Russia in Review, June 3-10, 2022

This Week’s Highlights

  • Putin said on June 9 that it was his “destiny” to “return and fortify” territories, much like it had been for Peter I. “Peter the Great returned territories and fortified them. This destiny has also fallen to us,” Putin was quoted by FT as saying. Putin also claimed that it was not possible to box in or fence off a country such as Russia.
  • Russia’s recent advances in the Donbas have made it “very, very difficult” for Ukraine to win the war, Zelensky’s key advisor Danilov told FT. The central problem for Ukrainians fighting in the Donbas is a mismatch of artillery capabilities, with the Ukrainian forces reportedly almost out of ammunition. Every day the Ukrainian armed forces see 100 soldiers killed and up to 500 wounded, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
  • The U.K.’s Defense Ministry estimates 20,000 Russian troops have been killed in action, according to FT. Russia’s Defense Ministry has stopped releasing counts of Russian casualties in Ukraine, but Russian investigative outlet iStories has ascertained this week the Kremlin received nearly 42,000 complaints in April from the relatives of soldiers missing in Ukraine. In addition, investigative news outlet Mozhem Obyasnit reported that regional officials across Russia are rushing to buy fresh graves plots at an “abnormal“ rate.
  • American intelligence agencies have less information than they would like about Ukraine’s operations and possess a far better picture of Russia’s military, NYT quoted a U.S. official as saying. “We have, in fact, more insight, probably, on the Russian side than we do on the Ukrainian side,” Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, testified at a Senate hearing.
  • Global companies have racked up more than $59 billion in losses from their Russian operations, according to a review of public statements and securities filings cited by WSJ. According to Yale researchers, almost 1,000 Western businesses have pledged to exit or cut back operations in Russia, and 7 in 10 European businesses expect to cut their investments in Russia this year, according to the Association of European Businesses. 
  • Some 48% of respondents to a Levada Center poll in Russia in May said the “situation in Ukraine could escalate into an armed conflict between Russia and NATO,” while 34% think Putin could order first use of nuclear weapons in a war between Russia and the West. In addition, almost a third of respondents say they are “not very afraid” of the possibility that Russia could use nuclear weapons, according to Levada. 

NB: The next Russia in Review will appear on Thursday, June 16 due to the U.S. Juneteenth holiday.


I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security, safety and energy:

  • During their three-day stay at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the Exclusion Zone, a team of seven IAEA experts provided support to their Ukrainian counterparts on radiation protection, safety of waste management and nuclear security. (WNN, 06.06.22)
  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he is trying to organize a mission to the Zaporizhzhia plant. However. Ukraine's state nuclear company, Enerhoatom, has rejected the IAEA’s plan. (WNN, 06.06.22, RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • Ukraine has signed a deal for U.S. nuclear power company Westinghouse to supply fuel to all of its atomic power plants in an effort to end the country’s reliance on Russian supplies. (Bellona, 06.03.22)
  • Russia has announced its withdrawal from a high-level joint commission it runs with Norway to ensure nuclear safety in the Arctic, ceasing more than two decades of bilateral progress in cleaning up the radioactive legacy of the Cold War. (Bellona, 06.01.22)
  • Rosatom representatives took part in the Annual Conference on Research Reactors, which ended on June 10 in Budapest. More than 130 experts from 20 countries from Europe, the U.S., Latin America and Asia took part. (Rosatom, 06.10.22)
  • For the first time, Rosatom’s TVEL supplied TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India for two power units of the Kudankulam NPP with VVER-1000 reactors. (Rosatom, 06.09.22)

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • No significant developments.

