RUSSIALINK: “Provision on criminal liability for complying with Western sanctions on Russian territory may be removed from bill – Volodin” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. July 10 (Interfax) – Russian MPs may remove the provision criminalizing compliance with Western anti-Russian sanctions in the country from a draft bill that is currently under consideration in the lower house of the Russian parliament, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said. “Everyone, including the business community, experts and deputies, have reached consensus on the second part of the […]

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Russia’s Finance Ministry Warns Of Another Price Collapse

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – July 9, 2018 – oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russias-Finance-Ministry-Warns-Of-Another-Price-Collapse.html) If prices remain at their current level, another collapse could be around the corner, the Russian Finance Ministry has warned in a report, cited by Sputnik. According to the report, the long-term equilibrium price level for crude oil is currently around US$50-60 a barrel, but actual prices are substantially higher […]

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U.S. And Russia To Dominate World’s Oil & Gas Pipeline Spending

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – June 28, 2018) The U.S. shale boom and the massive Russian expansion of natural gas pipelines will make the United States and Russia the dominant spenders on oil, petroleum products, and natural gas pipelines through 2022, data and analytics company GlobalData says in a new report. The other big spenders between 2018 and 2022 will […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia-Saudi Plans for Super-OPEC Could Reshape Global Oil Order” – Bloomberg/Will Kennedy, Elena Mazneva, Wael Mahdi

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

“… the group overseeing the so-called OPEC+ deal met last night [with] proceedings … dominated by … Saudi Arabia and Russia. … probably a snapshot of the oil market’s future.  Beyond … this week’s diplomatic efforts to agree to an increase in oil production, the more significant longer-term development may be moves to make Russia’s role in managing global supply […]

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Russia’s Oil Sector Is Facing A Massive Tax Overhaul

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – June 11, 2018) A major tax overhaul in Russia’s oil industry is about to start pressuring the earnings of major oil companies. Refiners will be hit hardest as the overhaul will increase the tax burden on downstream operations while the upstream sector will see taxes shift from production-based to profit-based. Last week, the Finance and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow prefers G20 to G8, has not asked to return – minister” – Interfax

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(Interfax – June 9, 2018) Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia has never asked to be readmitted to the G8, and considers the G20 group a more promising format for the future, Interfax news agency reported on 9 June. “We’ve never asked to come back,” Lavrov said on Russia’s state-owned Channel One TV, the report said, noting that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia woos a Europe feuding with U.S. over tariffs, Iran” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

EU Map

“The scene at [SPIEF:] … Putin … flanked by French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. * * * Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from the [EU] … and warned … U.S. sanctions might be imposed on European companies participating in […]

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Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tim Daiss – May 28, 2018) There’s been a lot of talk on both sides of the Atlantic about the U.S. pivot and efforts at locking in natural as market share in Europe. Much of this comes amid President Donald Trump’s so-called American energy independence push as well as both U.S. and several EU members thrust to wean […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “St. Petersburg International Economic Forum plenary session; Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the 22nd St Petersburg International Economic Forum [Excerpts]” – KremlinRu

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2018 – http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57556) Foreign heads of state and government, heads of major Russian and international companies and banks, leading experts and politicians from around the world were invited to the forum. Honorary SPIEF guests include French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. The plenary session participants also include IMF Managing Director Christine […]

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RUSSIALINK: “State Duma ready to heed opinion of businessmen opposed to penalizing compliance with U.S. sanctions in Russia – MP Zhukov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. May 25 (Interfax) – The Russian State Duma stands ready to heed the opinion of the business community that has voiced opposition to a bill that would make it a crime to comply with Western sanctions in Russian territory, the lower chamber’s First Deputy Chairman Alexander Zhukov said. “Yes, they have objections, especially as far as the first […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Flexes Its Soft Power Muscles; Extending output cuts deepens its role in global affairs” – Bloomberg/Julian Lee

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

“Oil has … [surpassed] $80 a barrel for the first time since November 2014. OPEC’s inventory target for output cuts has been met. … even though [Russian] oil companies want to turn on the taps and its finance ministry may be worried about prices rising too far, Russia won’t [end] its output deal with the group … when … participants […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kennan Cable No. 33: A Russian Pivot to Asia? Russian Trade with Asia from 2006 to 2016 [Excerpt]” – Kennan Institute/Michael Corbin

Asia Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Michael Corbin – May 18, 2018) Michael Corbin has nearly twenty years of experience in the international financial services and trade arena, the majority with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Finance and Insurance Industries. On August 22, 2012, the Russian Federation officially joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) after almost 18 years of […]

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Is Russia About To Abandon The OPEC Deal?

