VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 16-30 September 2020
Dr Himani Pant, Associate Fellow, VIF

I. United States

Politics and Society
US plans big expansion of navy fleet to challenge growing Chinese sea power, 17 September 2020.

The US secretary of defence, Mark Esper, has announced an ambitious plan to expand the US Navy with a range of unmanned and autonomous ships, submarines and aircraft to confront the growing maritime challenge from China. The Pentagon chief said a sweeping review of US naval power dubbed “Future Forward” had laid out a “game-changer” plan that would expand the US sea fleet to more than 355 ships, from the current 293. The plan, which requires adding tens of billions of dollars to the US Navy’s budget between now and 2045, is aimed at maintaining superiority over Chinese naval forces, seen as the primary threat to the US. Click here to read...

US envoy begins second recent high-level visit to Taiwan, 18 September 2020.

U.S. Under Secretary of State Keith Krach is visiting Taiwan for the second visit by a high-level American official in two months, prompting a stern warning and threat of possible retaliation from China. Beijing considers Taiwan its own and opposes all official contacts between other countries and the self-governing island. Click here to read...

U.S. prepares to reimpose U.N. sanctions against Iran despite objections from most other countries, 18 September 2020

The Trump administration is preparing to enforce international sanctions against Iran that most other countries intend to ignore, testing the ability of the US to impose its will on the rest of the world. The decision to go ahead with a step that many other governments fear could kill the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is the culmination of more than three years of growing tensions between Washington and Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has branded Iran an “evil force” in the region. President Trump has called the landmark nuclear agreement the “worst deal ever negotiated” and withdrew from it in 2018. Click here to read...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: US Supreme Court judge dies of cancer aged 87, 19 September 2020.

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an iconic champion of women's rights, has died of cancer at the age of 87, the court has said. As one of four liberal justices on the court, her health was watched closely. Ginsburg's death raises the prospect of Republican US President Donald Trump trying to expand the court's slender conservative majority, even before this November's election. Click here to read...

U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations (“The Quad”), 25 September 2020.

Senior officials from the United States, Australia, India, and Japan met virtually on September 25, 2020, for consultations on collective efforts to advance a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The four democracies discussed ways to work together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, promote transparency and counter disinformation, and protect the rules-based order the region has long enjoyed. Click here to read...

Sudan Is Focus of U.S. Efforts to Improve Ties with Israel, 27 September 2020.

American efforts to persuade more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel before the November election are focused on Sudan, where negotiations have stalled over the amount of a financial incentive promised to Sudan in exchange for recognizing Israel. President Trump has said that “at least five or six countries” are poised to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel, one of the biggest foreign policy achievements of his administration. He said one could be Saudi Arabia, a breakthrough that would carry great weight in the Arab world. However, it has been reported that Saudi Arabia is unlikely to recognize Israel this year. Click here to read...

U.S. Will Base Mammoth Ship in Greece, Near Disputed Territory, 29 September 2020.

n a move that could be construed as a symbolic show of support for Greece in its tense standoff with Turkey, America’s top diplomat said that the US will base a mammoth Navy ship at a military base it shares with Greece, just 600 miles from the Turkish coast. The Hershel “Woody” Williams, an Expeditionary Sea Base ship, is assigned to the U.S. Africa Command and is not the kind of vessel that might intervene in a high-intensity conflict, should rising strains between Turkey and Greece — two NATO allies — boil over. But its deployment at Souda Bay, a joint U.S.-Greek base near where Turkey earlier this year sent survey and drilling ships to search for gas, could serve as a symbolic warning of America’s growing irritation with Ankara. Click here to read...

Economy
U.S. consumer spending appears to slow in August, 16 September 2020.

U.S. consumer spending appeared to slow in August as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the Covid-19 recession was faltering. Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, fell 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.9% increase in July, the Commerce Department said. Click here to read...

U.S. To Bar Downloads of TikTok, WeChat, 18 September 2020.

The Trump administration is banning Americans from downloading popular video-sharing app TikTok and limiting the use of WeChat because of national security concerns, the Commerce Department has announced. TikTok will also not be able to receive system updates, which could affect its functionality, including slowing down the app, but the app's current version will still work for American users. Over time, however, TikTok may stop working altogether. Talks are still underway among parties including software company Oracle and Walmart to come up with a plan to rescue TikTok, which has more than 100 million users in the U.S. and 700 million globally. Parties have until Nov. 12 to finalize a deal or the administration will fully ban TikTok, White House officials said. Click here to read...

