Facebook, Twitter, and Google were recently grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee about their role in the alleged ‘Russian meddling scandal’ in the 2016 US Presidential elections. These Internet companies have also recently launched an internal investigation.
The social media giants caved under government pressure and hurled accusations at Russia of interfering in the US presidential election, Internet Adviser to the Russian President German Klimenko told Izvestia. Washington's attacks do not hold any water, since modern technology does not make it possible to accurately pinpoint the creators of posts on social networks, Russian experts told the newspaper.
Over the past two days, three Congressional committees held meetings on Moscow’s alleged attempts to divide the American electorate using supposedly fake accounts on social media to disseminate information. According to Izvestia, Moscow is skeptical about these accusations, noting their toxicity to bilateral relations.
"Given the current conditions, when states do not cooperate with each other regarding the Internet, it is impossible to determine exactly where information or a virus attack originated from. Individuals behind any social media account cannot be accurately determined. Theoretically, this is very easy, but because of the lack of cooperation between states, it becomes impossible," Klimenko told Izvestia.
In short, neither technical nor legal grounds support the assertions by American (internet) companies,” the expert explained
According to the newspaper, the majority of American social media corporations headquartered in Silicon Valley supported ex-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and sponsored her campaign.
Senior Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Vasiliev told Izvestia, "There are no doubts about the political interests of high-tech companies in California." According to him, Silicon Valley is a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, which could have influenced recent testimony by the Internet giants.
The standoff between Russia and Ukraine over extending the airworthiness of the Antonov An-124-100 aircraft might be unexpectedly and peacefully resolved. Sources told Kommersant that after being deadlocked with mutual threats, the parties began closed negotiations on resuming cooperation.
According to the newspaper, the Ukrainian state company Antonov may agree to extend the airworthiness of the Russian-made aircraft. In exchange, Kiev might obtain documentation for the service life extension of the Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft. However, sources told Kommersant the deal could fall apart if "the Verkhovna Rada puts political expediency above common sense".
"Both sides are interested in reaching agreements, but the final decision has not yet been made because of the complicated relationship between the two countries. So far, the parties have a common understanding about the cost of services and the work area - the Ukrainian enterprise will do it at Russia’s Aviastar-SP plant in Ulyanovsk," an industry source told Kommersant.
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC is the parent company of Aviastar-SP) and the Federal Air Transport Agency declined to comment. However, the negotiations were confirmed by the newspaper’s source close to the government in Kiev.
A Kommersant source in the Russian aviation industry is convinced that following the talks, Kiev needs the potential participation in the Antonov state enterprise effort more than Moscow. “Since 2016, the Ukrainian enterprise has not manufactured a single aircraft, and the maintenance of the An-124 Ruslan's airworthiness requires money," the source said.
Antonov withdrew from the Ukrainian-Russian UAC-Antonov joint venture on Kiev's orders in September 2015.The paper’s source, close to the Ukrainian Government hopes that the agreements between the parties will be concluded "unless the Verkhovna Rada puts political expediency above common sense." According to the source, if Ukraine does not agree on this An-124 project, in return it might face problems with the Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, which requires documentation from the Russian design bureau.
Transnistrian President Vadim Krasnoselsky offered the Moldovan authorities to hold a referendum on the country’s status, so that Tiraspol could understand where Moldova is going and determine its position, he told Nezavisimaya Gazeta after Traian Basescu, the ex-president of Romania and honorary chairman of the Moldavan National Unity Party announced that Romania would accept Moldova without Transnistria.
Former Moldovan Defense Minister Anatol Plugaru told the newspaper that the current Moldovan establishment is getting ready to integrate the country into Romania and NATO in the coming year.
"The newly elected parliament might vote in favor of it," he said, confirming that such plans exist.
"Romania has a relevant program supported by the state, but it is not designed for a year or two, but for the long term. However, the current situation in Moldova is such that it is impossible to rule out a unification scenario happening next year," he added. According to Plugaru, Moscow can salvage the situation, however Russia's position "is inactive and does not interfere in what is happening in our country, and in fact hands Moldova over to the West."
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, if Moldova and Romania are unified, Transnistria "will become the subject of negotiations" with Russia and Ukraine, and possibly with the European Union. Krasnoselsky told the newspaper that Tiraspol is in favor of continuing negotiations with Chisinau within the 5 + 2 format (Moldova and Transnistria as the parties: Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE as mediators; the EU and US as observers). According to the Transnistrian leader, "this negotiation platform must be used to improve the living conditions of people on both sides of the Dniester River."
The Association of Regional Banks of Russia (Association Russia), which has continuously occupied second place in terms of market importance, is turning into the main bank lobbyist, RBC wrote. Several sources close to the lobby told the newspaper about the changes in the association’s staff, which will happen as soon as the new boss, ex-First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Georgy Luntovsky takes the reins.
"Half of the previous leadership has left the association," one of the sources told RBC. "They have already been replaced by a ‘commando force’ of current and former seasoned employees of the Central Bank," another source told the newspaper.
According to RBC, this is an unprecedented strengthening of the lobbying resource of one of the two largest banking associations, which, in fact, turns Association Russia, which has continually been in the shadow of the Association of Russian Banks (ARB), into the number one association in the banking industry. "Given that a number of the largest banks have moved from ARB to Association Russia, I would say it is a checkmate on the banking associations market," a source in the banking sector told RBC.
According to department head of Expert RA rating agency Stanislav Volkov, Luntovsky's appointment itself now makes it possible to set the association’s policy in many ways. With the arrival of his team, the organization’s prospects will expand even further and this will affect its activities and representative abilities in the lobby’s meetings with the regulator.
The defense team of Roman Seleznev, a Russian citizen arrested by US intelligence services in the Maldives in 2014 and illegally carted off to the United States, will appeal to US President Donald Trump requesting that the Russian be returned to his native country, Seleznev’s lawyer Igor Litvak told Izvestia. He noted that he intends to use the provisions of the 1983 Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons to their country of citizenship. Seleznev himself told Izvestia that he hopes to receive help from the Russian embassy in the US and is ready to continue serving his term in a Russian prison.
"Now it is very difficult to predict what effect we can achieve by appealing to Donald Trump. In any case, it will not get worse. This way, Roman Seleznev’s case will be on the radar of America’s top leadership. In the letter, we want to draw attention to the illegal actions of the US special services in arresting Roman, serious problems with my client's health, and the fact that he has two underage daughters who live in Russia," Litvak told Izvestia.
According to him, given the tense relations between Moscow and Washington, a request to pardon his client is doomed to failure. Therefore, he wants to use the Council of Europe's Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons from 1983, ratified by Russia and the United States.
"I hope that the Russian Embassy in the US is doing their utmost to bring me back to Russia, where I can continue serving my term of imprisonment. I love my country, the government and my family," Seleznev told Izvestia.
In 2014, US intelligence services detained Roman Seleznev in the Maldives. In the US, the Russian citizen was found guilty of cyber-fraud with an estimated damage of around $170 mln. Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the state of Washington. There are two cases against Seleznev in two other states - Nevada and Georgia. The final verdict is scheduled for November 30, 2017.
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