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • Iran began dismantling the U.N. monitoring system of its nuclear program this week, partly blinding nuclear inspectors in apparent retaliation for a resolution condemning its lack of cooperation with international inspectors. The IAEA Board of Governors earlier adopted a resolution criticizing Iran for failing to explain the presence of uranium particles at three undeclared facilities. Russia and China voted against the resolution. (NYT, 06.09.22, Interfax, 06.08.22)

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

  • Ukraine, which accounts for one-tenth of global wheat exports, has warned that the world faces a critical food shortage unless Russia lifts its Black Sea port blockade. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, told FT that “all of our activity won’t cover even 20% of what we could do through the Black Sea ports.” (FT, 06.05.22, NYT, 06.05.22)
    • In mid-May, the U.S. sent an alert to 14 countries, mostly in Africa, that Russian cargo vessels were leaving ports near Ukraine laden with what a State Department cable described as ''stolen Ukrainian grain.'' At least 10 boats have exported stolen grain, mostly wheat, through Sevastopol's port since late February, according to the Ukrainians who are tracking shipments. (NYT, 06.05.22)
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied accusations that his armed forces are blocking Ukrainian grain exports from the Black Sea and said his government would “guarantee" the peaceful passage to ships leaving its ports. (RFE/RL, 06.04.22) 
    • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that Ukrainian supplies of grain were too insignificant to have an effect on global agricultural supplies. (FT, 06.08.22)
    • Russian and Turkish officials ended talks June 8 without a significant breakthrough toward creating a sea lane to export grain from Ukraine across the Black Sea. (WSJ, 06.09.22)
  • A bridge and a sugar refinery in western Russia’s Kursk region near Ukraine have been damaged in the latest cross-border shelling. (MT/AFP, 06.06.22) 
  • Russia has begun turning over the bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed at the Azovstal steelworks. (CBS,
  • The total number of captured Ukrainian servicemen has reached 6,489, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said June 7. (NVO, 06.07.22)
  • Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region say their top court has handed down death sentences to two British nationals and a Moroccan for being "mercenaries" and fighting with Ukraine's armed forces. (RFE/RL, 06.09.22)
  • Russian investigators on June 9 said they had opened more than 1,100 cases into “crimes against peace” committed by the Ukrainian government, paving the way for what could turn into a mass show trial of hundreds of Ukrainian service members. (NYT, 06.09.22)
  • The Kremlin received nearly 42,000 complaints in April from the relatives of soldiers missing in Ukraine, investigative outlet iStories reported June 9. (MT/AFP, 06.09.22)
  • Regional officials across Russia are rushing to buy fresh graves plots at an “abnormal” rate, investigative news outlet Mozhem Obyasnit reported June 6. The sudden shift in policy could be linked to unreported deaths among the Russian military fighting in Ukraine, Mozhem Obyasnit wrote on Telegram. (MT/AFP, 06.06.22)  
  • Before the Russian-Ukrainian war, an innovative method of treating blood cancer was used in Russia—cellular CAR-T-therapy. After the outbreak of the war, Germany’s Miltenyi Biotec stopped deliveries of components needed for that therapy to Russia. Therefore, right now about 50 children with blood cancer—patients of the Rogachev Institute—are doomed to die. (iStories, 06.10.22)

Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

  • Chances are still “high” that Putin may attempt another assault on Kyiv, according Roman Kostenko, a Ukrainian special forces commander. (RFE/RL, 06.04.22)
  • Russian advances in the Donbas have made it “very, very difficult” for Ukraine to win its war with Moscow, according to Oleksiy Danilov, chief of the national security council. (FT, 06.06.22)
  • Ukraine needs to form six new brigades of 25,000 men for a counter-offensive to reclaim territory held by Russia in the east and south, according to an adviser to Ukraine’s government on security matters. (FT, 06.06.22)
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front lines of the fighting in the eastern Luhansk region on June 5, including units in Lysychansk and Soledar. (WSJ, 06.06.22)
  • Russian Army Maj. Gen. Roman Kutuzov was less than 30 miles from Lysychansk when he was killed, as his forces tried to sever the road between Sievierodonetsk and Bakhmut. Kutuzov commanded the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic 1st Army Corps. (WSJ, 06.06.22, MT/AFP, 06.06.22)
  • Putin threatened a wider campaign of bombing and shelling June 5, should the United States send longer-range rockets to Ukraine. “We will strike at objects that we do not touch yet,” Putin said. (WP, 06.06.22, FT, 06.05.22)
  • Ukrainian partisans appear to be striking inside Russian-controlled territory. The Kremlin-backed mayor of the Ukrainian town of Enerhodar was critically wounded in a blast. Then a car packed with explosives rocked the office of another Russian-appointed official in Melitopol. (NYT, 06.06.22)
  • American intelligence agencies have less information than they would like about Ukraine’s operations and possess a far better picture of Russia’s military, its planned operations and its successes and failures, according to current and former officials. (NYT, 06.07.22)
  • A Russian court has jailed a Chechen soldier for 10 days for refusing deployment amid growing reports of military personnel refusing to fight in Ukraine. (MT/AFP, 06.06.22)
  • A dozen Russian officers have been prosecuted for sending 600 young conscript soldiers to fight in Ukraine, a military prosecutor announced June 7. (MT/AFP, 06.07.22)
  • Shoigu said the Russian military, working with Russian Railways, had repaired about 750 miles of track in southeastern Ukraine and set the conditions for traffic to flow from Russia through Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to Kherson and Crimea. (NYT, 06.08.22)
  • Zelensky, in his late-night address on June 9, said Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and other cities in the region are holding on, and that Ukrainian forces are pushing back Russian forces from the area around Kharkiv, in the northeast of the country. (WSJ, 06.10.22)
  • Ukraine has depleted its stocks of Soviet and Russian-designed weaponry and is now completely dependent on allies for arms to defend against Russia's invasion, the U.S. military said. (MT/AFP, 06.10.22)
  • British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace visited Kyiv on June 10 and claimed the country’s fierce resistance has left Russia’s military regime on the brink of “collapse.” Wallace also said “it might take years” for Ukraine to get into NATO, to which Zelensky responded “we don’t have years.” (FT, 06.10.22)
  • “We don’t have the range and amount of artillery,” Oleksandr V. Danylyuk, head of the Kyiv-based Centre for Defense Reforms, a think-tank, said. “We fire once. They fire back 40 times. They retaliate to each of our strikes at least 20 times.” (FT, 06.10.22)
  • Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now reliant almost solely on weapons from the West. Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, according to Skibitsky. “We have almost used up all of our [artillery] ammunition,” he said. (The Guardian, 06.10.22)
  • Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, said on June 9 that every day it suffered “up to 100 of our soldiers killed and up to 500 wounded . . . the Kremlin continues to press by sheer mass.” Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has told the BBC as many as 200 soldiers are killed daily. (FT, 06.10.22)
  • The U.K.’s Defense Ministry estimates as many as 20,000 Russian troops have been killed in action, up from its May estimate of about 15,000, while Ukraine estimates 31,200 Russians have died, compared with 26,350 a month ago. (FT, 06.10.22)

Punitive measures related to Ukraine and their impact globally:

  • British telecoms group Truphone, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and his associates, is being bought for £1 by two European tech entrepreneurs. (FT, 06.03.22) 
  • Russian litigants fighting cases in London’s High Court are being forced to find new representation as the biggest U.K.-based law firms are increasingly refusing to act for them in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. (FT, 06.04.22)
  • The Kemerovo region in Western Siberia posted a 20% drop in coal exports in April while inventories rose 13%, a report by Russia’s Central Bank said. Kemerovo is Russia’s largest coal-producing region. (RFE/RL, 06.04.22) 
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called off a planned trip to Serbia on June 6. Officials in Moscow said the change occurred because North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bulgaria refused to allow Lavrov's plane to fly through their airspace. (WSJ, 06.06.22)
  • U.S. authorities have filed documents to seize two planes owned by Abramovich, saying that the planes were manufactured in the U.S. and are subject to U.S. sanctions imposed after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (WSJ, 06.06.22)
  • Fiji's Supreme Court has allowed the seizure of a $325 million Russian-owned superyacht by the United States as part of sanctions. U.S. authorities say the 107-meter vessel is actually owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. (RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • Russia has imposed sanctions on 61 U.S. officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and the heads of leading defense and media companies. (RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • Deutsche Bank has relocated hundreds of its Russia-based IT specialists to Germany following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (MT/AFP, 06.07.22)
  • Moscow has threatened to strip the accreditations of U.S. journalists in Russia in response to the treatment of Russian reporters in the United States. (MT/AFP, 06.07.22)
  • The owner of the Pizza Hut pizzeria chain in Russia, Polish holding Amrest, managed to sell the business to Noy-M, founded by top managers of the Rostik group. (Kommersant, 06.07.22)
  • Aeroflot hopes to raise $3 billion by issuing new shares amid ongoing economic turmoil. (MT/AFP, 06.08.22)
  • Russian businessmen and their family members who ended up on the EU sanctions list are trying to challenge the restrictive measures in the courts. According to Bloomberg, about 20 suits related to personal sanctions have already been filed in European courts. (Meduza, 06.08.22)
  • The U.S. Treasury moved to block U.S. investors from making purchases of Russian debt in secondary markets. Investors would still be allowed to sell or transfer securities as long as they do so to a non-U.S. counterparty, according to the Treasury, and they can also continue to hold the already issued debt. (WSJ, 06.08.22)
  • The OECD, in its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, warned of the “hefty price” of taking a stance against Russia’s invasion, forecasting lower growth and high inflation, with poorer countries hit particularly hard. OECD cut its global growth forecast for this year to 3%, down from 4.5% in December, even lower than the IMF’s recent estimate of 3.6%. For 2023, growth would be still lower at 2.8%. The OECD singled out the U.K., which it said would experience the weakest growth in the G20 outside Russia next year. (FT, 06.09.22)
  • The Global Economic Prospects update from the World Bank highlighted the damage from the war to developing countries and the prospects of a debt crisis, with 75 million more people pushed into extreme poverty than expected in 2019. It likened global conditions to those of the 1970s, when inflation led to steep interest rate rises and a global recession. (FT, 06.09.22)
  • “Our economy will be open—whoever isn’t interested will be robbing themselves,” Putin said. “It’s impossible to fence off a country like Russia, and we are not planning to put up a fence like that around us ourselves.” (NYT, 06.09.22)
  • Russian fertilizer exports fell 24% year-on-year to 12.5 million tons in the first five months of 2022. (Interfax, 06.09.22)
  • Global companies have racked up more than $59 billion in losses from their Russian operations, with more financial pain to come as sanctions hit the economy and sales and shutdowns continue, according to a review of public statements and securities filings. (WSJ, 06.10.22)
  • Almost 1,000 Western businesses have pledged to exit or cut back operations in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, according to Yale researchers. (WSJ, 06.10.22)
  • Seven in 10 European businesses expect to cut their investments in Russia this year as Western sanctions over the Ukraine invasion and Moscow’s countermeasures have forced them to revise their outlooks, according to an Association of European Businesses survey. (MT/AFP, 06.10.22)
  • Lviv-born Mikhail Fridman is seeking to move his assets to Ukraine, and this is good for the economy because it increases the flow of taxes, Oleksandr Novikov, the head of Ukraine’s National Agency for Corruption Prevention, told Forbes Ukraine. Obtaining Ukrainian citizenship is possible for Russian businessmen of Ukrainian origin, he added. (Kyiv Independent, 06.09.22)
  • "I think what we want to do is keep Russian oil flowing into the market to hold down global prices and try to avoid a spike that causes a world-wide recession and drives up oil prices," Yellen said. "But absolutely the objective is to limit the revenue going to Russia." (WSJ, 06.10.22)

Ukraine-related negotiations:

  • A stalemate in the war with Russia was “not an option for us,” Zelensky said. But he insisted he was open to peace talks. However, peace negotiations would have to be face to face with Putin, because there was “nobody else to talk to” but the Russian leader. (FT, 06.07.22)

