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Russia and Saudi Arabia finally ready to discuss oil production again
After oil prices collapses, Saudi Arabia convened an emergency OPEC+ meeting to agree on a new "fair" oil production cut with Russia and other large oil-producing countries, US President Donald Trump said. It appears that the parties are now ready to sit down at the negotiating table again. It took them a little less than a month to do so. During the OPEC + meeting, which took place on March 6 in Vienna, Russia proposed to keep the current production level, while Saudi Arabia insisted on an additional reduction due to the spread of the coronavirus infection. As a result, the deal ceased to exist on April 1, the Saudis announced a sharp increase in oil supplies and launched a price war, which caused oil prices to fall to $25 per barrel or even lower. On April 2, Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of the countries participating in the OPEC+ deal to reach a fair agreement on balancing the market, SPA, the state-run publication of the Kingdom reported. Markets rise in expectations US President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter page that he had talked to "his friend" Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who, in turn, had had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump set out a hope that the parties would again agree to cut production by ten million barrels or even more, which would entail highly positive consequences for the industry.
(Thu, 02 Apr 2020 22:35:00 +0300)

Putin announces one month of quarantine in Russia
On Thursday, April 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the second time in eight days, addressed the nation in connection with the epidemic of coronavirus. At the moment, there are 3,548 cases of coronavirus in 76 regions of the country; the virus has claimed the lives of 30 people. In the course of the address, the president announced all of April a non-working month across Russia. The decision aims to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. The peak of the epidemic in the world has not been passed yet, and Russia is not an exception, Putin said, adding that the number of non-working days could be changed, depending on the situation. The first priority for the authorities is to preserve jobs and salaries for the people, the president said. Putin also announced the need to introduce tougher measures in Russian regions. Local governments will be provided with additional powers as per the need to introduce tough restrictions for the struggle with coronavirus. He also ordered regional authorities to restrict the movement of individuals and vehicles, except transportation between regions.
(Thu, 02 Apr 2020 18:09:00 +0300)

Putin stops shaking hands, switches to remote work
Russian President Vladimir Putin has switched to remote work after Denis Protsenko, the head physician of the Kommunarka hospital, where Covid-19 patients are hospitalized, was diagnosed with coronavirus. On March 24, Putin talked to him without a mask during a visit to the hospital and then shook his hand. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Rospotrebnadzor chair Anna Popova also contacted the infected doctor. They all talked to the doctor without masks and shook his hand. On Wednesday, Putin held his first remote meeting with ministers. The meeting was an open video conference devoted to the development of the agricultural sector.
(Wed, 01 Apr 2020 21:00:00 +0300)

Putin empowers government to introduce state of emergency
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the government a right to introduce a state of emergency and high alert either across the country or in a part of it. The head of state signed the relevant law. The explanatory note states that the law was prepared to resolve relations arising from the need to urgently respond to challenges associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus. The government has thus received the right, in the event of a threat or in the event of separate emergencies to exercise the powers of the coordinating body of the unified state system for the prevention and liquidation of emergency situations. Earlier, however, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin was not discussing a possibility of introducing a state of emergency in Russia because of the spread of coronavirus.
(Wed, 01 Apr 2020 19:56:00 +0300)

Doctor, who talked to Putin, diagnosed with coronavirus infection
Denis Protsenko, the chief physician of the hospital in the settlement of Kommunarka near Moscow, was diagnosed with coronavirus. It was said that Mr. Protsenko remains in satisfactory condition. Denis Protsenko wrote on his Facebook page that he "feels quite well." "I have isolated myself in my office, where I have all conditions for working remotely. I think that the immunity system that I have developed over this month is doing its job," he wrote. On March 24, Protsenko accompanied President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the hospital in Kommunarka, where Covid-19 patients are treated. Putin was wearing a special yellow protective suit to enter some of the rooms of the hospital. However, when talking to Protsenko, the president was wearing a regular tracksuit and no protection at all. Protsenko then warned the head of state about the possible development of the "Italian scenario" in Russia that could entail a large number of infected patients and victims. Putin feels fine Putin's official spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced that the president takes regular tests. "Putin gets tested regularly. Everything is fine," Peskov said. Denis Protsenko is the chief freelance specialist in anesthesiology and intensive care at the Moscow Department of Health. Prior to the creation of the Center for Infectious Diseases in Kommunarka, he worked as an assistant professor at the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the Russian Research University named after N.I. Pirogov.
(Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:52:00 +0300)

