Russia Monitor
12/11/2019

Lukoil Makes Further Investments in Africa

A report by Russia's biggest privately held oil company has revealed that it had finally bought stakes in an oilfield in the Republic of Congo. A report by Russia's biggest privately held oil company has revealed that it had finally bought stakes in an oilfield in the Republic of Congo. As announced, in the second quarter of 2019, Lukoil closed a purchase of a 25 percent interest in the Marine XII License area from New Age M12 Holdings Limited. The contract was signed during the visit of the President of the Republic of Congo to Moscow in May this year. The sale was completed for $768 million a few months later, in September 2019, after Congo's state authorities greenlighted the deal.

12/11/2019

Unwanted Success: Russia's GRU Suffers Setback in Serbia

A disclosed fact that in the Serbian army there are many people holding ties to Russian military intelligence has dealt a blow to the authorities in Belgrade. A disclosed fact that in the Serbian army there are many people holding ties to Russian military intelligence has dealt a blow to the authorities in Belgrade. Recent time has seen Serbia making extra efforts to tighten cooperation with Russia, chiefly in the area of security. A spying incident involving an officer of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence, erupted right before President Aleksandar Vucic's trip to Moscow. This might not have been incidental, especially that files showing links between Russian intelligence and the Serbian military were cooked up by Western services, as admitted by the country's leader.

12/11/2019

GRU Spies Accused of Destabilizing Situation in Catalonia

Spain is yet another European country where Russian military intelligence has engaged in a campaign to destabilize the internal situation. Spain is yet another European country where Russian military intelligence has engaged in a campaign to destabilize the internal situation. Spanish services and judiciary are investigating into a group within Russia's military intelligence (GRU) known as Unit 29155, infamous for their subversive and terrorist actions across the European Union, including the United Kingdom and Bulgaria. Signs are that Russia has long been fuelled Catalonia's pro-secession drive, not only through its information-related operations.

12/10/2019

IEA Forecast Says Russian Oil Industry Will Record Losses

The United States is currently the world's largest producer of gas and oil. With their shale output staying higher for longer, the Americans are poised to become the world's second-biggest gas exporter only to Russia. The United States is currently the world's largest producer of gas and oil. With their shale output staying higher for longer, the Americans are poised to become the world's second-biggest gas exporter only to Russia. The United States will top as a leading exporter of oil, yet to the detriment of Russia, whose role in the oil industry is likely to shrink, both in terms of crude output and export. This is likely to hit a massive blow to the federal budget. Without full-scale reforms and efforts to diversify its economy, Russia will face major problems. Though Moscow will keep its status as the world's leading exporter of gas, the latest changes in trading conditions could hit Russia with some financial difficulties.

12/09/2019

United Russia Congress: Putin Distances Himself from Ruling Party

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at a congress of the ruling United Russia, he seemed far aloof from the party whose approval ratings keep going down. Though Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at a congress of the ruling United Russia, he seemed far aloof from the party whose approval ratings keep going down. Both his attendance and address served to unify the party and assemble its members ahead of the 2021 elections. As prompted by the course of the event, the Kremlin has no intention to introduce changes to the state's party system being in force for many years till now, at least not before the vote.

12/08/2019

Russia Complies with OPEC Deal, But There Is a Problem

There is no doubt that the OPEC+ format will continue to exist, with OPEC and its allies being likely to extend oil output cuts, albeit oil production calculations may be subject to change. There is no doubt that the OPEC+ format will continue to exist, with OPEC and its allies being likely to extend oil output cuts, albeit oil production calculations may be subject to change. Also, Russia has a good excuse to call on fellow oil producers to change the way Moscow's quotas are measured.

12/06/2019

Russia's Gazprom Sold $3 Billion in Stocks to Mystery Buyer

Russia's gas monopolist Gazprom sold 3.59 percent of its stocks in what it turned out to be a single buyer transaction, with the deal carried out via the trading platform of the Moscow Exchange. Russia's gas monopolist Gazprom sold 3.59 percent of its stocks in what it turned out to be a single buyer transaction, with the deal carried out via the trading platform of the Moscow Exchange. Also, the mystery bidder got a considerable discount. This is the second time that Gazprom has traded shares in recent months, with a total of 6.52 percent of the company's voting stakes being sold. The firm has not informed whether the same buyer bought shares both in July and November.

