JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Shows Its Growing Sway Over Global Energy Markets” – Wall Street Journal

Gas Flame file photo

Moscow’s huge oil and gas reserves have given it more influence over Western and Chinese economies grappling with rising prices […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin blames low wind power output for gas crisis” – bne Intellinews

Gas Facility file photo

Russia has been criticized for exacerbating the gas crisis by withholding some supply – whether to put pressure on the EU to allow Nord Stream 2’s launch, or simply to drive up prices […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Europe’s energy crisis highlights dangers of reliance on Russia” – Atlantic Council

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“Europe is currently in the grip of an unfolding energy crisis that is sparking questions over the role of … Putin’s Russia in exploiting rising demand, low supply, and geopolitical unpredictability. … Natural gas prices have soared by 600% …. [M]arket volatility is hitting key economic areas across Europe, from fertilizer plants to the food industry and health sector. The […]

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RUSSIA, Gas, WTO and other calamities

Gas Flame file photo

Subject: RUSSIA, Gas, WTO and other calamities Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2021 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> RUSSIA, Gas, WTO and other calamities By Andrei Liakhov This is the view of the prequel to the brewing problems in the European gas markets of someone who was a part of most of the events set out below or read the underlying documents […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Big Bounce: Russian gas amid market tightness” – Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Gas Flame file photo

“The big bounce in Russian gas production in 2021 has proven to be insufficient to meet the simultaneous spikes in demand at home and abroad. Russian gas output has risen robustly and has been close to its maximum productive capacities but the necessity to fill the depleted domestic gas storage facilities in Q3 2021 limited the availability of Russian gas […]

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Russian Attitudes Toward West Improve Despite Feelings of Isolation

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Aleksandra Srdanovic – Sept. 21, 2021) Aleksandra Srdanovic is a graduate student at Harvard University and a student associate with Russia Matters. The Levada Center recently polled Russians on their attitudes toward Russia’s general standing in the international community, as well as their attitudes toward strategic competitors and countries within the post-Soviet neighborhood. Polling shows […]

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Europe Needs Nord Stream 2 More Than It Likes To Admit

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

Europe resents Russian gas for the influence it gives a country that the EU considers unfriendly, …, but … is increasingly thirsty for gas because … [last year’s] winter… drained its reserves. … [and] summer … LNG cargoes [got] diverted from Europe to Asia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine feels the chill of Biden’s foreign policy” – Financial Times

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium in Front of U.S. and State Department Flags, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“Afghanistan withdrawal heightens Zelensky’s fears of dwindling support from Washington” “… Ukraine has fought an eight-year war against Russia and Russian-backed militants …. Yet even before the chaotic pullout from Kabul, alarm was spreading … over fears … [that] Biden wanted to focus more on other foreign policy issues, especially … China. The first warning sign … came … when […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Economic Reality Is Dragging Russia Toward Climate Acceptance” – Bloomberg

File Photo of Polar Bear on Snow with Bare Ground in the Background, adapted from image at nasa.gov with photo credit to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Eric Regehr

“Europe’s border tax and China’s carbon-neutral ambitions might just force a fossil fuel giant to face climate facts.” “… Sooner than expected, Putin’s hydrocarbon-dependent regime has found itself watching key markets slip away as China targets net-zero emissions and Europe introduces measures including a levy on heavy industry imports that fail to meet its climate protection standards. Having lauded the […]

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Belarus Could Become a Normal European Country with Far Less Difficulty than Ukraine, Inozemtsev Says

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, May 31, 2021) Once Alyaksandr Lukashenka is ousted from power, Belarus would find it far easier to become a normal European country than Ukraine seeking the same thing has, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, something that restrains Moscow from seeking his ouster precisely because it would give the West such an enormous opportunity. The […]

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Putin’s Aggressiveness Uniting West against Russia and Powering Its Search for Modus Vivendi with China, Shevtsova Says

File Photo of G7 Leaders at Summit, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

Putin’s aggressively anti-Western posture is helping the West to recover its lost self-discipline and unity […]

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Did The West Promise Moscow That NATO Would Not Expand? Well, It’s Complicated.

