Putin Adviser Sees Political Will to End Greenpeace Dispute

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 19, 2013) Russia is showing “political will” to end a two-month-long dispute over the prosecution of Greenpeace activists after they began to be set free on bail, President Vladimir Putin’s human rights adviser said. “It’s a good sign,” Mikhail Fedotov said in a phone interview today from Moscow. “I hope the same […]

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Shuvalov Considers Delaying Rosneft Sale Until 2016

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrew McChesney – November 13, 2013) The government is considering delaying the privatization of oil giant Rosneft until 2016 or later as it seeks to maximize the price it can secure. Rosneft is scheduled to be privatized in 2015, and a postponement could put a dent in projected government spending. “We will have to discuss […]

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Interfax: Kremlin rights council asks Investigative Committee head to change pre-trial restrictions of Greenpeace activists

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The Russian president’s Human Rights Council has asked Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin to consider the possible release of the Arctic Sunrise crewmembers who were detained for staging a protest off Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea from custody. “The Russian president’s Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights is […]

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Russia and China Move Closer to Energy Partnership

China Map

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – November 5, 2013) The visit by Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev to China once again highlighted the strategic importance that Moscow attaches to Asia. Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, notes that the prospects for […]

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Arctic resources: Any competitors in sight for Russia?

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Karnaukh, special to RBTH – November 1, 2013) Many countries would like to tap into the Arctic’s vast hydrocarbon resources, but Russia is the only nation so far to have risked hefty investments in the region. Experts wonder whether Moscow will be successful in selling Arctic oil at $200 or more per […]

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Greenpeace Rebuffs Talk of Arctic Protest Conspiracy

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 1, 2013) In early October, Rosneft head Igor Sechin made a brief, enigmatic comment suggesting that there was more than meets the eye behind a Greenpeace protest Sept. 18 against a Gazprom oil rig in the Arctic, an action that resulted in the arrest of 30 people and a black eye […]

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Moscow Times: Russians See Greenpeace Protest as a Foreign Plot

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 29, 2013) State pollster VTsIOM released survey results Monday regarding last month’s Greenpeace protest in the Arctic that indicate more than a third of Russians believe the protest was a foreign plot and more than two-thirds disagree with the group’s message of needing to protect the environment from oil drilling. Armed […]

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RIA Novosti: Medvedev Says ‘Fast-Growing’ China Poses No Danger to Russia

China Map

MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia has nothing to fear from the fast-growing China, but could benefit from this cooperation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised interview Saturday. In an interview with Vesti on Saturday on Russia 1 TV channel, Medvedev said Russia should cooperate with Beijing in high-technology areas, adding that China, the world’s second largest […]

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Under Putin, Russia Becoming a Third World Country, Nationalists Say

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 28, 2013)  Russian nationalists and others have regularly criticized Vladimir Putin for building an economy and hence a state that relies on the export of raw materials rather than the development of industry and investment in human capital. But now two of them have stepped up this attack and argued that […]

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Gazprom’s Bric-a-Brac Rig Called a Risk to the Arctic

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 24, 2013) Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, the advance guard of the coming expansion of Russia’s state energy corporations into the Arctic, is a cobbled together bric-a-brac of second-hand parts, some of which date to 1984, environmentalists said. The very presence of the Prirazlomnaya rig in the icy Pechora Sea is the result […]

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Why Russia Doesn’t Need High Oil Prices

Oil Well file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – http://imrussia.org – Olga Khvostunova – October 15, 2013) Oil price fluctuations that exceed $100 per barrel create comfortable conditions for Russia’s economy, as its budget is balanced at around $90 per barrel. Further escalation of the situation in the Middle East could bring oil prices up, seemingly playing into the Russian government’s hands. But according […]

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News Analysis: Global Energy Shifts Threaten To Leave Russia In The Lurch

Oil Well file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – October 21, 2013) The United States is set to replace Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas combined by the end of this year. This is just one element of a rapidly shifting global energy environment that is revolutionizing Russia’s once-dominant position. RFE/RL takes a look at the challenges and […]

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Pressure Growing on Putin to Free Greenpeace Activists

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 18, 2013) International pressure on Russia over the arrest of Greenpeace activists mounted Thursday as 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners urged President Vladimir Putin to drop the piracy charges against them. The 11 laureates made such an appeal in a letter sent to the Russian president, Greenpeace said. The letter, which […]

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Macroeconomic factors to work against oil prices in 2014 – Klepach