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – May 17, 2018) OPEC and Russia are meeting in a little more than a month to discuss the progress of their oil production deal and what’s next. On the face of things, there will be no surprises: every country taking part in the deal is still committed to the cuts until the end of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Definitive Story Of How Trump’s Team Worked The Trump Moscow Deal During The Campaign” – Buzzfeed

Donald Trump

“… Talks to construct the 100-story building continued …. The tower — a sheer, glass-encased obelisk situated on a river — would have soared above every other building in Moscow …. the sharply angled skyscraper would have climaxed in a diamond-shaped pinnacle emblazoned with the word “Trump,” putting his name atop the continent’s tallest structure. …”    

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Russian Duma Amends One Antisanctions Bill, Postpones Vote On Another

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – May 17, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-duma-amends-one-antisanctions-bill-postpones-vote-on-another/29232439.html) The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has amended and approved in its second reading a bill that provides for countermeasures against the United States and other countries that imposed sanctions against Russia. A third and final reading is […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kara-Murza Jr. to face criminal liability if Duma adopts law on punishment for sanctions – Isayev” – Interfax

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., deputy chairman of the movement Open Russia, may fall under the bill criminalizing actions leading to the introduction of foreign sanctions against Russia if the bill is adopted, Andrei Isayev, first deputy chairman of the United Russia faction, said. “Among the people I know who are doing it is Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ambassador Huntsman views strengthening of business ties as basis for improvement of Russian-U.S. relations” – Interfax

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) – Business ties between Russia and the United States should serve as the foundation for the improvement of bilateral relations, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said. “There of course remain profound disagreements between our governments on a number of policy issues, thankfully relations between our people, and that includes business relationships, remain strong. It is […]

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‘Not Their Business To Bomb Voronezh’: Russian Lawmakers Gut Sanctions Bill Targeting U.S.

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – May 11, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-sanctions-bill-gutted-bomb-voronezh/29221812.html) The phrase “bomb Voronezh” has become a staple of the Russian political lexicon, a reference to what Kremlin critics call Russia’s penchant for responding to Western sanctions with punitive measures that end up harming its own citizens. […]

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‘Thank You, Donald’ for Sending Oil Prices Up, Russian Commentator Says

Oil Wells File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 13, 2018) As a result of rising petroleum prices and projections that they will go even higher as result of instability in the Middle East, the Russian Federation is projected to earn five times as much from the sale of oil and gas this year than last and have a budget […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Over 400 companies, about 200 individuals in Russia fall under U.S. sanctions – Volodin” – Interfax

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) – The United States’ sanctions now apply to more than 400 Russian companies and about 200 individuals, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told reporters on Tuesday. “The U.S.’ sanctions are absolutely unfriendly. They’ve been applied to more than 400 legal entities and about 200 citizens of our country, and we should do everything we can to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “China plans to double trade with Russia to $200 billion by 2020” – Interfax

Asia Map

BEIJING. May 15 (Interfax) – China plans to double its trade with Russia to $200 billion by 2020, Deputy Director of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s Central Asia and Eastern Europe Department Liu Xuesun told Russian reporters in Beijing. “The trade turnover between China and Russia is due to reach $100 billion this year, which is quite an achievement,” Liu […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia to Soften Plan for Retaliation Against U.S. Sanctions” – Bloomberg/Stepan Kravchenko

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Russia’s parliament plans to adopt a bill on counter-measures to U.S. and European Union sanctions this month after softening the initial draft to remove language that had targeted specific sectors and products ranging from medication to aerospace. * * * … the Kremlin put the brakes on the plan, hoping to prevent another round of escalation in tensions with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Artificial limitations on trade, finance, must not be allowed, imbalances in global markets must be corrected – Putin” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – The 21st-century economy will be effective provided artificial limitations on multilateral trade, finance, manufacturing, or investment are not allowed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “A 21st-century economy that is effective, built on forward-thinking business models, and socially responsible, and that adheres to strict environmental standards and takes account of people’s real needs is something that […]

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Putin: Russia Looks To Get Free Of U.S. Dollar ‘Burden’ In Oil Trade

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – May 9, 2018) Russia is mulling over ways to ‘get free’ of the U.S. dollar burden in oil trade as part of a plan to boost its national economic sovereignty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Oil is traded in dollars on the exchange,” TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying. “Certainly, we are thinking about […]

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Europe Buys More Russian Gas Despite Strained Relations

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – May 8, 2018) The West-Russia relations have reached a new low since the Cold War amid the spy poisoning scandal in the UK, allegations of Russian meddling in elections, and fresh U.S. sanctions on Russia. Yet European countries continue to buy increased amounts of Russian gas, and Russia’s state-held gas giant Gazprom is boosting production […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Misplaced Fears Over Nord Stream 2; Nord Stream 2 provides another reliable route for transporting gas to Europe, nothing more, nothing less.” – The National Interest/Klaus Schäfer, Mario Mehren, Rainer Seele

