Top stories in the Russian press on Monday, May 20, prepared by TASS
Izvestia: Iran capable of creating atomic bomb within one year
Iran can make an atomic bomb in less than a year, experts in the field of nuclear physics told Izvesita. Tehran has enough uranium reserves to create their own bomb, however, they would still need detonators and compact shells. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev told the newspaper that Russia would not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.
"We strongly support the readiness of the Islamic Republic to maintain the arrangement of the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We continue to foster our cooperation with Iran in the field of peaceful nuclear energy," he told Izvestia. "All 14 IAEA inspections confirmed the complete collapse of all aspects of the nuclear program that could hold any military character and lead to the creation of a bomb," Kosachev noted, adding that other information is speculative.
According to the politician, the United States and the forces that supported Washington's exit from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are the primary sources of it. They are trying to show that it is impossible to negotiate with Iran, he explained.
Chief researcher at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna Igor Golutvin told Izvestia that in order to create a bomb, uranium needs to be enriched to at least 90%. Iran’s industrial capacity and uranium reserves are sufficient for this, the expert said. The future of the Iranian nuclear project will depend on who will continue to supply the Islamic republic with raw materials for enriching uranium on an industrial scale.
Izvestia: Turkey seeks Russia's newest S-500s
Creating advanced air defense systems is a priority for building up the country's aerospace forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted during a series of meetings on military development and fulfilling state defense orders. What's more, other states are enthusiastically interested in these domestic air defense systems. That said, the leaders of Russia and Turkey have already discussed a contract to supply the S-500 Peresvet to Ankara. Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to manufacture the systems jointly, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to Izvestia.
According to Peskov, that acquisition of the S-500 anti-aircraft system, which has not yet been greenlighted by the Russian Armed Forces, was discussed by Putin and Erdogan.
Ankara’s interest in Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile systems is understandable, but so far any declarations about joint production have no real grounds, military expert Andrey Frolov told Izvestia. "It is more of a political statement. It is intended, on the one hand, for Turkey's domestic audience, and on the other hand, it is a gesture in its dialogue with the United States. At the moment, there are no prerequisites for the joint production of such systems, but what will happen in a few years is unknown," he said.
The S-500 is a new generation of anti-aircraft systems. In April, Russian Industry and Commerce Minister Denis Manturov reported that the S-500 development process had been almost completed. Earlier, Erdogan said he was interested in the S-500 and the possible participation of Turkish specialists in this defense project. Ankara has already signed a contract for the supply of four battalions of the long-range anti-aircraft S-400s to the tune of $2.5 bln.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: China-US relations enter era of mutual suspicion and conflict
Beijing and Washington are moving into a phase of long-term economic rivalry and confrontation. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, one of the hot topics in the official Chinese press is Beijing’s denial of Washington’s accusations that it is stealing American technology. Experts interviewed by the newspaper believe that the situation might potentially harm the ruble exchange rate.
This conflict is unprofitable for the global economy, and it is also economically harmful to China and the US, experts told the newspaper. "Unless the United States abandons its statements, Beijing will postpone the meetings. However, it cannot last forever," managing partner of Veta expert group Ilya Zharsky told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. It is possible that Trump and his Twitter account may add fuel to the fire, he noted. "Nevertheless, despite his character, he is well aware that a complete break in relations with China will adversely affect the United States," Zharsky added. However, the analyst predicted that the standoff between countries might drag on for several months.
"The tariff war between the United States and China, on the one hand, can be viewed as bargaining at the negotiations table. Trump needs the deal, since it will give him extra leverage in his fight for re-election, and China needs it too, in order to prevent the economy from slowing down," senior analyst at BCS Premier Sergey Suverov told the newspaper. However, the exacerbation of the situation in public view, according to the economist, has reduced the likelihood of striking a compromise. "It’s harder for the parties to save face. Should the negotiations fail, the devaluation of the yuan would be likely. The depreciation of the Chinese currency could pull down other developing countries’ currencies, including the ruble," the expert warned.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Russia on the brink of a major crisis similar to 2008-2009 crash
Russian GDP grew by only 0.5% in Q1 in annual terms, which turned out to be worse than expected. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russia may be headed for an economic downturn this year and it would be the biggest one since the 2008-2009 meltdown. According to expert estimates, the main reasons for it chiefly include the government’s tax tinkering, meaning the crisis that is on the horizon is largely man-made.
According to rough estimates by Director of the Analytical Department at Loko-Invest Kirill Tremasov, the decline of annual GDP growth rates means that in Q1, the economy declined by about 1.6%. According to him, "This is the most serious quarterly failure since the 2008-2009 crisis. Neither the collapse of oil in 2014, nor the sanctions could cause the same failure of the economy, which we have done ourselves by raising taxes."
Among some other reasons that could adversely affect economic growth, the expert highlighted the "sharp deterioration in the economic situation in Western Europe and Turkey, which led to a decline of Russian gas exports; the oil production cut within the OPEC+ deal; enormous capital outflows; and a tight budget policy." According to Tremasov, all these factors will continue to impact economy and lead to the GDP losing steam in the current quarter, which would mean the economy is in recession.
At the same time, not all experts tend to believe in the onset of a crisis. "Of course, GDP growing by 1.5-1.8% per year, pales in comparison to some developing countries, which in the last 10 years have been growing by an average of 5.5% per year, but here sanctions play a big role," Alexey Antonov, an analyst at Alor Broker told the newspaper. According to him, if there is no major drop in oil prices, then "we can avoid a crisis" at least until the next election cycle in 2024.
Vedomosti: Rostec estimates economic effect of Internet of things at over $77 bln
Russian state-owned corporation Rostec expects that the introduction of the industrial Internet of things will provide an economic effect worth 5 trillion rubles ($77.43 bln), Vedomosti wrote referring to the roadmap of the "Industrial Internet" technology drawn up by the corporation for the Digital Economy national project.
The greatest economic effect in the implementation of the Internet of things will be observed in Russia’s non-primary industry and mining. Each industry offers more than 1 trillion rubles ($15.48 bln). In agriculture, the power industry and logistics, the effect will exceed 500 bln rubles ($7.74 bln), according to Rostec’s presentation, which the newspaper cited. Vedomosti wrote that under the economic effect, the state corporation implies the volume of additional revenue and savings due to the introduction of technology in different sectors of the economy.
A representative of the state corporation told Vedomosti that the roadmap describes the development of technology until 2024.
It was reported earlier that nine road maps would be put together for the implementation of the federal ‘Digital Technologies’ project in the framework of the Digital Economy national project. Rostec will operate four of them.