NATO Meeting File Photo

… And so, more than two decades after NATO’s original 16-member Cold War composition was first enlarged to take in three former Warsaw Pact states, and with Putin poised to potentially stay in office into the 2030s, the past is very much present […]

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Russia Closes In on Eurovision Trophy With Manizha’s Qualifier

File Image of Musical Instruments and Sheet Music, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 19, 2021) Russia is one step closer to bringing home its second ever Eurovision song contest trophy after Tajik-born singer-songwriter Manizha Sangin qualified for the finals late Tuesday. Manizha’s feminist anthem “Russian Woman” was among the 10 semi-final qualifiers, which also included Ukrainian folk-dance act Go_A, who have secured their place in this weekend’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Bullying Russia yearns to be treated as a great power; Vladimir Putin generates suspense in world affairs like some geopolitical Alfred Hitchcock” – Financial Times

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… As Russia’s chief decision maker, Putin’s personal moods obviously matter. However, more important is the logic of the Russian system of power, with its demand for … great power status. According to this logic, Russia cannot be ignored and must be a member of the global concert of powers. It believes macho bullying is the entry ticket …. Despite […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Myths and misconceptions in the debate on Russia: How they affect Western policy, and what can be done” – Chatham House

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“This report deconstructs 16 of the most prevalent myths and misconceptions … shap[ing] … Western thinking on Russia. … explain[ing] their detrimental impact on … policy …. Western positions need critical re-examination to ensure more rational and effective responses to Russian actions. … [C]ontrary to wishful thinking … there is little prospect of Russia becoming a more constructive and cooperative […]

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Western Programs Behind Increase in Border and Enclave Disputes in Central Asia, Prokhvatilov Says

Russian Soldiers Marching

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, May 2, 2021) No one disputes that there are enough reasons on the ground for conflicts among the countries of Central Asia over borders and enclaves, but according to Moscow military analyst Vladimir Prokhvatilov, the number and intensity of such conflicts has increased because of Western civil society programs (fondsk.ru/news/2021/05/01/mjagkaja-sila-i-prigranichnye-konflikty-v-centralnoj-azii-53486.html). According to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia and Brussels at war over energy” – Le Monde Diplomatique

Gas Flame file photo

“The battle over natural gas: Worsening relations between Europe and Russia are reflected in tensions over energy, in which US demands, Russian and German interests, the EU’s neoliberal doctrine and the climate emergency all play a part.” “… The Russia-Ukraine conflict … the Nord Stream 2 pipeline  … and tensions … over offshore reserves near Cyprus, have put natural gas […]

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EU ‘Rejects’ Russian Labeling Of Meduza Media Outlet As ‘Foreign Agent’

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

The [EU] has dismissed Russian authorities’ labeling of Latvia-based independent news outlet Meduza as a “foreign agent” and urged Moscow to end its “systematic infringement” of basic rights and freedoms […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia seizes on Suez blockage to promote merits of Arctic route” – Financial Times

Suez Canal and Environs Aerial File Photo, adapted from image at nasa.gov

Moscow is busy highlighting the northern sea route and Nordstream as alternatives for world trade […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Could Russia Benefit From the Suez Canal Blockage?” – Moscow Times

Suez Canal and Environs Aerial File Photo, adapted from image at nasa.gov

The Kremlin wants to use the grounding of the Ever Given ship to promote its Northern Sea Route and counter European concerns over Nord Stream 2. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – March 26, 2021) Almost $300 million worth of Russian oil products are waiting to enter the Suez Canal, which remains closed following the grounding of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “About the Kremlin Propaganda — Our Democracy Needs To Be Protected” – Bild

Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, file photo adapted from image at state.gov

“As a dictator, … Putin has continued what he failed to do as a KGB agent in the GDR [East Germany] … his fight against a freedom-loving Germany and a united Europe. For years, Putin has been running riot with impunity in [Germany]. … buying off influential ex-politicians with lucrative oil projects, such as Nord Stream 2. … support[ing] the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Says Sputnik V Production Deals Reached in Key EU States” – AFP

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

“… Russia[] Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) [head] Kirill Dmitriev … [announced] ‘agreements with companies from Italy, Spain, France and Germany to launch … Sputnik V [production]’ … allow[ing] … Sputnik [vaccine supplies] to the European market ‘once … approval is granted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).’ If approved Sputnik would become the first non-Western coronavirus [vaccine] … certified for […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Biden Faces Decision On Gas Pipeline From Russia That Could Alienate Germany” – NPR

Gas Flame file photo

“The Biden administration has to decide whether to alienate Germany … continuing … Trump administration[] sanctions on companies building Germany’s gas pipeline from Russia. … Hundreds of feet below the surface of the Baltic Sea is an enormously long pipeline, snaking from northern Russia to Germany. … Nord Stream 2 … [would] roughly double Europe’s energy supply when … finished. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S. Will Lift Nord Stream 2 Sanctions if Europe Suspends Construction, Says Biden Advisor” – Moscow Times

