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   January 20
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20.01.20 Moscow Protest Over Putin's Political Shake-up Fails To Gain Traction
Over 1,000 people marched through Moscow on Sunday in an event a Kremlin critic tried to turn into a protest against a constitutional shake-up by President Vladimir Putin, but many demonstrators chose to voice dissent about other issues instead. Yulia Galyamina, a Moscow city councillor, had urged people to take to the streets to speak out against Putin’s proposed political changes by joining an authorized rally already due to be held to mark the murder of a journalist, Anastasia Baburova, and a lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, 11 years ago. Read more 
20.01.20 ‘We Are Building Capitalism!’
The Moscow Times
“Do you want to go to Russia?” When Robert Stephenson, a senior civil servant in the U.K. was asked this question in February 1992, he had no idea how it would change his life. But he immediately said, “Yes” and only after a moment asked the more important question: “Why?” The “why” turned out to be a job as a consultant to the new Russian Federal Employment Service. Stephenson moved to Moscow and worked for five years in the capital with many trips around the country. He continued to work abroad for another 15 years heading international programs to support civil service development and reform around the world. Read more 
20.01.20 Putin: Don't Lose Hope That Libya Conflict Will Be Solved
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday said he hoped that the Berlin summit on Libya could bring further progress and that Moscow’s peace efforts had yielded first results. “We don’t lose hope that dialogue will continue and the conflict will be solved,” Putin said before meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the conference. Read more 
20.01.20 Orthodox Christians Brave An Icy Dip To Mark Epiphany
BBC News
Worshippers across Russia and Eastern Europe have been braving icy waters for Epiphany, one of the most important holidays in the Orthodox Christian calendar. Celebrated on 19 January, Epiphany commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. To mark the event many Orthodox Christians submerge themselves in holes of icy water. They may dip themselves three times in the water to honour the Holy Trinity. Read more 
19.01.20 Despite Shake-up, Putin Rejects Idea Of Soviet-style Leaders For Life
President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he did not want Russia to return to the late Soviet-era practice of having lifelong rulers who died in office without a proper succession strategy. His comments, made to World War Two veterans in St Petersburg, came days after he unveiled a sweeping shake-up of the political system which led to the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister along with his government. Putin, in a surprise move, picked Mikhail Mishustin, the low-profile head of the country’s tax service, as the country’s next prime minister. Russians are now waiting to hear which ministers will keep their jobs in a new government. Read more 
19.01.20 ‘They Will Destroy You’: In Putin’s Russia, How Far Can An Artist Go?
The Guardian
A decade ago, a new spirit of tolerance of the avant garde blossomed in Russia. But these days, it’s impossible to know where the lines are – as the country’s most celebrated director discovered to his cost. One Saturday evening in December 2017, as it has regularly for nearly 200 years, the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre, draped by its famous scarlet-and-gold curtain, featured the long-anticipated premiere of a new ballet. Tickets had sold out almost instantly. The Bolshoi’s capacious hall, ringed by teetering loggia boxes, was filled with so many members of the ruling elite that the event seemed an updated version of an old Communist party central committee congress. Read more 
19.01.20 Russia's Rosneft Ups Its Stake In Germany's Bayernoil Refinery
Russian oil producer Rosneft said on Saturday that its German subsidiary Rosneft Deutschland GmbH had completed the deal to acquire a 3.57% stake in Germany’s Bayernoil Raffineriegesellschaft mbH from BP. The deal increased Rosneft’s stake in the Bayernoil refinery to 28.57% from 25%, Rosneft said in a statement, adding that the deal also increased its share in the refinery’s capacity to almost 3 million tonnes a year and strengthened its marketing presence in Germany’s Bavaria and Austria. Read more 
19.01.20 'Only Eyes': Auschwitz Liberator Recalls Death Camp Inmates 75 Years On
His jacket sparkling with war medals, 96-year old David Dushman holds back the tears as he remembers the eyes of emaciated prisoners at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz which he helped liberate 75 years ago this month. A Russian Jew, Dushman is one of the last surviving soldiers to have taken part in the liberation of the camp in January 1945 and he still struggles to explain how such a catastrophe could happen. Dushman, who later became an Olympic fencer, joined the Red Army in 1941 after Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Read more 
18.01.20 Russia’s Prisoners Of Conscience Are An Ugly Continuity Of The Soviet Union
Washington Post
In many ways, Russia today does not resemble the Soviet Union, which heaved its last breath 28 years ago. The dreary ideology of communism is nearly forgotten, and the party bosses of old would be shocked at today’s gleaming Moscow skyscrapers. Russians are free to travel, unlike Soviet Jews whose mere application for exit visas got them in trouble. But Russia remains very much like the Soviet Union in one respect: It still has prisoners of conscience, incarcerated for their beliefs and subject to criminal prosecution for what they say. Read more 
18.01.20 Russia Set For Long-term Partnership With OPEC, Says Gazprom Neft
Gazprom Neft, Russia’s third largest oil producer, believes Moscow’s cooperation with OPEC on output will continue into the long term, Deputy Chief Executive Vadim Yakovlev told reporters on Friday. He praised the decision by OPEC and non-OPEC nations, a group known as OPEC+, to exclude Russian gas condensate from Moscow’s quotas under their latest agreement to curb output, a move that allows Gazprom Neft to expand its condensate production. Read more 
18.01.20 Ukraine Audiotape Row: President Rejects PM's Offer To Quit
BBC News
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected a resignation offer by Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk over a leaked audiotape scandal. "I decided to give you a chance," Mr Zelensky told the prime minister during a "clear the air" meeting. But he said this was dependant on Mr Honcharuk's ability to tackle a number of pressing issues. In the tape, a voice sounding like Mr Honcharuk's says Mr Zelensky only has a "primitive" grasp of economics. Read more 
18.01.20 Top Russian University Moves To Ban Political Speech
The Moscow Times
One of Russia’s elite universities is considering banning its students and faculty from exercising political speech in the wake of high-profile scandals involving free speech last year, according to its newly proposed rules. Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) became embroiled in several controversies in 2019, including the cancellation of its student talk show after it invited an opposition activist and revoking a student newspaper’s student-body status over a critical article. HSE political science student Yegor Zhukov also became a de-facto face of last summer’s election protest movement, splitting university leadership and students into opposing camps. Read more 
18.01.20 Kremlin Critic Calls For Protest Against Putin's Constitutional Reforms
An opposition politician in Moscow urged Russians on Friday to take to the streets this weekend to protest against sweeping constitutional reforms floated by President Vladimir Putin. The proposed reforms, which triggered the resignation of the prime minister and government, are widely seen as giving Putin, 67, scope to extend his grip on power once he leaves the presidency in 2024. Describing the changes as akin to a “state coup”, Yulia Galyamina, a Moscow city councillor, urged residents to speak out by joining a rally on Sunday that was already due to be held to mark the murder of a journalist and lawyer 11 years ago. Read more 
18.01.20 Russia’s Largest Airport Opens New $500M International Terminal
The Moscow Times
Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport opened the first phase of its newest international terminal Friday. Sheremetyevo is the eighth-busiest airport in Europe, with more than 49.9 million travelers using its terminals last year. Terminal C, the airport’s fifth terminal, covers 127,000 square meters and has an annual capacity of 20 million passengers. With the opening of Terminal C, Sheremetyevo’s maximum capacity will reach 80 million passengers per year, making it the largest airport in Russia. Russia’s national carrier Aeroflot, which accounts for 80% of Sheremetyevo’s traffic, will be the main airline using the new terminal. Read more 
18.01.20 Russia Faces Oil Delivery Constraints If Belarus Halts Transit To Europe
Moscow may resort to oil production cuts in case the row with Minsk leads to a stoppage of Russian crude transit to Europe via Belarus, Reuters’ calculations showed on Friday. The energy dispute is part of a wider row between Moscow and Minsk as the Kremlin seeks to cement its influence over its neighbor, which is seen as a buffer between the West and Russia. Moscow and Minsk have had several oil and gas spats over the past decade, but the latest supply wrangle comes as the two ex-Soviet countries argue over how to implement a treaty aimed at full-blown integration. Read more 
