Russia in Review, Feb. 7-14, 2020
This Week’s Highlights
- The Pentagon’s $705.4 billion budget request for FY2021 includes $106.6 billion for R&D of modern weapons systems as the U.S. eyes China’s and Russia’s increased capabilities, according to Stars and Stripes. The budget proposes $3.2 billion for hypersonic weapons and envisions a significant new effort to develop intermediate-range missiles, according to the New York Times. The budget proposal has also revealed for the first time that the U.S. intends to create a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has also directed aides to review funding for nearly $100 billion in nonmilitary Pentagon programs to redirect cash toward higher-priority initiatives, such as combating threats from China and Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, however, the European Deterrence Initiative would be funded at $4.5 billion in FY2021 compared to $6 billion in the previous year, according U.S. News and World Report.
- The Trump administration released its new National Counterintelligence Strategy, calling for a “whole-of-society approach” to combat threats from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other foreign countries, according to the Washington Examiner.
- Leaders of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council may meet in September in New York, according to Peter Ilyichev, director of the Department of International Organizations of the Russian Foreign Ministry, according to TASS and Gazeta.ru. Ilyichev’s remarks indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit the U.S. this September. Putin has earlier invited Donald Trump to visit Moscow for a May 9, 2020 military parade.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that his country’s counter-terrorism dialogue with the U.S. resumed last year, but noted lack of progress in extending New START. "We are ready to take part in talks on further reductions and limitations of nuclear weapons in any configuration. We believe that it is mandatory to extend the New START in order to preserve at least some ground for future talks and practical actions," he said, according to Interfax.
- Russians’ trust in Putin dropped to its lowest level since 2013, according to a new poll by Russia’s Levada Center. Some 35 percent of respondents said they trusted Putin most among several of the country’s top political figures, according to the poll, down from 59 percent in November 2017, RFE/RL reports.
- A draft of a new edition of Russia's National Security Strategy will be drawn up this year and the country’s Security Council has asked Russia’s expert community to come up with proposals for measures on countering pressure on Russia as well as threats that emerge due to degradation of arms control and an increase in the number of international hotspots, according to Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
- Putin's spokesman told reporters that Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, is now the most senior Kremlin official when it comes to Ukraine. The Ukrainian president’s new chief of staff Andriy Yermak said Kozak was an improvement on Vladislav Surkov and Russia wishes to "wrap up the situation in Donbas," Yermak said, according to Interfax and Reuters.
I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda
- No significant developments.
North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:
- Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Ambassador Oleg Burmistrov met on Feb. 13 with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Alex Wong to discuss North Korean issues. The talks "emphasized the importance of continuing coordinating efforts of all involved parties in the interests of the settlement of sub-region’s problems," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. (TASS, 02.13.20)
Iran and its nuclear program:
- No significant developments.
New Cold War/saber rattling:
- The Pentagon on Feb. 10 requested its largest-ever investment in innovation and next-generation weapons as part of a $705.4 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, as the United States eyes increased military capabilities by its great-power competitors, China and Russia. (Stars and Stripes, 02.10.20)
- The Trump administration has begun to put a price tag on its growing arms race with Russia and China. In the 2021 budget, the administration revealed for the first time that it intended to create a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead, named the W93. Its development is part of a proposed 19 percent increase this year, to $19.8 billion, for the NNSA. There is also $15.5 billion scheduled for development and deployment of new space assets. Buried in the budget is a significant new effort to develop intermediate-range missiles. The budget also proposes $3.2 billion for hypersonic weapons. (New York Times, 02.10.20)
- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has directed aides to review funding for nearly $100 billion in nonmilitary Pentagon programs to find cash to redirect toward initiatives considered higher-priority, such as combating threats from China and Russia. The transferred money would be reinvested in nuclear modernization, space, missile defense, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and next-generation communications and force "readiness." (The Washington Post, 02.10.20, Wall Street Journal, 02.10.20)
- Budget proposals for fiscal 2021 released Feb. 10 call for $4.5 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, a fund started by the Obama administration in the aftermath of Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine. The latest proposal represents a precipitous drop from the $6 billion enacted for the current fiscal year and $6.5 billion the year before. (U.S. News and World Report, 02.10.20)
- “Candidly speaking, the Chinese are better prepared to have an arms race and to do what they want than the Russians ever were,” U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said. (AP, 02.13.20)
