Izvestia: Berlin persuades the United States to lower the pressure on Nord Stream 2
Germany and the United States finally reached an agreement on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on Wednesday. For several years, this issue has been a major nuisance in bilateral relations, and Berlin and Washington have spent a few months maintaining active contacts. The transit of gas through Ukraine will be the cornerstone of the agreement that has been reached. Berlin and Washington agreed that if Russia stopped it, they would impose sanctions. In turn, Moscow stresses that Nord Stream 2 is absolutely a commercial project and that any political interference – including in the form of this agreement – seems inappropriate.
The chairman of the energy committee of the State Duma (lower house of parliament), Pavel Zavalny, told Izvestia that deals like the US-Germany deal could be seen as interference in business activity. “This agreement, more likely a protocol of political intent, seems rather odd and, I would even say, inappropriate. This is because instead of a dialogue, there is political blackmail against Russia. ‘deal has been reached, and it should be taken into account in our relations with Germany, the United States and Ukraine. “
Deputy Managing Director of Russia’s National Energy Security Fund Alexei Grivach notes that the key point of the deal is allowing the United States to save face: such a great country, a hegemon, has vowed to destroy Nord Stream 2, but failed to do so, and the pipeline is practically complete. However, the expert warns that despite the agreement, the Americans will not give up their opposition. “This is not about concern for Ukraine but about national interests,” said Grivach. “Their objective is to slow down the development of Europe, to limit its political and economic competitiveness, to weaken Russia and finally to solve the problems of promoting its energy resources on the markets.”
Kommersant: Erdogan launches campaign to thwart Cyprus unification
Ankara seeks to convince the world to reject the idea of definitively uniting the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus into one state. The practical steps for the realization of this plan were announced during the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Northern Cyprus. In fact, Turkey is ready to reject all resolutions on the settlement of Cyprus adopted by the UN Security Council. Erdogan’s visit and his statements after it sparked a huge outcry from the international community. The European Union has warned that it will never agree to a two-state solution for the island.
The chances of holding a new round of 5 + 1-format Cyprus talks involving representatives of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides as well as the three guarantor states – Greece, Turkey and the UK – are slim, Kommersant writes. The words of Erdogan and Ersin Tatar, elected president of Northern Cyprus in October 2020, cast doubt on any prospect of compromise.
Turkey has decided to comply with all UN Security Council resolutions and to abandon the idea of creating a Greek-Turkish federation and also insisted that there be two states on the island, writes the diary. In addition, Ankara wishes to obtain recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) by as many states as possible. However, few countries are ready to do so. When Erdogan’s foreign policy ambitions peaked after Azerbaijan, Ankara’s key ally, won in the Second Karabakh War, rumors began circulating in the press that Baku would soon recognize the TRNC. A recent trip of the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation to Northern Cyprus also drew attention. However, Azerbaijani political scientist Ilgar Velizade told Kommersant that this step could significantly complicate Azerbaijan’s relations not only with Cyprus, but also with Greece and the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: US gives green light to Moldova to strengthen ties with Russia
The recent statement by US Ambassador to Chisinau Dereck Hogan that Moldova should maintain pragmatic relations with Russia despite its pro-European line has sparked a reaction not only in that republic, but also in Ukraine. Political scientist Mikhail Pogrebinsky told Nezavisinaya Gazeta that the conflict in the breakaway republic of Moldova in Transnistria is not beneficial for Washington. The leader of the Social Democratic Party of Moldova Victor Selin notes that Hogan’s remark comes after the Geneva summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and should be seen as a message for Moldova and other post states -Soviet.
“Moscow will now facilitate the unification of Transnistria with Moldova under certain conditions. Fighting for Transnistria is not beneficial for Russia and could have consequences as well. However, after the unification of Transnistria with Moldova, Moscow will have the possibility to influence the politics of Chisinau through the parliament, where the autonomy (or a territory with a different status) will also be represented ”, noted the Moldovan politician.
