Press review: Russia brokers truce to end Karabakh conflict and Putin reshuffles cabinet / News / News agency Inforos
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Press review: Russia brokers truce to end Karabakh conflict and Putin reshuffles cabinet

Press review: Russia brokers truce to end Karabakh conflict and Putin reshuffles cabinet

Top stories in the Russian press on Tuesday, November 10, prepared by TASS

Izvestia: Russia brokers armistice to end Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Russia’s influence in the Caucasus is expected to increase significantly as Moscow has brokered an armistice in Nagorno-Karabakh, experts interviewed by Izvestia said, commenting on the deal reached by Baku and Yerevan to end the hostilities. The leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed a statement declaring a complete ceasefire in the unrecognized republic starting at midnight Moscow time on November 10. According to the document, the opposing parties’ troops will remain at their positions, Yerevan will return previous Azerbaijani territories to Baku, but will get control of the Lachin Corridor, a route connecting the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to Armenia.

Russian peacekeepers, who have already departed for Karabakh, will be the guarantors of the agreement. In order to make sure that the parties to the conflict abide by the truce, a peacekeeping center will be set up. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will supervise the return of internally displaced persons and refugees to Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russia has sent 1,960 peacekeepers and 470 pieces of equipment to Karabakh.

"From the military standpoint, the conflict has ended with a resounding victory for Azerbaijan," military historian Dmitry Boltenkov pointed out. "The country has regained the areas it lost 25 years ago, including those it did not have the time to retake during military activities. It has also received transport corridors, including the most important one, the route leading to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic," the expert added.

"Azerbaijani troops will remain in the Nagorno-Karabkh region, particularly in the city of Shushi located a dozen kilometers from the capital Stepanakert. Now only Russian peacekeepers will guarantee the existence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It will be Russian border guards who will ensure the safety of transport corridors. As a result, our country’s influence in the region will grow," the expert emphasized.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Trump may take it out on Beijing one last time

Neither Chinese President Xi Jinping nor his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has yet congratulated Joe Biden on tentatively winning the US presidential election. Beijing is in no hurry to do so because it doesn’t expect Washington’s China policy to change radically. Beijing believes that US policy will continue to keep the screws tightened, but it will be more predictable, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

Trump kept blaming China for spreading the coronavirus pandemic and economically robbing the US, and now he can target Beijing once again. Accusing China of genocide against the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region could be one of the ways to worsen the already frail relations between the US and China. Trump may also complicate the situation surrounding Taiwan.

Deputy Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations Alexander Lomanov pointed out that "as for the genocide issue, Trump is unlikely to take such steps." "It’s not enough for the outgoing president to say that genocide is taking place in Xinjiang and there is a need for punitive measures against China. In order to implement an initiative like that, he would have to secure lawmakers’ support and that would be harder to achieve than before," the expert noted. "As for visas for Chinese nationals who seek to enter American universities or travel to the US for other purposes, the issue is not relevant at the moment. Chinese people aren’t eager to go to the US because of the pandemic," Lomanov said. According to him, "the most dangerous thing that Trump could do would be to embark on some demonstrative action in the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea. That could lead to an armed conflict," the expert warned.

He emphasized the important role of the tech cold war and Washington’s attempts to limit China’s access to chips and other high-tech items produced in the US. "Biden will hardly make concessions because he would be attacked in the same way that Trump was attacked in relation to his potential agreement with Russia. Any softness on the part of Biden would be taken as proof of him being ‘a puppet of Beijing’," Lomanov concluded.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Putin reshuffles government to ensure better crisis response

Given the mounting uncertainty at present, the situation in the Russian economy has radically changed. Crisis response strategies top the agenda right now. The government had to be reshuffled based on its need for ministers who have hands-on knowledge and on the ground experience, and who are focused on creating growth drivers, Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes.