12/04/2019

Russia Catches Heat over Bloody Air Raids in Syria's Idlib

In the shadow of Turkey's incursion against the Kurds in northeastern Syria, forces loyal to al-Assad and their Russian allies are pursuing a military offensive in Idlib Province. In the shadow of Turkey's incursion against the Kurds in northeastern Syria, forces loyal to al-Assad and their Russian allies are pursuing a military offensive in Idlib Province. Located in northwestern Syria, the last remaining rebel enclave is still struggling against government forces. Syrian government army and its Russian allies keep their criminal assaults against civilians, seeking to crush their morale and force Idlib defenders to surrender.

12/02/2019

Putin’s Latest Approval Ratings: Choosing the Lesser Evil

Fewer and fewer Putin's fellow countrymen are declaring themselves enthusiastic about the incumbent leader. An ever-distant attitude toward the president, along with his performance ratings remaining rather unchanged, may serve as a proof for a growing apathy among members of Russian society. This does not pose a direct threat to the regime, yet any crisis may ignite a more rapid surge of a political team adverse to Putin and his companions. Fewer and fewer Putin's fellow countrymen are declaring themselves enthusiastic about the incumbent leader. An ever-distant attitude toward the president, along with his performance ratings remaining rather unchanged, may serve as a proof for a growing apathy among members of Russian society. This does not pose a direct threat to the regime, yet any crisis may ignite a more rapid surge of a political team adverse to Putin and his companions.

12/01/2019

What’s True About Russian Military Spending?

Russian President Vladimir Putin informed that his country spent less for defense in 2018, saying that gone is the peak of the Russian military's equipment and hardware upgrade, and these do not need to be financed to the same extent as before. It is impossible to verify if the president tells the truth. The structure of Russia's federal budget makes it impossible to determine the country's actual defense spending. And it is not just that a great deal of the budget is classified. Russian President Vladimir Putin informed that his country spent less for defense in 2018, saying that gone is the peak of the Russian military's equipment and hardware upgrade, and these do not need to be financed to the same extent as before. It is impossible to verify if the president tells the truth. The structure of Russia's federal budget makes it impossible to determine the country's actual defense spending. And it is not just that a great deal of the budget is classified.

11/27/2019

Novatek Boasts of Rising Output: Foreign Investors Enter Russian LNG Terminals

Russia's biggest private gas firm has beefed up its status as a leading natural gas producer and a top liquefied natural gas supplier in the Far North. Unlike Rosneft, its top energy rival in Russia's Arctic, that counts on nothing but Vladimir Putin's discretionary decisions and his pressure on the country's business and state actors, Novatek enjoys both the aid from the government and more excellent opportunities to entice foreign investors. Russia's biggest private gas firm has beefed up its status as a leading natural gas producer and a top liquefied natural gas supplier in the Far North. Unlike Rosneft, its top energy rival in Russia's Arctic, that counts on nothing but Vladimir Putin's discretionary decisions and his pressure on the country's business and state actors, Novatek enjoys both the aid from the government and more excellent opportunities to entice foreign investors.

11/26/2019

United Russia Congress: Putin Distances Himself from Ruling Party

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at a congress of the ruling United Russia, he seemed far aloof from the party whose approval ratings keep going down. Both his attendance and address served to unify the party and assemble its members ahead of the 2021 elections. As prompted by the course of the event, the Kremlin has no intention to introduce changes to the state's party system being in force for many years till now, at least not before the vote. Though Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at a congress of the ruling United Russia, he seemed far aloof from the party whose approval ratings keep going down. Both his attendance and address served to unify the party and assemble its members ahead of the 2021 elections. As prompted by the course of the event, the Kremlin has no intention to introduce changes to the state's party system being in force for many years till now, at least not before the vote.

