It is expected that Western restrictions, imposed on Russia by the United States and the European Union after the annexation of Crimea, will become troublesome for the state’s economy only in a few years.
Mariia Butina, a Russian national indicted by a federal grand jury, has been spying for Russia for years. The 29-year-old has specialized in an alleged fight for the broadest possible right to bear a gun in her native country.
The Russians will start to extract oil in the Kurdish part of Iraq at any moment, as confirmed by reports from both sides of a deal concluded in October 2017. At that time, Russia’s oil company Rosneft purchased 80 percent of shares in five oil fields.
A long-time battle over the shape of taxation changes in Russia’s oil industry will probably end up with the success of oil companies. The government will use its best efforts to make sure that they feel as less affected by the consequences of the so-called tax manoeuvre as possible.
Greenpeace has recently drawn attention to damages made to Russia’s natural environment due to the disastrous state of the country’s pipelines. Rosneft has accused Greenpeace of performing actions ordered by other entities. The NGO has long been under Russia’s scrutiny.
Russia’s new ambassador to Moscow used to serve in both the KGB and the FSB. Previously, he had been nominated to hold a diplomatic position in particularly sensitive regions. Such designation suggests that the Kremlin may tighten its policies towards Belarus.
The Russian-Iranian alliance has not been exposed to such a difficult test for a long time. In July, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a meeting at the Helsinki summit; both leaders met face-to-face in order to discuss the issue of Syria as well as the role of Iran.
It was only recently that a series of corruption scandals have been revealed in the supervisory institution of Russia’s refinery industry. An investigation led to the deputy head of Rostekhnadzor; interestingly, she is a friend of Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. It is another example of his huge influence in the Russian oil and gas sector; in addition, it constitutes a blatant manifestation of a high-level corruption in this industry.
The Investigative Committee and the FSB are currently dealing with the corruption case in Gazprom and its subsidiary, Sogaz insurance company. The enterprise constitutes one of the oil giants in Russia; in addition, it has been privatized and is now controlled by businessmen belonging to Putin’s inner circle. For years, the company has been provided with lucrative contracts from state-owned companies (primarily Gazprom).
While Russian spies are being exposed, expelled and detained in some Western countries (as evidenced by the case of 12 GRU officers and the arrest of Mariia Butina in the USA as well as scandals in Greece and Macedonia), the FSB counter-intelligence officers are now hunting Western spies in Russia.
The recent summit in Helsinki reminded that the city had already witnessed some important meetings between representatives of the West and the East. Nonetheless, they all took place during the Cold War era. At that time, Finland held a specific status of a state actually belonging to the Soviet zone of influence; nonetheless, the country kept its nominal independence and political system (which led to the creation of the term “Finlandization”).
There were no concrete decisions that the Kremlin could consider in terms of an American concession made to Russia. Thus, it was not so much about Putin’s victory but rather it was Trump who had lost, as the latter preferred to focus on Russiagate and his own troubles in Washington.
A federal grand jury in the United States charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with carrying out hacking activities during the 2016 presidential campaign. The media have also reported that either former or current GRU officers had been responsible for the attempted assassination of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
Russia’s attempt to undermine a deal between Macedonia and Greece may eventually end up with a great political catastrophe. Aggressive activities conducted by the state’s services have already resulted with a crisis in its relations with Greece.
Not only are the Russians providing their nuclear army with new types of weapon but they also change the methodology of the military drills. After 20 years, they finally managed to achieve a sufficient quality of the Bulava ballistic missile while works on the Yars missile are still in progress.
Russian war veterans have recently sent an appeal for the legalization of private military companies in the country. The statement ended “conspiracy of silence” on the issue. In addition, it coincided with some information about a new Russian private military company operating in Syria.
The Kremlin took advantage of a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to consider this fact as a great success of its propaganda. Moscow’s hopes were even more fuelled by Trump’s vague statements about NATO and Crimea. Moreover, Trump was not eager to answer the question whether Russia could be perceived in terms of America’s friend or rather enemy.
While organizing a large-scale sports event, each country is expected to take care of its security. So it does not come as a surprise that Russia had decided to alert its services as well as the army. But what do these two, preventing terrorist attacks and massive force concentration in the Sea of Azov, have in common?
The decision to raise the retirement age has recently caused huge resentment among many Russian citizens. Their outrage may turn out to be even greater as well as it might eventually result in social protests if the authorities do not change the rules of the so-called uniformed service personnel pensions.
On July 1, Austria took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This is great news for all participants of the Nord Stream 2 project especially due to the fact that an Austrian company is involved in its implementation. Vienna will probably seek to sabotage and to delay the EU initiatives that could harm the construction of the gas pipeline along the Baltic Sea bed.