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AssessmentsApr 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pumpjack outside the Russian city of Surgut.
The Golden Age of Russian Oil Nears an End
Russia's easily accessible oil reserves have long been the cornerstone of its economy. But these conventional fields are depleting, leading to the need to invest and expand into more untapped sources. This transformation will not be easy or cheap, as various factors have led to a poorly optimized oil sector that's ill-equipped to soften the blow of rising costs. The key to maintaining a strong energy market, and securing the capital needed to develop new and expensive fields, will instead rest on whether Moscow can secure its foothold in China's increasingly oil-hungry market. In any case, Russia may have little choice but to accept that its glory days of oil dominance and high profit margins are nearing an end. 
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AssessmentsApr 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The walls surrounding the Kremlin are reflected on a plaque at the entrance of the oil company Rosneft's headquarters in Moscow. 
Russia Loosens the Reins on Rosneft
The Russian government no longer has a majority stake in Rosneft for the first time in the energy giant’s 27-year history. On March 28, Rosneft announced that it had sold all of its assets in Venezuela as part of a deal with the wholly government-owned company, Rosneftegaz. The sale is designed to shield the company’s Venezuelan operations from further U.S. sanctions, while still allowing Moscow to continue its support of the disputed rule of President Nicolas Maduro. But by continuing Rosneft's slow and steady shift toward privatization, the passing of this threshold could also open the company up to a more market-driven and prosperous future. 
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AssessmentsFeb 13, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido take part in a rally to let in U.S. humanitarian aid, in Caracas on Feb. 12, 2019.
Maduro's End Would Be Just the Beginning of Venezuela's Road to Recovery
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his political allies are under siege by the resurgent national opposition and now face crushing economic pressure from the United States through heavy sanctions. As Venezuela's crisis advances, the opposition and the United States have all the more incentive to increase their pressure, placing the Maduro government in an untenable situation. There's a good chance that by the end of the year, an interim government -- buttressed by military officers and their units that abandon their support for Maduro -- will be in power in Caracas. But any new government will be left to fix Venezuela's crippled economy and end enduring corruption from the Maduro administration, risking its success.
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SnapshotsNov 1, 2017 | 23:01 GMT
Russia, Iran: Cozying up to Counter Washington
The relationship between Russia and Iran is reigniting. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran on Nov. 1 to meet with his Azerbaijani and Iranian counterparts in the second summit between the three countries. The trilateral format was set up last year by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to discuss shared concerns and projects in the region. But increasing alignment between Russia and Iran over the last year will give the two countries plenty to discuss.
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AssessmentsSep 7, 2017 | 12:26 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Igor Sechin, the CEO of oil giant Rosneft, on May 17, 2017.
Russian Rivalries: A Tale of Two Energy Firms
Gazprom has long been the Kremlin's favored energy partner, holding a monopoly over Russia's piped natural gas exports. Gazprom's stranglehold on natural gas exports meant the Kremlin could use it as a tool in its relationships with former Soviet states, Europe and Turkey. But lower global natural gas prices, as well as a string of diversification projects in Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East, have curbed Gazprom's ability to influence affairs in those regions, which in turn has weakened its position with the Kremlin. In Gazprom's struggles, Rosneft has spied an opportunity. Now that its rival is weaker, the firm has started to aggressively grab new assets: In October 2016, Rosneft closed a deal to take over the country's sixth largest oil firm, Bashneft, even after Putin explicitly warned against the takeover with a rare public threat. Rosneft won out in the end, agreeing to let the Kremlin privatize a large
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SnapshotsAug 29, 2017 | 19:00 GMT
Russia: A Cash-Strapped Kremlin Bails Out the Country's Largest Lender
Russia's Central Bank announced on Aug. 29 that it plans to seize control of the country’s largest private lender -- Otkritie Bank -- before June. The bank has tottered toward collapse in recent months, following a surprise downgrade that prompted a massive deposit outflow of $7.4 billion in June and July -- nearly a quarter of its total deposits. Had Otkritie collapsed, it would have hurt Russia’s entire financial system.
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Quarterly ForecastsMar 28, 2016 | 08:45 GMT
It's tempting to blame Syria for all the geopolitical intrigue that will characterize the second quarter of 2016. It is the home of a protracted civil war, the source of Europe's migrant crisis and a major complication in Turkey's struggle with the Kurds. But in truth, Syria is merely a pawn in a larger game played by more powerful countries, each with their own designs in the Middle East.
2016 Second-Quarter Forecast
It's tempting to blame Syria for all the geopolitical intrigue that will characterize the second quarter of 2016. It is the scene of a protracted civil war, the source of Europe's migrant crisis and a major complication in Turkey's struggle with the Kurds. But in truth, Syria is merely a pawn in a larger game played by more powerful countries, each with their own designs in the Middle East.
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ReflectionsMar 3, 2016 | 01:00 GMT
In Russia, an Energy Freeze Comes With Strings Attached
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on March 2 that his country's major oil producers had reached an agreement to freeze production at January's levels -- confirming that Russia would cooperate with a general production freeze agreement made in February by major producers both in and outside OPEC. Although Putin's announcement was significant, global oil markets didn't react, highlighting the reality that Russia's production in January was already at a post-Soviet record 10.9 million barrels per day.
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ReflectionsDec 24, 2015 | 00:20 GMT
In Russia, a Warm Welcome for India
The cool rains and icy winds blowing over Moscow on Wednesday evening did not dampen the warm welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received as he disembarked from his jet in the Russian capital. Modi is in Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 16th annual Russo-Indian bilateral talks. The leaders of two of Asia's largest economies (India and Russia's combined gross domestic product is $4 trillion) will discuss expanding energy, trade and defense ties.
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