Press review: Far-right gains in EU Parliament and SPIEF-2024 breaks records

MOSCOW:  Initial European Parliament election results signal far-right shift; record-breaking deals at SPIEF-2024; and Russian President Vla...


MOSCOW:  Initial European Parliament election results signal far-right shift; record-breaking deals at SPIEF-2024; and Russian President Vladimir Putin planning to visit allies in Far East. These stories topped Monday's newspaper headlines across Russia.

Izvestia: Initial European Parliament election results signal potential shift in power dynamics

In many EU countries, according to the initial results of elections to the European Parliament (EP), right-wing and far-right parties, those notably against Brussels’ current foreign and domestic policy, have scored a big victory. The National Rally party’s upset win over French President Emmanuel Macron’s party was the headliner here. Eurosceptics have also made big gains in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. However, the increase in the representatives of these forces is unlikely to impact Brussels’ stance on Ukraine, experts polled by Izvestia said.

The victory of National Rally and other parties who want to change Europe will shift the balance of power in the European Parliament, Thierry Mariani, French member of the European Parliament (MEP), told Izvestia.

According to him, the distribution of these parties in factions is not important. The main thing is that now they can vote the same way on important issues. In his opinion, now the European Parliament will rebalance and become more oriented toward the interests of the people, rather than furthering the agendas of power-hungry bureaucrats in Brussels who want to buddy up to Washington while dismissing the interests of Europeans, the lawmaker said.

German MEP Gunnar Beck doubts that the new makeup of the European Parliament will change Brussels’ policy toward Ukraine.

According to him, the balance of power will tilt somewhat but not significantly, given that the CDU/CSU union is supporting Ukraine.

Alexey Chikhachev, a researcher at the MGIMO Laboratory of International Trends Analysis (LITRA), concurs that the far-right surge in the European Parliament will not result in any radical consequences.

"Mainstream parties, such as the European People’s Party, moderates, social democrats and the Greens together will form a majority in order to prevent the far-right politicians from taking on leadership positions in the European Union," he thinks.

According to him, the far-right politicians may poke sticks into the spokes of the European Parliament’s various committees but the mainstream forces will hold on to their grip on power for now. In any event, Brussels’ policy with regard to the Ukraine conflict will be determined not by the distribution of forces in the European Parliament but rather the stance of such countries as France, Germany, Poland and, of course, the US, the expert concluded.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: SPIEF-2024 breaks records in terms of contracts concluded

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) continues to gain steam as a huge international event.

This year, it was attended by more than 21,000 people from 139 countries versus 17,000 and 130 countries last year. The largest delegation, 192 people, came from China. The delegations from the UAE (105 people), Zimbabwe (86), Kazakhstan (84), India (80) and Oman (75) were also quite substantial.

"SPIEF remains the main global venue for platform and exchanging expertise among business circles, officials and experts from across the world. This is confirmed by the number of participants this year," Pyotr Shcherbachenko, associate professor at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

In all, 982 agreements have been signed at the forum totaling 6.4 trln rubles (over $72 bln) versus 3.8 trln rubles in 2023. "And this is only the chunk that is not proprietary information," noted Advisor to the Russian President, Executive Secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee Anton Kobyakov said.

"For the Russian economy, the record number of contracts concluded this year shows that despite geopolitical restrictions, our country continues to actively develop its economic ties and attract foreign investments," Shcherbachenko pointed out. He stressed that the Russian economy remains appealing for businesses and investors which facilitates stable growth and the diversity of economic ties. This also confirms Russia’s openness to friendly countries and its readiness to cooperate even amid sanctions.

Vedomosti: Putin to visit North Korea, Vietnam soon

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea and Vietnam in the next few weeks, a diplomatic source told Vedomosti. An academic source said that the president’s visit to Vietnam may take place as early as June, likely right after his visit to North Korea. Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora has confirmed to Vedomosti that the Russian president’s visit to Pyongyang will take place and it is now "being actively prepared."

