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Russia & CIS

Putin's 2024 Address to the Federal Assembly: Ukraine, the West and new major social projects / Russia - Thu, 29/02/2024 - 16:22
On Thursday, February 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual Address to the Federal Assembly. In the beginning of the speech, he touched on the topics of the special military operation in Ukraine, relations with the West, strategic stability, and later proceeded to announce a number of new national projects, changes in economic and social sphere. About special military operation Putin recalled that 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of the "legendary Russian Spring.” "The love that the people living in Crimea and new regions share for their homeland evokes pride," Vladimir Putin said.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Baijiahao: Russia makes brilliant move by exchanging US securities for gold / Russia - Thu, 08/02/2024 - 13:31
In 2023, central banks around the world purchased significant amounts of gold. China's activity in this area was particularly noticeable as the nation's gold reserves increased by 225 tons over the year. An article published on Chinese Internet platform Baijiahao says that Russia actively participated in the gold rush to increase its precious metals reserves. As a result, Russia's gold reserves reached a record 2.36 thousand tons. Russia is thus ranked fifth following the USA, Germany, Italy and France.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Kremlin: Russia is not confronting Americans. Russia is confronting their ideology / Russia - Fri, 17/11/2023 - 12:00
Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov gave an interview to the MGIMO 360 news channel, in which he answered questions about the presidential election, Russia's nuclear rhetoric and enemies. According to Peskov, Russia's next president should be "the same as [Vladimir] Putin… or different, but the same." "Putin has not announced his intention to run. But I sincerely want to believe that he will do it. I have no doubt that he will win the election, I have no doubt that he will continue to be our president. We'll see," Peskov said.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia pulls out from Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty / Russia - Tue, 17/10/2023 - 14:46
On Tuesday, October 17, the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, gave the first reading to the draft law to revoke the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Commenting on the vote on the bill, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin wrote that the withdrawal of the ratification should "contribute” to ensuring Russia's security against the backdrop of the US refusal to ratify the CTBT. "Washington should finally understand that hegemony on their part does not lead to anything positive. There is a need for dialogue on the principles of mutual respect, absence of double standards, and non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states. The Russian Federation will do everything to protect its citizens and ensure that global strategic parity is maintained," Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on Telegram.
Categories: Russia & CIS

How Advanced Is Russian-Chinese Military Cooperation?

Russian Military Reform - Mon, 26/06/2023 - 18:59

Reposting an article that was published today on War on the Rocks. Co-authored with Elizabeth Wishnick, Paul Schwartz, and Brian Waidelich.

There is widespread consensus among analysts that, although Russia and China have been moving toward closer cooperation through the entire post-Soviet era, the trend has accelerated rapidly since 2014. The specter of a Russian-Chinese partnership is deeply threatening to the United States, not only because it makes U.S. military planning more challenging, but also because it raises the possibility of two formidable adversaries joining forces to counter U.S. interests and potentially working in concert to attack U.S allies.

The strategic partnership, first established in 2001, was boosted in the mid-2010s by Russian leaders’ belief that Russia needed to seek out alternative relationships to survive its sudden confrontation with the West. China was the obvious candidate because it had a suitably large economy, was friendly to Russia, and was not planning to impose sanctions in response to the 2014 invasion of Ukraine. Xi Jinping’s rise to power also has contributed to a deepening of the partnership, as China under Xi shares President Vladimir Putin’s concern with regime security and the two leaders increasingly align on issues of global and regional security. Moreover, the two countries had a record of cooperation dating back to the early 1990s that could serve as a basis for expanded cooperation.

This article summarizes a CNA report that tested this proposition. To do so, we focused on measuring military cooperation, specifically on military diplomacy and other political aspects of the defense relationship, military-technical cooperation, and exercises and joint operations. Our goal is to provide an analysis of the dynamic of the cooperative relationship in the period since 2014, including a discussion of what the relationship allows the two partners to accomplish together that they cannot do alone, and what analysts can infer about where this bilateral relationship is headed.