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

  • Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak on June 5 hit back at remarks by Emmanuel Macron in which the French president said it was important not to “humiliate” Russia over the war in Ukraine. “Some countries are proposing not to ‘humiliate’ Russia. At the same time we are being shelled: our cities, people,” Yermak said. (FT, 06.05.22)
  • Thirty-eight percent of Bulgarians would vote for the country’s exit from NATO if there were a referendum, a poll carried out for the Globsec Trends annual report showed on June 3. Additionally, 57% of Bulgarians still do not consider Russia to be a security threat to the country despite its invasion of Ukraine, and 30% consider Russia to be the most important strategic partner. (bne IntelliNews, 06.05.22) 
  • German chancellor Olaf Scholz has backed demands by EU Baltic states for a big increase in the number of foreign troops in the region ahead of a crucial NATO summit this month. Baltic countries have asked for the multinational battalions of about 1,000 soldiers in each nation to be converted into brigades, typically made up of 3,000-5,000 troops. (FT, 06.07.22)
  • Putin said June 9 that it was his “destiny” to “return and fortify” territories, much like it had been for Peter I, Russia’s first emperor. Putin made the comments, which provide some insight into how he perceives Russia’s actions in Ukraine, on the 350th anniversary of the birthday of Peter I, also known as Peter the Great. “Peter the Great returned territories and fortified them. This destiny has also fallen to us,” Putin said. Putin added that it was not possible to box in or fence off a country such as Russia. (FT, 06.09.22)
  • The share of Russians with a negative attitude toward NATO grew by a modest four percentage points this past spring, up to 82% of respondents in May from 78% in March, according to the Levada Center. In addition, Russians have also become more apprehensive of the alliance, with the share of those who fear it rising from 48% in 2021 to 60% in 2022—just four percentage points below the record high, registered after Western planes bombed Yugoslavia in 1998. (RM, 06.10.22)

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

  • Russian stores specializing in the sale of products from the Chinese company Huawei are closing. Out of 19 official stores operating in Russia before the start of the war, four outlets located in Moscow, Novokuznetsk, Ufa and Rostov-on-Don have already closed. (Meduza, 06.07.22)
  • The first vehicle bridge between Russia and China, the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge, opened to freight traffic June 10. Its launch is expected to increase Russia and China’s bilateral trade to 1 million tons of goods per year. (MT/AFP, 06.10.22)
  • The Chinese government demands that the U.S. disclose full and detailed information about the activity of U.S. military laboratories in Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a news briefing while commenting on the Pentagon’s factsheet concerning support for Ukrainian biological facilities. (TASS, 06.10.22)

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms :

  • Some 48% of respondents of a Levada poll in Russia in May said the “situation in Ukraine could escalate into an armed conflict between Russia and NATO,” while 34% think Putin could order first use of nuclear weapons in a war between Russia and the West. In addition, almost a third of respondents say they are “not very afraid” of the possibility that Russia could use nuclear weapons, according to Levada. (RM, 06.10.22)


  • A U.S. federal court on June 3 sentenced Dilkhayot Kasimov, a citizen of Uzbekistan living in New York, to 15 years in prison for supporting the Islamic State. (RFE/RL, 06.04.22) 

Conflict in Syria:

  • No significant developments.

Cyber security:

  • No significant developments.

Energy exports from CIS:

  • After months of White House pressure, Riyadh relented and agreed with other OPEC+ producers to accelerate production. All told, consultancy Rapidan Energy Group believes that OPEC+ will manage to increase output by just 355,000 b/d in the next two months. That sum is small compared with the 3 million b/d of oil supply that the IEA  says could be lost from Russia in the second half of the year as sanctions tighten. (FT, 06.07.22)

Climate change:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

  • “We intend to implement a limited resumption of our work in the Arctic Council, in projects that do not involve the participation of the Russian Federation,” the Arctic Council—without Russia—says in a joint statement. On June 8, seven of the Arctic Council's eight member states issued a joint statement on the limited resumption of Arctic Council cooperation. (High North News, 06.08.22)
  • Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has called for continued “cooperation” in space amid a cultural and corporate boycott of Russia following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. (FT, 06.09.22)


