A draft law proposing to limit foreign ownership in ‘significant’ Russian technology firms to 20% is not aimed at making its top search engine Yandex state-owned, the lawmaker behind the idea, Anton Gorelkin, said. The draft law, submitted to Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, in late July, proposes limiting foreign ownership in internet firms to 20% if they are considered by a special commission to be a “significant source of information”. The draft, prepared by Gorelkin, raised concerns it would damage the ability of Russian companies to compete globally. It has attracted criticism from several sides, including from the companies themselves. “I believe that Yandex should not be state-owned, but it should be Russian,” Gorelkin said. “Not only Yandex, but all the companies that are systematically important for our IT market.” The proposal concerns only the companies for which the Russian market is core, which means, if approved, it would not affect Facebook or Google, Gorelkin said. “Facebook has about 20 million users in Russia, and Yandex has about 100 million,” Gorelkin said. “We are talking about companies focused on Russia – this would concern neither Google, nor Facebook.” The draft law may impact three to five key players in the Russian IT sector, he said, without naming them. Along with Yandex, Russian internet group Mail.Ru, which owns social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, warned against adopting the law in its form as of late July. Critics say Russian authorities have over recent years taken steps to tighten control
Twenty years ago on Friday, Russian president Boris Yeltsin appointed his fourth prime minister in less than 18 months: Vladimir Putin, then a relatively unknown security services chief with scant experience of politics. The departing Yeltsin was casting around for a successor and few could have predicted that two decades later Putin would still be ruling Russia, having taken on a dominant role in world affairs. But the anniversary comes at a time of uncertainty in the leader’s reign. Putin’s approval ratings remain at a level most Western leaders would envy but they have taken a hit from a stalling economy and declining living standards. A protest movement in Moscow has meanwhile seen thousands arrested in recent weeks — the largest crackdown since a wave of demonstrations against Putin returning to the Kremlin in 2012 after another spell as prime minister. The 66-year-old is meanwhile facing a succession drama of his own. This is his last term in office according to the Russian constitution but — after stamping out the competition and taking control of most of the media — there is no obvious figure to replace him. Analysts say it is unlikely that Russia’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin will give up power completely when his current term ends in 2024. Putin the liberalThe picture was very different when Putin won his first presidential election following Yeltsin’s early resignation on New Year’s Eve, 2000. “Russia, despite its poverty and problems with criminality, was still a democratic, liberal country,” said
“They all shared one and the same fate — to save the lives of their comrades, to save their vessel and to prevent a catastrophe of global proportions at the cost of their own lives,” Sergei Pavlov, an aide to the Russian navy’s commander, was quoted as saying at the funeral by St. Petersburg media outlet Fontanka on Saturday.
Turkey said on Saturday there was no setback in its plan to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems, despite U.S. opposition, and President Donald Trump expressed understanding for the decision but did not rule out sanctions in response. NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been at odds over Turkey’s decision to procure the S-400s, with the United States warning of sanctions if the deal goes through. Turkey has dismissed the warnings and said it would not back down, as already strained ties between the two countries have deteriorated further over the dispute. Speaking before talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the deal for the S-400s showed improving ties between Turkey and Russia. “Now, I believe eyes are on the delivery process of this issue, but there are no setbacks in our agreement,” Erdogan said, adding that it was a priority for Turkey that the deal includes joint production of the systems and a technology transfer. Erdogan also said it was important for Turkey to finish the first reactor in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, its first nuclear plant, by 2023. He said non-nuclear equipment at the plant should be procured from Turkey. The plant is being built by Russia’s Rosatom at a cost of more than $20 billion. Buying military equipment from Russia leaves Turkey vulnerable to U.S. retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The