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Press review: Moscow weighs options in response to US and China unveils its ‘blue economy’

September 07, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Thursday, September 7

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© Andrei Makhonin/TASS

Izvestia: Moscow has many options to retaliate against US seizure of diplomatic property - ex-ambassador

The steps against Russian diplomatic property arouse serious concerns over Washington’s mental condition, but Moscow has many options to respond to such actions of the United States, former Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak told Izvestia. The US side’s steps are not only a blow against Russian diplomatic missions, but against the interests of Russians, Kislyak stressed.

Kislyak, who was once labeled by US media as Russia’s "most dangerous diplomat," said the pressure against him was part of a domestic political struggle in the United States. "The accusations, which were regularly made, were initially based on a lie. Those behind them were well aware of this," he said. "In general, the entire campaign, including around the Embassy, was partly an aftermath of the revved-up climate in the US political establishment where everyone fights against everyone." This revved-up climate in the US against Russia will remain for a long time, and it is difficult to overcome the hurdles created by Washington even under good conditions, Kislyak said.

The diplomat rejected an idea that the conflict between Russia and the US is normal. "If we look at the potential of cooperation between Russia and the US, and the challenges that both countries are facing, we will see that they largely coincide." Among these challenges are terrorism, religious intolerance and instability in certain regions of the world. "Well, the Americans say about the need to fight against terrorism and we call for the war on terror," Kislyak said. "What prevents us from sitting down at a table as we have suggested and drawing up a parallel or a joint system of measures to fight against our common foe? But the Americans don’t accept that." "They are convinced that they should govern everyone. Instead of sitting down at a table and jointly outlining a common position, they try to govern the entire planet. This is one of specific obstacles in communicating with the Americans," the diplomat said.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: China unveils its ‘blue economy’

China has announced that a new vector of development for BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should be the so-called "blue economy" or optimizing marine resources and maritime transport routes, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Beijing considers this policy as convenient for its own global expansion. Russia, which is number three on the list of the world’s largest coastlines, also declares interest in cooperation.

Several major ports operate in Russia’s Far East, and Moscow calls to include in China’s Maritime Silk Road project the Northern Sea Route, which may serve for delivering Chinese goods to Europe. China has not rejected this proposal, but considers an option of passing through the North Pole and using its own icebreakers.

However, China’s "blue economy" projects mainly focus on Africa and South Africa. The extraction of maritime resources in Russia’s east is already largely controlled by foreigners, the paper says. Although fishery is Russia’s strategic sector and the authorities banned foreigners from owning Russian fisheries companies, the Chinese bypass these restrictions using shell companies in Russia.

 

Izvestia: Russia to earn up to $8bln on grain exports

Despite unfavorable weather conditions, Russia’s grain exports grew by 28% by the beginning of this autumn, reaching almost 7 mln tonnes, Izvestia writes, citing the data of the Federal Customs Service. These high figures of grain sales allowed the National Union of Grain Producers (NHA) and the SovEcon think tank to raise their forecasts on the annual exports up to 40-44 mln tonnes. Russian agricultural producers may earn up to $7bln or $8bln, including due to the deals with China, which has been characterized by a closed grain market.

Among the positive trends of this season are record-high exports of barley and corn and the geographical extension of sales to the Asian countries. However, experts caution that the current infrastructure may not allow processing these export volumes.

Director General of the National Union of Grain Producers Vyacheslav Golov said already now huge lines are seen at the port elevators. The extension of infrastructure channels of sales could significantly facilitate exports. "The entry into new markets is vital. We positively assess such markets as China, Japan and Indonesia, and Southeast Asian countries in general. Besides, Europe is very interested in buying organic products," Golov said.

China, which lacks fertile soils and they are exhausted, has been actively importing Russian goods, said Anatoly Tikhonov, who heads the International Center for Agribusiness and Food Security.

 

Kommersant: German opposition keeping a close eye on Russia

Germany will hold parliamentary elections in late September, and opinion polls suggest that the Christian Democratic Union of Chancellor Angela Merkel is widely expected to secure victory. Kommersant writes that the intrigue around the upcoming vote is whether the CDU will be able to strike a coalition deal with its traditional partner, the Free Democratic Party, or will have to again join the "big coalition" with the Social Democratic Party led by Martin Schulz.

Traditionally, foreign policy takes a back seat at Germany’s polls, compared with social problems and economy. However, regardless of the parties’ stances the Russian issue plays an important role at the elections. This year, politicians of almost all parties included relations with Moscow in their programs, the paper writes.

The left-wing forces call for dialogue with Russia and say the sanctions are senseless amid the crisis in Europe. Sahra Wagenknecht, the leader of the Left Party, believes that the sanctions mostly harm the European countries and bring no fruit. The politician noted that Crimea’s reunification with Russia is the same violation of the law as the war in Iraq and Syria, suggesting that sanctions should be imposed on the United States as well.

Christian Lindner, the leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), calls for dialogue with Russia but on other conditions. The politician calls to create a G7+1 format in order to make a deal with Moscow and "allow Vladimir Putin to change his policy without losing face."

According to preliminary opinion polls, Merkel’s party is expected to become the strongest one in the parliament, gaining 255 out of 638 seats. If instead of a "big coalition" with the Social Democratic Party the CDU manages to secure the necessary votes by cooperating with the Free Democratic Party, no significant thaw in relations with Russia is on the horizon.

 

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Russia offers Japan to build bridge from Hokkaido to Sakhalin

At the Eastern Economic Forum in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, Russian ministers unveiled several important initiatives, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes. In particular, Russia offered Japan to jointly build a road and rail bridge from Hokkaido to the Sakhalin Island, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov noted that this ambitious project may be built in the 2020s.

Russian Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov also said by the end of 2017 a tax free system will be launched at international airports helping foreigners to recover part of tax from goods purchased in Russia.

The major focus of the forum’s first day was on the development of Russia’s Far East, the paper writes. The participants had heated discussions on the region’s demographic issue. By 2025, the Far East’s population is expected to surge to 7 mln. But this goal is unlikely to be reached if there is no decrease in the mortality rate, which is higher than in other Russian regions, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Maxim Topilin said.

The ministry is currently drawing up a project that will encourage the creation of new jobs in the region, he said. A state program of increasing labor mobility should also help attract people to the Far East.

 

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

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