11/25/2019

IEA Forecast Says Russian Oil Industry Will Record Losses

The United States is currently the world's largest producer of gas and oil. With their shale output staying higher for longer, the Americans are poised to become the world's second-biggest gas exporter only to Russia. The United States will top as a leading exporter of oil, yet to the detriment of Russia, whose role in the oil industry is likely to shrink, both in terms of crude output and export. This is likely to hit a massive blow to the federal budget. Without full-scale reforms and efforts to diversify its economy, Russia will face major problems. Though Moscow will keep its status as the world's leading exporter of gas, the latest changes in trading conditions could hit Russia with some financial difficulties. The United States is currently the world's largest producer of gas and oil. With their shale output staying higher for longer, the Americans are poised to become the world's second-biggest gas exporter only to Russia. The United States will top as a leading exporter of oil,…

11/25/2019

Putin’s Latest Approval Ratings: Choosing the Lesser Evil

Fewer and fewer Putin's fellow countrymen are declaring themselves enthusiastic about the incumbent leader. An ever-distant attitude toward the president, along with his performance ratings remaining rather unchanged, may serve as a proof for a growing apathy among members of Russian society. This does not pose a direct threat to the regime, yet any crisis may ignite a more rapid surge of a political team adverse to Putin and his companions. Fewer and fewer Putin's fellow countrymen are declaring themselves enthusiastic about the incumbent leader. An ever-distant attitude toward the president, along with his performance ratings remaining rather unchanged, may serve as a proof for a growing apathy among members of Russian society. This does not pose a direct threat to the regime, yet any crisis may ignite a more rapid surge of a political team adverse to Putin and his companions.

11/24/2019

One Customer Fewer for Gazprom: Poland Successfully Diversifies Its Energy Sources

As earlier announced, Poland's biggest gas firm, state-run PGNiG, said that it did not intend to extend its long-term deal on gas supplies with Gazprom. The gas firm seeks to wean itself off Russian-sourced energy after 2023. This marks Russia's and Gazprom's failure while exposing the immense success of Poland's incumbent authorities who, since coming to power in 2015, have made consistent efforts to vary the country's energy supplies to cut off reliance on Russia and build up Warsaw's energy security. Poland says it will be able to do without Russian gas after the current gas deal terminates. As earlier announced, Poland's biggest gas firm, state-run PGNiG, said that it did not intend to extend its long-term deal on gas supplies with Gazprom. The gas firm seeks to wean itself off Russian-sourced energy after 2023. This marks Russia's and Gazprom's failure while exposing the immense success of Poland's incumbent authorities who, since coming to power in 2015, have made consistent…

11/23/2019

Russia's Oil Export Duty Rises: What's Next with Tax Maneuver?

The Russian government has decided to boost customs tariffs on exported oil supplies and petroleum products in a move to halt the gradual slump in oil export duties, at least temporarily. Under the so-called tax maneuver in the Russian oil industry, the raw material will be subject to tax charges already at the extraction level, and not during its export, as it was the case before. The Russian government has decided to boost customs tariffs on exported oil supplies and petroleum products in a move to halt the gradual slump in oil export duties, at least temporarily. Under the so-called tax maneuver in the Russian oil industry, the raw material will be subject to tax charges already at the extraction level, and not during its export, as it was the case before.

11/22/2019

Can Newly Empowered FSB Cut Russia Off the Rest of the World?

Authorities in Russia are working to amend the country's law, allowing the Federal Security Service (FSB) to block online traffic flow with any country around the world. Formally, Russian lawmakers seek to fight against telephone terrorism more effectively. This will yet lead to a massive crackdown on civil liberties and Russia's even greater isolation while marking yet another chapter in efforts to subordinate the country’s telecoms industry to special forces. Authorities in Russia are working to amend the country's law, allowing the Federal Security Service (FSB) to block online traffic flow with any country around the world. Formally, Russian lawmakers seek to fight against telephone terrorism more effectively. This will yet lead to a massive crackdown on civil liberties and Russia's even greater isolation while marking yet another chapter in efforts to subordinate the country’s telecoms industry to special forces.

11/22/2019

The Fall of Morales: Russia Loses Bolivian Ally

Notwithstanding how events will further unfold in Bolivia, the ouster of Morales as the country’s president is likely to hit a severe blow to the Russian sphere of influence across Latin America. Morales has been part of the circle of the Kremlin's closest associates, while Bolivia belongs to what could be called a pro-Russian axis of Latin American states, alongside Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Political reshuffles in Bolivia may weaken the regimes in Caracas and Havana. Notwithstanding how events will further unfold in Bolivia, the ouster of Morales as the country’s president is likely to hit a severe blow to the Russian sphere of influence across Latin America. Morales has been part of the circle of the Kremlin's closest associates, while Bolivia belongs to what could be called a pro-Russian axis of Latin American states, alongside Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Political reshuffles in Bolivia may weaken the regimes in Caracas and Havana.

