Russia in Review
May 25, 2012
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
Russia in Review: a digest of useful news from U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism for the week of May 18-25, 2012.
Russia in Review: a digest of useful news from U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism for the week of May 18-25, 2012
I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda.
Nuclear security agenda:
· Seventy reactors from decommissioned nuclear submarines are scheduled for disposal in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorye Territory by 2020. (RIA Novosti, 05.21.12).
· Russia and Uzbekistan signed an intergovernmental agreement that will allow Russia to take back spent HEU fuel of Uzbekistan's research reactors. Russia will also supply Uzbekistan with LEU fuel. (IPFM Blog, 05.16.12).
Iran nuclear issues:
· Iran and six world powers wrapped up talks Thursday still far apart over how to oversee Tehran's atomic program. Envoys said they will meet again on June 18-19 in Moscow. (AP, 05.24.12).
· Speaking in Moscow on Wednesday Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said expert-level talks had indicated that Iran was now prepared for serious negotiations. "We got the clear impression from these preliminary contacts that the Iranian side is ready to seek agreement on concrete actions within the framework of an approach based on the principles of gradual, reciprocal steps," Lavrov said. (Reuters, 05.23.12).
NATO-Russia cooperation/transit to Afghanistan:
· 05.20.12-05.21.12 NATO Summit in Chicago:
- o 05.20.12 Chicago Summit Declaration Issued by the Heads of State and Government:
- § Missile defense:“We reaffirm that the NATO missile defence in Europe will not undermine strategic stability. NATO missile defence is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities… Should international efforts reduce the threats posed by ballistic missile proliferation, NATO missile defence can, and will, adapt accordingly.”
- § On Russia in general: “We remain determined to build a lasting and inclusive peace, together with Russia, in the Euro-Atlantic area …We are committed to, and look forward to, further improving trust and reciprocal transparency in: defence matters; strategy; doctrines; military postures, including of non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe; military exercises; arms control and disarmament…Our cooperation with Russia on issues related to Afghanistan …is a sign of our common determination to build peace and stability in that region.”
- § Other former Soviet republics:
- o Georgia: “NATO’s door will remain open. We continue to encourage and actively support Georgia's ongoing implementation of all necessary reforms….We reiterate our continued support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.”
- o Ukraine: “We are concerned by the selective application of justice and what appear to be politically motivated prosecutions, including of leading members of the opposition, and the conditions of their detention.”
- o “We remain committed in our support of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova, and will also continue to support efforts towards a peaceful settlement of these regional conflicts.”
- § Missile defense: “NATO missile defence is not oriented against Russia nor does it have the capability to undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent. The Alliance… will actively seek cooperation on missile defence with Russia and, in accordance with NATO’s policy of engagement with third states on ballistic missile defence, engage with other relevant states, to be decided on a case-by-case basis.”
- § Non-strategic nuclear weapons: “NATO is prepared to consider further reducing its requirement for non-strategic nuclear weapons assigned to the Alliance in the context of reciprocal steps by Russia.”
- § Strategic stability: “Allies support and encourage the United States and the Russian Federation to continue their mutual efforts to promote strategic stability, enhance transparency, and further reduce their nuclear weapons.”
- § CFE: Reaffirming the importance of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, Allies remain committed to conventional arms control and to preserving, strengthening and modernizing the conventional arms control regime in Europe.”
- § “We have declared an interim ballistic missile defence capability as an initial step to establish NATO's missile defence system.”
- § The interim capability for NATO ballistic missile defense means that NATO has agreed on the command and control procedures for ballistic missile defense designated Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) as the commander for this mission, and through missile defense exercises has tested and validated a command and control capability funded by all 28 Allies.
· No significant developments.
· Russia, which wants guarantees it isn’t targeted by a U.S.-led missile shield, is demanding an accord ratified by lawmakers of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said. “What if a new leader comes in November and dismisses all that the previous one has done?” (Bloomberg, 05.18.12).
· Russia on Wednesday successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile from a mobile launcher at the Plesetsk launch pad with an enhanced capability to penetrate missile defenses, the Defense Ministry said. The missile in fact is a ground-based analog of the Bulava SLBM. (AP, 05.23.12, Kommersant, 05.24.12).
· Russia placed its new Voronezh-M long-range missile warning radar on duty in the Irkutsk region of Siberia on Wednesday. (RIA Novosti, 05.23.12).
· The annual rent for the Gabala radar proposed by Azerbaijan is comparable to the cost of building two similar new stations on Russian territory, a Russian Defense Ministry source said. (Interfax, 05.24.12).
· The Senate looks like it’s not going to go along with the House’s approval last week of an East Coast missile-defense system. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday he’s “skeptical” about the proposal. (Washington Post, 05.23.12).
· The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives expressed support Friday for deploying tactical nuclear weapons to East Asia as a deterrent to an "increasingly belligerent" North Korea. Lawmakers added the measure to a sweeping defense authorization bill for the coming fiscal year. (AFP, 05.18.12).
· Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) is not backing down from his allegations that President Obama has a “secret deal” with Russia on missile defense. Democrats are crying foul over GOP suggestions on the "secret deal." (Hill, 05.19.12, 05.23.12).
· Also see NATO cooperation section.
Nuclear arms control:
· See NATO cooperation section.
· No significant developments.
Energy exports from CIS:
· The EU's grand dream to build a 4,000-kilometer gas pipeline bringing Caspian and Central Asian gas into the heart of Europe is now officially dead. (BNE, 05.18.12).
Access to major markets for exports and imports:
· No significant developments.
Other bilateral issues:
· Facilitating a visa regime with the United States in the long run will lead to visa-free contacts, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared at a session of the Russian government on Thursday which was devoted to the ratification of an agreement on facilitating a visa regime between Russia and the United States. (Itar-Tass, 05.24.12).
· U.S. State Department’s "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011" says in Russia domestic and international monitors reported “significant irregularities and fraud” during the December elections to the State Duma, but also highlighted “unprecedented civic involvement by Russians committed to trying to improve the process.” (RFE/RL, 05.24.12).
· The United States government tried to head off a diplomatic row with Russia on Tuesday after Russian officials demanded an investigation into the death of a Russian child in an adoptive American family. (New York Times, 05.22.12).
· Moscow continues seeking the return of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted of drug smuggling by a U.S. court. (Interfax, 05.24.12).
· Norwegian and Russian naval officers have joined with U.S. colleagues in Murmansk to discuss preparations to the “Northern Eagle 2012” naval exercises that will take place in northern waters in August. (Barents Observer, 05.12.12).
· Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday criticized Mitt Romney’s statement earlier this year that Russia is the “number one geopolitical foe” of the United States. (WP, 05.23.12).
· Russian intelligence agencies are investigating the possibility that the U.S. military may have brought down the Sukhoi Superjet that crashed in Indonesia, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported, citing sources in the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency. (Moscow Times, 05.25.12).
II. Russia news.
Formation of Federal Government and Presidential Administration:
· President Vladimir Putin unveiled a government dominated by loyalists on Monday, tightening his grip on the economy and limiting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's ability to pursue his reform agenda. Putin revealed on Tuesday that his top aides in the Kremlin would be the same political heavyweights who have accompanied him for more than a decade. Foreign investors praised the new Cabinet on Monday as a sign of economic stability, but said it reflects that Putin is firmly in charge and no significant policy changes are in the offing. Three-quarters of the ministers are new—20 out of 28—and the cabinet will be dominated by middle-aged liberal technocrats with high qualifications. (Reuters, New York Times, 05.22.12, Moscow Times, Foreign Policy, 05.21.12).
· Presidential Administration:
- Sergey Ivanov - Head of the Presidential Administration;
- Nikolai Patrushev - Secretary of Security Council;
- Vyacheslav Volodin - First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration;
- Domestic politics
- Alexei Gromov - First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration;
- Mass media
- Anton Vaino - Deputy Head of Presidential Administration;
- Chief of Putin’s staff
- Dmitry Peskov - Deputy Head of Presidential Administration
- Press Secretary of the President
- Yuri Ushakov – Assistant to the President
- Foreign Policy
- Evgeny Shkolov
- Larisa Brycheva - Assistant to the President
- Head of State Legal Office of the President;
- Tatyana Golikova - Assistant to the President
- Development of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
- Elvira Nabiullina - Assistant to the President
- Yuri Trutnev - Assistant to the President
- Natural resources
- Andrey Fursenko - Assistant to the President
- Constantine Chuichenko - Assistant to the President
- Head of the Accountability Directorate;
- Igor Shchegolev - Assistant to the President
- Igor Levitin - Advisor to the President
- Vladimir Ostrovenko
- Head of Protocol
- Dmitry Kalimulin
- Chief speechwriter.
· Federal Government
Deputy Prime Ministers
§ First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
- o development of main directions of socio-economic development of the Russian Federation;
- o government programs of the Russian Federation, federal programs;
- o public policy in the sphere of foreign economic activity and foreign trade;
- o customs and tariff regulation, participation in WTO
- o policy on regulation of natural monopolies.
- § Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
- o state energy policy, industry (except for the military-industrial complex);
- o public policy in agriculture
- o public policy in the field of transport and communications;
- o environmental management and environmental protection.
- § Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
- o atomic industry, including safety oversight;
- o defense industry, including aerospace industry, and arms procurement;
- o export controls on goods, information, services and intellectual property;
- o preparedness for emergency situations, including civil defense;
- o development of state borders.
- § Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov.
- o chief of the government’s staff;
- o state policy innovation;
- o public policy in the sphere of justice, the interaction with the judiciary and prosecutors;
- o mass communications and media;
- o administrative reform.
- § Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.
- o public policy in the field of construction and architecture, housing and utilities
- o socio-economic development of regions (except for the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District and the North Caucasus Federal District)
- o ethnic relations.
- § Deputy Prime Minister – Olga Golodets.
- o education;
- o health;
- o labor.
- § Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin.
- o development of North Caucasus.
§ Justice Minister – Alexander Konovalov.
