Russia Monitor
07/26/2021

U.S. Concessions On Nord Stream 2 Encourage Russia To Go To War

A U.S.-German deal on the Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 deals a blow to the energy security of Eastern Europe, notably Ukraine, whose military security is at stake, too. As the Joe Biden administration is making new concessions to Russia while France and Germany show a Moscow-friendly attitude, Vladimir Putin feels encouraged to take further aggressive action, also militarily. At the same time, the deal offers no security guarantee to Kyiv. A U.S.-German deal on the Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 deals a blow to the energy security of Eastern Europe, notably Ukraine, whose military security is at stake, too. As the Joe Biden administration is making new concessions to Russia while France and Germany show a Moscow-friendly attitude, Vladimir Putin feels encouraged to take further aggressive action, also militarily. At the same time, the deal offers no security guarantee to Kyiv.

07/23/2021

Russian FSB Detains Estonian Consul

Russia is keeping up with the espionage and diplomatic war it has waged against Western states. This time Moscow hit Estonia, and more precisely its St. Petersburg-based consul. The incident resembles a provocation staged against a Ukrainian consul a few months ago. Russian counterintelligence outlets thus can take similar steps to target Russian-based diplomats of any state that Moscow recognizes as hostile. Russia is keeping up with the espionage and diplomatic war it has waged against Western states. This time Moscow hit Estonia, and more precisely its St. Petersburg-based consul. The incident resembles a provocation staged against a Ukrainian consul a few months ago. Russian counterintelligence outlets thus can take similar steps to target Russian-based diplomats of any state that Moscow recognizes as hostile.

07/21/2021

OPEC+ Signs Deal To Raise Oil Output Each Month

Oil producers agreed to increase production at a July 18 meeting by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from August. The decision will be beneficial to Russia since its daily oil output is projected to rise by 500,000 barrels beginning in May 2022. The two previous OPEC+ meetings were called off as the United Arab Emirates rejected a proposal. Oil producers agreed to increase production at a July 18 meeting by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from August. The decision will be beneficial to Russia since its daily oil output is projected to rise by 500,000 barrels beginning in May 2022. The two previous OPEC+ meetings were called off as the United Arab Emirates rejected a proposal.

07/20/2021

Tensions Go High in Donbas As Russia Breaches Truce

Russia is violating truce in the east of Ukraine as tensions are on the rise on the frontline since late June. Despite the deal in force for a year now, Russian forces and pro-Russian rebels keep firing at Ukrainian positions. The Ukrainian army saw some casualties; there were some wounded, too. Russia is violating truce in the east of Ukraine as tensions are on the rise on the frontline since late June. Despite the deal in force for a year now, Russian forces and pro-Russian rebels keep firing at Ukrainian positions. The Ukrainian army saw some casualties; there were some wounded, too.

07/14/2021

Russia Proposes Reset In Relations With France

Moscow has for years had its strategic goal to break up the European Union. The Kremlin is now struggling to take advantage of a row inside the EU over the bloc's policy towards Russia. This has been confirmed by top-level political relations between France and Russia and the corruption of the French political elite. Moscow has for years had its strategic goal to break up the European Union. The Kremlin is now struggling to take advantage of a row inside the EU over the bloc's policy towards Russia. This has been confirmed by top-level political relations between France and Russia and the corruption of the French political elite.

07/14/2021

Rosneft Loses Customs Arbitration Case

The Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the lawsuit that Russian oil giant Rosneft had brought to declare illegal a decision of the Federal Energy Customs Office to impose extra duties and penalties worth some 5.8 billion roubles. The Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the lawsuit that Russian oil giant Rosneft had brought to declare illegal a decision of the Federal Energy Customs Office to impose extra duties and penalties worth some 5.8 billion roubles.

07/02/2021

Putin Vows Support To Lukashenko Amid EU Sanctions

Russia offers comprehensive assistance to Belarus, notably when the European Union introduces sanctions on Lukashenko's regime, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 1. Putin and Lukashenko first had a phone call and then met at the Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus via video conference. Russia offers comprehensive assistance to Belarus, notably when the European Union introduces sanctions on Lukashenko's regime, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 1. Putin and Lukashenko first had a phone call and then met at the Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus via video conference.

