This page features the weekly news and analysis digests compiled by Russia Matters. Explore them by clicking "Read More" below the current week's highlights and subscribe using the subscribe links throughout the site, like the one below, to receive our digests via email. Past digests are available in the News Archive, which is accessible via the link on this page.
This Week’s Highlights:
- A Democratic-led House of Representatives is likely to revive or intensify some of the investigations into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential elections and to expand sanctions against Russia, according to a Russia Matters review of commentary on the impact this week’s midterm elections will have on U.S. policies.
- Tens of thousands protested U.S. President Donald Trump's removal of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general out of concern that the move threatens the independence of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to The Washington Post. Mueller faces at least two key decision points: a probe into longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone's activities and ongoing negotiations with Trump's legal team over a request to interview the president, according to the Post.
- A week before hosting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin along with many other heads of state in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a "real European army" to allow the EU to defend itself against Russia and the United States, according to RFE/RL. The French have also reportedly lobbied Trump and Putin into agreeing not to hold a full-fledged bilateral meeting while in Paris on Nov. 11. The two leaders are still planning to have such a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 in December.
- The U.S. State Department notified Congress that Russia ignored a deadline to swear off the use of chemical weapons, opening the possibility of new sanctions, which may include downgrading diplomatic relations and blanket bans on the import of Russian oil, according to Bloomberg. Almost nine out of 10 large Russian companies have said they are wary of looming U.S. sanctions, according to a survey cited by The Moscow Times.
- With less than two months to go before the end of 2018, Russian researchers said they have already recorded over 2,500 protests this year compared to under 1,500 nationwide last year, according to The Moscow Times.
This Week’s Highlights:
- The Financial Times’ Moscow bureau chief paints a compelling picture of why Western sanctions have failed to isolate Russia. “Boosted by new oil supply deals, agriculture and defense shipments, trade with China accounted for 15.5 percent of Russia’s total turnover last year, up from 10.6 percent in 2013,” he writes. “At the same time, the EU’s share fell from 49.6 percent to 43.8 percent.” (China’s president is famously the only foreign leader with whom Vladimir Putin has celebrated his birthday.)
- While arms sales by the U.S. to India have increased significantly as Russia’s have declined, the sizeable defense-equipment portfolio still connecting New Delhi and Moscow “ensures that there is sufficient stake in the relationship to prevent a lurch toward the U.S. by India or toward China by Russia,” according to Aaditya Dave of the Royal United Services Institute.
- The “so-called elections” in the unrecognized separatist regions of eastern Ukraine are evidence that “the Kremlin plans to hang on to the territories,” writes Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky, essentially telling the world “that Russia is moving on from the notion of a peacekeeping force and even from the Minsk agreements” and is willing to negotiate only on its own terms.
- While “Russia’s recent imposition of sanctions on Ukrainian politicians and businessmen is all about Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election,” Ukrainian businessmen won’t see them “as an invitation to a big, mutually rewarding game,” choosing instead “to look to new markets and … other, more predictable directions,” writes journalist Konstantin Skorkin for the Carnegie Moscow Center.
- International security expert Nikolas Gvosdev outlines the four important lesson modern Russia has learned from WWI, including the need to avoid both war and “blank checks” for allies and partners.