JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s Watcom shopping index almost back to normal as shoppers return to Moscow’s malls” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

“Moscow’s Watcom shopping index has regained almost all the ground lost from a lockdown on the capital earlier this year” “[The] Watcom shopping index [tracking foot traffic at Moscow’s leading malls] has recovered almost all … ground lost during the [spring] lockdown …. [Moscow’s] infection rate … has fallen …. [T]he epidemic is far from over in Russia …. A […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “An oil spill in Russia’s Arctic exposes risks for Moscow’s Far North plans” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan, Andrew Freedman

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Thawing permafrost in the rapidly warming region leaves Moscow’s ambitious Arctic expansion proposals literally on shaky ground.” “… [S]urg[ing] … climate change in interior Russia – more than three times the global average – is throwing new risks in the way of … Putin’s Far North agenda, among his top domestic initiatives. A key danger is … more infrastructure atop […]

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YouTube Blocks Accounts Of Pro-Kremlin Analyst, Orthodox TV Channel In Russia

Youtube(TM) Logo, adapted from image at oakridge.doe.gov

YouTube has blocked accounts of the Tsargrad TV channel in Russia and its former chief editor, pro-Kremlin analyst Aleksandr Dugin. … Google, which owns YouTube, said … that the accounts were blocked due to the violation of laws on sanctions and trade regulations […]

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Russians Don’t Believe Kremlin about Coronavirus or the Economy, New Surveys Show

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

Two new surveys show the collapse of public trust in the powers that be …. [T]he level of trust in Russia today is lower than it has been in 15 years […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Man of steel; ‘Novaya Gazeta’ reports on the backroom business schemes that maybe ruined a Russian governor” – Meduza

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… [T]here’s a convoluted story of cutthroat competition for a steelworks. … Sergey Furgal, until recently … duly elected governor of Khabarovsk, is now suspected of involvement in four murders committed in 2004 and 2005. While many observers have assumed openly that the allegations are plausible, given the rough and tumble of the Far East’s business world at the time, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Russian imperialism could bring down Putin” – The Hill/ Janusz Bugajski

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin has based his domestic support on economic growth and restoring the ‘Russian World.’ With the Russian economy in a nosedive, the Kremlin looks increasingly likely to attack a former Soviet neighbor to revive its imperial credentials. … Russia invaded Georgia to divert public attention from the 2008 financial crisis, and … invaded Ukraine to help quash growing protests […]

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Russia Considers Emulating The World’s Largest Oil Hedge

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – July 22, 2020) Russia is considering whether to adopt a kind of state oil hedging program, similar to Mexico’s oil hedge, to protect government revenues from oil price crashes in the future, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday, quoting sources familiar with the matter. The Mexican oil hedge, or the Hacienda Hedge, is considered […]

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VIDEOS & ARTICLE: Navalny’s Greatest Hits: FBK’s Best Corruption Exposés During Its Nine-Year History

… During its nine years of existence, the FBK has been instrumental in exposing corruption in Russia, producing dozens of detailed investigative videos on oligarchs, government officials, executives at state-owned companies, and their friends and relatives […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Melting Arctic Permafrost Threatens Russian Energy Firms’ Bottom Line – Morgan Stanley” – Moscow Times

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

Rapidly melting Arctic permafrost poses the greatest threat to major Russian energy producers’ infrastructure and financial indicators, according to a new Morgan Stanley report […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Wave of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Rocking Russia’s Independent Media” – Moscow Times/ Evan Gershkovich

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

“Novaya Gazeta has blazed a trail by instituting a sexual harassment policy after taking internal accusations of misconduct seriously. Some independent outlets are following suit.” “As her shift at Russia’s investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper was coming to an end on a late Monday afternoon last January, Elizaveta Kirpanova stopped by a senior reporter’s office to catch up. Kirpanova, a 23-year-old […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Putin sets new 2030 goals as National Projects scaled back” – bne Intellinews

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a ‘July Decree’ … outlin[ing] … national development goals up to 2030 …. risk[ing] … [failure to] fulfill[] … [his] previous economic platform due to the … COVID-19[] crisis. … [with] deadlines for [the] National Projects spending spree … being pushed from 2024 to 2030. [The new platform] outline[s] five development goals: 1) maintaining the population, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “China and Russia: Economic Unequals” – CSIS/ Jonathan E. Hillman

Asia Map

“…. Xi and Putin’s signature economic visions even appear complementary at first glance. Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has unleashed Chinese companies to build roads, railways, fiber-optic cables, and other hard infrastructure …. Putin’s Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) harmonizes customs processes to create a single market among Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. … Xi and Putin have repeatedly […]

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Former Russian Finance Minister Says Economy ‘In Stagnation,’ Needs More Government Spending

