Russia Monitor Articles
Russia’s federal authorities have devised a new yet typical for its governing tradition method to safeguard the regions plunged in the economic crisis by appointing national supervisors. This task was delegated to government ministers. It is, however, questionable whether Moscow’s solution could anyhow help poor regions, but the Kremlin has at least found those who might potentially be to blame for.
What happened in Moldova might have been triggered by a possible EU-US agreement with Moscow. But removing Plahotniuc and his peers from power could in the long run bring benefits to Moscow. And the Kremlin’s long-term goal consists in drawing Moldova into its sphere of influence.
As expected, what was concluded at the U.S.-Poland meeting has received an immediate reaction from Moscow, whose political elites lambasted Poland for mounting tensions in the region while accusing Warsaw of implementing Washington’s aggressive policy. The Kremlin’s rhetoric is nothing new, given Russia’s stance towards cementing strategic cooperation between Poland and the United States.
Lukoil, known as one of Russia’s largest oil firms, has invested in yet another African country, acquiring interests in the Marine XII licence offshore in the Republic of Congo for $800 million. This is how much Lukoil paid for buying a 25-percent stake in the hydrocarbon project operated by Italian oil and gas company Eni. Lukoil’s move has marked the beginning of its expansion in the Republic of Congo.
The motive of Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia and a leading role played by a Chinese delegation at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum were the Russian-Chinese shared struggles against what was called Donald Trump’s aggressive economic policy. Beijing has made demonstrative efforts to cement its relations with Moscow to gain an argument in its trade war with the United States.
Russian and Chinese leaders’ verbal declarations on their shared approach to vital international issues have recently been put into action, as exemplified by a stance adopted jointly by Beijing and Moscow toward the Sudan crackdown. This is where Russia and China earlier had backed the regime of Omar al-Bashir.
The situation on the global oil market was in the agenda of this year’s economic forum in St Petersburg. The head of the largest Russian state-run oil company considered U.S.-led policy as the main nuisance to the global energy market while the CEO of the country’s most prominent private-held firm said what could become an optimal crude oil for Russia.
Polluted oil flows in the Druzhba pipeline have undermined export ambitions of many Russian firms, with state-run oil giant Rosneft having been especially hit by the export constraints. The company’s CEO Igor Sechin publicly admitted that halting oil flows through Poland was detrimental to Rosneft’s interest and expressed hopes for resuming exports via the pipeline.
A failed attempt to topple the Maduro regime in late April and early May brought Venezuela to a standstill. The Venezuelan opposition is too weak to take power in the country with no support from its allies, with the United States at the forefront. Russia has consequently backed the Chavist regime yet time does not seem to play on Maduro’s favor.
The hydrocarbon sector in the Russian Far North has seen the rapid development as evidenced by discovering oil-rich fields by the Yenisei River or Novatek’s plans to build the third LNG project in the Yamal region. Private and state-run oil companies are making their best efforts to surpass one another while outlining their ideas on expanding oil infrastructure and production.
If Republicans and Democrats from the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress, which stand on different sides of the political barricade, can unite their forces, they may speak with one voice when criticizing Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline project. In May, bipartisan efforts were made to intensify work on sanctions targeted at entities involved in building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany.
On May 30, Russian foreign and defense ministers paid a visit to Japan to hold talks with their Japanese counterparts Takeshi Iwaya and Taro Kono. The meeting ended in failure as no progress has been made in the years-long territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands. So Russia and Japan chose to focus on military issues, with the latter protesting against Moscow’s military buildup plans in the disputed area.
Russia’s largest gas pipeline venture has so far been developing without significant problems that had slowed down the implementation of a gas project on the northern flank. Unlike the case of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Gazprom has not encountered any major obstacles while constructing TurkStream.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced a raid launched by Kosovo police in the Serb-dominated north of the country as “provocation.” Among detained in the incident was a Russian citizen, released after Moscow’s intervention. The incident sparked off Serbia’s violent reaction, prompting the country to put its army on full combat readiness.