Russian Foreign Affairs – June, 2016

Putin addresses the Baltic Fleet.

Russian Foreign Affairs in the News
June 2016

Russian foreign policy and foreign policies concerning Russia have been of particular interest to those following world affairs lately. With Russia’s more assertive stance on the world stage, Russia’s absorption of Crimea, and resulting sanctions, arms buildups, and global geopolitical restructuring and repositioning, keeping a close eye on this part of the world is especially important to understanding global security and international politics.

This resource serves to track and analyze these issues as they develop in Eurasia.


SSI-banner Obama Administration Proposes Increased Cooperation with Russia in Syria

According to US media, the proposal would involve the US and Russian air forces coordinating air strikes against al-Qaeda in Syria. The plan requires Russia to use its influence to stop the Assad regime bombing US-supported rebel groups. The plan has drawn criticism from within the US, but Russia has long sought increased military cooperation with the US.

Investigators Name Russian Nationals in Istanbul Terrorist Attack

According to Turkish officials, a Russian national is among the suspects in the June 28 attack. One of three suspects in the attack, which killed 44 people and wounded 238, is Osman Vadinov, a native of Dagestan. The suspected organizer of the attack, Akhmed Chatayev, is said to be of Chechen origin. The UN lists Chatayev as an ISIS leader responsible for training Russian-speaking militants.

Russian Legislators Pass Tough New Counterterror Law

The new measures, which came in response to the bombing of a Russian passenger jet, introduce a prison sentence of up to one year for failing to report the planning of a terrorist act or armed mutiny. They also require cellular and internet providers to monitor and store all users’ communication data for six months and to help security investigators to decipher all messaging apps. Additionally, the new laws increase the number of crimes with which children between the ages of 14 and 17 can be charged.  Human rights activists view the legislation as an assault on civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the right to privacy.


Officers Dismissed from Baltic Fleet

Dozens of officers have been dismissed from the fleet, which patrols a key border between Russia and Europe. The specific reasons for the dismissals remain unknown. The shake-up comes amid Russia’s expansion of the Baltic fleet in response to the increased presence of NATO troops in the region. The scale and publicity of the dismissals are unprecedented.

Other Articles

Putin Seeks to Strengthen Ties on China Visit
Among the issues to be discussed were China’s purchase of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Chinese loans to finance Russian gas and rail projects, and Russian support for China’s “One Belt, One Road” development policy.

French President Urges EU to Renew Sanctions
Hollande argued that sanctions should remain in place until the Russia-Ukraine peace deal is complete. Ambassadors from all 28 EU states have pledged to renew sanctions when they expire in July.

Hollande Offers French Venue for Nagorno-Karabakh Talks
The French President has offered to host Putin and his Armenian and Azerbaijani colleagues in Paris.

US Senators Press EU to Renew Sanctions
Six key US senators wrote to EU leaders urging a renewal of sanctions based on repeated ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine.

Turkey Has Apologized for Shooting Down Russian Warplane
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has apologized for the incident and wishes to “restore traditionally friendly ties” between the two countries. Russian economic sanctions on Turkey remain in place.

Policy and Conflict Post SovietRussian Oil Company Basneft for Sale
Russia’s sixth-largest oil company, once nationally owned, has since been privatized and renationalized –  and is again for sale to private investors. It is one of several national companies that the cash-strapped Russian government aims to liquidate in order to cover a projected budget deficit of 2.4 trillion rubles ($36 billion).

Russia’s Ministry of Culture Orders Russophobia Study
The 1.9 million ruble ($29,000) study will investigate “russophobic discourse” both within Russia and abroad and the effects of russophobia on national interests and national security. The possibility of a “fifth column” within Russia will be explored.

Russian Track Team Banned from Olympics
The ban, which has been issued as punishment for an alleged state-run doping scheme, is unprecedented in Olympic history.

Close Encounter Between US and Russian Warships
A Russian warship broadcasting a restricted movement signal came within 315 yards of a US naval vessel, prompting diplomatic complaints.

German Intelligence Service Says Russia Major Source of Cyberattacks
A German intelligence agency identified China and Russia as the two leading sources of cyberattacks against Germany.

Russia Becomes China’s Top Oil Supplier
From January to May 2016, Russia increased oil supplies to China by 41.8% to 22.169 million tons, making it China’s top oil supplier for that five-month period.

Liveblog from the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
The Moscow Times liveblogged from the Forum, which is often referred to as “Russia’s Davos”.

Russian Officials Say Brexit Carries Few Risks, Some Possible Benefits, for Russia
Russian senior officials see opportunity for improving bilateral relations with the EU, estimate few risks to Russia.

Theoretically, Brexit Could Ease the Way for Russia to Join the EU
It would take years, as well as shifts in diplomatic strategy and public opinion, but there’s an argument to be made that a “Rentry” offers benefits to both sides – and that the UK’s departure removes a major obstacle.

Russian National Soccer Team Receives Suspended Euro Cup Disqualification
Following violent clashes between English and Russian fans in Marseille, UEFA has fined the Russia team and issued a suspended Euro 2016 disqualification. The team will be ejected from the Euro Cup if any more fan violence occurs within the stadiums.

This entry written by Mae Liou.

Mae Liou earned a BA in philosophy at Boston University and ABD status in philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. An alt-academic and humanities omnivore, she now teaches English, philosophy, film studies, and foreign languages at a school for gifted teenagers. She is currently a SRAS translation intern in St. Petersburg, and she hopes to translate essays and literary prose in the future.

About the Author

SRAS Students
SRAS students come from around the world to study, intern, or research in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, or Russia. They often write while abroad - to complete class or scholarship requirements, or sometimes just because they are inspired to do so. This account will be used to publish exceptional examples of this student writing. Note that when SRAS students is indicated as the author, more specific author info will be made available at the end of the entry or article.