Russia Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Russia has plenty of assets on oil, natural gas, gold, diamonds, iron ore, nickel and other valuable minerals.

The main focus of oil recovery is in Western Siberia. There is also the world’s largest gas field, Urengoj, with extraction under very difficult climatic conditions. Together with Saudi Arabia, Russia has been the world’s largest oil producer since the early 2000s.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Russia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

Oil and gas are transported through huge pipeline systems to other former Soviet republics as well as to importers in other parts of the world. During the “oil boom” in the early 2000s, the lines became insufficient and efforts were initiated to build more. In 2002, a gas pipeline from southern Russia to Turkey (Blue Stream) was completed and in 2011 a Russian-German pipeline was opened on the bottom of the Baltic Sea (Nord Stream). The project to build a gas pipeline in the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further west in Europe (South Stream) was shelved at the end of 2014 when Bulgaria, as a protest against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, dropped out of the project. Instead, a new gas pipeline is now being built from Turkey through the Black Sea to Turkey (Turk Stream) and further to southern and southeastern Europe. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.Foreign policy and defense). A new large gas pipeline is planned from Siberia to Japan and the Pacific.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, RU stands for Russia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Russia.

Unlike the oil and gas deposits, coal resources are scattered. The most important coal fields are in Ural as well as in Eastern Siberia, while lignite in open-pit mining is in Western Siberia. Coal played a crucial role for the Soviet economy, but now many coal mines are starting to become unprofitable and are being closed down. Iron ore is found at Kursk, Ural and in Siberia.

While many other industries came under state control during the 2000s, extensive privatization of the electricity industry was carried out between 2006 and 2008. The state monopoly was broken and almost all electricity generation, including hydropower, nuclear power and power transmission, went into private ownership.

Heat power plants account for two-thirds of domestic electricity generation. Many of them are powered by natural gas. Hydroelectric power stations provide the country with around 15 percent of the electricity consumed, and nuclear power is responsible for the rest.

The safety of Soviet-built nuclear power plants is considered low, and the transition to safer reactors is slow. Twelve reactors of the same type as in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where a severe nuclear accident occurred in 1986, were still in operation in the early 2000s. The government has submitted plans to expand nuclear power.


Decades of predatory behavior on natural resources and nonchalance in all sectors of society have caused immense damage to the Russian environment. Millions of people live in areas that are severely polluted by toxic industrial emissions.

Ecological disaster areas include areas affected by radioactive waste from the Chernobyl accident and from nuclear weapons facilities.

The pollution speeds up forest death and has made more and more rivers unsuitable for fishing and swimming or as water sources.

The Volga River that flows into the Caspian Sea accounts for much of the pollution of this world’s largest lake. Along the beaches, seals used to be a common sight. An estimated one-tenth of the stock that existed about 100 years ago now remains. The species is considered endangered by hunting and industrial emissions, not least from oil recovery. Large quantities of uncontaminated wastewater and radioactive substances from nuclear power plants flow into the lake. The stocks of fish disturbances, which give the famous Russian caviar, have also fallen sharply as a result of the pollution.

Awareness that the long-term degraded environment is threatening the entire country’s development is now slowly spreading, and in the autumn of 2004, Russia joined the Kyoto Protocol on long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction.


Energy use per person

4,943 kilos of oil equivalents (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

6603 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

1 705 346 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

11.9 tonnes (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

3.3 percent (2015)



Navalnyj is sentenced to prison

On the almost final day of the year, the verdict against opposition leader Aleksey Navalnyj and his brother Oleg falls in the trial involving allegations that the brothers had been cheated by two companies for millions of rubles. Navalnyj claims that the verdict – as usual – is politically motivated. They both face three and a half years in prison. Navalnyj is upset over the verdict against the brother and urges his followers to go out to protest. More than 200 people are arrested during the demonstrations that follow. Navalnyj himself is arrested on the way to the site of the manifestation and taken to his home because he is still under house arrest.

Ukraine closer to NATO

Ukraine’s decision to abandon the country’s officially neutral position is seen as a first step for Ukraine against the Western Alliance NATO. Russia describes the decision as “completely counterproductive” and “an unfriendly act”. In a revised version of the defense doctrine adopted in 2010, Moscow tightened its tone with regard to NATO and called the organization’s activity in Eastern Europe a fundamental threat to Russia.

US card companies are breaking with Crimea

US card companies Visa and Mastercard interrupt cooperation with banks and customers in Crimea with reference to the sanctions against the Russian annexed peninsula.

The United States tightens sanctions

The United States tightens sanctions on Russia. All exports of goods, technology and services to Crimea are prohibited. A further number of Russian and Ukrainian companies and 24 persons considered to be contributing to the destabilization of Ukraine are subject to travel bans within the Union and may receive frozen assets within the EU.

The EU is tightening sanctions further

The EU is once again tightening sanctions on Russia for its involvement in Ukraine. All investments in Crimea are prohibited, as are all forms of support for Russian oil and gas extraction in the Black Sea, such as exports of goods or technology to Russian oil and gas companies active in the Black Sea region. European cruise ships are not allowed to call ports in Crimea. Companies in EU countries are not allowed to buy real estate or businesses in Crimea.

Approaching Uzbekistan

Moscow forgets most of Uzbekistan’s debt to Russia as a way of strengthening ties between the countries. Russia is trying to attract Uzbekistan into the Eurasian Union he is about to form with Kazakhstan and Belarus (see May 2014).

Putin accuses West of destabilization

The attack in Grozny takes place just before President Putin gives his annual speech to the nation. In the speech, Putin defends the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, saying that the peninsula is “sacred” to Russia. Putin fades down the importance of the economic problems facing the country and claims that Russia will cure and cope with the crisis. During the year, the Russian economy was hit hard by falling oil prices and the consequences of the Western world sanctions. In 2014, the Russian ruble lost more than half of its value against the US dollar. Economists predict that Russian growth will be just above the zero in 2014 and will be negative in 2015. Putin accuses the West of trying to destabilize Russia and says that as soon as Russia is growing, Western countries are taking strong measures to keep the country down.

Islamists attack Grozny

An extensive firefight erupts between Islamic insurgents and security forces in Chechnya’s capital Grozny. During the several-hour long gunfire, at least ten police officers and nine rebels were killed, according to information from the Chechen authorities. Other sources indicate the number of police killed was three. The rebels are entangled in a house that houses a number of media companies as well as in a school. A group loyal to the Emirate of Caucasus states that it carried out the attack. The Emirate of Caucasus was proclaimed an Islamic state by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov in 2007 and was reported to include Chechnya with neighboring republics.

