Alexander Lukashenko has said he would block Baltic countries from shipping goods to Russia over Belarusian territory, and divert what is now sent through notably ports in Lithuania to the seaports in Russia. Belarus will have to pay much more, also according to what Russia is saying.
Bulgarian officials ordered to expel two Russian diplomats over spying allegations. This is as yet another spying scandal between Bulgaria and Russia this year. The two expelled Russians served for the military intelligence agency.
Production of oil and gas condensate in Russia is projected at 507.4 million tons in 2020, a 9.5 percent decrease compared with 2019, according to the country’s report on social and economic development for 2021 and the planned period of 2022 and 2023 presented by the Economic Development Ministry.
Regardless of what might be either illusionary or real plans of the Russian and Belarusian leaders to unify the two countries, polls found that the idea enjoys limited popularity, notably in Belarus. The Kremlin hopes to avoid the rise in anti-Russian moods in Belarus, thus being wary of some themes, though, of course, it backs Lukashenko’s regime.
Russian gas imports to Turkey have been in decline, with Azerbaijan pushing boldly to take Gazprom’s place. Meanwhile, Turkey’s long-term gas contract is set to expire soon. In addition comes the war in the Caucasus that might cut off Azeri gas flow into Turkey.
A new Japanese prime minister is unlikely to push Tokyo and Moscow closer to a peace treaty. Before Shinzo Abe sought to normalize relations with Russia in a failed attempt, notably amidst the Kremlin’s tenacity. But Japan’s new prime minister will certainly not be eager to make similar concessions like his predecessor and Russia seems to be aware of this.
Many signs are that Nord Stream 2 enthusiasts will grow more numerous in Berlin. More and more days have passed since the discovery that Navalny had been poisoned and a heated debated whether to quit the joint Russian energy project or not. No decisions have been made, though.
While the Kremlin insists on its backing for Lukashenko and paints Western provocations and pressure, Lukashenko announced a fresh batch of concessions in spheres like economy and integration, once the military is already on the table.
Moscow is in a tough situation as violence flares up between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Being the latter’s strategic ally, Russia should come to its rescue in what yet could freeze Moscow’s ties with Azerbaijan that have somewhat warmed in recent years. In addition come Turkey’s stance and commitment it has not shown for the past thirty years.
The active stage of the Russian command-and-staff military drills Kavkaz-2020 wrapped up on September 26 after Russia had hosted what it called its biggest drills this year, with 80,000 servicemen taking part, notably from the Southern Military District.
There will be no new delays in building the key section of Russia’s TurkStream gas pipeline, Bulgarian officials have informed. Whilst inspecting the construction site of Bulgaria’s string of the gas link, the country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced that the pipeline would start energy flows by the end of the year in what would pave Moscow’s way for Serbian and Hungarian energy markets.
Russia has fewer and fewer crude oil reserves being worth less and less. In terms of value Russian crude oil stocks dropped by 17.1 percent in 2019, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.
Belarus plunged into political and economic turmoil. Thus the Kremlin offered a lifeline to Alexander Lukashenko, with an emergency $1.5 billion loan to help the country avoid a crash in living standards. But this lifeline is not an answer to Minsk’s headache since the new loan will largely go towards refinancing debt already owed to Russia.
All signs are that security-related issues, including those pertaining to the country’s military, are poised to witness ever-tightening cooperation between Russia and Belarus, prompting a decay in the latter’s sovereignty.
There was no shortage of opinions that on his first trip to Russia after the presidential vote, Alexander Lukashenko would need to pay a hefty bill for Moscow’s lifeline after Belarus had plunged in a weeks-long crisis. This, however, did not happen.
A joint exercise, codenamed Slavic Brotherhood, takes place annually in Russia, Serbia, and Belarus, consecutively. In 2019, Serbia was the host whilst this year’s edition moved to the Brest region in Belarus. Yet Serbia has dropped out of it for the first time in history.
Back on September 6, the Russian side breached the longest-ever ceasefire regime in the Russian-occupied region of Donbas. Perhaps Moscow is adding fuel to the fire in Ukraine amidst recent turmoil in Belarus and Kyiv’s pledge to freeze ties with Lukashenko’s regime.
The poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny caused turmoil amongst German senior officials, with all of them waiting for an explanation from Moscow, but just a few being keen to punish Russia. Thus the issue of the Nord Stream 2 energy link came back on the agenda.
The Belarusian dictator remains in power only thanks to the support of the Kremlin. Of course, Russia will dictate a high price for this. The details, or at least some of them, will probably revealed during Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow in September.
Russia is waging an information warfare on Alexei Navalny. As the attempt to murder the oppositionist on the plane failed, it turned out that he was poisoned with Novichok agent. As it was foreseeable, the Russian side will now buy time and try to deceive the Germans.