Sunday, May 19, 2019

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...

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...

Pushing Russia Toward War

NATO's military pressure on Russia and the West’s economic sanctions have empowered Moscow’s hardliners, setting the stage for an escalation of the new Cold War into possibly a hot one, ex-British intelligence officer Alastair Crooke warns. Something significant happened in the last few days of April, but it seems the only...

Is War With Russia Possible?

The US is undermining opportunities for cooperation in Syria and Ukraine, while escalating NATO’s military presence near Russia. Cohen laments that during the past two weeks the Obama administration appears to have been undermining cooperation with Moscow on three Cold War fronts. Refusing to accept President Putin’s compelling argument that the...

Sanctions Are a Failure…Let’s Admit That

With Europe debating re-opening economic ties to Russia, have U.S. sanctions on Moscow lost their teeth? From Iran to Russia, Africa, and North Korea, the Obama administration has long relied on financial sanctions as a preferred weapon against U.S. adversaries. But over the past year, it’s America’s allies that are...

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...

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...

Gold Rush by Russia Makes Up for Billions Lost in Currency Rout

Here’s why Governor Elvira Nabiullina is in no haste to resume foreign-currency purchases after an eight-month pause: gold's biggest quarterly surge since 1986 has all but erased losses the Bank of Russia suffered by mounting a rescue of the ruble more than a year ago. While the ruble’s 9 percent...

EU Foreign Ministers Skirmish Over Russia Sanctions

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers discussed the bloc’s ties with Russia for the first time in more than a year, a moment some believed could pave the way to a re-think of the bloc’s approach. In fact, Monday’s discussion seems to have barely shifted the status quo, according to...

To Be or Not to Be? Ukraine’s Minsk Process

A little over a year after the Minsk II accord was signed in February 2015, it is all too apparent that the agreement aimed at ending the war in eastern Ukraine is not working. Nevertheless, Western governments, the EU, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)...

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...

Russia Sues Ukraine in London Court Over $3 Billion Default

Russia said it filed a lawsuit against Ukraine in the High Court in London after the government in Kiev defaulted on $3 billion in bonds. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP was hired to represent the government in Moscow in a case that will seek to recover the principal in...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Russia Won’t Recover Unless It Reforms Its State

Russia is “a state nation” more than a nation-state. The state looms large in education, healthcare, media, transport, business, and, of course, politics. Political discussions rotate around the state, its functions, its attributes, and its role in the economy. Pro-government media hail the state, opposition politicians and commentators lambast...

Russian ruble slides to record low in Moscow trading

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian ruble slid to a record low against the dollar Wednesday under pressure from the low oil price. The ruble traded above 81.8 to the dollar in Moscow on Wednesday evening, down by around four percent. That beat the mark of 80.1 set when the currency...

Ukraine tests new shipping route to Asia bypassing Russia

Ukrainian authorities on Jan. 15 launched an experiment that may allow the country to bypass Russia completely when shipping goods to Asia. A demo container train sent from the Illichivsk Port to Kazakhstan is now testing the new trade route. The train will arrive in Kazakhstan in 12 days. On...

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,...

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...

Russia security paper designates Nato as threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an updated national security paper describing Nato's expansion as a threat to the country. The paper says Russia's "independent domestic and foreign policy" has triggered a "counter-action" from the US and its allies. It accuses these countries of striving to dominate global affairs. The conflict in...

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...

Russia Needs a Plan C

In the middle of a prolonged confrontation with the West, Russia cannot revive its Western-oriented or Eurasianist foreign policy concepts. In foreign relations, crisis-avoidance mechanisms must be the priority while Russia seeks a new strategic concept. That rethink must be underpinned by domestic reform; otherwise, the Russian state could...

IMF rule change keeps Ukraine support; Russia complains

The International Monetary Fund will change its lending rules to allow it to keep supporting countries if they fail to repay official creditors, a move that would help Ukraine if it misses payments on a $3 billion debt to Russia. Russia's finance minister immediately criticized the decision. “The IMF's Executive Board...
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Russian military reveals details of ISIS-Turkey oil smuggling

Turkey’s leadership, including President Erdogan and his family, is involved in illegal oil trade with Islamic State militants, says the Russian Defense Ministry, stressing that Turkey is the final destination for oil smuggled from Syria and Iraq. The Russian Defense Ministry held a major briefing on new findings concerning IS funding...

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...

Russia Sees Biggest Decline in Wages, Retail Sales Since 1999

Russian wages and retail sales declined by the most since 1999, a sign consumer demand will remain a weak link in the economy’s efforts to break out of its first recession in six years. Real wages fell 10.9 percent in October from a year earlier, a deeper contraction than the...
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Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, incuding G20 members

President Vladimir Putin says he’s shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states. During the summit, “I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly...

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