Putin is putting down gas projects

On a visit to Turkey, President Putin announces that the major South Stream project will be scrapped. South Stream would be built to transport Russian gas in pipelines under the Black Sea and further through Bulgaria, the Balkans and Austria to the regular gas network in Western Europe. Putin said that the project could not be implemented because Bulgaria, under pressure from the EU this summer, decided to stop work on the gas pipeline. The construction of South Stream has been going on for a number of years and is estimated to have cost Russia around $ 5 billion. Putin promises more and cheaper gas to Turkey and warns the West to be able to lower its gas exports to Europe. Turkey is the second largest importer of Russian gas after Germany.


Agreement with Abkhazia

Russia and the Georgian State of Abkhazia sign an agreement on “strategic partnership”, which means, among other things, that the Abkhaz defense forces are included in the Russian army and that Russia doubles its financial support for the Georgian state of break-out. The Georgia government condemns the agreement as a step towards a Russian annexation of Abkhazia and calls for the UN Security Council to discuss the legality of the agreement. The agreement is also pronounced by the US, EU and NATO.

Blocked against vehicles from Lithuania

Russia is facing a blockade of goods transport with vehicles registered in Lithuania. The blockade is introduced the day after President Grybauskaité, on a visit to Kiev, called Russia a “terrorist state”. A similar blockade was introduced in a month of 2013 ahead of the EU summit where the then Ukrainian government would sign an association agreement with the EU, which Russia opposed.

NATO accusation of troop reinforcement

NATO accuses Russia of carrying out a strong troop reinforcement in eastern Ukraine and along the Russian side of the border. As before, the Russian government rejects all information on Russian involvement in the war in Ukraine.

Turns out diplomats

Russia expels a German and several Polish diplomats. The expulsion of the German is a retaliation for Germany having previously expelled a Russian diplomat. Poles are accused of espionage. The Latvian former MP is also expelled for the same reason.

G20 meeting criticizes Russia

At the so-called G20 countries summit in Australia, the leaders of a number of Western countries criticize the Russian warfare and threaten with escalated sanctions. President Putin leaves the meeting early, citing his need to sleep.

Memorial publishes list of prisoners

Russia’s best-known human rights group Memorial publishes its annual list of people the organization believes are imprisoned for political reasons. This time the list includes 46 names. In addition to the well-known lawyer and regime critics Aleksej Navalnyj, bloggers, environmental activists, political activists and people who fight for the rights of a particular people group or for their religion are respected. The prisoners also include the female Ukrainian pilot who is being held prisoner in Russia, accused of causing the deaths of two Russian journalists during fighting in Ukraine.

Ukraine pays on gas debt

Ukraine makes a first installment of the equivalent of US $ 1.45 billion of its debt totaling US $ 3.1 billion to the Russian gas company Gazprom. The entire sum must be paid before the turn of the year for Ukraine to receive gas from Russia throughout 2015.

Recognizes presidential elections in eastern Ukraine

The Russian government recognizes the results of the presidential elections held in the two “people’s republics” set up by Prorussian separatists in eastern Ukraine. In Moscow’s view, the “People’s Republics” now have a mandate to negotiate directly with the Kiev government. The US and the EU condemn the elections as illegal.


Gas agreement to Ukraine

Ukraine, Russia and the EU say they have once again signed an agreement on continued Russian gas supplies in the coming winter to Ukraine and on to other countries in Europe. But the agreement is still pending on Ukraine paying US $ 2.2 billion for old gas debts and a November advance.

Import bans are being extended

Russia is expanding its ban on imports of food from the EU to also include fats from chicken, pork and beef and offal (see also August).

Collaboration with Abkhazia “modern”

The government rejects criticism from Georgia opposing a planned agreement on closer cooperation between Russia and the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia. The agreement means, among other things, that Russia and Abkhazia will establish joint defense and police forces and that they will cooperate on customs. According to Georgia, this is equivalent to an annexation of the area. The Russian government says the enhanced cooperation is “modern” and that no one has the right to interfere.

Georgia appeals for Abkhazia

The Georgian government is appealing to Russia not to fulfill its plans to conclude an “alliance and integration” agreement with the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia. According to Georgia, the planned agreement, which includes joint defense and police forces as well as customs, would be tantamount to annexing the area. There are reports of opposition to Russian plans even within the Abkhazian parliament, where many members want to guard the area’s “independence”.

NATO: “No result of Putin’s promise”

President Putin meets his Ukrainian colleague Poroshenko at a meeting in Milan between European and Asian leaders. Russian spokesmen say after the talks that “some participants” had shown a “completely one-sided, non-flexible and non-diplomatic” attitude on the Ukraine issue. German Chancellor Merkel says the talks did not lead to any breakthrough. NATO claims not to have seen any result of Putin’s recent promise of Russian withdrawal from the Ukrainian border.

Soldiers are ordered home from the Ukrainian border

Russian media reports that President Putin has ordered 17,600 Russian soldiers stationed at the Ukrainian border to return to their permanent bases.

Police kill in Grozny

Five policemen are killed and a dozen injured when they try to stop a suicide attack against a concert venue in Chechnya’s capital Grozny.

Tatars in Crimea disappeared

Spokesmen for the Crimean Tatars say that seven Tatars, all men, have disappeared since Russia annexed the peninsula. One of the men must have been found dead.


Lithuania accuses Russia of violating the law of the sea

Lithuania accuses Russia of violating international maritime law. The reason is that Russian forces have taken a Lithuanian fishing boat into custody and brought the boat as well as its crew of 30 men to the port city of Murmansk. Russia accuses the boat of illegally being in a Russian economic zone. Lithuania claims that the boat had the right to be there. The EU is calling on Russia to release the boat and crew.

Hungary stops gas to Ukraine

The Russian Minister of Energy says in the same vein that the EU countries that re-export Russian gas to Ukraine run the risk of being completely without supplies. Hungary is the first country to give in to pressure, though with reference to “technical problems”, shortly after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary cannot put itself in a position where you will be without gas for the winter.

Agreement on Russian gas to Ukraine

Following negotiations between the EU, Russia and Ukraine, a preliminary agreement is reached that Russia will continue to supply gas to Ukraine throughout the winter, if Ukraine pays a debt of EUR 2.4 billion before the end of December and pays the new gas in advance. The agreement is said to guarantee that gas deliveries via Ukraine to the rest of Europe take place without hindrance throughout the winter, but disbelief between the parties persists and the Ukrainian gas company manager makes statements that cast doubt on the agreement.

The stupid wants to restrict foreign ownership in the media

Parliament’s lower house, the duma, adopts a law that quickly expands foreign ownership in the country’s media to a maximum of 20 percent per newspaper or TV channel in three polls. The law, which will hit several regime-critical media, must be approved by the Supreme Court and the President before it becomes reality, which in both cases is considered a mere formality. The intention of the law is stated to be to prevent foreigners from “influencing strategic decisions”. Foreign media ownership can, according to the law’s author, “threaten the country’s information security”.