18.01.20 China: Russia Ties Not Affected By Putin Cabinet Change
The Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sudden announcement of constitutional changes that prompted the prime minister’s departure won’t affect increasingly close ties between Beijing and Moscow, China said Thursday. Under Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the China-Russian “strategic cooperative partnership has entered a new era, becoming increasingly mature, stable and resilient,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing. Read more 
17.01.20 Putin Confirms Mishustin As New Prime Minister
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree appointing Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister, shortly after the former head of the tax service won the backing of parliament. Mishustin received 383 votes of 424 cast by Russia's lower house of parliament, with no votes against and 41 abstentions — a victory that had been all but assured when he won the unanimous backing of his party, United Russia, which has a strong majority in the chamber. Read more 
17.01.20 Why Putin’s Political Shake-up Isn’t Just About Power
The Christian Science Monitor
Russia’s current political system is all about one man: Vladimir Putin. The changes he has proposed will keep him in power, but they also open the door to a broader political playing field in Russia. One thing was made very clear in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s national address Wednesday: The federation’s long-standing leader isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Mr. Putin outlined the sweeping constitutional changes that would allow him to retain some power even after leaving office in 2024, by redistributing power away from the presidency to the prime minister and the parliament. Read more 
17.01.20 Russia’s New Prime Minister Is A Bureaucratic Superman
The Moscow Times
After a blitz of constitutional reform proposals aimed at keeping him in power after his presidential term ends in 2024, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin named his new prime minister — a tech-obsessed tax administrator with no interest in politics. The appointment highlights the Putin system’s fundamental paradox: It is an antiquated, Byzantine, nepotistic, deeply corrupt governance model that nevertheless values and rewards technocratic brilliance. In the Russian power succession scheme, the prime minister takes over when the president is for some reason unable to govern; Prime Minister Putin became acting president when Boris Yeltsin resigned in the final minutes of 1999. Read more 
17.01.20 Putin Proposes Switching Power To Parliament In Sweeping Overhaul Of Russia’s Constitution
The Independent
Vladimir Putin has proposed a flurry of constitutional changes in what appears to be an attempt to pave the way for him stay on after his presidential term expires in 2024. Among the changes proposed in the course of his state of the nation address, Mr Putin suggested giving parliament powers to choose the prime minister and cabinet, as well as introducing a new maximum two-presidential term limit. As things stand, the president chooses the prime minister, subject to approval by parliament, who then forms the cabinet. Read more 
17.01.20 What Putin's Plans Mean For Russia
BBC News
Russia has a new prime minister, a change no-one predicted only a day ago. The long-serving Dmitry Medvedev has been replaced by a man most people had never heard of, until now. Not only that, President Vladimir Putin has initiated a major reform of the constitution that looks like the start of his "transition": a much-anticipated plan to retain influence when he has to leave the Kremlin in 2024. The details of that plan are still unclear, but this week's surprise shake-up offers curious new hints. Read more 
17.01.20 Moscow Sees 8 Hours Of Sunlight In December
The Moscow Times
The Russian capital experienced a total of eight hours of sunlight in December, the head of Russia’s meteorological center said Thursday. While less than 4% of the city’s possible sunlight hours without cloud coverage, the eight hours still surpassed the six minutes of clear skies that Moscow saw in December 2017. Read more 
17.01.20 Putin Fast-tracks Effort To Extend His Rule In Russia
The Associated Press
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday fast-tracked work on constitutional changes that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024 while lawmakers quickly sealed his choice for new prime minister. Speaking to a working group created to draft constitutional changes, Putin cast his proposals as a way to strengthen parliament and to bolster democracy. Kremlin critics described the proposed changes as an attempt by Putin to secure his rule for life. Read more 
17.01.20 Immersive Pushkin-Themed Park To Open In St. Petersburg In 2023
The Moscow Times
St. Petersburg is set to open a sprawling, immersive theme park that will bring iconic Russian writer Alexander Pushkin’s fairy tales and poems to life in 2023. Considered the founder of modern Russian literature, Pushkin wrote some of Russia’s most famous fairy tales and epic poems and remained popular through Soviet times and into the present. Read more 
16.01.20 Russia's Parliament To Consider New PM's Candidacy On Thursday
Russia’s lower house of parliament said on Wednesday it would decide on whether to approve Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Federal Tax Service, as Russia’s new prime minister on Thursday, the RIA news agency reported. Putin submitted Mishustin’s candidacy to the parliament for approval after Russia’s government resigned unexpectedly earlier on Wednesday. Read more 
16.01.20 Russian Government Resigns As Vladimir Putin Plans Future
BBC News
Russia's government has resigned, hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that could prolong his stay in power. If approved by the public, the proposals would transfer power from the presidency to parliament. Mr Putin is due to step down in 2024 when his fourth term of office comes to an end.
But there is speculation he could seek a new role or hold on to power behind the scenes. Read more 
16.01.20 Putin Puts Forward Little-Known Tax Chief As New Russian PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday formally put forward Mikhail Mishustin, the little-known head of Russia's Federal Tax Service, to be Russia's new prime minister, the Kremlin said. Putin submitted his candidacy to the Russian parliament for approval after Mishustin agreed to be put forward for the role, the Kremlin said. Russia's government resigned unexpectedly earlier on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that could allow him to extend his rule. Read more 
16.01.20 Russia's Putin Seeks To Stimulate Birth Rate
BBC News
President Vladimir Putin has announced a series of plans to increase the number of children being born in Russia from an average birth rate of under 1.5 per woman to 1.7 within four years. Last year he promised tax breaks for bigger families. On Wednesday he told parliament "the birth rate is falling again" before pledging state funding for new mothers. "Maternity capital" has until now only been paid to families with at least two children. Read more 
16.01.20 Possible Candidates For Russia's New Prime Minister
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned on Wednesday along with his government. Here’s a list of possible candidates who may replace him. Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow since 2010
Sobyanin, 61, is a political veteran who served as governor of the oil-rich Tyumen region in Siberia in the early years of Putin’s 20 years in power. He was head of the presidential administration from 2005 to 2008 before serving as deputy prime minister and then being named mayor of Moscow. Read more 
16.01.20 What Is Russia's Putin Up To?
BBC News
It came out of nowhere. Even ministers in the Russian government apparently did not see their departure coming. Was it a case of a new working year in Moscow - out with the old and in with the new? But it was clear Vladimir Putin, 67, had change in mind. With four years to go before he leaves office, and 20 years already served, it was clear he was planning ahead. Read more 
16.01.20 Will Putin Stay Or Will He Go
The Moscow Times
For over an hour, President Vladimir Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday sounded just like those that had come before it. As in previous years, Putin proposed measures for encouraging Russians to have more children, tackling poverty levels and stimulating economic growth. And, not for the first time, Prime Minister Dmitry Medevev had trouble staying awake. Read more 
16.01.20 'Our Historic Duty': Putin Plans Steps To Boost Russia's Birth Rate
President Vladimir Putin announced measures on Wednesday to boost Russia’s birth rate, describing them as vital to the country’s future though they are projected to cost at least $6.5 billion this year alone. Saying the demographic situation was “very difficult”, Putin proposed payments for low-income families with small children, allowances for first-time mothers, higher payments for families with more children and the creation of more places in nurseries. Read more 
