Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico (left), his Ukrainian counterpart Arseniy Yatsenyuk (middle) and Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, head of EU Commision for Energy, open a symbolic valve of the new reverse pipline during the ceremony to launch the Vojany-Uzhgorod gas pipeline flow to Ukraine in Eastern Slovakia. Source: AFP / East News
Gazeta.ru continues to follow the development of the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia. The publication reports that Kiev has found a new supplier that will help reduce Ukraine's dependence on Russia: the Norwegian company Statoil.
According to Gazeta.ru, Ukraine consumes about 50 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Based on this figure, the Norwegians will be able to supply 10 percent of Ukraine's consumption needs.
The Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz says that this deal is a breakthrough. The agreement with Norway indeed seems to be a fundamental change. However, the newspaper's experts believe that little will change in practice since the agreement involves an exchange of supplies (Statoil will supply Slovakia with the gas, and Slovakia – which receives its gas from Russia - will then route gas to Ukraine). "In the end, it is possible that Statoil will only be supplying Ukraine with Russian gas," writes Gazeta.ru.
The Ogonyok magazine has published an article titled "With umbrellas at the ready,” in which the author wonders whether the Hong Kong protests may become another Tiananmen. According to the magazine, the latest events in China's special administrative region have perplexed not only Beijing, but also the entire global community.
The Chinese government has labeled the protests as illegal and declared that it is the local authorities that should regain control of the situation. However, the protesters, according to Ogonyok, are willing to speak only to Beijing and are demanding the resignation of Leung Chun-ying, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. "The chief executive himself is not going out to meet the protesters, but neither is he resigning," writes the magazine.
The author of the article finds a noteworthy parallel between the events in Hong Kong and the Ukrainian protests of early 2014: Tens of thousands of people, coordinating themselves with mobile phones, are refusing to go home and the authorities do not know how to counter them besides sending in the police. Many say that the protests are being controlled from abroad. "It is difficult to say how much influence there is from abroad, but the American mass media presents a picture of Hong Kong with obvious sympathy for the protesters," adds Ogonyok.
According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, the conflict in Hong Kong is drawing to an end. The chief executive of the enclave has warned the demonstrators that if they do not evacuate the government buildings, the authorities will themselves establish order. Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that this message, which the western press is calling an ultimatum, was announced when the city was witnessing clashes between protesters and local residents, who are displeased about the damage the protest is doing to their businesses.
The newspaper writes that it will be the police who do the sweeping up and not the army. "For China, Hong Kong is a chicken that lays golden eggs," writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "China will act in accordance with the law, in order not to frighten investors."
According to Alexander Larin, chief scientific collaborator at the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, "Beijing will be able to stop the chaos without making substantial concessions, since it is extremely important for China to show toughness of character." According to Larin, Hong Kong should not serve as an example for other Chinese cities.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta underlines that there have been many articles in the Chinese press saying that it was the United States that provoked the unrest in Hong Kong. "Such conspiracy theories are fashionable now," says Larin. However, he said that America's influence is most likely insignificant. "Americans are not nurturing hopes that Hong Kong will become a bulwark of democracy and rock the whole country," Larin continues. "For them it is more important not to complicate relations with China."
The Kommersant newspaper reports on the results of parliamentary elections in Latvia. The winning party was Harmony Center, which is oriented toward the Russophone population. The party is led by one of the country's most popular politicians, Nils Usakovs, who in 2009 became the first Russian-speaking mayor of Riga.
However, the electoral win does not mean that Usakovs will automatically move from the opposition to the government. Experts believe that Harmony Center has little chance of winning the national elections, since the current government coalition is practically guaranteed to remain unchallenged.
Kommersant underlines that Usakovs himself has already announced that it is the winner of the parliamentary elections that should form the government.
"Harmony Center does not have any problems collaborating with any of the political forces, but some political forces have problems collaborating with us," the newspaper cites Usakovs as saying.
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