Chodorovsky ready to lead Russia

Former oligarch and regime critic Michail Chodorkovsky, who now lives in exile, draws attention when he says at a press conference that Russia belongs to Europe and that he is willing to lead the country in a time of crisis. He also announces that he will revitalize his charity organization Open Russia and that he will gladly serve as a platform for pro-European forces ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Demonstrations against the war in Ukraine

Tens of thousands of Russians demonstrate in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities against the war in Ukraine. Moscow police estimate the number of participants to 5,000, while the AP News estimates that around 20,000 people have joined. The organizers had counted 50,000 participants. “Stop the war” and “Stop lying” are some of the protesters slogans during the demonstration that goes quietly.

United Russia wins in Crimea

In elections to the regional parliament in Crimea, the Kremlin faithful party united Russia wins. The party receives about 70 percent of the vote after an election campaign in which opposition parties are reported to have had difficulty conveying their messages. The approximately 300,000 Tatars, who are mostly on the Ukrainian government’s side, are boycotting to a large extent the election. After the election, the police search the Crimean Tatars’ political headquarters and the homes of Tatar leaders. The Tatars’ political assembly, the majlis, is also evicted from the building where they usually hold their meetings.

Kiev in association agreement with the EU

Kiev adopts the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement rejected by the former Prorussian government in the fall of 2013, which became the beginning of the ongoing conflict in the neighboring country (see Ukraine: Current Policy). The agreement is adopted after Russia has undergone a change. Implementation of the parts regulating EU-Ukraine trade is postponed from November 2014 to December 2015. Russia’s concern that EU goods will compete with Russian products on the Ukrainian market is dampened. One week after the agreement is signed, Russia demands in a letter to the EU Trade Commissioner that an opportunity should be created to add to the agreement according to Russian wishes. The European Commission has previously rejected Russian proposals for additions.

Positive to the autonomy of Ukraine

Russia welcomes the decision of the Ukrainian Parliament to give parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions autonomy. The “special position” area is granted for three years. Moscow calls the decision a step in the right direction and says it is the best initiative to date to end the conflict between Prorussian separatists in eastern Ukraine and the Kiev government.

Coordination with China in the event of a threat

At a meeting with Putin in Tajikistan, the President of China proposes that Russia and China offer each other “a helping hand” when each country faces an external threat. Putin responds that the countries should coordinate to a greater extent.

Estonian officer is prosecuted

Russia announces that the Estonian officer arrested earlier in September will be charged with espionage and jeopardizing twenty years in prison. The EU demands that the officer be released immediately and returned to Estonia.

More US sanctions

The United States is following in the footsteps of the EU and imposing more sanctions on Russia. This time, the sanctions are directed against Russia’s leading bank Sberbank, as well as energy companies and companies in the defense sector. The new sanctions cause the value of the ruble to fall to its lowest level ever against the US dollar.

Condemns the US’s expanded fight against IS

Russia condemns the US plans to extend its airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist terrorist movement from Iraq to Syria. “Unilateral US attacks constitute a” gross violation of international law “greet Russian Foreign Ministry. A few days later, Foreign Minister Lavrov says that Russia wants to contribute to the fight against IS.

Putin accuses West of provocation

At a government meeting, President Putin accused the West of provoking the crisis in Ukraine in order to revive NATO’s defense alliance. Putin says Russia is now facing new threats as NATO strengthens its presence in Eastern Europe. He also points to the US plans for a missile defense in Europe as well as the “Prompt Global Strike” program, which aims to enable the United States with conventional weapons to hit targets anywhere in the world within an hour. Defense Minister Dimitrij Rogozin says Russia will respond to the “Promt Global Strike” by upgrading its nuclear weapons and its air and space defenses.

Poland and Slovakia report reduced gas flow

Poland and Slovakia state that Russia will curtail gas flow to each country, but Gazprom claims that the deliveries are under contract. According to Polish analysts, a reduced gas flow may be due to Poland sending some of the Russian gas to Ukraine for some time.

Report on Russian soldiers in Ukraine

NATO states that Russia still has around 1,000 heavily armed soldiers in eastern Ukraine in addition to 20,000 soldiers on the Russian side of the border.

New EU sanctions

The EU decides on a new round of sanctions against Russia but says the sanctions can be lifted if the ceasefire holds. The new sanctions prohibit both companies and individuals in the EU from lending money over time to five Russian state banks. The sanctions also make it harder for Russian oil companies to borrow money on the European market. Oil companies are also affected by a ban on export of services and certain technology. The sanctions also include an export stop for components in war materials. A further 24 people are added to the list of those whose assets in the EU are frozen and are prohibited from entering the EU.

Estonian officer arrested

A Russian court detains an Estonian intelligence officer who was arrested at the Russian-Estonian border. The man is suspected of espionage. Russia claims that the man was arrested on the Russian side of the border while Estonia says it happened on the Estonian side of the border. In Estonia, the abduction is seen as a Russian demonstration of power and a test of NATO’s readiness to defend its new eastern members.

Russian-Ukrainian armistice

A ceasefire closes in eastern Ukraine, but it is almost immediately broken under mutual accusations as to which side began to shoot. The European Security Organization, the OSCE, which monitors the ceasefire, assesses on the third day that it is largely respected, but that the next few days will decide whether it should be considered as holding. The following day, Ukrainian President Poroshenko states that Russia has “withdrawn about 70 percent of its soldiers” from Ukrainian soil.

Putin lays out a peace plan

Putin presents a seven-point peace plan, but it is met with skepticism by the Government of Ukraine and the Western countries.

France stops delivery of aircraft carriers

France stops delivery of a large aircraft carrier to Russia due to Russian involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. The decision will be reconsidered in October and may change if there is peace in Ukraine.

Putin and Poroshenko agree on a ceasefire

Putin and Poroshenko are said in a telephone call to have agreed on what needs to be done to achieve a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. A Moscow spokesman says that Russia supports a ceasefire but that a concrete agreement on such is not a matter for Russia, as it “is not a party to the conflict”. According to NATO, there are at least 1,000 Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil, and according to the Kiev government, Russian soldiers have been observed in ten locations in eastern Ukraine, including in the metropolitan cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

New military doctrine

The Vice-President of the Russian National Security Council says that Russia will adopt a new military doctrine that will make the country better equipped to withstand NATO’s increased presence in Eastern Europe and its new European robotic defense system. The message comes as a direct response to a decision by NATO to set up a new rapid-action force of “several thousand men” that can be deployed in the eastern NATO countries in the wake of Russian military movements in their vicinity.


Harassment of minorities

The UN reports in a report that Tatars, Ukrainians and other minorities in Crimea are subjected to harassment and discrimination.

