Press review: Why Bolsonaro visited Russia and the West is reluctant to see de-escalation in Ukraine – Press review

The much publicized “Russian invasion of Ukraine” that Western media predicted for February 15-16 has still not happened. However, the media crusade against Moscow has failed to subside, notes Vedomosti.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin on February 14 that the country’s armed forces were about to complete military exercises and would gradually withdraw from the Ukrainian border, but the West did not believe in it. US officials remain confident that Russia could attack Ukraine within a week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

It’s not that Ukraine’s Western allies claimed a moral victory in pushing Russia back, noted Russian Council for International Affairs expert Alexander Yermakov. But what unites the West is the will to continue to maintain a little more the impression of a threat of Russian invasion. As for the perception that Russia never had and does not intend to attack Ukraine, the mainstream media in the United States and other NATO countries do not cover it at all this, he pointed out.

US authorities are clearly not interested in resolving the conflict in Ukraine, stressed the director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation for American Studies at Moscow State University, Yury Rogulev. It would have been possible to see some benefit from US President Joe Biden’s statements had he managed to avoid using both peaceful rhetoric and threats in the same speech, the expert explained. Americans continue to speak from a position of strength, which means there has been no movement toward easing tensions, Rogulev noted. The reluctance of the United States to pressure Kiev to implement the Minsk agreements, which would be the best option, is also not encouraging.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro traveled to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin despite opposition from the United States. The foreign and defense ministers of the two countries held their first 2+2 meeting. Bolsonaro’s visit is important from a political point of view, as the Brazilian president seeks to impress on voters that he is not very dependent on the United States, notes Nezavissimaya Gazeta.

“The economic ties are quite simple: Russia buys a lot of meat from Brazil, while the latter buys potassium fertilizers,” noted Andrey Shchelchkov, senior researcher at the Center for Latin American Studies at the Institute of History. of the Russian Academy of Sciences. According to him, the visit is important for the Brazilian president in the run-up to the elections in the fall. “The situation does not favor Bolsonaro since he will probably lose against Lula da Silva whose asset is to carry out a policy independent of the United States. That said, Bolsonaro wants to demonstrate that he is not dependent on Washington either”, assumed Shchelchkov.

Relations between Russia and Brazil are currently intensifying, said Lyudmila Okuneva, director of the Department of European and American Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “Defence cooperation is a tradition. Senior Defense Ministry officials representing all branches of the military (ground troops, naval and air forces) have exchanged visits during Bolsonaro’s three-year presidential term” , said the expert.

“Cooperation with Brazil, our strategic partner in Latin America, is undoubtedly in line with Russia’s national interests. I believe that it should be based on pragmatic and ideological bases, leaving aside differences and focusing on areas where opinions are shared, similar or the same, as well as opportunities for progress in our bilateral relations,” Okuneva stressed.

The Russian ruble exchange rate no longer depends on oil prices and other factors, except geopolitics. Political uncertainty makes it difficult to predict rate changes. However, this does not mean that the Russian currency is doomed to weaken, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

From a macro perspective, the ruble is designed to strengthen based on multi-year spikes in commodity prices and high policy rates. However, geopolitical tensions are causing an outflow of capital from Russian assets, preventing the ruble from strengthening, while tighter monetary policies in the United States and the EU are favoring the dollar and the euro, the analyst pointed out. Chief of Sovcombank, Mikhail Vasilyev.

“The oil market is supporting the ruble, gas prices are also rising, OPEC is conservatively increasing oil production, but even the current level is not always maintained. The energy crisis has eased a bit, but it’s still here and a full economic reopening could produce a host of strange surprises amid pandemic-induced gaps in production chains. of the key rate of the Central Bank also speak in favor of the ruble, ”said the director of the regional department of BCS World of Investment network for high-end clients Grigory Sosnovsky noted.

The currency market remains sensitive to geopolitical news, which could lead to sharp fluctuations in the ruble rate, Vasilyev said. According to his estimates, the Russian currency will remain at the level of 74-79 against the dollar and 84-89 against the euro this spring. If geopolitical tensions ease, the Russian currency could return to the 72-75 mark by spring, Sosnovsky added.

Most countries do not know how to deal with rising prices. Central banks are raising their key rates to contain the acceleration of inflation. However, monetary policy can no longer help solve the problem of rising prices rooted in commodity shortages. Various industries – from non-ferrous metals to food production – have been hit by the shortages, Izvestia notes.

According to expert chief economist RA Anton Tabakh, there are different opinions on the causes of the current crisis, which range from inventory management bottlenecks caused by lean management (the pursuit of timely delivery of components without using of warehouses in order to save time and money, aimed at drastically reducing inventories, has been a trend for the last two decades) to systemic shortages of raw materials and labour.

Nikolay Pereslavsky, from the Department of Economics and Financial Research at the CMS Institute, points out that a whole series of problems have arisen in production chains. “China’s logistics collapse is underway and could erupt again if port workers start contracting the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. At the same time, global producers of metal-based products from chips to aircraft and autos, still have supply issues and disruptions they faced in 2020. Given the expected increase in production, the market deficit could increase further,” he said.

As for inflation, which rose due to rising prices of various goods, it was clear from the outset that price increases would last a long time, the expert noted. First, supply disruptions and the imbalance between supply and demand in some industries were too severe. Second, efforts to pump the market with money have led to increased consumption and soaring prices spurred by growing demand. However, inflation rates should start to decline in the second half of the year as the weak base effect, which will put pressure on the economy in the first six months, fades.

Rising real wages in Russia will exceed GDP in 2022, predict experts from the Russian Government Financial University. The growing demand for qualified personnel will be the main driver of the labor market, but the market could change once the coronavirus pandemic is over, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Pavel Seleznev, first deputy director of the Department of Social Sciences and Mass Communication and professor of the Department of Political Science at the Russian Government Financial University, believes that communication technologies, especially those used for distance communication , have become incredibly popular lately.

Talking about the impact that internet and artificial intelligence technologies can have on the structure of employment, the expert pointed out that he would hardly see any major changes in the coming years. “For at least ten years, I have been hearing about the disappearance of professions such as couriers, contact center workers and accountants. However, contact center workers and accountants are still in demand in the market. work and experiments involving robot accountants and lawyers often end in failure and financial loss, while the demand for couriers, for example, only increases,” Seleznev added.

According to him, the pandemic has accelerated the process of moving communications to the Internet, but it would be wrong to say that teleworking will become a global trend. To date, the share of remote workers in Russian companies does not exceed ten percent. Another third of employees work both in the office and remotely. However, teleworking will not prevail because teleworking cannot be applied to many professions, the expert pointed out.

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