The Russian government published a regulation allowing Belarus to ship Belarusian oil products destined to third countries through Russian seaports, according to latest publication by the government of Mikhail Mishustin. Belarusian oil export through Russian seaports is on the list of the conditions Moscow imposed on Lukashenko when agreeing to help him during the political crisis in August last year.
The United States and Russia have agreed to extend the New START, an arms control treaty, by five years, marking number one news after Joe Biden’s first phone call as president with Vladimir Putin. This yet does not mean any breakthrough in U.S.-Russia ties as at the same time, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny and Russian aggression on Ukraine.
In 2020, Russia’s liquefied natural gas output grew by 3.5 percent year on year. Throughout last year, the country produced 30.5 million tons of LNG, according to data from Rosstat, the Russian federal statistics agency.
Igor Sechin announced his grandiose plan to develop the Russian Far North to Vladimir Putin and all signs are now that he is under major pressure to forge ahead with the project. The Rosneft-developed Vostok Oil project should already produce 30 million tons of oil in just three years. But the construction work does not move forward as planned.
Russia signed another deal to deliver its military hardware to Myanmar. While visiting the country, a delegation of Russian defense officials, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, inked the deal to supply the Russian Pantsir-S1 air-defense system to the Asian state. This is yet another manifestation of the ever-closer military-technical cooperation between the two nations.
Russia’s finance ministry published official data on the federal budget in 2020. What strikes most is the never-before-seen drop in the country’s resource rent that brings most to the Russian federal budget. Russia’s revenues from the hydrocarbons sales dropped year-on-year by 34 percent, to 5.235 trillion roubles ($67 billion).
Back on January 15, it seemed that Russia could complete its Nord Stream natural gas pipeline. A German federal agency gave its go-ahead for wrapping up the project, while the country’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said Berlin could make a deal with the new U.S. administration. Nonetheless, the outgoing administration had passed a new set of sanctions targeting the project already at risk amid the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.
The arrest of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has taken its toll on a new chapter in U.S.-Russia ties opened after Joe Biden was sworn in as U.S. president. Another contentious issue is the Nord Stream 2 energy link though it also touches upon U.S.-German relations, and it is not yet known whether the Biden administration will keep a tough stance on the pipeline.
Russia is seeing an unprecedented wave of street rallies after the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, the only surprising feature of Saturday’s (January 23) events. Neither a harsh reaction from the country’s authorities nor the Kremlin’s narrative on the protests, lambasting Washington for staging the demonstrations, came as a surprise.
Russia’s interior ministry said the country might see attempts to destabilize the domestic situation as was the case in neighboring Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. This is linked to the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny who urged his supporters to hit the streets.
Kremlin officials dismiss the viral video released by Navalny’s non-profit foundation alleging an opulent palace owned by the Russian president. Yet with an extremely nervous reaction from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, one might guess that Russia’s number one political prisoner struck a chord with Russian officials
With the price war that broke out in the spring of 2020 and the coronavirus-induced global economic slowdown, the Russian energy sector could not label the past year as successful. Revenues from oil exports dropped by 40.9 percent year-on-year between January and November 2020, according to data from Russia’s Federal Customs Service (FTS).
Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny flew back to Russia from Germany, as earlier announced. He has been detained upon landing in Moscow. Now Navalny is likely to serve a long term in prison. But the whole story is not over yet, being rather the beginning of Navalny’s way to the top.
Business activities are now in place to complete the Russia-to-Germany gas link while being a political cover for the stance adopted by Germany and Russia. An example might be an interview with Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who defended Putin’s regime while accusing Poland – one of the top dangerous Nord Stream 2 opponents – of nurturing authoritarian attitudes.
A civil war erupted in the Central African Republic, whose Russia-friendly president has recently won re-election after his top challenger was barred from running for office. In response, he formed a broad coalition of rebel groupings. Despite support from UN forces and a few hundred Russian troops, the government in Bangui is helpless against the enemy.
Russia said that it was pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, an international accord allowing surveillance flights over military facilities, after the U.S. exit from the pact in November 2020. The timing might not be incidental while being an attempt to exert pressure on the incoming Biden administration.
The shameful failure of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the infamous Navalny case did not disgrace the country’s domestic security agency. Quite the contrary; the Kremlin is well aware of the more vulnerable FSB prompting a weaker Putin’s regime, with the service being a top pillar of his tenure.
A group of major oil producers, known as OPEC+, have agreed to keep production steady in February and March. Some nations will reduce output while Russia and Kazakhstan will see a slight increase in their respective crude production. However, the energy market will note fewer oil supplies amid Saudi Arabia’s decision to voluntarily cut its production. Moscow thus has failed to convince other members of the cartel to boost output.
Recent days have brought a series of attacks against Russian military personnel in Syria. What should cause Russia’s alarm is that the first incident happened in the country’s northeast, far from its major hotbed in Idlib province.
On December 21, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order whereby the Northern Fleet became the country’s fifth military-administrative entity from January 1, 2021. It encompasses the former area of the Western Military District.