Russia Monitor

Russia Considers Mexico-Style Oil Hedge
07/24/2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with considering the possibility to hedge the country's oil and gas revenues to protect them from the price decline, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 23. This came as a comment to a fresh report by Bloomberg. Citing unnamed senior officials, the agency reported that Russia was considering a Mexico-style hedge. Like Mexico did in the past, hedging massive oil and gas export revenues might protect Russia from any drops in prices. Russian President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with considering the possibility to hedge the country's oil and gas revenues to protect them from the price decline, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 23. This came as a comment to a fresh report by Bloomberg. Citing unnamed senior officials, the agency reported that Russia was considering a Mexico-style hedge. Like Mexico did in the past, hedging massive oil and gas export revenues might protect Russia from any drops in…

Shell and Gazpromneft Start Joint Project in Russia's Far North
07/23/2020

Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell is amongst foreign firms that have neither quit nor curbed their projects in Russia after the country had been hit by punitive measures. The oil major is not fearful of the economic crisis in Russia, the sharp decline in hydrocarbons prices, or serious problems of Russian energy companies. Gazpromneft, Gazprom's crude oil arm, said it had teamed with Shell to set up a joint venture to explore for and develop hydrocarbons on the Gydan peninsula in the Russian Arctic. Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell is amongst foreign firms that have neither quit nor curbed their projects in Russia after the country had been hit by punitive measures. The oil major is not fearful of the economic crisis in Russia, the sharp decline in hydrocarbons prices, or serious problems of Russian energy companies. Gazpromneft, Gazprom's crude oil arm, said it had teamed with Shell to set up a joint venture to explore for and develop hydrocarbons on the Gydan peninsula in the…

Russia's Stalemate on Syria
07/22/2020

The situation in war-torn Syria has stalled for a couple of months. Russia had to align with Turkey and halted the Syrian government's air and ground campaign into rebel-held Idlib province. As diplomatic efforts prove futile and ties with al-Assad's regime deteriorate whilst Moscow and Turkish are seeing the chill in bilateral relations, none of which help the so-called Astana format, three-way talks between the key foreign powers in the Syrian conflict. The situation in war-torn Syria has stalled for a couple of months. Russia had to align with Turkey and halted the Syrian government's air and ground campaign into rebel-held Idlib province. As diplomatic efforts prove futile and ties with al-Assad's regime deteriorate whilst Moscow and Turkish are seeing the chill in bilateral relations, none of which help the so-called Astana format, three-way talks between the key foreign powers in the Syrian conflict.

Putin Orders Combat Readiness Check Near Ukrainian Border
07/21/2020

On July 17, a snap combat readiness check kicked off, with troops of Russia's Southern and Western military districts. It also involves airborne troops and marine infantry from the Northern and Pacific Fleets. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to dispatch 150,000 personnel and 26,000 pieces of military hardware to the site. On July 17, a snap combat readiness check kicked off, with troops of Russia's Southern and Western military districts. It also involves airborne troops and marine infantry from the Northern and Pacific Fleets. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to dispatch 150,000 personnel and 26,000 pieces of military hardware to the site.

Armenia-Azerbaijan Border Fighting Prompts Russia to Change Strategy
07/21/2020

The latest flare-up in the Armenia-Azerbaijan armed conflict does not change much in the balance of power through the South Caucasus. With their military potential and deals they had sealed with other states, neither country is poised to emerge a victor. Most importantly, after the latest border spat, Russia has shifted its stand on the feud both Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for the past three decades. Recent years particularly saw the Kremlin's tilt from a pro-Armenian view towards the center, to mediate possible peace talks rather than take sides with Armenia. The latest flare-up in the Armenia-Azerbaijan armed conflict does not change much in the balance of power through the South Caucasus. With their military potential and deals they had sealed with other states, neither country is poised to emerge a victor. Most importantly, after the latest border spat, Russia has shifted its stand on the feud both Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for the past three decades.…

The Kremlin Uses Radical Russian Imperial Movement to Destabilize the West
07/17/2020

The Russian propaganda machine seeks to promote the image of a destabilized West. Also, the Kremlin is fomenting Western disputes by training and offering assistance to the far-right, often neo-Nazi, circles throughout Europe. In it, the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a white supremacist group, plays its role. For years, RIM has conducted illegal activities but continues its "mission" with the blessing of Russian officials –– who yet do it unofficially. This has not changed even after the U.S. had labeled a white supremacist group as a terrorist organization. The Russian propaganda machine seeks to promote the image of a destabilized West. Also, the Kremlin is fomenting Western disputes by training and offering assistance to the far-right, often neo-Nazi, circles throughout Europe. In it, the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a white supremacist group, plays its role. For years, RIM has conducted illegal activities but continues its "mission" with the blessing of Russian officials…

Kadyrov's Hitmen
07/17/2020

A Chechen asylum seeker was shot dead outside the Austrian capital whilst Georgian secret services have foiled a plot to kill a journalist. These seemingly look like two different stories yet have much more in common: they involve hitmen that kill either for the Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov or the Kremlin. Sometimes Russian special services get involved in assassinations, sometimes these are hired guns. A Chechen asylum seeker was shot dead outside the Austrian capital whilst Georgian secret services have foiled a plot to kill a journalist. These seemingly look like two different stories yet have much more in common: they involve hitmen that kill either for the Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov or the Kremlin. Sometimes Russian special services get involved in assassinations, sometimes these are hired guns.

Water Shortage in Crimea: Russia May Make a New Move Against Ukraine
07/16/2020

Moscow may decide on a military option to gain control of water for the peninsula, Ukrainian military officers say. Of course, that is nothing but a Russian excuse. Moscow may decide on a military option to gain control of water for the peninsula, Ukrainian military officers say. Of course, that is nothing but a Russian excuse.

Bregancon Program: France's Macron Tilts Towards Russia
07/11/2020

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has placed French-Russian rapprochement in limbo for roughly six months following its official kickoff in August 2019 during a meeting at the Fort de Bregancon, a summer residence of the president of France. But now the whole process is gaining momentum. There is yet one more topic that could push France closer toward Russia, with the Libya civil war, where both have similar goals. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has placed French-Russian rapprochement in limbo for roughly six months following its official kickoff in August 2019 during a meeting at the Fort de Bregancon, a summer residence of the president of France. But now the whole process is gaining momentum. There is yet one more topic that could push France closer toward Russia, with the Libya civil war, where both have similar goals.

Putin Signs Decree on Constitutional Changes After Falsified "Plebiscite"
07/07/2020

Russia's constitutional amendments came into force on July 4. Putin signed the decree two days after the Central Election Commission announced the final results of a national vote. Its outcome might have gone in line with what Kremlin senior officials could expect. With the decree, a sweeping package of constitutional amendments will bring into force that among other things open a path for Vladimir Putin to stay in power till 2036. Yet the whole mission to modify the Russian constitution and the poll itself both show that there is something that grapples Russian officials. Russia's constitutional amendments came into force on July 4. Putin signed the decree two days after the Central Election Commission announced the final results of a national vote. Its outcome might have gone in line with what Kremlin senior officials could expect. With the decree, a sweeping package of constitutional amendments will bring into force that among other things open a path for Vladimir Putin to stay in…

Putin’s Constitution
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