07/01/2021

Putin’s Ukraine Complex Again Makes Itself Felt

The Russian president once again confirmed how painful it is for him to see Ukraine decide for itself and not yield to Moscow’s pressure. Addressing the nation during an annual televised call-in show, Putin came back to an old rhetoric that Ukrainians were not a separate nation, attacking the pro-Western government in Kyiv and claiming the country was “managed from the outside”. The Russian president once again confirmed how painful it is for him to see Ukraine decide for itself and not yield to Moscow’s pressure. Addressing the nation during an annual televised call-in show, Putin came back to an old rhetoric that Ukrainians were not a separate nation, attacking the pro-Western government in Kyiv and claiming the country was “managed from the outside”.

06/30/2021

Pandemic Crisis Hits Russia Amid Failed Vaccination Campaign

Although the Delta variant is sweeping across the globe, Western countries are slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Russia is now struggling with a more and more dramatic situation. The country saw its highest daily death toll since the outbreak of the pandemic while the nation remains dramatically under-vaccinated compared to other major world states. Yet Russia became the first country in the world to pride itself on developing a vaccine against coronavirus. Although the Delta variant is sweeping across the globe, Western countries are slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Russia is now struggling with a more and more dramatic situation. The country saw its highest daily death toll since the outbreak of the pandemic while the nation remains dramatically under-vaccinated compared to other major world states. Yet Russia became the first country in the world to pride itself on developing a vaccine against coronavirus.

06/30/2021

Russia Pumps Less Crude Oil

Russian oil and gas condensate output stood at 1,421,600 tons per day in June, a drop by 6,400 tons compared with May. But even though Russia does not comply 100 percent with the OPEC+ deal to cut output quotas. Russian oil and gas condensate output stood at 1,421,600 tons per day in June, a drop by 6,400 tons compared with May. But even though Russia does not comply 100 percent with the OPEC+ deal to cut output quotas.

06/25/2021

Russia Raises Gas Price for Europe

Russian gas giant Gazprom decided to raise the average gas export price for European countries. The company's managers expect it to reach $240 this year, which is way more than what Gazprom and market analysts had forecasted. The decision is driven by the increasing demand for natural gas. Russian gas giant Gazprom decided to raise the average gas export price for European countries. The company's managers expect it to reach $240 this year, which is way more than what Gazprom and market analysts had forecasted. The decision is driven by the increasing demand for natural gas.

06/25/2021

Novatek Signs Arctic LNG 2 Deal With China

Russia's biggest privately held gas company is cementing cooperation with Chinese-based businesses. Once it invited some businesses to join liquefied natural gas projects, Novatek wants to use one of them to export its gas commodities to China. In addition, it is yet another deal that corroborates ever-growing cooperation between Russia and China that boils down to buying Russian-sourced hydrocarbons by the latter country under poor conditions for Moscow if only because Russian energy projects for China receive full tax reliefs. Furthermore, Russian gas sent to China is cheaper than that to European states. Russia's biggest privately held gas company is cementing cooperation with Chinese-based businesses. Once it invited some businesses to join liquefied natural gas projects, Novatek wants to use one of them to export its gas commodities to China. In addition, it is yet another deal that corroborates ever-growing cooperation between Russia and China that boils down to buying…

06/24/2021

Will Eurasian Economic Community Integrate Around Crude Oil?

Countries of the Eurasian Economic Community should sign a joint agreement to establish a common market for crude oil and petroleum products in the next two years, according to Mikhail Myasnikovitch, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, who said this after its members met in Brest for talks. Countries of the Eurasian Economic Community should sign a joint agreement to establish a common market for crude oil and petroleum products in the next two years, according to Mikhail Myasnikovitch, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, who said this after its members met in Brest for talks.

