- Press review: Russia to fight Dutch court’s ruling and Rome, Moscow focus on arms control
- Press review: EU insists on extending New START and sees Libya’s Sarraj as major headache
- Press review: US to fund anti-Gazprom crusade and Russia, Turkey fail to reach Idlib deal
- US, Estonian, Lithuanian military to carry out observation flight over Russia, Belarus
Top stories in the Russian press on Monday, July 15, prepared by TASS
Media: Trump may turn blind eye to Turkey's S-400 deal
The seventh aircraft carrying parts of the Russian-made S-400 missile systems arrived in Turkey on Sunday. Given this, the US Senate is demanding that the Trump administration impose a full package of restrictions on Ankara in accordance with the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.
At the same time, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported that Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in a telephone call explained to acting Pentagon chief Mark Esper that Ankara’s decision to purchase the S-400 systems from Russia was based on "reality," while "the deterioration of bilateral relations will benefit neither Ankara, nor Washington, nor NATO." The media pointed out that on Friday, the Pentagon had cancelled a briefing where officials had planned to speak about the United States’ plans to exclude Turkey from the F-35 aircraft program in response to the S-400 deliveries.
"It is highly likely that as far as the deliveries of the Russian S-400 systems to Turkey are concerned, Ankara and Washington have already come to an agreement," military expert Yuri Netkachev told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "The sanctions related to the Erdogan regime’s participation in the F-35 project may be eased in exchange for efforts to advance the United States’ interests in the region," the expert noted.
According to Netkachev, Washington had most likely approved Erdogan’s military operation launched against Kurdish armed units in northern Iraq on Friday. The US keeps trying to persuade Erdogan to abandon plans to seize Manbij and other Kurdish-populated areas in Syria, where the US-led coalition troops are currently deployed. "This set-up is expected to remain in place after the full withdrawal of US troops, and the US implicitly wants Turkey to stick to this plan. In return, Trump will turn a blind eye to Ankara’s S-400 purchase," the expert said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that the S-400 deal was the most important agreement in the country’s history. Turkey’s missile defenses will now reach a new level, significantly strengthening Ankara’s position in the region, military expert Anton Lavrov told Izvestia. According to him, the demand for hi-tech missile defense systems in the Middle East surged after the Houthis active in Yemen had acquired unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. This is why talks on the supply of Russia’s S-400 systems to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iraq may begin in the near future, the expert emphasized.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: US pushing France towards China
Washington is mulling the possibility of a tariff war with France. According to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Trump administration is looking over a new piece of French legislation that could affect the interests of America's tech giants, and is also considering a wide range of retaliatory measures, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.
A scandal broke out after the French senate had passed a law increasing taxes on foreign IT companies, which stipulates that taxation for corporations such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will depend on where they earn the most profit and not on where they are headquartered.
However, the debate about tech giants’ taxation is only a makeweight, since there is a whole set of trade disagreements between Washington and the EU. The parties’ lack of understanding on basic things concerning potential agreements nullifies even their intention to hold free trade talks. Instead of trying to resolve disputes, the Trump administration seems ready to keep imposing additional tariffs on French goods until Paris hoists a white flag. Still, the French authorities don’t plan to back down and observers see a new trade war looming, which will be reminiscent of that between the US and China.
The Trump administration’s uncompromising stance towards its European allies won't go unnoticed by China. Any development that weakens trans-Atlantic ties inevitably leads to talks and rumors about an EU policy pivot. Such a situation wipes out the US administration’s efforts to develop a strategic approach to the "Chinese threat."
Izvestia: Russian pilot jailed in US cautiously optimistic about possible return home
Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence in the United States, has asked the correctional authorities for a medical examination. The Russian told Izvestia that after being tortured during his 2010 abduction in Liberia, he developed arthritis so now he can hardly walk. Moreover, Yaroshenko also has stomach problems.
Meanwhile, in the spring of 2019, Moscow asked the US authorities to transfer the convicted pilot to Russia so that he could serve out his sentence in his home country. The authorities in the US have remained mum on the offer so far.
"I am cautiously optimistic about my possible return home. I can only thank the Russian embassy in the US and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov for supporting me in this situation, keeping me from losing heart," Yarosheko said.
According to the Russian’s wife Viktoria, the current situation in Russia-US relations and the recent contacts between the two countries’ presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, have offered a glimmer of hope that Washington will be ready to make a gesture of goodwill.
"My husband is seriously ill. It will be emotionally easier for him to be in his own country, even if in prison. We don’t have an opportunity to visit him in the US on a regular basis. We can only offer him support from afar. However, everyone needs their family around them, particularly when one is facing such an unfair situation, like being jailed on fabricated charges," Viktoria Yaroshenko said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the newspaper earlier that the United States had made Yaroshenko hostage to its judicial system. According to him, Moscow has repeatedly confirmed readiness to consider swapping Yaroshenko for US nationals jailed in Russia on various charges. However, the initiative kept on being rejected. Now, everything depends on Washington’s political will, the senior Russian diplomat emphasized.
Kommersant: China’s Xiaomi tops online sale charts in Russia
China’s smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has clinched first place in online sales in Russia in the first half of the year, leaving Huawei in the dust, Kommersant writes. The brand has been popular with Internet users, while online sales in Russia are rising amid falling offline store attendance and the strengthening of AliExpress’ position, experts explain.
"When buying online, customers usually carefully compare the specifications and prices of goods. This is why Chinese brands are the leaders of online sales," a spokesperson for the MTS mobile operator said. As for the offline market, the situation is different: Xiaomi came fifth in the first six months of 2019. According to the M.video retail chain, over the period in question, Russians bought more than two million smartphones worth about 42 bln rubles ($37 mln), which is 30% more compared to the same period last year.
Consumers that buy smartphones online fall into two categories: they are either focused on devices’ features or seek to emphasize their own prestige, said Head of the Mobile Communication Department at Marvel Distribution Pavel Vyukov. According to him, the reason behind Xiaomi’s growing online sales is that the company has had successful releases this year and pursues an aggressive price policy.
The number of people buying expensive smartphones in stores tends to decrease as consumers are wary that they will be upsold additional services, head of the Content Review agency Sergei Polovnikov said. "At the same time, AliExpress’ sales are increasing, with Chinese smartphones comprising the bulk of orders," he pointed out. All this leads to a growth in the online sales of smartphones in Russia. According to the expert, it will also reduce the number of offline stores in the short term.
Izvestia: Office employees tend to dress down to work more often
More people around the world prefer to wear jeans to work, considering suits and ties to be outdated and overly formal, the Regus company said, citing a poll involving over 39,000 respondents in 104 countries, including 861 office workers from Russia. According to experts, people nowadays have more freedom in choosing jobs and office wear, Izvestia wrote.
Most of the poll’s participants spoke out against the dress code to wear suits and ties to work. As many as 74% of those surveyed around the world and 73% of Russian respondents said that this type of office wear was old-fashioned and too formal. According to the poll’s results, denim clothing have actually become office wear: 79% of global respondents and 88% of Russians agree with that.
In the past 20 years, a trend remains for easing office dress code rules, Regus Director in Russia Irina Baeva told the newspaper. "People have more freedom in choosing jobs and office wear," she said.
On the other hand, international etiquette and protocol expert Albina Kholgova pointed out that the commitment to a conservative dress code enhances the status not only of personnel but of the company as well. According to her, if a company’s workers meet with clients, it is necessary for them to maintain this formal dress code from Monday to Thursday, while on Friday, a casual dress code is acceptable. However, Kholgova noted that the casual dress code included neither jeans nor running shoes.