16.01.20 Russia And Turkey Failed To Mediate Peace In Libya. What Happens Now?
Washington Post
This week, Libyan cease-fire talks brokered by Russia and Turkey addressed the country’s latest bout of conflict, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of Libyans. Negotiations took place between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and rival Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF). Russia and Turkey’s involvement represented a change in international engagement with Libya’s conflict, as they asserted their leadership in the political process and attempted to sideline Western countries and the United Nations. It looked as if it was set to pay off. Read more 
16.01.20 Putin Shake-Up Could Keep Him In Power Past 2024 As PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes on Wednesday that would give him scope to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency, and picked a new prime minister after Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet stepped down. Most importantly, Putin suggested diminishing the powers of the presidency and beefing up those of the prime minister. Read more 
15.01.20 Burisma: US Firm Says Russia Hacked Company At Heart Of Trump Impeachment
BBC News
The Ukrainian gas company at the centre of President Donald Trump's impeachment was successfully hacked by Russian military agents in November, a US cybersecurity firm has said. Area 1 Security said it was not clear what the hackers were searching for when they hacked Burisma Holdings. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden was previously on the board of the firm. Read more 
15.01.20 Khodorkovsky Was Denied Right To Fair Russian Trial
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman who spent nearly a decade in prison in Russia on what he said were politically motivated charges by the Kremlin, won a second victory at Europe’s top human rights court. The Russian trial judge’s refusal to “allow the defense to examine prosecution and defense witnesses and to submit important expert or exculpatory evidence,” violated Khodorkovsky’s rights and those of his former business partner Platon Lebedev during their second trial in 2009 and 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday. Read more 
15.01.20 Russian Artist Marries Danish Submarine Killer
BBC News
A Russian artist living in self-imposed exile in Finland has defended her marriage to the notorious jailed Danish killer Peter Madsen. Jenny Curpen married Madsen on 19 December, according to her Facebook page. She has received many hostile messages, some calling her crazy. Madsen received a life sentence in April 2018 for the sexual assault and murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall. Her dismembered body was found after she had boarded his submarine. Read more 
15.01.20 Syrian Army Urges Civilians To Leave Last Rebel Enclave; Russia Offers 3 Ways Out
Washington Post
On Sunday, residents of a rebel-held pocket in northwestern Syria saw white leaflets drop from the sky, carrying a message from the government: It's time to leave. The Russian Defense Ministry announced later in the day that it had set up three checkpoints for civilians to leave embattled Idlib province. Read more 
14.01.20 Macron: France And Russia Want To Safeguard Iran Nuclear Deal
France and Russia have a shared desire to safeguard Iran’s nuclear deal, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday. Macron said in a statement he had a phone call on Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Leaders of Britain, France and Germany on Sunday called on Iran to return to full compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and refrain from further violence. Read more 
14.01.20 Iran’s Admission Of Downing A Passenger Plane Has Put Russian Propagandists In A Tight Spot
The Independent
A revenge missile strike. A mysterious plane crash. Three days deflecting blame. Excuses on black boxes. Bombshell evidence from western intelligence. Finally, an admission of guilt. This was an extraordinary week – and even more so when looking on from the perspective of Moscow. The downing of a passenger jet with a surface-to-air missile amid military tensions had obvious parallels in these parts. It is five and a half years since Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed over the Donbass, with nearly 300 lives lost. A credible body of evidence links the Russian military to the disaster. Read more 
14.01.20 Belarus Mozyr Refinery Has Not Yet Received Oil Deliveries From Russia
Belarus Mozyr refinery has not yet received oil deliveries from Russia in January 2020, Interfax agency reported on Monday citing an oil industry source. Oil supplies from Russia to Belarus have been partly restored on Jan. 4, but are going only to the Naftan refinery, while Mozyr refinery is not receiving pipeline crude oil from Russia, the source said. The Gutseriyev family’s Russneft and Neftisa were only companies to restore supplies to Belarus late on Jan. 4, while others try and reach an agreement on new supply terms with state-run Belneftekhim, which controls Belarus’ two refineries. Read more 
14.01.20 Libya Conflict: Warring Sides Meet In Moscow For Talks
BBC News
The leaders of the two main sides of Libya's civil war are in Moscow for talks on how to end months of fighting. It is hoped both the UN-backed government and forces loyal to Russian ally Gen Khalifar Haftar will sign a ceasefire. The talks are part of an initiative launched by Russia and Turkey at a summit in Istanbul last week.
A first tentative truce started on Sunday but both sides accused each other of breaking it within hours. Read more 
14.01.20 Libya Peace Talks In Moscow Fall Short Of Ceasefire
Libya's warring leaders made some progress at indirect peace talks in Moscow on Monday but failed to agree on an unconditional and open-ended ceasefire. In talks that lasted about eight hours, mediators Russia and Turkey urged the rivals to sign a binding truce to end a nine-month-old war and pave the way for a settlement that would stabilize the North African country. Read more 
14.01.20 Russia Advises Aeroflot To Avoid Tehran At Night After Ukraine Airliner Crash
The Moscow Times
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has advised the country’s national carrier Aeroflot to avoid airspace over Tehran at night after Iran’s downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, the RBC news website reported Monday. Tehran has acknowledged shooting down the Ukrainian jetliner by mistake on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people aboard. Russia’s civil aviation authority told its air carriers to avoid airspace around the region but fell short of issuing a blanket ban. Read more 
13.01.20 Trump Aide ‘Concerned’ Russia May Be Trying To Undermine Biden
The U.S. government is “concerned” about a report that Russia may be attempting to undermine Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, President Donald Trump’s top national security official said Sunday. Trump has warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, not to conduct any such election tampering, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on ABC’s “This Week.” “He’s absolutely told Putin to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” he said. Read more 
13.01.20 Russia Bets Big On The World's Least Explored Oil Frontier
When the inaugural Russia-Africa summit was held in October 2019, most industry observers believed that the majority of projects under discussion would not get past the FID stage – in no small part because of their varied economic prospects. As well as wheat exports, nuclear technologies, conventional weaponry and ore mining, oil loomed large on the agenda. With the OPEC+ agreement entering its third consecutive year and oil prices stabilizing around $60 per barrel, Russian oil firms have enough cash to invest but face an uncertain future with domestic projects as no one really wants to see their own project ending up in the category of “spare production capacity”. Read more 
13.01.20 Russia Urges Civilians To Leave Final Rebel Enclave In Syria
Washington Post
On Sunday, residents of Syria's northwestern rebel-held pocket saw white leaflets drop from the sky, carrying a message from the Syrian government: It's time to leave. The Russian Defense Ministry then announced late Sunday that it had created three new checkpoints for civilians to leave embattled Idlib Province. “Your safety lies in you leaving the areas of armed groups and heading toward official crossings that the government opened,” the message from the Syrian army said. Three crossings will open on Monday, and transportation and medical help will be made available, the message continued, while army units would soon be coming to “cleanse” the area. Read more 
12.01.20 Russians Fighting In Libya Do Not Represent The State, Putin Says
The Moscow Times
Russian President Vladimir Putin, asked on Saturday whether mercenaries known as the Wagner Group were fighting in Libya, said that if there are Russians in Libya, they are not representing the Russian state, nor are they paid by the state. Russian President Vladimir Putin, asked on Saturday whether mercenaries known as the Wagner Group were fighting in Libya, said that if there are Russians in Libya, they are not representing the Russian state, nor are they paid by the state. Read more 
12.01.20 Angela Merkel And Vladimir Putin Agree To Fight To Save Iran Nuclear Deal
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin agreed on Saturday to fight to save the Iran nuclear deal after meeting in Moscow amid escalating tensions in the Middle East. The German Chancellor said “everything must be done” to keep the agreement, despite calls from US President Donald Trump to abandon it, while her Russian counterpart described the deal as “tremendously important.” Read more 
