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:
- Trump says he’s weighing Putin’s invitation to attend the May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow, but while he appreciates the invitation, the parade falls “right in the middle of political season,” so he’s not sure he can make it, the AP reports. Putin, however, still hopes Trump would come to Russia for the parade, according to RFE/RL.
- Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at an air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel said, Reuters reports.
- At the annual BRICS summit, Xi and Putin criticized politically motivated protectionism, RFE/RL reports. A statement issued by these and other BRICS leaders at the end of the summit commits the group to the Paris climate agreement and to Syria’s "territorial integrity," according to DW.
- In one of the recordings released by prosecutors investigating the downing of a Malaysian airliner in 2014, Alexander Borodai, the then-leader of the Donbas rebels, can be heard telling an unidentified person: "I'm carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That's the bottom line," The Washington Post reports.
- Ukrainians’ favorite foreign leader is Alexander Lukashenko while Vladimir Putin is their least favorite. Some 66 percent of Ukrainians surveyed have a negative attitude toward Putin, while 71 percent have a positive attitude toward Lukashenko, according to a recent poll. The poll also showed more Ukrainians (42%) held a negative view of Donald Trump than a positive one (32%), according to Interfax and Censor.net.
- The Russian stock market has delivered the biggest returns to investors anywhere in the world in 2019, according to The Moscow Times. The MSCI Russia Index has soared by 44 since the beginning of the year, and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which includes Russian stocks and companies listed in 23 other developing economies such as China, Brazil, Mexico and India, has delivered returns of 12 percent in the same period.
- Russia has earned more money this year from the OPEC+ deal than Saudi Arabia, according to AP.
- According to Kommersant’s non-scientific poll of visitors to its website, as of the afternoon of Nov. 15, almost a third (31.19 percent) believe life in Russia most closely resembles the fairy tale “Tale of Cipollino” by Gianni Rodari. The second most popular choice was Nikolai Nosov’s “Dunno on the Moon” with around 17 percent of the 17,221 votes.
This Week’s Highlights:
- Brian Clark, a foreign policy analyst, argues that a Russian-Chinese alliance would arguably be the most dangerous concentration of power imaginable. Preventing such an alliance should therefore be a priority for the U.S., Clark argues, and considering the current power distribution, it would be wiser for America to address Russian interests than those of the Chinese.
- Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon believes Trump has been right about one thing in relation to Ukraine: attempting to bring Ukraine into the Western orbit through NATO membership has been counterproductive. The U.S. certainly needs to rethink its policy on the issue, which has gotten stuck, he writes.
- Washington Post columnist David Ignatius and former U.S. Army officer Kyle Ropp disagree on whether the U.S. should provide military aid to Ukraine. According to Ignatius, people in Ukraine who depended on U.S. military aid were being killed and wounded while Trump withheld this aid. Ropp, however, argues that the combat value of the U.S. military aid to Ukraine appears to be largely symbolic. This aid should cease and instead the U.S. policy in Ukraine should focus on facilitating the negotiation process, according to Ropp.
- Political analyst Vladimir Frolov argues that Russia could in theory benefit from playing along with Macron, who apparently told a close circle of associates two weeks ago that “NATO will cease to exist in five years.” However, that is unlikely because the Kremlin views the French leader as a political lightweight who cannot back up his eloquent words with actions and because Moscow believes Russia would gain more from a weaker EU.