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Press review: Putin unveils high-potential weapons and Russia, North Korea boost ties

Top stories from the Russian press on Tuesday, August 16th

Many promising Russian weapons are years and decades ahead of their foreign rivals, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on August 15 at the opening of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2022. Moscow is ready to offer them to its allies and partners, the president said. In his opinion, the development of military-technical cooperation will ensure not only national, but also global security and stability. Experts told Izvestia that almost all models of Russian weapons have been tested in combat conditions, which is important for potential buyers.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, around 1,500 domestic and international enterprises and organizations planned to participate in the forum this year. It is expected to sign 36 government contracts with defense industry enterprises for a total of 522 bln rubles ($8.5 bln). High-potential models of armored vehicles, missile weapons and even deep-sea vehicles are among the most interesting novelties that will be displayed at the exhibition.

The Russian military-industrial complex’s products are well known throughout the world, military expert Andrey Frolov told Izvestia. "We supply many weapons for the ground forces. The Kalashnikov concern’s products are well exported in all calibers - the 7.62 mm, 5.45 mm, as well as under the 5.56 mm NATO cartridge. The main item, however, is the Kalashnikov assault rifles from the 200th series, the PKM and PKP Pecheneg light machine guns, the SVD sniper rifles, and a whole line of pistols. There is a demand for domestic grenade launchers, which also belong to small arms," he told the newspaper.

In addition, according to him, Russia's new T-90 tanks are being sold abroad. The analyst added that domestic air defense systems have a solid reputation.

That being said, India, China, Algeria, and Egypt are among the main buyers of Russian weapons, Izvestia writes. Moscow is also interested in conducting command post and other military drills with its allies and partners, in addition to marketing its defense products.


Izvestia: Why did US congressional delegation come to Taiwan

The United States is choosing to go down the road of ideological conflict with China, according to experts interviewed by Izvestia. More evidence of this was the trip of another US delegation to Taiwan on August 14-15, just two weeks after US Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi’s visit. Both Taipei and Washington said this US congressional visit was intended to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which appears somewhat cynical given that Pelosi's visit to the island had already stirred up serious tension,

the newspaper writes. Unfortunately for Beijing, Washington is not alone on this score, delegations from other countries are also planning to visit Taiwan soon.

Expert from the Soochow University in Taipei Chen Fang-yu told Izvestia that the visit’s agenda includes cooperation on semiconductors, but is by no means limited to this - balancing China's military threat is also an important topic for discussion by the congressional delegation.

Meanwhile, the commentator contended that the short gap between the visits of Pelosi and the current delegation was just a coincidence. The speaker originally intended to visit Taiwan in April, but postponed these plans due to coronavirus.

Washington is growing more and more confident about engaging China in a new ideological conflict, emulating the Cold War, when slogans in support of democracy, freedom, and human rights were used to exert the maximum amount of pressure possible on an opponent, the newspaper writes. "Something similar is happening now. US political and think tanks are so heavily charged with new anti-Chinese rhetoric and the ideology of confrontation that any call for sanity and restraint is construed as unacceptable compliance with the Chinese communists. This is a very dangerous trend," Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Alexander Lomanov told Izvestia.

The US-China confrontation over Taiwan has been drawing in more and more nations, and contacts with the island will only grow. Last week, German MP Holger Becker announced that a German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October.


Kommersant: Moscow, Pyongyang bolstering new relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged messages on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of Korea, celebrated on August 15 to commemorate Japan's surrender in World War II. Relations between Moscow and Pyongyang dramatically improved after the start of the Russian operation in Ukraine. North Korea has recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) and is attempting to build trade ties with Donbass. LPR Ambassador to Russia Rodion Miroshnik, who is participating in the talks, told Kommersant that cooperation would not be hampered by UN sanctions against North Korea.

The exchange of messages between the leaders of Russia and North Korea demonstrated a mutual readiness for rapprochement. The support of North Korea, which, unlike the cautious China, openly outlined a pro-Russian position in the Ukrainian conflict and on July 13 became the fifth country in a row to recognize the republics of Donbass, resulted in a rapid expansion of interaction between Moscow and Pyongyang.

"A memorandum on foreign economic cooperation is being prepared for signing. I am personally participating in the negotiations, and we are carefully studying the great potential of North Korea," Miroshnik told Kommersant. According to him, North Korea might become a promising market for engineering tools and products manufactured in Donbass.

That said, the issue of sending North Korean military personnel to Donbass is not under consideration, however, sending North Korean construction to the region to restore it is already on the agenda, the newspaper writes.

"Labor migration is one of the traditional areas of North Korea's foreign economic activity. The nation boasts a large workforce of elite workers and engineers, whose use in other countries was prohibited by UN sanctions. However, since the DPR and LPR are not UN members, so these sanctions won’t be an obstacle," Ambassador Miroshnik explained to Kommersant.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Georgia not ditching pro-Western policy

The European Union (EU) has published an annual report on Georgia's implementation of the Association Agreement, which contains critical remarks that virtually prevent the country from getting EU candidate status, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The Georgian opposition announced that under the rule of the Georgian Dream party, integration with the West may be forgotten and in turn, the authorities pledged to consider the complaints and address the issues raised in the report.

EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stated that Georgia is marching on with its reform efforts despite the difficult post-pandemic atmosphere and amid the challenging developments in Ukraine. The union, however, saw setbacks in crucial areas like the rule of law and human rights. The document detailed the Georgian government’s particular shortcomings, including strong criticism of its judicial reform.

The opposition responded to the published report. According to one of the leaders of the National Movement party Roman Gotsiridze, "the document contains the toughest assessments that the European Union has ever given." He believes that if things don't change soon, Georgia won't just lose its candidacy status for EU membership but also its visa-free status with Europe.

Meanwhile, Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili said that "there will be specific, tangible results very soon in bilateral relations between Georgia and the EU." "We are actively working to overcome the existing challenges. Georgia will continue to actively move towards final integration into the European Union," he promised.


Vedomosti: Russian office software may see boom and occupy bulk of market share by 2027

The volume of the Russian market of office software by 2027 may reach 85.2 bln rubles ($1.4 bln), while the share of domestic developers will rise from the current 12% to 82%, according to a study by J'son & Partners Consulting. Its authenticity was confirmed to Vedomosti by Deputy General Director of J'son & Partners Consulting Evgeny Pligin. According to the company's analysts, macroeconomic factors, demand dynamics in 2022, state regulation, and the development of players are leading to a fundamental change in the structure of the office software market over the next 3-5 years and a sharp increase in the share of Russian developers.

According to the study, if the observed trends continue, by the end of 2027, a huge market share (82%) can be expected to be occupied by Russian office software platforms, while open-source solutions will account for 10%, and foreign solutions just 8%.

Some experts interviewed by Vedomosti believe that the forecasts presented in the study look realistic. "Demand for Russian software, including office solutions, continues to grow," Executive Director of the Association of Software Developers Otechestvenny Soft Renat Lashin told the newspaper. This, according to him, is facilitated by both the exit of foreign companies from the Russian market and the introduction of regulations aimed at promoting domestic IT developments.

Chief analyst of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications Karen Kazaryan believes that many commercial companies and the public sector will continue to use foreign software. "In terms of sales, domestic software will have 100% of the market, in terms of real use there will be a lot of foreign pirated and open-source software, but this would be hard to estimate," Head of Tsifrovaya Kultura organization Ivan Begtin stated.

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