12.01.20 Has Russia’s Pivot To Asia Worked?
The Diplomat
Following the eruption of the Ukraine crisis, the Asia-Pacific was reticent to join Western sanctions on Russia. Maintaining a delicate balancing act, no Asian countries aligned with Washington’s punitive measures. Japan begrudgingly joined, but imposed only symbolic sanctions. Asia’s non-alignment became particularly instrumental for Moscow’s adaptation to Western sanctions. Initially, the pivot to Asia was envisioned as a short-term tactical measure designed to buy valuable time to develop homegrown analogues. Read more 
10.01.20 Germany, Russia See Goals Align Amid Tension In Middle East
Deutsche Welle
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's working visit to Moscow couldn't come at a more dramatic time. This week alone Iran and the US attacked each other on Iraqi soil, Iran left an international nuclear deal and Turkey sent troops to Libya. Certainly reason enough for Russian President Vladimir Putin to invite Merkel to the Kremlin for a Saturday meeting. Conflict between Iran and the US will top the meeting's agenda and Merkel and Putin will also discuss Libya, Syria and Ukraine, spokespeople for both leaders said. Germany and Russia have traditionally had deep economic ties and, among NATO and European leaders, Merkel has been a welcome guest in Moscow. Read more 
10.01.20 Russia Announces Ceasefire Deal With Turkey In Syria's Idlib
Russia and Turkey have announced a ceasefire in Syria's Idlib province, paving the way for a pause in continuing government-led bombardment in the country's last rebel-held stronghold, while allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid. "According to the agreements with the Turkish side, the ceasefire regime was introduced in the Idlib de-escalation zone starting from 14:00 Moscow time (11:00 GMT) on January 9, 2020," Russian Major-General Yury Borenkov was quoted as saying. Read more 
10.01.20 Putin Moves To Heighten Russia’s Role After Suleimani Killing
Foreign Policy
Since its pivotal intervention in the Syrian civil war in 2015, Russia has sought to position itself as a major player in the Middle East, establishing itself as a rare broker that is on good terms with all of the region’s feuding powers. Now Moscow has a fresh chance to solidify that reputation. Russian President Vladimir Putin will look to boost his country’s standing in the Middle East following the Trump administration’s decision to assassinate the Iranian military leader Qassem Suleimani last week and Iran’s missile attack against U.S. air bases in Iraq on Tuesday, which have roiled the Middle East and pushed Iran and the United States to the brink of war. Read more 
10.01.20 Russian Hackers And Trolls Grow Stealthier In 2020
The New York Times
The National Security Agency and its British counterpart issued an unusual warning in October: The Russians were back and growing stealthier. Groups linked to Russia’s intelligence agencies, they noted, had recently been uncovered boring into the network of an elite Iranian hacking unit and attacking governments and private companies in the Middle East and Britain — hoping Tehran would be blamed for the havoc. Read more 
09.01.20 How Young Russians View The Only Leader They’ve Ever Known
Financial Times
Alexander Khazbiyev was just five years old when Vladimir Putin was first sworn in as Russia’s president. The private ceremony at the start of the new ­millennium signalled the rise of the former spy from nervous newcomer to global prominence. In May 2018, Alexander — then 24 — was in the ­audience at the president’s most recent inauguration, a glitzy, televised ceremony in the Grand Kremlin Palace to mark the beginning of Putin’s fourth term in office. Read more 
09.01.20 Russia And Turkey Make Joint Call For Cease-Fire In Libya
The New York Times
Russia and Turkey have called for a cease-fire in Libya to begin this weekend, stepping in on Wednesday to try to resolve a conflict that Western powers and the United Nations have struggled to end. Analysts say the Russians and Turks are seeking to exploit a diplomatic void left by Europe’s failure to end the fighting in Libya. A German-led effort to hold an international conference on Libya has come to nothing, and the United Nations Security Council has not called for a cease-fire. Read more 
09.01.20 How Russian Oil Has The Most To Gain From Iran-U.S. Crisis
Probably one of the most far-reaching effects of an escalation of the U.S.-Iran conflict could be a shutdown of oil tanker traffic via the Strait of Hormuz by Iran. Though unlikely—given the severity of the consequences—such a move would push international oil markets into considerable turmoil, since approximately 21 percent of globally consumed petroleum passes through the strait. Russia could become a crucial market stabilizer deriving significant financial, strategic, and diplomatic benefits. Read more 
09.01.20 Russia Orders Mideast Safety Check After Iran Plane Crash, Missile Strikes
The Moscow Times
Russia’s prime minister has ordered an inspection of flight and tourism safety in the Middle East following an Iranian missile strike in Iraq and a fatal plane crash in Tehran, Interfax reported Wednesday. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s order comes in response to a Ukrainian airliner crashing shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board. The instructions also come after Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of a top Iranian general. Read more 
09.01.20 Russia’s Role In Syria Is Changing
The Moscow Times
This year could bring challenges for Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict, despite it having been at the forefront of efforts to resolve the crisis in the past. With the regime in Syria becoming less likely to undergo a reshuffle and Iran reaping the benefits of its wide-scale involvement, Moscow might face difficulties in promoting its vision of a political settlement, while competition with Tehran could become more evident. Read more 
08.01.20 Russian Orthodox Leader Rails Against ‘Foreign’ Domestic Violence Law
The Moscow Times
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has accused lawmakers who seek to re-criminalize domestic abuse of “borrowing” the draft law, as well as the concept of domestic violence, from abroad. Russia scrapped criminal punishments for first-time domestic abuse offenses in 2017. A series of high-profile murder and domestic violence cases has pushed lawmakers to begin work toward overturning that decision last fall, but the new law’s progress has faced several delays. Read more 
08.01.20 Putin Makes Surprise Visit To Syria
Deutsche Welle
Russian President Vladimir Putin made an unannounced visit to Damascus on Tuesday and met with President Bashar Assad and other top officials. It is only Putin's second visit to Syria, where Russian troops have helped government forces take back large swaths of the country from various rebel factions since 2015. "In his conversation with Assad, Putin noted that we can now say with confidence that a huge distance has been traveled towards restoring Syrian statehood and the country's territorial integrity," Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying. Read more 
08.01.20 Russian Baby Left On Balcony Freezes To Death
BBC News
Russian investigators have opened a criminal inquiry after a baby was placed on a balcony by his parents and froze to death, officials say. The seven-month-old boy, who was in a buggy at the time, was exposed to temperatures of -7C for five hours in the far-eastern Khabarovsk region. He was placed on the balcony to sleep in the fresh air, local media report. The region's health ministry later advised people not to leave young children outside unattended. Read more 
08.01.20 Russia Opens Natural Gas Link To Turkey Amid U.S. Opposition
Russia is poised to send the first natural gas through its TurkStream pipeline, further diversifying export routes to Europe amid a backlash from the U.S. President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Istanbul on Wednesday to inaugurate the dual gas line. TurkStream will carry Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey and supply southeast Europe once fully operational, just as U.S. sanctions stall another gas-export project. Read more 
07.01.20 Why China Won’t Join Any Iran-Russia Coalition Against Trump
Beijing’s muted response to the U.S.’s killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani suggests China still isn’t ready to join Russia in taking a more direct role in the Middle East’s entrenched conflicts. While Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China was “highly concerned” by the action and called it “unacceptable,” he didn’t use words like “condemn” or “denounce” like his Iranian and Russian counterparts, Javad Zarif and Sergei Lavrov. Instead, he told Zarif that China would “play a constructive role” to help safeguard regional security and said on a call with Lavrov that “all parties” must uphold international law. Read more 
07.01.20 Gas Deal With Ukraine Is A Boon For Russia