Oil prices fall to abysmal levels as the world stays home
The cost of Russia's Urals crude has collapsed to $16.2 per barrel, having thus marked an anti-record since 1999. Experts believe that the price of oil may fall even lower and stay on this level for quite a while. Over the past week, Urals crude has fallen in price by 25%. At the same time, the discount of the Russian brand to Brent has increased and amounted to almost $5 per barrel. Previously, the difference between Urals and Brent crude ranged from 2 to 4 dollars per barrel. Urals is ​​a brand of Russian oil produced by mixing of various types of "black gold" in the system of pipelines - heavy sour crude from the Urals and the Volga region, and light West Siberian oil. This crude is exported primarily to European countries. The budget rule, on the basis of which the federal budget and the National Welfare Fund (NWF) are replenished, is based on the price on Urals oil. In 2020, the federal budget received funds based on the price of 42.4 dollars per one barrel of Urals crude. When the price fell below $25 per barrel, the Russian Central Bank started carrying out additional interventions to sell foreign currency from its reserves (to support the ruble). Last week, the Central Bank conducted such interventions daily for more than 13 billion rubles. As oil prices go down, the value of the Russian ruble against the US dollar and the euro is going down as well. Thus, the dollar is traded at around 80.1 rubles (+ 1.6%), and the euro - at nearly 89 rubles (+ 1.1%).
(Mon, 30 Mar 2020 22:35:00 +0300)

Russia grounds all airplanes, Moscow takes unprecedented measures
The Russian government instructed the Federal Air Transport Agency to stop regular and charter flights to and from airports of all foreign countries. The exception was made only for the flights that need to be conducted to return Russian tourists staying in foreign countries back home. The flights required to execute specific decisions made by the government will be preserved as well. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was instructed to distribute the lists of Russian citizens, who plan to return to their homeland no later than March 27th. The Foreign Affairs Ministry will need to send such lists to the Ministry of Transport, Rospotrebnadzor, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Aeroflot. Special aircraft of Rossiya Airline, aircraft of the Ministry of Defense, Aeroflot and other airlines will also take part in operations to evacuate Russian tourists. The citizens of the Russian Federation who are unable to return home due to coronavirus  restrictions that were introduced in their countries of their temporary residence will be provided with assistance to extend their accommodation permits and visa documents until their return to Russia. Starting from March 26, all citizens arriving from coronavirus-affected countries will be tested for coronavirus. Upon arrival, they must stay home for 14 days in isolation. Information about the isolated individuals will be sent to local polyclinics. From March 27, the heads of the federal executive bodies were instructed to switch as many employees as possible to remote work. Regional authorities should temporarily suspend:
(Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:59:00 +0300)

Coronavirus makes Putin address the nation: A lot is going to change
On Wednesday, March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a televised address to the nation in connection with the situation with the spread of the coronavirus infection in the country. Many in Russia were expecting the president to make such an address assuming that the measures that the Russian authorities currently take are not enough to prevent the development of either the Italian of the Spanish scenario of SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is regional authorities decide which restrictions to impose on their territories. Travelling between regions of Russia still remains unobstructed, there is no mandatory testing for coronavirus, etc. On March 24, Putin held a special meeting in the Kremlin, where officials explained to him that the dynamics of the development of coronavirus in Russia was high. "We can see how fast the crisis is developing in other countries, the number of cases is growing in many countries. The virus has affected the world economy. However, the measures that have been taken so far help Russia contain the epidemic. At the same time, it's impossible to completely block the penetration of coronavirus into our country," the president said.
(Wed, 25 Mar 2020 17:18:00 +0300)

