Notes

 

Economy

Russia’s market slid further yesterday:

This means that the ruble is now just at the point of intervention by Russia’s Central Bank

(Though personally I think they’re already intervening).

Russians have yet to feel sanctions’ real bite:

Russia’s Central Bank warns that sanctions will impact Russia’s economy in the longer term too:

And crude just keeps falling:

And now Sberbank wants a bailout:

Putin has destroyed Russia’s economy through his adventurism:

With a quote from Russian self-exiled economist Sergei Guriev:

“Russia had such a massive potential because of its inefficiencies that it was perfectly feasible to achieve this rate of economic growth,” said Guriev. “What changed is that the government decided not to fulfill its promises.”

 

More foreign companies are getting out of the Russian market:

Carlsberg too:

But General Electric is staying:

And that great discovery by Exxon & Rosneft probably isn’t as great as we were led to believe:

Rosneft’s Sechin says sanctions won’t impact drilling:

But Exxon is out:

But don’t worry, Rosneft will get help financially from Russia’s government:

Want a quote from Sechin? It’s difficult:

The case against Sistema just got bigger:

But Sistema’s chief, Yevtushkov, is still going into the office every day:

Is it part of a bigger narrative?

 

Inside Russia

The 2018 World Cup preparations are moving forward:

Another McDonalds has been shut down:

Russia’s Moscow Helsinki human rights NGO has almost ceased operations:

 

Ukraine

Russian militant leader, Pavel Gubarev, has a song for you:

More on the Russian mercenaries fighting in eastern Ukraine

Russia is running with its accusations of ‘genocide’ in eastern Ukraine

Putin’s adventurism is based on miscalculations:

Counter-argument to that here:

That ‘deal’ with Gazprom was only a bunch of hot air:

Is Lithuania Russia’s next target?

Keep an eye on Kaliningrad:

Obama misspeaks (again):

More on the destruction of the Lenin in Kharkiv:

 

Crimea

More bad news for the Crimean Tatar community:

You’ll be surprised to find out who is getting the contract for the Kerch Strait Bridge:

 

Odds & Ends

Photos from the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia:

And photos from Georgia:

Advertisements

Notes

Economy

Russia’s Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov, is still trying to put a brave face on Russia’s economic situation:

 

Lavrov

Comments on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly:

And a discussion on excerpts from the speech:

Lavrov is advocating what he calls a “Reset 2.0” between the US and Russia.

This is subject to interpretation, of course, but it appears that what he means is something similar to the agreements reached in 1932 when the US officially recognised the Soviet Union.

 

Sanctions

These ads are popping up in Moscow:

 

Ukraine

And in Luhansk:

Lenin has been toppled in Kharkiv:

NATO is sending another round of troops to Poland this week:

 

Inside Russia

Nina Khrusheva attended a rally in support of ‘Novorossiya’:

Extremism comes in all shapes and sizes:

Happy holiday!

It was also Engineers’ Day:

A long investigative piece from the New York Times on the men often called “Putin’s bankers”.

More on the recent Putin polls:

A somewhat hilarious public dispute between socialite Ksenia Sobchak (Putin’s rumoured goddaughter) and Oscar-winning director Mikhailov:

 

Odds & Ends

Soviet tourism photos:

 

Notes

Economy

Putin advisor, Sergey Glazyev, has yet more plans for economic recovery:

Full text of Glazyev’s plan:

The chief of Russia’s diamond monopoly quietly stepped down last week for ‘medical reasons’, but will remain on the company’s supervisory board. No reason was given, but it seems likely that it is part of the fight amongst the Kremlin clans for resources and money.

 

Sanctions

Exxon strikes oil in the Arctic, after begging the US Treasury Department for an extension on its Kara Sea project with sanctioned Rosneft

https://twitter.com/jfarchy/status/515771609312161793

France’s Total is apparently ignoring the sanctions:

The story behind why Canada backed down on some of its sanctions last week:

 

Ukraine

The EU decision to postpone the free-trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine that started this war is being met with criticism by some members of the EU:

But not others:

And Gazprom’s chief, Alexei Miller, is keeping to script by using its supplies to Europe to impose Russian foreign policy aims

“The situation is very hard. Even if the deal is signed under those conditions which we are talking about, it does not 100 percent guarantee that there are no disruptions of gas transit to Europe,” Miller said.

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, spoke at the UN General Assembly on Saturday:

 

Inside Russia

All that money spent on the winter Olympics in Sochi is being put to good use:

A Russian MP wants Fort Ross in California back:

 

Odds & Ends

Patriotic Russian rap about remembering & recognising the Soviet soldiers who defeated fascism:

Some older photos of Putin before he became President:

In New York, and looking for Georgian food?