The partial restoration of relations between Russia and Ukraine over the past few weeks will not end the conflict in eastern Ukraine or lead to Russia returning the annexed territory of Crimea. But in energy terms the deal agreed last week is important for both countries, and potentially a significant success for Russian premier Vladimir Putin. The agreement includes a new five-year contract for gas to be traded between Russia and central Europe via the existing lines running through Ukraine. The volumes involved start at 65bn cubic metres in 2020 and then fall to 40 bcm a year. The prospect of a further deal is left open. Read more 
07.01.20 Russia Says Election Of New Parliament Leader In Venezuela Was Democratic
Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday the election of a new parliament leader in Venezuela was a result of a democratic procedure. Venezuela's socialist government installed a new head of Congress on Sunday after armed troops blocked opposition legislators from entering parliament, in a move condemned by dozens of nations as an assault on democracy. "We consider the election of the new leadership of parliament to be the result of a legitimate democratic procedure conducive to the return of the Venezuelan political struggle to the constitutional field," the Russian ministry said. Read more 
06.01.20 Russia Is Once Again Rewriting History
Financial Times
In 1987 the Soviet Union and Poland took the unusual step of setting up a commission for the study of “blank spots” in their common history — that is to say, sensitive events banned from public discussion or falsified for ideological purposes. The initiative was kept under the supervision of each country’s communist establishment. Still, it was the first tentative official acknowledgment that not just historical events but also decades of silence and lies surrounding them had undermined trust between the two countries. More than 30 years on, the manipulation of history for political ends is returning with a vengeance. Read more 
06.01.20 Russia Announces Plan To ‘use The Advantages’ Of Climate Change
The Guardian
Russia has published a plan to adapt its economy and population to climate change, aiming to mitigate damage but also “use the advantages” of warmer temperatures. The document, published on the government’s website on Saturday, outlines a plan of action and acknowledges changes to the climate are having a “prominent and increasing effect” on socioeconomic development, people’s lives, health and industry. Read more 
06.01.20 Russia's Hypersonic Hype May Not Match Reality
The Washington Times
The unwelcome “Christmas gift” for the Trump administration came not from North Korea, but Russia. Officials in Moscow announced late last month that the country’s military had deployed in the Ural region the first regiment of Avangard “hypersonic” glide vehicles. The Kremlin announced the deployment just days after the chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, revealed that the Kinzhal hypersonic missile had been fired “at training grounds located in various climatic conditions, including in the Arctic.” He said a network of airports was being developed across the country to expand the geographical scope of this missile complex. Read more 
06.01.20 Russia Begins TurkStream Gas Flows To Greece, North Macedonia
Russia has started European gas deliveries through the new TurkStream pipeline to Turkey, Bulgaria's Bulgartransgaz said on Sunday, as Moscow looks to reduce shipments via Ukraine. Russia is building TurkStream and doubling the capacity of NordStream across the Baltic Sea to Germany as part of plans to bypass Ukraine in its gas deliveries to Europe. Read more 
06.01.20 Russia To Destroy Two Of Its Most Powerful Strategic Nuclear Missiles In 2020
Russia Today
Russia is set to dismantle two of its Soviet-era intercontinental ballistic missiles – still considered the most powerful in the world – this year. The R-36M2 ICBMs are commonly known under the NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan. Two missiles, currently stored at a military compound in Russia’s Urals, are set to be destroyed by the end of November, Interfax reported citing a contract for their dismantling. The missiles – which have a dry weight of 52 tons – will be dismantled for scrap, since they contain quite a cache of valuable materials. Read more 
04.01.20 Russia Says Iran General’s Killing ‘Illegal’
Russia was never going to like this. But when a mob of angry Iranians try storming a U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, it’s not much different than doing so here at home, as Embassy’s are the symbol of the country’s home abroad. The death of Iranian general Kassem Soleimani by air strike in the area of ​​Baghdad airport on Thursday in retaliation for another attack by the U.S. was met with the usual increase in oil prices, Tehran threats of retaliation, and fears of things spinning out of control by everyone, especially countries who consider Iran an ally. Read more 
04.01.20 Russia Turns Off Oil Taps Supplying Belarus
Russia has halted oil supplies to refineries in Belarus, the Belarusian state energy firm said on Friday, amid a new contract dispute that is also threatening large Russian oil deliveries to Western Europe crossing the country. Europe receives about 10 percent of its oil via the transit link, known as the Druzhba pipeline, which can supply more than one million barrels per day to countries including Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Read more 
04.01.20 Russian Stuntman Recreates James Bond's 'corkscrew' Bridge Jump
The Daily Mail
This is the amazing moment a stuntman recreated the famous 'corkscrew' bridge jump featured in the 1974 James Bond classic The Man with the Golden Gun in an old Russian car. Evgeniy Chebotarev, from the village of Gluboky in Rostov Oblast, Russia, taught himself how to perform movie stunts and is known simply by his surname ‘Chebotaev’. Footage shows the Russian native, wearing a helmet, storming along a dirt track in his Lada car. Read more 
04.01.20 Will Russia Enforce Its New Internet Laws In 2020?
The Moscow Times
It’s been two months since Russia passed the sovereign internet law giving it the right to cut Runet — the Russian part of the internet — off from the rest of the online world. Not much has changed, despite fears that the new legislation would usher in an era of strict control. Experts say the Russian legal and administrative systems contains enough loopholes and delays to ensure that other controversial laws coming into full force in 2020 will also have little effect. Read more 
04.01.20 Russia Responds To Track And Field Doping Forgery Charges
Washington Post
Russia has responded to charges that leading track officials in the country helped forge documents to give an athlete an alibi for missing doping tests, the Athletics Integrity Unit said Friday. The AIU, which oversees disciplinary issues in track and field, said it received the response on Thursday. The AIU had given Russia an extension from the original deadline of Dec. 12 in the case, which has already led to the resignation of the national track federation’s president and could impact the country’s ability to compete in the sport at the Olympics in Tokyo. Read more 
03.01.20 U.S. Ambassador Joins Row Between Poland And Russia Over WWIII
The U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, in a tweet addressed to “Dear President Putin,” argued that “Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII.” The Russian embassy in Warsaw hit back, asking Mosbacher “do you really think that you know about history any more than you do about diplomacy?” The goodwill between east and west that followed the end of WWII was short lived. In Churchill’s famous phrase, an “iron curtain” soon descended, separating those parts of Europe under communist rule from the rest of the continent. The Cold War followed, ending only with the collapse of communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Read more 
03.01.20 Russia’s Oil Output Hits Post-Soviet High Despite OPEC+ Deal
Russia’s crude oil and condensate output hit a post-Soviet high last year even as it curbed production under an agreement with OPEC. The 11th consecutive year of output growth underscores the reality of Russia’s cooperation with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Despite being one of the architects of the original 2016 deal, Moscow has a poor record of fulfilling its pledged production cuts and has come under pressure from its allies to do better. Read more 
03.01.20 Why Is Russia In Syria?
The American Interest
Russia recently announced that it will spend $500 million to fix and update the commercial port of Tartus in Syria. In 2017 Moscow had renewed its lease over the port, signing an agreement with Damascus in a clear show of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Given Russia’s economic weakness—and long land borders—why is Moscow so focused on Syria and in particular on having a naval footprint there? There are three related answers to these questions. Read more 
