VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 1-15 October 2020
Dr Himani Pant, Associate Fellow, VIF

I. United States

Politics and Society
US silence on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict reflects international disengagement, 4 October 2020.

As the presidents of Russia and France jointly called for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, the US – which, along with France and Russia, forms the OSCE Minsk Group, a troika that has worked to end the conflict since 1993 – was missing from the statement. “The US wasn’t coordinated into that discussion,” said Carey Cavanaugh, the former US representative to the Minsk Group.The US has been largely silent about the conflict. Its lack of interest in Nagorno-Karabakh was first flagged in August 2017 when the US appointed its new representative to the Minsk Group, Andrew Schofer, but did not grant him ambassador status – putting him at a lower rank than his French and Russian counterparts. Click here to read...

U.S. calls for WHO reforms, timely information on outbreaks, 5 October 2020.

The United States, in apparent criticism of China, said that it could not tolerate the “failure” of a member state of the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide accurate, complete and timely information about disease outbreaks. U.S. assistant health secretary Brett Giroir, speaking to the WHO Executive Board, also called for acting on proposed WHO reforms by countries including the United States, Germany, France and Chile. Click here to read...

Mike Pompeo slams China for pandemic, Indo-Pacific tensions at Quad meeting, 6 October 2020.

Directly criticising China for the coronavirus crisis as well as for its actions in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for the Quadrilateral dialogue, or “Quad”, to “collaborate” in countering China. At a meeting in Tokyo of the four-nation grouping, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Mr. Pompeo agreed to make the Quad ministerial meeting an annual event.

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Opening Remarks at Quad Ministerial,

Click here to read...

Trump Returns to White House Amid Outbreak, 6 October 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been discharged from Walter Reed military hospital after undergoing treatment for a COVID-19 diagnosis he received last week. In the tweet announcing the news, Trump urged Americans not to “be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life” and praised his administration’s development of “some really great drugs & knowledge.” The move came just three days after Trump was first admitted to the hospital. Despite initially receiving support from across the political spectrum, Trump’s handling of his own diagnosis has invited heavy criticism. He previously faced criticism on Sunday after he left Walter Reed in a motorcade to drive past supporters congregated outside, a move that led Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at the hospital, to chide the president, arguing that “the irresponsibility is astounding.” Click here to read...

John McAfee, antivirus software pioneer, arrested in Spain, 6 October 2020.

The antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee, who has been indicted for tax evasion in the US after allegedly failing to declare earnings running into millions of dollars, has been arrested by Spanish police while attempting to board a flight from Barcelona to Istanbul. Click here to read...

US to reduce troops in Afghanistan to ‘2,500 by early next year’, 7 October 2020.

The United States will reduce its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 early next year, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has said, offering greater detail about the pace and scope of the withdrawal from the US’s longest war.A landmark deal between the United States and the Taliban in February said that foreign forces will leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government. Click here to read...

US tightens temporary worker visa rules, 7 October 2020.

The US government has announced it will tighten the requirements for the popular H-1B visa.These visas are widely used by tech firms and visa recipients are mostly Indian and Chinese. The temporary visas are intended to allow US companies to use foreign workers to fill skills gaps. The new rules, which were jointly announced by the Department of Labour and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will narrow the definition of “specialty occupations” eligible for the visa. It will also increase the minimum wages companies must pay for workers enrolled in the H-1B programme. The new rules will also require firms to make "real" offers to US residents before seeking to bring in foreigners. The plan will be implemented after a 60-day comment period. The DHS has also vowed to “increase compliance through worksite inspections.” Click here to read...

U.S. reportedly explores sanctions on China’s Ant Group. Analysts say they’ll be ‘largely symbolic’, 15 October 2020.

A potential U.S. blacklisting of Ant Group, a Chinese financial technology giant, is unlikely to have a big impact on its business, given that the firm’s focus is on its domestic market.Washington is trying to get Ant Group, which is 33% owned by Alibaba and controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, onto the U.S. “Entity List”, a blacklist which restricts American companies from doing business with individuals or firms listed. Click here to read...

Economy
Nearly 4 million US jobs have vanished forever, 2 October 2020.