Andrei Klepach file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 16, 2013) Macroeconomic factors will work to push oil prices down next year, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said during a meeting the State Duma budget committee. Klepach said that that, in the forecast for Russia’s socioeconomic development in 2014-2016, there is built in the hypothesis “that the rather high oil prices we are seeing […]

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Rights activists propose applying constitution anniversary amnesty to Bolotnaya case suspects, Arctic Sunrise crew

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 11, 2013) The amnesty campaign meant to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s constitution should apply to the suspects in the Bolotnaya Square clashes case, the Greenpeace activists detained onboard the vessel Arctic Sunrise and former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the For Human Rights organization said in an address published on its website on Thursday. “A […]

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Kremlin Adviser Likens Greenpeace Piracy Charge to Gang Rape

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov & Henry Meyer – October 11, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s human rights adviser urged prosecutors to drop piracy charges against Greenpeace activists for an Arctic protest, saying it’s as stupid as accusing them of raping the oil platform they scaled. “These charges are laughable because there isn’t the slightest justification for accusing the crew […]

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Human rights council will ask prosecutor general to drop piracy charge against Arctic Sunrise crew – Fedotov

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 10, 2013) The piracy charges, based on which the crew of the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise was arrested, are ungrounded and should be reconsidered, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential human rights council, said. “I hope this decision will be reconsidered. In any case, we will turn to the prosecutor general. He has potential for […]

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Azeri Presidential Election Shows the Power of Oil

Map of Azerbaijan and South Caucasus Environs Including Portions of Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Iran, Caspian Sea

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 10, 2013) Ilham Aliyev was headed to win Wednesday’s presidential election in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, in what some analysts say is the perfect demonstration of how oil revenues can strengthen a country’s leader both domestically and internationally. During the decade that Aliyev ruled the country after succeeding his […]

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Putin: productivity gains must accelerate to shift from raw materials

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 2, 2013) The current challenge for the Russian economy is the need to accelerate labor productivity gains, since the current slow pace means that the economic orientation on raw materials extraction will continue, President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow on Wednesday at the Russia Calling investment forum organized by VTB Capital. “For Russia, the main, crucial […]

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Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Think Greenpeace Arrests Appropriate

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 3, 2013) The majority of Russians approve of the piracy charges against 28 Greenpeace activists who were detained in late September after trying to climb an Gazprom-owned oil drilling rig in the Arctic to protest its environmental impact. A survey from state pollster VTsIOM published Wednesday showed that 60 percent of the respondents believe […]

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World Bank: Russian Energy Strength is Economic Weakness

Oil Well file photo

(OilPrice.com – Daniel J. Graeber – September 26, 2013 – article also appeared at http://oilprice.com/Finance/the-Economy/World-Bank-Russian-Energy-Strength-is-Economic-Weakness.html; a version of the article also appeared in The Christian Science Monitor as “Is Russia’s economy running out of gas?” at http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0926/Is-Russia-s-economy-running-out-of-gas) The head of the World Bank in Russia said Wednesday he was alarmed by the slowdown in the Russian economy.  The bank said the […]

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Russia Pushes for Further Arctic Exploitation

Polar Bear on Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – September 26, 2013) It is impossible to stop Arctic exploitation, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, adding that Russia guaranteed that there would be no environmental catastrophe, since the most innovative technologies would be used. SALEKHARD, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District ­ The time for an industrial breakthrough has come in the Arctic, President Vladimir […]

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Interfax: Ombudsman Lukin hopes Greenpeace activists detained in Russia will not be too severely punished

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. September 24, 2013) Russia’s human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said he expected that the Russian authorities would not punish the activists of the Greenpeace environmental organization too severely for their protest rally against oil extraction in the Pechora Sea. “I hope that our authorities will realize that they nevertheless had admirable and noble motives and that they […]

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Capital outflow from Russia not yet slowing, ruble not to weaken substantially – Klepach

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – MOSCOW, September 16, 2013) Capital outflow from Russia is not yet slowing but the ruble will not weaken to any great extent, even if oil prices fall, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach told Interfax. “The ruble will not weaken substantially even if oil prices fall markedly. The Central Bank (in that event) will lose more reserves,” Klepach […]

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U.S. to Surpass Russia in Liquid Fuel Production – Report

Oil Well file photo

(RIA Novosti – WASHINGTON, September 13, 2013) The United States will overtake Russia in liquid fuel production this quarter, strengthening a US return to prominence as a global fuel powerhouse after years of decline, US media reported this week, citing an energy industry report. Russia currently produces more liquid oil and gas, pumping out 10.81 million barrels per day (bpd) […]

