Investment in oil and gas exploration may drop 10-15% in 2016

Gas Facility file photo

(Interfax – February 7, 2016) Investment in geological exploration for oil and gas in Russia may reduce 10-15% in 2016, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoy said in a program aired by the NTV television channel. “Investment in hydrocarbon [exploration] will reduce somewhere between 10% and 15%, somewhere between these two digits,” he said. The minister said that […]

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Who benefits and who loses from revocation of anti-Iranian sanctions

Iran Map and Flag

If Moscow plays its cards correctly, it will be able to strengthen its positions not only in Iran but also throughout the entire Middle East. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEVORG MIRZAYAN – January 29, 2016) The lifting of sanctions against Iran has generated an entire wave of speculation about the upcoming reformation of the Middle East. However, […]

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Russia Seeks To Drive Wedge Into Central Asia

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Bruce Pannier – January 5, 2016) Russia appears to be practicing a bit of “divide-and-conquer” politics in Central Asia, and state-owned Gazprom is spearheading the campaign. On January 4, Russia’s main news agencies quoted a “source” within Gazprom Export, the Gazprom wing charged with handling gas imports from other countries, saying Russia would not be importing any […]

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Sino-Russian energy relations reversed: a new little brother

Asia Map

Don’t be fooled. Russia’s growing ties to China may not be what they seem. (opendemocracy.net – Morena Skalamera – December 22, 2015) Morena Skalamera is a post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University, where she researches the geopolitics of energy and European-Russian energy co-operation. In the year since Russia and China signed a landmark $400bn natural gas pact in […]

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Russia won’t turn off gas to Ukraine and risk transit to EU – energy minister

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(Interfax – Vladivostok, December 5, 2015) Russia will in no circumstances turn off the gas supply to Ukraine and place the transit of gas to Europe at risk, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has said. He said this in an interview with Vesti on Saturday with Sergey Brilyev, which was broadcast in the [Russian] far east. “Ukraine is receiving gas […]

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Downing of Russian Plane has Serious Consequences for Putin at Home, in Central Asia, and in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 25, 2015) The shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkish forces after Kremlin ignored repeated warnings from Ankara not to violate Turkey’s airspace not only increases the risks of a clash between Russia and the West but has serious consequences for Putin at home, in Central Asia and the […]

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Gazprom’s Miller Tops Russia’s Best Paid Executive List With $27 Million

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2015) Russia’s highest-paid executive last year with earnings of $27 million was Alexei Miller, the head of natural gas producer Gazprom, according to a ranking published by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine on Thursday that showed a sharp fall in the incomes of many of Russia’s top corporate bosses. Miller, 53, bucked […]

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G20 summit in Turkey: What were the 4 major events for Russia?

Turkey map

Following the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey on Nov. 15-16, RBTH presents an overview of the four most interesting events and statements concerning Russia made at the meeting of world leaders. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – November 17, 2015) 1. Unplanned meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents Russian President Vladimir Putin and his […]

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Energy Sector Accounts for 98% of Russian Corporate Profits

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – September 25, 2015) Oil and gas companies earned 98 percent of all profits made by large Russian firms last year, a new ranking showed, making a mockery of attempts to wean Russia off its reliance on energy exports. A list by the RBC news agency of the biggest 500 Russian companies – […]

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Winter freeze looms as “transit-less” Ukraine scrabbles for Russian gas

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – September 14, 2015) With the approach of winter, the government in Kyiv is trying to muster funds to stockpile Russian natural gas ahead of the heating season and secure an affordable gas purchase price under a new “winter package”. Meanwhile, one of its chief bargaining chips and money-earners seems […]

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RBTH: Russia waits on U.N. response over claim to extend Arctic borders

Arctic Map

After 14 years, Moscow is renewing an effort to claim a vast territory on the outer margin of the continental shelf abutting Russia’s land mass in the Arctic. What are the economic benefits of acquiring the legal rights to this underwater area and is Russia’s claim likely to be approved? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH […]

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Putin Flies to China Amid Economic Gloom

Asia Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – September 2, 2015) President Vladimir Putin will be one of the most noteworthy guests at Chinese celebrations to mark the end of World War II when he arrives in Beijing on Wednesday, even as fraying economic ties between the two giant countries undermine the Kremlin’s “pivot to the East.” The Russian delegation […]

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Foreign investors may get access to major deposits in Russia

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

If a foreign company in Russia repeats the recent success of Italian energy company in Egypt and discovers a strategic deposit on Russian territory, it will be able to develop that deposit. Experts expect the relevant amendments to the Russian legislation to attract investment in exploration. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Kuchma, RBTH – September 1, 2015) […]

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Washington ups the ante with sanctions on Gazprom

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RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TROIKA REPORT: Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev – August 20, 2015) 1. Engaging the West U.S. sanctions on Gazprom: Washington ups the ante The recent move by the U.S. administration to restrict […]

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Russia Rewrites Growth Blueprint as Recession Dooms Consumer

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 19, 2015) [Chart here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-19/russia-rewrites-blueprint-for-growth-as-recession-dooms-consumer] Russia’s consumer economy, powered for more than a decade by a $2.1 trillion energy windfall, is in agony. The situation is getting worse, according to data released Wednesday by the statistics office in Moscow. Wages adjusted for inflation plummeted 9.2 percent last month from a year earlier […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: Russia used to have a powerful weapon in its energy sector. Not anymore.