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

Sanctions are working: Russia does not eat reserves, but builds them up / Russia - Tue, 02/05/2023 - 19:53
Starting from May, Russia may start buying foreign currency for its reserves again. The country's budget has stabilized thanks to the growth of oil and gas export revenues, Bloomberg reports. The growth in revenues from the sale of energy products is already close to the target level. Since February of this year, the Russian Ministry of Finance has been selling reserves in Chinese yuan to cover the budget deficit. In April, sales collapsed by 50 percent compared to the beginning of the year. From May, purchases are likely to begin, Bloomberg notes. Such purchases can be relatively small at first — an equivalent of about $200 million in yuan. For the time being, Russia currently replenishes the National Welfare Fund only by purchasing Chinese currency.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia after Putin plan is ready / Russia - Thu, 26/01/2023 - 19:26
The West has prepared a "Russia after Putin" plan and already chose its actors in the face of Garry Kasparov* and Mikhail Khodorkovsky*, who suddenly developed an affection for the Russian people. They are waiting for the "window of opportunity" to open. The anti-Russian "Action Committee" published an article in Foreign Affairs magazine under the telling title Don't Fear Putin's Demise. This committee is represented by two good old chaps who were recognised as foreign agents in the Russian Federation. They are Garry Kasparov* and Mikhail Khodorkovsky*. The article in Foreign Affairs says that the West needs to continue to supply Ukraine with modern weapons until Russia's military defeat and the collapse of the Putin regime. The committee also declared its readiness to take the reins of power in its hands afterwards.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Why did Shoigu replace General 'Armageddon' Surovikin with Gerasimov? / Russia - Thu, 12/01/2023 - 19:09
On January 11, 2023, Army General Valery Gerasimov was appointed Commander of the Russian grouping of troops in the zone of the special military operation in Ukraine. Gerasimov thus replaced General Sergei Surovikin, who became his deputy. Gerasimov has an extensive experience of army service. He fought Chechen militants at the head of the army, organised Russia's special operation in Syria, and chaired the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in November 2012. Valery Gerasimov was born on September 8, 1955 in Kazan, into a working class family. In 1977 he graduated from the Kazan Higher Tank Command School named after the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (currently the Kazan Higher Tank Command Red Banner School). In 1987, he graduated with honours from the Military Academy of Armoured Forces named after Marshal of the Soviet Union Malinovsky. In 1997 — from the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Putin: I still think of Ukrainians as our brotherly nation. What is happening is not our fault / Russia - Wed, 21/12/2022 - 17:04
An expanded meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Defenсe was held in Moscow on December 21. During the meeting, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu delivered a keynote speech. President Vladimir Putin also spoke at the meeting. Below are key remarks that Shoigu and Putin made about the army, the special operation and priority tasks for 2023. Russian President Vladimir Putin: Of course, the hostilities and military operations are always associated with tragedy and loss of lives. We understand this very well, we are aware of this. But since this [conflict] is inevitable, better today than tomorrow. I think that everyone present in this auditorium perfectly understands what I am talking about. I still consider the Ukrainian people our brotherly nation. What is happening now is a tragedy, but it does not come as a result of our policy. We need to study NATO's experience and tactics in order to include that in the troops training programme and equipping the army. NATO weapons must be analyzed and used to build the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Russia will continue to develop the nuclear triad. This is the main guarantee of maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. As many as 150,000 of the 300,000 mobilised are now undergoing training at training grounds. The other half is in the zone of hostilities. This is enough for the special operation. The past mobilisation has revealed certain problems. To eliminate them, we need to modernise the system of military commissariats. The hostilities have identified issues that need to be worked on, including communication issues. The Ministry of Defence should be attentive to criticism. The ministry should respond to it in a timely manner. Everything a fighter needs must be modern and reliable. Officers and sergeants who have gained experience in the special operation should be assigned to new positions as a matter of priority. It is necessary to develop and use drones in the army — they must be everywhere. We need to expand the arsenal of modern attack weapons. Sarmat intercontinental missiles will be put on combat duty in the near future. The Admiral Gorshkov frigate with state-of-the-art Zirkon hypersonic missile systems will enter combat service in early 2023. We need to saturate the troops with everything necessary — from modern first-aid kits to sights. Everything is important on the battlefield. There are no restrictions to finance the Russian Armed Forces. The country gives the army everything they ask for. We've got everything. We look forward to constructive and meaningful negotiations with a visible end result that would ensure equal security for all, within a certain timeframe. We will not engage in the militarization of the country and economy. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu:
Categories: Russia & CIS