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

A respected former Russian finance minister said the nation’s economy is stagnating and the government needs to invest more in education and health in order to drive growth […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin delays $360bn spending plan as Covid-19 batters economy” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

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

“Volte-face comes shortly after vote that allows Russian president to extend his rule for another 16 years.” “… Putin has delayed his flagship … national investment plan by six years as the coronavirus pandemic pitches Russia into recession and leaves a hole in the federal budget. … Putin unveiled the so-called National Projects two years ago as a much-needed Rbs25.7tn […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Economic crisis likely not to be protracted; not all risks from coronavirus removed yet – Manturov” – Interfax

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. July 7 (Interfax) – The current signs of recovery suggest that the economy will not become bogged down in a protracted phase of the crisis, Industry and Trade Minister, Denis Manturov, said on Tuesday during the online international industrial marathon, Innoprom, which is a platform uniting exhibition events, online sessions and congresses, as well as educational workshops. “Of course, […]

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Unplugging the Baltic States: Why Russia’s Economic Approach May Be Shifting

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Emily Ferris – July 1, 2020) Emily Ferris is a research fellow in the international security studies department at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Russia’s approach to the Baltic states is occasionally framed as an imminent territorial takeover. This view has become salient since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, when other nearby countries […]

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Russians Increasingly Angry that They Live in Poverty in a Country So Rich in Natural Resources

Oil Well file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 28, 2020) The pandemic and associated economic crisis have exacerbated widespread anger among Russians that they live in poverty despite the enormous natural wealth of their country and its sale earlier abroad for more than six trillion US dollars. Had even a small part of that money gone to the people, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “IMF forecasts deeper slump for Russian, global economies” – Interfax

File Photo of IMF Acronym on Wall Below Row of Circular Lights, adapted from image at state.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

MOSCOW. June 25 (Interfax) – The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its outlook for the Russian economy in 2020 and now expects the country to see a slump of 6.6% instead of the 5.5% drop it forecast in April. The global economy will also contract by more than previously thought, by 4.9% instead of 3%, the IMF said in its […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russians Rushing Back to Work as Pre-Virus Life Returns; Most workers are back in the office, while traffic data shows Moscow is one of the busiest cities in the world again.” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

The majority of Russians have stopped working from home and almost immediately returned to offices and workplaces across the country following the relaxation of quarantine measures […]

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How Bad are Things in Russia? For First Time in 15 Years, Moscow Doesn’t Publish Monthly GDP Figures

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 13, 2020) For the first time since 2005, the Russian finance ministry did not issue monthly GDP data for May, an indication of just how bad the figures almost certainly would have been and a sign that not publishing data may become a trend in Putin’s Russia (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/minfin-zasekretil-dannye-po-vvp-rossii-za-may-1029303651 and rbc.ru/economics/12/06/2020/5ee268459a79476bd86bbda3). Among […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Crimea could become an expensive liability for Putin” – Atlantic Council/ Andreas Umland

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

“… [A]s Crimea becomes more of a burden on the Russian state budget, it will increasingly be perceived as an expensive political liability. … Putin’s comparison between the reunification of Germany and Russia’s annexation of Crimea was obviously misleading. … Considerable amounts of Russian budget money have already been poured into Crimea[,] [t]he largest single expense … the so-called Crimean […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Starts to Dig Its Way Out of a Coronavirus Economic Hole” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Russian economy is set to emerge from the coronavirus crisis on the same slow and steady trajectory it had settled on heading into it, economists believe.

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s consumer orientated business takes the brunt of the coronacrisis blow, basic sectors down 10% in April” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Russia’s basic sector output was down 9.9% year on year in April … [with] the effects of the coronacrisis …. Over the first four months … Russia’s basic sector output fell 0.9% y/y, versus 2.3% growth in 1Q20. … [Only] [a]griculture … show[ed] growth. All … other subsectors contracted in April. Retail, services, manufacturing and wholesale suffered the most …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pandemic Upends Putin’s Plans to Raise Russia’s Dwindling Birthrate” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

“President Vladimir Putin has been trying for years to push Russia’s birthrate higher, but the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is undermining his efforts” “… The Kremlin has been trying for years to encourage Russians to have more children. … Putin sees replenishing … population as … key to expanding Russia’s economic and political power. But … falling incomes […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Global Ambitions Are Upended by Coronavirus’s Heavy Toll in Russia” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Russian president’s efforts to showcase the country’s strength abroad backfired amid virus troubles at home […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Shops Reopen Their Doors, But Customers Only Trickle In” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

Tills are starting to ring as Russia’s lockdown eases, but business owners expect revenues to stay lower for longer. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – June 8, 2020) Last week Oleg Voronin opened the doors of his four I AM Studio upmarket women’s boutiques in Moscow for the first time in two months. After a few days spent […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says has stopped spread of Arctic fuel spill” – AFP

