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TOPIC: rosneft


What The Pandemic Exposes About Russian Dependence On Oil

Lockdowns, travel restrictions and the shift toward remote working have combined to cut global demand for oil. Moscow hopes it's all just a passing trend. But is that really the safest bet?


BERLIN — The coronavirus pandemic has given countries that rely on petroleum exports a taste of what may be to come, as people are starting to use less and less oil. According to the International Energy Agency, national lockdowns meant that demand for oil dropped by almost a third in April — more sharply than ever before. That affected all oil-producing countries, but particularly Russia, which is heavily dependent on oil exports.

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How The Rest Of Russia Will Pay For Crimea

Though denied by Putin, there is evidence emerging that investment projects elsewhere in Russia are being held up in order to divert funds to projects in newly annexed Crimea.

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin declared publicly last week that investment in recently annexed Crimea would not come at the expense of other government projects. Still, it appears that reducing investment in other regions cannot be avoided. Cuts have been proposed in transportation investment in the Murmansk region in Northern Russian, with the money saved to be used to develop Black Sea ports in Russia and Crimea.

Earlier this month, Vice Premier Arkady Dvorkovich held a meeting regarding the necessary investments in Crimea, which would largely consist of extending railroads to the Black Sea ports. During the meeting, Dvorkovich conceded that at least 31.5 billion rubles ($870 million) would have to be cut from other federal programs in order to pay for the Black Sea infrastructure projects.

Last Thursday, Putin announced that the expenses for infrastructure projects in Crimea would come from the government’s reserves, adding: “We don’t have to cut anything from other programs.”

Earlier, the finance ministry had said that the government surplus would be 240 billion rubles ($6.7 billion) in 2014 and 80 billion rubles ($2.2 billion) in 2015. Not including the infrastructure projects, the subsidized programs in Crimea this year are estimated to cost around 100 billion rubles ($2.8 billion).

Dvorkovich’s spokesperson was not available for comment, nor were representatives from the Ministry of Finance or Transportation. Sources who were present at the meeting with Dvorkovich say that taking funds from the Murmansk transportation projects for the Black Sea ports was not discussed, and don’t know why the discussion was included in the official minutes.

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Why Asia Is Russia's Best Insurance Against Sanctions

MOSCOW — The Kremlin is already busy looking for ways to compensate for the economic hit that could come if sanctions get worse or Western businesses start to shy away from working in Russia. And the direction Moscow is looking is decidely to the east.

Actively developing relationships with East Asia was on Moscow’s mind even before the crisis in Ukraine and impending sanctions imbued the issue with more urgency. Last September, the process of developing Russia’s own Far East was radically overhauled in an effort to stimulate growth. Now developing connections with Asia looks like one of the best insurance policies in the event that the West imposes paralyzing sanctions, a source in the Russian government told Kommersant.

According to Sergei Men, a managing partner at the Hong Kong investment boutique Eurasia Capital Partners, Asia is the best alternative to the current over-reliance on the European market.

The countries of East and Southeast Asia are some of the fastest-growing markets for a number of key Russian exports: fossil fuels, metals, chemicals and manufacturing. Although China doesn’t do as much trade with Russia as it does with the European Union, it has been Russia’s most important single trade partner since 2009.

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DSK's New Life, Between Russian Banks And Serbian Hardliners

BELGRADE – Clean shaven, impeccably dressed in a dark suit and tie, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in business. On Sept. 17, France's former Finance Minister and disgraced head of the International Monetary Fund officially accepted a post as economic adviser to the Serbian government.

DSK's hosts in Belgrade had a hard time hiding how proud they were of recruiting such a hotshot economist — starting with the country's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic: "We are not ashamed to say that he knows much more about economy than all of us. And that in his address book he has more contacts from the world of finance than all of us together."

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With Putin's Help, BP May Team Up With Russian State To Explore Arctic For Oil



MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin is back in the middle of the oil business.

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