Wednesday, August 21, 2019

From Energy War to Currency War: America’s Attack on the Russian Ruble

A multi-spectrum war is being waged against Moscow by Washington. If there are any doubts about this, they should be put to rest. Geopolitics, science and technology, speculation, financial markets, information streams, large business conglomerates, intelligentsia, mass communication, social media, the internet, popular culture, news networks, international institutions, sanctions,...

Changing Tides: Russia’s Growing Stronghold in the Black Sea

Just two years ago, when Russia annexed Crimea, NATO saw its tenuous, 25-year-long attempt to forge a partnership with the Eastern power dissolve overnight. Since then, to respond to Europe’s dangerous new security climate, NATO has looked to the Baltic states, where Russia has upped the game through air...

Ukraine Fight Flares Again: U.S. Should Keep Arms And Troops At Home

The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is under strain as Kiev presses the West for more financial and military aid. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warns that full-scale war could explode “at any moment.” Yet many of his country’s young men are avoiding conscription into the no-win conflict. Americans’ sympathies should...

Sanctions Having a Mixed Effect on Russia, Officials Say

WASHINGTON – U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia for its support of Ukrainian separatists and the annexation of Crimea are having a significant impact on Russia’s economy but have not curtailed Moscow’s continued intervention in the region, two senior Defense Department officials told Congress today. “We are hearing, for...

Let It Go

Ukraine's occupied Donbass region is a pointless burden. It’s time for Kiev to accept that it’s better off without it. Although the Russo-Ukrainian war appears to have been largely forgotten in the West, it’s still claiming lives every day. Indeed, the last two months have seen a major escalation by...

Economy and Sanctions Derail Russia’s Central Asian Investments

After years of embarking on promising forays into Central Asia’s economy, Russia is being forced to pare back its ambitions. The starkest retreat of Russian money is seen in Kyrgyzstan, whose parliament voted overwhelmingly last week to cancel a deal with Russian companies to build two major hydropower facilities. The...

Russia suspends plutonium deal with U.S.

Citing “unfriendly actions” by the United States, the Kremlin announced Monday that Russia would suspend a landmark agreement to dispose of surplus weapons-grade plutonium, yet another sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries. In a decree released by the Kremlin, President Vladi­mir Putin said Moscow would consider a resumption...

Are We Entering a New Cold War?

It’s not a strong Russia we should fear, but a weak one. Every year, the security glitterati of the world gather in Germany for the annual Munich Security Conference. The forum has been around for decades, but this year, over an unseasonably warm weekend, the most dramatic speech was about...

Why Russia needs China to buy its weapons

Despite intellectual property concerns, Russia recently agreed to sell 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China - a deal worth $2 billion. But what is driving Moscow to seek deeper trade ties with Beijing? The deal, announced last week by Russian defense conglomerate Rostec, makes China the first foreign contractor...

How to Avoid War With Russia

Much has been said recently about the unpredictability of Russian foreign policy, and the resulting uncertainty. In reality, Moscow’s interests are quite limited and focused on its near abroad. Understanding how Russia prioritizes its security challenges and how it assesses the security situation on its borders is a start...

Russian oligarchs lose $11bn in just 10 days during oil price crash

The gilded generation of Russia's richest men have suffered drastic losses during the market turmoil this year, hastening the end of an era of world dominance. They rose from nothing to accumulate wealth on an unimaginable scale. But the era of the Russian oligarch is now drawing to a close,...

Are the Russians actually behind the Panama Papers?

The “Panama Papers”—does this strike anyone else as a very fishy story? It’s like something out of a cheap spy movie. In early 2015, “John Doe” sends (out of the blue) an email to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), offering 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm relating...

Lights Out for the Putin Regime – The Coming Russian Collapse

Russian President Vladimir Putin used to seem invincible. Today, he and his regime look enervated, confused, and desperate. Increasingly, both Russian and Western commentators suggest that Russia may be on the verge of deep instability, possibly even collapse. This perceptual shift is unsurprising. Last year, Russia was basking in the...

Jordan agrees deal for Russia to build nuclear plant

The $10bn power plant in energy-poor Jordan is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Jordan said Tuesday it has signed a framework agreement with Russia for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the kingdom at a cost of $10bn. The deal was signed by Khaled Tukan, head of the Jordan Atomic Enegry Commission,...

The Role of Sanctions in U.S.-Russian Relations

Sanctions are a critical tool in persuading Russia to change its Ukraine policy. But the West’s overreliance on them risks undercutting their long-term effectiveness. Sanctions have been a central element of U.S. Russia policy following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the undeclared war in eastern Ukraine. They...

