Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project covering the latest Russia-related news and analysis from media in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Cartoon Of The Week
On International Women’s Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian women, saying: "Reaching success is in the nature of our women. You manage to do everything, both at work and at home. And you remain beautiful, brilliant, charming, the center of gravity inside the family that knows how to inspire and support, warm and comfort. It is your fate to walk the whole path of creating a new life – giving birth to a child. This great happiness of motherhood, raising children transforms the world, fills it with kindness, tenderness and mercy, reaffirms the traditional values that have always been Russia’s strength..."
(Kremlin.ru, March 8, 2019)
The President visited Moscow Police 1st Operational Regiment at the invitation of women mounted and tourist police officers ahead of March 8. (Source: Twitter.com/kremlinrussia_e)
In The News:
Rule Like Brezhnev, Dive Like Putin
Defense: First Deputy Defense Minister Gerasimov: The Russian Federation Is Ready To Prevent Any US' Strategy Warfare
Corruption: Through A Network Of Offshore Firms More Than $ 4.5 Billion From Russia Were Cashed And Legalized
News In Brief: Sanctions - Russia's Economy - Russia-Bulgaria Relations - Russia-Belarus Relations
Rule Like Brezhnev
Andrey Kolesnikov's thesis is that taking pride in history offers psychological compensation for the squalor of today's conditions and the uncertainty surrounding the character and objectives of the Putin breakthrough.
It is believed that authoritarianism only scares the morally debased intellectuals. A truly Russian deep state people lives in a totally harmonious and symphonic fashion with the leader and the attendant goddesses of oil, gas, army, navy, and FSB. However, among the depths of the Russian people, the fear of a harsher political regime sharply increased – by 19 percentage points from 36% in 2017.
It is believed that a true Russian man during a rendezvous with Stalin is ready to prostrate himself before the feet of that statue and, bathing in the sunset rays of a rotting Europe, urge him to rule Russia once again. But it turns out that even the fear of a return to a mass repression has grown: by the same 19 percentage points to 40% in 2018.
The fear of arbitrariness and lawlessness increased from 29% in 2017 to 51% in 2018; the fear of public humiliation, from 24% to 31%; and the fear of being attacked by criminals, from 29% to 39%.
People are looking for a way out in retro-utopia: The largest number of respondents – 28% – want to live in the Soviet system that preceded perestroika. Brezhnev seems to have defeated Putin, who has only 21%; only Western-style democracy ranked lower, at 14%.
(Carnegie.ru, February 26, 2019)
First Deputy Defense Minister Gerasimov: The Russian Federation Is Ready To Prevent Any U.S. Strategy Warfare
Russian General Staff chief and First Deputy Defense Minister General Valery Gerasimov:
"The Pentagon has begun to develop a fundamentally new strategy of warfare, which has already been dubbed the Trojan Horse. Its essence lies in active usage of the protest potential of the 'fifth column' in order to destabilize the situation while simultaneously attacking the most important objects...
"I would like to note that the Russian Federation is ready to prevent any of these strategies. In recent years, military scientists, together with the General Staff, developed conceptual approaches to neutralize the aggressive actions of potential opponents."
(Tass.ru, March 2, 2019)
"Defeating the Pentagon’s Trojan Horse! Military Academy Exposes 'Color Revolution' Technology!" Vesti News, March 4, 2019;
"Shoigu: Russia Bolstering Her Baltic and South Front Defenses With Brand New Equipment," Vesti News, February 28, 2019.
Through A Network Of Offshore Firms, More Than $ 4.5 Billion From Russia Was Cashed And Legalized
Through a network of offshore firms associated with the investment company Troika Dialog, more than $4.5 billion from Russia was cashed and legalized according to an investigation by the Corruption and Organized Crime Investigation Project (OCCRP).
"Over several years, more than $4.5 billion have passed through the accounts of these companies.
"Judging from banking data, Troika has created a complete ecosystem consisting of at least 76 interconnected offshore firms. Some of them opened accounts with the Lithuanian bank Ukio. The accounts were open for nominees, including seasonal workers from Armenia."
According to journalists, in 2007–2010 cellist Sergei Roldugin, who is called the friend of President Vladimir Putin, received $69 million through these companies via various schemes.
(Zona.media/news, March 4, 2019)
The First Skripalsky Readings
A scientific conference, "The First Skripalsky Readings," will take place at the Moscow State University, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK city of Salisbury. Andrei Manoylo, a professor at Moscow State University, and a member of the scientific council of the Russian Federation's Security Council, made the announcement.
"We sent them [the suspects in the poisonings Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov] invitations directly by courier to their address... They have physical addresses, they have work addresses that they themselves have declared. During an interview with [RT editor-in-chief Margarita] Simonyan, they gave full information about who they are and where they work," Manoylo said.
(Meduza.io/news, March 3, 2019)
Russian Embassy In UK On Letter From Mail On Sunday About March 3, 2019 Article On Amb. Alexander Yakovenko
"On 8 March the Russian Embassy received a letter from the editor of the Mail on Sunday replying to the Embassy's request for a public apology due to the newspaper publishing false information on Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko on 3 March.
"The letter states that the Mail on Sunday editing office does not consider appropriate to apologize for its article where it was suggested that Ambassador Yakovenko was expelled from the U.S. in 1986 for 'spying.' Supposedly, publishing the Embassy’s response to the allegations was enough for it.
"We are disappointed with this position of the paper. To us it demonstrates what modern British journalism looks like today, although seemingly, one should not expect anything else from the Mail on Sunday. It appears that reputational costs do not worry the paper.