Gas Flame file photo

“… The European gas market has … modernized and liberalized over the last decade. …. The Third Energy Package put in place a well-developed, intra-European framework of hubs that allows gas to flow freely in multiple directions from a variety of points of origin. … allow[ing] European consumers to buy gas from whomever they wish … [it] simply does not […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia in interesting times: increased risk bad; weaker ruble good” – bne Intellinews/Chris Weafer

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“… April 6 U.S. sanctions [represent a significant shift] in terms of risk … actual and perceived, for foreign investors and companies …. The … Treasury Department … expanded the risk paramaters … targeting oligarchs and their business interests … previously it was assumed that sanctions expansion would be confined to political targets and individuals considered close to the president […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bondageddon” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“Russian assets are nuclear toxic waste again. On April 6 the U.S. Treasury Department … released a new set of targeted sanctions aimed at some of Russia’s biggest businessmen and their companies, and unleashed chaos on the markets. Russian assets were hot until the new sanctions, with foreign investors piling into Russia’s sovereign ruble-denominated debt as one of the best […]

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Russians Not Turning on Kremlin Even as Latest US Sanctions Bite

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jamie Dettmer – April 30, 2018) The latest U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia earlier this month targeting two dozen Kremlin insiders and oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin and their companies are proving more painful than had been expected, say analysts. But they’re doing nothing at this stage in turning ordinary Russians against the Kremlin […]

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NEWSLINK: “Eurasia torn between war and peace; Iran’s top trading partner is China, while Tehran and Moscow have been improving ties as the three countries move closer to cementing a solid alliance” – Asia Times/Pepe Escobar

Asia Map

“… China is Iran’s top trading partner – especially because of its energy imports. Iran for its part is a major food importer. Russia aims to cover this front. Chinese companies are developing massive oil fields in Yadavaran and North Azadegan. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) took a significant 30% stake in a project to develop South Pars – the largest […]

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NEWSLINK: “Meet The Russians Behind Your Blockchain (And Cryptocurrency, Too)” – Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… Russian tech companies are not sanctioned. So far there is no Iron Curtain. Russians are behind some of the most successful blockchain platforms in the world. The Russians also dominate the cryptocurrency mining space. Go to a blockchain conference, and there are sure to be Russian miners dominating the exhibition hall. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANCRIPT: “Excerpts from Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with the Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) programme” – GovernmentRu

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – April 28, 2018) The Prime Minister answered the questions of Sergei Brilyov, the programme’s host. Dmitry Medvedev: In the past six years, the Government has worked in unprecedented conditions, which include unfavourable changes in the global economy and on the hydrocarbons market, as well as sanctions, starting with those imposed on Russia in 2014. All of this taken […]

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Ten Signs Putin and His Russia have Serious Problems

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 21, 2018) Vladimir Putin and his country are in far deeper trouble than the Moscow media he controls or than the Western media which all too often relies on what the Putin outlets say and views his standing and that of his country almost exclusively as a derivative of what the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Influential economist says sanctions-hit Russian firms must not be compensated” – Interfax

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 21, 2018) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has said the Russian government should not compensate Russian companies which have been hit by US sanctions. “Companies should be helped so that they don’t stop, but you don’t have to…[ellipses in original] compensate billionaires for the loss in their value,” Interfax news agency quoted Kudrin as saying on 21 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Political Tensions Could Rob the U.S. of the Russian Rocket Engine It Desperately Needs; The United States has become increasingly reliant on the RD-180” – Popular Mechanics/David Grossman

File Photo of Atlas Rocket on Launch Pad

“The burgeoning private space industry might find itself caught in the middle of geopolitical tensions …. Russian lawmakers have drafted a law that would ban cooperation … on building rocket engines, including … the crucial RD-180. … [that] powers the Atlas V, the launch system maintained by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint company owned by both Lockheed Martin and […]

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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “Duma speaker warns of Russia’s dangerous dependency on U.S. pharmaceutical imports”

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – Russia must take efficient measures to swiftly make available in its market domestically produced medicinal drugs to secure itself from a possible halt of U.S. imports, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said. “The U.S. has around 50 billion rubles of annual net profit from supplying pharmaceuticals to our country,” Volodin told reporters on Friday after […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia is opposed to ‘sanction-swapping’ with the U.S. – but is prepared to defend itself, finance minister says” – CNBC

Anton Siluanov file photo

“Russia stands ready to retaliate against the latest round of U.S. sanctions … Finance Minister Anton Siluanov [said] …. The U.S. slapped sanctions on several Russian oligarchs, businesses and agencies thought to have ties to … Putin …. prompt[ing] a dramatic market sell-off in Moscow …. Siluanov told CNBC: ‘We are not in favor of sanction-swapping. Nevertheless, our MPs (members […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Trump trying to walk back Syria strike and sanctions tensions” – bne Intellinews

