Rebels, Rosneft and Snowden

June 24, 2013
NGO For Human Rights being politely asked to vacate it's offices/RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov

Here’s a quick summary of the day’s biggest news:

-The back and forth, tit-for-tat verbal recriminations continue between Russia and, well, the rest of the world. Russia continues to supply “legal” arms to the Assad regime, while accusing the rest of the world of undermining a potential “political solution” when they support the Syrian rebels. Reuters reports on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s latest indignant response: “One must notice that the aim to provide, in fact, unlimited military support for the Syrian opposition – announced in Doha and in practice already carried out – completely contradicts efforts for a swift political solution in Syria.”

-With Europe enduring lingering economic malaise, resulting in a diminished demand for commodities, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, Rosneft, has started to look east. In response to Europe’s diversification of its energy imports, partly as a result of America’s energy renaissance freeing up supplies, Russia has begun to look to China as its future business partner. As The Moscow Times reports: “Rosneft agreed to a $270 billion deal to double oil supplies to China on Friday, as the Kremlin energy champion shifts its focus to Asia from saturated and crisis-hit European markets. The deal, one of the biggest ever in the history of the global oil industry, will bring Rosneft $60 billion to $70 billion in upfront pre-payment from China, the holders of the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves.”

-NGOs in Russia are now facing the threat of force being used against them after the violent removal of the NGO For Human Rights in Moscow on Saturday. As Russia Beyond The Headlines reports: “Law enforcement agencies used force to evict the staff of a leading Russian non-governmental organization, For Human Rights, from its office in Maly Kislovsky Street in central Moscow early on Saturday, For Human Rights members said.”

-One can only surmise at the joy Putin experienced when he heard of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance. It seems that the U.S government is beginning to believe that maybe Putin is not as much of an ally as they previously thought. The Guardian quotes Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer as saying: “The bottom line is very simple: allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now of course with Snowden.”