- Press review: Will Putin, Biden extend New START and Russian airlines seek bailout
- Press review: Biden’s inaugural address calls for unity and Iran may form ‘Shiite NATO’
- New START Treaty extension meets US national security interests
- Press review: What comes next after Navalny's arrest and Telegram may face Big Tech's ire
Top stories in the Russian press on Monday, February 3, prepared by TASS
Kommersant: Coronavirus outbreak impacts emerging markets
Emerging market funds lost about $4 bln worth of investment over the past week, and the Russian stock market shed $80 mln for the first time this year. Global investors are pessimistic mostly because of the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, which is viewed as a threat not only to the Chinese economy but to the global one as well, Kommersant writes.
According to Chief Strategist at BCS Global Markets Vyacheslav Smolyaninov, investors have simply stopped pouring new money into funds in order to see how the situation will unfold further and assess the potential economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. "Given the current size of China’s economy, any shocking event in the country will rock the entire world. Amid these developments, investors have naturally started to leave emerging markets," Sistema Capital Asset Manager Konstantin Asaturov pointed out.
In the coming weeks, investment behavior will depend on China’s ability to combat the coronavirus. It’s important to see how the epidemic develops in the coming days, which will mark two weeks since efforts to prevent the virus from spreading were stepped up in China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, says Irina Prokhorova, an analyst at the Otkrytiye asset management company. "If the efforts of governments turn out to be successful, investor interest in emerging markets may rise once again," she explained.
The Russian market may find itself in a better situation than other developing countries. "There are a lot of investors on the market that believe only in facts and fundamental data. As far as Russian stocks are concerned, the data is strong and macroeconomic forecasts for the market are not bad. A race for profit lies ahead as the success of 2019 paves the way for high dividend yields," TransFinGroup Deputy Director General for stock market transactions Ravil Yusipov emphasized.
Vedomosti: Palestinians cut ties with US and Israel, say no to Trump’s peace plan
The Palestinian government has officially rejected US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace with Israel, unveiled last week, and suspended relations with both Israel and the United States. The Arab League, in turn, unanimously opposed the Trump plan, Vedomosti notes.
The Palestinians rejected the plan even before it was revealed, accusing the White House of taking a pro-Israel stance and seeking to strengthen Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position ahead of the parliamentary election. Arab League members agreed that the plan had failed to take the legitimate rights of the Palestinians into account and pledged to refrain from assisting Washington in implementing the deal. European countries were divided over the issue. The United Kingdom immediately supported the US initiative, the French Foreign Ministry also welcomed Trump’s efforts and promised to carefully study the plan. Germany was concerned about that fact that not all parties to the conflict had been involved in talks, as well as about how the US initiative correlated with international documents and the common position on settling the Middle East conflict.
Russia has made no official comments on the ‘Deal of the Century’ yet. However, Moscow’s position - the plan was drawn up by the Americans, we will study it and see what happens next - is very convenient, said Dmitry Maryasis, the Head of the Department of Israel Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies.
According to him, major regional players, Turkey and Egypt, are very likely to express a negative attitude to the deal but it is not that important. "Even if they supported the deal, there is no real mechanism to implement it and it’s unclear how the parties can come to the negotiating table," he pointed out. Moreover, "an unexpected, strange and ill-considered" statement made by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, an experienced politician, won’t help things, Maryasis added. "It seems that he was waiting for an excuse to make a tough statement because he is stuck in a political impasse," the expert explained.
Kommersant: UK-Russia relations reach certain stability, ambassador says
The United Kingdom intends to talk over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s idea of holding a summit of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with four other countries - Russia, the United States, France and China, British Ambassador to Moscow Deborah Bronnert said in an interview with Kommersant.
When speaking of Brexit, the ambassador pointed out that it concerned relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union so she did not expect it to have any impact on British-Russian relations or on regular citizens.