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“The U.S. surprised (and relieved) the market by not following through on a threat to impose even more sanctions … the day after western allies carried out limited missile strikes on suspected chemical weapons industrial targets in Syria. The U.S. administration is split over how to react to Russia’s increasing aggression … both … Trump and … Putin were actively […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Syria and Beyond, a Dangerous New Era Dawns; The U.S. simultaneously confronts an aggrieved Russia and an aggressive rising power in China, a situation that calls for dexterous diplomacy” – Wall Street Journal/Gerald F. Seib

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

“… John Sawers, a career British diplomat and former head of the MI6 intelligence service, delivered a sober warning: For the first time in living memory, there is a realistic prospect of a superpower conflict. … The U.S., a mature power, simultaneously confronts an aggrieved and newly assertive Russia as well as an aggressive rising power in China. … the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump Scraps New Sanctions Against Russia, Overruling Advisers” – New York Times/Peter Baker

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump rejected, for now at least, a fresh round of sanctions set to be imposed against Russia on Monday, a course change that underscored the schism between the president and his national security team. …”

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U.S. Sanctions aren’t Splitting Russian Elites or Dividing Elites and People, ‘Nezavisimaya’ Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 10, 2018) The expanded US sanctions regime is based on the same assumption that the West made after the beginning of the economic crisis in Russia four years ago, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, the belief that economic hardship will lead some in the elite to oppose Vladimir Putin and […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Arctic as the next battleground? Don’t count on it” – Asia Times/Richard A. Bitzinger

Arctic Map

“… as tensions between Russia and the West also grow, where might conflict between these two camps break out? … Global warming … raises the specter that the Arctic might become a new zone for conflict, as the polar icecap recedes and the area becomes more accessible. In the first place, competition for natural resources in the region is increasing. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Can Russia Afford Its Save-a-Billionaire Relief Program? Russia’s poorest will end up footing the bill” – Moscow Times/ Vedomosti/ Pavel Aptekar, Vladimir Ruvinsky

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… new sanctions … the West imposed against companies and businesspeople with close Kremlin ties pose a new challenge for the Russian government and economy. Like in 2014, the authorities have already promised support to those targeted …. ‘Supporting those who support you’ might make sense politically, but how much of this … can the Russian economy bear? * * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Trade With the West Surges Even as Sanctions Mount; Last year’s increase, three years after penalties tied to annexation of Crimea, shows limits of curbs in longer term” – Wall Street Journal/Andrea Thomas, James Marson, Stefan Lange

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

” …. The U.S. and Europe’s largest nations, including France and Germany, saw exports to and imports from Russia skyrocket in 2017 after three years of decline. … at their highest levels since 2014, the year Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea …. The turnaround could be short-lived. … [After] Washington … unveiled fresh sanctions … in the latest U.S. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Medvedev threatens Russian counter-measures on U.S. goods” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

“Moscow has threatened to hit imports from the U.S. or even products made by American companies in Russia as a retaliation against the crippling sanctions imposed Washington last week that battered Russian markets and have pushed Russian aluminium company Rusal to the brink. … Medvedev … said … that the government would ‘look into’ the possibility of counter-measures on ‘a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No longer safe assets: Invest in Russia at your own risk after U.S. sanctions, strategist says” – CNBC/Natasha Turak

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“Russian assets, in recovery mode following a deep recession after the global oil price collapse in 2015, have been ravaged since Friday over fears of U.S. sanctions.  Popular among many emerging market investors for the past year, this progress now appears on the brink of becoming undone as market analysts call for a re-evaluation of Russia’s risk pricing. * * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Says U.S. Could Help Russian Economy” – Reuters

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Trump … said the U.S. could aid Russia’s economy and sought an end to what he called an ‘arms race,’ lamenting that relations with Moscow had reached an all-time low. …Trump … on Twitter warned Russia that missiles ‘will be coming’ in Syria following a suspected chemical attack and chided … Putin for being ‘partners’ with … Assad. … […]

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NEWSLINK: “Taking on Russia’s ‘oligarchs’; Meduza looks at the businessmen, state officials, and companies targeted in the latest U.S. sanctions” – Meduza

“On Friday, the world got a look at the latest U.S. sanctions against Russia. The U.S. Treasury Department’s new “designations” target seven Russian ‘oligarchs’ and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank. Washington says the measures are a response to “a range of […]

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U.S. Reported Poised To Impose New Sanctions On Russian Billionaires

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 5, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-reported-poised-impose-new-sanctions-russian-billionaires/29146529.html) The United States plans to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia, this time targeting Russian billionaires with ties to President Vladimir Putin, media are reporting. Reuters and The Washington Post, citing U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity, said at […]

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