Notes

Economy

Crude just keeps falling:

The ruble is also falling:

This seems generous:

Russia’s government is still living on hope, however:

But then predicts a spike in inflation:

 

Sistema

“A Moscow court ordered the seizure of Sistema’s stake in Bashneft a day after a judge refused to release Yevtushenkov, who is under house arrest on suspicion of money laundering during the oil firm’s acquisition in 2009.”

Confusion continues to reign even among the highest echelons of the Russian Government:

But Ulyukaev’s influence has always been debatable:

Could all of this be part of a bigger narrative?

A few days old, but worth reading:

 

Sanctions

Despite rumors to the contrary:

Even with that extension Exxon got from the US Treasury to continue work in Russia for another 2 weeks, it looks like they will be halting work more than a week earlier than originally planned:

Russian companies are also looking for ways around the sanctions:

And some are succeeding:

Russia’s Vladimir Yakunin, sanctioned in Europe, was a participant at the Rhodes Forum in Greece this week:

 

Ukraine

A Russian activist has accused both the Russian & Ukrainian governments of lying about those killed as a result of the war in Ukraine:

And Russia continues to make inroads:

Meanwhile, in Berlin:

The deal ended up looking like this:

With more talks planned for next week:

It turns out that Russia had a good reason for keeping Gazprom’s CEO, Alexei Miller, hidden for the past year:

Gazprom is still being used as a prong in Russia’s foreign policy arsenal against Europe:

And Hungary has turned off its reverse gas flow to Ukraine under Russian pressure:

 

Crimea

More threats:

And more propaganda:

 

Inside Russia

The Duma soldiers on, solving Russia’s most important dilemmas:

And the law on foreign media ownership has been pushed through:

To depression among Russia’s media:

Who are not even prepared to fight it in court:

Is there method to the Duma’s madness?

Everybody is releasing polls these days:

And Skolkovo is still happening:

Russia’s Prosecutor General is taking this time of confusion to demand more power:

 

Odds & Ends

Today’s photos are from the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan:

And another set from Moscow circa 1909:

And one more of bus stops in the former Soviet Union:

Notes

Economy

Crude fell again:

And that will have an impact on future export decisions, says Russian government:

Sistema’s chief remains under house arrest, despite pleas from both his lawyers and investigators:

On his birthday, no less:

Of course, Sistema’s stock dropped as a result of the ruling:

Russia’s Central Bank says nothing you are blaming them for is their fault!

Inflation is increasing more rapidly than minimum wage:

But revenues from taxation are up:

 

Sanctions

Russia’s Rosneft is not doing well in the face of sanctions, despite its vociferous denials:

But at least someone is winning in all of this:

A joke about Russia’s sanctions:

Russia’s hipsters are losing their sushi due to sanctions:

And Russia’s sanctions will impact inflation:

Despite earlier denials, it looks like LUKoil is also looking for a bailout:

But perhaps not in cash?

And Russia’s state development bank will get its bailout

A Russian MP has proposed a bailout for oligarchs impacted by the sanctions. This would potentially include Putin’s judo partner, Arkady Rotenberg, who recently had property in Italy seized.

Putin’s spokesman would only comment that the sanctions are unjust:

And some of Russia’s oligarchs are still trying to put a brave face on their situation:

But there are those who anonymously disagree:

Conclusion?

 

Inside Russia

That FOM poll also found:

You too can have an ax with Putin on it:

Former Finance Minister, Alexei Kudrin’s NGO conducted a study on last weekend’s elections:

Mushroom picking season has begun:

Protest outside the US embassy in Moscow yesterday:

This is what Russians are watching on their televisions now:

More and more Russians want to leave the country:

It has been 15 years since the apartment bombings that started our adventures with Putin:

 

Crimea

Russia’s adventurism in Crimea is probably going to end badly, its Russian overseer admits:

Even as the Crimean Tatar community faces more evictions:

And persecution:

 

Ukraine

Photos from Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine:

The airport was only 2 years old.

That “ceasefire” is still not a “ceasing fire”:

As Anne Applebaum defends Ukraine’s actions in eastern Ukraine:

And Russia’s Finance Minister is accusing Ukraine of stealing:

An old argument, but worth checking out:

And weather is already impacting the situation on the ground:

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko still has not signed the lustration bill:

 

Odds & Ends

A woman in Russia has created a Facebook page to record her adventures in eating only food that has not been banned in her country. She includes the prices of her purchases too.

