Research & Insights #14

Gazprom. The Russian company announced a record quarterly net profit of US $7.8 billion for the third quarter, thanks to high natural gas prices.The company expects even higher profits for the final three months of the year. “Obviously, the price of our supplies to Europe will be significantly higher in the fourth quarter, which will have a positive impact on the full-year results,” said Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive in a statement.Companies linked to the state gas giant have taken control of VKontakte, the largest Russian social media platform. The latter has just launched a video sharing platform (Yappy), considered as a Russian TikTok. The service is based on sharing short vertical video clips of up to 60 seconds. Alexei Miller, chief executive of Gazprom, who is also chair of Sogaz, described VK as a “promising investment”, the Interfax news agency reported. 

Russia-US relationship. Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden spoke for two hours by video conference on December 7.  The discussion took place in a context of tension around the Ukrainian issue. Russia is accused of preparing for an invasion of Ukraine, while Western media announced the possibility of major sanctions against Russia. For the Russian government spokesman, information about the disconnection of the country from the SWIFT banking network is just part of “information hysteria“. The Kremlin said the call between Putin and Biden was “frank” and “businesslike”.According to Putin, the Ukrainian crisis was the result of Kyiv’s “destructive behavior” and NATO’s “dangerous attempts to take over Ukrainian territory and grow its military potential on the Russian frontier”. He also reiterated his call for legal guarantees to prevent NATO from expanding eastward or deploying weapons systems in potentially hostile countries bordering Russia.

Climate Change. Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling climate change a threat to international peace and security. The vote ends years of efforts to make global warming a central part of the decision-making process of the UN’s most powerful body. The proposal called for “incorporating information on the security implications of climate change” into the council’s conflict management strategies, and into peacekeeping operations and political missions. 113 countries supported the resolution, including 12 of the 15 members of the Council. However, India and Russia voted against while China abstained.As part of the resolution, the UN secretary-general was urged to incorporate climate-related security risks into conflict prevention efforts, and to report on how to address those risks in specific hotspots. Adding climate change to the Security Council’s purview would only deepen the global divisions that were highlighted by last month’s climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, opponents said.

History. Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a “subject of international law and geopolitical reality”. Founded in 1922 by the Communist Party, the Soviet Union entered a systemic crisis in the 1980s.Large segments of the population were disillusioned with the dogmas of the officially professed communist ideology, and the country was falling behind Western countries in economic and technological development. Political reforms during the perestroika years only exacerbated existing contradictions. ForVladimir Putin, “the collapse of the USSR was the biggest tragedy of the twentieth century”. According to a survey conducted by the Levada Center in 2020, 65% of Russians said they regretted the collapse of the Soviet Union. 75% of the population also consider the Soviet era the greatest in Russian history. Over the past ten years, the level of nostalgia for the Soviet past has been gradually growing in Russia.

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and may not necessarily represent those of Equinox.