On April 7th, the Duma registered a new draft bill which would make it a criminal offence by a corporate officer to take actions designed to implement the decisions of a foreign state that are designed to limit the actions of Russia (i.e., implementing sanctions), or which would damage the interests of a person or enterprise in the state.
Category: What Lies Beneath
The Duma is processing legislation that would enable external government administration of foreign companies that are leaving Russia. Senior officials have said that they see this as a last resort, and the legislation is not being rushed.
On February 26th, former President Dmitry Medvedev made an unusual post on his VKontakte account, expressing his view about sanctions. In his post, he discusses sanctions and how Russia will respond, including a suggestion that expulsion from the Council of Europe means that Russia can re-instate the death penalty.
On February 21st President Putin signed a decree that recognized the Ukrainian breakaway republics of Donbas (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR). He also instructed the Ministry of Defense to begin military cooperation with the republics. In itself, this does not change very much, although it means a higher Russian military presence in the republics.
It was announced on November 8th that Pavel Fyodorov, a well-known businessman and banker, would join Tinkoff Bank as co -CEO alongside Oliver Hughes, the current CEO. Fyodorov is best known as a former CFO at Norilsk Nickel and was most recently a Senior Vice-President at Rosneft. He started his career at Morgan Stanley.
To no one’s surprise, United Russia has again emerged as the dominant party in this Duma election. Their share of the national vote, and of single-mandate constituencies, were slightly reduced. They now have 324 out of 450 seats in the Duma instead of 343. That’s 72% rather than 76%.
The death of Yevgeny Zinichev, Emergency Situations Minister, is a tragedy and an unusual event in that he is the first Russian minister to die in office in the post-Soviet period. But there are now wider political implications. President Putin has lost a key lieutenant who might have gone on to higher things, but his death presents a tricky vacancy rather than a change to the critical path of succession.
A Moscow court delivered a guilty verdict in the embezzlement case against the BVCP executives. The guilty verdict was expected but the sentences are deemed harsh and at the upper end of expectations. Michael Calvey received a 5.5-year suspended sentence, Philippe Delpal received 4.5 years and others over 3 years, all suspended.
The G7 summit, which starts on June 11th, marks the start of a six-day period during which US President Biden will meet with the other G7 leaders, attend a NATO summit, sit with EU leaders and end, on June 16th, with the summit in Geneva with President Putin.
Despite lots of speculation ahead of the speech, there were no surprises or major new initiatives. The President’s goal is to continue the recovery from last year’s downturn and to preserve stability ahead of the Duma elections in September.