Russia Monitor Articles
Many signs are that Nord Stream 2 enthusiasts will grow more numerous in Berlin. More and more days have passed since the discovery that Navalny had been poisoned and a heated debated whether to quit the joint Russian energy project or not. No decisions have been made, though.
Moscow is in a tough situation as violence flares up between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Being the latter’s strategic ally, Russia should come to its rescue in what yet could freeze Moscow’s ties with Azerbaijan that have somewhat warmed in recent years. In addition come Turkey’s stance and commitment it has not shown for the past thirty years.
The active stage of the Russian command-and-staff military drills Kavkaz-2020 wrapped up on September 26 after Russia had hosted what it called its biggest drills this year, with 80,000 servicemen taking part, notably from the Southern Military District.
There will be no new delays in building the key section of Russia’s TurkStream gas pipeline, Bulgarian officials have informed. Whilst inspecting the construction site of Bulgaria’s string of the gas link, the country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced that the pipeline would start energy flows by the end of the year in what would pave Moscow’s way for Serbian and Hungarian energy markets.
Russia has fewer and fewer crude oil reserves being worth less and less. In terms of value Russian crude oil stocks dropped by 17.1 percent in 2019, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.
Belarus plunged into political and economic turmoil. Thus the Kremlin offered a lifeline to Alexander Lukashenko, with an emergency $1.5 billion loan to help the country avoid a crash in living standards. But this lifeline is not an answer to Minsk’s headache since the new loan will largely go towards refinancing debt already owed to Russia.
All signs are that security-related issues, including those pertaining to the country’s military, are poised to witness ever-tightening cooperation between Russia and Belarus, prompting a decay in the latter’s sovereignty.
There was no shortage of opinions that on his first trip to Russia after the presidential vote, Alexander Lukashenko would need to pay a hefty bill for Moscow’s lifeline after Belarus had plunged in a weeks-long crisis. This, however, did not happen.
A joint exercise, codenamed Slavic Brotherhood, takes place annually in Russia, Serbia, and Belarus, consecutively. In 2019, Serbia was the host whilst this year’s edition moved to the Brest region in Belarus. Yet Serbia has dropped out of it for the first time in history.
Back on September 6, the Russian side breached the longest-ever ceasefire regime in the Russian-occupied region of Donbas. Perhaps Moscow is adding fuel to the fire in Ukraine amidst recent turmoil in Belarus and Kyiv’s pledge to freeze ties with Lukashenko’s regime.
The poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny caused turmoil amongst German senior officials, with all of them waiting for an explanation from Moscow, but just a few being keen to punish Russia. Thus the issue of the Nord Stream 2 energy link came back on the agenda.
The Belarusian dictator remains in power only thanks to the support of the Kremlin. Of course, Russia will dictate a high price for this. The details, or at least some of them, will probably revealed during Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow in September.
Russia is waging an information warfare on Alexei Navalny. As the attempt to murder the oppositionist on the plane failed, it turned out that he was poisoned with Novichok agent. As it was foreseeable, the Russian side will now buy time and try to deceive the Germans.
During yet another record-breaking anti-government rally in Belarus, the Kremlin reiterated its full support for Alexander Lukashenko. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a phone call to Minsk –– as the Belarusian president turned 66.