U.S. economy plunges 31.4% in the second quarter but a big
rebound is expected, 30 September 2020.

The U.S. economy plunged at a record rate in the spring but is poised to swing to a record increase in the quarter that just ended. U.S. gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4% in the April-June quarter, only slightly changed from the 31.7% drop estimated one month ago. Click here to read...

Health and Environment
US West Coast fires: Smoke spreads to New York and Washington, 16 September 2020.

Smoke from the wildfires ravaging much of the US West Coast has spread to the east of the country, casting a haze over New York and Washington DC. The blazes have burned vast areas of land and killed at least 36 people since early August.

Dozens of wildfires have burned across vast swathes of land on the West Coast since the start of August. Strong winds and low humidity have been hampering efforts to keep the blazes under control. The states of Oregon, Washington and California are experiencing some of the unhealthiest air on the planet, according to global air quality rankings. Click here to read...

CDC says U.S. should have enough coronavirus vaccine to return to ‘regular life’ by third quarter of 2021, 16 September 2020.

The U.S. should have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for Americans to return to “regular life” by the third quarter of next year, the head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told a Senate panel he expects vaccinations to begin in November or December, but in limited quantities with those most in need getting the first doses, such as health-care workers. He said it will take about “six to nine months” to get the entire American public vaccinated.Click here to read...

U.S. and European Oil Giants Go Different Ways on Climate Change, 21 September 2020.

As oil prices plunge and concerns about climate change grow, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other European energy companies are selling off oil fields, planning a sharp reduction in emissions and investing billions in renewable energy. The American oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil are going in a far different direction. They are doubling down on oil and natural gas and investing what amounts to pocket change in innovative climate-oriented efforts like small nuclear power plants and devices that suck carbon out of the air. The disparity reflects the vast differences in how Europe and the United States are approaching climate change, a global threat that many scientists say is increasing the frequency and severity of disasters like wildfires and hurricanes. European leaders have made tackling climate change a top priority while President Trump has called it a “hoax” and has dismantled environmental regulations to encourage the exploitation of fossil fuels. Click here to read...

FDA Takes Actions to Help Lower U.S. Prescription Drug Prices, 24 September 2020.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have reportedly taken actions to help provide safe, effective, and more affordable drugs to American patients as part of the Safe Importation Action Plan, fulfilling the aspect of the July Executive Order on drug pricing to complete the rulemaking to allow states to import certain prescription drugs from Canada. The final rule implements a provision of federal law that allows FDA-authorized programs to import certain prescription drugs from Canada under specific conditions that ensure the importation poses no additional risk to the public’s health and safety while achieving a significant reduction in the cost of covered products to the American consumer. Click here to read...

US Election
More than 35,000 mail-in ballots were rejected in Florida primary, 17 September 2020.

More than 35,500 vote-by-mail ballots didn’t count in Florida’s recent primary, rejected because of missed deadlines or technical flaws, POLITICO reported. The rejections, which accounted for about 1.5 percent of the total vote, came as the battleground state prepares for what could be record voter turnout in the too-close-to-call November presidential election. Nearly 66 percent of the rejected absentee ballots were disqualified because they arrived after Florida’s 7 p.m. Election Day deadline. The rest didn’t meet signature match requirements used by county election supervisors to verify voters’ identities. In Florida — a swing state crucial to President Donald Trump’s re-election chances — that could be enough uncounted ballots to make a big difference. Three state-wide races in 2018 went to recounts and were decided by 33,000 votes or fewer and, most notoriously, the 2000 presidential contest came down to 537 votes in Florida. Click here to read...

US debate timeline: Trump and Biden are combative in first match, 30 September 2020.

The first debate between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden was tense from the beginning. And it quickly devolved into a chaotic litany of criticisms and a cascade of insults with each interrupting the other, though moderator Chris Wallace said Trump was more disruptive. The two candidates traded barbs about the coronavirus response, health care, the economy, among other topics while weaving in references to their opponent’s job performance and even dragging their families into the fight. Click here to read...

