Russia Monitor Articles
Putin Pays Bizarre Visit to Occupied Ukraine
President Vladimir Putin made a surprise trip to war-ravaged Mariupol. The visit came after Putin visited Crimea to mark the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. Two days before, the International Criminal Court had issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges. The dictator’s visit to the occupied areas of Ukraine stirred up major controversy.
Iran To Buy Russian Su-35 Fighter Jets
Not surprisingly, Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Both states have been in talks for months now to purchase fighter jets, a sign of ever-increasing military cooperation between Russia and Iran.
Russia Passes Law Fixing Urals Rate For Tax Calculations
Russia is struggling to stick to the federal budget in 2023. This year Moscow will see a modest cash inflow to the budget. Moscow will never get such a petrodollar lifeline as it got last spring. One idea to save the budget is through new tax calculations.
Belarus, Gazprom Sign Gas Supply Deal
Belarus’ Ministry of Energy signed a protocol with Gazprom on the process of establishing prices for natural gas delivery to Belarus by 2025. The tariff is set at $128.5 per 1,000 m3, as in 2022. A Gazprom-dependent gas intermediary and Gazprom also set some rules for natural gas supply to Belarus.
With Record-High Sales, Novatek Reveals Ambitious Plans
In 2022, Russia’s biggest private gas firm Novatek made a record net profit, up 50 percent from last year. That is due to soaring liquefied natural gas exports in Russia. In the past, unlike Gazprom, Novatek put a safe bet on LNG production and now benefits from that.
Putin Pulls Back From Reset-Era Nuclear Arms Control Deal
What Western countries learned from the recent address of the Russian president is that Moscow is willing to pull back from a nuclear arms control deal. Vladimir Putin indeed said that Moscow is “suspending” its participation in New START, the last remaining nuclear arms reduction deal between the U.S. and Russia since 2010. It is just a formality as Moscow no longer complies with the nuclear deal.
Novatek Plans To Launch Arctic LNG 2 This Year
Russia’s largest private gas firm aims at expanding its flagship project Arctic LNG 2, which is on schedule to begin operating by the end of 2023. War and international sanctions notwithstanding, the Russian natural gas company forges ahead with the development of its grand Arctic projects.
Russia Moves Troops From Far North To Ukraine
The Norwegian and Estonian intelligence agencies recently presented their open threat and risk assessments in 2023. Both emphasized that Russia poses the greatest threat to European security. Interestingly, Russia has relocated large ground forces from the High North to Ukraine, according to both reports.
Russia’s Hydrocarbon Exports in 2022: Moscow Bets On Bigger LNG Output
Last year saw somewhat bittersweet results in Russia’s hydrocarbon exports and related figures. Although the country sold more oil, the situation will now deteriorate. Russia saw more modest gas sales figures, but the liquefied natural gas sector stands out.
Austria, Netherlands Increase Hydrocarbons Imports From Russia
While the EU ban on Russian fuel is biting Moscow, Russia has been delivering some crude to EU countries. Among those that bought oil from Russia were Austria and the Netherlands.
Russia Boosts Presence in Mali
The Malian junta appointed several pro-Russian figures to high-ranking military positions, indicating growing Russian influence over the Malian government. In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to Bamako, the Malian capital, where he was awarded one of the highest Malian orders. All this points to the growing influence of Moscow in the African country.
Staff Reshuffles in Russia’s Security Council
It was long ago when Russia’s Security Council saw major staff changes. They may undermine the reputation of Nikolay Patrushev, its chairman. Recent appointees include people from outside the inner circle of the former FSB chief. In addition, a new person linked to Vladimir Putin took a job at the Council. Perhaps the institution saw some personnel changes ahead of the forthcoming Federal Assembly address. Or possibly Putin is seeking to chasten some hawkish officials within the Council.
Russia Cuts Oil Output As Sanctions Bite
Russia will cut crude oil production by half a million barrels per day starting in March. That means the country’s major challenge is to export crude oil. Reduced export volumes for crude means that Russia is unable to sell as much of its oil – even at a discounted price – as before the price cap and the EU embargo came into effect.