Russia Monitor

Russian Siloviki Warn Against "Color Revolution"
01/22/2021

Russia's interior ministry said the country might see attempts to destabilize the domestic situation as was the case in neighboring Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. This is linked to the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny who urged his supporters to hit the streets. But there is a slim chance of a nationwide rally sweeping across Russia. It seems that authorities made public the statement from the interior ministry not amid the Navalny case, but because they drew some conclusions from rallies in Belarus. This is also why a batch of new legal rules entered into force at the turn of the year, barring Russian nationals from legally holding a rally. Russia's interior ministry said the country might see attempts to destabilize the domestic situation as was the case in neighboring Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. This is linked to the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny who urged his supporters to hit the streets. But there is a slim chance of a nationwide rally sweeping across…

Navalny Takes Revenge Releasing Investigation Into Putin Palace
01/21/2021

Kremlin officials dismiss the viral video released by Navalny's non-profit foundation alleging an opulent palace owned by the Russian president. Yet with an extremely nervous reaction from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, one might guess that Russia's number one political prisoner struck a chord with Russian officials. Possibly the leaked information refers not so much to the mansion itself, but Vladimir Putin's career as a KGB employee in East Germany and his family life. Kremlin officials dismiss the viral video released by Navalny's non-profit foundation alleging an opulent palace owned by the Russian president. Yet with an extremely nervous reaction from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, one might guess that Russia's number one political prisoner struck a chord with Russian officials. Possibly the leaked information refers not so much to the mansion itself, but Vladimir Putin's career as a KGB employee in East Germany and his family life.

Bad Year for Russian Crude Exports
01/21/2021

With the price war that broke out in the spring of 2020 and the coronavirus-induced global economic slowdown, the Russian energy sector could not label the past year as successful. Revenues from oil exports dropped by 40.9 percent year-on-year between January and November 2020, according to data from Russia's Federal Customs Service (FTS). Throughout the eleven first months of 2020, Russia exported $66.391 billion worth of crude oil. With the price war that broke out in the spring of 2020 and the coronavirus-induced global economic slowdown, the Russian energy sector could not label the past year as successful. Revenues from oil exports dropped by 40.9 percent year-on-year between January and November 2020, according to data from Russia's Federal Customs Service (FTS). Throughout the eleven first months of 2020, Russia exported $66.391 billion worth of crude oil.

Why Navalny Returned to Russia
01/18/2021

Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny flew back to Russia from Germany, as earlier announced. He has been detained upon landing in Moscow. Now Navalny is likely to serve a long term in prison. But the whole story is not over yet, being rather the beginning of Navalny's way to the top. Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny flew back to Russia from Germany, as earlier announced. He has been detained upon landing in Moscow. Now Navalny is likely to serve a long term in prison. But the whole story is not over yet, being rather the beginning of Navalny's way to the top.

Nord Stream 2 Proponents Go On The Offensive
01/17/2021

Business activities are now in place to complete the Russia-to-Germany gas link while being a political cover for the stance adopted by Germany and Russia. An example might be an interview with Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who defended Putin's regime while accusing Poland – one of the top dangerous Nord Stream 2 opponents – of nurturing authoritarian attitudes. Business activities are now in place to complete the Russia-to-Germany gas link while being a political cover for the stance adopted by Germany and Russia. An example might be an interview with Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who defended Putin's regime while accusing Poland – one of the top dangerous Nord Stream 2 opponents – of nurturing authoritarian attitudes.

Russian Military Locked in African Trap
01/17/2021

A civil war erupted in the Central African Republic, whose Russia-friendly president has recently won re-election after his top challenger was barred from running for office. In response, he formed a broad coalition of rebel groupings. Despite support from UN forces and a few hundred Russian troops, the government in Bangui is helpless against the enemy. The rebellion also runs the risk of heavy casualties among the Russian soldiers. Moscow evinces interest in the diamond- and uranium-rich country but is this really worth taking the risk? A civil war erupted in the Central African Republic, whose Russia-friendly president has recently won re-election after his top challenger was barred from running for office. In response, he formed a broad coalition of rebel groupings. Despite support from UN forces and a few hundred Russian troops, the government in Bangui is helpless against the enemy. The rebellion also runs the risk of heavy casualties among the Russian soldiers. Moscow evinces…

Russia Quits Open Skies Treaty, Leaves Message for Biden
01/17/2021

Russia said that it was pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, an international accord allowing surveillance flights over military facilities, after the U.S. exit from the pact in November 2020. The timing might not be incidental while being an attempt to exert pressure on the incoming Biden administration. At stake is now the extension of the New START arms control treaty. The Kremlin, meanwhile, makes it clear for the new U.S. president that the new administration will change nothing in Russia's tough course. Russia said that it was pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, an international accord allowing surveillance flights over military facilities, after the U.S. exit from the pact in November 2020. The timing might not be incidental while being an attempt to exert pressure on the incoming Biden administration. At stake is now the extension of the New START arms control treaty. The Kremlin, meanwhile, makes it clear for the new U.S. president that the new administration will change…

Russia's FSB Gains New Privileges and Powers
01/08/2021

The shameful failure of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in the infamous Navalny case did not disgrace the country's domestic security agency. Quite the contrary; the Kremlin is well aware of the more vulnerable FSB prompting a weaker Putin's regime, with the service being a top pillar of his tenure. Instead of personnel reshuffles amid the failed Navalny case, the FSB is growing stronger, seeking broader competencies than those it now holds and more money – uncontrolled by anyone. Besides, a new act, which in fact covers what the FSB does, seeks to shield the state agency against such blunders as the FSB's operation to poison Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny. The shameful failure of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in the infamous Navalny case did not disgrace the country's domestic security agency. Quite the contrary; the Kremlin is well aware of the more vulnerable FSB prompting a weaker Putin's regime, with the service being a top pillar of his tenure.…

Russia Suffers Defeat at the OPEC+ Summit
01/06/2021

A group of major oil producers, known as OPEC+, have agreed to keep production steady in February and March. Some nations will reduce output while Russia and Kazakhstan will see a slight increase in their respective crude production. However, the energy market will note fewer oil supplies amid Saudi Arabia's decision to voluntarily cut its production. Moscow thus has failed to convince other members of the cartel to boost output. Russia is allowed to do it at home, albeit only slightly, which is half as much as it initially expected. Another disturbing thing for Russia is that it stood alone with its demands. Last but not least, there was one more bad news for Russia as the decision made by OPEC+ and Riyadh is advantageous for U.S-based shale companies. By declaring the price war in the spring of 2020, Russia also sought to destroy its U.S. competitor. A group of major oil producers, known as OPEC+, have agreed to keep production steady in February and March. Some nations will reduce…

Jihadi Militants Target Russian Military in Syria
01/04/2021

Recent days have brought a series of attacks against Russian military personnel in Syria. What should cause Russia's alarm is that the first incident happened in the country's northeast, far from its major hotbed in Idlib province. Recent days have brought a series of attacks against Russian military personnel in Syria. What should cause Russia's alarm is that the first incident happened in the country's northeast, far from its major hotbed in Idlib province.

Putin’s Constitution
Latest Special Report from 06/30/2020

RUSSIA MONITOR MONTHLY 03/2020
Latest Monthly Summary