Presidential debate: Trump and Biden's claims fact-checked, 30 September 2020.

President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have gone head-to-head in the first of three televised debates before the US election in November. During a heated 90 minutes, the nominees clashed over everything from the state of the economy to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read...

Perspective(s)
The Foreign Policy Dimension of the US Presidential Election, 29 September 2020.

Whoever wins the November election, the structural constraints that affect US foreign policy behaviour will remain. China will remain a key rival, relations with which will be complex and contradictory. The disunity among the European allies cannot be neutralised by a new political tone from Washington. Ultimately, the new US administration will face an increasingly diverse and decentralised world in which rival powers vie for power and influence. Click here to read...

Why the US-Italy relationship matters, 30 September 2020.

While COVID-19 has taken a dramatic economic toll almost everywhere, in Italy specifically it has exacerbated structural vulnerabilities and risks generating political instability that can be exploited by external powers. After providing a comprehensive overview of Italy-US trade and security relations, this paper argues that Italy is both security asset for the United States, in light of long-standing military and economic cooperation, and an issue of concern, due to Italy’s newer links to Russia and China, as well domestic political instability and economic fragility. In addition, this paper reflects on how the US administration could leverage Italy to improve transatlantic ties and ensure security in the Mediterranean. Click here to read...

II.Europe

State of the Union Address by President von der Leyen at the European Parliament Plenary, 16 September 2020

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen promised a new target for cutting greenhouse emissions in Europe, while delivering her first landmark State of the Union address. The European Commission President said Europe must protect lives and livelihoods amid a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic. Outlining the Commission's priorities for the coming year, she also addressed human rights, migration, Brexit and tomorrow's technology. Transcript of her speech can be accessed at Click here to read...

Italy Hardens Stance on China, in Line with EU Investment Push, 16 September 2020.

Italy is pledging to march in line with European Union allies as the bloc toughens its stance on China, after the U.S. and EU took Rome to task for cosying up to the Asian power early last year. Italy has been gradually shifting its stance toward Beijing after the previous government joined China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure project in March 2019, the first Group of Seven nations to do so. Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding at the time, with a ceremony at a Renaissance-era villa in Rome. The accord sparked concerns in Washington and European capitals about a Chinese push for economic influence in Europe. Click here to read...

Greece wants the EU to help run its island migrant camps, 16 September 2020

The Greek government has urged the EU to jointly run new refugee camps on Greece’s eastern islands as part of an overhaul of the EU’s migration policies. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the proposal at an Athens meeting with European Council President Charles Michel as Greece works to house thousands of asylum-seekers left homeless after fires gutted the squalid, overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos. Click here to read...

EU Belarus sanctions in doubt as Cyprus demands action against Turkey, 17 September 2020

Cyprus is threatening to block EU sanctions on Belarus because the bloc has declined to levy similar measures against Turkey over a long-simmering dispute about maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean. The collision between two unrelated foreign policy crises on the EU’s doorstep – the standoff between Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenko and the people, and rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over Turkish drilling – has dismayed EU diplomats. Click here to read...

EU Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025, 18 September 2020.

On 18 September 2020 the Commission published its plan to step up action against racism in the EU. The EU has legal instruments in place and a comprehensive policy to build a true Union of equality. This is now being reinforced in specific areas of equality. The Commission will complement these thematic efforts by putting forward an overarching strategy to make sure that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is applied effectively in Member States and that charter rights, including equality and non-discrimination, are a reality for all. This action plan sets out a series of measures to step up action, to help lift the voices of people with a minority racial or ethnic background, and to bring together actors at all levels in a common endeavour to address racism more effectively and build a life free from racism and discrimination for all. Click here to read...

Strengthening EU-ASEAN partnership, an urgent necessity, 20 September 2020

The EU shares many common views with the ASEAN and in particular the EU will not to align with China or the US in the growing strategic rivalry between them. This calls for strengthening of ties, while others choose to undercut multilateralism, ASEAN – like the EU – wants to ensure that trading systems and security are governed by rules and based on international agreements, not on the idea that “might makes right”. And neither ASEAN nor the EU is ready to become part of any “sphere of influence.” Click here to read...