Gas Flame file photo

… The U.S. imposed sanctions at the end of 2019 in an effort to halt the construction of the pipeline, which will transport Russian gas to Europe […]

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Western Sanctions Have Had ‘Outsized Impact’ On Russian Companies, Economist Says

File Photo of G7 Leaders at Summit, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

… Russian corporations have lost almost $100 billion since sanctions were imposed … following the annexation of Crimea … equivalent to about 4.2 percent of the country’s economy [then] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Broadens Sanctions to Thwart Completion of Russian Gas Pipeline” – Wall Street Journal/ Brett Forrest

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“New measures target companies that would provide services or funding for vessels working on Nord Stream 2” “… [2019] U.S. Sanctions … focused on pipe-laying vessels for Nord Stream 2 and halted the $10.5 billion [natural gas] pipeline[,] … designed to transmit Russian gas to Germany, 100 miles short … beneath the Baltic Sea. … [A] State Department [web announcement] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Is a Bad Omen” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Paul Stronski

Map of Azerbaijan and Environs, adapted from image at cia.gov

“With the United States shrugging off its erstwhile role as the world’s policeman, can anyone stop the fierce fighting now raging between Armenia and Azerbaijan?” “… The long-running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, … dat[ing] to the waning days of the Soviet Union, is not going to trigger a global war[] [n]or … affect … [great power] vital interests […]

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Evolving Global Order Makes a P5 Summit Ineffective

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Paul Saunders – Sept. 17, 2020) Paul Saunders is a senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy at the Center for the National Interest. With military tension among great powers increasing in east Asia, central Europe and the Middle East, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and others have proposed a summit of the U.N. Security Council’s five […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The West Is Outraged By Navalny’s Novichok Poisoning. That’s No Guarantee of Tough Sanctions.” – Moscow Times

File Photo of G7 Leaders at Summit, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

Looming U.S. elections and disparate EU interests could translate into a symbolic response. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Sept. 4, 2020) Lawmakers across Europe and the U.S. are scrambling to respond to the revelation that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok – a lethal Soviet-era military nerve agent – with the possibility of fresh sanctions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin bets on Lukashenko keeping power in Belarus for now: sources” – Reuters

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Putin believes … Lukashenko will probably cling to power for now despite protests … and is content to let him sweat it out, two sources close to the Kremlin said. … [T]he two countries usually have no border controls, … culturally, linguistically and economically intertwined. Putin has pushed hard to make [their] union state [concept] more of a political […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Merkel and Putin discuss political crisis in Belarus” – Financial Times/ Guy Chazan, Henry Foy, James Shotter, Max Seddon

Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, file photo adapted from image at state.gov

“German leader’s talks with counterpart acknowledge Russia’s crucial role in deciding fate of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.” “… Merkel called … Putin … Tuesday to discuss Belarus[,] … tacit acknowledgment of his pivotal role …. Moscow has propped up … Lukashenko financially and militarily throughout [Lukashenko’s] 26 years in power … the Kremlin has remained on the sidelines since his […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Doesn’t Want to Intervene in Belarus. That’s an Opportunity for the West.” – Moscow Times/ Anna Arutunyan

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

“It’s certainly not too soon for Moscow and Brussels to learn from past mistakes.” “… Now, the time has come, largely through Lukashenko’s own undoing, but also, in part, thanks to a perfect storm of the pandemic, a stagnating economy, and Moscow’s growing weariness with subsidizing Belarus and playing cat and mouse with an ally turned frenemy. Lukashenko may well […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. Is Close to Killing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline; But it’s a race between slow construction and slower sanctions” – Foreign Policy/ Amy Mackinnon

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is close to the finish line – but might be closer to finished as a viable project, after one of the companies involved in laying the pipe on the Baltic seafloor said … it would withdraw …. For years, the United States has tried to kill off Russia’s latest effort to strengthen its […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Which Countries Are Open to Russians – and Vice Versa?” – Moscow Times

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

… Russia also closed its borders to most foreign citizens, with exceptions for diplomats, relatives of deceased people, high-demand workers and other categories […]

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Pompeo Says U.S. Will ‘Do Everything’ To Stop Nord Stream 2 Project

Gas Flame file photo

… The United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would run under the Baltic Sea and double Russia’s direct natural gas exports to Germany while bypassing Ukraine […]

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Mark Galeotti: “Re: Subject: A comment on Galeotti” [re: UK-Russian Relations, U.S.-Russian Relations, Nicolai Petro]

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

It’s always great when something you write receives a thoughtful response, but I did feel I needed make a couple of responses to Nicolai Petro’s open reply to my short commentary in The Spectator […]

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