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The Washington Post assesses shifts in Russia’s position within the energy sector, and the impact upon Russian coercive pressure on the West. For years, Russia’s ability to choke off energy shipments any time tensions spiked with the West was a potent threat, one that could force much of Europe to shiver during the wintertime. But with energy prices swooning, the […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Bypassing Ukraine Will Be Costly for Russia’s Gazprom – Analysts

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Russia’s plans to drop Ukraine as a route for pumping natural gas to Europe will still leave state-run Gazprom facing about $1 billion in annual transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria for years to come, analysts and industry sources say.

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Are The E.U. And Asia Turning A Blind Eye To Russian Sanctions?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 8, 2015) In a previous article on Oilprice, I questioned whether western sanctions imposed on Russia were being regularly breached by E.U. and Asian companies, noting that sanctions only work if all countries unite behind them. In June, the Financial Times reported that only one year after being imposed, the sanctions are eroding. It […]

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Is Russia Ready To Make A Comeback?

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(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – July 6, 2015) As world markets nervously react to any news out of Greece, a sense of calm prevails in Russia. In short, a Greek sovereign default and exit from the euro zone is unlikely to inflict much damage on the Russian economy, already largely isolated from western financial markets. That’s not to say the […]

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RBTH: Why Gazprom became so flexible

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – July 6, 2015) Russia’s natural gas giant is planning to put three billion cubic meters of gas up for auction – yielding to pressure from European customers, experts say. It may also scrap plans to stop Ukrainian gas transits, reducing supply risks linked to the construction of a new […]

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Ukraine cancels gas supplies from Russia in pricing row

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 2, 2015) Ukraine suspended Russian natural gas purchases on July 1, citing its inability to secure from Gazprom a heavily discounted price for the third quarter of the year. Henceforth, the country’s state-owned monopoly Naftogaz will rely on supplies from the European Union, and claims that volumes bought from EU […]

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Russia-China pipeline to be largest infrastructure project in world – premier

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(Interfax – June 29, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has announced that the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, which is set to run from Russia to China, will be the world’s largest infrastructure project, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 29 June. Speaking at a ceremony dedicated to the start of construction of the Chinese part of the […]

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Russia gripes to WTO about EU gas market laws

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Iana Dreyer in Brussels – June 24, 2015) Russia has formally requested that a dispute settlement panel be established at the World Trade Organization to rule on its complaints against EU energy market laws. From a legal and geopoliticial perspective, this is perhaps one of the most interesting cases the WTO will have to […]

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Interfax: Russia basically contented with hydrocarbon prices, says Putin

Oil Wells File Photo

(Interfax – June 18, 2015) Current prices on the hydrocarbon market could stay at this level for the next one or two years; this affects the ruble exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and the euro, and the Russian government is contented with this, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s roughly clear how the hydrocarbon market is going to develop, […]

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Ukraine Seeks New Russia Gas Deal as Military Tensions Rise

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva – June 9, 2015) Ukraine needs to negotiate a new natural-gas deal with Russia just as the conflict between the two countries risks escalating again. A gas-price agreement with Russian exporter OAO Gazprom expires at the end of the month and Ukraine requires fuel to replenish stockpiles before the winter. At the same time, […]

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NEWSLINK Interfax-Ukraine: Gazprom: gas transit through Ukraine to end after 2019, come what may

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Gazprom has no plans to continue using Ukraine as a transit country for gas exports after 2019, Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told journalists. “When the transit contract with Ukraine expires, there will be no prolongation, no conclusion of a new transit agreement under any circumstances. In light of the economic, commercial, technological, investment and political risks for gas transit, there […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia’s Gazprom presses on with Turkey pipeline despite questions

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Russia’s Gazprom plans to start building a pipeline to Turkey this month to get gas to Europe without going through Ukraine, company sources said, although it has no firm agreement with Ankara and faces opposition from the European Union.

