VEDOMOSTI
"Vedomosti" (meaning "The Record") is a Russian-language business daily published in Moscow. Founded in 1999, it is a joint venture between Dow Jones, the Financial Times and the publishers of The Moscow Times.
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Putin's Media Blitz Comes With Economy On Edge

As Russia looks ahead to next autumn's key parliamentary elections, a national economic body has been resurrected in an attempt to kickstart sluggish growth, Moscow daily Vedomosti reports Thursday.

After two years of stasis, Russia's Economic Council Presidium has been revived in order to promote the countrys' economic growth, as well as to look for ways to substitute foreign goods that have been banned from import because of ongoing sanctions against Western countries.

Economics no doubt will be at the heart of September's elections for the Duma. "Potential candidates must choose between their will to enact change and their desire not to do anything," political analyst Mikhail Vinogradov tells the newspaper.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin was engaged in a media blitz on Thursday, answering the nation's most burning questions during a live "Presidential Hotline." Some two million inquiries have been submitted so far, ranging from concerns about Putin's personal life to political and economic reform.

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Russia's Surprise Withdrawal From Syria

"Russia out of Syria," the front page of Moscow-based daily Vedomosti reads, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin's surprise announcement that Russian forces would withdraw from Syria.

After yesterday's unexpected announcement, a first group of warplanes has already left its Syrian base for Russia, the Defense Ministry said. "The main task now is to take every measure to promote a peace settlement and talks that have begun in Geneva," Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters. But Russia explained that it would keep its long-range S-400 air defense missiles on the ground.

  • The withdrawal surprised many, including Süddeutsche Zeitung reporter Stefan Kornelius, who writes that "all logic speaks against Russia's decision." The move comes on the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war and after a new round of peace negotiations began between the Syrian government and the opposition. The UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura described Russia's decision as a "significant development, which we hope will have a positive impact on the progress of the negotiations in Geneva," AFP quotes him as saying.

  • Russia's withdrawal could potentially embolden terrorist groups, which aren't part of an otherwise fragile ceasefire in Syria. A commander of al-Nusra Front told AFP that Putin's move showed that "Russia has suffered defeat, and within the next 48 hours Nusra will launch an offensive in Syria."