"Regrettably, we must state that lately we more often come across bad publicity in the media, including quality press, against the leaders and representatives of foreign states, whose policy differs from the one of the current British leadership."
(Rusemb.org.uk, March 10, 2019)
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated: "As if on cue, outright fakes are being published that should distract from the main question: what happened in Salisbury on March 4, 2018? ... The government of Theresa May is stubbornly silent, and the Russian Embassy issues a report on the inconsistencies of the British fakes. Here you have a stupid revenge – try to make the ambassador a spy."
(Tass.ru, March 3, 2019)
Russia Will Do Everything Possible To Prevent A Military Invasion Of Venezuela
In a meeting with Venezuelan Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who paid a working visit to Moscow, Russia's Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko stated: "We are very afraid that the United States may go for any provocation in order to shed blood, find an excuse and reasons for invading Venezuela. But we will do everything to prevent this...
"We are absolutely sure that the crisis in Venezuela that is artificially created by the United States can only be resolved peacefully, only within the framework of an inclusive dialogue of all political forces, [and] that only the people of Venezuela have the right to decide what their present and future will be."
(Tass.ru, March 3, 2019)
At the UN Security Council, both Russia and the United States introduced draft resolutions. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States and Britain of robbing Venezuela of $30 billion 'before our very eyes. They are brazenly plundering a sovereign state attempting to reduce it for two begging cells and as part of an unrecognized international legal concept of humanitarian intervention and responsibility for its defense for two topple for him a regime that is not to its liking.'
The Russian diplomat accused the U.S. of hypocrisy and said that "instead of the hypocritical attempts to bring in 20 million in dollars of aid." It should quickly unblock the accounts for of Venezuelan Enterprises valued at 11 billion which could be diverted to the purchase of medicines and essential products and commodities.
(Ria.ru, February 27, 2019)
The Venezuelan State of Miranda is strengthening ties with Russian companies, particularly in the sphere of agriculture. (Tass.com, March 7, 2019; read the full article)
Russia's top diplomat slams U.S. 'sanctions' against Maduro’s supporters as unlawful. (Tass.com, March 6, 2019; read the full article)
The process of relocation of the Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA to Moscow from Lisbon will start soon, Ambassador of Venezuela to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa told reporters. (Tass.com, March 5, 2019; read the full article)
Lavrov slams Bolton's Monroe Doctrine remark on Venezuela as insult to entire region. ( Tass.com, March 4, 2019; read the full article)
Lavrov refutes Bolton’s allegations that Russia ‘failed’ to supply medication to Venezuela. (Tass.com, March 4, 2019; read the full article)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday that Moscow is ready for talks with Washington on Venezuela, but only in strict compliance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. (Tass.com, March 2, 2019; read the full article)
Russian TV channel invites Trump and Maduro doppelgangers to comment on Trump and Maduro. (Meduza.io, March 1, 2019; read the full article)
News In Brief:
Rusal restored shipments of products to the United States "at significant levels," especially deliveries of high-margin produce and alloys, Head of Russia and CIS Sales Roman Andryushin told reporters. (Tass.com, March 7, 2019; read the full article)
The European Union (EU) remains an important partner for Russia, and there are no objective obstacles for developing bilateral relations despite U.S. efforts to hamper them, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Luxemburger Wort newspaper ahead of his visit to Luxembourg. (Tass.com, March 5, 2019; read the full article)
The U.S. extends Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia for another year. (Tass.com, March 4, 2019; read the full article)
Attempts to influence Russia's policy through sanctions are ineffective, Russian Permanent Representative at the EU Vladimir Chizhov said at the 4th Delphi Economic Forum. (Tass.com, March 1, 2019; read the full article)
The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund cut its holdings in Russian equities from $2.25 billion to 1.23 alien dollars in 2013 the funds held equities in the amount of $4.1 billion. Kommersant reminds his readers that in February 2018 Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez tabled a bill for draconian sanctions against Russia, which includes banding investments in Russian debts and oil exploration projects. (Kommersant.ru, February 28, 2019)
- Russia by the Numbers: Where is Russia’s Export Trade Surplus Coming From? (Vesti News, March 10, 2019; see the full the video)
- Russia by the Numbers: Which Domestic Industries Are on the Rise at Home? (Vesti News, March 10, 2019; see the full the video)
- Dmitry Medvedev in Sofia: Bulgaria and the Turkish Stream. The main news from the visit of the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Sofia at the beginning of the week is that the visit really happened. After 7 years break in such high level visits it seems that the recent one is normalizing the relations between the two Slavic states. The process started last year with a meeting of the newly elected then Bulgarian President Rumen Radev with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi followed immediately by a visit of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to Moscow. (Valdaiclub.com, March 7, 2019; read the full article)
- Belarus President Lukashenko said: "If we put the question about the unification of the two states or, like many want in Russia, about the inclusion of Belarus into Russia to a referendum, 90% will vote against. Not because our society is opposed to Russia. A new generation has grown up. The older generations have understood that too that we can cooperate in a totally different format, as family and relatives. Today the Belarusians want to be together with Russia but to live in their own apartment. What's wrong with that?" (Belta.by, March 1, 2019; read the full article)
- Russia is putting the Northern Sea Route under its protection. The government has hammered out rules for the passage of foreign warships through the route, Izvestia wrote referring to the documented legislation. U.S. representatives have repeatedly stated that they are also interested in the Northern Sea Route and claimed that Russia "has no right to dictate its terms there." However, with the adoption of new rules, the situation will change. (Tass.com, March 6, 2019; read the full article)