By Valentin Mândrăşescu: Washington’s defaulting on an agreement with Russia about Ukraine’s future, and the prospect of NATO troops in Ukraine, convinced Putin and much of the Russian elite that there’s no point in negotiating with the US. Big risks lie ahead.
Entries in Russia & Ex-Soviets (26)
By Benjamin Shepherd, Chief Investment Strategist: As global investor who focuses on the emerging markets, I'm willing to put money to work almost anywhere in the world there’s a return to be made. I say almost because Russia is the one country I avoid.
The US offered the Ukraine $1 billion in aid, the EU €11 billion. The IMF is working on its aid package. All to shift losses from lenders, bondholders, hedge funds... to taxpayers. But it won’t rescue the economy. Because it's a cesspool of corruption and plundering oligarchs.
Regarding Russia’s Ukrainian campaign, Speaker of the House Boehner did what President Obama had done: posturing. “It’s time to stand up to Putin,” he said. NATO met. The UN Security Council met. EU Foreign Ministers met. Sanctions, that’s the common denominator.
By David Stockman: The fiasco between the Ukraine and Russia over the Crimea “has been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of our damn business.”
By Joao Peixe, Oilprice.com: Iran and Russia are in talks about a potential $1.5 billion oil-for-goods swap that could boost Iranian oil exports by 50%, which didn’t go over very well in Washington.
Ukraine, Third-Highest Default Risk In The World, Squeezed By Russia, Makes Two Gas Deals To Save Its Hide
By Scott Belinksi, OilPrice.com: If one were to believe most Western media outlets, the Ukraine has been lost to Russia. But two gas deals the Ukraine has reportedly made, one with Russia, the other with Slovakia in the EU, show that reality is slightly more complex.
Putin Liquidates State-Owned Media Groups, Tightens Stranglehold On Survivors (As Other Governments Watch Enviously)
Vladimir Putin issued decrees that liquidate RIA Novosti, a state-run news agency with reporters in 45 countries, publishing in 14 languages including English, and too much of a mind of its own. And he is building a formidable propaganda machine. Other governments watch enviously.
By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com: The deal between Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corp to jointly develop a giant oilfield in Siberia may be tainted. I’m not talking about corruption or illegal activities, but rather the potential that the oil and gas in the field may be contaminated with radioactive materials from nuclear explosions.
By Analysts of Oil & Energy Insider: The Ukraine controls the transit of 90% of Russia’s natural gas to Europe and dependents on Russia for 60% of its own gas consumption. Russia is using its gas stranglehold on the Ukraine to gain control of its transit system. The EU is involved too. An epic struggle. But now, a deal with Turkey might usurp it.
By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist: Vladimir Putin is on a roll. Ever since the Russian president-turned-prime-minister-turned-president got into office 13 years ago, he's been deftly maneuvering Russia back into the ranks of global heavyweights. These days, he's averting cruise missiles from Syria before breakfast.
Any “Government Is Evil To A Certain Extent” – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov About The Troubled Economy
Global investors, whose money Russia needs to develop its economy, are staying away in droves. They have lots of reasons to just say no – political risks, judicial nightmares, legal bogs, corruption, an economy spiraling into a slowdown.... “There are questions about the future stability of the Russian economy,” said First Deputy PM Shuvalov. But he has a plan.
The Big Shift: Chinese, Russians Replace People From (Formerly) Rich Countries As Big Spenders At Parisian Airports
In Paris, “Chinese” has a new meaning: money. This phenomenon shows up by the busload at luxury retailers where sales staff say a few words of bad Mandarin, instead of bad English, in hawking overpriced handbags and glittery baubles. Now Aéroports de Paris has put a number on it. A glimmer of hope for France, though perhaps of the wrong kind.
By Scott Belinski, of OilPrice.com: Twenty-two years after breaking free from the USSR, Ukraine is now attempting to do the unthinkable and permanently shake Russia’s hold on the country. The plan? Looking westward to the European Union and building an energy hub that might just revolutionize the region’s geopolitical status quo.
Contributed by Casey Research: The last time Vladimir Putin was president, he laid the foundation to pull Mother Russia from the wreck of economic chaos to a world power once again. This time, he's ready to extend that influence to counter the West. His tools: Russia's abundant resources of energy, including uranium.
Contributed by Valentin Mândrăşescu, Editor of Reality Check @ The Voice of Russia: The status of the US dollar as the world reserve currency gives the US tremendous advantages. Among them: it allows the Fed to export inflation, while the Federal Government can run a huge deficit with impunity. But now an angry Russia has had enough!
Contributed by Valentin Mândrăşescu, Editor of Reality Check @ The Voice of Russia. The mainstream media usually presents a very unbalanced view on the events in which Russian interests are involved. The “Cypriot bailout” is no exception. These messages are wrong, and they miss the most interesting part of the story. I can tell that in Moscow there are many people who are jubilating right now. Their wildest dreams have come true.
Russia’s booming underground economy with its dizzying flows of illicit oil money is at the core of an 84-page report by Global Financial Integrity. It advises the Russian government on how to tackle this problem. But buried deep inside is a gem: the flows and amounts of Russian “black money” into and out of Cyprus.
Much digital ink has been spilled about the US oil & gas boom, and whether or not it will lead to energy independence, or even turn the US into an oil exporter. Now a “confidential” report by the German version of the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, seeped to the surface. It sketched out the boom’s geopolitical consequences. Biggest loser? China.
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. Russia’s Transneft has opened its second and final branch of the $25 billion, 4,700km East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline to double its capacity to 30 million tons for total exports of 36 million tons in 2013. And it gives Russia more leverage over Europe.