It is quite possible that advance groups from Russia have already visited North Korea or are getting ready to go there in order to prepare Putin’s visit, Alexander Zhebin, a leading researcher at the Center for Korean Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of China and Modern Asia, said.

As for the content of talks between the two leaders in Pyongyang, according to Zhebin, they may be about restoring trade and economic ties to pre-Western sanctions levels.

Additionally, the two countries have already begun to grow tourism from Russia to North Korea despite many in Russia having their doubts about this. Yet in order to do so, it is necessary to develop infrastructure and establish regular transport links between Russia’s Far East and North Korea and some political decisions are also needed.

The current Russia-North Korea Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness, and Cooperation does not include any military aspects but mentions the possibility of consultations should a threat to peace and security arise. Moreover, the renewal of consultations at the level of deputy foreign ministers of Russia, China and North Korea may send a message to Washington, which is basically creating a regional military bloc with Japan and South Korea, Zhebin thinks.

If Putin visits Vietnam, it would be an important milestone in bilateral relations, especially given the current situation, said Yekaterina Koldunova, director of the ASEAN Center and associate professor in the Department of Asian Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University). Russia is having problems with mutual transactions with a wide range of friendly countries, including Vietnam, due to an as yet non-developed mutual financial infrastructure and partners’ concerns over secondary sanctions. It is important to understand Southeast Asia countries and Vietnam in particular still do the bulk of their foreign trade in US dollars and this matter is only somewhat alleviated by the existence of the Vietnam - Russia Joint Venture Bank (VRB). That said, political ties between the two countries are important in order to show businesses that bilateral relations are seen as a priority, Koldunova concluded.

Izvestia: Niger interested in hosting Russian military base

Niger is interested in Russia establishing a full-fledged military base in the West African nation, Russia’s honorary consul in the republic Addo Iro told Izvestia. According to him, this is necessary for effectively fighting terrorist organizations. On June 2, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov met with Abdourahamane Tchiani, president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland. The two sides wished to bolster the strategic partnership between their countries in security, defense and the economy. The rapprochement of Moscow and Niamey began with General Tchiani coming to power and French troops withdrawing from the country. Currently, US troops are getting ready to leave the republic as well.

To a varying degree, all Niger’s borderline regions are threatened by terrorism so the government’s main effort is directed toward fighting the formations active in the country’s west and southeast, Sergey Kostelyanets, head of the Center for Sociological and Political Sciences Studies of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Izvestia.

However, according to him, one thing that may help Niger is the parallel development of cooperation between Russia and two other Sahel countries which are also plagued by terrorism, Mali and Burkina Faso. "In any case, Moscow must facilitate national dialogue in Niger and even a constitutional reform, if necessary, because the conflict in pro-Russia Niger, as well as in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, cannot be resolved with weapons only," the expert concluded.

Vedomosti: Russian fertilizer producers forecast double-digit growth in exports

Exports of Russian fertilizers in 2024 will grow by approximately 10% year on year, Russian Association of Fertilizer Producers (RAFP) President Andrey Guryev told Vedomosti on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

According to his estimates, the production of fertilizers in Russia will also grow by about 10%. Last year, Russian companies produced 59.3 mln tons and exported 40 mln tons, Guryev said.

Boris Krasnozhenov, chief security analyst at Alfa-Bank, noted that global demand for fertilizers is growing due to population growth and shrinking farmland per capita. According to him, Russian fertilizers are in particularly high demand in Brazil and India.

Sergey Grishunin, managing director at the National Rating Agency (NRA), concurs. He added that Africa is also becoming an attractive market for Russian exporters. Finam Director of Strategy Yaroslav Kabakov thinks that Europe, despite political complications, also remains an important destination for Russian supplies.


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Local Glob: Press review: Far-right gains in EU Parliament and SPIEF-2024 breaks records
Press review: Far-right gains in EU Parliament and SPIEF-2024 breaks records
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