Press Digest: Donald Trump criticized for pro-Putin comments at U.S. debate

Police gather in front of Donald Trump's bus outside of the Milwaukee Theatre before a Republican presidential debate Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee.

Police gather in front of Donald Trump's bus outside of the Milwaukee Theatre before a Republican presidential debate Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee.

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring reports on Republican candidate Donald Trump’s remarks in favour of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Middle Eastern policy, a proposal to ban Russians from vacationing in Turkey and Tunisia, and nationwide protests in Russia by truck drivers against new road tolls.

Donald Trump speaks out in favour of Putin at Republican candidates’ debate

The fourth U.S. Republican candidates' debate took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Nov. 11, the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. Billionaire Donald Trump was criticized by opponents for his positive remarks about the Middle Eastern policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100 percent, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it," said Trump.

According to him, Putin cannot do otherwise with those who set up the explosion of the Russian passenger aircraft over Egypt on Oct. 31. The billionaire added that all the countries should "go in" to defeat a common enemy.

In addition, Trump admitted that while he does not like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian opposition also does not inspire confidence. Moreover, he said, Washington finances "rebels" without real understanding of what they are.

He believes that the U.S. should not constantly act as the "policeman of the world," as much as it should not be the policeman of Europe.

"Trump's statements about Russia and Putin are sincere," said Andrei Sushentsov, associate professor of the Department of Applied International Analysis at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

"The other thing is that these statements cannot always play a positive role for the Republican nomination. The final word rests with the party's executive committee, while Trump is not the candidate of the establishment, and is critical of the entire American establishment at that."

Communist deputy proposes closing Turkey and Tunisia for Russian tourism

Communist Party deputy Sergei Obukhov has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to suspend flights to Turkey and Tunisia, the daily tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reports.

Obukhov asked for these countries to be included in the Nov. 8 decree, which suspended civilian flights to Egypt following the crash of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, suspected to be the work of terrorists.

"If you look at the statistics, the greatest threat, including from ISIS, is in these areas, so the state must weigh the risks and check how the safety of our citizens is ensured there," Obukhov said in a broadcast on the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station.

"To do this, we have all the features and tools, security services, data. An array of information that we have says that the level of risk increases in Turkey and Tunisia, and it is not safe there. I do not want someone to die there, a similar accident to happen,” he said.

The Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, has spoken in favour of the initiative. According to the Federation Council, tourists could be encouraged to vacation in domestic resorts instead.

Truckers hold nationwide protest against new road tolls

A large-scale protest rally swept across Russia on Nov. 11 – thousands of truckers protested against the introduction of tolls on federal highways for 12-ton trucks, the business daily Kommersant reports.

Drivers are dissatisfied about the launch of the Platon toll collection system, scheduled for Nov. 15, with the principal complaint being the high tariffs. The system is intended to collect about 40 billion rubles ($600 million) annually to be used for road repairs and construction.

"To go to Novosibirsk, I'll have to give 15,000 rubles [around $230 - RBTH] for I don't know what and to I don't know whom," said MAZ driver Dmitry Kololai, who took part in a protest outside Moscow.

"The innovations require receiving a route card in the regional center before implementing the order and to pay for every kilometer. If the driver deviates from the route, the penalty will be 45,000 rubles," said Viktor Bogdanenko, director of the logistics company Vikel, who took part in a protest in Novosibirsk. "These fees will ruin our business."

The largest protest took place on the highway in the Rostov Region. A column of several hundred trucks stretched for 50 kilometers, with the vehicles crawling along at a speed of just 15 km/h, thereby practically blocking the road.

In the Novosibirsk Region, about 300 trucks were parked on the side of a two-lane highway, while about 100 truckers gathered in the southern city of Stavropol and about 40 vehicles assembled in the Chelyabinsk Region.

The authorities reacted promptly to the protest. Deputy Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh announced the postponement of penalties that would apply for unpaid fares. From Nov.15, they will be applied only in the Moscow Region, and only from May 2016 in other regions.

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