There's mounting evidence that the pandemic is dealing a lasting blow to the American economy, with millions of jobs vanishing forever. The number of unemployed people classified as permanently losing their old jobs climbed by 345,000 in September to a seven-year high of 3.8 million, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Bureau of Labour Statistics. When Americans are laid off, the Labor Department classifies some as on temporary layoff. Those layoffs classified as permanent are people who have either just completed a temporary job or have lost their position for good, meaning the job isn't coming back. Click here to read...

Health and Environment
With Trump Hospitalized, Covid-19 Continues Its Onslaught on the U.S., 3 October 2020.

Covid-19 has proved itself an unpredictable and ever-changing threat. As President Trump and some of his allies and associates test positive for the coronavirus, the number of new cases reported each day across the United States has been slowly rising. The infection of President and his top associates makes clear that the country is still in the throes of the pandemic.Click here to read...

A 25-year-old man becomes first in the U.S. to contract coronavirus twice, with second infection ‘more severe’, 13 October 2020.

A 25-year-old man in the U.S. state of Nevada has contracted the coronavirus on two separate occasions, a study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal showed, with the patient becoming seriously ill following the second infection. It is the first confirmed case of a U.S. patient becoming re-infected with Covid-19, and the fifth known case reported worldwide. Click here to read...

Nearly Half of the U.S. Is in Drought. It May Get Worse, 15 October 2020.

Nearly half of the continental United States is gripped by drought, government forecasters said Thursday, and conditions are expected to worsen this winter across much of the Southwest and South. This is the most widespread drought in the continental United States since 2013, covering more than 45 percent of the Lower 48 states. Click here to read...

US Election
10 Steps for Safe, Credible Elections, 15 October 2020.

Local, state, and federal officials in the United States should follow 10 fundamental principles to promote safe and credible elections on November 3, 2020, Human Rights Watch said. The principles, drawn from international human rights law, provide a roadmap for rights protections by election officials, law enforcement, and other authorities at all levels of government. Officials and social media companies have human rights responsibilities to prevent and mitigate incitement to violence and discrimination on their platforms. Click here to read...

Perspective(s)
Washington Should Push for a Stronger E.U. Foreign Policy, 15 October 2020.

The United States needs a stronger Europe. With China’s rise, Russia’s resurgence, and America’s soft-power image tarnished by its bungled domestic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States should revive the transatlantic alliance. But a return to the more predictable days before President Donald Trump took office, when Washington led and European capitals were supposed to follow, is not sufficient anymore. Regardless of whether Trump is re-elected or Joe Biden becomes the next president, the United States will need Europe to act as a genuine partner that can step up and out onto the world stage, on its own when necessary. For that to happen, Washington should change its traditional approach to the transatlantic alliance. Click here to read...

II.Europe

Hungary sharply criticizes EU Commission after report, 1 October 2020

The chief of staff for Hungary’s prime minister, Gergely Gulyas, has criticised a European Union report that found flaws with the state of the rule of law and democracy in the country, and said the Hungarian government would no longer negotiate with an EU commissioner. Gulyas accused the executive European Commission of applying “double standards” in its treatment of the bloc’s 27 member nations.
The report the commission released said the prosecution of high-level corruption in Hungary “remains very limited” and pointed to government-sponsored laws undermining media, academic and religious freedom, as well as minority rights. Click here to read...

EU summit: Angela Merkel wants China to be fair on investments, 2 October 2020.

China was the hot topic for debate at the latest summit for European Union leaders in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said any agreement on investment with Beijing must involve reciprocity, with firms in the EU enjoying the same freedoms to invest in China as China's do in Europe. The EU was also urged to explore other avenues so that it was not so dependent on the world's two largest economies – the United States and China. Click here to read...

European Union-Nepal 12th Joint Commission: Joint Press Release, 2 October 2020.