- U.S. Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy of NORAD says the United States and Canada have lost their military advantage in the Arctic to Russia. (Canadian Press, 02.13.20)
- A pair of Russian satellites appear to be following an American satellite in an “unusual and disturbing” manner, the head of the United States’ newly formed Space Force has said. (The Moscow Times, 02.11.20)
- The Trump administration released its new National Counterintelligence Strategy on Feb. 10, calling for a “whole-of-society approach” to combat threats from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other foreign countries. (Washington Examiner, 02.10.20)
- German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier took an indirect swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 14 in accusing Washington, China and Russia of stoking global mistrust and insecurity with a "great powers" competition that could threaten a new nuclear arms race. (Reuters, 02.14.20)
- NATO Defense Ministers wrapped up two days of discussions in Brussels on Feb. 13 addressing key issues including NATO’s mission in Iraq and support for Afghanistan. The allies addressed the challenge posed by Russia’s SSC-8 system and other Russian missile systems, conventional and nuclear. (NATO, 02.13.20)
- China was not on the formal agenda when Esper met with allies at NATO headquarters Feb. 12 and Feb. 13, but he made a point of publicly expressing American concerns. “I’ve raised it every time I’ve been here, about the ‘great power’ competition with China and Russia—but China in particular,” he said. (AP, 02.13.20)
- The U.S. Army is establishing a new military headquarters to coordinate with European allies in countering potential threats from Russia. The new Fifth Corps headquarters will be based at Fort Knox, Ky., and will include more than 600 troops, the Army said. About 200 soldiers will take turns rotating through Europe once a site for a European command post is selected. (Wall Street Journal, 02.12.20)
- The proportion of people who have a favorable view of NATO dropped at least 10 percentage points in the U.S., France and Germany between 2017 and 2019, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. A median of 50 percent of respondents in 16 NATO member states believe their country should not defend a fellow NATO ally against a potential attack from Russia, with the share of those who hold such view reaching 66 percent in Italy, 60 percent in Germany and 53 percent in France. (Financial Times, 02.09.20)
- No significant developments.
Nuclear arms control:
- America’s NATO allies are also concerned about the possibility that the Trump administration will not take Moscow up on its offer to extend the New START treaty before it expires next February. In addition, some European officials have questioned the wisdom of an American decision to deploy a submarine-launched missile armed with a lower-yield nuclear warhead. (AP, 02.13.20)
- "We are ready to take part in talks on further reductions and limitations of nuclear weapons in any configuration. We believe that it is mandatory to extend the New START in order to preserve at least some ground for future talks and practical actions," Lavrov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta. "If China suddenly changes its mind, we will be participating in multilateral negotiations. But we will not be persuading Beijing to do so," he said. (Interfax, 02.10.20)
- Lavrov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that counter-terrorism dialogue with the U.S. resumed last year. Lavrov said the U.S. over the past few years has on a couple of occasions shared information that helped prevent terrorist attacks in Russia. "We have been sharing relevant information, too, since the Boston Marathon incident. It looks like we’ve resumed contacts," Lavrov said. (TASS, 02.10.20)
Conflict in Syria:
- Russia is intensifying a pressure campaign on U.S. military forces in northeastern Syria, American military and diplomatic officials say. Russian military personnel have increasingly had run-ins with U.S. troops on highways in the region, breaking agreements between the two countries to steer clear of each other. Russian helicopters are flying closer to American troops. (New York Times, 02.14.20)
- U.S. soldiers killed one person in Syria’s Hasakah region after their vehicles were stopped at a checkpoint, according to Syrian and Turkish media. The U.S.-led coalition in Syria said its patrol troops “returned fire” after coming “under small arms fire from unknown individuals.” The Russian military in Syria said the clashes erupted because the U.S. convoy “deviated from its route.” “Further escalation of the conflict was prevented thanks only to the efforts of Russian servicemen who arrived at the scene,” the Russian military claimed. (The Moscow Times, 02.13.20)
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Feb. 12 accused Russia of committing "massacres" in its support of the Syrian government and threatened to strike Syrian regime forces "everywhere" if its soldiers come under renewed attack.. The Turkish military has lost 14 soldiers in the past nine days and claims to have killed more than 100 Syrian troops. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- Russia hit back at Erdogan and accused the Turks of failing to "neutralize terrorists" in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib The Kremlin has earlier said that all attacks on Russian and Syrian government forces in Syria's Idlib province should stop and that agreements it had struck with Turkey on the conflict had to be upheld. (Reuters, 02.11.20, RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Alexei Yerkhov, faces threats over the Moscow-backed military campaign in Syria, the envoy said four years after his predecessor’s assassination. (The Moscow Times, 02.14.20)
