Russian Infrastructure to Support Northern Sea Route Won’t Be Ready for at Least Another Decade, Experts Say

Arctic Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 12, 2018) The Washington Post reported four days ago that global warming is opening the Northern Sea Route to more shipping sooner than expected, but officials and experts in the North say that Russia won’t have the necessary infrastructure in place to support trade on that route for at least another […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s war is transforming Ukraine” – Washington Post/Anne Applebaum

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

“… [I]ntegration of … Donetsk refugees into schools and communities in the central and western parts of the country is … part of a broader story: the integration of the war into the consciousness of Ukrainians. … the Russian-Ukrainian war continues. One of the Russian-backed separatist leaders was killed in a bomb attack in August. Skirmishes take place most days, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “[Re: Sanctions]”- Andrew Kuchins

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

(Andrew Kuchins, Senior Fellow, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES), Georgetown University – Facebook – September 21, 2018) [embedded live feed of post should load below; text and link also posted further down in case loading is delayed] “There are so many things wrong about sanctions, and Doug Bandow captures many here. The biggest problem is their […]

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More U.S. Sanctions On Russia Would Be Counter Productive

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Oilprice.com – Nicholas Trickett – September 20, 2018 – oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/More-US-Sanctions-On-Russia-Would-Be-Counter-Productive.html) Hoping to push back against Russia and prevent president Trump from changing current policy, the Senate has produced two new sanctions bills: the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act and the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA). Both would create a new set of harsh […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Oil Production Jumps to a New Post-Soviet Record” – Bloomberg/Elena Mazneva

Oil Well file photo

“Russia’s crude production has jumped to a new post-Soviet record, boosting … budget revenue as it prepares for talks with OPEC+ on further cooperation, according to a [Russian] government official. … currently fluctuating between 1.54 million and 1.55 million tons a day — driven mainly … Rosneft … 11.29 million to 11.36 million barrels a day, beating the previous record […]

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The U.S. Calls On Russia To Cap Soaring Oil Prices

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tim Daiss – September 15, 2018 – oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/The-US-Calls-On-Russia-To-Cap-Soaring-Oil-Prices.html) As crucial mid-term congressional elections in November draw near, the Trump administration is feeling the heat over higher oil prices. London-traded global oil benchmark Brent breached the $80 per barrel price point on Wednesday, its highest level since May 2. NYMEX-traded U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTI) reached […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hungarian PM reaches agreement on gas deliveries from Russia to 2020” – bne Intellinews

Gas Flame file photo

“Hungary has reached an agreement on gas deliveries from Russia for both 2019 and 2020, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a joint press conference with … Putin … [Orban] has built strong ties with Putin over the years, defying his EU partners. The Russian president has become his main ally since he announced his plans to build an illiberal […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia-China trade turnover up 25.7% in January-August 2018” – bne Intellinews

Asia Map

“… The two countries set a target to hit $100bn of trade turnover a few years ago …. if trade continues to expand at the same pace as over the first eight months of this year trade turnover should top $100bn by the end of this year. … The EU remains Russia’s biggest trading partner with a turnover of €231bn […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Serious’ rivalry still drives China-Russia relations despite improving ties” – CNBC/Nyshka Chandran

Asia Map

“The strategic partnership between China and Russia, long marred by mutual suspicion, has risen to new heights with recent news of joint projects of more than $100 billion and large-scale army drills. But such cooperation belies the rivalry that defines the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and … Putin …. Beijing’s economic and commercial activities in Moscow’s backyard – […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin invites foreign partners to develop Northern Sea Route” – Interfax

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited foreign partners to develop the Northern Sea Route. “We are inviting all interested partners to develop this promising route, and we know that our partners are interested in doing so,” Putin said at a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum on Wednesday. The logistic potential of the Russian […]

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Russia Looks To Boost Gas Sales In Tighter European Markets

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – September 8, 2018) Western Europe will need more flexibility in natural gas supplies in the coming winter season. The European market has been tight amid higher demand in the summer’s heat wave, while natural gas stockpiles are lower than usual after one of the coldest winters in the past decade. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is […]

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Senate Testimony of Ambassador Michael McFaul;Outside Perspectives on Russian Sanctions: Current Effectiveness and Potential for Next Steps [Excerpt]

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

Testimony of Ambassador Michael McFaul [Excerpt] Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Professor of Political Science, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow at Stanford University U.S. Senate Committee on Banking Outside Perspectives on Russian Sanctions: Current Effectiveness and Potential for Next Steps September 6, 2018 [PDF Full text here: https://www.banking.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/McFaul%20Testimony%209-6-18.pdf] In the last several years, the Russian government has taken […]

