- 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
- Press review: Navalny detained on arrival in Moscow and will Biden renew New START
Top stories in the Russian press on Monday, November 23rd, prepared by TASS
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: How Biden might handle trade conflict with China
Joe Biden, the presumptive presidential winner, said that he was going not to punish China for its behavior but rather force it to play by the rules. According to him, there are red lines that the Chinese should not cross. This is where Washington will act together with the rest of the world, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Experts believe that Biden will try to preserve the trade deal with China, but will not make concessions on Taiwan and the South China Sea.
At the same time, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jim Risch, released a majority report entitled: "The United States and Europe: A Concrete Agenda for Transatlantic Cooperation on China". According to the document, the US and Europe increasingly agree that China is challenging them in the areas of politics, economics and security.
Chief Researcher at the Institute for the United States and Canada at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Batyuk told the newspaper, "Biden will try to avoid a new trade war with China, as this is damaging not only to China, but to the United States itself. But he has repeatedly said that China is America's main competitor, and very serious political and economic contradictions remain between the two powers.
The Americans are very concerned about China's economic expansion, not only in the United States, but throughout the world in general. They are worried about the military and political situation in the South China Sea. These disagreements will not vanish upon the change of administration. Yet, the style of relations may change."
As for the red lines mentioned by Biden, "China has territorial conflicts with many countries, including Japan and India. Washington uses these contradictions in order to build something similar to a buffer zone around China," Batyuk concluded.
Beijing nevertheless hopes that Biden's arrival will mean a breakthrough in bilateral relations and the restoration of high-level communications, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. However, US experts believe that calls for establishing softer and positive relations, heard from China will lead Washington into a trap. Submission could be the price of easing tensions.
Kommersant: Belarusians turning away from Russia
In November, the number of supporters of an alliance with Russia in Belarus decreased by 11% compared to September this year. This is evidenced by a survey conducted by the Belarusian Analytical Workshop in early November. Head of the Workshop, Doctor of Sociological Sciences Andrey Vardomatsky told Kommersant, that a new trend could be forming, which could cause geopolitical tension in relations with Russia later on.
The study revealed significant changes compared to the previous survey in September 2020. In November, 40% of the respondents supported the alliance with Russia, while in September that figure was 51.6%. The pro-European orientation, on the contrary, demonstrated an increase: 33% in November against 26.7% in September.
Vardomatsky explains that the most recent changes in geopolitical preferences may be due to Moscow's support of Alexander Lukashenko having dawned on the public. "The protesters did not immediately perceive these steps as significant events, since was there was another motivation - the coronavirus outbreak, police brutality and so on," the expert said.
The question, according Vardomatsky, is whether the survey illustrates the beginning of a trend. The sociologist recalls that for the entire period of the Belarusian protest, geopolitics was completely absent, but now there may be a turning point. "If the geopolitical component is included in the motivational structure of the Belarusian protest, in the future it may cause geopolitical tension in relations with Russia," the expert concluded.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: EU attempts to break loose from the US in the field of defense
The intelligence services of EU countries have begun to hammer out a document on the assessment of security threats to the European Union, known as the "Strategic Compass". It is part of the second phase of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) program, a component of the EU’s security policy that is working on why the European Union needs defense structures, different from those that already exist within NATO, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. According to the newspaper, the necessity to develop this type of a document has long been recognized in the EU’s expert circles. Tensions between NATO allies in assessing the threats the alliance must confront have become all too evident in recent years.
Eastern European NATO members insisted that the Kremlin should be considered the key threat. However, not all EU countries agreed with this. Now there are far more contradictions within NATO. Among those that stand out are the Trump administration's focus on trade war China, a position generally not shared by most EU countries.
Leading researcher at the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Fedorov told the newspaper that a single European military structure capable of replacing NATO would not be created in the foreseeable future. "Yes, there is an unpleasant aftertaste of Trump's policies in the EU and a desire to distance itself from the United States. But there are also close defense ties with the US, stretched out over many years," the expert noted. These ties have been proven to be stronger than the integration efforts in the field of defense, he concluded.
RBC: Russia embarks on reforming major development institutions
The Russian government has approved the concept of restructuring developmental institutions, in accordance with which a single development institution will be created in Russia on the basis of the state corporation VEB.RF. In addition, the reform involves uniting institutions with similar activities and preserving institutions with special goals, RBC wrote citing two sources close to the government and a source in one of the institutions in question.
"The goal of the reform is to create unified mechanisms for managing institutions, and to eliminate the overlap of their functions with government authorities and commercial enterprises, and also link the goals of the institutions with the goals of Russia's national development," one of the sources told the newspaper.
According to a source close to the government, control over the following eight development institutions will be transferred to VEB.RF: the SME Corporation, the Russian Export Center (REC), the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR), the Industrial Development Fund, the Foundation for Assistance to the Development of Small Forms of Enterprises in the Scientific and Technical Sphere (Bortnik Foundation), Skolkovo, as well as Rusnano, and the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs. In addition, VEB.RF will also shoulder some functions of development institutions.
RBC reported that three Far Eastern development institutions will be liquidated. They are the Agency for Human Capital Development in the Far East and the Arctic (ARCHK), the Far East and Arctic Development Fund, and the Far East Investment and Export Agency. All functions of these institutions, except the state policy on attracting labor resources and investments in the Arctic and the Far East, will be also transferred to VEB.RF.
Vedomosti: Roughly 30% of Russians still want to become entrepreneurs, despite Covid-linked economic crisis
Almost every third Russian (29%) is ready to give entrepreneurship a try, although only 7% of those surveyed are going to start their own business in the next three years, according to the results of a joint study by the Ministry of Economic Development and the NAFI Analytical Center. Against the coronavirus crisis, the share of Russians who have a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship rose to 80% against 77% last year, Vedomosti writes. The authors of the study associate such results with state support measures.
However, 28% of the respondents consider the state support measures to be insufficient, pointing to it as the main reason that is preventing them from starting their own business. The second most important obstacle is the lack of initial capital (19%), and the third was red tape (14%).
Elena Kiseleva, a member of the Delovaya Rossiya coordinating council, recalled that despite the seeming ease of starting a business, the macroeconomic conditions for entrepreneurship are not the most favorable right now. "In this situation, proper education is necessary for a qualitative calculation of risks and opportunities," she told Vedomosti, noting "therefore, within the framework of SME development, it would be advisable to organize educational programs for entrepreneurs."
President of Opora Russia Alexander Kalinin is convinced that the positive rise in the number of Russians willing to become entrepreneurs is the result of a social campaign to popularize entrepreneurship in the country. "This is not only about reducing pressure on business or simplifying access to loans, but also about changing the image of entrepreneurs in society. We already see certain results: training centers for business development are opening, and numerous free educational programs have been created for beginners," Kalinin told Vedomosti.