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AssessmentsFeb 6, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
A monument depicts an oil pipeline near the Mozyr linear production dispatching station in Belarus on Jan. 4, 2020.
Russia's Oil Salvo Prompts Belarus to Explore Its Options
Fearing the loss of its last ally in Eastern Europe, Russia has weaponized its crucial oil exports to force Belarus into accepting a level of integration that would effectively guarantee its allegiance. But Belarus has rejected Russia's proposals, knowing that the kind of economic and political synthesis Moscow is demanding would severely restrict its ability to pursue opportunities with Europe and the United States. To bring Belarus to heel, Russia moved to cut off the country's oil supply on Jan. 1, which has since only pushed Minsk to seek out new foreign suppliers. But Belarus' push to diversify its oil ties will likely be short-lived, as permanently severing its trade ties with Russia would require a significant overhaul of its already fragile economy.
SnapshotsApr 4, 2018 | 16:23 GMT
Russia: The Kremlin's Anti-Corruption Drive Takes Aim at a Key Oligarch
As the number of anti-corruption protests increases across Russia, the Kremlin seems to be taking note. One of Russia's key oligarchs with deep ties to Kremlin circles, Ziyavudin Magomedov, was arrested on March 31 (along with his brother and another crony) on charges of corruption. Though the arrests indicate a possible governmental anti-corruption drive, they also point to a larger power struggle among Kremlin elites.
AssessmentsMay 17, 2016 | 19:20 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin (R), CEO of state-controlled Russian oil giant Rosneft, may be at odds in debates over proposals to make state firms pay more funds to the government.
Reining in Putin's Cronies
Moscow is desperate for cash. In the midst of a recession caused by low oil prices, Western sanctions and anemic foreign investment, the government needs revenue to meet budget shortfalls. The Kremlin has already cut the government budget twice since the end of 2015 -- 10 percent each time. It now aims to keep this year's budget deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product. So it has turned to Russia's massive state-owned corporations for help. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is drafting directives that would require these companies to pay a minimum of 50 percent of their net profits via dividends to the government. But state firms and their powerful patrons, known as the silovarchs, are pushing back against the proposal.
AssessmentsOct 25, 2010 | 12:09 GMT
Russia's Economic Privatization Plan
Russia intends to raise $50 billion by privatizing several state-owned companies and other assets as part of a plan to attract foreign capital and technology, but the Kremlin's plan is not without its difficulties. (With STRATFOR interactive graphic)
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