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Press review: Moldova, Ukraine box in Transnistria and Russia rolls out electric aircraft

July 18, 2017, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Tuesday, July 18

1 pages in this article
Tiraspol, Transdniestria

Tiraspol, Transdniestria



Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Chisinau eyes path to NATO by forcing Transnistria’s reintegration

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip opened a joint Moldovan-Ukrainian checkpoint at the Ukrainian-Transnistrian border. In the future, there will be another 13 checkpoints and Transnistria will find itself surrounded, unable to leave or enter without asking Chisinau and Kiev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.

Transnistrian President Vadim Krasnoselsky told the newspaper that for Chisinau regaining control over its eastern border is a step towards joining NATO and the EU, and a blow to Russia’s interests.

The fact that Moldova and Ukraine have established a joint border and customs posts at the Transnistrian section of the border means a complete economic blockade of the unrecognized republic, Krasnoselsky told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

"The checkpoint on the Transnistrian section of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is Moldova's step towards joining NATO and the EU," he explained, adding that "Moldova’s practical closure of the Transnistrian border with Ukraine is a blow to Russia's interests - 220,000 Russian citizens live in Transnistria. Travelling to the Odessa region will be restricted for them, and their rights will be infringed. I will defend their rights. I hope that Russia will not abandon its citizens," he said.

"It is economic strangulation of Transnistria, and this is a consolidated decision of the entire Moldovan government. President Igor Dodon, who advocates dialogue with Transnistria and restoring ties with Russia, also supported the idea of ​​establishing joint Moldovan-Ukrainian checkpoints. The decision on the checkpoints was taken in violation of the 5+2 format (Moldova, Transnistria - as the parties, Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE - as the mediators, the EU and the United States - as the observers),” Krasnoselsky said, adding that Ukraine under these conditions turns into an interested party from the settlement’s guarantor.

Kommersant: UAC sets sights on achieving sustainable profit in 2018

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) plans to achieve sustainable profit in 2018, UAC President Yury Slyusar said in an interview with Kommersant.

"With consistent state support, for the first time in 2016 the corporation approached the breakeven level, and in 2017 we intend to consolidate this trend in order to achieve sustainable profitability in 2018. This will allow us to join financially stable companies, offering us new opportunities to work with banks, investors, and shareholders," Slyusar said.

According to Slyusar, the share of civilian output in the corporation’s total production volume in 2017 will slowly creep up. "This share reached 17% in 2016, this year we expect a little more - 18%. Hikes in the number of "non-military" programs in the portfolio are our main trend," UAC President said, pointing out that the corporation's strategy requires achieving growth in the share of civilian production to 45% by 2025.

UAC’s net loss under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in 2016 amounted to 4.481 bln rubles ($75.5 mln), 24.5 times less than in 2015. The UAC strategy foresees a break-even point by 2025 at the latest.


Izvestia: Chilly summer may dampen Russian vegetable exports

The Russian Federal Customs Service (FTS) recorded a several-fold surge in vegetable exports over 1H 2017, Izvestia wrote citing a letter by the Agriculture Ministry, available to the newspaper. Business representatives believe that the main reason for rising exports is an increase of production volumes, noting however that in the future this trend is unlikely to continue.

"Russia produced more vegetables, so as a result we saw a surge in imports. Although now it would be best to think about weaning (ourselves) off imported products, we still import about 1 mln tonnes of vegetables annually," President of the National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Producers Sergey Korolyov told the newspaper. According to him, so far domestic production has not yet developed sufficiently to completely ditch imports.

"Speaking about prospects, I would like to note that sustaining the rise in exports this year directly depends on the weather conditions. If temperatures stay at the same low level, the harvest is unlikely to be good," Korolyov said.

President of the National Trade Association Vadim Zuykov told Izvestia that growth of vegetable exports is associated with the mounting ruble exchange rate. "Perhaps, it is more profitable for domestic producers to sell tomatoes and cucumbers abroad. Although in general this trend is very strange. And it is unlikely to continue," he said.

President of the National Union of Food Exporters Dmitry Bulatov told the newspaper that Russian supplies to non-CIS countries are not significant. "These countries include France, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Italy. Still, the supplies to Belarus, Armenia and other EAEU countries are larger," he noted.

Bulatov added that, according to the National Union of Food Exporters, Russia exports tomatoes raked in $500,000 a year, while cabbage rang up $100,000, and cucumbers took in less than $100,000.


Kommersant: Top financial institutions abandon Russia’s chief banking lobby

A conflict brewing since the spring in the Association of Russian Banks (ARB) - the main professional association in this sphere - which resulted in a uproar might bring about its liquidation. Eight leading banks announced their exodus from the ARB, accusing its President Garegin Tosunyan of populism. That said, bankers admit that they are still looking for a replacement and there might already be a candidate for that top position once a new organization arises, Kommersant wrote.

Sberbank, VTB, VTB 24, Rosselkhozbank, Gazprombank, Otkritie Bank, Binbank and Alfa Bank have officially announced their withdrawal from the ARB on July 17, distributing a letter with the signatures of their leaders. According to the communication, in recent years, "the association’s effectiveness has been steadily declining." Garegin Tosunyan told Kommersant the letter had come as a surprise to him. "Except for the situation with Alfa Bank, there were no conflicts with anyone, nothing happened, no complaints were received," he explained.

However, Tosunyan suggested that big bankers are not happy with the principle "one member of the association - one vote." "No one dominates, all points of view are considered in an open mode," he said. At the same time, according to the newspaper, with respect to membership fees, participants are not equal - its volume depends on the bank's capital - that is, the authors of the letter paid the most. Formally, the ARB’s history does not end with the banks’ exit; still the association's reputation has been clearly undermined.

The bankers who did not sign the letter officially do not share its authors’ opinion, but they also do not support Tosunyan. In fact, a source told Kommersant that large banks don’t really need lobbyists, since they "are perfectly able to agree at among themselves".

According to Kommersant sources, large banks however do not intend to abandon the idea of a general lobbyist. According to Alfa-Bank Vice President Vladimir Senin, there are two possible paths - create a new association or reform the Russian association of banks.

Source told the newspaper that a choice will be made within 2-3 weeks, but there is already a prime candidate for the role of the new association’s head - First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Georgy Luntovsky.


Izvestia: Russia’s hybrid electric aircraft engine to be presented at MAKS airshow

The Zhukovsky Institute National Research Center began developing key technologies that will be used to create an electric domestic aircraft. Developing a serial electric engine for an airplane for 9-19 passengers would be the Center’s first step, Izvestia wrote.

Director General of Zhukovsky Institute Andrey Dutov told the newspaper that the engine’s model will be presented for the first time at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2017, which will be held from July 18 to 23 in Zhukovsky outside Moscow. Dutov added that the program’s initial step has been put into place for three years.

Director General of Baranov Central Institute of Aviation Motor Development Mikhail Gordin told Izvestia that electric aircraft is the most significant aviation innovation after the introduction of a jet engine."Implementing the concept of a fully electric aircraft will allow airplane developers to boost the level of reliability, ease of operation, environmental friendliness, and reduce operating costs," Gordin said.

Experts interviewed by Izvestia noted that creating innovative electrical technology in aircraft construction will bolster the development of other industries, including shipbuilding and the production of railway and automotive equipment, in particular, in the area of increasing autonomy, power, and improving size.

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

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