How it all went wrong (again) in Europe as second wave grips continent, 20 September 2020

After successfully tamping down the first surge of infection and death, Europe is now in the middle of a second coronavirus wave as it moves into winter -- raising questions over what went so wrong. Daily case numbers in the European Union and United Kingdom this week reached record highs of more than 45,000 on a 14-day notification rate, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and new restrictions are being imposed in places that were well into reopening. Leaders have raised fears over the pressure that hospitals could face in coming months and the looming prospect of new national lockdowns. Click here to read...

Human rights, multilateralism and battling COVID-19, top focus of European Union: Charles Michel in his video address to the UNGA annual debate, 25 September 2020.

The President informed the plenary that the EU had raised nearly €16 billion to conduct research and deploy vaccines, tests and treatments and are working to ensure universal accessibility and affordability. According to Mr. Michel, the pandemic has increased Europe’s determination to transform economies and societies “tenfold”. To “defend a fairer world”, the EU is leading the implementation of the Paris Agreement and has integrated the 2030 Agenda objectives into its system of economic governance, he elaborated. Moreover, the President stated access to the bloc’s economic zone – second largest in the world and first in terms of international trade – “will no longer be sold off”. He also stressed that the EU is also committed to advancing overall tax fairness, particularly in the digital sector. Click here to read...

Hundreds protest COVID-19 restrictions in London, 26 September 2020.

Thousands demonstrated in London against new COVID-19 restrictions issued amid a concerning increase in cases. Britain has been the most heavily impacted country in Europe by the pandemic, with nearly 42,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Click here to read...

Belarus imposes retaliatory sanctions on Baltic States, 29 September 2020.

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced symmetric restrictive measures against Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in response to sanctions, imposed by these countries on Minsk, Belarusian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Anatoly Glaz announced. The ministry spokesman disclosed that Minsk compiled its own sanctions lists for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Each list includes about 100 officials, banned from entering Belarus. Click here to read...

Health and Environment
Vaccine "Nationalism" Puts Lives at Risk, Says European Union Chief, 16 September 2020.

The president of the European Commission urged EU members to build a stronger health union, promising a biomedical research agency and a global summit. In her first annual State of the European Union address, Ursula von der Leyen said the coronavirus pandemic had underlined the need for closer cooperation, stressing that people were "still suffering". Von der Leyen, a doctor by training, also warned countries not to act selfishly when on vaccines, which are widely seen as the solution to end the crisis. "Vaccine nationalism puts lives at risk. Vaccine cooperation saves them," she said. Click here to read...

State of the Union: Commission raises climate ambition and proposes 55% cut in emissions by 2030, 17 September 2020.

The European Commission presented today its plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This level of ambition for the next decade will put the EU on a balanced pathway to reaching climate neutrality by 2050. The new target is based on a comprehensive Impact Assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts. The Assessment demonstrates that this course of action is realistic and feasible. This raised ambition also underlines the EU's continued global leadership, ahead of the next UN climate conference (COP26). Click here to read...

European Union reaches agreement with Sanofi, GSK for up to 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, 22 September 2020

Under a new agreement with the European Commission, Sanofi and GSK will provide up to 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union in exchange for manufacturing scale-up support. The vaccine in question is based on a mix of Sanofi’s recombinant protein-based technology — formerly used to create an influenza vaccine — and GSK’s pandemic adjuvant technology. It is currently being assessed in a phase 1/2 clinical study, with a phase 3 study planned to begin by year’s end. The companies intend to seek regulatory approval beginning in the first half of 2021 if all goes well. Click here to read...

European Union and India step up cooperation on Research and Innovation on Green projects, 25 September 2020

The EU and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, have agreed to join forces on five calls under the Horizon 2020 Green Deal Work Programme. This action is a follow-up to the priorities identified at the EU-India Summit held on 15 July 2020 to boost cooperation in transforming their respective economies into carbon-neutral economies. These five calls are part of the last and largest call launched by the European Union under its research and innovation programme ‘Horizon 2020’, the European Green Deal Call - with a €1 billion budget. While a number of calls will respond to the climate crisis and protecting unique ecosystems and biodiversity, it also aims to spur recovery from the coronavirus crisis by turning green challenges into innovation opportunities. The programme has a strong international dimension. Click here to read...

