Russia Monitor

Russia’s Economic Development Minister Optimistic About Cheaper Crude’s Impact on Russian Economy
09/13/2019

Russia’s economy is buoyed up by the export of raw materials. Profits it makes from selling gas and oil abroad are the top source of revenue for the federal budget. This means that any changes in hydrocarbon prices immediately translate into how much money flows into the budget. Russia’s incumbent government says, however, that the budget is less prone to the ongoing economic fluctuations owing to the recently adopted reforms. The Russian economy and budget will still do pretty well even if oil prices drop to $40 per barrel, Russia’s Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said in a recently published press interview. Russia’s economy is buoyed up by the export of raw materials. Profits it makes from selling gas and oil abroad are the top source of revenue for the federal budget. This means that any changes in hydrocarbon prices immediately translate into how much money flows into the budget. Russia’s incumbent government says, however, that the budget is less prone to…

Putin Visited Mongolia: New Treaty, New Projects
09/10/2019

Russia keeps strengthening cooperation with Mongolia, with Russian companies getting more and more active on the neighboring market, especially in the areas such as transport, infrastructure and energy. Signed by Russian and Mongolian officials, a new friendship and cooperation treaty confirms both the Kremlin’s interest in Mongolia and Ulaanbaatar’s political strategy that sees Russia as a counterbalance for pressure from China. Besides, Mongolia’s incumbent president is seeking to win as much as possible from his being closer to cooperation between Moscow and Beijing. Russia keeps strengthening cooperation with Mongolia, with Russian companies getting more and more active on the neighboring market, especially in the areas such as transport, infrastructure and energy. Signed by Russian and Mongolian officials, a new friendship and cooperation treaty confirms both the Kremlin’s interest in Mongolia and Ulaanbaatar’s political strategy that sees Russia as a counterbalance for…

Moscow Should Feel Disturbed by Bolton’s Mission in the East
09/05/2019

A several-day trip paid by U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton shows Washington's increased interest in the countries of our part of Europe. Top three topics on the agenda of Trump's influential aide were Russia, China, and the energy industry. While on tour in Europe, Bolton visited Kiev, Chisinau, Minsk, and Warsaw. Most considerable political significance was given to his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko while culminating Bolton’s tour in Warsaw corroborates Poland's crucial role in U.S. roadmap for countries between Russia and NATO. And this is all the more that the necessity of having friendly ties with Warsaw was brought upon in talks that the U.S. representatives held both with Lukashenko and Ukraine's Zelensky. A several-day trip paid by U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton shows Washington’s increased interest in the countries of our part of Europe. Top three topics on the agenda of Trump’s influential aide were Russia, China, and the…

Medvedev Comes Under Fire But Will Not Be Dismissed by Putin
09/05/2019

More and more Russians are saying they are dissatisfied with the political activity of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as found by polls by several sociological research centers, both state and private. Admittedly, the head of the Russian government has fallen the main victim of unpopular reforms and a plummeting social climate in Russia. While he seems practically absent in foreign policy, a somewhat handy arena for propaganda successes, Medvedev is doomed to ever-growing unpopularity at home. But this is to the liking to the Kremlin, which is why it makes Medvedev safe. Russia’s prime minister has a weak supporting cast while obediently following all of Putin’s orders, also those in energy policy where oil firms close to the president, such as Rosneft and Novatek, keep enjoying further tax incentives. More and more Russians are saying they are dissatisfied with the political activity of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as found by polls by several sociological research centers,…

Turkey’s Erdogan Has Fallen Into Russian Trap
09/05/2019

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to have no choice; he has gotten involved in cooperation with Moscow while sparking off a deep crisis in relations with the West, mostly the United States, also by Ankara’s latest decision to purchase Russian-made S-400 missile systems. Russia has for several months disrespected a ceasefire deal on Syria’s rebel-controlled enclave of Idlib, reached earlier with Turkey, and continues to send support for forces loyal to Bashar Al-Assad. There have already been some cases of capturing Turkish observation posts in Idlib while whereabouts of Turkish battalions have been struck by air raids, possibly carried out also by Russian aircraft. The Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance is consistent in ravaging the Turkish-backed last rebel-held stronghold, with Ankara having its hands tied. Unable to safeguard its closest allies, it exposes its troops to heightened risk. But Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to have no choice; he has…

Russia Warns NATO By Staging Large-Scale War Games Off Norway’s Border
09/03/2019

Long ago did Russia see such massive navy and air military drills off the Atlantic northern coast, close to Norway’s border. Norwegians say that their Russian peers carried out activities aimed at obstructing NATO’s access to the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Norwegian Sea. Moscow was simultaneously committed to staging other military undertakings in the Arctic. Long ago did Russia see such massive navy and air military drills off the Atlantic northern coast, close to Norway’s border. Norwegians say that their Russian peers carried out activities aimed at obstructing NATO’s access to the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Norwegian Sea. Moscow was simultaneously committed to staging other military undertakings in the Arctic.

Oil Exports Save Venezuelan Economy: Rosneft Not Afraid of Sanctions
09/02/2019

Rosneft has become a top trader of Venezuelan-sourced oil, delivering crude to recipients in China and India, a step that at least partly compensates for Caracas’s loss of its traditional brokers afraid of breaking U.S. economic sanctions. In August, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), a leading buyer of Venezuelan oil, halted oil loadings. Rosneft has become a top trader of Venezuelan-sourced oil, delivering crude to recipients in China and India, a step that at least partly compensates for Caracas’s loss of its traditional brokers afraid of breaking U.S. economic sanctions. In August, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), a leading buyer of Venezuelan oil, halted oil loadings.

Stirring up a Hornets’ Nest: Is Siluanov Playing a Game with Domestic Oil Firms?
09/01/2019

Russian oil and gas giants, with Rosneft and Gazprom at the helm, believe that the state will treat them exceptionally, mainly as for taxes, a somewhat dubious expectation that keeps sparking off significant controversies amongst Russian senior authorities. Russian oil and gas giants, with Rosneft and Gazprom at the helm, believe that the state will treat them exceptionally, mainly as for taxes, a somewhat dubious expectation that keeps sparking off significant controversies amongst Russian senior authorities. And even President Vladimir Putin seems to have some doubts about it, as evidenced by his latest moratorium on newest forms of state support for developing domestic oil deposits. The moratorium will remain in effect until the end of 2019. What led to such outcry was a proposal submitted by Russia’s finance ministry, widely known for its reluctance in granting oil concessions to energy tycoons, suggested that tax reliefs for some companies be equivalent to a tax increase for the…

Shoigu’s Mission: Russia Holds Moldova Firmly In Its Grip
08/31/2019

Fears are now being confirmed that Moldova will remain under greater influence from Moscow after latest government reshuffles. Although socialists have taken control over fewer ministries in Moldova’s new coalition government, they supervise most of the critical power structures, with President Igor Dodon having gotten actual authority over the Information and Security Service (SIS). The effects came quickly: when visiting Moldova, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu urged both countries to renew their military partnership. And if this eventually takes place, with socialists being granted full authority in Chisinau, Moldova will find itself in Moscow’s tight grip, paving its way for becoming part of its sphere of influence, a step that is likely to dramatically deteriorate Ukraine’s strategic position.

Mozambican President Visits Moscow, Rosneft Reaps Benefits
08/27/2019

Russia keeps boosting cooperation with the countries of Africa. Leaders from the Dark Continent pay regular visits to the Kremlin, almost all of which are accompanied by inking bilateral economic deals with Russia. Oil giants benefit from the Kremlin’s policy: while Lukoil has recently gained the opportunity to enter the Republic of Congo, Rosneft has its door open to Mozambique. And this will certainly not mark the end of its business chances, with the Russia-Africa summit scheduled to take place in the resort town of Sochi in October. Russia keeps boosting cooperation with the countries of Africa. Leaders from the Dark Continent pay regular visits to the Kremlin, almost all of which are accompanied by inking bilateral economic deals with Russia. Oil giants benefit from the Kremlin’s policy: while Lukoil has recently gained the opportunity to enter the Republic of Congo, Rosneft has its door open to Mozambique. And this will certainly not mark the end of its business chances, with…

Russian “Contractors” In the Service of the Kremlin
Latest Special Report from 08/13/2019

RUSSIA MONITOR MONTHLY 07/2019
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