Russia Monitor Articles
Russia’s navy practiced firing at sea-based targets using its Bastion coastal missile defense system. The drills coincide with the exercises in Ukraine involving the use of vessels in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. With time, place, and the type of weapons used, it is possible to state that the Russian war games are a response to the Joint Efforts 2021 exercises as Moscow is flexing its military muscles.
The State Duma vote on September 17–19 was a testing ground for the regime that tested new methods of voter fraud in addition to well-proven practices. What seems most important in this respect is allowing for voting online in some Russian regions. Possibly this method will be extended to most places, or even the whole country, making it easier for the regime to falsify the vote.
The three-day State Duma vote was nothing but a meaningless ritual as its results are consistent with the Kremlin’s earlier objectives. Russia’s United Party won a strong majority in a parliamentary vote while making up for a slight loss of seats in the lower house of the parliament by a new systemic opposition faction in the State Duma seated by parties loyal to the Kremlin.
Russia and China are taking part in yet another military drill. The Peace Mission-2021 joint anti-terrorism military exercise is centered on the threat from the Taliban. As a couple of Central Asian countries are involved in the drills, they seem to be more afraid of an Islamic Afghanistan more than they are reluctant to see China’s growing reach with tacit consent from Moscow.
Ukrainian state officials informed that possibly hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian residents in the occupied part of Donbas are being forced to cast their ballots in Russia’s parliamentary elections. But pro-Russian rebel fighters violate the ceasefire each fire, shelling Ukraine positions with weapons banned under the Minsk agreements. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not rule out that Russia would start a regular war with his country.
The Zapad-2021 drills and the EU-Belarus border crisis are both the reminder that it is the northern section of NATO’s eastern flank that is most vulnerable to any threat from Russia. Due to their location and military weakness, the three Baltic countries may feel particularly fearful of Russian pressure. It is only with the continued military support from the North Atlantic Alliance that these states could hope to deter Moscow. One example is the Air Policing Mission that aims to preserve the security of the airspace of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
The presidents of Russia and Belarus met in Moscow yet did not sign chapters to a union state between the two countries. Nonetheless, the two leaders spoke of most thorny issues, notably energy, and adopted a somewhat common stance. Integration between Russia and Belarus––or rather pushing the latter country into Moscow’s clutches––is gaining momentum. Possibly by the end of the year Russia and Belarus will take some critical decisions that those in favor of an independent Belarus will find challenging to reverse in the future.
An unfortunate accident was supposed to be the cause of death of the Minister of Emergency Situations, General Yevgeny Zinichev, official statements say. For many years, Zinichev was a trusted man of Vladimir Putin, who guided his career. Zinichev was a personal security officer, the Governor of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service, and the Head of one of the important state power ministries.
Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies. Date: Tribute To Russia: Will Lukashenko Give Belarus Into Russian Hands? Many signs are that the Belarusian...
Hungary has agreed with Russia on all the conditions for a new long-term gas supply deal, according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. The agreement is for 15 years and gas flows running to Hungary will bypass Ukraine.
Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft is in talks with various groups of investors on joining the company’s flagship Vostok Oil project. Earlier the energy giant had seen a major lifeline to develop its Arctic project once it sold a 10 percent stake to international trader Trafigura.
Mikhail Antonov, Head of Gazprom Neft’s Oil and Gas Refining Directorate, announced that the company will modernize its refineries by 2025. This upgrade is expected to increase the production of hydrogen, which is gaining importance in the energy policy of Russia.
Russia’s natural resources and environment ministry and energy ministry specified the exact amount of crude oil in the country. Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov said the country should continue geological research to find new deposits despite a global tendency to gradually shift away from crude oil and gas.
While many countries around the globe are experiencing the fourth Covid-19 wave, Russia is still struggling with the third one. Russia saw the highest monthly coronavirus death toll of the pandemic in July 2021, with 50,000 people dying from Covid-19.