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Press review: Europe against Russia’s actions in Syria and iOS, Android vulnerabilities

Top stories in the Russian press on Wednesday, October 12
A demonstration in support of Russia's military campaign in Syria in Damascus, 2015 Alexander Yelistratov/TASS
A demonstration in support of Russia's military campaign in Syria in Damascus, 2015
© Alexander Yelistratov/TASS


Media: Implications of cancelled Putin-Hollande meeting

The decision of Russia's President to call off the tete-a-tete with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, which is unprecedented for the relationship between the two countries, is mostly politically motivated, Kommersant writes with reference to informed source in Moscow. Also, a source in the Kremlin told the newspaper that “the behavior of Mr. Hollande is unpleasant and unclear for Russia,” meaning his latest interview with the TMC television channel when he said that he is still deliberating whether the upcoming meeting with Putin would be useful and criticized Russia’s Syria action and its airforce support to the Assad regime.

Kommersant writes that the move may fasten the process of formation of the western coalition against Russia’s actions in Syria, which may be joined by leading European nations that had been calling for a dialogue with Russia. It is also likely to be followed by tightening of sanctions against Russia, the newspaper says.

According to RBC business daily, though Putin’s refusal to fly to Paris demonstrates mutual discontent, it does not necessarily mean an open conflict. Presidents of Russia and France may have a meeting on October 19 at the Normandy Quartet meeting in Berlin as proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Izvestia: Russian engineer may be executed in Philippines

A lecturer in aviator training Yury Kirdyushkin arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on October 5 and charged with drug trafficking, may face death penalty in accordance with local laws, Izvestia daily writes. A representative of Russia’s embassy in the country told the newspaper that Kirdyushkin, 31, arrived in Manila on October from Brazil on a transit flight via Dubai and was arrested at the airport after 8.5 kilos of cocaine were found in his luggage. 

“Russian Federation citizen Yury Kirdyushkin is charged with transit, smuggling and possession of illegal drugs. The highest statutable punishment is lifetime imprisonment,” public relations officer of Russia’s embassy in the Republic of Philippines Ilya Perenkov told Izvestia. Earlier this month CNN Philippines reported that among those arrested on that day were also two Chinese nationals from Hong Kong – Pau Homanevan and Chan Kawai – who had arrived from Sao Paolo. Initial inventory of the contraband included a total of about 28 kilos of suspected cocaine in powder form and another two in liquid form. All the suspects denied knowing about the illegal drugs — saying they were just requested by their friends to use the luggage for their flight to the Philippines.

The grim struggle against drug trafficking has been on the top of the agenda of the incumbent Philippines president. One of his proposals is to lift the moratorium on the death penalty, which can make Yury Kirdyushkin the first foreigner to face its enforcement after years of prohibition. According to political analyst Dmitry Kosyrev speaking with the newspaper, the fact that among those arrested were Russian and Chinese nationals may demonstrate a political motivation, which will become evident if local media start a shrill campaign. There is no extradition treaty between Russia and Philippines. 

Izvestia: Eastern Economic Forum continues to draw investment one month later

Russia’s Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Galushka told Izvestia that those funds have been raised in four weeks following the forum, which took place in early September in the far Eastern city of Vladivostok. “The total investment exceeded 1.232 trillion rubles, which is significant means,” Galushka said, adding that judging from the results of the second forum “one can be confident that the Eastern Economic Forum has been internationally acknowledged and has succeeded as an development instrument of the Far East.”

Speaking about the results of the last year the Minister noted the involvement of Chinese investors in the region. “Today out of the total investment in the Far East, attracted  over the past year after new development mechanisms were launched in the region, 175 bln rubles, or 14% of the total, are of Chinese origin,” he said. Galushka also said he plans to visit China in late October to “discuss in detail the pressing issues related to cooperation, such as the development of transport corridors between the north-east of China and Russia’s Far East, investment of Chinese partners in priority development areas and the free port of Vladivostok, the construction and investment in trans-border infrastructure and cooperation in the agriculture sector. 


Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Decision to lift ban on Turkish fruit supplies to Russia well-timed

The flow of citrus fruit from Turkey, which is expected to hit the shelves of Russian stores already in a week’s time is not going to hurt Russian producers, Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote on Wednesday. According to director of the Center for international agribusiness and food security of the Higher school of corporate management at RANEPA (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) Anatoly Tikhonov, Russia cannot boast its own citrus fruits, while the restriction on stone fruits that has been lifted recently, has helped local producers sell their yields being in force for the whole summer and September. The citrus season is just about to start, the highest demand for tangerines and oranges is expected in November-February.

Also, Tikhonov said, the restrictions that have not been lifted (on grapes, apples, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers) concern fruits and veg also produced in Russia. “Our greenhouse facilities have just been launched and need support to reach the necessary level of profitability,” he said.

Russia banned imports of bell pepper, pomegranates, aubergines, lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, marrows and pumpkins from Turkey due to phytosanitary considerations in spring 2016. Prior to that Russia restricted imports of oranges, tangerines, grapes, apples, pears, apricots, peaches and nectarines, plums, wild strawberries, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, yellow onions, as well as frozen turkey and chicken from Turkey starting January 1. The restrictive measures were taken after the Turkish air forces shot down Russia’s Su-24 bomber over the territory of Syria in November 2015. Prior to the ban Turkey tapped a considerable share in Russia’s imports of fruits and vegetables. According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 56% of all imported tomatoes, 20% of tangerines and 15% of oranges were supplied from Turkey. 


Kommersant: Chinese IT companies seek vulnerabilities in Android, iOS in Russia

A number of Russia IT security companies have been proposed to sell earlier unknown vulnerabilities in Android and iOS operating systems, various browsers and other software, Kommersant writes referring to its source in the industry. The orders came from persons representing the ShenZhen Computer Users Association (SZCUA), which owns big Chinese IT companies Kingdee International Software Group and China Greatwall Computer Shenzhen Co.

Experts polled by the newspaper say that SZCUA may act on behalf of China’s state-owned hacker teams while vulnerabilities are often used as cyber weapons. SZCUA told Kommersant that “the association is not in the business and has never done such things.” The organization wouldn’t comment on why the proposals were being distributed through an email account in their domain zone


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