Security Exchange News

News By Category: RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Security Exchange Newsletter | January | Europe

31 January 2020

Russia - The country is set to face a new political era, with extensive political reforms expected to be introduced. President Vladimir Putin has already announced the introduction of presidential term limits while granting more political power to parliament. 2020 started with the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was replaced by Mikhail Mishustin. However, the opposition and some members of the international community are sceptical of President Putin’s intentions. Despite some of the measures already being launched, some claim that President Putin is preparing a power grab to remain in control of Russian politics after he leaves in 2024. Despite being considered independent, Putin has long been associated with several political parties, including United Russia. It is still to be seen what the new political reforms will bring to Russia or if they are only cosmetic.

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World Cup 2018: Host City Guide

14 June 2018

Russia will host the 2018 World Cup between 14 June and 15 July. Across 10 cities, more than five million fans and tourists are expected to arrive in the country. Those attending could end up travelling vast distances, with games spread between Ekaterinburg in the east to the exclave of Kaliningrad in the west, more than 3,000km away. For those who are making the journey to Russia, a number of security concerns exist. The principle of these will be terrorism, although petty crime and hooliganism are more likely to affect those making the trip. The UK government has raised concerns over potential anti-English or anti-British sentiment in Russia, which at major sporting events often lead to violent street brawls and clashes among fans. This has prompted the FCO to issue an alert to more than 10,000 British fans heading to Russia, while several UK police officers are being sent to assist local authorities. Russia is also considered to be a hostile nation towards the LGBTI community, to the extent that governments worldwide have issued recommendations to people to avoid same-sex displays of affection in some of the more conservative cities.

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A Brief History of Terrorism

14 June 2018

Throughout the lead up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup, concerns have been raised over the security situation in the country hosting the tournament. A number of terror-related incidents have been reported from various parts of Russia so far this year – some of which have been connected to Islamist terrorism. Both the UK FCO and the US government have identified a high risk of terrorist attack in Russia – partially due to Russia’s military involvement in the conflict in Syria. The North Caucasus area, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, has been particularly highlighted as a risk-prone region to which unnecessary travel should be avoided due to Islamist militants fighting for a regional political entity based on Sharia law. Previous terrorist attacks have targeted major cities as well, including Moscow and St Petersburg, with high casualty figures. In April last year, 15 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the St Petersburg metro. Multiple terror plots have been disrupted by the Russian security forces within the last year – most of which targeted public transport and crowded public places. Various militant groups associated with Islamic State (IS) have also called for attacks in Russia, hoping to inspire ‘lone wolf’ attacks.

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Putin’s Russia: Between Dictatorship and Democracy

14 June 2018

In March Vladimir Putin won Russia’s general election to secure a second consecutive presidential term – his fourth overall. Putin secured around 77 percent of the vote after his main challenger, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, was barred from running due to a conviction for fraud, which he claims was politically motivated. Three years earlier, prominent opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov was assassinated near the Kremlin. A former Chechen army officer was later convicted in a trial that Nemtsov’s family denounced as a cover-up. In the lead up to the 2018 vote, Putin refused to take part in any of the televised debates with the remaining candidates. He didn’t need to; his victory was already guaranteed.

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Tit for Tat

29 March 2018

In the last week, 120 Russian diplomats have been expelled from a collection of European countries, the US, Canada, Australia, Georgia, and NATO. The mass expulsion – which is thought to be the largest of its kind in history – comes after the UK expelled 23 undeclared Russian intelligence officers over allegations of Russian involvement in the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal. As many as 28 countries are thought to have joined the UK in an act of global solidarity against Russia, which has been labelled the most significant action of its kind since the height of the Cold War.

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From Russia With Love

07 March 2018

On Sunday former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was found unconscious in central Salisbury, alongside his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, who was also unconscious. Both are thought to be victims of poisoning. Skripal and his daughter were discovered collapsed on a park bench outside The Maltings shopping centre in the city. They were rushed to the nearby Salisbury District Hospital in a critical condition, where they have since remained with little-to-no improvement. It’s believed the pair were exposed to an unknown harmful substance. The latest reports suggest the substance may have been ingested.

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