On Tuesday, the State Duma will consider the appointment of five ministers and a deputy prime minister nominated by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin following a cabinet reshuffle initiated by President Vladimir Putin. The reshuffle concerns the ministries of energy, construction, transport, natural resources and the development of the Russian Far East, with former Energy Minister Alexander Novak having been nominated to be the country’s tenth deputy prime minister.

At the beginning of the year, the goal of the newly formed government was to implement national development projects and ensure faster economic growth rates in a relatively normal situation. But now, the main aim is to prepare for long-term crises, which include the pandemic-related crisis, the oil market crisis, the crisis concerning the population’s incomes and environmental issues.

In such a situation, the need arose to strengthen the team by including ministers with hands-on knowledge and who are expected to focus on streamlining the bureaucracy, boosting economic growth drivers, encouraging increased production and creating new high-paying jobs.

"I think that the reshuffle stems from the need to shake up the government rather than from plans to change its key priorities," Alor Chief Analyst Alexei Antonov pointed out. However, according to Head of the Department of Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance at the Moscow Financial University Konstantin Ordov, Mishustin continues to enhance his team’s capabilities with effective cabinet members.

"The problem is not that the government lacks plans but it lacks the ability to ensure their implementation. The new appointments are aimed at bolstering organizational discipline," the expert pointed out.

Izvestia: Markets surge on US election news

Global stock markets have surged following news of Joe Biden’s presumptive victory in the US presidential race. The Moscow Stock Exchange index rose by 3.2% and the RTS index increased by 5.33%. The Russian currency’s exchange rate also went up. However, experts interviewed by Izvestia point out that the market rally could be temporary, as well as the strengthening of the ruble. They believe the focus should be on the number one problem, the coronavirus pandemic.

The stock market has already accepted the election’s outcome and expects the United States to change its trade policy and stimulate the economy, which may benefit other countries, too, Head of Market Analysis at Otkritie Broker Anton Zatolokin noted. Russian stocks remain attractive and if there is no negative external news, they will maintain the overall positive trend, he stressed.

However, analysts say that the rally could be short-lived and market growth rates may drop in the near future. The global pandemic situation is the reason, BCS Broker’s Vasily Karpunin emphasized. According to him, countries are reimposing lockdowns, which means that economic recovery rates will slow down once again, along with consumer demand, while unemployment will grow.

Meanwhile, according to Sovcombank Chief Analyst Mikhail Vasilyev, Biden’s possible efforts to ease tensions with China and Europe, a new stimulus package for the US economy and a divided Congress will play in the ruble’s favor. The first two factors will have a positive impact on the global economy, while the third one will make it more difficult for Democrats to implement their election program, easing sanctions pressure on Russia, the expert explained.

Kommersant: Pandemic eases ethnic tensions

The number of ethnic and religious conflicts has declined in Russia during the coronavirus pandemic, Kommersant writes, citing experts from the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights.

The Moscow Bureau for Human Rights monitors human rights violations and acts of hostile xenophobia in Russia on a daily basis. Its recent report says that no major radical nationalist activities or protests took place in the first ten months of 2020.

The level of xenophobia fell largely due to a ban on mass events, the report’s authors point out. In particular, no traditional far-right marches were held in May. In November, the Moscow authorities rejected requests for a Russian March, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

However, intolerance has partly moved online, the bureau said. "The level of intolerance on the Internet is rather high as many issues related to migrants remain unresolved," the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights’ chief Alexander Brod told the newspaper. He noted that statistics and surveys did not point to a rise in incidents motivated by ethnic animosity but social and economic problems triggered a search for scapegoats, so migrants were often times targeted for being 'blamed'.

According to Director of the Sova analytics center Alexander Verkhovsky, there has been no rise in anti-migrant sentiment in Russian society in general. Tensions could be expected to flare up in the spring, when reports started coming in that migrants might commit crimes after losing their jobs. However, since the level of crime did not go up, the assumption proved wrong, the expert elaborated.

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