Perspective (s)
Russian-German Relations: Back to the Future, 16 September 2020.

Berlin is ending the era launched by Gorbachev of a trusting and friendly relationship with Moscow. Russia, for its part, no longer expects anything from Germany, and therefore does not feel obliged to take into account its opinion or interests. Click here to read...

The EU's refugee policy: Doomed to division? 17 September 2020.

As the EU mulls camps and on-site processing on the Greek islands, Germany pledges to take in more migrants. A pan-European solution remains elusive. According to the UNHCR some 10,000 people have crossed illegally from Turkey to the Greek islands this year. That’s considerably fewer than last year. But Turkey is currently engaged in a dispute with Greece over natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Ankara could use refugees as a political pawn once again to gain an upper hand — and allow many more people to attempt the illegal crossing towards Europe. Click here to read...

III.Russia

Russia’s EU envoy vows Nord Stream 2 will withstand threat of

sanctions, 17 September 2020

The implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project will continue amid the threat of sanctions against Russia due to the situation with Alexey Navalny, but certain delays are not ruled out, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov has noted. Click here to read...

Turkey close to agreeing with Russia on ceasefire in Libya, 17 September 2020

Turkey and Russia have inched closer to a deal on a ceasefire and political process in Libya during their latest meetings in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Ankara and Moscow are the main power brokers in Libya's war, backing opposing sides. Russia supports the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar, while Turkey backs Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA). Click here to read...

Russia to Have Own 5G Base Station in 2023, Tech Company Says, 18 September 2020.

Russia will have a domestic base station of the fifth-generation telecommunication technologies (5G, IMT-2020) in 2023, ANO Digital Economy said on Friday, adding that its tests would begin in November of this year. The leading research centre (LRC) based on the Global Inform Service company has presented a project to create its own 5G/IMT-2020 base station. The LRC is currently carrying out research and development of algorithms and software, which will become the basis for the final product - the 5G base station. Click here to read...

Modi, Putin resolve to further strengthen ties, 18 September 2020

Both leaders reiterated their strong commitment to further strengthen the 'Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership' between India and Russia, during a telephonic conversation. Both expressed appreciation for the continued momentum in bilateral interactions despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, they referred to the recent productive visits to Moscow by Raksha Mantri and External Affairs Minister. Click here to read...

Russia launches Kavkaz-2020 drills, 21 September 2020

Russia has launched the Kavkaz-2020 strategic drills, the Russian Defense Ministry informed, noting that in total, over 80,000 people are involved in the drills. The ministry informed that the strategic drills Kavkaz-2020 would take place at several training grounds of the Southern Military District. Fighter jets of Russia’s Southern Military District are on combat duty within the framework of the Kavkaz-2020 drills. Click here to read...

Putin Recreates Soviet-Era Political Supervision Over National Guards, 22 September 2020.

President Vladimir Putin has created a new post in Russia’s National Guard to ensure ideological education and political unity amid questions over the country's return to once-abolished Soviet practices. The Russian military has gained political influence in both domestic and foreign policy since the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and renewed geopolitical tensions with the West. In 2018, Putin created a “military-patriotic” directorate inside the Russian Armed Forces in an apparent bid to secure the loyalty of Russia’s estimated 1 million soldiers.Putin has now signed a decree adding “military and political work” to a list of powers held by the Russian National Guard. Click here to read...

Putin calls for strengthening WHO, removing obstacles for partnership in healthcare sector, 23 September 2020

Vladimir Putin has called for strengthening the capability of the World Health Organization (WHO) and for removing barriers for partnership in the healthcare sector. "As to healthcare, just like in economy, we now need to remove, as many as possible, obstacles to partner relations," he said in a video address to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Russian leader noted that during the coronavirus pandemic there were no borders for solidarity between doctors, volunteers and people of different countries and many "countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly" Click here to read...

Moscow to expand retaliatory list of EU officials banned from entering Russia, 23 September 2020

Russia has made a decision to expand on a parity basis the retaliatory list of EU officials banned from entering the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement the ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova read out at a news briefing. Click here to read...