On the subject of food, a friend wrote a funny ode mocking a New York Times cooking article:

And some music from Dmitry Shostakovich:

Notes

Economy 

Russia’s Finance Minsitry sold all of the treasury bonds it put up for sale on Tuesday:

WTI and Brent fell on Tuesday:

And again on Wednesday:

The World Bank says Russia’s economy is not doing as well as it claims:

And a bank chief says that they are putting more limits on giving consumer loans:

But Russia’s Central Bank insists they have a handle on the situation:

However, some of their calculations are based solely on hope:

Sistema’s chief is allegedly not under house arrest anymore:

It is unclear where Norilsk’s Potanin is going with this:

That deal that Gazprom made with China is probably dead in the water:

Sanctions

Western businesses don’t want to give up its gas or contracts with Russia

And it looks like Western governments may be backing down:

Crimea

Now totally cut off:

More details on the delegates who were denied the opportunity to go to New York:

And Obama’s speech at the UN never talked about Crimea?

Ukraine

The group was later rehabilitated:

And in Kyiv:

A really harsh op-ed from The Moscow Times on the Kremlin turning a blind eye to Russian “volunteers” in Ukraine:

Russia’s policy toward said “volunteers” when they die in battle:

The “ceasefire” is not holding:

Inside Russia

The New York Times highlights the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy at Beslan:

The Russians are still holding the Estonian man they accuse of violating their borders, but

Even so:

This may be the result of the proposed media ownership law that bans foreign entities from investing in Russia’s press:

As a result:

A chart of the companies who would be impacted by such a move:

Russia’s parliament then moved on to Skype calls

But later shelved the proposal so they could explain it better.

Now Ingushetia gets to donate men to the Russian military too:

Sochi is now nearly completely flooded:

As the activist who spoke out against the poor construction and the environmental impact it would have remains imprisoned:

In the North Caucasus:

And at a tourism conference in Daghestan:

Levada Center, one of Russia’s main polling organisations, published its most recent survey:

Amid complaints:

But Levada has never said it was completely comfortable with those numbers:

And Kasparov commented:

Another survey, from FOM, revealed that:

Odds & Ends

As Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest season opens, what do you know about cotton?

Russian documentary about the current version of the Lenin cult:

Funny comic about Obama’s speech to the UN yesterday:

And finally some great photos of Chechnya’s mountainous district of Itum-Kali:

Notes

Crimea

More threats of deportation in Crimea:

Even as Crimean Tatar Mejlis is forced out of their offices:

And Crimean Tatar delegates were prevented from going to New York for the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples:

Now weather playing havoc with Kerch ferry:

Economy

Russia’s budget for next year is based on a false premise:

Capital flight continues:

Ruble did a little better:

And MICEX did too:

Russia’s military purchases are hiding the fact that its economy is stagnating:

Sanctions

Putin’s judo partner, Arkady Rotenberg, had some overseas property seized:

Even as Bershidsky complains of lack of political will in seizing assets of the sanctioned:

“The logical conclusion is that European governments aren’t really trying — possibly a sign that they are planning to do business with Putin’s regime and, inevitably, with his cronies, when the Ukraine crisis blows over.”

It seems that somebody got the definition of ‘sanctions’ wrong:

More requests for bailout from companies impacted by the sanctions:

And Putin’s crony, Rotenberg, will get a bailout from Russia’s budget:

But struggling Mechal will not:

Gazprom still insists that it will not be impacted by the sanctions:

Even as they continue to accuse Ukraine of stealing gas meant for European countries like Poland:

And Exxon gets a grace period to shut down operations in Russia:

It is still unclear what action the EU will take next regarding sanctions:

Inside Russia

Russia’s Migration Service claims there are 4 million ‘illegal migrants’ in Russia, mostly due to overstayed visas.

Longer discussion the subject here:

A thought:

And a prediction:

More on the recent formalizing of conscripting Chechens into Russia’s military:

Russia’s parliament is still hard at work banning things:

And finger pointing:

I want one:

Georgia

Ex-president Saakashvili’s wife has been kicked out of her apartment:

Rumour that Georgia has offered to help train Syrian rebels:

But this was later denied:

Georgia’s Prime Minister spoke about IDPs at the United Nations.

A Georgian MP is pushing for stricter abortion laws.

And the focus on the so-called feud between Georgia’s President and Prime Minister continues:

Odds & Ends

Fun post-Soviet Soviet art:

And more:

Notes

Economy

Russia’s economy continues to flounder in the face of sanctions:

And

Gazprom spokesman, Alexander Medvedev, claimed that sanctions would not impact their supply chain.

Even so Russian gas supplies to Central Europe are still falling, according to the WSJ.

