Publications By Category

Publications By Type


In-House Bulletins


Policy Papers


Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2177

Ulyukayev in the dock;
A separate internet for the BRICS?

Edited by Ilan Berman
December 26, 2017

November 27:

Moscow is taking a benign view of the current international standoff with North Korea. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Igor Morgulov, has said that Pyongyang's recent behavior suggests that the DPRK is moving into alignment with Russian and Chinese mediation efforts. "I think North Korea's restraint for the past two months is within the simultaneous freeze road map" proposed by Moscow and Beijing, Morgulov has told reporters in comments
carried by Bloomberg.

That "road map," proposed this summer, envisions a "double freezing" effort under which North Korea would refrain from both nuclear and ballistic missile tests in exchange for a moratorium on large-scale military exercises in the region by the U.S. and South Korea in the region - coincidentally, something that Moscow and Beijing both desire as well. For its part, the U.S. has rejected the proposal, which would constrain its regional freedom of action.

Russia's plan to convene Syrian peace talks is being pushed back,
Reuters reports. The Kremlin had originally planned to convene a "Syrian Congress on National Dialogue" in the Black Sea town of Sochi this Fall, but plans for the gathering have been pushed back until at least the spring of 2018. This is in part because a number of the notional parties to the dialogue - which is intended to broker a negotiated solution to the nearly seven-year-old Syrian civil war - have rejected Russian mediation of the effort.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Russia's former Economy Minister, Aleksei Ulyukayev, is crying foul. Ulyukayev is currently being tried in a Moscow court on charges of extortion in connection with state oil firm Rosneft's acquisition of another energy company, Bashneft. The former Economy Minister has been accused by Rosneft CEO (and Putin confidante) Igor Sechin of demanding $2 million in bribes in order to facilitate the merger - charges that Ulyukayev flatly denies. "I never threatened Sechin that I would deliver a negative conclusion" about the deal, Ulyukayev said in court testimony. "And his testimony that I threatened him bears witness to deliberately false slander against me on Sechin's part."

November 28:

The Kremlin is mapping out plans to create a parallel internet for itself and its main trading partners.
Estonia's Meduza news portal reports that Russia's National Security Council has ordered the country's Communication and Foreign Ministries to draft a plan for a separate internet infrastructure encompassing the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The directive, approved last month by President Putin himself, envisions the creation of "duplicate domain name root servers" that would help Russia and the other BRICS nations guard against "offensive operations in the information space" by Western countries. The plan is to be prepared by August 1, 2018.

The Kremlin is reviving an old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. Russia's Investigative Committee has launched an inquiry into whether Tsar Nicholas II and his family were killed in a "ritual killing" as part of a Jewish plot during the Bolshevik Revolution. The theory is apparently being supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, which is running its own inquiry into the matter, and where a "significant" part of the investigators have "no doubt" that it is true.

The claim has left members of Russia's Jewish community aghast - and nervous. "The allegation of ritual killings by Jews is one of the most ancient anti-Semitic slanders," Aleksandr Boroda, president of the Federation for Jewish communities of Russia, has told the Interfax news agency. "It has many times served as the reason for persecutions, which claimed hundreds, even thousands, of victims. But every time when these accusations have been examined by people who aren't infected by anti-Semitic convictions, it has turned out that this slander is a lie."

Related Categories: Middle East; Russia; Baltics; Russia and Eurasia Program

Downloadable Files: N/A