Russian press digest (12 August 2015)

This Wednesday, the Russian press reports on import substitution, copyright news and the emergence of a new, Cossack currency in St Petersburg. на русском языке

Editors of OpenDemocracy Russia
12 August 2015

Petersburg Cossacks release their own currency — with Vladimir Putin on the front. Image via kazaki-irbis.ru.

This morning, business daily Kommersant leads with an article on import substitution—a commission devoted to the issue has just been set up, with Dmitry Medvedev its head. The commission’s first meeting took place in Krasnodar, where the participants discussed the situation in the food produce market. However, the commission will mostly concentrate on managing tenders for infrastructure and industry projects. 

The commission will be divided into two sections: a civil division guided by Arkady Dvorkovich, deputy prime minister, and a military-industrial division managed by Dmitry Rogozin. Both branches of the commission will give recommendations on pricing for procurement of industrial equipment, as well as permitting or vetoing deals made by state companies and companies supported by the state. The commission won’t be ready to make any decisions before January 2016, as it will be busy developing a register of investment projects and companies. 

Kommersant also reports on the investigation into the murder of two traffic police officers in November 2014. Mikhail Konstantinov, a sniper who had recently returned from the Luhansk People’s Republic to the Russian Federation, is suspected of shooting two officers in the Moscow region last year. When Konstantinov (whose callsign is ‘Bear’) was stopped for a document inspection near Solnechnogorsk north of Moscow, the former LPR fighter decided to shoot both officers. The patrol had in fact stopped Konstantinov, together with two associates, on route to rob prostitutes on Moscow’s Leningrad highway.

Ministerial conflict, however, is hampering the investigation: the Investigative Committee believes that Konstantinov tried to bribe the officers, and thus the charge sheet should be expanded. The General Prosecutor’s Office believes the opposite is the case—Konstantinov had no money on him. 

Finally, Kommersant publishes a survey on the Russian population’s relationship with the authorities. The Levada Center Democracy in Russia survey suggests that the majority of Russian citizens try to avoid contact with the state, and if the economic situation continues to deteriorate, this could lead to further dissatisfaction. Most Russians, however, do trust the state.

Moskovsky komsomolets reports on the appearance of a new substitute currency in Russia—complete with a picture of Vladimir Putin. While Mikhail Shlyapnikov, a farmer from outside Moscow, has recently faced court proceedings for setting up his own currency, the people behind the bashli turned out to be loyal representatives of society—Cossacks, from St Petersburg. 

RBK reports on a new initiative by the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications (Minkomsvyazi), which could have a substantial effect on the work of Nikita Mikhalkov, the patriotic film director and the head of the Russian Union of Right-holders (RUR), which was established in 2009 to protect intellectual property rights. Together with two related organisations, RUR collects billions of roubles for Russian cultural workers. Minkomsvyazi proposes to move away from collective management of IP rights without contracts.

‘There’s several reasons for this reform,’ Minkomsvyazi stated. ‘In particular, a lack of transparency in the work of the accrediting agencies, which manage, collect and distribute royalties to rights-holders, and the inability of rights-holders to control the activity of these organisations.’

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