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Russia Losing Out to U.S. in Central Asia, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 31, 2018) “The situation in Central Asia and Kazakhstan where Moscow’s position has always been considered fixed is changing before our eyes,” the editors of Moscow’s Nezavisimaya gazeta say, and “the region is being transformed into a successful American place des armes.” That reflects the success of the Five Plus One […]

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Russia is in a Stalemate Today But Can’t Stay There for Long, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 31, 2018) Russia is in a stalemate today because the Kremlin “cannot accept the sanction-backed demands of the West without losing face,” but it also cannot act as if it is indifferent to the sanctions because they are undermining Russia’s ability to remain a great power, Liliya Shevtsova says. As a […]

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NEWSLINK: “China – Not Russia – Elected Trump; China’s economic attack on America caused U.S. voters to turn to Trump” – The National Interest/James Walker

Asia Map

“… attention should be sharply focused instead on the role of China in electing Trump. It is that concern that should inform American action today. China’s long-standing predatory trading policies have eaten America’s lunch, impacting most severely those who carry lunch buckets to work in America’s heartland. …”    

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moody’s says effect of recent sanctions will be limited” – Bear Market Brief BMB Russia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“A new Moody’s report says … U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia … in response to the Skripal poisoning will have little effect [on] the economy. New sanctions to come in the fall, however, could aggravate the structural limitations of Russian growth and lead to problems with bank financing. … Loose monetary policy will likely to be the first casualty, with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Busting Nord Stream 2 myths” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Gas Flame file photo

“The proposed expansion of the capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in Europe’s north, running from Russia’s Yamal gas fields to the German coast, has split Europe …. detractors claim it will make Europe more dependent on Russian gas and give the Kremlin a bigger club … to bully the rest of Europe. … supporters say it will diversify […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s wedding trip seals marriage of convenience with Merkel; Meeting in Berlin could signal a switch in strategy for Germany when it comes to the US dollar and energy security” – Asia Times/Pepe Escobar

Map of Germany

“… Berlin is now engaged in a wobbly ‘bend-not-break’ strategy. …”

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U.S. Sanctions Wreak Havoc On Russia’s Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – August 23, 2018) [Text with links: oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Sanctions-Wreak-Havoc-On-Russias-Oil-Industry.html] The U.S. sanctions on Russia have affected investment in Russian oil and gas exploration projects, U.S. officials say, while Congress is considering further sanctions on the energy and banking sectors to punish Moscow for the threat it poses to the United States. At Senate hearings on Tuesday, a […]

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Analysts: Russia’s Oil Industry Won’t Crumble Under U.S. ‘Bill From Hell’

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – August 17, 2018) The ‘bill from hell’ of hard-hitting sanctions against Russia that U.S. Senators introduced earlier this month is unlikely to have a wide-ranging impact on Russia’s oil industry, analysts and economists tell Reuters. Since the United States slapped sanctions on Russia in 2014 over the Crimea annexation, Russian oil firms have drastically cut […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The Russian Sanctions Bill Proposed by Congress, Explained” – Moscow Times

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

The latest U.S. sanctions bill announced earlier this month was published on the website of Congress on Tuesday and includes sweeping restrictions on investment in new Russian sovereign debt and bank operations. [congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3336/text?r=12#toc-id10F125618FBE42A2826B31DE3B988FE0] News of the bill sent the ruble tumbling to two-year lows and sparked a wider asset sell-off. Less than a month after the first Russian-U.S. presidential summit […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Turkey Shifts Toward Russia as Sanctions Sour U.S. Relations; Foreign ministers slam Western sanctions, as Erdogan plans boycott of U.S. electronic goods” – Wall Street Journal/David Gauthier-Villars

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“… Erdogan … stepped up his attacks on the U.S. … Tuesday, calling for a boycott of Apple … iPhones and other U.S. electronic goods … his foreign minister joined his Russian counterpart … criticizing Western sanctions. Turkey, a longtime [NATO] ally, has been caught between the West and Russia. This week, officials in Ankara were leaning decidedly toward Moscow. […]

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Moscow has Made ‘Unforgivable Mistake’ of Setting West against Russia for the Long Term, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 15, 2018) The Russian regime has made “the unforgivable mistake” of acting against the West in ways that have made Russia a key part of the domestic politics of the U.S. and European countries and guaranteed that the West will continue its sanctions regime against Moscow for a long time to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to increase oil production to new record highs in 2019” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“… [According to OPEC,] Russian oil production has increased recently to a record 11.2mn barrels a day …. Russian state-owned oil producer Rosneft has already earned more profit in the first quarter of this year than in all of 2017 … ma[king] it the most valuable company in the country. The Russia’s energy ministry has raised its forecast for oil […]