Is Putin Preparing a Governmental Purge?

As he does once a year, last week President Putin spend over three and a half hours answering 80 questions out of the 3+ million questions which were received. The show, which was aired live on Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels, and the Mayak, Vesti FM and...

Putin and Erdogan vow to restore links and economic ties

Summit comes as some in west fear Nato member Turkey could be drawn into Moscow’s orbit. The Russian and Turkish presidents on Tuesday vowed to restore their friendship, ending an eight month stand-off over the Syrian conflict as economic pressures and the failed coup in Turkey drive the two countries...

Russia Rebounds, Despite Sanctions

Sanctions meant to punish Russia for snatching Crimea from Ukraine one year ago were supposed to hurt Russian business. And they did. Russian stocks, bonds and commodities had the worst performance in 2014 of those in any emerging market. That was then. Now the picture is changing, with investors starting...

Russia’s got a point: The U.S. broke a NATO promise

Moscow solidified its hold on Crimea in April, outlawing the Tatar legislature that had opposed Russia’s annexation of the region since 2014. Together with Russian military provocations against NATO forces in and around the Baltic, this move seems to validate the observations of Western analysts who argue that under...

Putin: Nyet to Neo-liberals, Da to National Development

After more than two years of worsening economic growth and an economy struggling with 10.5% central bank interest rates that make new credit to spur growth virtually impossible, Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally broken an internal factional standoff. On July 25 he mandated that an economic group called...

As Russia’s Stock Market Soars, Ukraine Stuck In ‘Frozen Conflict’

I can hear it now: nice going FORBES, valuing money over people’s lives. A disclaimer: this is the investment channel. And that means crisis is looked at through the lens of economic pain and gain, not who is a better president: Poroshenko or Putin, nor the history of Crimea...

Medvedev: Russia’s Economy Must Prepare for Worst-Case Scenario

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the Russian economy is looking better than one year ago but must prepare for the worst-case scenario as it continues to suffer from low oil prices and the impact of Western sanctions. Speaking Wednesday in Moscow at the annual Gaidar Forum on economics, Medvedev...

US to maintain Russia sanctions, hopes EU will keep them too

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington will maintain economic sanctions against Russia over its support of armed separatists in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea and is hopeful that the European Union will do the same, a senior U.S. official said Monday. Daniel Fried, coordinator for sanctions policy at the State...

Russia Defends Ruble With Biggest Rate Rise Since 1998

Russia took its biggest step yet to shore up the ruble and defuse the currency crisis threatening its stricken economy. In a surprise announcement just before 1 a.m. in Moscow, the Russian central bank said it would raise its key interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent, effective today....

Russia Calling Off Dollar Buying Bolsters Ruble as Oil Gains

The ruble ended five days of losses as the Bank of Russia stopped daily purchases of foreign exchange, signaling policy makers don’t want to add impetus to the currency’s decline before an interest-rate decision this week. The ruble rallied as much as 1.8 percent after the central bank said it...

China to build 400km/h train for Russia’s high-speed railway

China is developing a new generation of trains capable of reaching speeds of 400 kilometers per hour for Russia's Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway, the China Daily reports. The train... will have wheels that can be adjusted to fit various gauges on other countries' tracks, compared with trains now that need to...

Russia launches payment card to rival Visa and Mastercard

It’s not a space race, but a card race. Russia has issued its first electronic payment card this week to compete against Visa and Mastercard. The launch of the bank card – called Mir, meaning ‘peace’ or ‘world’ in Russian – is seen as a response to Western sanctions that...

Crimean Tatars gather in Ankara to discuss Ukrainian crisis

Nearly 200 Crimean Tatar nongovernmental organizations and civil society groups gathered in Ankara as part of the Second World Crimean Tatar Congress to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the situation of their brethren in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in February of last year. The meeting took...

China, Russia expected to sign multibillion dollar high-speed rail deal during Putin’s visit to...

A multibillion-dollar high-speed rail deal between China and Russia is expected to be signed during Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing this week, when the two nations are expected to extend military cooperation. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced on Monday the Putin would start his state visit...

Convoy Brings U.S. Paratroopers To Ukraine For Training

VICENZA, Italy: Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Support Battalion arrived in Yavoriv, Ukraine April 10 via a ground convoy from here to deliver the brigade’s training equipment for Operation Fearless Guardian. Fearless Guardian is the name for the training of Ukraine’s newly-formed National Guard under the Congress-approved Global Contingency...

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