06/24/2021

Russia Feels Concerned By UK-Ukraine Military Cooperation

An incident off the Crimean coast that involved the HMS Defender, a Royal Navy destroyer, and Russian vessels outlined the ever-bigger role of the United Kingdom in supporting Ukraine in the Black Sea. It was aboard the British destroyer that took part in the incident alongside FSB patrol boats that representatives of Ukraine and the United Kingdom inked a memorandum to implement maritime projects. An incident off the Crimean coast that involved the HMS Defender, a Royal Navy destroyer, and Russian vessels outlined the ever-bigger role of the United Kingdom in supporting Ukraine in the Black Sea. It was aboard the British destroyer that took part in the incident alongside FSB patrol boats that representatives of Ukraine and the United Kingdom inked a memorandum to implement maritime projects.

06/24/2021

Myanmar Junta Chief Arrives in Russia

Moscow is cementing ties with Myanmar's military junta that seized power in the country. After Myanmar's junta chief had arrived in Moscow to attend a military helicopter exhibition, the regime's leader flew to Moscow for a couple of days, traditionally to take part in an annual security conference. General Mi Aung Hlaing also holds bilateral talks with Russian officials who stand firmly by the Myanmar junta. Moscow is cementing ties with Myanmar's military junta that seized power in the country. After Myanmar's junta chief had arrived in Moscow to attend a military helicopter exhibition, the regime's leader flew to Moscow for a couple of days, traditionally to take part in an annual security conference. General Mi Aung Hlaing also holds bilateral talks with Russian officials who stand firmly by the Myanmar junta.

06/22/2021

Russia Violates Airspace over Baltic Sea in the Shadow of Geneva Summit

First, Russia sent a strategic bomber to the Baltic Sea and then its fighters intruded Lithuanian airspace to flex its military muscles in this part of Europe just before the Putin-Biden meeting. This means that Moscow has no intention of refraining from belligerent activities close to NATO's eastern flank. First, Russia sent a strategic bomber to the Baltic Sea and then its fighters intruded Lithuanian airspace to flex its military muscles in this part of Europe just before the Putin-Biden meeting. This means that Moscow has no intention of refraining from belligerent activities close to NATO's eastern flank.

06/21/2021

A Turkish Military Facility in the Caucasus? Moscow Voices Concern of Erdogan's Visit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed speculation that Turkey could build a military base in Azerbaijan as "rumors." However, the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Caucasus must have been a deep concern to Russia. A possible Turkish military facility there is just one of the reasons for Erdogan's visit to Azerbaijan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed speculation that Turkey could build a military base in Azerbaijan as "rumors." However, the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Caucasus must have been a deep concern to Russia. A possible Turkish military facility there is just one of the reasons for Erdogan's visit to Azerbaijan.

06/21/2021

A Future FSB Director? He Got Promotion from Putin

As the incumbent head of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, is close to retire, the fight to become his successor now reaches a crucial stage. There are many candidates, but now it seems that plans are to appoint someone from the FSB. In early June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a secret decree to promote Colonel General Sergei Korolev, who serves as the first deputy head of the Federal Security Service, to the rank of an army general. As the incumbent head of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, is close to retire, the fight to become his successor now reaches a crucial stage. There are many candidates, but now it seems that plans are to appoint someone from the FSB. In early June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a secret decree to promote Colonel General Sergei Korolev, who serves as the first deputy head of the Federal Security Service, to the rank of an army general.

06/20/2021

Putin Names Shoigu, And Not Medvedev, In Kremlin Harsh Election Course

Russian officials just started an election campaign before September's parliamentary vote. President Vladimir Putin revealed top candidates on the federal list of United Russia, the country's dominant party that seeks to preserve its constitutional majority despite low popularity ratings. The Russian regime took violent action to stifle opposition and curb the possibility to monitor any instances of vote-rigging. Possibly fearing a popular rally after the vote, Putin might have taken a lesson from Lukashenko and thus has embarked on a harsh course now. Picking defense and foreign ministers to head the United Russia list also hints at the party's harsh rhetoric. Placing Shoigu as the "number one" on the list instead of Dmitry Medvedev, whom many believed to be the favorite in the run-up, aims to increase voter enthusiasm. While Shoigu is now among the most popular Russian politicians, Medvedev is relatively unpopular. Russian officials just started an election campaign before…