02.01.20 Russia In 2020: Where Are All The Foreign Banks?
The Moscow Times
Russian bankers ended 2019 as the most pessimistic executives in the Russian corporate world, a recent survey of Russia’s top firms, found. With inflation and interest rates coming down, Russia’s businesses in little need of corporate loans, and new regulations to tighten the consumer loan market coming into force — more than one in every three financial institutions told Deloitte they were not looking forward to what the future has in store. Read more 
02.01.20 Russia To Launch Stock Exchange For Sanctioned Companies
Russia Today
Companies targeted by Western sanctions will have an opportunity to list their bonds, as Russia plans to create a special stock exchange in 2020 to bolster its national capital markets. The launch was initially scheduled for December but was then postponed to January, according to Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev. The official explained that the ministry needed more time to finish the platform. Read more 
01.01.20 Russia Fills The Void In Cuba Left By Tougher US Embargo
Financial Times
The restoration of a near-replica of Washington’s Capitol building in central Havana symbolised the recent brief period of detente with the US. But the artisans decorating its golden dome were Russian rather than American, and the guest of honour at the inauguration came from the Kremlin rather than the White House. The decision to renovate and once more use the “Capitolio” building as the seat of government came years ago as secret talks with the Obama administration got under way. It signalled the readiness of Raúl Castro, then Cuba’s president, to move on from the most bitter moments of the conflict with the US. Read more 
01.01.20 Russia’s ‘Silicon Valley’ To Mark 10-year Anniversary With New Projects
Russia Today
Russia’s Skolkovo innovation center, which is marking 10 years since its founding, has ambitious plans for 2020 and beyond to continue promoting technology and helping small innovative startups grow into profitable companies Skolkovo Technopark was built from scratch almost a decade ago to create a platform for research and innovation in key spheres such as energy, IT, space, biomedicine, and nuclear technology. Now the complex has facilities spread around 800,000 square meters and hosts around 500 startups, while there are an additional 1,500 enterprises beyond its campus. Skolkovo hosts around 50 research centers employing more than 15,000 people. Read more 
31.12.19 Two Terrorism Suspects Jailed In Russia After US Tip
Police arrested two terrorism suspects in Russia after a US tip about a possible terrorist attack in St. Petersburg. On Monday, a court ordered the detention of the two men, identified as Nikita Semyonov and Georgy Chernyshev, who had sworn their allegiance to the IS in a video. Both suspects will remain in detention pending their trial. The Federal Security Service (FSB), the main KGB successor agency, said in a statement that the suspects detained on Friday confessed to plotting the attacks. It added that it also seized materials proving their guilt. Read more 
31.12.19 Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap Draws Criticism
Voice of America
Criticism mounted in Kyiv Monday over a controversial prisoner swap with Russian-backed separatists, as it emerged that among the captives exchanged by Ukraine were five riot policemen accused of killing protesters during the 2014 Maidan uprising. The policemen were members of a Berkut militia unit that is now disbanded. Relatives of those killed during the uprising had urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy not to include the policemen in the exchange. After the handover, which took place Sunday, the Ukrainian leader defended his decision, saying it was necessary in order for Ukraine to secure the return of several of its reconnaissance soldiers. Read more 
31.12.19 MPs Floated 'farcical' Idea Of Russia Joining Nato
BBC News
UK officials suggested inviting Russia to join Nato to "integrate" it into the West after the end of the Cold War, newly released secret documents show. The Ministry of Defence floated the idea of Russia becoming an "associate member" of the alliance in 1995, with the right to attend meetings but with no guarantees when it came to security. The proposal was dismissed at a top-level meeting at Chequers that January. According to minutes of the meeting, the plan was seen as "farcical". Read more 
31.12.19 Russia, Ukraine Sign Gas Transit Deal Ahead Of Deadline
Deutsche Welle
Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom have signed a deal that will keep natural gas flowing to Western Europe. The accord builds on a number of diplomatic steps this month between Moscow and Kyiv. Russian and Ukrainian gas companies have reached a deal to ensure the flow of Russian natural gas through Ukraine to Europe for the next five years, the two sides said Monday. Ukraine is set to collect more than $7 billion (?6.25 billion) in gas transit fees by 2024 under the new deal with Gazprom, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday evening. Read more 
31.12.19 Russia Warns EU Over Crumbling Iran Nuclear Deal
Iran's nuclear deal with world powers is in danger of “falling apart" without the compliance of the United States and the European Union, Russia's foreign minister warned Monday after meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Moscow. The 2015 deal between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. The U.S. withdrew from the accord last year and imposed crippling economic sanctions that block Iran from selling crude oil abroad. Read more 
30.12.19 Putin Thanks Trump For Helping Russia Thwart Terrorist Attack
The New York Times
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called President Trump on Sunday to thank him for a tip from American intelligence agencies that helped prevent a terrorist attack in Russia, the Kremlin said in a statement. The announcement offered no details about what information the United States had passed along. But the Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the K.G.B., told Russian media it had detained two suspects preparing an attack on a crowded location in the northern city of St. Petersburg on New Year’s Eve. Read more 
30.12.19 Ukraine And Pro-Russian Separatists Exchange Prisoners
BBC News
Pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine have concluded a long-awaited prisoner exchange of 200 prisoners, the office of the Ukrainian president said. Ukraine's government received 76 captives, with the pro-Russian separatists reportedly taking 124. Russian and Ukrainian authorities agreed to the swap - which is aimed at improving ties - at talks in December. Read more 
30.12.19 Dozens In Belarus Rally Against Closer Relations With Russia
Voice of America
Around 100 Belarusians protested in downtown Minsk Sunday against the prospect of deeper relations with Russia, the fifth such demonstration in the past month. The protesters held a noontime march from October Square to Independence Square and formed a human chain near the main post office. Uniformed police were deployed but did not intervene against the demonstrators. A previous demonstration in December saw multiple arrests. Read more 
30.12.19 Russia’s Richest Man Gains $8.5 Billion Leading Wealth Rebound
It has been a very good year for Russia’s richest, despite the threat of heightened sanctions against the country. The 23 titans on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index added $52.9 billion to their fortunes in 2019, the most in four years, and a rebound after a decline the prior year. Metal magnate Vladimir Potanin, 58, led the group with an $8.5 billion gain. Currencies, stocks and bonds rallied in 2019 as the Federal Reserve led global central banks in lowering rates to support flagging growth. Read more 
29.12.19 Detained For A Year, American Languishes In Russian Prison
The New York Times
An American tourist accused of espionage has been jailed in Russia for more than a year as his family members and lawmakers seek to step up pressure for his release. The family of the American, Paul N. Whelan, says the Russian government is holding him in the hope of increasing his value in a potential trade for Russians imprisoned in the United States. Relatives are now calling on Congress to penalize Moscow for its detention of Mr. Whelan, who was arrested last year while visiting Russia for a wedding. Read more 
29.12.19 China And Russia Plan To Boost Scientific Cooperation
South China Morning Post
China and Russia are moving to expand their scientific collaboration after promising to work on developing information technology, artificial intelligence and other strategic areas. With Moscow still under US and European economic sanctions imposed following its annexation of Crimea in 2014, and Beijing facing increasing Western concern about its tech industry, the two countries have promised to make next year a focus for science and innovation. Read more 
29.12.19 Russia’s Population May Drop By 12M In 15 Years
The Moscow Times
Russia’s population could drop by more than 12 million by 2035, the national statistics office said in its annual forecast published Friday. Russia’s overall population dropped for the first time in a decade last year, totaling 146.8 million as migration inflows hit record lows. It totaled 146.7 million so far in 2019, the State Statistics Service Rosstat said this month, as Russia experienced its highest natural population decline in 11 years. Read more 
29.12.19 Protesters In Turkey Denounce Russia Over Idlib Assault
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the Russian consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Saturday to protest the intensifying Russian and Syrian government attacks on Syria's last rebel-held province of Idlib. The demonstrators, mostly Syrians living in Turkey, gathered close to the Russian consulate in downtown Istanbul to "show the world that Russia is complicit" in the killing of civilians in Syria's northern Idlib region, according to Mohammed Kreimesh, a protest organiser. Read more 
29.12.19 Poland Summons Russian Ambassador Over WWII Spat
Deutsche Welle
After Vladimir Putin slammed Polish envoy to Nazi Germany as an "anti-Semitic pig," Poland summoned Russia's ambassador. The nations dispute the role of Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of non-aggression in the lead-up to WWII. The Polish authorities protested "historical insinuations" made by top Kremlin officials by summoning Russian ambassador to Warsaw, Sergey Andreyev. Warsaw and Moscow have been trading verbal blows about the 1939 non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Read more 
28.12.19 Russia Deploys First Hypersonic Avangard ICBM Missile
The Moscow Times
Russia’s military has deployed its first Avangard hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was cited as telling President Vladimir Putin on Friday. Putin, who said the nuclear-capable weapon would be deployed by late 2019, has touted the Avangard’s ability to evade U.S. missile defense systems. Russia said it showed the missile system to U.S. inspectors last month as part of a bilateral arms control treaty ahead of its deployment. Read more 
28.12.19 China, Russia And Iran Hold Joint Naval Drills In Gulf Of Oman
China, Russia and Iran began a four-day joint military exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman on Friday amid ongoing friction in the economically important region between Tehran and Washington. The Gulf of Oman has been a focal point of geopolitical tensions in 2019, after two oil tankers were attacked in the narrow strait in June by an unidentified party. The US blamed Iran for the attack but Tehran denied the allegations. Read more 
28.12.19 Russia Is Dominating The Arctic, But It's Not Looking To Fight Over It
While the world focuses on trade wars and shifting geopolitical dynamics, Russia has been quietly expanding its own political, economic and military influence in a lesser-watched space: the Arctic. Russia certainly feels at home with the Arctic, and vice versa; Russia's coastline accounts for 53% of Arctic Ocean coastline and the country's population in the region totals roughly 2 million people — that's around half of the people living in the Arctic worldwide, according to the Arctic Institute, a center for circumpolar security studies. Read more 
28.12.19 Russia And Ukraine Drop Mutual Gas Claims Worth Millions
The Telegraph
The gas companies of Ukraine and Russia have agreed to drop all financial claims worth billions of pounds against each other in the latest rapprochement between the two nations bitterly divided by a separatist conflict. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview broadcast on Russian state television on Friday that the two countries are withdrawing all of their lawsuits against each other after they agreed on a gas transit deal last week. Read more 