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Nigel Gould-Davies: “BOFIT Policy Brief: Assessing Western Sanctions”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Subject: BOFIT Policy Brief: Assessing Western sanctions Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2018 From: Nigel Gould-Davies <nigelgd.office@gmail.com In case of interest to JRL, my policy brief for the Bank of Finland’s Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT) on “Economic effects and political impacts: Assessing Western sanctions on Russia”, just published: helda.helsinki.fi/bof/bitstream/handle/123456789/15832/bpb0818.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Abstract: This brief assesses the effectiveness of Western sanctions on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Newest U.S. Sanctions Against Russia Hit an Economic Nerve” – AP

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… The Trump administration announcement of export restrictions in response to accusations Moscow used a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy in Britain sent the ruble tumbling to a two-year low and drew a stern warning from [Medvedev]. While the initial sanctions may have a limited impact, a second batch expected within months could hit the Russian economy […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Experts discuss Russian responses to new U.S. sanctions” – Bear Market Brief

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“… On Friday, PM Dmitry Medvedev called potential new US sanctions ‘economic war,’ noting that Russia must respond with economic, political, and if necessary, other methods. Today, Russian … [commentators] discuss Moscow’s options. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Can Weather Any New U.S. Sanctions, Says Moody’s” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 7, 2018) Russia will be able to weather new sanctions from the United States following a series of steps it took to reduce its vulnerability to future penalties, said Moody’s analyst Kristin Lindow. The U.S. levied sanctions against businesses held by Kremlin-linked oligarchs in April as punishment for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. to impose ‘crushing’ set of sanctions on Russia’s debt and oil” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“A proposed ‘crushing’ bipartisan bill introduced by the … Senate … will not be debated until … autumn and many … harsh terms could be considerably watered down, Luis Saenz, … co-head of equities at BCS Global Markets said …. [The] bill … targets Russian debt and energy companies, designed to punish Russia for interfering in the U.S. presidential election, […]

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RUSSLIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] News conference following BRICS summit” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Kremlin.ru – July 27, 2018 – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/58119) Vladimir Putin made a statement for the press and answered questions from Russian media following a two-day BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. I would like to brief you on what we did during these two days and on the results of our work. First of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “7 Key Bills of the Russian Duma’s Spring Session” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 27, 2018) Friday marks the last day of the Russian State Duma’s spring session, in which lawmakers in the lower house of parliament considered a total of 900 bills, of which 343 bills were passed. Here is a list of the most resonant bills that lawmakers approved in the spring session. Counter-sanctions The Kremlin […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Remarks at an expanded BRICS Summit meeting” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Kremlin.ru – July 26, 2018) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President Ramaphosa, Friends, President Xi Jinping, President Temer, Prime Minister Modi, Colleagues, Meeting in a narrow format, we have just noted – and I would like to recall this now again at the beginning – that during these days we are jointly marking the 100th birth anniversary of South […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Western Sanctions on Russia’s Oil and Gas Sector: a Damage Assessment” – Carnegie Moscow/Tatiana Mitrova

Oil Well file photo

“Don’t be misled by Western sanctions’ limited impact on Russia. In reality, they operate with an accumulating effect: the more time passes, the greater the potential technological backlog, financing gap, and negative consequences will be. In the long run, sanctions may jeopardize Russia’s oil and gas production volumes and the development of pipeline infrastructure, gradually squeezing the country out of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “BRICS leaders to discuss expansion at summit in S. Africa – Kremlin aide” – Interfax

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

MOSCOW. July 24 (Interfax) – The leaders of the BRICS member states will discuss the prospects of this association’s expansion but will not make a decision on the matter at the upcoming summit in South Africa, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said. “The BRICS leaders will meet on July 27 to consider the association’s development and address strategic partnership priorities,” Ushakov […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Surprise, Maryland – your election contractor has ties to Russia” – Washington Post Editorial

Baltimore Inner Harbor and Skline file photo, adapted from image at epa.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“… an Internet technology company with which [Maryland] contracts to hold electronic voting information is connected to a Russian oligarch … ‘very close’ to … Putin. Maryland leaders did not know about the connection until the FBI told them. Maryland[] … chose a company to keep electronic information on voter registration, election results and other … data. … [a] company […]

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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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