Constitutional Court confirms Putin can stay as president for life
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation found amendments to the Russian Constitution, proposed by President Vladimir Putin, legal. "The procedure to enforce Article 1 of the Law of the Russian Federation on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation "On improving the regulation of certain issues related to the structure and operation of public authority " is consistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation," the Constitutional Court decided. "This conclusion shall be sent to the President of the Russian Federation immediately. This conclusion is final, shall not be subject to appeal - it takes effect immediately after its official publication, acts directly and shall not require confirmation by other bodies and officials," the document says.
(Mon, 16 Mar 2020 18:04:00 +0300)

Putin’s terms to be zeroed out because Russia needs stability
Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the intention to zero out the term clock of the sitting president, which was introduced in the law on amendments to the Russian Constitution is a one-time move that would be used only to the incumbent president. Such a decision, he said, was based on the current restless and turbulent state of affairs in Russia and the world. According to Peskov, turbulence should be understood as a combination of factors such as the coronavirus pandemic, which is affecting the world economy, signs of a global recession that have appeared on the horizon, regional conflicts and sanctions. "Stability is of great importance. Valentina Tereshkova was guided by this when she proposed her amendment," Peskov said, adding that other countries had also made decisions about a possibility for their leaders to stay in power at one point of their history. At the same time, according to the Kremlin spokesman, it is now impossible to say whether Putin is going to take advantage of this amendment. "When 2024 comes, we will see," he said noting that Putin is at the very beginning of his presidential term, so there's no need to see him off now. When asked what arguments the Constitutional Court of Russia had in order to declare resetting Putin's presidencies to zero constitutional, whereas in 1998 Boris Yeltsin was denied such an opportunity, Peskov said that this was not a question to him.
(Thu, 12 Mar 2020 14:54:00 +0300)

Analysts predict another financial crisis for Russia
The Financial Stress Index (FSI) for Russia, which is calculated by the Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA), has reached the level of 3.12 points, having crossed the threshold value of 2.5 points, a message posted on the website of the agency said. The index estimates the proximity of the country's financial system to the state of crisis. The level of 2.5 points is a boundary, when the system moves into this condition. Coronavirus and the termination of the OPEC+ deal to reduce oil production still affect the world economy. According to ACRA, the financial stress index in Russia has grown by two points since Friday, March at once. Such sharp fluctuations of ACRA FSI index occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2014. Index values ​​above 2.5 may indicate an increased likelihood of the onset of a financial crisis, but they may not necessarily evidence a transition to the crisis phase. For example, in the beginning of 2016, the index exceeded 2.5 points for a short period of time, but no financial crisis followed.
(Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:05:00 +0300)

Official: Putin to stay in power at least before 2036
The State Duma gave the third, final reading to amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. As many as 383 deputies voted for, 0 - against, 43 abstained. During the second reading on March 10, the State Duma adopted the amendment from United Russia deputy, Valentina Tereshkova, that allows President Vladimir Putin to run in the next election. Putin himself said he approved the amendment, but it is up to the Constitutional Court to give its assessment to it. The amendments to the Constitution will now have to be approved by the Federation Council and regional parliaments. Formally, they have a year for this, but in fact the time period has been restricted to the date of the all-Russian vote, after which the amendments will enter into force. The voting is tentatively scheduled for April 22. It was reported that Putin plans to sign the amendments on March 18, the day, when Russia reunited with the Crimea in 2014. Many Russians are concerned about the presidential initiative to amend the Constitution, which Putin himself promised not to do for two decades. According to the opinion polls conducted by Levada Center, 47% of Russians believe that Putin needs the constitutional amendments to enable himself to retain power after 2024. Putin assured that the amendments were "dictated by life," rather than by his desire to stay in power.
(Wed, 11 Mar 2020 12:42:00 +0300)

