Russia Monitor Articles
The longer it takes to announce the winner of the U.S. presidential runoff, the better it looks from Moscow’s point of view – as Russia is setting its eyes on neither of the candidates in the 2020 vote.
Issues like political spats, low crude prices and the second wave of the coronavirus strike a blow to the Russian economy. However, authorities have resisted a second lockdown despite a surge in new cases. Yet the Russian national currency is seeing constant drops in value.
Pro-Western opposition leader Maia Sandu secured a surprise lead against Moldova’s current president Igor Dodon. The Kremlin-endorsed incumbent leader eventually came second. A second round is set to take place in two weeks. The country’s former prime minister is likely to win the ballot, but Russia will do everything to keep Dodon in office.
Russian oil giant Rosneft and Neftegazholding are planning to produce up to 50 million of liquefied natural gas on the Taymyr peninsula. Rosneft is a state-run company while its partner – a privately owned firm belonging to a former Rosneft president Eduard Khudainatov. This is not their first joint project.
The Russian ambassador to Serbia announced that the Serbian stretch of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline running from the Bulgarian border to the country’s border with Hungary would be ready soon. But before this happens, there is still the Bulgarian leg to be complete. Yet Moscow’s ties with Belgrade are now very cordial.
With Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, Libya took a major step toward reviving its oil industry by reopening its biggest field, presenting a new headache for OPEC+. The alliance of major producers and its allies hopes to be able to boost production next year yet without price drops.
Armenia and Russia have blamed Azerbaijan for using Muslim mercenaries in the current phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from its beginning. Turkey is believed to deliver hired guns from Syria. In their phone talk, the presidents of Russia and Turkey broached that topic, too. Many signs are that their conversation failed to bring any breakthrough to the whole case.
Russian aircraft have carried out a strike – the bloodiest surge in violence – in the stronghold of Syria’s rebel forces, also targeting rebel proxies siding with Turkey. What Russia has done might prompt the escalation in Syria’s Idlib. Perhaps Russia seeks to get upsides with Turkey over the latter’s involvement in the Azerbaijan-Armenia fighting.
U.S. sanctions targeting the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream natural gas pipeline may have severe repercussions for Bulgaria that is now building the Balkan leg of the latter energy link. The authorities in Sofia say that the Balkan Stream gas link is a separate project to TurkStream. The United States, however, believes something different.
The situation on the global oil market has taken its toll on crude projects, also in Russia. As there are huge crude stocks whilst oil price is stable at roughly $40 per barrel, oil output is little profitable and so is looking for new fields.
Alexander Lukashenko has no intention of handing full power to Russia. Regardless of what he agreed on with Vladimir Putin during the September visit to Sochi, it is still challenging to imagine Russia taking control of Belarus, a scenario many projected until quite recently.
Concluded by the Barack Obama administration, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is the last remaining U.S.-Russian arms control treaty. It will expire in February 2021.
There are more and more strains appearing in U.S.-Russia ties. First, the U.S. Justice Department announced an indictment against six Russian GRU officers charged with engaging in a series of hacking and malware deployment operations to attack the United States and the whole civilized world.
The U.S. administration is making consistent efforts to annihilate the Russia-to-Germany gas link across the Baltic Sea. As eliminating other-than-Russian-flagged vessels from the game proved little effective––since Russia deployed its own fleet––the United States stepped up sanctions against companies having anything to do with those vessels.