti. "Taking into account the fact that Russia wants to increase the amount of electricity produced by renewable sources to 45 bln kWh per year by 2035, this amount will require about 17 GW of capacity. Then such a program would cost 1.85 trillion rubles ($30.09 bln). Thus, if we subsidize it at the level of 8-9%, then 25-27 bln rubles ($417.99 mln - $451.43 mln) of subsidies annually will be required to reduce the rate," Sklyar added.

 

Kommersant: France’s Safran ready to localize production of SSJ 100 in Russia

The French-Russian PowerJet (JV of Safran Aircraft Engines and Russia’s UEC Saturn), which produces SaM146 engines for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) aircraft, is considering the possibility of localizing additional production in Russia, President of the joint venture Marc Sorel told Kommersant at the Paris Air Show.

According to Sorel, the JV is ready to consider the possibility of partial localization in the Russian Federation by organizing foundry production of individual parts. Safran Group is interested in developing cooperation with Russia on other types of engines because Russia has highly qualified engineers and quality materials, Sorel told the newspaper.

PowerJet is now looking for partners in Russia that will produce additional components, Sorel told Kommersant, noting that the transfer of production to Russia is possible if there are any "competitive offers".

However, the company also needs an additional market - PowerJet is interested in delivering SaM146 engines for the SSJ 100 version with an increased capacity of up to 130 seats or for Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft. In addition, Safran is ready to include Russia in the chain of its supplies abroad.

Executive director of Aviaport agency Oleg Panteleev told the newspaper that cooperation of French engine manufacturers with UEC Saturn is long-term, not only for SaM146, but also for supplies of components for CFM engines. "At a time of ruble devaluation, growth of UEC Saturn’s share in SaM146, as well as a significant increase in the range and volume of supplies for Safran seems logical and justified," he added.

 

Izvestia: Companies will be obliged to report client personal data leaks

Russian Companies operating with personal data will have to inform the Ministry of Internal Affairs, telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor and users about hacking and any other leaks of client information. The companies will have to face administrative accountability in case of hiding the information, according to Izvestia. The bill was submitted to the State Duma on June 22.

According to the bill, if the operator fails to provide the information within one business day, it will face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($1,673).

Currently, data operators are not required to disclose the information about data leaks. According to Alexey Nagorny, CEO of information security company InfoWatch, each leak is a blow to the company's reputation, and it's easier to keep silent about such incidents.

"As for the penalty, 100,000 rubles is not a lot of money. And it will be easier for some companies to remain silent than to allow reputational risks," Nagorny told the newspaper. "On the other hand, it is not yet clear how the penalty will be calculated. Is this the amount for each victim or for failure to report the leak of any volume altogether?" he added.

Head of Russian Association of Electronic Communications Sergey Plugotarenko told Izvestia, that his association shares the state's concern about the leaks of personal data of Russian citizens.

"We believe informing the Internal Affairs Ministry is excessive. If Roskomnadzor received the information, and the incident has signs of a crime, the service can independently send an inquiry to the Ministry. In addition, the notification period should be extended - currently it is one business day. The law "On Personal Data" provides longer terms for other situations," Plugotarenko said.

According to InfoWatch, the number of personal information leaks in Russia in 2016 increased 80% compared to the previous year.

 

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

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