Putin's new decrees: Martial law, levels of readiness and territorial defence / Russia - Wed, 19/10/2022 - 18:44
On October 19, Putin signed a decree to implement martial law in four regions of Russia. He explained this by the fact that Ukrainian forces continue shelling the new Russian regions and committing acts of sabotage. According to the Russian authorities, the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was carried out by the special services of Ukraine, he also said. "In this regard, let me remind you that in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, before they joined Russia, martial law regime was already in effect. Now we need to formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation,” Putin said. Martial law shall be introduced starting from October 20 midnight. The government, as well as the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Federal Security Service and the National Guard, must submit proposals on measures that are planned to be applied in the territories where martial law has been declared within three days.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Accession of new territories: Billions of dollars in expenses and trillions in revenues / Russia - Thu, 29/09/2022 - 18:25
The accession of new territories to Russia is justifiable from the economic point of view and will not have a negative impact on the Russian budget, the Kremlin said. As Russia readies to grow even larger, experts try to calculate how much it will cost the Russian budget to rebuild cities and restore peaceful life in the new territories. Some others try to find out how much profit the new territories will bring. The Washington Post announced the approximate cost of mineral deposits in the new regions — about 12.4 trillion dollars.
Categories: Russia & CIS

What to expect from Putin's Address to Federal Assembly on September 30? / Russia - Mon, 26/09/2022 - 13:42
Putin's Annual Address to the Federal Assembly is scheduled for September 30. Kremlin sources say it will become even more historic and globally important than the 2014 address for the return of Crimea. Mass media and experts make their own suggestions about the content of Putin's speech that he is going to deliver to the Federal Assembly on September 30. There are a number of versions:
Categories: Russia & CIS

Mikhail Gorbachev: The man who saved the world to Western applause of lies / Russia - Wed, 31/08/2022 - 16:24
Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU in 1985-1991, the first and last president of the USSR, died on Tuesday evening, August 30, 2022. Gorbachev personifies a lot of things for both Russia and other nations of the world: perestroika, glasnost, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact Organization, a bloc created as a counterweight to NATO. Gorbachev took a course to improve relations with the West and contributed to the unification of Germany. At the same time, there was a series of bloody conflicts in the USSR during his rule. Many hold Gorbachev accountable for the violent dispersal of the rally in Tbilisi in 1989, when 21 people were killed. The same applies to events in Vilnius in January 1991. The results of Gorbachev's era still raise a lot of questions and debates. Some hold him up for the democratization of the regime, while others blame the politician for the collapse of the USSR. It is worthy of note that all the world leaders, with whom Mikhail Gorbachev had worked are now dead:
Categories: Russia & CIS

