re posted from TASS
Press review: African delegation presents peace plan and Putin unveils new economic model
MOSCOW, June 19. /TASS/. Seven African nations send high-level peace mission to Ukraine and Russia; Putin unveils new model for Russia’s economic development; and Blinken goes to China. These stories topped Monday’s newspaper headlines across Russia.
Vedomosti: African mission presents Ukraine peace initiative in Kiev, St. Petersburg
On June 17 in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a mission by seven African countries to present a peace initiative for settling the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The delegation was led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. A day earlier, Ramaphosa, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Comorian President Azali Assoumani (current chairman of the African Union), Senegalese President Macky Sall and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, as well as special presidential envoys Florent Ntsiba (Republic of the Congo) and Ruhakana Rugunda (Uganda), met with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev.
Commenting on the meeting’s results on June 17, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that, although the African initiative could prove difficult to implement, Putin displayed an interest in hearing it out.
The African peace plan consists of ten points, which were unveiled by Ramaphosa in Kiev. They include the necessity of achieving peace through talks and diplomatic means; a cessation of military operations “as soon as possible”; a bilateral de-escalation of hostilities; respect for the sovereignty of countries and peoples in accordance with the UN Charter; security guarantees for all countries involved; Russia and Ukraine ensuring the export of grain and fertilizers under the grain deal for African countries in need; humanitarian assistance for those suffering from the conflict; prisoner swaps and repatriation of displaced persons, including children; a process for rebuilding Ukraine; and deeper involvement for Africa in the peace process.
Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs magazine, has doubts that the African peace plan by itself could bring any specific results; however, it is indicative of the ambition of countries on the continent to play a role in resolving global issues.
The African peace initiative ideally could lead to dialogue and potentially a de-escalation, says Natalia Piskunova, associate professor at Moscow State University’s Department of World Politics. “The call for abandoning the armed conflict suggested by the African group also reflects the long-standing universal approach to settling conflicts under UN auspices,” she says. So far, the African peace initiative appears to be the most well-thought-through and balanced as compared to those plans previously proposed, the expert thinks.
Since the Ukrainian crisis is a logical development of worsening relations between Russia and the West, beginning back in 2011, however, any peace plan, even the most thought-out, is doomed to fail, says Dmitry Ofitserov-Belsky, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS). The fighting will end only when Western countries, and the US in particular, are disabused of the idea that their political goals can be attained by further stoking the conflict.
Vedomosti: Putin unveils new model for Russia’s development
An economy oriented toward supply, high salaries and technologies lies at the core of President Vladimir Putin’s vision of a new model for Russia’s development, which he outlined in detail at the 2023 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Experts found his speech reminiscent of non-traditional economic theories, noting as well that pursuing so-called supply-side economics is not feasible without a stable currency.
In his almost 1.5-hour-long speech, Putin outlined a new concept for the country’s development based on a sovereign economy. In his speeches at previous years’ forums, Putin traditionally talked about economic achievements and changes in economic policy; this time, however, the president not so much highlighted key points and singled out priorities but rather established a theoretical and methodological foundation for the model he unveiled. He answered a fundamental question: how and by what means will Russia build its new economy – a supply-side economy?
The elements of economic policy announced by the president dovetail with the ideas of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), notes economist Viktor Tunev. Above all, this means managing inflation not so much and not only through lowered demand, but also through supply levers, he explains. Despite wagering on the development of entrepreneurship, judging from Putin’s presentation, the main investors will be the state, using budget funds, and banks backed up by guarantees from state development corporation VEB, the expert thinks. According to him, the most complex issue is the ruble exchange rate. The economist says that it would be difficult to do something both about inflation and domestic demand until the ruble is stabilized and the endless capital outflow, unseen in other countries, is halted.
Elements of the MMT are apparent in the new economic model, says Alexander Isakov, chief economist on Russia at Bloomberg Economics. However, he notes that its foundation is formed by classical principles, tested by previous crises: a conservative budget, an independent monetary policy, the preservation of an open financial system and an industrial policy with an emphasis on import substitution. That said, if in 2014 the focus of import substitution was on goods, such as those produced by the agricultural sector and processing industry, today the focus is shifting to services, above all tourism, but also medicine and education, the expert points out.
Re-orienting the economy toward domestic demand is an expected and necessary measure, given the phase of disintegration that the global economic system is undergoing, says Alexander Kubyshkin, managing director of Enfilade Capital. That said, the entire system is tied to the global banking sector and dollar liquidity. The disintegration process may trigger a large number of unpredictable side effects due to a large number of variables affecting such processes, he predicts. However, because the current dynamics cannot be stopped, directing resources toward internal development is the only possible correct step to take, he asserts.