The shares of Renault Russia have been transferred to the government of the city of Moscow, and NAMI, a state-backed research center, has become the owner of Renault’s stake in Avtovaz, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade said on its Telegram channel.
The Moscow government will now own 100 percent of shares of Renault Russia, while Renault’s 67,69 percent interest in Avtovaz will be sold to NAMI, the ministry said in a statement.
Avtovaz will continue to assemble the whole product range of Lada cars at its plants, and the automaker will offer Renault car maintenance services on the Russian market.
The deal included a six-year option to buy back Renault’s stake in Avtovaz, the ministry’s press service said.
“By transferring Group Renault’s stake to state ownership [Russia] would be able to maintain its control of Avtovaz and ensure the company’s operability amid sanctions,” the press service quoted Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov as saying. The move would also allow the company to maintain its key competencies, production cycle and save jobs, he added.
Finland, Sweden face obstacle to NATO bid
Finland and Sweden have decided to join NATO. This statement was made on May 15 by Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Workers’ Party (SAP). They are planning to submit their applications to the alliance simultaneously in the middle of this week. While both countries assure that their goal is exclusively a defensive one, Moscow asserts that NATO’s northward expansion is a direct threat to Russia’s security. And although the majority of the alliance’s member states are ready to accelerate the admission of Helsinki and Stockholm, there are some who may block it – Turkey has already expressed its potential disagreement.
“Finland has a leading role here – it declared the intention to join the alliance first. In Finland, this decision is much more widely supported than in Sweden (according to polls, 76% of Finns and 57% of Swedes support the decision to join to NATO – Izvestia),” Head of the Center for Arctic Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences Valery Zhuravel told the newspaper. “Helsinki invests 1.96% of its GDP in defense which is close to the 2% that NATO members are obligated to spend on security. Overall, Finland’s cooperation with the alliance is well-established, it has already been much closer to joining this organization than Sweden. If Helsinki refuses to join NATO, then, most likely, Stockholm won’t go there either,” the expert added.
“President Erdogan is bargaining with the West, mainly with the US and the UK on many issues,” Turkish political scientist Kerim Has told Izvestia.
“There are quite a few issues in Turkish-American relations, for example, one of the issues is the modernization of American F-16 fighter jets in Turkey given that following US sanctions for the deliveries of Russian S-400 systems, it was unable to purchase American F-35s. With regards to Finland and Sweden, it is possible to presume that Ankara is hoping that PKK members located in these countries will be extradited.
According to the expert, there is another reason for this rhetoric. In this manner, Turkey is giving Russia a hint that it supports contacts on NATO expansion and does not want to irritate Moscow on such a sensitive issue.
Western companies want to return to Russia
The world-renowned American fast food multinational McDonald’s may resume operations in Russia under a different brand, and Shell, the UK-Dutch oil and gas multinational, will soon change its signs to Lukoil, while Sweden’s IKEA will continue to pay salaries to its staff until the end of the summer. According to experts, large foreign enterprises with investments in the Russian market will soon make their return.
“The parade of foreign brand departures from the Russian market largely did not have any rational, or economic justification. That was an act of psychological pressure aiming to show that the usual world of an ordinary Russian is crumbling and will never be the same,” said Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the Russian Government’s Financial University Alexey Zubets. In 90% of the cases, the departed companies can be easily replaced either by manufacturers from non-Western countries or by local suppliers, the expert explained. Additionally, the foreign brands on Russian streets and store shelves are a strong tool of cultural influence which the West is interested in now, perhaps, more than ever, since the attempts to cause an impact via sanctions have not been successful, he concluded.
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