RUSSIA MONITOR MONTHLY 05/2021

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Ukraine’s Naftogaz Names New CEO

Ukraine’s Naftogaz Names New CEO

The Ukrainian government accepted the resignation of Yuriy Vitrenko as chief executive of the state energy company Naftogaz. Former government minister for communities and territorial development Oleksiy Chernyshov on November 3 took over as chief executive of Naftogaz, facing some challenges including government personnel reshuffles and the ongoing war with Russia.

No Battle Of Kherson As Russia Ordered Troop Withdrawal

No Battle Of Kherson As Russia Ordered Troop Withdrawal

Ukrainian forces swept into the key city of Kherson as Russian troops retreated to the east. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said by the evening of November 12 Ukraine’s defense forces had liberated more than 60 cities, towns, and villages in Kherson Oblast. Russia has suffered a major defeat in the south of Ukraine, withdrawing from the western Kherson region––far more painful than in Kyiv and Chernihiv back in March.

Oil Exports Rise in Venezuela

Oil Exports Rise in Venezuela

An increase in oil exports in September 2022 from Venezuela to China, Cuba, and Europe, among others, is expected to boost revenues for this Bolivarian country. This, however, does not improve Venezuela’s current social and economic situation. The 2020 sanctions imposed on this country by Western and Latin American countries have limited Venezuelan oil exports to global oil trade markets. The public receives food rations from the state, and the consumer market is still constrained due to the enforced sanctions.

Ukrainian Lawmakers Recognize Independence Of Chechen Republic Of Ichkeria

Ukrainian Lawmakers Recognize Independence Of Chechen Republic Of Ichkeria

The Ukrainian parliament has declared Chechnya temporarily Russian-occupied land––a move that has little political significance but was a demonstrative effort, though. The Russian war is a sort of testing site for Chechen independence advocates and Kadyrov acolytes. Literally––Chechen battalions fight in Ukraine, siding with both Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s Lukoil Makes Record Profit

Russia’s Lukoil Makes Record Profit

Russia’s biggest privately held oil company has made a record profit this year, doubling its last year’s figures. Lukoil will thus resume its belated dividend payouts for shareholders. Other Russian energy companies, including Gazprom, canceled dividend payouts amid the Russian war in Ukraine and its possible influence on the Russian energy sector. Only when oil and gas prices soared rapidly have they approved dividend payout.

Oil Production In Russia Will Fall, OPEC Says

Oil Production In Russia Will Fall, OPEC Says

According to the OPEC World Oil Outlook, Russia will see a drastic decline in its oil production in five years, followed by a sluggish recovery in the next eighteen years. Russian oil output will never rebound to its current levels, though. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) just released its latest annual World Oil Outlook. Oil will remain the most in-demand fuel until 2045, although its share in world consumption will begin to decline until early 2027, according to the OPEC World Oil Outlook.

Europe divided by Russia. Is this the end of EU visas for Russians?

Europe divided by Russia. Is this the end of EU visas for Russians?

The case concerns the admission of citizens of the Russian Federation to the Schengen area. Should Russians be allowed to travel to European Union countries? Some countries are in favor of Russians being able to use the privilege of tourist visas and visit EU countries, while the rest are against this topic.

Implications of Bulgaria Negotiating with Gazprom for Resuming Gas Imports

Implications of Bulgaria Negotiating with Gazprom for Resuming Gas Imports

Bulgaria’s new interim Minister of Energy Rosen Hristov announced on the 22nd of August 2022 that the country will negotiate with Gazprom to restart the import of natural gas. The announcement comes after the government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov fell at the end of June, and a new interim government has been appointed until the general election in October 2022. The announcement also follows the halting of gas deliveries to Bulgaria from the Russian Federation in April 2022 after the country refused to pay for the import in rubles. The move is seen as a reversal of the policies of the previous government, which sought to diversify gas deliveries by negotiating deals with Azerbaijan and the United States.

The European Commission’s Guidelines regarding transit through Lithuania

The European Commission’s Guidelines regarding transit through Lithuania

On July 13, the Commission published new guidelines for the transit of Russian goods through Lithuania, allowing the transit of goods like steel and iron by train to Kaliningrad. The Commission’s point of view doesn’t seem to be randomly chosen, given the existing legal provisions. On a political level, however, the disagreement over the issue may have weakened Western unity against Russia.

Not Only Disputed Kuril Islands: Ties Between Russia, Japan Soured Considerably

Not Only Disputed Kuril Islands: Ties Between Russia, Japan Soured Considerably

First, the FSB detained a Japanese consul, then Moscow suspended a visa-free regime to travel off the Kuril Islands while Japan responded with a fresh batch of sanctions. Tensions have run high between Moscow and Tokyo. Both have a very slim chance to improve ties as Japan is aware of the Chinese threat and the Russian aggressive policy being two sides of the same coin.

Russia’s Energy Sales Suffer Amid Mild Weather And Chinese Lockdown Measures

Russia’s Energy Sales Suffer Amid Mild Weather And Chinese Lockdown Measures

Vladimir Putin is playing the energy crisis to force Western states and Ukraine into peace concessions. But the weather is not that much to the liking of the Kremlin as unusually mild temperatures tame European demand for gas. For its part, Chinese oil demand has shrunk amid new Covid lockdown measures across the country. Russia struggles to sell its energy, also amid the decline in prices.

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