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Russia: weekly report (07.05-12.05)

This report presents key events that had an important impact on political, economic and social processes within Russia.

According to the results of the past week the following tendencies can be defined in the following theses:

  • One of the main events in Russia last week (purely from a symbolic point of view) was the inauguration of Vladimir Putin, which took place without any major surprises. The main discussion was not so much a question of meanings – even the inauguration speech had little content, let alone the ritual itself. The main thesis of the speech – People Saving – looks like nonsense in modern Russia. More attention was paid to how many foreign guests arrived at the inauguration, which ambassadors came, and which ones ignored the ceremony. The appearance of certain characters of contemporary Russian politics was also discussed, primarily in an attempt to understand the upcoming personnel reshuffles in the government. The inauguration procedure itself had no great significance for contemporary political life, despite the fact that Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, even proposed that Inauguration Day be declared a national holiday and a day off.
  • The Victory Parade in 2024 was intended to show devotion to tradition. Victory over Hitler’s Germany is the most important component of modern Russian ideology. However, the significance of the holiday is gradually being lost – in the measure of the cooling of relations with European countries and the turn to the East. Previously, Victory Day was not only a day of remembrance of the victims and the victors – it was also a day to remind the European states liberated by the Red Army, as well as allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, of the influence of the USSR and Russia on political processes in Europe. Now, in the conditions of confrontation with NATO, this holiday is held under the unspoken slogan “We can do it again”. But if the current political processes in the world move to a different plane, Russia finally closes its illusions about advancing into Europe, and relations with China strengthen, the ideological vector will be shifted from May 9 to September 2, the day of Japan’s surrender, and in this process the USSR also played the most decisive role (the surrender of the Kwantung Army and the capture of Harbin was more important for the surrender than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). 
  • The talks between Putin and Pashinyan are particularly important in the context of recent Russian-Armenian relations. Official Yerevan is very jealous of the rapprochement between Russia and Azerbaijan. At the level of the Armenian leadership there have been statements hinting that Russia has betrayed Armenia and “surrendered” the previous agreements to Istanbul and Baku. Russia has repeatedly accused Armenia of acting against Russian interests in the international arena. As a result, Putin and Pashinyan needed to communicate in a calm atmosphere, laying their cards on the table. Judging by the tone of Pashinyan’s speeches, Yerevan does not intend to escalate the conflict with Moscow – at least at this stage. Thus, we can assume that the conflict is (partially) over. 

This digest looks at the following issues that were most relevant to Russia between May 7th and May 12th:

1. Putin’s inauguration;

2. Meeting of the Supreme Euroasian Economic Council;

3. Vladimir Putin meets with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan;

4. Vladimir Putin meets with Uzbek President Shavkvat Mirziyoyev

5. Victory Parade on Red Square;

6. Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Denis Manturov and Sergei Chemezov;

7. Destruction of a residential building in Belgorod.

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This report presents key events that had an important impact on political, economic and social processes within Russia.

According to the results of the past week the following tendencies can be defined in the following theses:

  • One of the main events in Russia last week (purely from a symbolic point of view) was the inauguration of Vladimir Putin, which took place without any major surprises. The main discussion was not so much a question of meanings – even the inauguration speech had little content, let alone the ritual itself. The main thesis of the speech – People Saving – looks like nonsense in modern Russia. More attention was paid to how many foreign guests arrived at the inauguration, which ambassadors came, and which ones ignored the ceremony. The appearance of certain characters of contemporary Russian politics was also discussed, primarily in an attempt to understand the upcoming personnel reshuffles in the government. The inauguration procedure itself had no great significance for contemporary political life, despite the fact that Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, even proposed that Inauguration Day be declared a national holiday and a day off.
  • The Victory Parade in 2024 was intended to show devotion to tradition. Victory over Hitler’s Germany is the most important component of modern Russian ideology. However, the significance of the holiday is gradually being lost – in the measure of the cooling of relations with European countries and the turn to the East. Previously, Victory Day was not only a day of remembrance of the victims and the victors – it was also a day to remind the European states liberated by the Red Army, as well as allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, of the influence of the USSR and Russia on political processes in Europe. Now, in the conditions of confrontation with NATO, this holiday is held under the unspoken slogan “We can do it again”. But if the current political processes in the world move to a different plane, Russia finally closes its illusions about advancing into Europe, and relations with China strengthen, the ideological vector will be shifted from May 9 to September 2, the day of Japan’s surrender, and in this process the USSR also played the most decisive role (the surrender of the Kwantung Army and the capture of Harbin was more important for the surrender than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). 
  • The talks between Putin and Pashinyan are particularly important in the context of recent Russian-Armenian relations. Official Yerevan is very jealous of the rapprochement between Russia and Azerbaijan. At the level of the Armenian leadership there have been statements hinting that Russia has betrayed Armenia and “surrendered” the previous agreements to Istanbul and Baku. Russia has repeatedly accused Armenia of acting against Russian interests in the international arena. As a result, Putin and Pashinyan needed to communicate in a calm atmosphere, laying their cards on the table. Judging by the tone of Pashinyan’s speeches, Yerevan does not intend to escalate the conflict with Moscow – at least at this stage. Thus, we can assume that the conflict is (partially) over. 

This digest looks at the following issues that were most relevant to Russia between May 7th and May 12th:

1. Putin’s inauguration;

2. Meeting of the Supreme Euroasian Economic Council;

3. Vladimir Putin meets with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan;

4. Vladimir Putin meets with Uzbek President Shavkvat Mirziyoyev

5. Victory Parade on Red Square;

6. Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Denis Manturov and Sergei Chemezov;

7. Destruction of a residential building in Belgorod.

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