Federal Centre's financial relations with regions: (i) After Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov called 'unacceptable' the Finance Ministry-proposed cut on financing the state program for the North Caucasus District (from 31.8bn roubles to 13.7bn), the Government published Putin's instruction to consider a possibility to increase the financing of this program, but only in 2018 – 2020. Kommersant believes that, in fact, there is no conflict with Kadyrov and that this is an orchestrated action aiming to demonstrate to all regions that even Kadyrov fails to convince the federal centre to cancel cuts in financing regional programs for 2017. (Kommersant) (ii) The draft federal budget for 2017-2019 envisages substantial cuts in federal budget's cheap loans to regions, but at the same time some increase in subventions to them. The Government believes that this should help to reduce the sharply increased regional debt burden. (RBK)
Russia, Armenia to set up joint group of forces: In line with a draft bilateral agreement, Russia and Armenia intend to set up a joint group of armed forces in the Caucasus collective security region. (Interfax)
Canadian oil firm's investment: Canada's Genoil signed a memorandum of intent planning to invest $50bn in Russia's oil sector. Genoil has already signed an agreement with the Chechen firm Grozneft. The Canadian firm announced that it would invest $15bn in the development of oil fields and construction of an oil refinery complex with the annual capacity of 3-6 million tonnes in Chechnya. An official from Genoil referred to Genoil's close relations with Chinese investors as a guarantee of the implementation of its plans in Russia. (Vedomosti)
Ukrainian citizen convicted in Russia gets new sentence for insulting prosecutor: Reportedly, Ukrainian citizen Stanislav Klykh, who had been sentenced by a Russian court to 20 years imprisonment for killing Russian soldiers during the first Chechen war in the 1990s, has been convicted of insulting the prosecutor. Kommersant reports that the second conviction could prevent a possible transfer of Klykh to Ukraine to serve his sentence. (Kommersant)
Putin, Erdogan discuss Syria in phone talks: Commenting on two phone conversations held in the past several days by President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that according to military and diplomatic sources, both phone calls were linked to a suspected Syrian airstrike that killed three Turkish soldiers. Putin's spokesman Peskov said that the Russian President expressed condolences over the deaths of Turkish soldiers in Syria. The newspaper also cites reports alleging that Iranian Defense Minister Dehghan expressed Tehran's readiness to let Russia use an Iranian airbase in Hamadan. (ii) The media reports that Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov held a meeting in the city of Dammam (Saudi Arabia) with Saudi Arabia's Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Special attention was paid to the fight against terrorism. (Gazeta.ru, NG)
FSO general detained for bribery: Federal Guard Service (FSO) Lt. Gen. Lopyrev was detained after an internal check in units in the Caucasus revealed "serious violations of the law," FSO's press service said on Friday. A spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee said that Lopyrev was accused of receiving bribes from heads of commercial structures. Expert Nikolai Petrov, contacted by Vedomosti, views Lopyrev's case in the context of a struggle among elites. (NG, RG, TASS, Vedomosti)
Ekho Moskvy, TASS, 28 November
'Chechen history of Russia'
TASS published an interview with Chechnya's head Ramzan Kadyrov, where he made some remarkable statements. Kadyrov declares to be ready to fight against Russia's enemies, but stresses that he does not consider liberal opposition as enemies, in his view they are 'chatterboxes without honour and conscience'. He also believes that Koran reading can help to treat serious diseases, and provides several examples of miraculous recovery from his personal experience. Kadyrov explained additional benefits from the state budget by the fact that Chechnya is a post-war region and needs more fund on restoration. All in all, Kadyrov admitted that 'Chechen people love him' and confirmed his full loyalty to Putin. Interesting, that judging on the interview, Kadyrov frankly believes in what he says, journalist Alexander Minkin notes.