06/18/2021

What Biden-Putin Summit Means for Eastern Europe

As expected, the meeting between the U.S. and Russian leaders did not bring any major decisions––let alone a breakthrough in bilateral ties. It seems that both presidents took advantage of the summit to paint their visions and score some political goals. Probably they are both satisfied with the talks in their own manner as Biden posed as a tough politician issuing warnings while Putin showed he is still a top player worldwide. This yet does not mean that the summit has not offered anything to other interested parties. As expected, the meeting between the U.S. and Russian leaders did not bring any major decisions––let alone a breakthrough in bilateral ties. It seems that both presidents took advantage of the summit to paint their visions and score some political goals. Probably they are both satisfied with the talks in their own manner as Biden posed as a tough politician issuing warnings while Putin showed he is still a top player worldwide. This yet does not mean that the…

06/16/2021

Ukraine Is Afraid of Biden-Putin Meeting

Ukrainian state authorities are right to be fearful of the outcomes of the meeting of the U.S. and Russian leaders. Earlier, the U.S. administration had given the green light to Russia to complete Nord Stream 2 without notifying Ukraine. The U.S. leader Joe Biden also ignored an appeal from Volodymyr Zelensky for a meeting before talks with Vladimir Putin. Ukraine said it would not accept any agreements reached in discussions in Geneva. Ukrainian state authorities are right to be fearful of the outcomes of the meeting of the U.S. and Russian leaders. Earlier, the U.S. administration had given the green light to Russia to complete Nord Stream 2 without notifying Ukraine. The U.S. leader Joe Biden also ignored an appeal from Volodymyr Zelensky for a meeting before talks with Vladimir Putin. Ukraine said it would not accept any agreements reached in discussions in Geneva.

06/15/2021

Ukraine Ready to Take Legal Action against Gazprom over Gas Transit

Ukraine is prepared to take legal action against Gazprom to unblock the flow of gas through its territory. "If Gazprom does not execute the deal, we are ready to take it to international arbitration," Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal was quoted as saying. Ukraine's Naftogaz estimated its potential claim at some $7.2 billion. Furthermore, the Ukrainian gas company could come back to its $12.2 billion worth of claims against Gazprom it had earlier withdrawn. Ukraine is prepared to take legal action against Gazprom to unblock the flow of gas through its territory. "If Gazprom does not execute the deal, we are ready to take it to international arbitration," Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal was quoted as saying. Ukraine's Naftogaz estimated its potential claim at some $7.2 billion. Furthermore, the Ukrainian gas company could come back to its $12.2 billion worth of claims against Gazprom it had earlier withdrawn.

06/15/2021

Coronavirus in Russia: Moscow Authorities Take Desperate Decision

On June 12, Russia confirmed 14,723 new coronavirus cases–– the most infections the country has seen since mid-February. The situation leveled off in the following days but as of June 14, Russia has reported 5,222,408 cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic while its total excess fatality count now stands at 126,801. On June 12, Russia confirmed 14,723 new coronavirus cases – the most infections the country has seen since mid-February. The situation leveled off in the following days but as of June 14, Russia has reported 5,222,408 cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic while its total excess fatality count now stands at 126,801.

06/11/2021

Russia's Problem in Sudan: No Chance for Port Putin?

Russia will need to wait for Sudan's final decision on a naval base on the Red Sea. Close ties to the country's former dictator Omar Basher and then with Sudanese army generals are not enough to put Moscow’s plans into practice. Also, the United States has joined the game; as Khartoum said it would renegotiate the deal, this means it seeks to get as much as possible from both Moscow and Washington. Yet the prospect of a Russian military base on the Red Sea is becoming more and more distant. Russia will need to wait for Sudan's final decision on a naval base on the Red Sea. Close ties to the country's former dictator Omar Basher and then with Sudanese army generals are not enough to put Moscow’s plans into practice. Also, the United States has joined the game; as Khartoum said it would renegotiate the deal, this means it seeks to get as much as possible from both Moscow and Washington. Yet the prospect of a Russian military base on the Red Sea is becoming more and more distant.