All news

Press review: Day one of SPIEF in the books and Biden tells Kiev no strikes on Moscow

Top stories from the Russian press on Friday, June 7th
US President Joe Biden AP Photo/ Evan Vucci
US President Joe Biden
© AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Day one of SPIEF addresses Russia's path to economic growth; US President Joe Biden draws line in the sand for Kiev: no bombing Moscow; and Ukraine summit loses two more countries, as Mexico and Nicaragua bow out. These stories topped Friday’s newspaper headlines across Russia.


Izvestia: SPIEF 2024 opens with focus on new era for Russian economy, BRICS cooperation

On Thursday, the business program of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) opened in St. Petersburg. The morning session, titled Russian Economy: How to Ensure the Achievement of National Goals, brought together CBR Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Maxim Oreshkin and Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov.

The discussions mostly focused on the main issue of today: how to make Russia one of the world’s top four economies in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), a goal mentioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, recalled moderator Andrey Makarov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Budget and Taxes. In 2023, the Russian economy was the world’s fifth largest by PPP, according to the World Bank, but, the senior lawmaker points out, Russia already ranked fourth globally in 2021.

This year, the forum’s business agenda focuses on the new cycle of the Russian economy, expanding cooperation in BRICS, and promoting a healthy society. Russia is setting new goals and building economic ties with new partners, experts say.

Speaking of BRICS, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the UAE joined the grouping this year, and Saudi Arabia is on its way in as Riyadh’s accession is in the early stages. "The accession of new members would benefit everyone, strengthening the role and global posture of BRICS, while member countries will be given some additional support," Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Helmy El-Said told Izvestia.

"It is necessary to boost the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in promoting cooperation in trade and investment. BRICS countries, namely China, India, and the UAE, are among the world leaders who have embraced AI. And we would like to agree to introduce AI in efforts to streamline supply chains," Deputy Economic Development Minister Vladimir Ilyichev said.

At the forum, delegates from BRICS plan to discuss food security, too. Currently, Russia supplies 19 mln metric tons of fertilizers, or half of all Russian exports, to its BRICS allies. This helps strengthen global food security, as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa account for half of the world’s population and 27% of Earth’s arable land, PhosAgro CEO Mikhail Rybnikov said.

On the homefront, people are flocking to Russia, as the country ranks fourth in the world in terms of immigration, said Valentina Kazakova, who heads the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs at the Russian Interior Ministry. The country is searching for highly qualified specialists, intellectuals and expatriates, she explained. And the number of foreigners who want to move to Russia is growing, head of the federal agency for CIS affairs Rossotrudnichestvo Yevgeny Primakov said. According to him, there are Russian Houses and cultural centers which, among other things, run Russian language courses in 70 countries.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Biden bans Ukraine from bombing Moscow

Three-day events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the landings of allied troops from the anti-Hitlerite coalition in Normandy kicked off in France on Thursday. Many global leaders are attending, and some of them have made political statements. The loudest one came from US President Joe Biden, who drew a line in the sand for Ukraine, saying that Washington would not authorize strikes on Moscow.

The main political announcement was expected to be made by French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the media, he was going to announce sending French instructors to Ukraine. However, Macron’s statement, if it is ever made, will likely be postponed until June 7. Later on Friday, Macron will hold a separate meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky, who is also taking part in the events. Unlike Russian delegates, Zelensky was invited. He and Macron will meet in Paris.

"Macron could very well announce sending military instructors. He is known as a key European hawk and he will have to justify this status. Besides, de facto there are already Frenchmen in the Ukrainian Army, so, in a sense, this would be a kind of acknowledgement of the existing situation," Sergey Fyodorov, leading researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

The expert does not expect Biden’s remark to influence Macron’s decision. "Biden’s remark draws a very strange red line, as it means that strikes on Russia can still be delivered," he continued.

However, it is not yet clear what French servicemen will do in Ukraine, Fyodorov added. Their duties may indeed be limited to training troops and maintenancing equipment. But the expert doubts the Frenchmen will take part in real fighting. "While as many as 60% of the French support sending aid to Ukraine, they are not willing to risk the lives of their fellow citizens. Nor does the idea of joining the military conflict make the French military enthusiastic," he concluded.


Izvestia: Mexico, Nicaragua to stay away from Swiss summit on Ukraine

On June 15-16, Switzerland will host a summit to discuss resolving the Ukraine conflict. Only half of the 160 countries invited to the event in Burgenstock have confirmed they will be represented at the level of heads of state and government, with the bulk of them being from the Western camp, including NATO and EU member countries. Latin America, too, will send its delegates, Bern said. The majority of Latin American countries have confirmed they will attend, the Swiss Foreign Ministry told Izvestia.

