Russia Monitor

Putin Signs Law Allowing Him To Stay In Power Until 2036
04/09/2021

On April 3, 2021, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Chung Eui-yong. The meeting took place in the city of Xiamen, located in Fujian Province, China. Good relations between the countries were upheld and matters requiring mutual cooperation, such as denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, economic collaboration and holding diplomatic dialogue, were discussed.

Russian Espionage Scandal in Italy
04/06/2021

Two Russian diplomats flew back to Moscow on April 1 as Italy expelled them shortly before. Employees of the Russian embassy’s military attache were involved in a spy scandal as an Italian naval officer was detained on March 30 on spying charges, marking the most serious espionage incident since the Cold War. This may bring severe consequences since Italy is one of the countries within the European Union and NATO with the warmest relations with Russia. Another nation having such a cordial link to Russia is Bulgaria whose authorities smashed a Russian spy ring a dozen or so days ago. Two Russian diplomats flew back to Moscow on April 1 as Italy expelled them shortly before. Employees of the Russian embassy’s military attache were involved in a spy scandal as an Italian naval officer was detained on March 30 on spying charges, marking the most serious espionage incident since the Cold War. This may bring severe consequences since Italy is one of the countries within the European…

U.S. Demand for Russian Oil and Fuels Hits Record High
03/29/2021

Throughout 2020, U.S. companies bought a great deal of crude oil and related products from Russia. Nonetheless, this is a brief situation and has no political background. The United States remains self-sufficient for fuels and the recent increase in imports from Russia stems mostly from its struggle to keep output at a constant level amid the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, these are just temporary problems. Throughout 2020, U.S. companies bought a great deal of crude oil and related products from Russia. Nonetheless, this is a brief situation and has no political background. The United States remains self-sufficient for fuels and the recent increase in imports from Russia stems mostly from its struggle to keep output at a constant level amid the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, these are just temporary problems.

Gazprom Chairman Says Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline to Be Finished This Year
03/27/2021

The Russians are sure to complete the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on time. As the U.S. administration has not introduced any new sanctions, Russia is going ahead with the construction of its controversial energy link. Construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for carrying Russian natural gas to Europe will be completed this year, Viktor Zubkov, the chairman of Gazprom's board of directors, said on March 26 while visiting Berlin. Gazprom’s board chairman said that work on Nord Stream 2 was already 92.5 percent complete while intense work was underway to complete the link.

More Soldiers Killed in Ukraine's Donbas
03/27/2021

Tensions are on the rise on the frontline in Donbas. Last Friday, on March 26, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in shelling as Russian forces and pro-Russian separatist fighters opened fire. Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel Serhiy Koval. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the leaders of the so-called Normandy Format, a diplomatic process involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France aimed at resolving the conflict, to tackle the conflict amid the increase in fighting in Donbas. Tensions are on the rise on the frontline in Donbas. Last Friday, on March 26, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in shelling as Russian forces and pro-Russian separatist fighters opened fire. Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel Serhiy Koval. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the leaders of the so-called Normandy Format, a diplomatic process involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France aimed at resolving the conflict, to tackle the conflict amid the increase in…

Russia's Governor Hunt: Spring Season Has Begun
03/26/2021

Putin signed a decree dismissing Ivan Belozertsev, the governor of the Penza region, "due to a loss of trust," on March 23. The day before, a court in Moscow ordered Belozertsev to pretrial detention at least until May 20, 2021. Russia's Investigative Committee has accused the former governor of the Penza region in the Volga Federal District in central Russia of accepting a bribe worth of 31 million rubles ($420,000). Local businessmen allegedly bribed the governor in exchange for getting the inside track on business agreements with the local government. Several individuals were detained, among whom was Local businessman Boris Shpigel, who heads up the BIOTEK pharmacy group. On March 23, Shpigel was placed in pretrial detention for two months. They pleaded not guilty. Media reports said earlier that the bribes were given to Belozertsev in 2020 and included an expensive Mercedes-Benz automobile, a Breguet watch, and cash. The arrest and then the removal of the governor of the Penza…

Volodin's Close Associate Gets a Job in Novatek
03/26/2021

Tatyana Voronova, a senior official in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, has got a lucrative job in the private energy giant Novatek. Voronova has long been a protege of Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament. These two in the past worked together in the Kremlin. Tatyana Voronova, a senior official in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, has got a lucrative job in the private energy giant Novatek. Voronova has long been a protege of Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament. These two in the past worked together in the Kremlin.

Putin For Life: State Duma Resets Presidential Term-Limit Clock to Zero
03/25/2021

The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, has approved a law that gives the incumbent president the right to run for two more terms. Importantly, the new legislation resets all presidential terms held before the updates came into effect. This means that Vladimir Putin is eligible to serve as Russian president for two more terms once his current one expires. Also, the law effectively deletes Dmitry Medvedev's term in office he held between 2008 and 2012. The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, has approved a law that gives the incumbent president the right to run for two more terms. Importantly, the new legislation resets all presidential terms held before the updates came into effect. This means that Vladimir Putin is eligible to serve as Russian president for two more terms once his current one expires. Also, the law effectively deletes Dmitry Medvedev's term in office he held between 2008 and 2012.

Russia Reveals Ambitious Plans for Its LNG Sector
03/25/2021

The Russian government approved a development program for liquefied natural gas (LNG), as earlier prepared by the Ministry of Energy. The paper sets LNG exports as a priority and stipulates the opening of as many as ten new gas liquefaction facilities. The Russian government approved a development program for liquefied natural gas (LNG), as earlier prepared by the Ministry of Energy. The paper sets LNG exports as a priority and stipulates the opening of as many as ten new gas liquefaction facilities.

A Game of Thrones in Lubyanka
03/24/2021

Only recently has it been announced that General Sergey Korolev would become the first deputy director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB. Now it turns out that a former senior officer charged with bribery has made a deal with investigators. Who will he rat out and will this influence the process of appointing a new director of the agency? Nobody knows. What is known is that Colonel Kirill Cherkalin was arrested as a result of actions taken by the incumbent deputy director of the FSB. Only recently has it been announced that General Sergey Korolev would become the first deputy director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB. Now it turns out that a former senior officer charged with bribery has made a deal with investigators. Who will he rat out and will this influence the process of appointing a new director of the agency? Nobody knows. What is known is that Colonel Kirill Cherkalin was arrested as a result of actions taken by the incumbent deputy director of the FSB.

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