First woman in space says Putin should stay in power for good
The State Duma announced a break to hold consultations with Russian President Vladimir Putin after MP Valentina Tereshkova proposed amending the Russian Constitution to give the incumbent head of state an opportunity to take part in the 2024 presidential election. Speaking at a State Duma meeting, Valentina Tereshkova (first woman in space, currently a member of the United Russia faction in the Russian Parliament) stated that Russia may come across unpredictable risks against the background а the current state of affairs in the world. According to Tereshkova, "reliable insurance must be provided." "I am 100% sure that strong presidential power and moral authority of the leader who holds this post can serve such an insurance. Therefore, all the options for possible changes that are currently being discussed in the society are about Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Let's put this straight, people are worried about what is going to happen to Russia after 2024," Tereshkova said. Putin is the person, whom the Russian people count on, Tereshkova said, expressing a hope that all State Duma deputies understand this.
(Tue, 10 Mar 2020 14:45:00 +0300)

Russian markets collapse after long holidays
At the opening of trading on the Moscow Exchange on March 10, the US dollar went up to 73 rubles, the euro rose by 5%, having exceeded 82 rubles. RTS lost more than 15% the shares of Sberbank dropped by 13% VTB lost 11.7%. The shares of Russia's largest oil and gas companies dropped by 12-15%: Rosneft - by 14% Gazprom - by 12.8% Lukoil - by 14%. The shares of Norilsk Nickel fell by 4.3%, ALROSA - by 8.5%. By 10:35 Moscow time, the decline stabilized: Rosneft (- 14%), Lukoil (-11%), Surgutneftegas (-10%), Tatneft (-9%) and Gazprom ( -9%) were the leaders. The shares of high-tech companies collapsed after the stock indices: Yandex lost 7%, Rostelecom - 9%, AFK Sistema - by 12%, the Kommersant reports. Consumer shares fell to 28%, Aeroflot shares fell by 11.66%. On March 10, Russia's Central Bank launched the proactive sale of foreign currency on the domestic market within the scope of the budget rule. The decision was made based on the current situation in the oil market and its impact on the operations of the National Welfare Fund. The Central Bank will continue selling foreign currency until its regular sales from the National Welfare Fund begin.
(Tue, 10 Mar 2020 12:09:00 +0300)

Putin and Erdogan agree on ceasefire in Idlib
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov read out the text of the additional protocol agreed by Presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan at negotiations in Moscow. Putin and Erdogan met in Moscow on March 5, 2020, to discuss the settlement of the crisis in Syrian Idlib. According to Lavrov: All hostilities on the current contact line in Idlib are to cease from 00:01 on March 6. A six-kilometer-wide security corridor will be created along the M4 highway that connects northern Syria with Latakia. The joint Russian-Turkish patrolling activity is to start along this highway on March 15. The talks between Putin and Erdogan lasted for about six hours, including more than two hours of one-on-one conversation between the two presidents. The additional protocol agreed by the parties refers to the "Memorandum on the stabilization of the situation in Idlib de-escalation zone", which was signed in Sochi in September 2018 following the results of the negotiations between Putin and Erdogan. The original document was never officially published, although a few excerpts from it were published in Arab and Russian media. The parties then once again agreed, in particular, to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib and conduct joint patrolling activities. The reason for the Russian-Turkish summit talks in Moscow on March 5 were held against the background of the sharp aggravation of the crisis in Idlib, where a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began in January.
(Thu, 05 Mar 2020 21:12:00 +0300)

Putin says fake coronavirus news about Russia comes from abroad
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during a meeting with members of the government that, according to the Federal Security Bureau, the lion's share of fake news about the spread of coronavirus in Russia comes from other countries. "As for the mud-slinging, all those provocations, the FSB reports that they are mainly organized from abroad. Unfortunately, this is something that we have to deal with always," the president said. According to him, by distributing fake news about the spread of coronavirus in Russia, provocateurs aim to sow panic among the population.
(Wed, 04 Mar 2020 20:40:00 +0300)