Ukrainian army retires

The Ukrainian army is forced to retreat from the airport outside Luhansk, which is attacked by what President Poroshenko describes as a Russian tank battalion. Poroshenko accuses Russia of “direct and open aggression”. According to the Minister of Defense, regular Russian associations are now in both Luhansk and Donetsk.

Putin demands negotiation of Ukraine

President Putin calls for urgent negotiations on how to organize society and state government politically in southeastern Ukraine. This is the first time he has openly indicated an ambition to create some kind of Russian sound state in the area. He has in recent days also described southeastern Ukraine as “Novorossija” (New Russia), a term used during the Tsarist era. Faced with the threat of new sanctions, Putin urges the EU to show “common sense” and not step up penalties that harm both parties.

Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners

Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners. Ukraine surrenders about 10 Russian paratroopers and returns 63 Ukrainian army soldiers.

Lithuania urges EU to support Ukraine

The EU is once again preparing for tougher sanctions on Russia, giving Putin a one-week deadline to change its line vis-à-vis Ukraine. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaité says that Russia is “practically at war with Europe”. She calls on the EU to provide military support to Ukraine.

Soldiers’ foreign agent

Domestic opinion begins to protest against Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Soldier Mothers Organization draws up a list of 400 dead or injured Russian soldiers. Soldiers’ mothers in St. Petersburg are placed on the list of “foreign agents”.

The outside world condemns Russian presence in Ukraine

According to the US ambassador to Kiev, Russian soldiers are now directly involved in the fighting, triggering new condemnations from the outside world. NATO is holding a crisis meeting since the organization published satellite images that were reported to show Russian troops moving into southern Ukraine. Prior to the meeting, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the alliance was preparing a decision to deploy fast-moving forces in Eastern European countries to counter the threat from Russia. US President Obama says everyone can now clearly see that Russian allies are involved in the fighting. He notes at the same time that the United States obviously supports NATO members in Europe militarily but says that aid cannot be extended to non-members such as Ukraine. Moscow continues to deny that Russian soldiers support the rebels, but commends the success of the Prorian forces on the battlefield.

New battlefront in southeastern Ukraine

The days following the presidential meeting, a new front in southeastern Ukraine opens and the country’s military states that more Russian tanks and other vehicles are moving in the area. The rebels take a town near Lake Azov, triggering speculation that Russia intends to establish a land link between Crimea in the west and Russia in the east.

Putin and Poroshenko agree on a peace plan

During the talks between Poroshenko and Putin, Poroshenko promises to draw up a plan to create a ceasefire. Putin says Russia will support this process. Continued consultations shall take place between the authorities controlling each country’s border guard.

Russian paratroopers in Ukraine “by mistake”

A few hours before Putin will meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Belarus to talk about the conflict, the Ukrainian army captures ten Russian paratroopers located in Ukraine about 2.5 miles from the border with Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry says that the paratroopers ended up there “by mistake”. They should get lost when patrolling an unmarked part of the border.

The column back to Russia

The Russian intrusion is condemned by NATO and the US, among others, who demand that the column be withdrawn immediately. So does that. Ukrainian sources claim that some of the trucks on the return journey carry military equipment that should have been taken from a weapons factory in Luhansk.

Russian truck column into Ukraine

After waiting for just over a week on the Russian side of the border, the Russian truck column drives into Ukraine without getting a clearance from Kiev. Only about thirty vehicles have been inspected by the Ukrainian customs. 220 trucks are escorted against Luhansk by pro-Russian separatists. Hard fighting is ongoing along the road to Luhansk. The Ukrainian security service chief accuses Russia of an invasion but says no force should be used against the vehicles. President Poroshenko talks about “a flagrant violation of international law”.

Rosneft asks for money

The country’s largest oil company Rosneft asks the government for help to manage its loan payments. The sanctions from the West have made it harder for Rosneft to borrow on the international loan market. The sanctions also include exports of technology on which Rosneft is dependent. The development bank VEB should also have approached the government and asked for financial assistance to manage the business.

Judgment for violence at Putin’s installation

The trial ends with those charged with rioting in connection with the violent protests that took place prior to the installation of Putin as president in May 2012. Three people are sentenced to imprisonment for up to three and a half years. During the process, a total of 13 people were sentenced to prison.

Aid shipment to Ukraine is criticized

In mid-August, Russia announces that it has sent a relief shipment to Ukraine comprising 280 trucks with 2,000 tonnes of supplies. The United States, the EU and NATO, which suspect that the aid shipment contains military assistance to the rebels, is issuing sharp warnings to Russia to try to use the aid shipment to gain a military foothold inside Ukraine. The Kiev government says the column will not be let in and that the cargo will be transferred to Ukrainian vehicles at the border under the supervision of the International Red Cross Committee.

Control of wi-fi

A government decree requires companies that provide public wireless networks (Wi-Fi) to keep track of those who surf by requiring them to provide their full name and passport number when they log in. The data should then be stored for six months. The government defends the new regulations with the need to track down terrorists while the opposition claims that the purpose is to further control government-critical activities.

Import ban on the West

With a total import ban on food from the EU, the US, Australia, Canada and Norway, Russia strikes back to the West for the sanctions imposed on Russia due to the crisis in Ukraine. The only exception to the import stop is baby food. Russia is also considering banning Western airlines from using Russian airspace. The import halt is expected to hit some food producers in the EU hard. 10 percent of EU exports to Russia are food. But even Russian consumers will learn about the effects of the import ban as prices are expected to rise as a result of a shortage of goods. One third of Russia’s food consumption is imports from the EU and the EU is Russia’s second largest import market. Prime Minister Medvedev announces that the import halt will be in force for one year unless the EU shows “a constructive attitude”

Russians support Putin

Putin’s popularity stands out during the power measurement with the west. According to a poll conducted by the Levada Institute, 87 percent of Russians approve of Putin’s policies. That is the highest figure since the war against Georgia in August 2008. At that time 88 percent of Russians supported Putin.

Military exercise near Ukraine

Russia initiates a military exercise with around a hundred aircraft in southern Russia near Ukraine. A spokesman for the army claims that it is a routine exercise. At the same time, NATO reports that the Russian forces at the border with Ukraine have been strengthened from 12,000 to 20,000 men. The data is denied by Moscow.

Double Citizenship Act

A new law forces Russians with dual citizenship or permanent residence permits in another country to report this to the authorities. Failure to do so will be punishable. According to the Russian Constitution, it is permissible to be a citizen of two countries at the same time, but the registration requirement nevertheless causes concern among many who fear that in practice they will be forced to choose loyalty.