The 12th meeting of the Joint Commission between the European Union (EU) and Nepal took place on 2 October 2020 via video conference. A wide range of issues of mutual interest were discussed in a cordial, candid and constructive atmosphere. The meeting focused on the current COVID-19 pandemic and the social and economic impacts in both the EU and Nepal. The EU and Nepal reiterated their commitment to work jointly in the United Nations, World Trade Organization and other international fora supporting effective multilateralism and rules-based world order, and working towards achieving landmark global goals such as the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. They agreed on the importance of tackling climate change and on making the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow a success. The EU regretted that the Sagarmatha Sambaad, planned to take place in spring 2020, had to be postponed due to the pandemic and confirmed its continued interest in and commitment to the forum with a timely focus on climate change. Click here to read...

EU threatens Turkey with sanctions over East Mediterranean dispute, 2 October 2020.

The European Union threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey amid increasingly tense ties with Ankara over its continued drilling for gas in the East Mediterranean, and its roles in regional conflicts. The EU warning comes amid growing calls within the 27-nation bloc to take a tougher stance against Turkey over its aggressive actions in the East Mediterranean. Click here to read...

EU-Ukraine summit, 6 October 2020.

The 22nd summit between the European Union and Ukraine was the first bilateral summit held physically in Brussels since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders reaffirmed their continued commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union. Click here to read...
Joint Statement-
Click here to read...

European Parliament urges EU to snub Saudi G20 Summit, 8 October 2020.

The European Parliament has voted to downgrade its attendance at the November G20 summit in Saudi Arabia over human rights concerns, and to urge for sanctions. The bill is one of the strongest political messages the institution has ever issued on Saudi Arabia and comes on the two-year anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. MEPs approved a wide-ranging resolution that condemns Saudi human rights abuses and urges the European Union to downgrade its representation at the upcoming G20 Leaders' Summit to avoid legitimizing human rights violations. Click here to read...

EU agrees common 'traffic light' system for coronavirus travel, 9 October 2020.

European Union countries have agreed to a common “traffic light” system to guide them on COVID-19 testing or quarantines on EU tourists and other non-essential travellers during the pandemic. It aims to end a confusing patchwork of restrictions across Europe and to bring back free movement of people, one of the key principles of the EU, within the 27-nation bloc when conditions allow. Click here to read...

European Union police agency warns of increase in cybercrime due to pandemic, 10 October 2020.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, warns that cybercrime has spiked over the past year in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Europol’s findings were detailed in its annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment. The assessment highlighted ransomware attacks, such as those targeting health care organizations, as one of the most persistent cyber threats during the pandemic, including attacks involving hackers threatening to auction off data if a ransom is not paid. Click here to read...

Lithuanian Opposition Has Vote Advantage After First Round Win, 11 October 2020.

Lithuania’s biggest opposition party won the first round of general elections, putting it in pole position to form a government should it prevail in final voting in two weeks’ (25 October) time. With 99.6% of Sunday’s ballots counted, the centre-right Homeland Union was ahead of the Farmers and Greens Union, which leads the ruling coalition. Despite the coronavirus-stricken economy being on course to outperform all but one other European Union member this year, a swathe of the Baltic country’s 2.8 million people are unhappy at uneven gains from European integrationClick here to read...

European Union to assist Mozambique in tackling insurgency, 12 October 2020.

The EU has agreed to assist Mozambique in strengthening the capacity in its fight against a rising Islamist insurgency that has left more than 2,000 dead in a region that is home to Africa's biggest foreign investments.Mozambique had made a request in September for help with logistics, training and humanitarian aid. Click here to read...

European Union imposes tariffs on aluminium products from China, 13 October 2020

The European Union will impose duties of up to 48% on imports of aluminium extrusions from China midway through an investigation into whether Chinese producers are selling at unfairly low prices. The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy in the 27-nation European Union, opened an investigation in February into the product widely used in transport, construction and electronics after a complaint from industry body European Aluminium. Members of European Aluminium include Norsk Hydro, Rio Tinto, and Alcoa. Click here to read...

European Commission Statement on the coordination of measures restricting free movement in the European Union related to the coronavirus pandemic, 13 October 2020.