- A Russian submarine officer in Syria has been discharged for drinking and cursing at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s portrait after finding out that his tour in Syria would be extended. (The Moscow Times, 02.12.20)
- A court in Moscow has fined Twitter and Facebook for failing to move Russian user data onto servers in Russian territory. The Tagansky district court on Feb. 13 ordered the global behemoths to pay 4 million rubles ($63,336) each for violating a law that obliges social-media companies to store their clients' data solely inside the country. (RFE/RL, 02.13.20)
- A Russian government agency has proposed banning the use of foreign information technology for critical national infrastructure, a draft government order shows, as Moscow moves to step up its control over the internet within its borders. (Reuters, 02.11.20)
- Russia's Federal Security Service has ordered some of the country's major internet companies to give it continuous access to their systems, The Bell investigative website reported Feb. 11, citing three sources at the firms. (Reuters, 02.12.20)
- Trump administration officials investigating the government's response to Russia's election interference in 2016 appear to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow's covert operation. (New York Times, 02.14.20)
- The U.S. attorney general said the president’s tweets about ongoing criminal cases had made it “impossible” to do his job. The reprimand by William Barr followed intense criticism of the Justice Department this week after it sought a more lenient sentence for a close associate of Trump’s, Roger Stone, following a presidential tweet that attacked prosecutors’ handling of the case. All four prosecutors quit the case against Stone when Barr withdrew their initial sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years in jail. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and trying to block a witness in order to impede an investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign. (Financial Times, 02.13.20, New York Times, 02.11.20)
- Facebook on Feb. 12 removed two unconnected networks of accounts, pages and groups “engaging in foreign or government interference,” one originating in Russia and the other one in Iran, both of which have alleged ties to intelligence services. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
Energy exports from CIS:
- Russia’s key oil producers voiced support for the idea of extending OPEC+ output cuts into the second quarter, as the global oil market awaits a definitive response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Bloomberg, 02.12.20)
U.S.-Russian economic ties:
- No significant developments.
U.S.-Russian relations in general:
- Leaders of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council may meet in September 2020 during the UNGA in New York, said Peter Ilyichev of the Russian Foreign Ministry. (TASS/Gazeta.ru, 02.11.20)
- "U.S. President Donald Trump, too, says that we should get along well. The United States has sent its new ambassador to Moscow—John Sullivan. He vows that he would like to help make progress on some issues, but relations between the two countries must be normalized first. The outlook for concrete steps is rather hazy," Lavrov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta. (TASS, 02.10.20)
- Attorney General William Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to scrutinize the criminal case against Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn,. (New York Times, 02.14.20)
- A Moscow court decided on Feb. 10 to extend until May 13 the house arrest of U.S. investor Michael Calvey, an executive at private equity group Baring Vostok who faces charges of embezzlement. (Reuters, 02.10.20)
- The U.S. Treasury has justified sanctions against Oleg Deripaska by citing reports that Deripaska helped Putin launder money. In a letter sent to Deripaska’s lawyers, the Office of Foreign Assets Control writes that Deripaska was in 2016 “reportedly identified as one of the individuals holding assets and laundering funds on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” (Financial Times, 02.14.20)
- In letters to Harvard and Yale, the U.S. Education Department wrote that it was investigating whether the two Ivy League universities had failed to report at least $375 million from countries including China, Iran, Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. A Harvard spokesman said: “We’re reviewing it and beginning to start to compile our response to the Department of Education, which is going to take some time.” (New York Times, 02.20.20)
- Russia has added the legal entity of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news organization to its list of “foreign agent” media Feb. 12 under a controversial law that requires listed outlets to disclose their funding sources. In addition, police in Russia are investigating news outlets BBC Russian, Radio Liberty and Meduza after lawmakers accused them of promoting drug use, Interfax reported Feb. 13. (The Moscow Times, 02.14.20, The Moscow Times, 02.13.20)
II. Russia’s domestic policies
Domestic politics, economy and energy:
- Russians’ trust in Putin has fallen over the past two years, according to a new poll, dropping to its lowest level since 2013, the year after he returned to the presidency. Some 35 percent of respondents said they trusted Putin most among several of the country’s top political figures, according to the Levada Center poll, down from 59 percent in November 2017. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- A report by Central Bank analysts said the bank sees GDP up 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year compared with the fourth quarter of 2019 and that it expects recent key rate cuts to help inflation return to its 4 percent target by the end of the year. (Reuters, 02.12.20)
- The Central Bank of Russia has switched tactics from running a prudent monetary policy to a more aggressive attempt to stimulate economic growth following its Feb. 7 decision to shave another 25bp off the key monetary policy rate to 6 percent, say analysts. (bne Intellinews, 02.10.20)
