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Press review: Kiev looks at Russian targets through fresh eyes and SPIEF-2024 kicks off

Top stories from the Russian press on Wednesday, June 5th

MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. Kiev thinking about which targets in Russia to hit, SPIEF-2024 kicks off in St. Petersburg, and Modi's party wins elections in India. These stories topped Wednesday's newspaper headlines across Russia.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Kiev seeks targets for West-approved strikes on Russia

After Western allies gave Kiev permission to deliver strikes on Russian soil, Ukrainian analysts began debating which targets should be hit first. Some want to strike Russia’s army aviation while others believe these targets will be moved out of harm’s way. Officials from Kiev and Washington have also hinted at allowing for expanded strikes in the future. The experts pointed out that now Moscow must make shifts in military strategy while sticking to its tried and true methods of dispersing its forces and raising the effectiveness of their defenses.

Amid lively discussions of priority targets in Russia, Ukrainian military expert Ivan Stupak paused to think about what this means for Russian forces. He suggests that Moscow could move its troops to safer areas, adapting to the changing situation on the frontline to quickly disperse and spread out its troops.

With regard to how to get Kiev’s Western allies to consider the global risks of what they are doing more carefully, Russian military expert Dmitry Drozdenko believes this is a question for Russia’s highest leadership. However, in his opinion, under current conditions it is important for Russia’s own forces to keep moving and spreading out. Simultaneously, it is necessary to ensure their protection, particularly strengthening air defenses to protect against the heightened risks. In general, under the current, more complex, conditions, the Russian army must learn to fight in a new way, the expert insisted. Among other necessary changes, he included elimination of those intelligence means that the US and UK militaries use to ensure Ukrainian strikes on Russian targets.


Izvestia: St. Petersburg economic forum to pave way for major new deals

The total volume of contracts concluded at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) may amount to 4-5 trln rubles ($45-56 bln), according to experts polled by Izvestia. In 2023, the total sum of concluded deals came out to 3.8 trln rubles. Contracts concluded at the event play a key role in shaping stable commercial ties, open new markets and stimulate investment activity. The forum kicks off on June 5 and this year representatives from over 130 countries plan to visit it. Oman has the honorary status of the guest country while the event’s main theme is Sovereign Development as the Basis of a Just World. The experts suggest that as a new world order begins to take shape, countries are seeking opportunities for growth, and such large-scale events aid in this endeavor.

"A new multipolar world order is being shaped. Consequently, there will be new logistics and trajectories of financial transactions. This will become the basis of all discussions at the forum," Pavel Terelyansky, a professor at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, said.

Experts from BCS World of Investments predict that agreements concluded at SPIEF-2024 will approach 4-5 trln rubles. "Over time, the forum has become the most important international venue for interaction among the business community and officials from Russia and other countries. SPIEF is unique in terms of the number and scale of contracts concluded annually," the company’s investment strategist Alexander Bakhtin said.

Finam Financial Group forecasts a more modest amount of 3.5 trln rubles. "Such agreements play a key role in shaping stable commercial relations, open up new markets and stimulate investment activity. For example, contracts on building new infrastructure and developing energy projects bring in large investments and create jobs," Finam Director of Strategy Yaroslav Kabakov explained.


Vedomosti: Narendra Modi’s party secures victory in India's elections, falls short of majority

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has secured 241 seats in the country's parliament following elections, falling short of the 272 needed to independently form the government.

Overall, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP will receive 294 seats. Its main opponent, the I.N.D.I.A. bloc led by the Indian National Congress (INC) is getting 232 seats in the 543-seat lower house of the Indian parliament, the Lok Sabha, the Times of India reported.

Even with Modi’s popularity among the general population, over his two terms, some Indians have taken issue with the BJP and the opposition has taken advantage of this, Yevgeniya Zeegofer, junior researcher with the Center of the Indo-Pacific Region at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS), said.

First of all, people are dissatisfied with the country’s economic landscape, above all, the high unemployment and inflation levels. Secondly, many voters are concerned with increased rhetoric coming from Modi’s party directed against religious minorities, above all, Muslims, as well as with pressure on political opponents and the media. Additionally, the opposition managed to create a relatively stable bloc, having united around the INC.

Since Modi came to power in 2014, a certain fatigue has accumulated among Indian voters, Nandan Unnikrishnan, a Distinguished Fellow with Observer Research Foundation New Delhi concurred. Not only is this related to the fact that the country’s recent economic growth has not yet trickled down to the majority of the population but also with the general concern about the premier’s authoritative approach to some issues. The results of the current elections may substantially impact domestic policy because the BJP will have to partially tweak its electoral program and appease its coalition allies, the expert added.


Vedomosti: Russia to support Afghanistan’s SCO membership

Moscow will support Afghanistan’s full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO, includes Russia, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan) after the Taliban (banned in Russia) is taken off the list of outlawed organizations, Zamir Kabulov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department, said on June 4.

Kabul joining the SCO will boost Afghanistan’s trade and economic ties not only with Russia but also with all countries in the region, Georgy Machitidze, senior researcher at the Institute for International Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), noted. Additionally, this will facilitate bringing the country out of international isolation and help the new government stabilize the domestic economic situation. "A continued isolation policy would mean the increased influence of trans-border extremist organizations not only in Afghanistan but beyond its borders as well. So neighboring countries must interact with the Taliban," the expert explained.

He added that, even though Tajikistan remains hostile to the new Afghan leadership, Moscow will be able to overcome Dushanbe’s resistance to Kabul’s membership in the SCO, particularly after the terror attack at the Crocus City concert venue near Moscow, carried out by the Central Asian branch of the Islamic State (IS, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, before 2014; outlawed in Russia). "The Afghans themselves are suffering from the IS terror attacks while the Taliban government has been fighting them for a while. The countries neighboring Tajikistan themselves compel it to cooperate with the Afghans," the expert said.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Biden risks losing left-leaning voters after flip-flopping on migration policy

US President Joe Biden will soon sign a decree which will significantly reduce quotas for migrants arriving in the country across its southern border. After accepting 2,500 refugees, the border with Mexico will be blocked. The measure is being introduced ahead of the presidential election, as the incumbent president is facing pressure about doing a bad job curbing illegal migration. However, Biden runs the risk of upsetting liberal voters with the move.

Pavel Sharikov, an expert with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), thinks the measure could be a win for the president. However, in a conversation with Nezavisimaya Gazeta, he stressed that this move is certainly not a long-term solution to the problem but rather a pre-election ploy.

"This is not about shutting down the border, just reducing the quota. This will not cardinally change the situation in borderline states, including for pro-Republican Texas, but it may sway voters in swing states," the expert said.

According to Sharikov, domestic policy will decide the presidential election. The foreign policy agenda has had little impact on election results in recent years.

"In 2016, Trump even praised Vladimir Putin with no repercussions. The role of diasporas is not particularly crucial either: on the countrywide and even state-level scale they do not play a particularly important role. For example, Biden is hardly likely to lose much due to a negative attitude by Michigan residents of Arab descent. That said, the White House should try to shine a light on how it has improved the unemployment situation and campaign around this fact," the expert added.

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