Putin says Russia and U.S. should agree not to meddle in each other's elections, 25 September 2020

In a statement ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, Putin called for a reset between Russia and the United States and said he wanted an agreement between the two countries to prevent incidents in cyberspace. “(I propose) ... exchanging guarantees of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, including electoral processes, including using information and communication technologies and high-tech methods,” he said. Click here to read...

Putin notes importance of strategic partnership with Turkmenistan, 27 September 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory telegram to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the occasion of the national holiday - Independence Day, noting that Moscow attaches great importance to the strategic partnership with Ashgabat, the Kremlin press service announced. "Your country is confidently following the path of social and economic development," Vladimir Putin emphasized in his message of greetings, noting that Ashgabat, which is pursuing the policy of neutrality, makes a considerable contribution to stability and security in Central Asia, the press service noted. Click here to read...

Renewed Azerbaijan/Armenia conflict a new threat to Russia's delicate balancing act with key player Turkey, 28 September 2020.

Russia has officially adopted a position of neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, and called on all sides to settle their differences peacefully. This has meant supporting the status quo. Since that status quo favours Armenia, in reality this position has meant supporting Armenia, a posture reinforced by Armenia’s membership of various multilateral initiatives sponsored by Russia, notably the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union. The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh thus indirectly pits Russia against Turkey. Click here to read...

Russia ‘deeply concerned’ about reports of mercenaries from Syria & Libya being sent to fight in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh, 30 September 2020.

Moscow has condemned the alleged use of “foreign mercenaries and terrorists” in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, calling them a threat to the entire region that must “immediately” be withdrawn. “Militants of illegal armed groups, in particular from Syria and Libya” have been transported to the conflict zone “in order to directly participate in the hostilities,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement commenting on the recent reports, adding it was “deeply concerned” about the development that creates “long-term threats to the security of all countries in the region.” Click here to read...

Health and Economy
Russia’s government approves three-year draft budget, macro forecast, 19 September 2020.

At a meeting held on September 16, the government approved the draft main directions of customs and tariff regulation for 2021 and for the planning period of 2022-2023. The document established medium-term priorities for regulation in the customs and tariff area, increasing the predictability of the conditions for conducting foreign economic activity and improving the existing methods of customs administration. The government also decided to approve the draft guidelines for the unified state monetary policy for 2021 and the period of 2022-2023. Click here to read...

Accounts Chamber: Rise in poverty jeopardizes Russia’s national goal, 25 September 2020.

The poverty level in the Q2 of 2020 moved up 1 percentage point higher than in the Q1 and amounted to 13.5%, which therefore risks not achieving the national goal of cutting poverty in half by 2030, according to the economic monitoring of the Russian Accounts Chamber. Click here to read...

Russia to supply Egypt with COVID-19 vaccine in expansion push, 30 September 2020

Russia has clinched a deal with Egypt to supply it with 25 million doses of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, as Moscow seeks to take a leading global role in fighting the pandemic. Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, RDIF, said on Wednesday it had agreed to supply the vaccine doses to Egypt via Pharco, which it described as one of the country’s leading pharmaceutical groups. Click here to read...

Perspective(s)
Russia, China, and the Indo-Pacific: An Interview with Dmitri Trenin, 18 September 2020.

“Russia has ‘pivoted’ to itself, as a major independent player, with China its key strategic partner.” Full interview available at Click here to read...

Sino-Russian alliance coming of age, 28 September 2020

Wang’s visit to Moscow was in connection with the foreign-minister-level meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. His “bilateral” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took place on September 11 at the very end of the visit, but from the perspective of international security and the world order, it will stand out as a momentous event as a turning point in the evolution of the Sino-Russian entente. The joint statement is more in the nature of a Sino-Russian declaration on the current international situation and key problems, especially global political stability and global economic recovery. It is the sort of declaration that we generally attribute to close allies, and it signifies that a qualitatively new stage is approaching in the Sino-Russian comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, which has already brought the bilateral relationship to its historically highest level. Click here to read...

How Will Russia Respond to the U.S.-China Cold War? 29 September 2020.

On the most basic level, the interests of Putin’s Russia are more aligned with those of China than with those of the United States, and the prospect of a deeper and more enduring U.S.-China confrontation will enhance the importance of that entente in both Beijing and Moscow. Click here to read...

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