Syria’s Regime and Its Russian Ally Slaughter Refugees in the Country’s Idlib Enclave
Though a truce is formally in force, with a Russian-Turkish buffer zone being supposed to protect the region’s inhabitants, forces loyal to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are advancing towards further areas of the rebel-held enclave in northwestern Syria. Russian and Syrian air forces are ruthless in implementing their scorched-earth tactics in the country’s last rebel-controlled bastion. Once carried out, air raids are supposed to terrorize and intimidate the province’s inhabitants while the areas they flee from are being systematically taken by al-Assad’s loyalists.
Nothing New Under the Sun: Russia Sends Its Strategic Bombers to Chukotka
Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers performed an eight-hour non-stop flight from their Saratov home base to Anadyr airfield in Russia’s Chukotka Region near the U.S. State of Alaska, covering over 6,000 kilometers, the Russian Defense Ministry informed on August 14. Russia’s regime press outlets have widely publicized this mission, drawing particular attention to a threat posed by strategic aviation to U.S. military facilities in Alaska. What we are here dealing with is just using the mundane military drills for propaganda purposes in a bid to push aside a recent series of fatal incidents both in the Russian army and the domestic arms industry.
Crimea, Gangsters and Opposition: Putin at Babylon’s Shadow Show
Russia’s official propaganda has made efforts to ignore or disregard Moscow’s most massive opposition protests in many years, and so did the authorities. Russian President Vladimir Putin went to Crimea to meet with the representatives of the Night Wolves motorcycle club, known for its allegiance to the Kremlin. The event got broad media coverage for apparent reasons, as an attempt to show that Putin does not seem bothered by Moscow protests and a signal to calm down strained moods among his actual collaborators: officials, siloviki and all fraudsters and gangsters holding close ties to them.
Belarus and Russia Get Closer to Agreement After Druzhba Contamination Crisis
Seen as most affected by the Druzhba contamination crisis, the Belarusian section is said to have been thoroughly cleaned up of dirty oil. But the country has suffered massive financial losses after Russian-sourced crude flows were dramatically reduced, both in transit and for local refineries. Despite Minsk’s severe announcements, Moscow seems to be the one to dictate at least partial compensation for the failure.
Lukoil–Rosneft 1:1. But The Game Is Not Over Yet
There has been an unexpected shift in a quarrel between Russia’s two largest oil firms over the price of using an oil terminal in the Arctic. After Russia’s antimonopoly watchdog had given a favorable verdict for the state-owned oil firm Rosneft, a court issued a ruling in favor of Lukoil, an oil company the remains in private hands. But this does not bring to a halt the long-lasting spat between the two energy giants, with more clashes to be soon expected in the courthouse. The struggle may negatively affect Russian oil exports that are experiencing a tough time at the moment.
New Missiles, New INF Treaty: Will Putin Share Gorbachev’s Fate?
Shortly after Washington’s pullout of the INF Treaty, U.S. President Donald Trump said he wants a new nuclear pact to be signed also by China. But this is now out of the question as Beijing has made its medium-range missile weapons a crucial part of its war strategy in the event of a conflict with the United States. So Russia may in the future need to sign a new nuclear disarmament deal.
Russian Regime Onto Moscow’s “Maidan”: The End of Navalny?
Latest Saturday rallies in downtown Moscow, brutally dispersed by Russian authorities, showed the Kremlin’s attempt to see the pre-election protests as a CIA-inspired “color revolution”. Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny and his anticorruption foundation, until now tolerated by the regime, may fall first victim to the Kremlin’s counterattack. Targeting at Navalny’s project confirms that the regime is prone to steer an ever-sharper course in its domestic policy.
Sechin’s Tax Privileges At Risk: Is Putin Changing His Mind?
Russian most prominent state-run oil firm Rosneft will fail to get the government’s generous multimillion tax break. The government’s May decision will not be take effect until at least the end of the year. Putin also ordered an unexpected moratorium on any new state support for developing domestic oilfields. The moratorium will remain in effect until the end of 2019. Putin’s latest decision has called into question Igor Sechin’s new oil projects that so far enjoyed substantial support from the state. The Kremlin’s move is surprising because until now, Putin expected that the government fulfill almost all of Sechin’s tax demands. But at this stage, it is not yet known whether this prompts the weakening position of Rosneft’s CEO or whether the Kremlin’s efforts to freeze its aid to the oil giant deems as a part of a large conundrum, both political and financial.
Moscow Protests: Putin Listened to Siloviki
In just a few days, a local row over the upcoming elections for the Moscow City Duma became what was called Russia’s most important political problem. But contrary to what some commentators believe, this recent turmoil does not act to the detriment of the regime. Much indicates that Russia’s authorities seem to have sought to escalate the Moscow crisis, or at least such was an intention of those who opt for a tightening course in domestic policy. Russia’s siloviki believe that a drop in the regime’s popularity and emerging symptoms of a crisis need a rapid and violent reaction to nip all protests in the bud.
Russian “Contractors” In the Service of the Kremlin