Putin: Russia is building the new world order right now / Russia - Fri, 17/06/2022 - 17:41
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, authorities of Western countries cling to the shadows of the past and believe that the dominance of the West will be constantly preserved. However, nothing lasts forever, Putin said. The changes that are currently taking place in the world are fundamental in their nature. The world will not be as it was before, President Vladimir Putin said in his speech at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. "It is erroneous to believe that one can sit and wait when the time of turbulent changes goes by, when everything goes back to where it was. It won't," Putin said.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Dmitry Medvedev goes on emotional rampage about the West / Russia - Tue, 07/06/2022 - 18:20
Dmitry Medvedev's aggressive post on social media, in which he used politically incorrect vocabulary to express hatred of the West, caused mixed reactions. Dmitry Medvedev becomes Russia's "hawk" No.1 Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and heads the United Russia party, ex-president of the Russian Federation, expressed his point of view about Russia's relations with the West. "I hate them (Westerners). They are bastards and degenerates. They want us, Russia, dead. As long as I live, I will do my best to make them disappear,” Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia loses interest in Japan's opinion on Kuril Islands / Russia - Mon, 25/04/2022 - 19:25
Russia will develop Kurils Islands intensively. Interest in Tokyo's opinion gone. Russia will respond to Japan's alleged illegal occupation of the Southern Kurils. The response will be, as is customary to say, asymmetrical. But Tokyo will clearly not like it. Earlier, the Japanese Foreign Ministry published its annual Diplomatic Bluebook report on its website. The report called the southern part of the Kuril Islands "illegally occupied". Tokyo has avoided such a definition since 2003. But almost two decades later it has returned to it, effectively ruling out any chance of negotiations with Moscow for the foreseeable future. The talks have been complicated and hardly ever fruitful, but they are not going to continue in any form now.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Midrats: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russian Military Reform - Thu, 14/04/2022 - 17:27

I was back on the Blog Talk Radio show Midrats this week, talking about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s strategy, what might happen next, and consequences for Russia’s domestic politics. The recording is now available on the show’s website. The show description is as follows:

Episode 621: Russian Military SITREP with Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg

For over 11-years, once a year or so today’s guest has joined us on Midrats to discuss the latest military and national security developments with Russia.

With the war waging in Ukraine and in the process of transitioning to a new phase, there couldn’t be a better time to hear from Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg who will be with us for the full hour in a wide ranging discussion about the buildup to war, and the important takeaways so far.

Russia pegs the ruble to gold in game-changing move / Russia - Wed, 13/04/2022 - 15:08
The Bank of Russia will continue buying gold at a fixed price of 5,000 rubles ($59) per 1 gram until June 30. Russia may thus have a chance to return to the gold standard for the first time in over a hundred years. According to BullionStar Singapore precious metals analyst Ronan Manley, Russia's decision to switch to rubles in settlements with counterparties will entail significant consequences for the Russian currency, for the US dollar, and for the entire global economy. According to him, by pegging the ruble to gold, which is traded in US dollars, the Bank of Russia set a minimum price for the ruble in US dollar terms.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russian Media Analysis, Issue 12, March 25, 2022

Russian Military Reform - Mon, 28/03/2022 - 16:01

Here are the abstracts from the latest issue of our Russian Media Analysis newsletter. You can also download the full text PDF version.


Russian analysts are still focusing on the issue of NATO membership for Ukraine. Many point out that the ongoing war, while leading to a de facto defense arrangement between the “collective West” and Ukraine, has also hindered it from formally joining the alliance. Many authors believe that this is a benefit to Russia, although it has come at the cost of NATO unity and an amplification of arms supplies to Ukraine.


Connected to, although distinct from, the issue of Ukraine’s NATO ambitions, is the desire by its political leadership to join the EU. While Russian commentators are broadly pessimistic about how much defense cooperation there now is between Ukraine and the West, they are more optimistic that Ukraine’s EU bid will remain stalled for the foreseeable future. Although both sides have made many symbolic gestures to signal an agreement for membership down the road, concrete steps are harder to find, and the internal political machinations of the EU will further slow down integration.


More than a dozen articles offer responses to international sanctions against Russia, featuring reactions ranging from optimism to pessimism, and including skepticism and determination to wreak economic havoc on the West. Some serve to reassure the Russian public that even though foreign industries are leaving, they will still be able to access certain goods. Others discuss the prospect of more serious sanctions, such as EU bans on Russian oil and gas imports, or a U.S. sea-route trade embargo against Russia. The authors argue that such measures would introduce a number of cascading effects that would harm countries “hostile to Russia.”


The details and implications of NATO and U.S. military aid and efforts to arm Ukraine are the subject of several articles. It is evident that there is concern for the unified support that Ukraine is getting from the West, but there remains a confidence in the narrative surrounding Russian capabilities against the perceived lackluster quality of provisions going to Ukraine.