11/15/2019

Czech Counterintelligence Uncovered FSB Espionage Ring

The Czech Security and Information Service (BIS) confirmed earlier reports from a few months ago, saying it had dismantled a Russian espionage ring created in the country by the Russian FSB. The head of the BIS, Michal Koudelka, announced that the network was meant to be used for cyberattacks against the Czech Republic and its foreign allies –– financed by the Kremlin and the Russian Embassy. This is yet another proof of Prague's role as a regional center for Russian intelligence operations.

11/13/2019

The French Connection: Macron's Words Please the Kremlin

With his subsequent moves and declarations, French President Emmanuel Macron emerged as Russia's biggest friend in the West. First, the French leader made rapprochement with Putin over Ukraine's case, helping Moscow return to the Council of Europe. Sometime later, he vetoed the opening of accession negotiations with the two Balkan countries. Now he lambasted the transatlantic defense bloc, an alliance that for the past seven decades has laid the groundwork for Western security while being the Kremlin's top enemy.

11/12/2019

Russia Stages Influence Operation in Bulgaria

Both Russia and a pro-Russian camp in Bulgaria have struck back after a series of mishaps. A court awarded special judicial permission to the leader of the Russophiles National Movement, Nikolay Malinov, who fled to Moscow, albeit without prior consent of the prosecutor's office. Bulgaria's pro-Russian president rejected the candidate to the post of the country's chief prosecutor, who had disclosed Moscow's espionage activity in Bulgaria. More prior, Sofia expelled a Russian diplomat who had attempted to recruit spies and gathered classified information. Also, Bulgaria is said to have refused a visa to the incoming military attaché.

11/11/2019

Russia Is Still Not Ready for Nuclear War

Held in October this year, Russia's Grom (Thunder) 2019 strategic nuclear forces exercise revealed that the country's atomic stockpile is far below expectations. Russia is yet not ready for a nuclear clash with the United States, and President of Russia Vladimir Putin saw it with his eyes. While overseeing the drills, he ordered the missile launches by pushing a button –– but it did not work. Held in October this year, Russia's Grom (Thunder) 2019 strategic nuclear forces exercise revealed that the country's atomic stockpile is far below expectations. Russia is yet not ready for a nuclear clash with the United States, and President of Russia Vladimir Putin saw it with his eyes. While overseeing the drills, he ordered the missile launches by pushing a button –– but it did not work.

11/10/2019

Russian Navy Fires Bulava Ballistic Missile in Submarine Drills

Russia's Northern Fleet has carried out a high-profile test of one of its newest nuclear-powered submarines that has for the first time test-fired the Bulava, Russia's intercontinental ballistic missile. The test was successful. Russia is upgrading its submarine fleet while displaying its capabilities in the North Atlantic, where the Russian Navy is staging the most extensive underwater exercise since the end of the Cold War. Russia's Northern Fleet has carried out a high-profile test of one of its newest nuclear-powered submarines that has for the first time test-fired the Bulava, Russia's intercontinental ballistic missile. The test was successful. Russia is upgrading its submarine fleet while displaying its capabilities in the North Atlantic, where the Russian Navy is staging the most extensive underwater exercise since the end of the Cold War.

10/30/2019

Rosneft Switches Export Contracts to Euros from Dollars Amid U.S. Sanctions

Russia's largest oil company Rosneft has fully switched to the euro from U.S. dollars as the default currency to minimize its exposure to U.S. restrictions, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said. This is not shocking because Russia ships as much as half of its whole oil exports to the European market, though U.S. dollar transactions prevail globally. Russia's largest oil company Rosneft has fully switched to the euro from U.S. dollars as the default currency to minimize its exposure to U.S. restrictions, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said. This is not shocking because Russia ships as much as half of its whole oil exports to the European market, though U.S. dollar transactions prevail globally.