Following the proposal of the Commission on 4 September 2020, today EU ministers have reached an agreement that will provide more clarity and predictability on measures that restrict free movement due to the coronavirus pandemic. A common map with common colour codes based on common criteria, produced by the European Centre for Disease Control, is the first important outcome. Secondly, while Member States can still decide what restrictive measures they apply such as quarantine or tests, Member States need to ensure that citizens are given clear and timely information about what they must do, and which restrictions are in force. Member States also agreed on the mutual recognition of tests. Click here to read...

E.U. Preparing Sanctions on Putin Allies Over Navalny’s Poisoning, 14 October 2020.

Six high-ranking Russian officials who are believed to be involved in the attack on the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny face asset freezes and bans on travel to the bloc. Several of those facing penalties are members of the tight circle of elites who for years have surrounded the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin: Aleksandr Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s domestic spy agency, the Federal Security Service; Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff in the presidential administration; and Andrei Yarin, the head of the presidential administration’s domestic policy directorate. The others are Aleksei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov, two deputy ministers of defence, and Sergei Menyaylo, Mr. Putin’s envoy to the Siberian Federal District. Click here to read...

EU Leaders Meet as Coronavirus Cases Surge Across the Bloc, 15 October 2020.

The leaders of the 27 European Union member states meet today in Brussels to begin a two-day summit aimed at presenting a united front in trade talks with former member Great Britain as well as aligning on the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and Africa policy. Previously billed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the “deadline” for a deal to be reached between the two sides, today’s summit is unlikely to yield a concrete outcome. A draft document says that progress on trade negotiations is “still not sufficient.” Click here to read...

Economy
How the U.S. election could affect Europe’s markets, economy and trade, 14 October 2020.

Europe’s financial markets and economic prospects will be affected by whoever enters (or remains) in the White House after the vote, according to economists and strategists. U.S. politics are a “serious risk” to Europe’s economy, according to Berenberg Bank’s Chief Economist Holger Schmieding. He warned this week that a contested election outcome could lead to “serious uncertainty and significant street protests” in the U.S. by supporters of the losing side. Click here to read...

EU gets $4bn bargaining chip in US trade row, 14 October 2020.

The European Union may impose new border taxes on up to $4bn (£3.08bn) in US goods annually as punishment for subsidies provided to Boeing, the World Trade Organization has ruled. The decision is the latest step in a long-running feud between the US and EU over state subsidies for Boeing and EU rival Airbus. Last year, the WTO cleared the US to impose tariffs on $7.5bn in EU items. Click here to read...

Health and Environment
Europe stocks up on Gilead's remdesivir as COVID-19 infections spike, 8 October 2020.

Gilead Sciences GILD.O said it had agreed to sell Europe up to 500,000 courses of its antiviral drug remdesivir, as the continent shores up supplies of one of only two drugs approved to treat COVID-19 patients ahead of the winter. The deal will cover purchases of the drug for the next six months for 37 countries: the 27-nation European Union, Britain, six Balkan countries and the other European Economic Area (EEA) countries - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Click here to read...

Covid-19 vaccine tracker, Oct 9: EU deal with J&J for 400 million doses; Moderna won’t enforce patent rights, 8 October 2020.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has entered into an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for securing supplies of 400 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine that the company is developing. The deal will allow member countries to access guaranteed supplies of 200 million doses once the vaccine is ready, hopefully, early next year. The agreement keeps open the possibility of supplies of another 200 million doses, if the need arises. Click here to read...

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Commission adopts EU Methane Strategy as part of European Green Deal, 14 October 2020.

The European Commission has presented an EU strategy to reduce methane emissions. Methane is the second biggest contributor to climate change, after carbon dioxide. It is also a potent local air pollutant causing serious health problems. Tackling methane emissions is essential to reaching the Commission’s 2030 climate targets and the 2050 climate neutrality goal, as well as contributing to its zero-pollution ambition. This strategy sets out measures to cut methane emissions in Europe and internationally. It presents legislative and non-legislative actions in the energy, agriculture and waste sectors, which account for around 95% of methane emissions associated with human activity worldwide. The Commission will work with the EU's international partners and with industry to achieve emission reductions along the supply chain. Click here to read...

Perspective (s)
Russia and German reunification: Opposing views on Mikhail Gorbachev's legacy, 2 October 2020.

