Foreign media digest 13-14 October 2014

“Because of” the clashes outside the Ukrainian parliament, analytics from NSDC point out they attention of Western media towards Ukraine has arisen. вага західних медіа до України знову зросла, звертають увагу аналітики Lots of articles about the protest near the Verkhovna Rada underlined it wasn’t similar to Maidan protest as it did not have political demands. Meanwhile, the information about the protests in the western media (especially in European) eclipsed the information that the parliament had adopted laws on anticorruption reforms.

Another Ukraine’s topics in foreign newspapers:

– confirming general Stepan Poltorak as a defence minister (media writes, quoting NSDC analysts, about the full support of the general from the parliament)

– Putin-Poroshenko talks in Milan. Key points: a) Kyiv may be proposed to lose some territories in favor of a compromise; b) Putin is not ready to accept a compromise – “Economic growth is not a priority for Mr.Putin,” economist Guryev explains. “If Putin is to choose between the growth and the Crimea, he’ll choose the Crimes.”

– Poroshenko’s request of a €2 billion loan package from EU


Thousands of protestors called for adopting the law on recognition of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. When the law wasn’t passed, the clashes erupted near the building of the Verkhovna Rada.

The Guardian, Sky News, Reuters:

In the morning the parliament confirmed Stepan Poltorak, a former National Guard chief, as the country’s new defence minister instead of Valeriy Heletey. Moreover, the parliament adopted a series of important laws on prosecution, the principles of state anticorruption policy. Deputies also voted for presidential law on creating an “anticorruption bureau”. On Tuesday, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on determining ultimate beneficiaries. Also, the parliament adopted the law on preventing corruption.


Ukraine and Russia took steps to reduce tensions in this country’s embattled eastern regions as their presidents prepared to meet this week. Officials described most of the fighting as wrangling over boundaries that could become permanent if a cease-fire takes hold. Kiev denies it will make any agreements that involve territorial concession or exchanges with separatists. But senior officials say talks have, in fact, drawn up such contingencies, and that Kiev may abandon or swap some territories with separatists to reach a peace agreement.

The Wall Street Journal

Italy will be a moderator at Putin-Poroshenko talks.

Corriere della Sera:

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will hold separate talks with Ukrainian and Russian president at the summit in Milan to search the way out of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, the correspondent of Corriere della Sera writes.

On 16 October, guns, tanks and planes will be back in the city, now the capital of Serbia, for a Liberation Day parade held four days early to accommodate the guest of honour – Russian President Vladimir Putin, en route to a summit in Milan. The decision to change the date of a traditional celebration caused a mixed reaction in the Serbian media.

Global Post, Euractiv:

Media blamed Serbian authorities for trying to change the historical calendar because of the visit of Vladimir Putin.



The European Union’s executive remains ready to consider additional assistance to Ukraine, a spokeswoman said Friday, but the bloc appears unlikely to accept an additional loan request of €2 billion ($2.5 billion) that officials say Kiev is seeking.

The Wall Street Journal

Two EU senior officials said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote to Mr. Barroso in the last two weeks requesting a €2 billion loan package to spend over the next year or so. “They’re asking for anything they can get…as quickly as possible,” one of the officials said. According to the source, “the amount was probably much more than the EU’s executive could give from its balance of payments assistance budget next year.” The same person explained the journalist “a more realistic amount would be up to €1 billion and even that would stretch the Commission’s earmarked funding.” “Any package would have to be approved by EU member states, a number of whom have voiced growing concerns about the pace of economic reforms by Mr. Poroshenko’s government,” the author explained.

German-French Plan to send drones to Ukraine also faces problems. “A German-French plan to send military-surveillance drones to monitor the fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine is running into a thicket of security and legal problems, underscoring the obstacles facing Europe as it tries to tamp down violence in the region,” the article wrote.


Saudi Arabia’s oil price manipulation’ could sink the Russian economy.

The Business Insider, Reuters:

The vice-president of Russia’s state-owned oil behemoth Rosneft Mikhail Leontyev accused the country of manipulation the oil price for political reasons. The news comes as Reuters reports Saudi officials have been privately admitting to oil market participants that they are comfortable with lower oil prices.

A business leader of a country in Central Europe, which today is a EU member, has recently discussed the situation in Ukraine with a Russian businessman, his business partner, Sylvie Kauffmann, the journalist of the French newspaper retells. When the conversation came to the issue of Western sanctions, Russian brandished a vengeful finger to the coffee machine: “You will see, you will eventually pay us back the money we lost out of the sanctions! ”

Le Monde:

The price which Europe pays does not affect Russians, after all. It forces to think whether sanctions are effective, Kauffmann continues. Following the situation with rubles and capital outflows, Russian economy continues to hold well due to its rather primitive structure: it is a great merit of what American researcher Clifford Gaddy called “economic cockroach”. It is not in its depression, but in the fact, that this insect, which is very widespread in Moscow, “in the absence of sophistication has the ability to survive in the most diverse and difficult conditions.” Geddy thinks, a “simple, inexpensive, but invincible” Kalashnikov rifle could be a symbol of Russian economy.

Western sanctions for Ukraine conflict hurt Russian economy, open up rifts.

The Washington Post:

Deep into the worst conflict between Russia and the West since the Cold War, investors are fleeing, food prices are soaring and there are rumbles from Russia’s Westernized business elite that the nation needs to avoid repeating the economic mismanagement that broke apart the Soviet Union. “Western sanctions have choked off financing to some of Russia’s economic juggernauts and denied crucial technology to the nation’s energy sector,” journalist Michael Birnbaum explains. But there is little evidence that the mounting economic pressures since the March annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula will soften Putin’s policies toward Ukraine and other nations in the former Soviet orbit. Putin still enjoys sky-high approval ratings, and ordinary Russians say they are ready to make sacrifices in a battle with the West.

Some analysts say that the new economic realities may force Putin to moderate his stance on Ukraine, the key driving aspect of the broader conflict with the West. “Putin’s rhetoric is becoming softer, much softer than it was three or four months ago,” said Vladimir Ryzhkov, a political analyst who is a former opposition lawmaker. “The economy, it’s the main thing that’s happening now in Russia. And economic problems are growing very fast.” But others expect that Russia will simply slide into a period of economic malaise that is unpleasant but that does not force fundamental changes in the nation’s basic financial planning. “There is no scenario for disaster coming up in the next couple years,” said Sergei Guriev, an economist at the Paris university Sciences Po, who left Moscow last year saying that he was at risk of political persecution. He said that Russia’s attractiveness to foreign investors would be permanently damaged. “Investors have learned that, for Mr. Putin, economic growth is not a priority,” he said. “If he has to choose between growth and Crimea, he will choose Crimea.”