Russia Monitor Articles
Only recently has it been announced that General Sergey Korolev would become the first deputy director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB. Now it turns out that a former senior officer charged with bribery has made a deal with investigators. Who will he rat out and will this influence the process of appointing a new director of the agency? Nobody knows.
Recent Russian air raids and the rise in Syrian artillery attacks do not mean the resuming of a land offensive in the last rebel-held province. Agreed on months ago, the balance of power in Syria should not see any shifts. Russia still has to observe its deal with Turkey even though it feels mounting pressure from al-Assad to thwart the rebellion by capturing Idlib province.
Tensions are rising in Donbas where three Ukrainian troops were killed in three days. Russian-controlled rebel fighters have rolled out heavy weapons while the Kremlin is taking provoking decisions in occupied Crimea. Many say that new strains between Russia and Ukraine are what Vladimir Putin is looking for, notably over domestic reasons.
Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny never got along with the country’s opposition parties. Their distrust and spats over what strategy to adopt are beneficial for the authorities. The State Duma elections in September will, however, be a challenge for the Kremlin as support for United Russia is dropping.
This is another spying scandal between Bulgaria and Russia. The country’s counterintelligence service and the prosecutor’s office detained six Bulgarians who had access to classified information. One of them is a former high-ranking military intelligence officer accused of being in charge of the spy network. Bulgaria said it was the first time in its recent history that such a ring had been uncovered.
Tensions go high on the frontline in Donbas while the death toll is rising. Both sides accuse each other of provocations and staging a mass-scale offensive. Concluded back in the summer of 2020 and although formally in force, the truce is actually dead now.
The Wagner Group, a private military company, has for years served the Kremlin’s interests across the globe – from Ukraine’s Donbas, through Syria, to African states. Its people usually sustain local regimes and shield the business interests of the company’s top sponsor, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The number of Russian servicemen who died in Syria during the military operation in this country since September 30, 2015, was 112, said Andrei Krasov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee. The death toll is surprisingly high as officially only the Russian air forces are involved in the war.
The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, known by its Russian acronym SVR, delivered an official message about the internal affairs of a third country. “In Washington, dissatisfaction is growing with the actions of the ruling Georgian Dream party, which is declining to submissively carry out American demands,” according to the statement published on the SVR website.
This is another sign of tightened cooperation between Belarus and Russia, or the higher level of Minsk’s reliance on Moscow. Alexander Lukashenko began shipping his country’s top export commodity, or oil products, through Russian ports after having withdrawn from the more profitable ports in the Baltic States, notably in Lithuania.
Another clash between Saudi Arabia and Russia at the latest meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC countries again ended up with a compromise. Riyadh managed to defend its stance that there should be no risk to boost oil output despite the increase in global oil demand – as this may trigger a decline in crude price.
After a months-long hiatus, General Alexander Bortnikov, the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), finally has the main deputy. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree appointing Colonel-General Sergey Korolev for the post of the first deputy director of the FSB.
Austria’s former foreign minister Karin Kneissl – as another European official – has been chosen for a seat on oil giant Rosneft’s board of directors. In August 2018, the Austrian politician made headlines when she invited Putin to her wedding.
Saudi Arabia says an increase in oil output should be addressed cautiously despite a recovery in global oil prices. Officials in Riyadh will keep in force the oil cuts. Moscow, on the other hand, is indicating that it still wants to proceed with a supply increase.