Putin wants God to be above the new Russian Constitution
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Vice-Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy unveiled a few details about the amendments, which President Vladimir Putin's submitted to the second reading of the bill to amend the Constitution of the Russian Federation. They are to be considered in the second reading on March 10, and in the third - on March 11. Putin's amendments to the Constitution take 24 pages. The amendments in particular include:
(Tue, 03 Mar 2020 20:13:00 +0300)

Moscow builds new expressway through Soviet-era radioactive repository
The radiation sensor of FGUP Radon (a division of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Power, Rosatom structure), installed at the construction site of the South-Eastern Expressway in Moscow, has recorded a 60-fold increase in the radiation background for the seventh time in three days. The sensor displays 18 microsievert per hour, while the maximum permissible radiation level is  0.3 μSv/h. Spokespeople for the Russian EMERCOM announced that the information about a spike in radiation levels in Moscow was not true to fact. FGUP Radon specialists did not register any excess in radiation background in Moscow. According to experts, the highest radiation level was recorded in the Mytishchi area near Moscow - 0.19 μSv/h. Moscow admits radioative danger exists Earlier, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin admitted the presence of radioactive waste on the route of the South-Eastern Expressway Chord. "The construction of a highway inside a city never goes smoothly. However, in case of the South-Eastern Expressway, we have come across a no ordinary problem - radioactive wastes that the Moscow Polymetal Factory was storing up in its backyard during the 1950s and the 1960s," Sobyanin said.
(Tue, 11 Feb 2020 23:15:00 +0300)

Who is the richest and who is the poorest in Russia’s new government?
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, Minister for Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and the head of the Ministry for Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev are the wealthiest members of the new government chaired by the new Prime Minister. The information is based on their income statements for 2019. Trutnev's revenues amounted to 538.4 million rubles, Manturov's - 434 million, Patrushev's - 183.8 million. Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the government, earned only 19 million rubles, but his wife is 2.5 times richer. Her income for 2018 amounted to 48 million rubles. Interesting, Mishustin's wife, Vladlena Mishustin, does not own any company, but she makes a lot more money than her husband. The revenues of deputy prime ministers are listed as follows: Yuri Borisov earned 17.3 million rubles Tatyana Golikova - 14.2 million Victoria Abramchenko - 10.6 million  Marat Khusnullin - 8.8 million Dmitry Grigorenko - 8.7 million First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov - about 7.68 million rubles. Other ministers in the new Russian government lag far behind Manturov and:
(Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:52:00 +0300)

Russians to decide the fate of their Constitution on Cosmonautics Day
The national vote on constitutional amendments may take place  in Russia on Sunday, April 12. The date has not been set, but April 12 is considered to be the most likely date for the vote, which is currently discussed in the Kremlin.Reportedly, the Kremlin considers another date, April 26, but this date is less likely. April 19, is not convenient to vote, because it coincides with Orthodox Easter. The all-Russian voting will take place after the State Duma and the Federation Council pass amendments to the Constitution, but before the federal constitutional law enters into force. At least two-thirds of legislative assemblies of Russian regions will have to support the adoption of amendments to the Constitution. The Kremlin expects the process to pass as quickly as possible. President Vladimir Putin, in his Address to the Federal Assembly, said that the final decision on amending the Constitution would depend on the decision of the people. The dates and procedures for voting will be specified separately, in a special decree. The procedural deadlines for the decisions, on which the date of the all-Russian vote will depend, have not been determined yet.It is worthy of note that on April 12, Russia marks the Cosmonautics Day. Interestingly, the new Constitution of the RSFSR was adopted on the same day in 1978. Article 5 of the Constitution of the RSFSR said that most important issues of politics shall be submitted for public discussion and national vote (referendum).
(Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:19:00 +0300)