Independent TV channel shuts down

The last reasonably independent Russian TV channel, Clean TV, puts down its best-known program for political discussions and analyzes without warning. The program has been regarded as the last of its kind that failed to convey the regime’s views. Pure TV is owned by a company affiliated with Jury Kovaltjuk, close ally with Putin and one of those affected by sanctions from the EU and Russia for involvement in the Ukraine crisis.


Further sanctions from the US and the EU

The US and the EU tighten their sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s continued supply of heavy military equipment to the Ukrainian separatists. The Western powers prohibit cooperation with Russian state banks, and the EU for the first time strikes against entire sectors of the Russian economy. Sales of equipment for the oil and defense industries and equipment that may have both civilian and military use are limited. Russian deliveries of natural gas to the EU are unaffected. The EU also decides on travel bans and frozen assets for eight people in Putin’s closest circle, as well as three companies linked to Crimea. The EU also bans investments in mineral extraction and infrastructure in Crimea. The Russian government says the sanctions will “inevitably” increase prices for Europe’s gas imports from Russia. Russia bans all imports of fruits and vegetables from Poland. The justification is, as in most similar cases in recent times, that the goods do not meet Russian sanitary requirements.

Sentenced to compensation to Yukos

The Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague is condemning the Russian state to pay US $ 50 billion to the oil company Yuko’s shareholders. According to the court, the government bankrupted Yukos for political reasons through unreasonable tax claims, after which the company’s assets were sold to state-owned companies. Yukos, Russia’s largest oil company, was owned by government critic Michail Chodorkovsky. This was imprisoned in 2003 in what was considered a way for President Putin to harm a political opponent. Chodorkovsky was pardoned in 2013. A few days later, the European Court of Human Rights orders Russia to pay nearly US $ 2.5 billion to former Yukos shareholders. The European Court of Justice refers to the same “disproportionate” tax claims that formed the basis for the ruling in The Hague Court.

Stop for Ukrainian dairy products

Russia bans the importation of all Ukrainian dairy products since the Food Inspection Authority said they found high levels of antibiotics and bacteria in them.

Opposition leaders are sentenced to labor camps

Opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov and his co-worker Leonid Razvozzyev are both sentenced to 4.5 years in labor camps for lying behind unrest before Putin’s installation as president in 2012. The prosecutors had pleaded for 8 years in prison for both men.

More refugees from Ukraine

The Russian Migration Board says that more than 515,000 people have moved from Ukraine to Russia since April 1. The refugee stream has started to become a heavy burden for the regions closest to the border and the management of the refugees has now been brought up at the federal level. However, the UN Refugee Commissioner UNHCR states a significantly lower figure, about 130,000.

Increased punishment for political protests

Putin signs a law that raises penalties for those who participate in non-sanctioned political protests more than once. The new sentence is a maximum of five years in prison or a fine of up to around SEK 200,000.

More time zones

Putin signs a law that Russia will henceforth have permanent “winter time” after three years with permanent “summer time”. At the same time, the country returns to eleven time zones after three years with nine zones.

Five NGO “foreign agents”

The Ministry of the Interior registers another five NGOs as “foreign agents”. Among them is the internationally renowned Memorial, which inter alia investigates human rights violations during the Soviet era, an environmental organization and three groups providing legal advice. All the organizations say that they should continue their activities to date and ignore the government directive.

The UN calls for pro-Russian cooperation

The UN Security Council unanimously demands that the Prorean separatists cooperate with the international accident investigators and give them free access to the disaster site. Russia votes for the resolution after passing through the requirement that the investigation be led by the United Nations Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, instead of the Ukrainian state. Putin promises to use his influence over the rebels to get them to cooperate, but demands that the Western world push the Ukrainian government to interrupt its military offensive.

Pro-Russian separatists are suspected of a plane crash

President Putin condemns the suspected shooting of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine and holds the Ukrainian government accountable as it intensified fighting in the area in recent weeks. A number of Western leaders suspect Prorussian separatists to have shot down the planet, likely with far-reaching robots that would have been supplied by Russia in that case. Putin is subjected to much increased pressure from the outside world to intervene against the separatists and put an end to the war in Ukraine. Once again, Russia is threatened with tougher sanctions. Putin urges leaders in the West not to use the shooting “for their own political gain”.

Stock Exchange in Moscow

The shares of the designated Russian large companies fall sharply on the Moscow stock exchange following the announcement of the sanctions.

The EU is tightening sanctions

The EU also announces stricter sanctions on Russia, but says it will reveal the details at the end of July. It is clear that the European investment banks EIB and EBRD can no longer finance Russian projects. The individual sanctions will be directed at individuals and companies that contribute to undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty or who share responsibility for the annexation of Crimea.

The United States tightens sanctions

The US is tightening its financial sanctions against Russia on the grounds that the Russian leadership has failed to fulfill its promises to curb the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The sanctions target important parts of the Russian economy, as well as the self-proclaimed Ukrainian “People’s Republics” Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia accuses the US of “extortion” and President Putin says the sanctions for US-Russian relations into a “dead end”.

Said Amirov sentenced to prison

Said Amirov, former mayor of the republic of Dagestan’s capital Machachkala for 25 years, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for planning to kill a political rival. Amirov long enjoyed President Putin’s support, but was deposed and arrested in June 2013. It was then interpreted as saying that the President wanted to put an end to Amirov’s mafia-like activities ahead of the Sochi Olympics for security reasons.

Further definition of separatist propaganda

The Dumb extends the law that prohibits separatist propaganda. Previously, this has been banned in traditional media, but is now also extended to the Internet and all other contexts. Questioning Russia’s border demarcation in the media or on the Internet can result in five years in prison. Advocating “separatism” in, for example, conversations or letters can be punishable by imprisonment for four years. The purpose of the law is supposed to be to silence those who question the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Putin urges patriotism in school

President Putin recommends that teaching in Russian schools be given a more patriotic focus to protect young people from foreign influence. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky wants the teaching of foreign languages ​​to be reduced and that yoga courses should be replaced with, for example, Russian cooking courses.

New trade agreements

Russia concludes seven new agreements with the Moldovan outbreak Republic of Transnistria on economic cooperation, trade, transport, agriculture and research. The question of possible Russian annexation of Transnistria is not affected. At the same time, most meat products from Moldova are banned. Russia also stops, for “sanitary reasons”, imports of certain dairy products from Ukraine.

European criticism against mass deportation

The European Court of Human Rights criticizes Russia for mass deportation of Georgian citizens in 2006. According to the Strasbourg court, the random expulsion of at least 2,300 Georgians violates several human rights conventions.


Threats Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova with “countermeasures”

Russia threatens economic “countermeasures” against Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova if the Russian economy is harmed by the signing of the three former Soviet republics by an association agreement with the EU.