II. Russia’s domestic policies

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

  • Three months ago, Putin signed into law draconian measures designed to silence war critics, putting even the use of the word “war” off-limits. At least 50 people face prison sentences of up to either 10 years or five years hard labor, or fines of as much as $77,000, for spreading “false information” about the military. More than 2,000 people have been charged with lesser infractions. (NYT, 06.03.22)
  • Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov says he has been added to the country's wanted list. (RFE/RL, 06.06.22)  
  • The Moscow region's prosecutor's office has started the process to strip activist Arshak Makichyan, who has protested against the war in Ukraine, of his Russian citizenship. (RFE/RL, 06.06.22)
  • Businessman and ex-KGB agent Dmitry Kovtun, one of two Russian men accused by Britain of poisoning Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, has died after contracting COVID-19 in Moscow, Russian state media reported on June 4. He was 57. (RFE/RL, 06.04.22) 
  • State Duma deputies adopted in the first reading amendments that will simplify the criteria for obtaining the status of "foreign agent." The bill provides for the creation of a unified register of "foreign agents." The Ministry of Justice will not be required to prove that a person or organization receives money from abroad in order to be recognized as a “foreign agent.” According to the new version, “foreign agents” will have to "receive support or be under foreign influence in other forms." (Media Zone, 06.07.22)
  • Russia's Interior Ministry has added Vladimir Milov, an associate of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and well-known writer Dmitry Glukhovsky to the federal wanted list. Milov and Glukhovsky have criticized Russia for invading Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • Several more Jehovah’s Witnesses have been handed prison terms on extremism charges in Siberia amid an ongoing crackdown on the religious group, which has been banned in Russia since 2017. (RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • Several Russian online newspapers have been forced to take down a list of the country’s military personnel killed in Moscow's invasion of Ukraine after the Svetlogorsk city court in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave ruled the information was banned from being distributed. (RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • The State Duma has passed a pair of bills to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in the country. (RFE/RL, 06.07.22)
  • A court in Moscow has changed the one-year parole-like sentence handed to opposition politician Lyubov Sobol, a close associate of Navalny, to real prison time saying she violated the terms of her punishment by leaving the country. (RFE/RL, 06.08.22)
  • A Moscow court has extended the pretrial detention of prominent Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was arrested for allegedly spreading false information about the Russian Army, until Aug. 12. (RFE/RL, 06.08.22)
  • The chief rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, has left Russia after he refused a request from state officials to publicly support Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 06.08.22)
  • Russia’s flagship IT company Yandex will stop showing national borders on its online maps. Speaking on June 9, the company said that their updated digital maps would “focus on natural features rather than on state boundaries.” (MT/AFP, 06.09.22)
  • Alexandra Skochilenko, an artist in St. Petersburg who was arrested for using price tags in a city store to distribute information about Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, has been forcibly committed to a psychiatric clinic for examination. (RFE/RL, 06.09.22)
  • A group of Russian lawmakers have submitted a new bill that that would ban rallies near official buildings and vital infrastructure, at universities, hospitals and religious and pilgrimage sites. (RFE/RL, 06.10.22)
  • The average nominal salary in Russia increased in March 2022 by 20.9% year-on-year, amounting to almost 66.8 thousand rubles, according to Rosstat. Real accrued wages in March increased by 3.6% in annual terms and by 8.2% compared to February. (, 06.01.22)
  • Russian auto sales plunged 83.5% in May. (Reuters, 06.06.22)
  • Putin praised a four percent unemployment rate in April for being at a historically low level, which he described as "a very serious achievement.” He said that as of May 27, annual inflation was 17.4%, but that in the second half of May, "the rise in prices has generally stopped, and now inflation is at zero.” (Newsweek, 06.07.22)
  • Russia’s central bank has cut its key interest rate to levels last seen before the start of the invasion of Ukraine, citing slowing inflation and growth, in a move that contrasts with the wave of policy tightening around the world. The Central Bank of Russia on June 10 cut its key lending rate to 9.5% in the fourth consecutive move from its March peak of 20%.  Annual inflation slowed to 17.1% in May from 17.8% in April, the central bank said. (FT, 06.10.22)

Defense and aerospace:

  • Putin awarded the rank of lieutenant general to Igor Konashenkov, the head of the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense. (Meduza, 06.07.22)
  •  See section Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts above.

