Russia Monitor Articles
Unsurprisingly, the Northern Fleet has been given the same status as Russia’s four other military districts. This comes in response to the flexing of military muscles in Russia’s Far North once the Kremlin has put the Arctic at the very top of its agenda.
The fall in Vladimir Putin’s popularity ratings is bucking the trend. The pandemic and much-criticized state policies, including the president’s self-isolation from Russian society, have created a less comfortable environment for the Kremlin while only speeding up some alarming shifts.
Following a series of setbacks for Russian-backed military commander Khalifa Haftar, there comes a severe threat of the collapse of the Libyan National Army (LNA). Thus, the Kremlin is seeking to bolster efforts towards compliance with Russian-Turkish bilateral agreements on a ceasefire in Libya.
The Board of Directors of Rosneft re-elected former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as its chairman. An ex-SPD chairman, he remains somewhat a guide for Germany’s left-wing parties and a servile client of the Kremlin in many areas beyond energy.
An oil leak released diesel into the Arctic Ocean as officials were slow to respond, both due to human error. A whole array of mistakes was made by both local senior officials and the owner of the thermoelectric power plant that let diesel oil escape in the water bodies. Many say the oil spill was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a referendum on constitutional changes that would allow him to stay in office past his current term will be held on July 1, or basically throughout the whole last week of June. With a blend of the Victory Day parade and plausible vote-rigging tools, the Kremlin seeks to hit both an adequate turnout vote and a much-desired result.
If the Russian army is bracing for war, the one will be with the West, as hinted by the recent board meeting of the country’s defense ministry.
Belarus seeks to buy Russian gas for less, starting this year. Russian state energy group Gazprom is yet wary of resuming talks on an agreement it concluded with Belarus back in February, saying it will sit at a negotiating table only after the issue of Belarus’ gas debt is settled.
Russian aircraft have made a number of provocative moves both in the Baltic Sea, as well as along the bloc’s southern wing, in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. There are more and more reports of Russian jets seizing NATO planes.
The Kremlin has decided to put an end to the years-long rivalry between its foreign and defense ministries in Syria. President Vladimir Putin reportedly tasked both with securing additional land and naval rights in Syria.
Russia imposed a “non-working” period across the country at the end of April in a move that lowered the country’s industrial output and – along with an energy crisis and a shaky Russian economy – thus heaping pressure on the country’s financial strength.
With the gloomy prospects for the European gas market, Gazprom is making efforts to send more energy eastwards. Beijing is keen to buy more gas from Russia, yet it is wary of subsidizing Gazprom’s fresh energy projects.
The CEO of Rosneft, Russia’s crude oil major, made a proposal to cut transportation tariffs via the pipeline network that is managed by the Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft. The latter firm said these hit to a record-low level, with money flowing out from the federal budget, into pockets of private shareholders.
Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has built up Russia’s military capabilities in the Black Sea. Not only did the Kremlin push Ukraine out from the basin, but it also made its way for testing its missiles there.