Russia Monitor
Rosneft's Problem with Venezuela
06/18/2018

Venezuela, ruled successively by Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, has become Russia’s main ally in the Western Hemisphere. The alliance appears to be quite costly as Russia actually subsidies Venezuela's socialist-managed economy. Russia’s state oil giant Rosneft plays the main role in the alliance while its CEO Igor Sechin has become the principal liaison between Moscow and Caracas. However, the country’s dramatically worsening economic situation increases the risk of Russian investments and loans in the local oil sector. The assets of Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA concern were in the pinnacle of Western creditors, and Rosneft is no longer interested in paying money to support a bankrupt. Such complete collapse of Venezuelan economy along with the political change in Caracas may even end up with losing billions of dollars invested by the Russians.

More U.S. Marines to Be Deployed in Norway? Russia Protests and Threatens
06/18/2018

The government in Oslo has recently suggested that the United States double the number of U.S. marines stationed in the country as well as deploy them closer to Russia's borders. Such move has already triggered a violent response from Moscow as it strongly disapproves of any steps aiming to strengthen the military potential of NATO countries in the north. For several years, Russia has been intensively developing its military capabilities in this area, mostly by expanding infrastructure facilities as well as increasing the number of troops stationed there. The Norwegian Arctic is very important for Russia as evidenced by the country has recently set up another its fifth territorial military district. So it does not come as a surprise since the region is located very close to the U.S. territory while the North Sea holds enormous oil and gas reserves.

No Major Changes in the Kremlin. FSB Officers Join Putin's Administration
06/15/2018

On June 13, Vladimir Putin issued a package of decrees on nominations and dismissals in his presidential administration. In fact, he reappointed the entire management. Interestingly, Mr Putin decided to fire his aide in charge of personnel as well as he appointed two silovikiwho had hitherto served in the FSB structures. In turn, such presidential advisors as Yury Ushakov and Vladislav Surkov will retain their positions; such a situation does not mean any revolution in the Kremlin's foreign policy.

Ukraine Hits Gazprom’s European Assets
06/15/2018

Russia's Gazprom has not fulfilled the decision of the Stockholm arbitration tribunal. According to the final verdict announced in February, the Russian company will have to pay Ukrainian state-owned energy firm Naftogaz 2.56 billion dollars of compensation. The enterprise has not met its obligations yet and Naftogaz demanded the execution of the court's decision in all European countries where Gazprom has its assets. In this way, the Ukrainians seek to get the money owed by the Russian giant. So far, such situation has not affected Gazprom's operational activity; nevertheless, it has serious impact on the company's image, which may even lead to losing Russian assets all around Europe.

Excise Duties on Gasoline: Russian Government's Failure
06/15/2018

The Russian authorities are currently considering reducing the excise duties on gasoline and diesel fuels; the increase in prices was expected to constitute a part of wider tax changes in the energy sector. The government was afraid of social discontent that might be caused by the sharp rise in prices at gas stations. The decision will trigger decline in budget revenues from the reduction of excise taxes on fuel as oil companies are overtly against paying more. Nevertheless, the policy led by such oil giants as Rosneft contributed to lower amount of petroleum products on the domestic market. However, the solutions adopted by the government are conducive to the largest market players and, at the same time, endanger small independent gas station chains.

Spain’s New Eastern Foreign Policy Is Yet to Come
06/14/2018

The fact that an officer known for his pro-Russian views was appointed Director General of Spain's Department of National Security has recently caused a wave of speculation that thanks to such a nomination, Madrid might introduce more favourable policy towards Moscow. However, it is too early for such claims. There is no doubt that Spanish socialists have always been closer to Russia than right-wing politicians, but the current political situation in the Iberian Peninsula seems so complicated that the final conclusions could be drawn only after the elections scheduled to occur next year.

Top U.S. and Russian Generals Meet for Talks
06/14/2018

The top U.S. military chief held a meeting with his Russian counterparts in neutral Finland. Nevertheless, it does not mean any change in the military cooperation of both countries, which can be now considered as very limited one. The main purpose of the talks was to clarify the recent tensions in Syria as well as to discuss the need to improve information exchange mechanisms in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations. It is the second meeting of high-ranking militaries of the two countries that has lately taken place. In April Gen.Valery Gerasimov met with NATO’s top military officer, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti in Azerbaijan.

War in Syria: Putin's Words Stained with Blood
06/09/2018

According to Vladimir Putin, Russia will still be one of the main participants of the Syria. Russian president was asked about the country's participation in the conflict during his annual Q&A show. The declaration was followed by the raid of Russian aviation in the Idlib province.

War with Ukraine: Putin Responds (Not Only) to the Russians
06/08/2018

For many, Vladimir Putin's annual live television call-in show did not appear to be surprising. The broadcast's main idea reflects the foreign, internal, security and economic policies carried out during the new presidential term. Also statements on the Ukrainian conflict aroused some strong emotions. Some observes even claim that Russia's president has threatened to destroy Ukraine's statehood. But is that really true?

Putin's Important Declaration: What Will He Do in 2024?
06/07/2018

According to Russia's constitution, Vladimir Putin is bound to leave the Kremlin when his current term ends in 2024. Nevertheless, the law may be subject to changes. Such an idea has been recently suggested by Chechen lawmakers. Mr Putin claims that he has no intention to amend the constitution in order to satisfy his own needs. But does he? As vaguely stated by Russian President, he may envisage such a solution. But it does not really concern the idea to lift the limit on two consecutive presidential terms.

Operation „The President”
Latest Special Report from 06/12/2018

RUSSIA MONITOR MONTHLY 04/2018
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