However, at least five large Latin American countries will not be taking part, which shows that the West has failed to win the whole region over. Mexico, for one, will not send its representative, the country’s embassy in Russia told Izvestia. "Our country favors peace, therefore we expect that it will soon be possible to hold negotiations with both parties to the conflict at the table," the embassy said.

Nor will Nicaragua attend the conference, the Central American country’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to Izvestia. "Nicaragua has never participated and will not participate in this political farce which does not aim to find a path to peace but rather seeks to issue yet another ultimatum to Russia," the ministry said.

Two more Latin American countries, Venezuela and Cuba, will also skip the summit, Western media reported, citing Swiss government officials. The Cuban Embassy in Russia said that Havana was not invited at all. Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, too, has said he will not come. The Brazilian Embassy in Russia explained this decision by saying that both Russia and Ukraine should be involved in any negotiations.

Drawing not only the Global South, but also a BRICS member was especially important to Zelensky, which, the organizers believe, might give Kiev an additional tool to exert pressure on Moscow, St. Petersburg State University Professor Viktor Heifets told Izvestia. "The fact that many countries will not be attending or that other than top officials will represent them, if they do attend, sends a signal that Latin America is not willing to take sides in this conflict," he explained.

The majority of countries do not openly support Russia, nor are they willing to take Ukraine’s side. "They insist that both parties should be represented if something needs to be agreed upon. Latin American players do not foresee Russia’s capitulation, therefore they see no point in reaching agreement without taking Moscow’s interests into account," Heifets concluded.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: UN Security Council votes in five new non-permanent members

At a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on June 6, five non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) were elected for a two-year term beginning 2025. As always, they were elected by a secret ballot, with a candidate country needing to carry a two-thirds majority from member states present. According to the AP, the results of the voting did not come as a surprise, and Greece, Denmark, Pakistan, Panama, and Somalia will take non-permanent seats at the UNSC on January 1, 2025.

Obviously, Russia expects that the new non-permanent members of the global body will contribute to resolving crises and conflicts as well as strengthening the central role of the UN in global affairs and establishing a just multipolar world order. But can Moscow actually expect these new members to support its initiatives at the UNSC?

Hardly so, if you take Panama as an example. This Central American country pursues a pro-American course in its foreign policy, in particular, as regards the Ukraine conflict. "Panama demands a probe into crimes committed on Ukrainian soil during the conflict as it insists that those responsible be brought to justice. It has emphasized that it will never agree to solving territorial disputes through the use of force. And it supports the need to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine within the 1991 borders," explained Dmitry Morozov, a senior researcher at the Institute of Latin America of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

According to him, Washington views Panama City as a strategic partner. The two have signed a free trade agreement. This makes Panama’s economy reliant on the United States and imposes restrictions on the political independence of its leadership.

The expert doubts that Panama, which has traditionally leaned on the US, will change tack in the wake of its presidential election last month. "Given the difficult economic situation in Panama, it will hardly be willing to face the threat of US sanctions," Morozov maintained. "There is reason to assume that, at the UN, Panama will side with Washington on key political issues globally, including on Ukraine," he added.

As regards Denmark, it signed a 10-year agreement on security cooperation with Ukraine in February, becoming the first country outside the G7 to do so. In 2024, Copenhagen’s military support to Kiev is expected to reach at least 1.8 bln euros.


Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Russia receives twice as much oil and gas revenues in May than a year ago

Last month, Russian oil and gas revenues hit 793.7 bln rubles ($8.9 bln), a 40% rise compared to a year ago, when they stood at 570.7 bln rubles ($6.4 bln). So far this year, oil and gas revenues have stayed high, and only in January did they not exceed the expectations set out by the Finance Ministry.

In June, the situation on the global oil market changed for the worse, with Brent prices going south. This benchmark has hovered over $80 and sometimes traded above $90 per barrel since early February, causing a favorable effect on the Urals blend Russia uses for tax calculations.

In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Associate Professor at the Financial University Valery Andrianov said that, in May, against the backdrop of a general decline in oil prices, the discount on Urals compared with Brent crude at least did not widen, and, according to some data, it even narrowed somewhat at major ports where Russian raw materials are traded. Currently, it stands at about $16 per barrel. At the same time, the bulk of the discount, or over $11, comes from additional logistics costs, and only $3.20 is due to the sanctions, with the remaining $1.50 being the so-called natural discount. That is, the discount is affected more by objective logistics issues, rather than any restrictions or the general market situation, the expert explains. According to him, Russia could face difficulties should Brent prices plummet to $70 or lower, but nobody is taking such a pessimistic scenario seriously now, he argues.

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