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Sechin Accused of Corporate Misconduct by TNK-BP Shareholders

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 13, 2013) Rosneft president and Kremlin insider Igor Sechin is facing accusations of corporate misconduct that could be reviewed by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP, within a week, a news report said Friday. Gennady Osorgin, a minority shareholder in the Rosneft-owned TNK-BP Holding, sent a complaint regarding Sechin to RSPP’s […]

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Moscow expects UN to start examining Russian bid for extending seabed borders

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 23, 2013) Russia expects that its application to the United Nations to approve its bid for extending the boundary of its part of the Sea of Okhotsk section of the continental shelf will receive consideration in the international organization early next year, said Deputy Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Denis Khramov. Russia also wants the […]

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Putin Angered by Lack of Far East Progress

File Photo of People Working on Car Amidst Siberian Woodlands and Meadows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtime.com – Anatoly Medetsky – July 17, 2013) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday again said the Cabinet was slacking off. He blamed ministers for getting behind schedule in executing measures to develop the country’s Far East. “I’ll tell you what, dear friends, will you ever get to work or not? What is this?” Putin said, according to […]

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Amid Controversy, New Pussy Riot Video Targets Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – RFE/RL’s Russian Service – July 16, 2013) Amid an apparent split in the ranks, the feminist punk performance-art group Pussy Riot has released a new music video lashing out at the oil industry; Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft; and others. Copies of the video were released to RFE/RL on July 16 […]

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Russia declassifies data on oil, associated gas reserves

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax  – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Russia will no longer classify data on reserves of oil and dissolved gas in oil under a government resolution signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on July 5. The declassification will simplify procedures for providing information about original oil and associated gas in place, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said previously. It will […]

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State to Keep Rosneft and RusHydro in New Privatization Plan

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) ­ Russian oil giant Rosneft, hydropower holding company RusHydro and the nation’s second-largest lender VTB Bank are among assets that should stay under state control, Economics Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday after presenting the government’s new privatization plan for 2014-2016. “Proceeding from the current state of world markets and problems with the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Putin answers questions at St Petersburg Economic Forum – Kremlin transcript

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 21, 2013) Text of report “Answers to questions from St Petersburg International Economic Forum participants, 21 June 2013, St Petersburg” published in English by Russian presidential website on 24 June; subheadings added editorially: Russia’s priorities in G20 MODERATOR (retranslated): Mr President, the St Petersburg International Economic Forum is being held in your hometown. I would like to […]

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Lukoil predicts drop in Russian oil production in 2016-2017 without major use of new technologies

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax -MOSCOW. June 24, 2013) Without the large-scale application of new technologies, oil production in Russia will begin to decline in 2016-2017, says a report by Lukoil (RTS: LKOH) on the main trends in the development of global markets for oil and gas in the period until 2025. A characteristic of a majority of Russian deposits is the natural drop […]

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Khodorkovsky reiterates he has no plans to become politician

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2013) Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose current 11-year prison term expires in 2014, has reiterated he has no plans to get involved in political activities after his release. “I don’t seek a political career, something I’ve said many times,” Khodorkovsky told German newspaper Die Tageszeitung in an interview transcript which is re-posted on his […]

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Russia’s April Oil Output Near Post-Soviet Record, Ministry Says

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky – May 2, 2013) Russia, the world’s biggest oil producer, boosted crude and condensate production 1.5 percent in April from a year earlier to 10.47 million barrels a day, close to a post-Soviet era record. Daily output grew 0.2 percent from March, according to preliminary data sent by e-mail today from the Energy Ministry’s […]

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U.S. Investors Underline Importance of Trade Ties Over Political Rifts

Oil Worker file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – April 25, 2013) ExxonMobil was a highlight of an investment conference in Moscow on Wednesday, attended by U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, where speakers discussed the prospects of U.S. business in Russia. Organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, the event sought to emphasize trade and investment despite political tensions between […]

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Putin Calls for Stimulus Plan After Recession Alarm

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Agnes Lovasz – April 16, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the government to come up with a plan to revive the flagging economy after a minister warned that a recession is possible as companies cut investment and export demand wanes. Putin told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who will address lawmakers tomorrow, to devise steps to […]

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Russia Seeks China Resources Investment – Shuvalov

China Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 10, 2013) ­ Russia plans to offer Chinese investors participation in joint natural resources projects and is ready to give Beijing access to Russian mineral deposits, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Wednesday. In an interview with Chinese media ahead of a visit by a Russian delegation on April 15, Shuvalov said Russia […]

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Russia and China take great energy leap forward

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ben Aris – April 7, 2013) Deepening economic ties with the new leadership in Beijing are evidence that Russia is increasingly looking towards Asia. A multibillion-pound raft of deals struck during new Chinese president Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow demonstrates a strengthening of ties between the two countries. As does the fact […]

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EVENT: Kennan Institute Caucasus Railroads and Pipelines Conference April 2, 9:30AM-2PM

Woodrow Wilson Center Facade file photo

From: “Ariel Cohen” <Ariel.Cohen@heritage.org> Subject: INVITATION: Kennan Institute Caucasus Railroads and Pipelines Conference April 2, 9:30AM-2PM Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 Dear Friends: I am honored to invite you to the following event, at which I co-chair a panel. If you do not live in the Washington, D.C. area, our apologies. Feel free to forward to your friends in the […]

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BRICS summit and China’s trip to Moscow marks a new era

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 28, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin was in South Africa on March 27 at the opening of the BRICS summit to highlight the growing importance of the emerging markets club that are increasingly taking the lead when it comes to global growth. “Work in the BRICS group is one of Russia’s foreign policy […]

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Russia Lets China Into Arctic Rush as Energy Giants Embrace

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Rakteem Katakey & Will Kennedy – March 25, 2013) Russia’s decision to give China a share of prized Arctic exploration licenses as part of a “breakthrough” deal signals how the world’s largest oil and gas producer and the biggest energy consumer are redrawing the global energy map. Under agreements signed during President Xi Jinping’s first state […]

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Russian rejects Cyprus to embrace China

Cyprus Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 25, 2013) The news images on Friday were dripping with symbolism. A Cypriot delegation lead by Finance minister Michael Sarris was on its way out to the airport having failed to secure a 10bn rescue package from the Kremlin, while newly anointed Chinese premier Xi Jinping was on his way in from the […]

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Wheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia

Oil Well file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Mackensie Knorr – February 19, 2013) Meeting Report As Russia’s Soviet-era oil legacy gradually runs down, the Russian oil industry will face new challenges and higher costs. “This will result in a lower flow of revenue to the Russian government at a time when the Russian state budget has become more dependent on oil than […]

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Oil and Gas to Dominate Xi’s Visit

China Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle and Anatoly Medetsky – March 22, 2013) Newly minted Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to push for increased oil and gas supplies from Russia and reaffirm warm bilateral ties on a three-day visit to Moscow beginning on Friday. The trip, Xi’s first international stop as president, will include meetings with President Vladimir […]

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Bright Days for Putin’s Dark Knight

Igor Sechin file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald Jensen – March 19, 2013) Despite rumors of his waning influence, Rosneft chief Igor Sechin remains one of the most powerful members of Russia’s ruling establishment. Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses Sechin’s latest “string of triumphs.” […]

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Can EU Face Russia Down Over Energy Policy?

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Agnia Grigas – March 18, 2013) Agnia Grigas is a development and political risk consultant to corporations and governments. She works in business and academia. Dr Agnia Grigas is the author of The Politics of Energy and Memory between the Baltic State and Russia (Ashgate Publishing, January 2013) Moscow uses energy as a geopolitical weapon and is thus […]

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Medvedev’s $30bn giveaway

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 19, 2013) The big dollop of egg on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s face since it emerged a strip of water in the Barents Sea ceded by the then-president to Norway contains more than $30bn worth of oil and gas spells trouble for the already weakened premier. Russia and Norway had been negotiating […]

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Credit, not oil, to fuel Russia’s growth, says prognosis

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anastasia Matveyeva, Moskovskiye Novosti – March 18, 2013) Over the next few years, stagnation awaits the Russian economy, competitiveness of Russian producers will decline and the growth of incomes will slow down. This is the judgment of the consensus-prognosis for 2013-2014, published by the Center for Development at the Higher School of Economics. The economy […]

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Russia Adopts Texas Drilling to Revive Soviet Oil Fields

Oil Worker file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – March 18, 2013) Fracking isn’t just for shale. In Russia, producers are importing techniques from the U.S. to squeeze billions of dollars of extra oil from Soviet-era fields. TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest producer, will use hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling in almost half the wells it sinks this year, a sixfold increase in […]

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