The chief of Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB, met with Putin on Monday:

Presidential adviser, Sergei Glazyev, proposed taxing capital flight:

Sanctions are now impacting long-term projects:

But IKEA is staying in Russia:

Russia’s regions will have the right to impose property taxes next year. The percentage they will be allowed to charge is still up for debate, however:

Opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, remains under house arrest:

It looks like Qatar will not be hosting the World Cup in 2022 ‘because of its climate’.

This prompted several people to joke about Russia’s chances of keeping the World Cup:

Ukraine

The latest round of talks in Minsk resulted in the following:

Kommersant published a map of Russia’s proposed “buffer zone” in eastern Ukraine:

Crimea

Crimea’s leader, Aksyonov, gave an interview to Kommersant over the weekend that was scathing toward the Crimean Tatars, and their leadership:

Georgia

In Georgia, meanwhile, the political situation continues to rapidly spiral out of control:

Georgia’s former president, Mikhail Saakashvili, received a less than complimentary article in the New York Times over the weekend:

But the pictures in the article are great.

Notes

A Russian tabloid accused the BBC of setting up Thursday’s attack:

In Russia’s North Caucasus:

Russia had its annual Sochi International Investment Forum.

At the forum, much of the discussion focused on how Russia was planning to face Western sanctions.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, talked about the Russian budget:

Finance Minister Siluanov also talked about the budget and taxes:

Sberbank, which has been sanctioned, also hosted its annual breakfast at the forum. In an interview a few days previously, Sberbank’s chief, German Gref, opined:

Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Kozak insisted that sanctions would not impact scheduled sporting events:

And on the sanctions front, Canada quietly removed 2 banks from its list, amid complaints that its sanctions don’t go far enough.

Meanwhile, Western business are starting to flee in the fact of sanctions:

And despite Russian claims to the contrary, Exxon-Mobil is suspending operations in the Arctic:

Former Yukos chief, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has announced an initiative he calls “Open Russia”.

Garry Kasparov on how the Putin system is failing:

Fomer MP, Gennady Gudkov, thinks this is the end:

The Aurora in St Petersburg was transferred to a different location in an impressive ceremony.

The parody account, @KermlinRussia, joked:

Interesting read on Putin’s tactics against the West:

Old article, but good insight into Putin’s time as a KGB officer in Dresden:

The protest against the war in Ukraine had an estimated turnout of 26,000 people.

More photos of the protest can be found here:

Notes

 Economy

Crude jumped slightly yesterday:

Crude

Russia’s stock exchange MICEX fell again:

But the ruble bounced:

More depressing forecasts on Russia’s economic outlook:

Russia’s government approved its budget for 2015-2017 yesterday, and went about posting photos of how they planned to spend their money:

The budget will have to use funds from the National Welfare Fund for the first time since 2008:

President Putin chaired a State Council meeting on Russia’s economic situation:

The meeting focussed on the development of Russian business and making it more competitive on the global market in the context of Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organisation.

In his own remarks, Putin claimed that Russia had no plans to sanction itself again:

Russia will not pressure the West with sanctions but will pursue its own interests

Russia’s Gazprom, meanwhile, continues to cut gas supplies to Europe:

Despite official denials, sanctions are starting to bite:

Sistema

More fears that this could turn into a ‘second Yukos’:

Interview with self-exiled oligarch Chichvarkin on the topic:

Russia’s Economy Minister Ulyukayev appeared to be just as ignorant as everybody else.

“We have a (growth) forecast for -2.4 percent this year for investment, however this is without a doubt under threat and here we have been waiting for some kind of clarification of the situation.”

And in the absence of any updates, a Russian newspaper decided to go with this story:

Inside Russia

BBC News’ team in Russia was attacked and robbed while working on a report in Astrakhan:

But they managed to get their story anyway:

The August numbers for North Caucasus violence are out:

The European Court of Human Rights released their verdict against Russia:

Chechnya’s Kadyrov is on a campaign against what he calls “wahhabism”

Kadyrov got approval to officially conscript Chechens for the Russian Army:

And Kadyrov gets a grape named for himself:

Daghestan’s Abdulatipov has been under attack recently for his lack of success in the region:

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s daughter is allegedly back in Russia.  Rumor has it that she doesn’t speak Russian.

Crimea

RFE/RL reports:

Some 15 members of Russia’s Federal Bailiffs Service arrived at the Mejlis — the Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body — on September 18 and requested that all people leave it.

Ukraine

More ‘aid’ from Russia is heading to Luhansk:

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko visited the US and spoke to Congress:

Odds & Ends

Finally, photos of Svaneti in Georgia: