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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara might renege on purchasing Russia’s S-400 air defense systems if Moscow refuses to green-light the localization of its production in Turkey. According to Kommersant, the Russian side is not in a hurry to share it, citing security concerns and the sophistication of the air defense systems technologies. Moscow viewed the remarks by the Turkish official as “political” and more like a desire to respond to Washington, given that following a similar S-400 deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia, the US quickly approved a THAAD missile defense system contract with Riyadh.
Russia and Turkey signed a contract for the supply of four S-400 divisions worth more than $2 bln in September. According to Kommersant, the negotiations were conducted as quickly as possible and were based exclusively on personal agreements between Putin and Erdogan. Russia’s military industrial conglomerate Rosoboronexport and the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation refused to provide Kommersant with official comments. However, several sources working in the military technical cooperation complex reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister’s remarks were interpreted by Russian structures as "a part of a political game."
"We have concluded a serious contract, it includes all the legal subtleties and responsibilities of each of the parties. It's not possible to just break the contract," a source told Kommersant. According to the source, Cavusoglu's statements were prompted by the prospects of Saudi Arabia getting the same system, too. The US State Department gave the go-ahead for the Pentagon’s THAAD system sale to the Saudis. "Perhaps Ankara was expecting the same," the source added. Earlier, Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said that Russia had already received an advance payment for the S-400 system deliveries, which is expected to begin in two years.
At the same time, according to Kommersant, Turkey should not expect the transfer of technologies not just because of the need to launch production facilities. According to the newspaper, Russian security services are strongly against such form of cooperation, considering it inappropriate to grant access to the internal components of the system to a NATO member state. Military expert Alexey Leonkov noted that the S-400’s radar station is of great interest to foreigners, since it is considered one of the most advanced in its segment. A source in the military-technical cooperation sphere told Kommersant that consultations at the expert level between Moscow and Ankara will continue. "If they want localization, they will get it, but it will be objectively small - no more than 15%. We are hardly ready to give more," the source explained.
Catalonia, which held an independence referendum that Madrid deemed unauthorized on October 1, remains the focus of global media attention. Spain’s Ambassador to Russia Ignacio Ibanez Rubio talked to Izvestia about ways out of the crisis, as well as Russian-Spanish cooperation for the next several years.
"We are confident that we will live together with Catalonia for many years. (We) have a rich history with difficult moments, but happy ones also bind us. We are going through a difficult time, but we are convinced that we will find the opportunity to continue living together as a united Spain," he told the newspaper.“It is not Catalonia that planned (the referendum), but its autonomous government, which managed to get support only from part of its regional parliament," he noted, adding that the complicated political situation will not affect tourists, since Catalonia accounts for a significant part of the tourist flow, particularly from Russia.
Despite being newly appointed, the envoy has a plan for cultivating Russian-Spanish relations in the coming years. "From a political point of view, Spain and Russia have very positive and close relations. Last year, we saw regular exchanges and consultations, and we expanded the list of areas for consultations. For example, we have never had cooperation in terms of Latin America. Thus, we decided that on October 27, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Spain in charge of relations with Latin America will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov to decide what can be done together on this track," he told Izvestia.
According to the ambassador, "It is necessary to strengthen our economic relations, which lag behind the level of political ties and economic interaction of Spain, for example, with France, Germany or Italy. This year we had a joint commission, Spanish businessmen were received by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and this is a very good sign. We would like representatives of Spain’s business community to come here more often."
Talking about social and cultural ties between the countries, Rubio noted, "I also consider it necessary to raise the level of respect between us. The difficulties that exist in the relations between Russia and the EU have moved to the pages of both Russian and Western newspapers. Articles in the Spanish press often puzzle me."
The Bank of Russia and Otkritie’s transitional administration are trying to bring back customer funds to the organization, Vedomosti wrote. The Otkritie counterparty, a person close to the bank, a top bank manager and a state banker told Vedomosti, that Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Vasily Pozdyshev and Deputy Head of the bank’s Provisional Administration Anna Orlenko appealed to the financial institution’s large customers with a proposal to resume cooperation and return their funds to Otkritie.