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • Russia’s Interior Ministry has created a new department to help enforce martial law. The Main Directorate of Rapid Response will also coordinate ministry forces if a state of emergency or a counter-terrorism operation is declared in the country. (MT/AFP, 06.08.22)
  • Former Russian government official Oleg Mitvol was detained at a Moscow airport this week on suspicion of embezzling over $15 million from a Siberian metro construction project's budget. (MT/AFP, 06.10.22)


III. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • Latvian officials have granted a broadcasting license to Russian TV channel Dozhd. Dozhd, previously Russia’s only independent television channel, suspended operations in March after being ordered by authorities to stop broadcasting over its coverage of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.  (MT/AFP, 06.06.22)  


  • Speaking in her first interview since leaving office, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she felt "great sadness" that German-French efforts around the Minsk peace accords with Russia didn't work out, but she does not blame herself. Addressing the current situation, Merkel said there was no justification for Russia's "brutal disregard of international law." (RFE/RL, 06.08.22)
  • The head of the Kremlin's internal political bloc, Sergei Kiriyenko, has managed to get closer to Putin and expand the scope of his powers during the war. Now he oversees the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR, as well as the territories of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine occupied by Russian troops. In addition, according to Meduza's sources, Kiriyenko's subordinates have been tasked with developing "the image of Russia after the war." (Meduza, 06.08.22)
  • The Kremlin hopes to annex southern Ukraine’s Kherson region just as it did Crimea, State Duma member Igor Kastyukevich wrote in a report, following a visit by Kiriyenko to the area. (MT/AFP, 06.08.22) 
  • European expressions of solidarity with Ukraine must now be followed with action—specifically, the formal acceptance of his nation’s candidacy to join the EU—Zelensky said on June 10. (NYT, 06.10.22)
  • The European Commission is set to back EU candidate status for Ukraine next week despite objections from Denmark and the Netherlands. (RFE/RL, 06.10.22)

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • The EU introduced its sixth package of sanctions against Belarus and Russia on June 3. The latest sanctions package includes direct sanctions against both Belaruskali and the Belarusian Potash Company. (bne IntelliNews, 06.06.22)
  • Russia’s neighbor and ally Belarus announced so-called “wartime transition” exercises June 7. (MT/AFP, 06.07.22)
  • The U.S. special envoy for Belarus, Julie Fisher, says Washington remains "committed" to working with Belarus wherever possible, even though relations have been badly strained amid a crackdown by the regime of authoritarian ruler Alexander Lukashenko against dissent since a disputed election in August 2020. (RFE/RL, 06.09.22)
  • Lavrov held talks with his Armenian counterpart in Yerevan on June 9, reaffirming Moscow's willingness to help negotiate a deal following the 2020 war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. (MT/AFP, 06.09.22)
  • Kairat Sarybay, the executive director of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), has briefed foreign ministers of the Central Asian states on the approaches to transforming the CICA into the Organization for Interaction and Cooperation in Asia, the press service for the CICA Secretariat said. (Interfax, 06.09.22)


IV. Quotable and notable

  • U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan said: “I hesitate to make a prediction that Russia and the U.S. are never going to have a more productive relationship. What I can’t say is how long it is going to take. In the current atmosphere, it is not happening ... not in my lifetime.” (RFE/RL, 06.06.22)   
  • “Predictions about the imminent death of the regime have been made largely by the same people who have been making them for the past 20 years, and these predictions have not changed in any way,” prominent Russian economist Andrei Movchan said. “Petrocratic regimes are generally stable. Sanctions pressure rarely changes regimes.” (RFE/RL, 06.08.22)
  • Avril Haines, U.S. director of national intelligence, testified at a Senate hearing last month that “it was very hard to tell” how much additional aid Ukraine could absorb. She added: “We have, in fact, more insight, probably, on the Russian side than we do on the Ukrainian side.” (NYT, 06.07.22)
  • When Alexander Barsukov and his colleagues returned to work at the Chernobyl nuclear plant after the retreat of Moscow's forces, they found in every office what they described as a parting gift from the Russian soldiers: a pile of human excrement. "The poop was the icing on the cake," joked Barsukov, deputy director of the Chernobyl Ecocenter. (WSJ, 06.08.22)