Belgazprombank, a Russian-owned commercial bank based in Belarus, is now at the heart of pre-vote clampdown after its long-time CEO, Viktar Babaryka, was barred from running in the country’s presidential run-off. As investigators entered the bank, state authorities delivered a hint they seek new management board to be installed.
Russia will add new vessels and weapons to its navy this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said as he attended a naval parade marking the country’s Navy Day. Russia’s navy is amongst those to have seen least upgrades, with other arms of the Russian armed forces having been a priority over the past few years. Whilst modernizing Russia’s fleet, officials used to pay attention to its underwater vessels, but are now far more concerned on surface vessels, their firepower, and amphibious capability.
The United States has toughened its stance on the Nord Stream 2 energy link. The U.S. Congress added to its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a provision extending the list of entities that may be involved in the project. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned investors that had put their money into the Russian natural gas pipeline project prior to Washington’s first punitive measures that they could also face sanctions. As the Kremlin says it will wait until the final version of sanctions is published, Germany is making efforts to lobby the U.S. Congress. Also, Denmark has granted permission for the last portion of the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to be constructed, with its go-ahead to kick-start works in early September.
Russia sees China as a top priority destination for its gas and oil exports. This is chiefly because the Northern Sea Route hosts more cargo vessels, alongside the network of oil and gas pipelines –– either existing or planned –– running from Russia’s hydrocarbon-rich regions to China.
Over the past few years Russia has been heavily implicated in the Libyan civil war where they take sides with one camp. But it was only recently that the United States has provided evidence for this, thus seeing Libya as yet another place in the world where the U.S. and Russian interests clash. Also, it is the key strategic place for both sides.
Russia’s private energy firm Novatek made its first-ever delivery of liquefied natural gas from its Yamal LNG eastbound to Japan via the Northern Sea Route. This marked yet another event where the Northern Sea Route served a pivotal role for the Russian economy, notably its hydrocarbon exports.
Shortly after Russians cast their ballots in a much-discussed constitutional plebiscite to consolidate Putin’s life-long grip on power, the Russian regime kicked off a clampdown on dissent and curbed any signs of independence amongst the ruling elite, notably in Russian regions.
As Russia’s demand for fuel revived after the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s oil majors –– with their gas station networks –– have a clear advantage over independent market actors. The former first and foremost enjoy state from state officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with considering the possibility to hedge the country’s oil and gas revenues to protect them from the price decline, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 23. This came as a comment to a fresh report by Bloomberg.
Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell is amongst foreign firms that have neither quit nor curbed their projects in Russia after the country had been hit by punitive measures. The oil major is not fearful of the economic crisis in Russia, the sharp decline in hydrocarbons prices, or serious problems of Russian energy companies.
The situation in war-torn Syria has stalled for a couple of months. Russia had to align with Turkey and halted the Syrian government’s air and ground campaign into rebel-held Idlib province.
On July 17, a snap combat readiness check kicked off, with troops of Russia’s Southern and Western military districts. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to dispatch 150,000 personnel and 26,000 pieces of military hardware to the site.
The latest flare-up in the Armenia-Azerbaijan armed conflict does not change much in the balance of power through the South Caucasus. With their military potential and deals they had sealed with other states, neither country is poised to emerge a victor.
The Russian propaganda machine seeks to promote the image of a destabilized West. Also, the Kremlin is fomenting Western disputes by training and offering assistance to the far-right, often neo-Nazi, circles throughout Europe. In it, the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a white supremacist group, plays its role.
A Chechen asylum seeker was shot dead outside the Austrian capital whilst Georgian secret services have foiled a plot to kill a journalist. These seemingly look like two different stories yet have much more in common: they involve hitmen that kill either for the Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov or the Kremlin.
Moscow may decide on a military option to gain control of water for the peninsula, Ukrainian military officers say. Of course, that is nothing but a Russian excuse.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has placed French-Russian rapprochement in limbo for roughly six months following its official kickoff in August 2019 during a meeting at the Fort de Bregancon, a summer residence of the president of France. But now the whole process is gaining momentum.
Russia’s constitutional amendments came into force on July 4. Putin signed the decree two days after the Central Election Commission announced the final results of a national vote. Its outcome might have gone in line with what Kremlin senior officials could expect.
Russian security forces have arrested Ivan Safronov, a former journalist who works as an aide to the head of Russia’s space agency, in a move that marks yet another case of detention on treason charges.
The coronavirus crisis and the ongoing oil price war have both taken its toll on Russia’s hydrocarbon trade. Russia’s state energy major Gazprom saw the worst outcomes as it has lost a portion of the European sales market, with ever-dropping gas prices.