Pozdyshev called Otkritie’s major creditors and requested that they return or at least avoid withdrawing money, one client who received such a proposition told the newspaper. The Central Bank offered to send a letter with guarantees.
"Representatives of the Central Bank appealed to the largest customers of Otkritie shortly after the temporary administration was introduced through telephone calls, letters and in some cases at the request of client meetings in the Central Bank," a representative of the regulator confirmed. The purpose of these communications was to clarify the new status of the bank, the mechanism for financial recovery, including guarantees from the regulator.
As a result, "In the segment of legal entities, we managed to slow the outflow more than three-fold. This happened both due to restoring cooperation with existing clients, and bringing back (their) former clients," according to Otkritie Managing Director Alexander Dmitriev.
"The actions of the Central Bank seem like a violation of competition: there is a Chinese wall between bank supervision and management. Even if they do not make commercial offers, but conduct explanatory work, they find themselves in the role of bank agents," Sergey Aleksashenko, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, told the newspaper. The FAS is yet to comment on the situation.
Part of the action plan in the cybersecurity field within the Digital Economy program includes the creation of a national operating system (OS) for devices for the Internet of Things by 2022, Kommersant wrote citing the documents of a working group headed by Sberbank.
The Internet of things (IoT) is a concept of a network that connects physical devices. Its key feature is the autonomy of the devices and their ability to transmit data without human intervention.
According to the newspaper, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Communications, as well as Russian carmakers and software developers will be responsible for creating an OS for cyberphysical systems. Based on the group’s materials, the new OS should be completed by December 31, 2021 (by this date, a pilot industry will have been chosen for tests). It is also expected to exceed the foreign operating systems “by key parameters of speed, safety and fault tolerance."
Sberbank and the Ministry of Communications did not provide any commentary on the matter to the newspaper.
The program for developing Russia’s digital economy was approved at the end of July. According to the project, prototypes of such operating systems should be created by Q4 2018, and the domestic OS is expected to be introduced into cyberphysical systems by 2021.
Russia’s Internet audience has been stagnating and in fact it has even slightly decreased. The share of Russians who use the Internet once a week or every day, fell to 67% and 60% respectively, according to the latest results of the Public Opinion Foundation’s study. As the Internet audience levels off at a level of 60% of the total adult population, this cancels out many government forecasts, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.
The Foundation interviewed 19,500 Russians over 18 years of age and projected that around 82 mln Russians use the Internet, that is almost two-thirds of the population. 86% of them use the Internet every day, 10% - once a week, and only 4% - once a month. Thus, according to the study, the general number of Internet users has increased over the last 10 years. However, sociologists noted a slowdown or even a reduction of growth in the number of Internet users.
According to experts interviewed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the slowdown might be explained by the poll’s peculiarities. "The results of the survey strongly depend on the tone in which questions are asked, time, place and circumstances,” Solid Management Development Director Sergei Zvenigorodsky told the newspaper.
In the meantime, the market for both Internet advertising and Internet commerce remains quite stable. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Russia, in the first half of this year, the volume of the Internet’s advertising market reached 74.4 bln rubles ($1.28 bln), a rise of 23% year-on-year.
Nevertheless, according to some experts interviewed by the newspaper, the dynamics of the Internet’s expansion has really halted. The stabilization of growth in the Internet’s audience actually runs counter to the previously approved "Digital Economy" state program. Nevertheless, experts believe, in the near future there will be a qualitative rather than quantitative growth of the Internet’s audience.
Experts interviewed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta generally agree that Internet expansion in Russia still has potential for growth. "One of the main drivers is a stable and powerful rise in smartphone sales in our country. From January to September, Russia sold more than 20 mln smartphones. This is a record figure in the last two years. The second driver is a strong increase in mobile traffic. In sum, these factors will strongly stimulate online trading
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