Thirty years ago, after decades of division, Germany was reunited. The Soviet leader at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, is celebrated as hero in Germany. But at home, he has been met with bitter criticism. Click here to read...

III.Russia

Politics and Society
Putin, Macron call for Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire as deaths mount, 1 October 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron have called for an immediate ceasefire between ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, as the official death toll passed 100 and the two sides said they would continue fighting. “Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron called on the warring sides to halt fire completely and as soon as possible, de-escalate tensions and show maximum restraint,” the Kremlin said in a statement. Click here to read...

Russia concerned by US military build-up in Eastern Mediterranean — foreign ministry, 2 October 2020.

Russia is concerned by clearly anti-Russian US plans to boost its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. She further added that it reflects “the aggressive policy of the United States and, generally speaking, run counter to promoting peace and security in this region". The statement came in response to the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo visit to Greece on September 27-28 to sign an agreement on further cooperation in science and technology, aimed at boosting investment and encouraging the development of strategic dialogue between the two states. He later also visited the US military base at Souda Bay in Crete, Greece. Click here to read...

Russia has a special position’: Azerbaijan’s president says Moscow is most suitable mediator in Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, 3 October 2020.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has named Russia as the best-placed country to resolve the dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, noting that Moscow has more knowledge of the region than either Paris or Washington. “Russia is one of the countries which is a mediator, along with United States and France,” Aliyev said in an interview. Click here to read...

India May Soon Acquire Russia's High Altitude Sprut Light Tanks to Counter China in the Himalayas, 5 October 2020.

India is in advanced-stage talks with Russia to acquire its newly-developed Sprut light tanks. The move comes amid tensions at the Indo-China border in the high-altitude region of Ladakh. In a deal worth $68 million, India is preparing to obtain nearly two dozen of these tanks in the first tranche and the process of acquiring these tanks is likely to be finalised by the end of this year. Click here to read...

Virtual BRICS Summit on Nov 17, 5 October 2020.

The BRICS Summit will focus on further strengthening cooperation among the member states amid the Covid-19 crisis, according to a formal announcement on Monday from Russia, the current chair of the grouping. The theme for the meeting will be “BRICS partnership for global stability, shared security and innovative growth”. In May, Russia postponed the BRICS Summit amid Covid-19 pandemic. The Summit was supposed to take place in St Petersburg, Russia, along with a meeting of the heads of state council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during July 21-23.Click here to read...

Lavrov: Russia ready to help settle Karabakh conflict, 5 October 2020.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with his Armenian counterpart Zograd Mnatsakanyan to discuss possible ways of settling the situation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Russian foreign ministry said. "The focus was made on issues linked with the search for ways out of the current situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone," the ministry said. Lavrov reiterated Russia’s readiness to help settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "The Russian side reiterated its readiness to help the parties to the conflict get back to the political and diplomatic settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in line with the joint statement of the Russian, US and French presidents," the ministry said. Click here to read...

Russia not producing chemical weapons, Kremlin says after OPCW findings on Navalny, 7 October 2020.

The Kremlin said that Russia was not developing any chemical weapons and was fully complying with its obligations under an international arms control treaty that outlaws their production. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was speaking after the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said blood samples from Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny contained a nerve agent from the banned Novichok family. Click here to read...

Energy Deals Are Creating A Powerful Alliance Between China and Russia, 7 October 2020.

The Chinese economic growth miracle is disrupting the global balance of power. President Trump’s trade war with China was the latest manifestation of Washington’s effort to pivot to the east, a strategy that began under former President Obama. Now, another ‘pivot’ is progressing steadily while the rest of the world grapples with Covid-19. Russia is increasingly focusing its attention to the east and its relationship with China. To highlight this pivot, the world’s largest energy producer, Gazprom, has started a feasibility study for the company’s next massive pipeline, the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline. Click here to read...

EAEU states should be among first to receive Russia's coronavirus vaccine after Russia vaccinates its citizens - PM Mishustin, 9 October 2020.

Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states should be one of the first to receive Russia's coronavirus vaccine after Russia accomplishes mass vaccination of its citizens, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. Click here to read...

