Top stories in the Russian press on Monday, September 9, prepared by TASS
Izvestia: Eastern Economic Forum strengthens ties between Russia and Asia
The fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF-2019), which over 8,200 people from 65 countries attended this year, produced 270 contracts worth 3.4 trillion rubles ($517.97 bln). In addition to economic success, the forum helped strengthen political ties. In fact, the leaders of India, Japan, Mongolia, Malaysia, as well as officials from China, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore visited Vladivostok, with economics rather than politics at the forefront Izvestia wrote.
According to the newspaper, no major progress in Russian foreign policy on the Asia-Pacific track occurred at the EEF-2019. For example, the much-hyped, anticipated peace agreement with Tokyo was not yet signed. Japan is the only Asian country to have joined the sanctions against Russia, Izvestia noted. Deputy Chairman of the Khabarovsk Territory Government, Minister of Economic Development Viktor Kalashnikov told the newspaper that the negative impact of Tokyo’s move was minimal, but tangible. "We have a couple of projects frozen with the Japanese because of this. But we do not feel that these measures have some long-term determining significance. There is a positive message from Japanese companies," he said.
Despite the lag in the political dialogue, enterprises from Russia and Japan have achieved major breakthroughs. Thus, the Japanese delegation turned out to be the largest at the EEF-2019 with 588 people. At the same time, one of the largest deals was an agreement between Novatek and Japanese corporations Mitsui & Co. and JOGMEC on the Arctic LNG 2 project.
The main guest of this year’s forum was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Following a meeting between him and Vladimir Putin, Modi promised to provide $1 bln in economic assistance to the Far Eastern region. Meanwhile, China was represented by Vice Premier of the State Council, Hu Chunhua. "Of course, the forum is a success. We received proposals for projects, that is, a significant backlog for the future," Governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region Alexander Levintal told Izvestia. At the same time, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reiterated the need for an impartial investigation into the Boeing crash and called for a neutral organization to be created for this purpose.
The arrival of the leader of the Ukrainian political party, Opposition Platform - For Life Viktor Medvedchuk at the forum was unexpected, and was not on the agenda. Medvedchuk was received by Putin, and this meeting became one of the main political milestones of the forum. A day later, an exchange of prisoners took place between Kiev and Moscow with "35 for 35" being swapped.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Moscow wants to play peacemaking role in Kashmir crisis
More than 200 militants are ready to enter the Indian section of Kashmir from Pakistan. Islamabad claims that it is only providing moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris, but the Indians say that several terrorists have already been caught. In addition, radio intercepts indicate that preparations are underway for an invasion. Islamabad’s decision to ban the president of India from flying through Pakistani airspace did not help reduce the tensions. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moscow would like to assist in solving the conflict.
Russia noted during the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF-2019) in Vladivostok that it fully supports the position of India, the newspaper wrote. During a meeting with the press with Russian President Vladimir Putin at his side, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Russia and India were opposed to outside interference in the domestic affairs of any country. This is a clear message to Pakistan, which tried to garner international support for its position, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.
Vice President of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs Gleb Ivashentsev told the newspaper, "Russia cannot act as an intermediary. Even in Soviet times, Moscow had stated that Kashmir is part of India. This was mentioned during a visit to Kashmir by then Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. However, we must promote a rapprochement between the two countries. Moreover, India and Pakistan participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). A regional anti-terrorist organization is working with it. In this framework, we need to somehow bring India and Pakistan closer."
The Tsentr-2019 military exercises that will be held in the Orenburg Region from September 9 to 23 might help the situation, since both India and Pakistan will be participating in it.
Vedomosti: Russia to allocate $11 bln for green technology
The government has made a decision on the price of the renewable energy development program until 2050 settling on 725 bln rubles ($11.04 bln) in 2021 prices, Vedomosti wrote referring to the minutes of the meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and two other participants.
Generation based on renewable energy sources in Russia is being built under capacity supply agreements. Under this program, by 2024, about 5.5 GW of green capacity should be built in Russia. Now the government is discussing its extension until 2035. Meanwhile, industrial energy consumers are against it since they are obliged to pay not only capital costs for green generation, but also guaranteed income for generating companies.
The authorities will earmark 222 bln rubles ($3.38 bln) for the construction of wind farms until 2035, 148 bln rubles ($2.25 bln) - for solar, and 30 bln rubles ($456.96 mln) for small hydropower plants (up to 50 MW). The new stations’ capacities were not indicated in the protocol. With this money, it would be possible to build about 3 GW of wind power plants, 2.2 GW of solar power plants, and 170 MW of small hydroelectric power stations.
At the same time, an Energy Consumers Community representative told the newspaper that "The costs are enormous, the price of 1 kW is many times higher than world analogues, while production volumes are scant, and export potential is close to zero."
The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade is hammering out a distribution plan of funds with market participants and expert organizations, a ministry spokesman told Vedomosti. The price of energy development programs, including renewable ones, will be further specified.
Izvestia: Electronic passport test project to begin in Moscow in first half of 2020
The pilot project on the introduction of electronic passports will be launched in the first half of next year in Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said in an interview with Izvestia. Akimov noted that the appearance of such unseen industries might make it possible to get rid of routine labor, and reduce the number of direct contacts between officials and citizens, cut waiting time in lines, and eliminate bribes.
"I think the experiment in Moscow will begin in the first half of 2020. The passport will have two components: a card with a chip and an application on a mobile device. It is not the digital passport itself that matters, but rather what services it would provide, and how it could improve security. During the experiment, we want people to choose the application design, colors, and tell us what functionality is needed," he told the newspaper.
The Deputy Prime Minister added that the experiment would ferret out attempts to commit fraud using the application, and evaluate its susceptibility to hacker attacks. "The experiment is likely to extend to services where there are no legally significant transactions. For example, when buying alcohol or tobacco products, instead of a paper passport, it will be possible to present a mobile application," he specified.
Kommersant: LG smartphones dropping out of the Russian market
South Korea’s LG, one of the top 10 largest manufacturers of smartphones in the world, could abandon this segment of the Russian market. The company managed to occupy a prominent place in the market in 2013 with a successful line of devices, but then it began to lose ground to Chinese brands, experts told Kommersant. LG’s supplies to Russia have been falling since 2017, and now retailers are selling the leftovers.
Deliveries of LG smartphones to Russia in the first half of 2019 decreased to 5,000 units, according to a report by the GS Group analytical center, Kommersant wrote. "LG smartphones are likely to vanish from the Russian market soon. Shipments are declining every month," Head of GS Group analytical center Alexander Surkov said.
As of September 2019, LG smartphones are virtually not seen in large retail electronics retailers. "LG has not been proactive for a long time with offers on smartphones. Several models are available, and we are selling the leftovers," the M.Video-Eldorado group told the newspaper. At the same time, LG is still actively working in other segments and remains among the top five largest brands in the Russian market of household appliances and electronics in terms of sales, the group noted.
A shift has occurred in the consumers’ minds, old brands have long been supplanted by Chinese manufacturers, Head of the Mobile Communication Department at Marvel Distribution Pavel Vyukov told Kommersant. According to him, the greatest growth and the most serious competition occur in the price segment of 5,000 -10,000 rubles ($76.2-152) and 15,000-20,000 rubles ($228.6-304), where the positions of Chinese brands with their huge production resources and potential are a powerful rival.