The director of the Chisinau-based Center for Strategic Research and Policy Advice Politicum Anatol Taranu believes that a clear signal has been sent to Chisinau that “Washington does not want to have problems with Russia over Moldova”. “The Moldovan authorities must balance their relations with Russia while leading [their] European integration policy. But Chisinau must do so without any problem so that it does not affect US-Russian relations. The United States does not want to have friction with Russia over Moldova’s problems. This also concerns Transnistria. “
According to the expert, if Washington comes to an agreement with Moscow, the issue of Transnistria will be resolved immediately. Right now it is frozen and maintaining the status quo is beneficial for the major players. The expert notes that Russia could agree to the return of Transnistria to Moldova, but it is important to understand the specific terms here. “Russia has long sought to achieve this unification, in which it could influence Moldovan politics across Transnistria. However, it is now clear that the fate of Transnistria will be resolved by Moscow and Washington,” Taranu said.
Vedomosti: the new draft Constitution gives Lukashenko carte blanche
The Belarusian Constitutional Commission presented a final draft of amendments to the country’s legal basis on Wednesday. According to its president and head of the Constitutional Court Pyotr Miklashevich, the text of this document has been approved and will be submitted to President Alexander Lukashenko on July 22. The proposed new constitution will be put to a national referendum, which is expected to be held in early 2022, writes Vedomosti.
The amendments will relate to the powers of the president and the parliament. The president may not exercise more than two mandates (it is not mentioned whether they are consecutive). Currently, under Belarusian law, the term of office of the president is unlimited. Lukashenko was elected to his post in 2018 and could in theory rule until 2033. Belarus is also planning to raise the minimum age for presidential candidates from 35 to 40. Presidential candidates do not have to hold foreign nationality and must have lived in the country for at least 20 years. years before the elections.
The draft constitution offers no clarity on Lukashenko’s future and gives him carte blanche, said Valery Karbalevich, an expert at Belarusian think tank Strategy. Lukashenko could run for a new term and also create another post for himself. According to political scientist Andrei Suzdaltsev, the new Constitution does not mention Lukashenko’s political future as it has been decided. Lukashenko will not take part in the next presidential election, given the protests in 2020. Lukashenko could chair the People’s Assembly of Belarus – a body that will gain enormous powers – for a life term. In this system, the president will perform the functions of a key manager, while the president of the assembly will practically assume the powers of a monarch, the expert noted.
Izvestia: Russia’s service exports surpass imports for the first time
Russia’s foreign trade in services recorded a surplus in June 2021. Exports exceeded imports by $ 126.7 million, according to Central Bank statistics. Exports reached $ 4.74 billion, while imports totaled $ 4.62 billion. The surplus at the end of the month was recorded for the first time in at least four years. Quarterly data has not recorded a surplus since 2001. The country’s exports have exceeded imports mainly in transport and computer services. The Russian Ministry of Economic Development is currently analyzing the strategy of strengthening service exports to ensure that this trend of supply growth stabilizes. Despite the surplus, the numbers still remain below the 2019 level, experts told Izvestia.
The ministry linked the positive dynamics of IT services to the start of the so-called fiscal maneuver in the sector and explained the growth in exports of transport services by the increasing volume of transit shipments.
Exports of transport services have outpaced imports due to the restoration of supply chains as well as efforts to create a common market for these services, firstly on the basis of integration associations such as the The Eurasian Economic Union (EAE), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Freedom Finance, said Gennady Salych.
In addition, lately, road and rail container shipping services between China, Central Asia, EU and Russia have improved, and the volume of export supplies by sea transport has increased, a- he explained. Although the pandemic has significantly altered the service sector, several positive trends have recently been seen in Russia, said Elena Rozhanskaya, senior lecturer at the Russian University of Economics Plekhanov.
TASS is not responsible for the material cited in these press reviews.