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Russian Gas: There Is No Alternative For Europe

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(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – May 17, 2015) The sanctions are now in their second year; the ruble is still not quite itself; and national champions Gazprom and Rosneft are both bracing for what can generously be called a down year. Still, while Russia’s political relationship with the west continues to be redefined, the broader element of codependence remains relatively […]

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A wakeup call for Gazprom

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Widely considered one of Russia’s most potent weapons, Gazprom’s financials show the slow erosion of its core business. (Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – May 19, 2015) As with almost every other major Russian company, 2014 was not a particularly good year for Gazprom. In fact, at first glance, the headline numbers were nothing short […]

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Russia Was Right: Shale in Europe Has Proved a Dud

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Mortkowitz Bauerova – May 11, 2015) When Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. opened an office in Poland in 2009, it had a reason to be optimistic: the shale boom was transforming the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of natural gas. To the companies rushing to imitate that success in Europe, Poland looked like the next Texas. […]

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Punitive Tax Regime Is Crushing Ukraine’s Oil And Gas Sector

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(Oilprice.com – Robert Bensh – May 6, 2015) Each country blessed with oil and gas discoveries initially tries to create a tax regime that maintains the balance between generating tax revenues from the extraction of these hydrocarbons while also encouraging investment. If the country gets too greedy and imposes an excessive tax burden, the inverse effect occurs – investors abandon […]

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Is Gazprom a “buy”?

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – May 7, 2015) [Chart here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/moscow-blog-gazprom-buy] With the RTS Index up 30% year-to-date, foreign investors are drifting back into Russian shares simply because they are so cheap. But is the bluest of Russian blue chips and long-time market proxy Gazprom a buy again? Russian investment bank Renaissance […]

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NEWSLINK AFP: Russia’s vast Arctic gas project aims to avoid Ukraine deep freeze

Arctic Map

Spread across the frozen whiteness of the Russian Arctic, the ambitious $27 billion Yamal gas megaproject aims to defy both the extreme temperatures and the Ukraine crisis impacting its funding. Some 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) northeast of Moscow, the Yamal site — a joint venture by Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total and China’s CNPC — is eventually meant be one of […]

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Is Gazprom’s changing export strategy a threat to Europe?

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – James Henderson – April 17, 2015) James Henderson is Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies The visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to Moscow in May to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II could also mark the next stage in Russia’s “pivot to Asia” if, as some […]

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Putin approves three-month extension of Ukraine’s gas discount

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 1, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a request by Gazprom to supply discounted natural gas to Ukraine for three more months on March 31, saying the arrangement would be reviewed later as oil prices changed. Ukraine in the first quarter of 2015 paid $329 per thousand cubic metres […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions

Oil Wells File Photo

[“U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions” – Reuters – Timothy Gardner – March 23, 2015] Reuters examines Western sanctions on Russia, including some of the remaining options for energy-related sanctions. Energy is the economic lifeblood of Russia, which vies with the United States and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s top oil producer …the sector is the main target of […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia may ease Ukraine’s gas terms, but Kiev must settle its bills

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Russia may ease the terms of its gas supplies to Ukraine, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Reuters, but he said that sooner or later Kiev would have to pay for the gas Moscow is supplying to rebel-held areas of east Ukraine. …

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Interfax: Kyiv must supply energy to Donetsk, Luhansk under Minsk accords – Putin

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Feb 25 (Interfax) – The central government in Kyiv must ensure energy supplies to Donetsk and Luhansk under the Minsk agreements, which were reflected in a resolution of the United Nations Security Council and have now become an international legal document, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “We mentioned the Minsk agreements which were not only signed in Minsk […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Gazprom throws down the gauntlet to Europe over gas supplies via Turkey

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – January 19, 2015) Russian gas giant Gazprom says Europe must build a new pipeline from Turkey if it wants to secure energy supplies via its new route that cuts out Ukraine. Russia had been intending to supply gas to Europe that bypassed Ukraine through South Stream, which was to […]

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Ukraine’s Effort to Cut Russian-Gas Reliance Sees Explorers Exit

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Bauerova – January 12, 2015) Ukraine’s ambition to wean itself off gas supplies from a hostile Russia has never seemed so distant. Foreign explorers that are key to Ukraine’s future energy independence are fleeing the nation as a war against pro-Moscow insurgents in eastern regions sends the economy into freefall. Even government measures aimed at shrinking […]

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Russia 2014 Gas Exports Seen Lowest in Decade as Nations Cut Use

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva – January 13, 2015) Russia, the world’s biggest natural-gas exporter, probably cut 2014 fuel exports to the lowest in a decade as consumption in Europe and Ukraine declined. OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the state-run gas-pipeline export monopoly, supplied no more than 195 billion cubic meters of fuel from Russia to the European Union, Turkey and […]

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What awaits Russia’s economy in 2015 after ruble collapse?

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Konstantin Korishchenko, special to RBTH – December 17, 2014) Konstantin Korishchenko is head of the stock market and financial engineering department at the Finance and Banking Faculty of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and a former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. As the Russian ruble plunges […]

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Shipping Chokepoint Strangles Ukraine Hopes for U.S. LNG

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Isis Almeida – December 4, 2014) Ukraine’s plan to diminish its energy dependence on Russia is adrift in the Bosporus Strait. The nation, which gets half its gas from Russia, wants to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Black Sea and held talks with Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG) to import U.S. cargoes. The only […]

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Putin’s Luck Runs Out

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 3, 2014) Vladimir Putin has been on quite a roll for about a year now. But December 1, 2014, just might turn out to be the day the tide finally turned against him. Ever since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March sparked the worst East-West showdown since the Cold War, Moscow has […]

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