The EU calls for new Ukraine policy

At Putin’s request, the House of Parliament revokes the power of attorney that gave him the right to send military into eastern Ukraine. Nevertheless, on June 27, EU Heads of State or Government give Russia three days to fundamentally change its policy towards Ukraine. EU leaders demand, among other things, that Moscow explicitly support the Ukrainian government’s peace plan, give Ukraine the opportunity, with the support of the OSCE, to take control of the border between the countries and that Russia forces Ukrainian rebels to release all prisoners. If nothing happens, Russia risks harsher sanctions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatens “drastic measures”.

The EU bans imports from Crimea

EU foreign ministers agree to ban imports of goods from Crimea. They also reiterate that the EU will never accept Russia’s “illegal” annexation of the peninsula.

Strengthened military at the border with Ukraine

Russia strengthens its military presence along the border with Ukraine, and President Putin orders new military exercises and puts 65,000 soldiers into combat readiness. Russia justifies the troop contraction with the need to protect the border from intrusion by the Ukrainian side.

Gazprom closes deliveries

Russian gas company Gazprom shuts off gas flow to Ukraine after state-owned gas company Naftogaz in Ukraine failed to pay a debt of nearly $ 2 billion before the June 16 deadline. Gazprom announces that Ukraine must now pay in advance for all gas deliveries until the debt is paid.

Sends emergency aid to eastern Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov states that Russia is sending emergency aid to eastern Ukraine via Prorian rebels. This is the first time that a representative of Russia admits that Moscow has direct contact with the Russian rebels.

Refuses to tanks

Russia denies accusations whether the country would have sent tanks and other armored vehicles into Ukraine. Instead, Russia accuses Ukraine of having driven two tanks across the border and into Russia. Later, NATO satellite images published that show Russian tanks rolling on the streets of two Ukrainian cities.

The Ukrainian President presents a peace plan

When Poroshenko is sworn in on June 7, Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine will participate. The Ambassador calls Poroshenko’s installation figures a “promising statement of intent”. In the speech, Poroshenko insists that Ukraine should be a united state but also presents a peace plan to end the fighting in the east (see Ukraine / Calendar).

Putin hits G7

In celebration of D-Day in France, Putin meets the leaders of the G7 countries for the first time since the crisis in Ukraine erupted. Putin holds individual talks with several of them, including US President Barack Obama. Putin also meets with Ukraine’s newly elected President Petro Poroshenko and after the meeting, Putin says he thinks Poroshenko has “the right attitude” to the crisis. Putin also said that the Ukrainian government should interrupt its military action in the east.

Russian troops withdrawn

NATO announces that most of the Russian troops at the border with Ukraine have now been withdrawn.


Five killed in Ingushia

Russian security forces kill five people in a campaign in the Republic of Ingushetia. According to Inguschien’s leaders, the five had been behind the murder of the head of the Regional Security Council in May 2013.

Agreement with Belarus and Kazakhstan

President Putin, together with his colleagues from Belarus and Kazakhstan, signed an agreement to form a new economic union between the countries. The agreement, which will enter into force on 1 January 2015, stipulates that within the Union there should be free movement of goods, capital, services and labor and that members should coordinate parts of their economic policies.

New President of Ukraine

When Petro Poroshenko’s business leader wins the presidential election in Ukraine on May 25, Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov greets Russia for a “pragmatic dialogue” with Ukraine’s new president. But the situation spikes the day after the election when Ukrainian government forces occupy an airport in eastern Ukraine and the government side resumes it in a bloody battle. President Putin calls for an immediate end to the fighting, and Foreign Minister Lavrov informs the outside world that no visit to Moscow is necessary for Poroshenko’s part (see also Current Policy).

Order for withdrawal

The Russian general chief of staff states that the Russian soldiers at the border with Ukraine should be withdrawn within 20 days. Later, US officials confirm that some soldiers have been moved.

Politkovskaya’s murderers convicted

A Moscow court sentenced five men to have planned and executed the murder of well-known regime-critical journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. The convicted are three brothers and their uncle from Chechnya as well as a former Moscow police. The court ruled that the person holding the murder weapon is one of the brothers, Rustan Machmudov. He and his uncle, who are convicted of planning the murder, receive life imprisonment. The other three are sentenced to 12 to 20 years in prison. In the fall of 2012, another former police officer was sentenced to prison for shading Politkovskaya and handing over the murder weapon. Politkovskaya’s children and human rights organizations regret that the investigation has not yet been able to answer the question of who ordered the murder.

Gas agreement with China

Putin visits China and the countries conclude a gas supply agreement. Under the agreement, which has been prepared for ten years, Russia will supply China with large quantities of gas from 2018 onwards. According to media reports, the deal is worth $ 400 billion. For Russia, the agreement will be timely as Europe, due to the Crimean crisis, is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas (see also Foreign Policy and Defense).

Putin orders a retreat

On May 19, Putin is said – once again – to have ordered the Russian soldiers at the Ukrainian border to return to their posts after “completed exercise”. From Ukraine comes contradictory information on whether or not a retreat was initiated.

Rejects alarm reports on MRI violation

In two independent reports, the OSCE and the UN Security and Cooperation Organization raise alarms about greatly diminished respect for human rights in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. In Crimea, according to UN investigators, a number of groups are exposed to harassment and threats after the Russian takeover. This applies in particular to journalists, sexual, religious and ethnic minorities, AIDS patients and persons who have not applied for Russian citizenship. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismisses both reports as politically inclined, totally inept and only devoted to purifying the actions of the Western leaders.

Department responsible for the Caucasus

Putin appoints a general to his personal envoy in the North Caucasus and forms a new government ministry responsible for the troubled Muslim-dominated region. The decisions are interpreted as the president giving up the attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict that was taken when former President Medvedev made a wealthy businessman his representative in the North Caucasus.

The EU extends the sanctions list

The EU adds 13 Russians and Ukrainians to its sanctions list, among them Putin’s first Deputy Chief of Staff Vjatjeslav Volodin. This is already on the US sanctions list. For the first time, the EU is also penalizing two companies in Crimea that were confiscated from their Ukrainian owners during the Russian annexation of the peninsula. The 28 countries’ foreign ministers threaten with increased sanctions if Russia disrupts the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25.

Recognizes self-control

The government recognizes the results of the “referendum” in the Ukrainian counties Donetsk and Luhansk, where 90 and 96 percent are said to have agreed to self-government. Moscow demands that the results be applied “under peaceful conditions”.

Cooperation with Moldova is jeopardized

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says in a newspaper interview that Russia will review its economic relations with Moldova if the government in Chișinău signs an association agreement with the EU.

