July 5, 2016


Russia Budget Deficit Hit Hard By Oil Prices, Reserve Fund Expected To Run Out By 2017 (REUTERS, 07/05/16)

Russia will exhaust one of its two sovereign funds next year, according to a finance ministry proposal seen by Reuters, having by that point run through $87 billion since the beginning of 2014 to fill holes in the budget left by a slump in oil prices.

Russia will also spend over the next three years about a third of another of its funds on covering the budget shortfall, the proposal showed, even though that fund was originally intended to cover long-term deficits in the pension system.

And you wonder why he's come crawling?


On Fourth of July, Putin tries to mend ties with Obama and US (Ben Rosen, JULY 5, 2016, CS Monitor)

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to President Obama on Independence Day, Monday: let's make up for the sake of our countries and the world.

"The history of Russian-American relations shows that when we act as equal partners and respect each other's lawful interests, we are able to successfully resolve the most complex international issues for the benefit of both countries' peoples and all of humanity," said Mr. Putin.

The Russian plan to oust Bashar Al-Assad (Salman Al-Ansari, 7/02/16, The Hill)

All signs currently point to a large, polarizing path in Russian politics, as the facts on the ground prove that Russia is trying to find an exit strategy from the Syrian conflict that maximizes its gains, especially since Russia knows that the Syrian people will not accept Bashar's presence in any means whatsoever, not to mention that it is financially incapable of sustaining a military venture that has no guaranteed outcome.

However, the most important reason of all is Russia's desire to strengthen strategic and economic ties with Arab Gulf states that roundly reject the presence of Bashar, who has killed more than 400 thousand Syrian citizens and caused the displacement of another 12 million.

The question now is, how will Russia be able to save face in front of its allies in the event that it is forced to make Bashar leave? More importantly, does Russia even need to save face to begin with?

Posted by at July 5, 2016 11:06 AM