§ Defence Minister – Anatoly Serdyukov.
§ Foreign Minister – Sergei Lavrov.
§ Minister of Emergency Situations – Vladimir Puchkov.
§ Interior Minister – Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
§ Finance Minister – Anton Siluanov.
§ Energy Minister – Alexander Novak.
§ Economic Development Minister – Andrei Belousov.
§ Labour and Social Protection Minister - Maxim Topilin.
§ Transport Minister – Maxim Sokolov.
§ Sports Minister – Vitaly Mutko.
§ Agriculture Minister – Nikolai Fedorov.
§ Communications and Mass Communications Minister – Nikolai Nikiforov
§ Regional Development Minister – Oleg Govorun.
§ Minister in charge of Russia’s Far East Development Viktor Ishayev.
§ Industry and Trade Minister – Denis Manturov.
§ Natural Resources and Environment Minister – Sergei Donskoy.
§ Education and Science Minister – Dmitry Livanov.
§ Minister of Culture – Vladimir Medinsky.
§ Minister of Healthcare – Veronika Skvortsova.
§ Minister for Relations with the Open Government – Mikhail Abyzov.
Other Domestic Politics, Economy and Energy News:
· Igor Sechin, a powerful ally of President Vladimir Putin, was named chief executive of Russia's state oil company Rosneft on Tuesday. The appointment raised doubts about government plans to sell a stake in the company, OAO Rosneft, of which 75 percent is state-owned. (Wall Street Journal, 05.23.12).
· Moscow's benchmark RTS index closed down 4.4 percent after President Vladimir Putin decreed that planned privatizations in the energy sector would be cancelled amid signs of intensified infighting among Moscow's political elite. (Financial Times, 05.24.12).
· Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says he supports a bill that would introduce a 200-fold increase in fines for those taking part in unsanctioned protests. (AP, 05.23.12).
· Seventy-two percent of Russians voice a favorable opinion of Vladimir Putin, while almost as many hold a positive opinion of Dmitri Medvedev (67 percent), according to a poll by the Pew Research Center. But also a solid majority (64 percent) see attending protests as an opportunity to speak out about how the government is run, and more than half (56 percent) specifically approve of the mass demonstrations. (Pew Research Center, Washington Post, 05.23.12).
· Popular support for Vladimir Putin's government continues to erode and Russia could see a full-blown political crisis before he finishes his six-year presidential term, according to a new report from the Center for Strategic Studies, an influential
· Russia will become the 31st member of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). An exchange between OECD secretary general Angel Gurria, Russia's first deputy minister of foreign affairs, Andrey Denisov, and Rosatom deputy director general Nikolai Spasskiy, formalizes the accession of Russia to the NEA, effective from 1 January 2013. (World Nuclear News, 05.23.12).
· The revenue of Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom may more than double to U.S. $38 billion by 2016 from $15 billion in 2011, the company said. (Prime, 05.25.12).
· Shell will replace Statoil in the Shtokman gas project in the Barents Sea. (Barents Observer, 05.12.12).
· Russia has begun readying three groups within its strategic missile forces to receive Yars units equipped with RS-24 ICBMs. (GSN, 05.21.12).
Security and law-enforcement:
· Ten people were found guilty on Tuesday of charges relating to the bombing of a Moscow-Saint Petersburg express train in 2009 that killed 28 people. (AFP, 05.22.12).
· At their summit on May 18 in Camp David, the Group of Eight world leaders has warned North Korea that it faces more sanctions if it continues to threaten the stability of the region with provocative acts such as its failed long-range rocket launch in April. They also agreed that ailing Greece should remain a part of Europe's common currency. (AP, 05.22.12).
· Russia’s foreign minister says that the conflict in Syria could spread to neighboring Lebanon. (AP, 05.23.12).
· Serbian voters chose Tomislav Nikolic as the next president. Nikolic’s Progressives have strong relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. (Wall Street Journal, 05.21.12).
· Proof of shoulder-fired SA-24s in Libya would also reorder the West’s understanding of Russian arms exports in the past decade. But the problem with reports of those shoulder-launched SA-24’s flowing from Libya is that they appear, on the available evidence, to be false. (New York Times, 05.24.12).
· Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said that Georgia will have "great chances" to advance towards membership at the alliance's next summit in 2014. Georgia has been included among countries that are to join NATO during the latter's next wave of enlargement, the Georgian parliament's chairman said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said that Moscow viewed NATO's statements with respect to Georgia "with regret and concern." (Rustavi-2/BBC, 05.22.12, Interfax, 05.21.12, Rossiaya-24, 05.25.12).
· South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov has signed a decree appointing former presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva to be deputy prime minister. (RFE/RL, 05.24.12).
· A bilateral deal finalized on Tuesday provides for U.S. assistance to efforts by Armenia to curb smuggling of weapons of mass destruction and related materials through its territory. (GSN, 05.23.12).
· Moldova may become an indirect partner in construction of a European missile shield and receive missile warning data from radars deployed in neighboring Romania, Moldovan Defense Minister Vitalie Marinuta said on Wednesday. (RIA Novosti, 05.23.12).
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