The envoy admitted that the political relationship between London and Moscow was complicated, though recently it became possible to speak about a certain stability. There are a lot of areas where both the UK and Russia play an important role. In this regard, Bronnert mentioned the Iran nuclear deal and the topic of climate change. The ambassador pointed out that the United Kingdom and Russia viewed many issues differently but dialogue is even more important especially if you disagree with someone.
According to her, apart from politics, there are a lot of other areas, including trade and investment ties. Trade between the two countries has reached $20 bln, which is good for both the British and the Russians.
The new ambassador confirmed that the UK had received the Russian authorities’ invitation to the Moscow celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War. However, the ambassador said she could not tell yet what the answer would be. According to her, the United Kingdom remembers that 75 years ago, the country, together with the Soviet Union, the US and other allies, stood side by side to fight against the Nazi threat. The UK seeks to celebrate the anniversary together with other countries in an appropriate way because it is likely to be the last big date in the lifetime of WWII veterans, Bronnert added.
Vedomosti: US Secretary of State visits Belarus for first time in over a quarter of a century
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made a visit to Belarus. The last time a US top diplomat visited Minsk was in 1993, precisely 26 years ago. In 2006, the US imposed sanctions on a number of Belarusian companies and the two countries stopped exchanging ambassadors in 2008. In the fall of 2019, Minsk and Washington agreed to restore ties and, according to Pompeo, a US ambassador will soon arrive in the Belarusian capital. However, Washington is not ready to remove sanctions against Belarus, the secretary of state added, Vedomosti writes.
The Minsk visit was part of Pompeo’s major Eurasian tour. Apart from Belarus, he has already visited Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan is next in line for an official visit. There is nothing controversial about Pompeo’s trip to Belarus since it is an agreed state visit, a high-ranking Russian diplomatic source told the newspaper. However, given the recent discord between Moscow and Minsk on oil supplies, Pompeo’s statements about the United States’ readiness to provide energy to Belarus at market prices do cause concern, the source admitted.
The trip’s goal is to make it clear that post-Soviet countries remain in the focus of US foreign policy and any issues in their relations with Russia may be used to reduce Moscow’s influence in the region, Senior Researcher at the Russian State University for the Humanities’ Department of Post-Soviet Countries Alexander Gushchin pointed out. "On the one hand, this is a new level of ties for Minsk and Washington, which may somehow legitimize [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko in the eyes of Western leaders. On the other hand, as far as the US is concerned, it is a tool for putting propaganda pressure on Russia," the expert added. If there were no problems between Moscow and Minsk, such a visit would not have happened, Gushchin noted. "However, Minsk understands that the United States views Belarus only as a tool in its geopolitical strategy and ties that are too close to Washington may weaken the country’s sovereignty," he pointed out.
Izvestia: Nearly three-quarters of Russians seek career changes
As many as 72% of Russians are ready for a career change, Izvestia wrote, citing a poll conducted by the SuperJob service. Another 14% are willing to undergo refresher training without changing their jobs. Only four percent consider themselves qualified enough, and three percent either don’t want to change their careers or have no opportunity to do so.
The desire for someone change their career is usually based on an erroneous decision made when entering a university, SuperJob founder Alexei Zakharov pointed out. About 60% of Russians who graduated from higher education institutions in the past 20 years haven’t practiced the professions listed in their degrees for a single day, he claims.
Low wages are another reason why people seek a new profession, said Professor at the Staff Management Department at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation Alexander Safonov. "The most common salary stands at 25,000-27,000 rubles ($390-420), which is not enough to buy a home, a car and travel on a family vacation. People look around and see that the situation of those working in the same field is similar to theirs, so they start thinking about changing their career for a more high-paying one," the expert explains.
People may also dream of a career change because they are frustrated with their employers, Professor at the Department of Labor and Social Policy at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration Lyubov Khrapylina noted. "Many don’t see career prospects and believe that they do meaningless work most of the time," she explained. According to the expert, if senior company officials improved their skills and provided employees with opportunities for further training at the companies’ expense, more people would be happy with their careers.