All news

Press review: Russian-US cybersecurity bid at UN and Moscow stresses Bosnia’s NATO doubts

Top stories from the Russian press on Monday, October 18th
United Nations organization headquarters Drop of Light/Shutterstock/FOTODOM
United Nations organization headquarters
© Drop of Light/Shutterstock/FOTODOM

Kommersant: Russia, US submit joint resolution on cybersecurity to UN

Russia and the United States have put forward a joint resolution to the United Nations General Assembly on responsible state behavior in cyberspace. The document is surprising given the two countries' long-standing rivalry, and having promoted competing cybersecurity negotiation mechanisms at the UN, Kommersant writes. Moscow and Washington anticipate that combining efforts will speed up the process of establishing voluntary guidelines of responsible behavior in cyberspace. That said, given the resolution’s text, in the future, we can expect mandatory norms.

The resolution underscores that all states are interested in promoting the peaceful use of information and communication technology, as well as averting disputes that may arise from its use.

The resolution's guidelines are standards for responsible state action in cyberspace. Nevertheless, it is highlighted that further rules can be formed over time, and it is also noted that enforceable agreements can be developed if necessary. The text is particularly concerned with potential hostile acts conducted against critical infrastructure facilities employing information and communication technology.

The weakness of these rules stems from their voluntary nature, according to Kommersant. Russia advocated making them legally binding, but the US rejected this proposal. Washington argues that creating a legally binding global convention would take several years and that it may already be out of date due to the rapid advancement of technology.

Andrey Krutskikh, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' International Information Security Department, says such an "extraordinary step" was made possible because the two countries were able to set political disagreements aside and pursue a pragmatic, constructive approach. He and his US counterpart urged other UN member states to back the joint statement.


Kommersant: Key Russian official says decarbonization ‘can’t be stopped’ as its ‘the only answer to climate change’

Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov believes that the process of decarbonization cannot be stopped and that it is the only possible answer to climate change, he said in an interview with Kommersant. According to him, Russia has significant advantages, pointing to the country’s well-developed infrastructure and resource base, which could accelerate the country’s transition to a "green economy".

"The processes of the energy transition (or "decarbonization") have already been set into motion, and they are unlikely to be halted," he told the newspaper, adding that there are many subtle aspects. "The 'centers of power' are starting to shape the situation to suit their own interests and agendas. … This means that all of the problems associated with the gap between developing and developed countries will be given additional momentum," Belousov believes.

As a result, "the key question for everyone, including Russia," he said, is "how to reconcile the energy transition with the goal of sustainable development."

The Russian Federation's concerns in this field, according to Belousov, include structural problems, the need to upgrade the energy industry, and the proper use of Russia's scientific advantages, such as nuclear and hydrogen technologies.

As for its advantages, Russia has "a well-developed infrastructure and resource base". "We can use our transport network, including Nord Stream 2, not only for pumping gas but also for hydrogen in a mixture of other gases," Belousov said.

"According to our projections, we can occupy more than 20% of the worldwide hydrogen sector over the next 20 years," he continued. The official noted that the entire energy transition scenario costs about 90 trillion rubles ($1.26 trillion) over 28 years, or 3.2 trillion rubles ($45 bln) per year, that is, "less than 3% of GDP".


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: US may turn up the heat on China after returning to UN Human Rights Council

Washington and Beijing may have a new confrontation on their hands. In a recent speech, US President Joe Biden recalled the Nuremberg Trials and compared the persecution of Uyghurs in China to Nazi war crimes, calling on the world not to remain silent about the suppression of human rights. Since the United States recently returned to the UN Human Rights Council, experts predict that the verbal confrontation between Washington and Beijing will only escalate, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

Moscow is unlikely to be able to stand aside in the coming confrontation. After all, the United States and its allies also criticize Russia at international forums for suppressing democracy within the country, the newspaper writes.

"Russia is not exactly China's ally. But the United States has this image that America is the head of the free world, and it is opposed by a serious front led by authoritarian Russia and China. Whether this front exists or not is not that important to the US ruling elite. It needs this imaginary adversary - Russia and China - to convince its allies that ‘We must unite". That gives America legitimacy to this leadership. In the absence of such an enemy, the leadership of the US might have been called into question," Head of the School of Asian Studies at the Higher School of Economics Andrei Karneev told the newspaper.

As for the US confrontation with China, Karneev predicts that Washington and Beijing may find a compromise on trade and economic problems, but the battle over ideas and values will escalate.


Izvestia: Russian ambassador spotlights ‘no consensus on NATO membership in Bosnia and Herzegovina’

There is no consensus on NATO membership in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russian Ambassador to Sarajevo Igor Kalabukhov said in an interview with Izvestia. According to the envoy, Moscow believes that Europe’s stability can be ensured exclusively through creating a common European security system, and not through expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He added that Russia believes that the time of the UN High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina has also passed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, remain the last countries in the Balkan region that have not joined NATO. Sarajevo’s accession to the alliance has been under discussion since 2010 and has been raised again recently against North Macedonia joining the alliance.

"As far as we understand, there is no consensus in Bosnia and Herzegovina on NATO membership," the ambassador told the newspaper. "I would like to note that in some Balkan states, membership in the North Atlantic Alliance is viewed as a certain guarantee of domestic political stability. In our opinion, such stability, and not only for individual countries, but also for Europe in general, can be ensured solely by creating a common system of European security, and not by expanding NATO, which remains an instrument of the Cold War," he stressed.

Russia has also repeatedly advocated the abolition of the post of UN High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "Russia’s attitude towards the office of the high representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina is well known. Its time has passed," the envoy said. "The lack of agreement from the UN Security Council on the unauthorized decision of our Western partners to appoint a "new high representative" means that the nominee, Christian Schmidt, was not approved for this post. Therefore, from our point of view, his activities are illegitimate," he concluded.


Vedomosti: Bank of Russia expected to raise key rate to 7.25%

The Bank of Russia’s next meeting on the key rate will be held on October 22. None of the experts interviewed by Vedomosti expects the key rate to be preserved or even lowered at the upcoming gathering. The overwhelming majority (13 respondents out of 20 surveyed analysts) predict an increase of 0.5 percentage points from 6.75 to 7.25% per annum. The rest expect to see a 0.25-pp hike.

The assumption of a 0.5 percentage point increase in the rate is supported by a high level of cumulative annual inflation in September, head of the Center for Macroeconomic and Regional Analysis and Forecasting of the Russian Agricultural Bank Dmitry Tarasov told the newspaper. In his opinion, the Bank of Russia will be less aggressive only if it expects a new wave of coronavirus restrictions, which could slow the economy down.

Now, the regulator’s main goal is not so much to "stifle" the demand for loans in the corporate sector, but to stimulate the transition to a savings model, expert at the Center for Development Institute of the Higher School of Economics Igor Safonov believes. Rates in the consumer market will grow by a comparable amount following the key rate - for deposits, retail, and mortgage loans. Safonov is certain that deposits will become more attractive.

Meanwhile, the key rate factor is not dominant for the Russian ruble at the moment. The situation on the energy market is much more important, Head of Strategic Analysis at Renaissance Credit Bank Pyotr Sadovy said. But the ruble will react slightly and rather negatively to an increase in the key rate, the analyst said.

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