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Russia has … contain[ed] a massive diesel spill into [an Arctic] river … the emergencies ministry [stated] … Environmentalists said the oil spill, which took place [a week earlier] … was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region. … [A] diesel reservoir collapsed at a power station outside the northern Siberian city of Norilsk[ owned by a subsidiary […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senators to Announce Sanctions Bill on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline” – Reuters

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

“U.S. senators [reportedly] will announce a bill this week expanding sanctions on … [the] Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project … [that] Washington says will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act[, spearheaded by Republican Senator … Ted Cruz[ and Democratic Senator] Jeanne Shaheen … follows legislation signed by … Trump last year …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian government presents National Recovery Plan to President Putin” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has presented the National Recovery Plan to … Putin … [with] a launch at the beginning of July. … [T]he government has rolled out two economic support packages, worth RUB3.1 trillion ($42.1bn), or 2.8% of GDP. The RUB7.3 trillion final recovery plan was cut from the previously reported RUB8 trillion plan … includ[ing] the two […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Says Only ‘Coronavirus Immune’ Troops Will March at Victory Day Parade” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 2, 2020) The Russian military will march asymptomatic troops and those who have developed immunity to coronavirus at its landmark parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II later this month, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to hold the previously postponed Victory […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Prices Economic Recovery Plan at $70Bln” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russia will launch a 5 trillion ruble ($73 billion) recovery plan next month to offset economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tanker crosses Russian Arctic route without icebreaker assistance; Commercial shipping on the Northern Sea Route starts earlier than ever before.” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

By late May, a carrier had set out on the icy route without icebreaker escort. “… [S]ea ice along the Russian Arctic coast is quickly vanishing as temperatures … have been reaching record highs. With the retreating ice comes tanker traffic. … [T]he ‘Christophe de Margerie’ … on May [19th] kickstarted this year’s shipping season across the eastern part of […]

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Putin, Trump discuss by phone G7 summit, Covid-19, oil market

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

… Putin and … Trump have discussed in a telephone call the situation surrounding Covid-19, the Crew Dragon spacecraft launch, the Group of Seven (G7) summit, as well as the situation on the oil market, the Kremlin press service said. […]

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Khodorkovsky Marks the Spot: Russia’s Turning Point From Economic Freedom to State Control

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

… Khodorkovsky was not the first oligarch harassed by Putin, but this was indeed a turning point. Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia at that point precisely because he cleaned up his oil company’s corporate governance. […]

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Putin To Bail Out Russian Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – May 25, 2020) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with implementing a set of measures aimed at supporting the oil industry for the duration of the OPEC+ production cut agreement. According to a document published on the website of the Russian presidency, the measures include a prescription not to sanction companies that stray […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s small businesses left out in the cold by Covid-19” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Local service-sector enterprises flounder in an economy dominated by large industrial groups.” “… the Kremlin … [must] demand two seemingly opposing outcomes: maintain restrictions to smother the world’s second-largest number of Covid-19 infections and lift a lockdown [that is shrinking GDP] …. [with] [s]mall and medium-sized businesses … trapped in … between. … forced by … Putin to pay salaries […]

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Many Russians Expect to Lose Jobs, Take Pay Cuts in Wake of Pandemic

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

Almost half of Russians expect layoffs within their household in the coming months and almost one-third have already had someone in their household recently fired, according to a poll conducted April 26-28 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Economy Suffers Double Hit From Oil Slump and Coronavirus” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Georgi Kantchev

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

“As infections grow, Russia finds a shortfall in oil revenue hurts its ability to offer the kind of emergency support provided in the West.” “… [Russia’s] slump … began … when coronavirus lockdowns in China and elsewhere pushed oil prices lower. … Putin’s hesitance in joining … big producers to curtail output compounded the problem, driving oil to its lowest […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Wants Russia to Get Back to Normal. New Outbreaks Show It May Be Too Early.” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

Budget deficits are driving regions to lift quarantine restrictions. But poor data could be hiding a second coronavirus wave. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – May 21, 2020) Before 136 employees of the distribution center for the popular Krasnoe & Beloe discount liquor chain in central Russia’s Sverdlovsk region tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the region […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Ruble Hits 10-Week High on Investor Optimism; The Finance Ministry sold a record volume of government bonds Wednesday, and the government is reportedly mulling increasing foreign currency sales.” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 21, 2020) The ruble has hit its strongest level in more than two months, pushed higher by investor confidence, renewed appetite for risk and a partial recovery in worldwide oil prices. The ruble was trading at 70.8 against the U.S. dollar Thursday morning – a 12% appreciation since panic on the financial markets in […]

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