Russia Monitor Articles
Since October, a lot of military drills have been carried out at Russia’s training grounds: the Russians have conducted largest nuclear drills; some time earlier, they have performed joint Russian-Belarusian special forces manoeuvres while Russia’s Southern Military District had held its most important military exercises in 30 years.
The main asset of the Summa Group will get neither into the hands of the state nor Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin. The Magomedov brothers, temporarily taken into custody, sold their shares of the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NMTP) to the state-owned company Transneft, Russia’s monopoly oil pipeline operator.
It was only during one day (October 11) that three heads of Russian regions (Kursk Region, Zabaykalsky Krai and Republic of Bashkortostan) handed in their resignations. In two cases, the Kremlin decided to replace the incumbent with younger politicians who were supposed to achieve much better election result.
The shore artillery of the Baltic Fleet will aim to significantly increase its range of fire while the naval aviation has been already reinforced following the introduction of upgraded helicopters designed to fight submarines. Those steps may eventually translate into an increase in the military threat to neighbouring NATO member states, including Poland and Lithuania, as well as to allied ships in the Baltic Sea.
According to the autumn tradition, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin dismisses some governors while appointing new ones. Nonetheless, this year’s reshuffles appear particularly important due to the fact that recent regional elections have clearly depicted problems of many of the Kremlin-backed nominees.
The management of Russia’s top oil company has approved the firm’s development strategy until 2030. Tatneft seeks to increase its overall oil production by one third; moreover, if possible, the concern aims to double its capitalization, provided that oil prices remain at their hitherto high level.
Bearing in mind Putin’s long-lasting attachment to correct diplomatic relations with Israel, especially in the context of the war in Syria, one should be surprised by Moscow’s furious attack targeted at the Jewish State as Russia had blamed the Israeli air force for downing a Russian reconnaissance aircraft.
In an article published only a few days ago, we referred to the inept attempt of vote-rigging that could be perceived in terms of a genuine catastrophe for Putin’s regime. The Kremlin-backed incumbent governor has undeniably failed even despite of the fact that right before the voting, he had been met with President Putin, which constituted an unarguable proof for his strong support.
Following the Kremlin’s recent loss in the second round of regional voting, the state regime needs to face yet another bad news. According to the latest polls, Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has seemingly deteriorated whereas the political activity of Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has been rather positively assessed by the Russians.
The second round of a regional election appeared to be disastrous for the image of Putin’s regime; in two cases, United Russia’s governors were beaten by their political opponents. In one of Russia’s regions, the hitherto governor was forced to withdraw while the ballot is supposed to be held once again some time later.
Oil prices have recently gone up, which raised some concerns in the United States; however, President Trump’s appeal to most petroleum producers has not brought any effect yet. During a joint summit of OPEC and a few other important oil producers, including Russia, it was decided not to change current level of extraction.
It was only a few years ago that a list of Moscow’s friends contained even Montenegro and Macedonia; nonetheless, due to aggressive Russian policy, including the attempted putsch in Montenegro and a special operation in Macedonia, these countries had no longer intention to maintain their cooperation with Russia, which ultimately pushed them towards NATO and the European Union.
U.S. Energy Secretary’s trip to Europe as well as final outcomes of his visit to Moscow have recently confirmed America’s hard stance on Russia’s energy expansion. Rick Perry has reiterated that the U.S. state authorities would impose sanctions on the Russian project for building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is unlike to improve energy relations between the two countries.
Recent leaks about the activity of Russian mercenaries in the Middle East and Africa appeared to be more and more frequent and harmful to Moscow, which finally prompted Putin’s regime to make an attempt to put a gag on mouths of all those who had already mentioned the topic in their publications.