Proposals for a deferred referendum are rejected

Putin surprisingly calls on the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone the “referendum” on independence that they announced until May 11. They reject the proposal. A statement by Putin that about 40,000 Russian soldiers stationed near the Ukrainian border should have been withdrawn from there is rejected by NATO, which says nothing indicates that it would have happened. At the same time, the Russian military is reported to have fired a number of ballistic missiles, and the Ministry of Defense points out that the Russian forces equipped with nuclear weapons are being kept in “constant combat readiness”.

Make swearing about the culture

Putin also signs a law that prohibits the use of profanity in movies, in theaters and in the media. Books containing profanity should be provided with a warning text on the front. Whether social media is covered by the law is not clear. The new law evokes memories of the Soviet era when writers and artists were invited to avoid Western decadence and cherish Russian traditions.

Social Media Control Act

President Putin signs a new law that gives the authorities greater opportunity to control the internet. According to the new law, sites with more than 3000 visitors per day are now categorized as “mass media” and held responsible for the information published. Bloggers can no longer be anonymous and search engines and social forums should be forced to save everything that happened on the site six months back. A number of sites are blacklisted and the list of what may not be printed is long. Critics of the law claim that the law is so vaguely worded that it can be used to stop all sites where political debates are being held. Putin’s own Human Rights Council also objects to the law.


More sanctions on Russia

On April 28, the United States extends sanctions against Russia by blacklisting an additional seven people with close ties to Putin, including Igor Setjin, who is considered one of the most conservative in the inner circle. Those who are singled out can no longer travel to the United States and their possible bank assets are frozen. The United States also prohibits liaising with 17 companies affiliated with the Kremlin holders and tightens the rules for exporting technology that can be used in military contexts. The EU also extends the sanctions and adds 15 new names to its black list of Russians and Ukrainians to be punished for their involvement in the crisis (see also March 2014).

Social media strike

A Moscow court condemns renowned regime critic Aleksey Navalnyj for defamation. He is to pay the equivalent of just over SEK 5,000 in fines for having called a local politician for drug addicts via twitter. Navalnyj, who is under house arrest (see February), is prohibited from using social media and denies that he is behind the twitter message.

Pavel Duriov, who founded VKontakte, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook, leaves the company and the country. Durov claims that he was forced out of his post since he refused to reveal who used VKontakte to organize Western-friendly actions in Ukraine. According to Durov, VKontakte is now controlled by two of Putin’s closest allies.

Easier to become a Russian citizen

Putin signs a new law that makes it easier for Russian-speaking people outside Russia to gain Russian citizenship. It is enough to prove that you speak Russian and live in Russia or have relatives who have lived in the country.

Establishment for Crimean Tatars

President Putin signs a decree to restore the Crimean Tatars. The Tatars were accused during World War II of cooperating with Nazi Germany and deported to Central Asia. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, many Tatars have returned to Ukraine. The decree also includes other groups that were persecuted during the Stalin (see Modern History), such as Armenians, Germans and Greeks. The play is seen as a flirtation with the Tatars who almost unanimously opposed Crimea’s accession to Russia.

Ukrainian action in Slovenian

When the Ukrainian army begins an action to regain control of the city of Slovenia, five separatists are killed, and Putin calls the Ukrainian offensive the “death knell” for the Geneva settlement.

Disarmament agreement without change

In talks in Geneva between the EU, the US, Russia and Ukraine in mid-April, the parties agreed that all illegal military groups in Ukraine should be dissolved and all occupying buildings should leave them and be disarmed. The agreement also includes an amnesty for all who participated in hostile actions. However, the agreement does not lead to any change in eastern Ukraine, where Prorean forces continue their occupation of public institutions. Nor does Russia do anything to encourage the pro-Russian forces to suspend their actions.

The referendum result is wrong

The Russian Human Rights Council, appointed by Putin, reveals that the official figures from the Crimean referendum were incorrect. The Council’s investigation shows that rather only 30-50 percent of the inhabitants of Crimea participated in the vote, not 83 percent as claimed, and that only 50-60 percent of them voted for accession to Russia, not 97 percent. In total, only 15-30 per cent of the inhabitants of the peninsula would have supported the Russian annexation. The report is quickly removed from the president’s website.

Warns of violence against pro-Russians

When pro-Russian protesters take over government buildings in several cities in eastern Ukraine and in Donetsk, a referendum on accession to Russia promises, Moscow warns Ukraine to use force against the occupiers. Moscow also reiterates its demand for Ukraine to be transformed into a federation.

Suspected Ukrainians are arrested

The Russian security service seizes 25 Ukrainians suspected of planning terrorist attacks against targets in Russia.

NATO terminates cooperation with Russia

The NATO defense alliance terminates all civil and military cooperation with Russia because of the Crimean conflict. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen calls the Russian takeover of the peninsula “the most serious threat to security in Europe for a whole generation”. Rasmussen, however, opens the way for dialogue in the so-called NATO-Russia Council to continue, not least with regard to developments in Ukraine. NATO’s withdrawal is valid until the organization’s meeting in June, when relations with Russia will be reviewed again. While NATO is showing Russia’s cold hand, Ukraine is being offered closer cooperation with the Alliance, a development that goes against Moscow’s demand for neutrality for Ukraine. NATO’s possible plans to establish permanent bases in the Baltic States also worry the Russians.

Raises gas prices

Gazprom’s semi-state gas company raises gas prices to Ukraine by up to 50 percent. Russia also demands that Ukraine repay the gas discount it has enjoyed over the past four years. It’s about 11 billion US dollars.


Prime Minister visits Crimea

On the last day of March, Crimea is visited by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He announces that Crimea will be transformed into a special zone with lower taxes and reduced bureaucracy. The intention is to attract companies.

Tatars for autonomy

Crimean Tatars hold congress and vote to initiate a process that will lead to ethnic and territorial autonomy. The Tatars, who make up 12 percent of the Crimean population, opposed the process that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea (see Ukraine: Calendar).

Russia and the US in dialogue on Ukraine

Russian and US foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine’s conflict. Russia assures that the country does not intend to enter Ukraine and proposes that the interests of the Russian minority should be promoted by converting it into a federal state that promises to remain neutral and never join the NATO Alliance. The talks do not lead to anything concrete, but the parties agree to continue the dialogue. At the same time, Moscow is reported to be withdrawing some of the Russian forces uploaded at the border with Ukraine. According to the US and the EU, Russia has placed 30,000 to 40,000 men at the border. Moscow and sources in Ukraine claim that some of the soldiers are being taken home but this cannot be confirmed by NATO.

UN resolution against the annexation

The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution according to which Russia’s annexation of Ukraine is illegal. The resolution, which is not binding, is adopted with the votes of 100–11, while 58 countries abstain. Russia’s UN ambassador says it is “very encouraging” that “almost half” of UN members do not support the resolution.

