Putin Rides to Xi’s Rescue on Battered Silk Road as the West Stews

At the first Belt and Road summit in Beijing two years ago, Vladimir Putin offered little more than platitudes for Xi Jinping’s global infrastructure initiative, essentially calling China’s “project of the century” a welcome new plank in Russia’s own strategy for ending American hegemony. Since then, deep-pocketed Chinese companies have intensified their march across Asia, Africa…

Head of FSB’s Secretive Unit Detained for Bribery – Reports

The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) highly secretive branch has been detained on suspicion of large-scale bribery, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday. Colonel Kirill Cherkalin headed the FSB economic security department’s financial counterintelligence support unit. The department played key roles in investigations surrounding former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, deputy prime minister…

Ukraine Vote Shows ‘Total’ Policy Failure of Departing Leader – Putin

Outgoing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s policy has suffered a “total failure” which manifested in his election loss, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in first remarks on the Ukrainian vote. Poroshenko garnered 24 percent of the vote in the Sunday runoffs, behind television comedian and political novice Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s 73 percent. His defeat was seen as…

Russian Ministry Moves to Ban Personal Imports of Parmesan and Jamon – Reports

Russia is considering banning certain meat and dairy products, including parmesan and jamon, over health concerns tied to infectious diseases, the Vedomosti business daily reported. Wholesale imports of fresh EU food products were banned in 2014 in retaliation to Western states imposing sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.…

Germany, Poland Halt Oil Imports From Russia Over Quality Concerns

Poland and Germany have suspended imports of Russian oil via a major pipeline, citing poor quality and triggering a rare crisis over supply from the world’s second-largest crude exporter. Halting imports from the Druzhba pipeline could trigger legal claims by Western buyers against Russian suppliers, who would in turn seek compensation from Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft, three traders…

Russia’s Passport Offer to East Ukrainians Slammed in Kiev, Washington

President Vladimir Putin’s order simplifying the procedure for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine to obtain a Russian passport prompted condemnations from Kiev and the United States. Putin’s decree on Wednesday eases the path to Russian citizenship for an estimated 3.7 million people living in the self-proclaimed Donetsk  and Luhansk republics after five years of war…

Reuters Corrects Story Saying Venezuela Is Avoiding U.S. Sanctions by Funneling Oil Sales Through Russia

Reuters has corrected a story it published on April 18 saying Venezuela is funneling cash flow from oil sales through Russian state energy giant Rosneft to evade U.S. sanctions after Rosneft threatened to ban the international news agency from operating in Russia. The story, datelined Mexico City, said Reuters had uncovered a scheme whereby Venezuelan…

Putin’s Closest Ally Fears Takeover as Kremlin Plots Succession

President Vladimir Putin may look beyond Russia for a mechanism to keep power after his current term ends. That’s making Moscow’s closest ally nervous amid spiraling tensions over Kremlin threats to slash economic subsidies. After years of spending billions of dollars to support Belarus’s state-dominated economy, Russia is intensifying pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to…

First Russian Found Guilty Under ‘Disrespect’ of Authorities Law – Reports

Russian authorities have issued the first guilty verdict under a new law criminalizing “blatant disrespect” toward the authorities for online posts calling President Vladimir Putin an expletive. A Novgorod region court 570 kilometers northwest of Moscow found a local resident guilty and fined him 30,000 rubles ($470) Monday for posts calling Putin “a fantastic f——”…

Putin Unveils World’s Longest Nuclear Submarine at Shipyard Ceremony

President Vladimir Putin has unveiled a submarine capable of carrying six thermonuclear warheads on Tuesday ahead of its deployment in 2020-2021. Russia’s naval submarine called “Belgorod” will be the world’s longest submarine ever built, measuring 184 meters, The Barents Observer has estimated. The Belgorod will be able to carry six underwater “Poseidon” drones, the state-run…

Russian Lawmaker Says Bans Are Freeing and Civil Rights Are Restrictive

An outspoken Russian lawmaker has turned heads for arguing that civil rights are restrictive, while bans are a form of freedom. Yelena Mizulina, who successfully lobbied for Russia’s 2012 “gay propaganda” law and spearheaded efforts to decriminalize domestic violence, made the statement in defense of recent internet restriction laws. On Monday, Russian senators backed tighter…

Putin Won’t Congratulate Zelenskiy On Ukraine Presidential Win, Kremlin Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not officially congratulate Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his landslide victory, the Kremlin said on Monday. Ukraine has entered uncharted political waters after near final results show Zelenskiy, a comedian, winning Sunday’s presidential election by a landslide, dramatically upending the political status quo in the ex-Soviet republic. It’s “too early”…

Russia’s Far East Braces for Fresh Wildfires

A region in Russia’s Far East has bolstered its capabilities to combat wildfires after the first wave injured dozens and left hundreds more homeless. Wildfires that tore through Zabaikalsky region injured at least 34 people, four of them critically, and left more than 400 people homeless. Authorities estimate the blaze, which was swept in from Mongolia by high winds,…

Kremlin Says Mueller Report Shows No Evidence of Russian Meddling

The Kremlin said on Friday that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report did not contain any evidence the Russian state had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Mueller’s report, released on Thursday, details extensive contacts between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian operatives who, it said, sought to tilt the election in Trump’s favor. However,…

Mir Card Payment System Looks Beyond Russia

After Western sanctions gutted Russia’s financial system five years ago, a new bank card began appearing in the wallets of many Russians. Now the country is hoping to introduce its cards, known as Mir cards, to foreign markets where Russian nationals live and travel, Vladimir Komlev, the head of Russia’s National Card Payment System (NSPK),…

Putin Ally to Ukraine’s Probable New Leader: Do Deal and Get Territory Back

Ukraine’s new president could regain control over the separatist-controlled east of his country within months and get cheap gas and major investment from Russia if he repairs ties with Moscow, the Kremlin’s closest ally in Ukraine said. Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent figure in Ukraine’s Russia-leaning opposition, outlined the prospect in an interview before a presidential election runoff in…

Mueller Probe Did Not Establish Trump Coordination With Russia, U.S. Attorney General Says

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday offered some details of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia‘s role in the 2016 U.S. election before making it public, emphasizing that it found no collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Barr, a Trump appointee, gave a news conference ahead of the planned release of the…

Abramovich Partner’s Marijuana Business Returns Him to Forbes’ Richest Russians List

A marijuana business has helped Roman Abramovich’s associate Andrei Bloch return to Forbes magazine’s list of richest Russians. Bloch briefly served as president of oil producer Sibneft from 1998 until Abramovich sold it to Russia’s state energy firm Gazprom in 2005. Bloch and another partner bought Abramovich’s Unimilk dairy business in 2004 — which merged…