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Press review: Georgian ex-speaker rips Tbilisi for riots and Putin to boost defense sector

Top stories in the Russian press on Tuesday

Izvestia: Ex-speaker slams Georgian elite's 'stupidity' for deteriorating ties with Russia

Nino Burjanadze, former speaker of the Georgian parliament, and chairperson of the country's opposition party, United Georgia, believes that it will be extremely difficult to normalize relations between Moscow and Tbilisi because of the shortsightedness of Georgia's authorities, she said in an interview with Izvestia. According to her, the authorities and forces controlled by ex-President Mikhail Saakashvili are to blame for Georgia’s financial losses due to the mass exodus of Russian tourists.

According to her, the current Georgian leadership is afraid of rolling back the degree of anti-Russian hysteria in Tbilisi because they might lose Western allies.

"Unfortunately, because our authorities are shortsighted, it will now be extremely difficult to quickly restore Russian-Georgian relations even to the level that they were a week ago. It will require a lot of very serious effort in this direction, since the recent events have set us back," she told the newspaper.

Burjanadze believes that the situation in Georgia is "anti-Russian hysteria" and "is aided, clearly, by US intelligence." She told Izvestia that the former president Mikhail Saakashvili is doing his best to milk the protests for all their worth and "will do everything so that anti-Russian hysteria is Georgia's key guiding policy." "For him, this is the only opportunity to play his card," Burjanadze said.

Commenting on the temporary suspension of air transportation between the two countries, she noted, "Georgia will lose very, very much from this," and she hoped that the Russian leadership would not impose more retaliatory measures.

According to the politician, Russia is not to blame for Georgia's crisis. "As for the protesters, I can definitely say that a frank and sincere protest initially occurred, but, again, because of the stupidity of our authorities," she told Izvestia.


Izvestia: Putin sets sights on shaping new strategy for Russia’s defense sector

Last year, foreign currency earnings from exporting military goods experienced a 45-percent surge and the aggregate order book reached a record value of about $54 bln, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Commission for Military Technical Cooperation with Foreign States. He urged officials to do everything possible to maintain Russia's leading position in the global arms market. According to Izvestia, a draft new strategy for military-technical cooperation was put together. Considering the fact that many Russian defense enterprises have been placed under sanctions, they need to work more closely with their partners, experts interviewed by the newspaper believe.

President Putin also shed light on new factors complicating work with Russia’s partners on military and technical cooperation, including fiercer competition and the increasingly aggressive use of unfair methods of political blackmail and sanctions. Many Russian defense enterprises are under sanctions, and the US regularly exerts pressure on countries that cooperate with Moscow in the defense sector, military expert Andrei Frolov told Izvestia. According to the expert, to overcome the current situation, Russian defense companies need to work more closely with their partners. For example, to pinpoint acceptable methods of payment without using bank payments.

Today, there is open pressure on Russia's key partners in the military-industrial complex, military expert Vladislav Shurygin told the newspaper. "They strike our technological chains. The US goes after those who sell technology to Russia that can be used in military production, and imposes sanctions on them. This forces many to act with great discernment," he said.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Washington wants India to abandon S-400

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is going to arrive in India to try to persuade Delhi to join the US-Japan-Australia troika to counter China before the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Osaka. Pompeo also wants the US to turn into India’s main weapons supplier, and in so doing push Russia’s S-400 aside, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. Experts believe India will not give up its sovereignty and will remain loyal to the policy of non-alignment.

Diplomats in the US and India will try to divide those spheres where their interests coincide and those where they collide. Otherwise, the plans for the strategic rapprochement between the two countries will remain unfulfilled, the newspaper wrote.

Sergey Lunev, a MGIMO Professor, told the newspaper that he believes that the negotiations on forming an alliance between India the United States, Japan, and Australia have been going on for a long time. "US political analysts have proposed ‘the axis of the United States, Japan, India’ and then added Australia to it," he said. According to him, this was a response to the creation of the Russia-India-China group. The professor noted that Japan was gung-ho about Washington’s concept. India stated that it would be happy to cooperate within the framework of the four countries, but there would be no relationship like a military alliance there. That is, military ties will be cultivated, but this will not evolve into a bloc format," he pointed out.

According to the expert, India will not deviate from its basic national interests. Delhi will maintain independence, pursue a policy of balance and maneuvering, and will not join any military blocs.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Poroshenko still pulling Ukraine’s strings from behind the scene

A chill has fallen on Kiev’s relations with its Western partners. At the end of this week, the Ukrainian delegation may withdraw from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) if Russia returns. Meanwhile, there is no permanent US ambassador to Kiev and President Vladimir Zelensky continues to work with Poroshenko’s foreign policy team, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. Experts interviewed by the newspaper shed light on the fact that the new president’s rhetoric mirrors his predecessor’s.

Sources told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that Zelensky’s recent visits to Brussels, Paris, and Berlin had been put together by two teams, which led to some misunderstandings. An excerpt from Zelensky’s speech in Europe coincided with Poroshenko’s speech at his party’s congress in Kiev.

Political analyst Vadim Karasev believes that nothing has changed in Ukraine’s foreign policy, as "Zelensky is following the path laid out by Poroshenko". He noted that the new president does not have a reliable political basis that enables a different policy track.

At the same time, Poroshenko’s allies criticize Zelensky’s tough position as insufficient, the newspaper wrote. According to First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Irina Gerashchenko, during the first visits to the EU, the new president had to convince European politicians that the Russian delegation should not return to PACE, and Zelensky did manage to do it.


Kommersant: Russian software developers fear localization of competitors

Russian software developers opposed introducing preferences for Cisco, Oracle, SAP and Schneider Electric products. Foreign manufacturers of software are ready to be localized in Russia, just like the automotive industry. However, according to Kommersant, including their software in the register for public procurement will reduce the Russian share in the public sector to a minimum.

The Association of Domestic Software opposes including localized foreign software in Russia’s registry, according to a letter from Executive Director of the organization, Renat Lashin, to Head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin. Putting the localized foreign software in the registry contradicts regulatory framework and safety rules, Lashin believes. Localizing software will not make it Russian, and foreign countries will retain the possibility of influencing the economy and security of Russia, he warned in the letter.

The press service of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs confirmed to Kommersant that the letter had been received. The position of the association is being discussed, a meeting with the Ministry of Communications is scheduled for June 25, a source familiar with the details of the discussion told Kommersant.

Dmitry Komissarov, CEO of New Cloud Technologies, told the newspaper he believes that localizing foreign software will negatively affect the Russian IT business, reducing the share of domestic software in public procurement "to record lows."

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