Declining economic growth

An extensive capital flight due to the Crimean crisis raises concerns. According to Minister of Economy Aleksey Uljukajev, growth threatens to fall to 0.6 percent as investors could bring the equivalent of $ 100 billion from the country.

More Russian military against Ukraine

Additional Russian armor and combat aircraft are reported to have been moved to the border with Ukraine, in both Belarus and Russia.

Excluded from G8

The world’s largest industrialized countries announce that Russia is excluded from the former association G8, which now becomes G7. A meeting that would have been held in Russian Sochi in June is being moved to Brussels.

Controls all military facilities

Russian troops take control of three bases in Crimea within two days and now control all military facilities on the peninsula. Ukrainian Acting President Oleksandr Turtynov, who is also Commander-in-Chief, orders all Ukrainian forces to leave Crimea. In connection with the takeover of Russia, Russia seized 12 of Ukraine’s 17 warships.

More EU sanctions

The EU extends its sanctions to include another twelve people. All 33 are now named.

NATO concern for Russian troops

NATO military commander in Europe, Philip Breedlove, warns of Russian troop gatherings at the border with Ukraine. Breedlove expresses particular concern for the transnistrian Republic of Moldova.

Law on the incorporation of Crimea

On March 21, Putin signed the law to integrate Crimea with the Russian Federation, after Parliament approved it. Crimea has thus been formally annexed and two new federal entities are created: the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.

Umarov is reported dead

A website run by rebels in the Caucasus announces that Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov is dead. Umarov is said to have died of martyrdom, says the site but no details are given.

Russians positive to Crimean politics

The Russians themselves give the president well approval. Since the crisis erupted, Putin’s popularity figures have risen. According to opinion polls conducted during the crisis, close to 70 percent of Russians support the policy against Ukraine. Critical voices are silenced. Three major news sites that have expressed a different image than the regime are blocked by the authorities. To them belongs the regime critic Aleksej Navalnyj’s blog. His co-workers, however, continue to write on the blog.

Signs agreement on Crimean accession

At a ceremony in Parliament on March 18, Putin signs an agreement with Crimean leaders on Crimea’s accession to Russia. At the same time, Putin states that Russia has no plans to take over other parts of Ukraine. The agreement would later be scrutinized by the Constitutional Court and adopted by Parliament, but the Kremlin announces that, from the signing, Crimea is considered part of Russia. The Western world issues new condemnations. Japan also agrees with the choir and the US threatens with extended sanctions.

Recognizes Crimea independently

The day after the referendum, President Putin signs a decree formally recognizing Crimea as an independent state. He then informs both parliament’s chambers of Crimea’s request to join Russia. Putin calls on the legislative bodies to approve Crimea’s request. In a speech, Putin condemns his representative Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to transfer Crimea to Ukraine, saying that the peninsula in the hearts of the Russians has always been and will always be an inseparable part of Russia.

Referendum in Crimea

On March 16, a referendum will be held in Crimea on accession to Russia. The vote results in an almost unanimous agreement to join and the peninsula’s local parliament declared formal independence for Crimea and appeals to Moscow to join the Russian Federation (see also Ukraine: Current Policy). The day before the referendum demonstrates around 50,000 people in central Moscow against Russia’s actions in Crimea. The referendum is condemned by the EU and the US, which responds by imposing sanctions on a number of high-ranking Russians and Ukrainians. EU sanctions target 21 people from Russia and Ukraine who are believed to have played a key role in the process in Crimea. The 21, who are not named, are ported in the EU and have their bank assets frozen. The US also freezes bank accounts and other assets for seven high-ranking Russian officials and four separatist leaders in Crimea. Among the Russians affected are Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister and Valentina Matvijenko, Speaker of the Russian Parliament upper house. Previously, the United States has charged a number of presidents with entry bans in the United States and suspended its military cooperation in Russia. NATO cancels plans to escort with Russia the ship destroying Syrian nuclear weapons in the Mediterranean. The escort would have become the first joint mission between NATO and Russia ever.

Decree on bridge between Crimea and the Russian mainland

In the midst of the crisis, Prime Minister Medvedev signed a decree marking the start of the construction of a bridge over the narrow strait that separates Crimea from the Russian mainland in the east. The bridge project has ancient origins. The first attempt to establish a solid connection across the strait was made during World War II.

The ruble drops

Developments in Ukraine cause the value of the Russian currency, the ruble, to plunge and create concern on the world’s stock exchanges. When the ruble reaches a record low against the dollar during what is known as “Black Monday,” the Russian central bank is trying to halt the fall by raising interest rates.

More Russian troops to Crimea

Russia continues to bring troops and military equipment to Crimea. Struggles between Russian military and Ukrainian defense are reported. Two people are killed when pro-Russian protesters try to storm the Ukrainian security service headquarters. The Russian Foreign Ministry says that more and more groups in eastern Ukraine are appealing for Russian protection and that the appeals “will be considered”.

Veto on referendum

In the UN Security Council, Russia vetoes a US resolution to illegally declare the referendum. All countries in the Council vote in favor of the resolution except China which abstains and Russia which votes against. Russia appears to be increasingly internationally isolated.

The outside world condemns Crimean politics

Russian action is condemned by the United States and several G7 states (see also Ukraine: Current Policy). When the Crimean local parliament votes for the peninsula to be broken off from Ukraine and joined to Russia, the two chambers of the Russian parliament say that they are ready to quickly adopt a law that makes a connection possible. Moscow accuses the Kiev government of not having control and announces that Russia considers itself entitled to “protect Russian life” throughout Ukraine.

Russian forces to Crimea

Parliament’s upper house gives President Putin the right to deploy troops in Ukraine. Russian elite troops are then reported to take control of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine, where the majority of residents are Russian-speaking and where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based. President Putin claims that these are local “self-defense forces”.


500 arrested after demonstration against Bolotnaja penalty

Seven people are sentenced to imprisonment for up to four years for attacking the police demonstration at Bolotnaja Square in Moscow in May 2012. Protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg protest against the judges. Nearly 500 protesters are arrested, including two members of the punk band Pussy Riot and opposition leader Aleksej Navalnyj. Most are released after a short time. However, Navalnyj and two other opposition leaders are sentenced to around ten days in prison. Navalnyj is placed under house arrest shortly thereafter.

Calls home ambassador to Ukraine

Russia calls home its ambassador to Ukraine since the Kiev parliament deposed Ukrainian, Russian-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych. Prime Minister Medvedev warns that developments in the neighboring country now constitute “a real threat to Russian interests and the lives of Russian citizens”.

Redesign a new electoral system

President Putin signs a new election system. The law means that half of the members of the Duma will henceforth be elected by direct election in one-man election circles. The other half should be chosen proportionally according to party lists. The barrier for parties to enter Parliament is lowered from 7 percent to 5 percent of the vote.

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