Several articles address U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s decision to cancel a Minuteman III missile test following President Putin’s announcement that Russia put its nuclear forces on a “special combat regime duty.” While some experts characterize the test cancellation as an effort to avoid nuclear escalation, one article suspects that it helped avoid drawing attention to the stagnant U.S. nuclear modernization process. An additional article takes issue with the optics and messaging that the U.S. is responsibly conducting nuclear policy, when it has conducted “mock nuclear strikes” in recent exercises and increased the frequency of nuclear-capable aircraft flights near Russia’s border.


As Ukraine’s request for a West-enforced no-fly zone remains unmet, Russian commentators caution against the implementation of anything remotely close to it and highlight the escalatory nature of such potential actions by NATO and the U.S..


A recent issue of the Ministry of Defense newspaper posits the conspiracy theory that “Ukraine’s scientific establishment has sufficient competencies to create a nuclear explosive device.” The content of this article appears to be drawn from a TASS report that cites the Russian intelligence agency SVR as a source of claims that Ukraine had an advanced missile and nuclear weapon program.


Coverage of the conspiracy theories about U.S. DTRA reference laboratories in Ukraine continues to proliferate across Russian media sources. It now includes official newspapers as well as MOD and MFA officials. Coverage has also begun to note statements made by Chinese government officials on this issue.


A number of articles in the Russian press assess the state of the Russian-Chinese relationship as well as China’s diplomatic and economic relations with the United States and the broader West. Many commentators are quick to point out that China is resistant to following along with the West’s sanctions regime against Russia, although also acknowledging that there remains much to be desired in terms of China’s closeness to Russia itself.


The ambitions of Scandinavian countries to join NATO continue to be a worry for Russian commentators. Yet given the scale of hostilities in Ukraine, experts are quick to note that parallels with Ukraine-and any potential Russian reaction to new Scandinavian member-states-are improper. Although Russia assesses the membership of Sweden and Finland to NATO in a very negative light, it is clear that this issue is not an existential one compared to Russian perceptions of Ukraine’s or Georgia’s entrance into the alliance.


Russian commentators have maintained a close watch over U.S. actions and engagement with other OPEC+ and oil suppliers ever since the U.S. sanctioned Russian oil. Analysts have focused on the U.S.-Iran relationship and the relevance of Iranian oil to the JCPOA negotiations. They remain critical of U.S. moral flexibility and assert that the “special military operation” in Ukraine has had a profound impact on long-term global security, as is evidenced by the changing oil environment around the globe.


Several articles focus on and are critical of the proliferation of U.S. weaponry abroad. They include the legal sale of arms to Egypt and the resulting arms capabilities of the Taliban after the U.S. exit from Afghanistan.


Amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian media maintain a close watch on U.S. policy developments in other areas of the world, especially the Indo-Pacific region.


Two articles address alleged acts of “information warfare” against Russia, tending to take on a defensive tone about Moscow’s leadership and the progress of the “special military operation.” The first article responds to recent quotes from U.S. Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby, who noted Russia’s history of use and potential future use of chemical and biological weapons. The second article details alleged activities from the 72nd Center for Information and Psychological Operations (CIPO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which the article claims was trained by the UK.


Several articles report on developments of U.S. and NATO capabilities and weapons systems. One article reports on funding cuts to the U.S. Air Force’s first hypersonic missile, the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). A second article reports on a reorganization of the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment that puts combat groups on the first and second island chains of the Pacific at a moment’s notice. A third article reports on Germany’s decision to purchase 35 American F-35A fighter jets to replace the Tornado fighter-bombers it uses to carry American B61 nuclear weapons.

Russia heads for the affiliation of the Ukraine / Russia - Fri, 25/03/2022 - 15:10
Russia has set a course for the affiliation of the Ukraine, the main question is — within what borders. This is evidenced by the following facts: 1. Statement by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said that the Ukrainian leadership has missed its chance for a sovereign state.
Categories: Russia & CIS