The management of Russia’s top oil company has approved the firm’s development strategy until 2030. Tatneft seeks to increase its overall oil production by one third; moreover, if possible, the concern aims to double its capitalization, provided that oil prices remain at their hitherto high level.
Bearing in mind Putin’s long-lasting attachment to correct diplomatic relations with Israel, especially in the context of the war in Syria, one should be surprised by Moscow’s furious attack targeted at the Jewish State as Russia had blamed the Israeli air force for downing a Russian reconnaissance aircraft.
In an article published only a few days ago, we referred to the inept attempt of vote-rigging that could be perceived in terms of a genuine catastrophe for Putin’s regime. The Kremlin-backed incumbent governor has undeniably failed even despite of the fact that right before the voting, he had been met with President Putin, which constituted an unarguable proof for his strong support.
Following the Kremlin’s recent loss in the second round of regional voting, the state regime needs to face yet another bad news. According to the latest polls, Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has seemingly deteriorated whereas the political activity of Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has been rather positively assessed by the Russians.
The second round of a regional election appeared to be disastrous for the image of Putin’s regime; in two cases, United Russia’s governors were beaten by their political opponents. In one of Russia’s regions, the hitherto governor was forced to withdraw while the ballot is supposed to be held once again some time later.
Oil prices have recently gone up, which raised some concerns in the United States; however, President Trump’s appeal to most petroleum producers has not brought any effect yet. During a joint summit of OPEC and a few other important oil producers, including Russia, it was decided not to change current level of extraction.
It was only a few years ago that a list of Moscow’s friends contained even Montenegro and Macedonia; nonetheless, due to aggressive Russian policy, including the attempted putsch in Montenegro and a special operation in Macedonia, these countries had no longer intention to maintain their cooperation with Russia, which ultimately pushed them towards NATO and the European Union.
U.S. Energy Secretary’s trip to Europe as well as final outcomes of his visit to Moscow have recently confirmed America’s hard stance on Russia’s energy expansion. Rick Perry has reiterated that the U.S. state authorities would impose sanctions on the Russian project for building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is unlike to improve energy relations between the two countries.
Recent leaks about the activity of Russian mercenaries in the Middle East and Africa appeared to be more and more frequent and harmful to Moscow, which finally prompted Putin’s regime to make an attempt to put a gag on mouths of all those who had already mentioned the topic in their publications.
Sanctions that are hitting the Russian economy are more damaging to the national currency than the present activities of the largest companies, especially those that produce oil. If one combines this with Russia’s beneficial agreement with OPEC, it turns out that the largest oil companies in Russia may get a lot of financial satisfaction.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering the transfer of 100 percent of Chechenneftekhimprom to Chechnya. The handover marks the end to a long-term battle between two powerful political players – Ramzan Kadyrov and Igor Sechin – who had been fighting for the control over the Chechen oil sector.
The USA has won with Russia again. This time it is not about politics, but rather the sphere of the economy. To be more precise, the oil industry. According to the latest data from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), the United States has surpassed Russia as the world’s leader in oil production. First, the USA surpassed Saudi Arabia and now also Russia.
The Russian energy company has suffered two defeats in two courts in just one day. First, the EU General Court ruled that the sanctions on Gazprom, Rosneft and several Russian banks were rightfully imposed in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Second, the Swedish Court of Appeal rejected the temporary suspension of the implementation of the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal ruling, according to which Gazprom should pay Ukraine’s Naftogaz over 2.5 billion dollars for breaking a transit contract.
After the official takeover of the government by Denis Pushilin in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, steps have been taken to eliminate “Zakharchenko’s group”. Some of his people have already managed to go to Russia, others have to accept the new order. The elimination of independence of several armed formations in Donetsk is also connected with a change of the Kremlin’s policy towards the occupied Donbass.
United Russia and the governor candidates appointed by the Kremlin continue to dominate and win. However, the regional elections held on September 9 show that there is a slight decline in the popularity of the ruling party. It is quite obvious that the main reason behind this change is massive social disapproval resulting from the extension of the retirement age, which was symbolised by numerous street protests and arrests on the day of the elections all over Russia.
On September 12, the Russian president announced that he would like to make a peace treaty with Japan by the end of this year without any preconditions. The surprising proposal was made during the plenary session at the economic forum in Vladivostok – it was addressed directly to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The US military has reported another case of the interception of Russian strategic bombers near Alaska. This time, there are many indications suggesting that the flight of two Tu-95 bombers through the US Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) was a part of the Vostok-2018 military exercises.
The Prime Minister of Russia-backed breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, Gennady Gagulia, died in a car accident in the region. Abkhazia is among the republics whose independence has been officially recognized by Russia while Syria was the last country to acknowledge the region’s separatist aspirations.
Moscow has recently threatened Minsk with limiting Russian oil supplies while the Belarusian authorities are able to buy raw material on preferential terms, process it in their own refineries as well as to export – as revenues of this market constitute one of the most important sources of funding to the state budget.
The Estonian authorities have recently announced that they had arrested two people suspected of spying for Russia. The detainees – father and son, Russians with Estonian passports – worked for the GRU, Russia’s main military intelligence agency. Such is yet another case of revealing Russian spying activity by the Estonian counterintelligence services.