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Press review: Eastern Economic Forum kicks off and Syrian army liberates IS-captured city

September 06, 2017, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Wednesday, September 6

1 pages in this article
© Artyom Korotayev/TASS Host Photo Agency

Media: Experts assess prospects of Russia’s property lawsuit against US

Moscow can file a lawsuit with an American court over the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the United States, this is stipulated by Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, some legal experts confirmed in an interview with RBC commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks on the issue.

On Tuesday, Putin instructed the Russian Foreign Ministry to file a lawsuit against the US over the seized diplomatic property making it clear it could be filed in an American court.

The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states that no one can be deprived of property "without due process of law," Cliff Burns, a lawyer at Bryan Cave in Washington, DC, told the paper. Russia can use the amendment arguing that, by restricting the use of its diplomatic property, the US government has actually seized that property, Burns pointed out. However, Russia is unlikely to win this lawsuit, he stressed, as the US government will emphasize that it did not seize the property and only restricted its use by Russia based on foreign policy considerations, he explained.

Alexander Domrin, Professor of the Higher School of Economics, noted he is skeptical about the prospects of this suit. "The American court can always refer to the ‘political question’ doctrine, which implies that such issues should be resolved at the level of the two countries’ executive bodies," he said, adding that courts in London or Stockholm could be more impartial and independent in that case.

On the other hand, Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov, Professor of International Law, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that there are lawyers and law firms in the US that have experience in legal protection of Soviet and, currently, Russian interests. "The issue at hand is the other country’s property. There are precedents in the practice of courts of different levels, as high as the US Supreme Court, which could be used by Russian lawyers," he said.

According to Dmitry Trenin, Director of Carnegie Moscow Center, Putin’s initiative is a logical move. "I believe this is the right move, a very rational rather than an emotional one. What is more important is not its potential outcome but the way of tackling the issue chosen by the Russian leadership. Instead of resorting to pointless tit-for-tat campaigns and retaliatory moves, it was decided to take legal action," he told the paper.


Izvestia: EEF to focus on major deals and political issues

Russia is expected to present 32 investment projects worth almost 1.25 trillion rubles ($21.7 bln) at the Eastern Economic Forum that kicked off in Russia’s Pacific seaport of Vladivostok, Izvestia writes.

However, these are just preliminary expectations, some officials involved in organizing the forum assured the paper, adding that the total amount of deals could be much higher.

"This year, thanks to new development tools, investors who had never considered Russia’s Far East as a place for doing business came here. Investors from India, which have never been here, came to the Far Eastern region for the first time," Alexander Galushka, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East, informed the paper.

Most contracts are set to be signed with Russian investors, but Moscow has a lot to offer foreign partners as well. According to Izvestia’s sources, preparations are underway for signing an investment package to set up a fish processing and logistics complex in Russia’s Far East, the construction of an eco-city with a golf course in Vladivostok with South Korean partners and an investment agreement with the Japanese corporation Mazda.

Just like the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Eastern Economic Forum has become a platform for discussing both economic and political issues. Based on the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to promote the economic development of Russia’s Far East and expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, the forum in Vladivostok is being held for the third time.

"During the first Eastern Economic Forum we talked about the investment mechanisms we were going to launch, at the second we launched these mechanism, and now we will be talking about the history of their success," a source in the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East told Izvestia.


Vedomosti: Proposal for UN peacekeepers in Donbass unlikely to materialize

The initiative to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission to the Donbass region put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin is at odds with Kiev’s official stance, Vedomosti writes. Putin said on Tuesday that he would instruct the Russian Foreign Ministry to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council on deploying UN peacekeepers to Donbass. The Russian president explained to reporters at a news conference in China that they should be deployed along the line of engagement with the sole aim of ensuring the safety of the OSCE’s mission personnel.

For his part, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has insisted on deploying a UN peacekeeping contingent to all areas that are not controlled by Kiev, particularly near the Russian-Ukrainian border, since the signing of the Minsk deal in February 2015. On August 22, he promised to raise the issue at the upcoming UN General Assembly session in September.

Putin has outlined the stance, which Russia is ready to support during the vote in the Security Council, said political scientist Alexey Chesnakov, so now the ball is in Kiev’s court. None of the conditions for deploying peacekeepers to the Donbass region were mentioned in the Poroshenko-proposed package, and almost all parties to the Minsk talks opposed the mechanism proposed by him. According to the expert, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) likewise said it was unaware of how the Poroshenko mechanism would work. The deployment of peacekeepers implies guarantees for them, and no one will deploy them if one of the parties is opposed to the move. Besides, both sides have to agree to the proposal for UN peacekeepers. However, to date, Kiev has been vehemently opposed to taking into account the stance of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics on the issue and refused to maintain direct dialogue with them, Chesnakov noted.


Kommersant: Syrian military clinch strategic victory in Deir ez-Zor

Syrian government forces supported by Russian aircraft have broken the siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor, which had been encircled by the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia) for 28 months and triumphantly entered the city, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in an interview with Kommersant. "The assault detachments are expanding their offensive around the area that they have broken through and are engaged in street fighting to recapture the neighborhoods controlled by Islamic State militants," the source said, adding that Islamists are putting up fierce resistance.

After liberating the city, the Syrian army will be able to advance along the Euphrates valley and reach the border with Iraq.

Meanwhile, Kommersant’s sources said that the key objective at the moment is clearing out the city of militants. The process is unlikely to be fast, a General Staff officer admitted. He explained that the Syrian military cannot count on support from Russian aircraft, since it can provide air coverage on the outskirts of the city and cannot bomb the city’s neighborhoods. The Syrian army will have to eliminate militants on its own.

Retired Colonel Viktor Murakhovsky is confident that the military part of the operation should be completed by advancing along the entire Euphrates valley. "It is necessary to advance from Deir ez-Zor, the main militant stronghold, southward and northward, towards the border with Iran, along both banks - the eastern and western," the expert stressed.


Izvestia: Russia and South Korea to develop rocket engine

A delegation from the Space and Rocket Engine-Building Center of Seoul National University has held talks with Russia’s leading enterprise manufacturing liquid rocket engines, the Energomash Research and Production Association, Izvestia writes. The meeting focused on prospects for bilateral cooperation, including developing a methane-powered rocket engine.

"The South Korean side has initiated a kickoff meeting to discuss the possibility of jointly producing a methane-powered engine. The rocket engine-building enterprises have considerable experience and capacity in this area," Energomash Deputy Director General for Strategic Development, Innovation and Marketing Dmitry Pakhomov informed the paper.

Meanwhile, a source in the Roscosmos Space Corporation confirmed that it is ready for cooperation with South Korea. "Russian space enterprises have maintained productive cooperation with Asia-Pacific region countries. This meeting has deepened and bolstered cooperation between the two countries in developing rocket equipment and (their) prospects for space exploration," the company’s press service said.

According to Andrey Ionin, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, cooperation with South Korea should be mutually beneficial. "I believe the agreement on cooperation in developing methane rocket engines will be asymmetrical, since South Korea has no extensive experience in developing rocket engines. Such cooperation could be complemented by similar packages of agreements in developing microelectronics for space exploration. Only then will it be effective and mutually advantageous," he told Izvestia.


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