© Maxim Kimerling/TASS
Top stories from the Russian press on Tuesday, September 21st, prepared by TASS
zvestia: Perm shooting tragedy shows need for overhaul of universities’ security structure
The law on weapons possession from the age of 21, which comes into force in June 2022, might help protect educational institutions from attacks by their own students, said experts interviewed by Izvestia, who weighed in on the Perm tragedy. An 18-year-old from Perm State University’s law faculty went on a shooting rampage at the university, causing the death of six people. Experts also see a problem in compliance with the existing standards of protecting educational institutions and their financing. The solution may be to tighten control over this area, experts believe.
The 18-year-old student gunman managed to acquire both a permit and a weapon before the amendments entered into force, raising the age limit for possessing hunting and smooth-bore long-barreled firearms for self-defense from 18 to 21 years old. The legislation is due to go into effect on June 28, 2022.
"Now it is necessary to raise the question of the personal responsibility of psychiatrists, who issue medical reports. Such examinations are formal and are carried out in a couple of minutes. In addition, we know that the security of educational facilities is provided by private security organizations. In such organizations, the guards are often not professional security personnel," Deputy Chairman of the State Duma's Security and Anti-Corruption Committee Anatoly Vyborny told Izvestia. He added that the most professional security guards are moving into transportation and other areas in pursuit of better working conditions.
"It would be inappropriate to further tighten the rules on weapons," Russian State Duma legislator Yuri Sinelshchikov told the newspaper. "The law on increasing the age at which you can own a gun will soon enter into force. It is important to take preventive measures, to educate people to respect the law and authorities, and respect one another," he added.
Kommersant: United Russia wins parliamentary elections, with new party entering State Duma
Russia’s Central Election Commission on Monday confirmed that the new State Duma will have five parties instead of the previous four. According to experts interviewed by Kommersant, voters acted pragmatically and more often chose those who had real chances of getting across the threshold. This is why the New People party managed to get into parliament. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia suffered the biggest losses among the parliamentary parties, while United Russia retained its constitutional majority.
A fifth party joining the State Duma was the main event of these elections, but experts noted some new general trends in the political system. Director of Political Analysis at Insomar Viktor Poturemsky pointed to a change in the behavior of the electorate, who voted more pragmatically. Now opposition-minded citizens more often choose parties that have a chance to get into the State Duma. "People want to vote for someone who will also give them advantages," Poturemsky said.
The outcome of the elections will enable New People to form a faction of at least 13 lawmakers, their leader Alexey Nechaev said. He believes that the party has achieved success thanks to the need for changes in politics and in parliament.
Gennady Zyuganov, who heads the Communist Party, emphasized that the party has caught up with United Russia in a number of regions. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has suffered serious losses. Back in 2016, it received 13.14%, but now in 2021, it got only 7.5%.
Chief technologist of United Russia, Head of the Civil Society Development Fund Konstantin Kostin told Kommersant that the key factors in the party's success were the response to the request for renewal and the successful mobilization of supporters.
"Three-day voting, mobilization, and a split among the opposition candidates along with the influence of federal TV," were the reasons listed by political consultant Yevgeny Minchenko for United Russia’s success. According to him, even when United Russia is not campaigning, the party brand automatically gives them 15-20% of the vote.
Izvestia: US-France submarine scandal leads to talk of Paris pulling out of NATO
France should weigh its foreign policy priorities and, given the new AUKUS alliance in the Asia-Pacific region and its discord with the United States, it should better relations with Russia among other countries, a representative of the French National Assembly (the parliament’s lower house) told Izvestia. Paris’ revision of its participation in NATO is also possible. Nevertheless, it will not come to a rupture in relations between Paris and its NATO ally, according to experts interviewed by Izvestia.
The AUKUS trilateral defense pact was announced by Australia, the UK, and the US on September 16. Its stated mission is to maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region. However, there could be an intention to oppose China, experts told Izvestia. The reaction in Beijing to the new alliance was scathing.
France, meanwhile, sees the new alliance as detrimental to its own interests, and nothing more than a betrayal. Member of the French National Assembly Benoit Simian told Izvestia that withdrawing from NATO should be ruled out as a response. He believes that France needs to think about how to strengthen its diplomatic relations and cooperation with Russia.
Nevertheless, no matter how reverberating the scandal may be, it is still too early to talk about a breaking point in relations between France and NATO. "Relations with Australia and strengthening the ‘great anti-Chinese wall’ in Indo-Pacific, containing and confronting China are the very top priorities of US foreign policy for the coming decades," expert at the Russian International Affairs Council Alexander Yermakov explained to Izvestia. "Europe, NATO relations, and France's grievances don’t mean anything here and this is openly demonstrated," he added.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Erdogan heads to New York hoping to meet Biden
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may use his visit to New York as another bid at improving relations with the Biden administration, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. According to the newspaper, at the very least, the Afghan crisis has presented a good chance for strengthening ties between the two NATO allies in recent months. Meanwhile, the US leader recently has become more distant with Ankara, experts believe.
The topic of military-technical cooperation between Turkey and Russia continues to plague Erdogan’s relations with Washington. This summer, Russian officials announced the imminent signing of a new contract for the supply of S-400s to Ankara. Another controversial topic is Syria. Turkish political analyst Kerim Has told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that attacks on Turkish servicemen have recently become more frequent in the province of Idlib, which is not controlled by Damascus. In contrast, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey has had several clashes with Greece over the past year, is relatively stable.
Senior director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Aykan Erdemir told the newspaper that Erdogan must think that the New York tour will offer him a chance to meet with Biden. The expert noted that Washington's declining criticism of Ankara indicates that Erdogan was able to secure diplomatic concessions in Brussels and he is probably interested in getting further deals in New York.
Kommersant: US, Ukraine begin military drills Rapid Trident-2021
The Ukrainian-US military drills dubbed Rapid Trident-2021 kicked off in Ukraine on Monday with the objective of preparing Ukrainian troops for defensive and offensive operations as part of NATO coalition forces. The drills continue a series of multinational maneuvers taking place in Ukraine in 2021. Another multinational exercise called Combined Efforts-2021 will start on Wednesday with the participation of 11 NATO countries. According to Kommersant, the exercises in Ukraine will lead to developing a strategic foothold near the borders of Russia by the US and NATO forces.
In general, eight multinational exercises will be held on the territory of Ukraine in 2021, in which 21,000 Ukrainian and around 11,000 foreign servicemen will take part.
Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics Vasily Kashin told the newspaper that a large grouping of enemy forces can appear at Russia’s borders in a matter of days. Moscow perceives this as a serious threat. "Russia does not intend to leave these actions unanswered. The growing number of NATO exercises in Ukraine entails more and more active military activities on the Russian side. Thus, we have a continuing escalation of military tension around Ukraine," he said.
Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov thinks differently. "Kiev is falling into unreasonable euphoria over the exercises and allied relations with the US, although the latest examples of Washington's surrender of the Afghan government and the scandal over French submarines to Australia serve as a warning that for Ukraine it would be careless to put all its eggs in the US basket," he told Kommersant.