Russia Monitor Articles
The Russian government has for the first acknowledged what had been discussed on the worldwide stage, admitting that a continued drop in demand for oil supplies is inevitable.
Belarus keeps losing millions of dollars as a result of tax changes introduced in the Russian oil sector.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is seeking a convenient justification for having carried out a series of military drills altogether with Russia. In his rhetoric, the Belarusian leader displays them as a response to extensive NATO exercise to be held in Poland and the Baltic states.
Abandoned by their U.S. ally, the Syrian Kurds can quickly forge a new alliance. As Trump no longer holds interest in upholding a coalition with the belligerent militia that served a leading role in defeating Daesh, these could agree on cooperation with Moscow and Damascus. Facing the Turkish incursion, the Syrian Kurds may make concessions in their talks with the Al Assad regime. Earlier, the Kurds –– shelled by the Turkey-led coalition –– had agreed with the Syrian government forces. While dealing with the Turkish assault, they may opt for the lesser evil, recognizing Damascus’s sovereignty and a more limited autonomy for their people.
For the first time in history, Russia’s Arctic oil volumes have been delivered to the Asian market in a rare trade shipment on the Northern Sea Route. Lukoil’s trading arm, Litasco, sold the cargo of 100,000 tonnes of Varandey Blend oil to Chinaoil, the trading branch of state-owned CNPC. The delivery was made by the tanker Korolev Prospect in mid-September.
CEO of Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec Sergey Chemezov has been awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation medal. He has been handed out the highest state awards by President Vladimir Putin for his “outstanding contribution to the development od the defense and industrial conglomerate and raising the country’s defense capabilities.”
Under a presidential decree, Vladimir Putin made a number of personnel reshuffles amongst senior officials who held top positions in the Investigate Committee, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Emergency Situations, and the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN of Russia). Several officials and officers have been relieved from their duties, while some of their colleagues were transferred to other positions.
Starting from October 1, the Belarusian leg of the Druzhba oil pipeline will be handled by one company instead of two, as before. This step was taken to economize operator-related processes and push ahead stricter control of the oil pipeline, a top-priority answer after the Druzhba contamination incident in April. Merging two operators into one may lay the groundwork for talks to restore oil shipments to the Baltics.
According to unofficial reports that have been on since mid-September, Russian military personnel has been deployed to a few of Mozambique’s naval ports, a step that might have been taken in the wake of a batch of deals inked by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi during his August visit to Moscow. Mozambique is yet another African country where Russia has been looking to push forward its economic and military presence.
On September 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin received for talks Li Zhanshu who serves as a member of the Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China.
A new voice in favor of changing Russia’s constitution. This time, in a press interview, this idea was supported by Sergey Chemezov. The head of Rostec, a state-owned mega-corporation, and Putin’s former KGB comrade, is considered to belong to a close circle of the president’s co-workers and friends. His statement means that the subject of constitutional changes that could keep Putin in power is still being discussed at the top governmental levels. The speech of Chemezov, previously unknown for such actions, also signalizes a possible conflict escalation between various interest groups in Putin’s environment.
There is no question that Russia will neither reduce nor halt its support for Venezuela. Quite the contrary, in fact – the more sanctions are being introduced by the United States and the European Union, the stronger is Russia’s involvement in supporting Maduro’s regime.
A new factor has emerged in an ongoing dispute that sparked in front of the domestic and international audience between Rosneft’s Igor Sechin and Transneft’s Nikolay Tokarev in the wake of the Druzhba oil pipeline failure in April this year. Both companies have been at loggerheads over the quality of oil that runs through a Rosneft-owned refinery via Transneft’s pipeline system.
Within the past two months, Russia has deployed new missiles systems on the territory of the Kola Peninsula. This comes as yet another stage of the country’s military build-up in the Arctic, a step that raises concern mainly in Norway. Russia keeps expanding its military infrastructure also east of the Kola Peninsula.