By Emre G├╝rkan Abay
Russia Letter, week beginning Jan. 23

-Trump continues making Russia’s headlines

Donald Trump, who become the 45th President of the United States, continues to keep Russian news outlets busy. The main question surely is what will the new Trump era bring for Russia and Russian business.

Russian entrepreneurs, who attended the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, were quite optimistic especially regarding the easing of sanctions against Russia in 2017. While, Russian officials are more reluctant to say sanctions will be quickly removed by the Trump administration, the head of Russia’s second largest bank VTB, Andrey Kostin, said that he believes that U.S. sanctions will be eased by the end of 2017. He added that it should not be expected that the new administration in the U.S. will form a new “friendship” with Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev on the other hand, was more pessimistic. He stated on Sunday in Moscow that sanctions would not be removed in the near future.

He also urged Russian farmers to use this to their advantage by plugging the gap in the Russian market left by the lack of imports to the country due to sanctions.

On a side note, it is believed that Russian sanctions against Turkish agricultural products are still in place.

While uncertainties regarding the Trump era are prevalent in Russia, and in most parts of the world, a statement from the Kremlin signaled a more positive road ahead.

Dimitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said Friday that a meeting could take place between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump in the coming months.


-TurkStream agreement ratified by Duma

The intergovernmental agreement between Turkey and Russia, regarding the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project has been ratified by Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

In the Duma’s written statement, it was noted the project would decrease gas transit risks after 2019 and that Russia could earn up to $750 million annually from the first line of the dual pipeline project.

As for the second line of the project, Duma said that countries which are set to purchase Russian gas through the project need to firstly be determined. 

23 Jan,2017