Trump Working Behind Scenes to Reach Nuclear Accord with Russia Before Election, Reports Say, 12 October 2020.

According to reports, a close circle of people in the administration of US President Donald Trump is engaged in talks to close a nuclear accord with Russia before the 3 November presidential election. The New START extension has been endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and former US vice president Joe Biden, who is Trump's contender in the election. Trump, in turn, has sought to draft a new deal that would involve not only Russia but also China, the owner of the world's third largest nuclear stockpile. Click here to read...

Putin, Erdogan call for activation of political process on Nagorno-Karabakh, 14 October 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed the situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during a phone call, the Kremlin press service informed on the outcomes of the talks between both countries’ leaders. "Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have called for activation of political process, namely based on the progress reached within the OSCE Minsk Group," the Kremlin informed. Both sides have reaffirmed the importance of a humanitarian ceasefire reached on October 10 in Moscow. Click here to read...

Health and Environment
Coronavirus: India refuses proposal to conduct large study for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, 8 October 2020.

India has refused a proposal from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct a large study on the effectiveness of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, Reuters reported. An expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation observed that there was not enough data available on the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine from early-stage trials abroad. The panel also pointed out that no inputs were available about Indian participants. The drug regulator has asked Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to first conduct a smaller trial of the vaccine. Click here to read...

Russia approves 2nd coronavirus vaccine after early trials, 15 October 2020.

Russian authorities have given regulatory approval to a second coronavirus vaccine after early-stage studies, two months after a similar move prompted widespread criticism from scientists both at home and abroad.The peptide-based, two-shot vaccine, EpiVacCorona, was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia. Click here to read...

Economy
Manufacturing PMI drops in September, 1 October 2020.

The IHS Markit Russia Manufacturing PMI dipped to 48.9 in September, from 51.1 in August. As a result, the index slid below the critical 50-threshold, signalling that operating conditions across the Russian manufacturing deteriorated at the end of Q3. The downturn was chiefly driven by a drop in new business due to weakening client demand at home, cancelled projects and shrinking export sales. Moreover, the rate of job shedding quickened in September, amid weak order inflows and excess capacity. Click here to read....

Russian Foreign Minister’s meeting with AEB members on October 5, 2 October 2020.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) on October 5 to discuss cooperation with the EU against the coronavirus pandemic background, official spokeswoman of the Ministry Maria Zakharova said at the briefing.Click here to read...

Second Covid-19 wave will accelerate Russia’s GDP decline, but economy will do better than European peers – Kudrin, 6 October 2020.

The Russian economy may perform worse than the government expects this year, Russia’s Accounts Chamber head, Alexei Kudrin, warned. However, the contraction would be in line with the global forecast and not as deep as in Europe. Both Russia’s Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development earlier said that they expect the gross domestic product (GDP) – a major indicator of economic health – to decrease less than four percent in 2020 as the result of the coronavirus outbreak. The forecast does not take into account the second wave of Covid-19, which has already started, Kudrin said. According to the latest data, Russia is seeing a resurgence in coronavirus infections, with new daily cases rising from around 5,000 in September to over 10,000 in October. Click here to read...

Perspective(s)
Russia’s foreign policy enters new China-aligned phase, 1 October 2020.

The joint statement issued in Moscow on September 11 this year heralds a new phase in Russian foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, especially with regard to Russo-German relations and Russia’s relations with Europe and the world order in general. The salience that draws attention here is that Moscow decided to embark on this new journey holding China’s hand. This is of great importance for European, Eurasian and international politics as a whole. Click here to read...

Russia’s Strategy in Africa, 4 October 2020.

Rumours of Russian involvement in Mali have gained momentum since 2018. Russia has been accused of backing the coup that took place in August 2020, orchestrated by high ranking members of the Malian army. These officers had, in fact, returned a week before the coup from two months’ training in Russia. The coincidence was enough for analysts to link Assimi Goita, leader of the new Junta, to the Russian government. Even if this link has yet to be proven, the growing connection between Russia and sub-Saharan countries is threatening the balance of power in the region. Click here to read...

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