MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on November 29. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.
POLITICS & ECONOMICS
President Vladimir Putin has announced a "reboot" of Russia's population policy due to the deterioration of the demographic situation in the country. New measures include the extension of maternity benefits to 2022, a monthly benefit equivalent to 30% of the average wage to families with a first child and co-financing of mortgages for families with more than one child. Spending on the program will be limited to 200 billion rubles in 2018-2020 (Kommersant, p. 1; Vedomosti, p. 4).
Russia might set up a new fund for investment abroad for companies that will help exporters win foreign markets. The fund of 20 billion rubles, proposed by the Russian Export Center, Russian Direct Investment Fund and Industry Development Fund, will acquire equity stakes in projects and companies with a high share of exports in revenue but problems raising loans on debt markets, as well as help small and medium businesses finance adaptation of production for exports (Vedomosti, p. 5).
OIL & GAS
Rosneft is trying to revive a project to build the Indiga port on the Barents Sea and an oil pipeline to it, which was abandoned 10 years ago due to unprofitability. The state oil major wants to ship oil from the Trebs and Titov fields through it, as it is having a disagreement with Lukoil over the cost of transshipment through its Varandei terminal. Sources said the idea, which would cost hundreds of billions of rubles, is not viable (Kommersant, p. 1).
METALS & MINING
Billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin have given up on the idea of merging UC Rusal and Norilsk Nickel to form a Russian mining and metals giant that would be a global leader on the aluminum, nickel, copper, platinum and palladium markets. They have decided that the companies are different and a merger would not result in synergies, Potanin said (Vedomosti, p. 1).
Interview: Vladimir Potanin, President of Norilsk Nickel (Vedomosti, p. 8).
BANKING, FINANCE & INSURANCE
Russia's Federal Tax Service wants to help resolve the problem of dormant bank accounts by disclosing such information to companies and individuals that file such a request at any tax office. The option could be helpful, as banks often continue charging commissions even on accounts that have not been used for years. But lawyers warned the idea could lead to leaks of confidential information (Kommersant, p. 1).
Russia's largest state and private lenders, Sberbank and Alfa Bank have carried out the first payment transaction using blockchain technology. Mobile provider MegaFon transferred 1 million rubles on November 28 from an account at Alfa Bank to an account of its subsidiary Megalabs at Sberbank and the transaction was verified with four servers. Blockchain dramatically reduces the duration and cost of bank transfers and is expected to cut IT infrastructure costs (Vedomosti, p. 10).
REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION
Absolut Group, one of the biggest landlords in Moscow Region, has lost the rights to 47.2 hectares of land in New Moscow in a lawsuit filed by the city's environmental prosecutor. Almost all of the disputed property is covered by a lake. Absolut has property nearby where it planned to build a residential community and having a private lake close by would have increased the price of homes in the development (Vedomosti, p. 11).
TELECOMMUNICATIONS, MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY
Nord Stream 2 CEO Matthias Warnig, a former Stasi member and longtime acquaintance of President Vladimir Putin, has acquired a stake in New Cloud Technologies from the Russian software developer's controlling shareholder Andrei Cheglakov. The company's founder hopes having Warnig as a shareholder will enable the MyOffice developer to hold talks with global technology giants (Vedomosti, p. 10).
TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS
Platov Airport near Rostov, the first greenfield airport built in post-Soviet Russia, will be the most expensive in the country. Platov's takeoff and landing fees will be 60% higher than at the city's old airport, air safety fees will be 220% higher and passenger service fees will be 100%-300% higher. The fees, approved by the Antimonopoly Service to the end of 2022, are expected to push up ticket prices (Vedomosti, p. 11).
AUTOMOTIVE & ENGINEERING
The launch of a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome failed to put a Meteor-M2-1 weather satellite into orbit due to a malfunction in the Fregat upper stage. Two commissions have been set up to investigate. A great deal depends on the results of the probes, from decisions to cancel the next launch from Vostochny scheduled for December 22 and conduct a total inspection of Fregat assembly to measures against Roscosmos senior managers (Kommersant, p. 1).
AGRICULTURE, FISHING & FORESTRY
United Shipbuilding Corporation has asked the Russian government to preserve the current mechanism for distributing crab fishing quotas and to keep crab on the list for investment quotas granted for ordering new fishing vessels. Otherwise, USC's Khabarovsk Shipyard could face bankruptcy. Market players have plenty of revenue to order new vessels, but only investment quotas will push them to do so, experts believe (Kommersant, p. 5).
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