28.12.19 Russia Rejects Extending Iran Arms Embargo, Defying U.S.
Russia, seeing prospects for multi-billion dollar deals, ruled out extending a United Nations-approved arms embargo on Iran that expires in October next year, despite U.S. warnings that lifting the restrictions will jeopardize global security. "We’re not ready to do the bidding of our American colleagues,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency in an interview published Friday. Read more 
27.12.19 Russian Policemen Jailed For Gang Raping Junior Colleague
The Moscow Times
A Russian court sentenced three high-ranking police officers on Thursday to six and seven years in prison for raping a young colleague last year. The three men were charged with attacking and raping their 23-year-old victim after drinking alcohol with her at a police office in October 2018. The Kirov District Court in Ufa found district police chiefs Eduard Matveyev and Salat Galiyev, and the head of a district migration department Pavel Yaromchuk, guilty of rape and sexual violence. Read more 
27.12.19 Russia Agents Raid Alexei Navalny Offices With Power Tools
BBC News
Russian security forces have raided the premises of opposition leader Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, taking laptops and other equipment. CCTV video posted online shows sparks flying as the door is forced open. Mr Navalny linked the raid to his refusal to comply with a court order to delete a 2017 online film accusing Russia's prime minister of corruption. The 43-year-old opposition leader says he was dragged out of the office, but he was not detained. Read more 
27.12.19 Russia Takes Over Third U.S. Base In Syria
The Moscow Times
Russian military police have taken over another base that was recently abandoned by the United States in northern Syria, the state-run TASS news agency reported Thursday. U.S. troops reportedly held the former school building as a base north of Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State terrorist group, until “days ago.” Russian television showed soldiers hoisting the national flag on its rooftop and armored vehicles assembling nearby. Read more 
27.12.19 Why Vladimir Putin Is Angry At Poland
BBC News
As top Russian officials were summing up the results of 2019, one subject stood out in President Vladimir Putin's pronouncements: Poland and its role in World War Two. Over the past seven days, he mentioned it no fewer than five times at key meetings - some of which had little to do with history or even foreign policy. In an unusual outburst at a Defence Ministry board on 24 December, he described the Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany as "scum and an anti-Semite pig". Read more 
27.12.19 Russians Sober Up Under Health-conscious Vladimir Putin
Financial Times
Russian president Vladimir Putin has made a healthy lifestyle a major part of his public relations image, in stark contrast to predecessor Boris Yeltsin’s infamous penchant for the bottle. The latter’s televised drinking, singing and dancing, and slurred speeches came to symbolise Russia’s inebriated decade after the fall of the Soviet Union. “Our leader is completely compliant with a healthy way of life. He plays sports, he shows as a role model how to work hard but maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Veronika Skvortsova, the country’s health minister, who has led a pan-government crusade against the bottle. Read more 
26.12.19 Russia In 2020: Will The Economy Grow Faster?
The Moscow Times
How do you achieve fast growth, without compromising macroeconomic stability? That is the central dilemma which has faced Russian policymakers since 2014. When it came to making a choice between the two, stability won out nearly every time. Following the annexation of Crimea, provision of support for pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine and interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, Russia pulled itself — and others pushed it — away from the international economy. Read more 
26.12.19 Ukraine Opens Probe Into Russian Train On New Bridge To Crimea
Ukrainian officials have opened a criminal investigation after a passenger train from Russia arrived in Crimea via a new Russian-built bridge, arguing that the train illegally carried people across the Ukrainian border. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday inaugurated the railway bridge to Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. He said 14 million passengers and about 13 million tons of cargo are expected to move across the bridge next year. The train arrived in Sevastopol from St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city. Read more 
26.12.19 Russia Launches New 4th-gen Nuclear-powered Submarine
Russia Today
The advanced Yasen-M nuclear-powered submarine has been launched in Russia. The new ship, which is expected to join the Navy next year, is capable of carrying all existing Russian cruise missiles – and likely more. The launch ceremony was held at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia’s northwestern city of Severodvinsk on Wednesday. It comes just a few days after the shipyard marked its 80th anniversary – and an event such as this is the best way to mark the occasion, Deputy Director General of Sevmash Sergey Voronko said. Read more 
26.12.19 Russian Opposition Activist 'kidnapped' By Army
BBC News
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has condemned the forcible conscription of one of his allies to serve at a military base in the Arctic. Ruslan Shaveddinov was seized at his home in Moscow on Monday and flown 2,000km (1,240 miles) to the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Mr Navalny accused the authorities of kidnapping the activist who, he said, was exempt from military service. Read more 
26.12.19 Putin Says Russia Has Vessel To Build Nord Stream 2
President Vladimir Putin said Russia has a "pipe-laying vessel" to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, Kommersant daily reported citing unnamed sources on Thursday, following sanctions imposed by Washington. Putin spoke about the vessel to a gathering of Russian top businessmen late on Wednesday, Kommersant reported. He said, according to the newspaper, the completion of the project would be "stretched" by several months because of the sanctions. Read more 
25.12.19 Russian Journalist Fired After Asking Putin A Question At Presser
The Moscow Times
A Russian state journalist who asked President Vladimir Putin a question during his end-of-year press conference last week has been told to resign, the news website reported Monday, sparking speculation about the causes for her dismissal. At the press conference on Thursday, Alisa Yarovskaya, a Yamal-Region television channel correspondent, had asked Putin to help speed up construction of a bridge in her republic that would increase shipments to Russia’s Arctic. Read more 
25.12.19 In A Big Shift, Russians Take To The Streets Over Everyday Complaints
The Wall Street Journal
Russians are protesting over everything from garbage disposal to hospital closures, voicing grievances about deteriorating public services as President Vladimir Putin tries to manage an economy beset by falling oil prices and international sanctions. Over the last year alone, there have been hundreds of mass rallies, flash mobs and other demonstrations, a marked shift from less than a decade ago when publicly challenging authority over social concerns would have been nearly unthinkable for average people. Read more 
25.12.19 Russia Extends Detention Of American Accused Of Spying
Voice of America
A Russian court on Tuesday extended the pre-trial detention of an American being held on espionage charges. Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, has been jailed in Russia since he was arrested at a Moscow hotel on December 28 last year. The Moscow court extended his detention until March 29, 2020 but did not clarify why it was doing so. Read more 
25.12.19 Turkey Presses Russia For New Truce In Syria's Idlib: Official
Turkey said on Tuesday it was talking to Russia with the aim of reaching a new ceasefire after increased bombardment in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. "We are closely following the process for an end to the attacks, and these attacks should come to an end immediately and implemented under a new ceasefire," Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told a televised news conference. "This is our main expectation from the Russian side." Read more 
25.12.19 Putin Says Russia Has Surpassed The U.S. In Hypersonic Weapons
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons. Speaking at a meeting with top military brass, Putin said that for the first time in history Russia is now leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons unlike in the past when it was catching up with the United States. Read more 
24.12.19 Putin Launches Direct Train Service To Crimea
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin launched Russia’s first direct train to Crimea on Monday, opening railway service along a now-completed $4 billion bridge that links continental Russia to the annexed peninsula. Dozens of Western countries targeted Russia with economic sanctions over its annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 following an unrecognized referendum. The bridge has sparked new sanctions and is widely seen as an attempt by Moscow to cement economic ties with the peninsula that was previously only accessible by ship or plane. Read more 
24.12.19 Putin’s Russia, Punching Above Its Weight, Keeps Adversaries Off Balance
The New York Times
Its economy, already smaller than Italy’s, may be sputtering but, two decades after a virtually unknown former K.G.B. spy took power in the Kremlin on Dec. 31, 1999, Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, have just had what could be their best year yet. The United States, an implacable foe during the Cold War but now presided over by a president determined to “get along with Russia,” is convulsed and distracted by impeachment; Britain, the other main pillar of a trans-Atlantic alliance that Mr. Putin has worked for years to undermine, is also turning inward and just voted for a government that vows to exit the European Union by the end of January. Read more 
24.12.19 Opinion: Germany's Policy On Russia — Silence Implies Consent
Deutsche Welle
German relations with Russia have reached a new political low point. But despite the murder of a Georgian citizen in Berlin, the German government and almost all German parties have got back to business as usual with great haste, as if nothing were amiss. As always, no one wants to alienate Putin unnecessarily, because he is needed in important areas of foreign policy — for example, in the Middle East, in eastern Ukraine and on the issue of nuclear weapons. At least, that is the generally accepted view, which is doubtless correct in itself. Read more 
24.12.19 Russia And China Deepen Ties With Amur River Bridge
Russia and China have finished building the first road bridge linking their two countries, Russian officials said on Friday, in the latest sign of warming relations. The bridge across the Amur River will connect the cities of Blagoveshchensk in Russia's far eastern region and Heihe in northeastern China and is intended to increase the volume of freight traffic and agricultural trade between the two countries. It is expected to open in the spring of 2020, said Russia's Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic. Read more 
24.12.19 Russia Cuts Off Its Internet, With Mixed Results
Russia yesterday completed a series of tests designed to make sure that its internet services could still work when isolated from the worldwide web. The tests, said to involve state-run institutions and security services, as well as all communications operators, message services and email providers, effectively turned Russia's internet, RuNet, into the largest intranet in the world. They follow the passing of a 'sovereign internet' bill in November that, amongst other things, requires internet providers to ensure that their networks can carry out 'centralized traffic control'. The tests reportedly examined the stability of communications, the security of cellular communications, including issues of protecting personal data and intercepting traffic, and the security of using the Internet of Things. Read more 
24.12.19 Russia’s Most Advanced Fighter Jet Crashes, Pilot Survives
Washington Post
Russian officials say a top-of-the-line fighter jet has crashed on a training mission but that its pilot bailed out safely. Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation said in a statement Tuesday that the Su-57 fighter came down during a training flight near Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the country’s far east. It said the plane’s pilot safely ejected and there was no damage on the ground. The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known. The Su-57, which made its maiden flight in 2010, is Russia’s most advanced fighter plane. It has stealth capability and carries sophisticated equipment and weapons. The twin-engine aircraft has been designed by the Sukhoi company to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. Read more 
23.12.19 Russia And Ukraine Agree To New Five-year Gas Deal. Here’s Who Won
Nord Stream 2 was supposed to be operational by the end of 2019, but complications postponed the project by a year, and now U.S. sanctions have delayed the pipeline indefinitely. European states have also insisted that Russia continue to transport gas through Ukraine, in accordance with antitrust laws. Finally, some experts have questioned the capacity of Nord Stream 2 — even once it’s finished — to transport the volumes of gas currently sent through Ukraine, especially at peak times of the year, when fuel demand spikes. Read more 
23.12.19 Russian Drivers Unveil Knockoff Of Elon Musk’s Cybertruck
The Moscow Times
Russian auto bloggers have refashioned a classic Soviet car into Tesla’s Cybertruck electric pickup and took it for a spin for the world to see. Motorists spotted the DIY contraption with a similar futuristic look and sharp angles on a northern Moscow highway Thursday. The fake Cybertruck belongs to a YouTube blog called “Pushka Garazh,” its founder confirmed to the Tjournal news website after internet users suggested the contraption was their idea. Read more 
23.12.19 Russia's Lavrov Reveals What He Likes The Most About Trump
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has revealed what qualities US President Donald Trump has that he finds admirable, delivering this insight during an interview that was partially aired on Russian TV on 22 December. When asked about his recent meeting with Trump, which took place during Lavrov’s visit to Washington DC earlier this month, the seasoned diplomat reminisced about how they met before, back in May 2017, and how the political opposition in the US apparently tried to make a spy scandal out of it, with Lavrov dismissing such speculations as rubbish. Read more 
23.12.19 How Putin Got A New Best Friend Forever In Africa
The Moscow Times
Alpha Conde of Guinea had a favor to ask Vladimir Putin when the two presidents met at the inaugural Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in October. While neither side has revealed exactly what was said, Conde has made no secret of his interest in finding a way to stay in power after his second — and legally last — term ends next October. Russia, on the other hand, is throwing its weight behind Conde’s undeclared campaign. That makes Guinea, holder of the world’s largest deposits of bauxite, a key raw material for making aluminum, the latest focus in a renewed tug-of-war among global powers for influence and profit across resource-rich Africa. Read more 
23.12.19 Russia To Design 6th-gen Long-range UNMANNED Strategic Bomber
Russia Today
Russia’s Aerospace Forces are undergoing a major overhaul, looking forward to welcome a 5th generation subsonic bomber into its fleet as well as a long-range bomber drone, to be developed in the next 20 years, the military said. Russia’s Aerospace Forces (VKS), which marked their 105th birthday on Monday, have been making rapid strides in an effort to upgrade the fleet of long-range bombers and develop new advanced aircraft, Lieutenant-General Sergey Kobylash, chief of Russia's Long-Range Aviation told Russian Moskovsky Komsomolets daily on Sunday. Read more 
23.12.19 Kremlin Calls Moscow Shooting Incident 'A Manifestation Of Madness'
The Moscow Times
The Kremlin on Monday called a Moscow shooting incident last week in which two officers of Russia's FSB security service were killed by a gunman "a manifestation of madness" of the kind faced by all countries from time to time. Russian investigators on Friday named the man who opened fire on the headquarters of the FSB security service in Moscow as Yevgeny Manyurov, a 39-year-old former security guard from just outside the capital. Manyurov killed one FSB employee outright and wounded five other people outside the agency's main building, the former headquarters of the Soviet-era KGB, on Thursday evening, before he was himself shot dead. Read more 
22.12.19 Nord Stream 2: Germany And Russia Decry US Sanctions
BBC News
Germany and Russia have reacted angrily to sanctions approved by US President Donald Trump on a gas pipeline between the two countries. The sanctions target firms building Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to increase gas exports to Germany. The US considers it a security risk. But Germany accused Washington of interfering in its internal affairs, while Russia and EU officials also criticised the sanctions. Read more 
22.12.19 Pompeo Slams UN Veto By Russia, China On Syria Aid
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Russia and China have "blood on their hands" after the two countries blocked a United Nations' Security Council resolution that would have extended cross-border humanitarian aid to 4 million Syrians for another year. "The Russian Federation's and China's veto yesterday of a Security Council resolution that allows for humanitarian aid to reach millions of Syrians is shameful," Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday. Read more 
22.12.19 Turkey, Russia To Inaugurate TurkStream Gas Pipeline In Jan
The presidents of Turkey and Russia will inaugurate on Jan. 8 the TurkStream gas pipeline, an ambitious project stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey onto Europe, but now facing U.S. economic sanctions. The Kremlin has announced that President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey to attend the launching ceremony of the project, and is expected to have talks in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Read more 
22.12.19 Moscow Wonders Where Winter Has Gone
Winters in Moscow usually look like something out of a picture book: the Russian capital is covered in snow, people go skiing, and temperatures are well below freezing. But this year things are different. For the past two weeks, temperatures in Moscow have easily topped four degrees Celsius and are expected to move as high as 7C next week -- compared to the normal average for December of around minus 6C. Read more 
22.12.19 Russian Markets Rally As Investors Look Past U.S. Sanctions
The Wall Street Journal
Russian markets have soared this year as the threat of U.S. sanctions has waned and investors have turned their attention to signs of an improving economy. Equities in Moscow are poised for their best annual performance in three years: The MOEX Russia Index, the main ruble-denominated stocks benchmark, has rallied over 27% so far, while the dollar-denominated RTS Index is up over 40%. The benchmarks have outstripped most other emerging markets and kept pace with the S&P 500. Read more 
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