- Putin's senior adviser on climate change said Russia failed to achieve Putin’s goal of reducing the share of fossil fuels in the country’s economy by 40 percent from 2007-2020. The actual decrease was just 12 percent. (The Moscow Times, 02.10.20)
- More than 3 million Russians face foreign travel bans as of the end of 2019 due to unpaid financial debt, Interfax reported, citing data from the Federal Service of Court Bailiffs. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- Putin said on Feb. 13 Russia would not legalize gay marriage as long as he was in the Kremlin. (Reuters, 02.14.20)
- At least five people fled coronavirus quarantine across Russia, local news media reported on Feb. 14, citing frustration, erratic and inconsistent government policies, and bad conditions in the hospitals where they were held. (New York Times, 02.14.20)
Defense and aerospace:
- A meeting Feb. 13 chaired by Putin on amending the Russian Constitution featured a proposal that the constitution refer to Russia's massive nuclear arsenal as a tool to deter aggression. Putin responded that even though the nuclear weapons play a key role now, future weapons could overtake them as a top deterrent. (AP, 02.13.20)
- Studies have commenced in Russia on a super long-range air-to-air missile with a splitting warhead, and work is currently underway to determine the characteristics and composition of the prospective system. One of the candidates under consideration is the future intermediate-range K-77M aircraft missile, Izvestia reported Feb. 13. (Defense World, 02.14.20)
Security, law-enforcement and justice:
- A new edition of Russia's National Security Strategy will be drafted this year, the Russian Security Council press service said. As part of the effort to draft the strategy, the Security Council has asked Russia’s expert community to come up with proposals for measures on countering pressure on Russia as well as threats that emerge due to degradation of arms control and an increase in the number of international hotspots, according to Rossiiskaya Gazeta. (Interfax, 02.10.20, Russia Matters, 02.10.20)
- A Russian newspaper says that a married couple faces criminal charges for photographs taken at their wedding five years ago and published online that reveal the identity of a counterintelligence officer with Russia’s main security agency. (RFE/RL, 02.11.20)
- A court in southern Russia has sentenced a scientist to seven and a half years in prison for treason, TASS reported Feb. 13. Investigators accused Alexei Temirev of sending state secrets to Vietnam. (The Moscow Times, 02.13.20)
- A court in central Russia has jailed members of an anti-fascist activist group for up to 18 years on terrorism charges. Seven members of the group Set were detained on suspicion that they had planned attacks during the 2018 presidential election and the football World Cup. However, the rights groups say that the case is “fabricated” and based on testimonies obtained through torture. (The Moscow Times, 02.10.20)
- Two Jehovah's Witnesses have been convicted of extremism in Russia and four more arrested, one of whom reported being tortured in custody, the religious group said Feb. 14. (AP, 02.14.20)
III. Russia’s relations with other countries
Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:
- The U.N. Security Council has adopted a resolution calling for a “lasting cease-fire” in war-torn Libya, as Russia abstained from the vote following its objections to the language of the text. Russia had pushed to replace the word "mercenaries" with "foreign terrorist fighters." (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- Russia's foreign minister visited Venezuela last week in a show of support for Nicolas Maduro, as Moscow tries to bolster the South American country's president. Speaking at a joint press conference in Caracas after talks with Maduro on Feb. 7, Lavrov vowed to boost bilateral trade between the two countries and to develop cooperation in the energy, mining, medical and agricultural sectors. (RFE/RL, 02.07.20)
- Russia will welcome a more integral and independent post-Brexit European Union if it is not achieved by means of Russophobia, Lavrov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta. (TASS, 02.10.20)
- Russia says it has asked Canada to hand over case files on a 95-year-old former Nazi death-squad member Helmut Oberlander to help Moscow investigate the mass murder of children at a Soviet orphanage during World War II. Oberlander was born in Ukraine and became a German citizen during the war. (RFE/RL, 02.14.20)
- Portugal has frozen the bank accounts of Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, who claims Russian citizenship by birth and is suspected of fraud in her native Angola. (The Moscow Times, 02.12.20)
- A controversial order by Russia's Ministry of Education and Science that restricted interaction between Russian scholars and their foreign counterparts last year has been rescinded. (RFE/RL, 02.10.20)
- Close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron Benjamin Griveaux on Feb. 14 pulled out of next month’s race to become mayor of Paris after Russian dissident artist Peter Pavlensky said the candidate had sent sexual images to a woman who was not his wife. (The Moscow Times, 02.14.20)
- An elite apartment registered under Queen Elizabeth II’s name is up for sale in central Moscow, the online tabloid 7days.ru reported Feb. 11. (The Moscow Times, 02.12.20)
China-Russia: Allied or Aligned?
- All charter flights from Russia to China have been stopped as of Feb. 14 due to the spread of the coronavirus. (RFE/RL, 02.14.20)
- Russia discharged a Chinese national from hospital in the Siberian city of Chita on Feb. 12 after he recovered from a coronavirus infection. (Reuters, 02.12.20)
- A top Chinese diplomat has been quarantined by Russian authorities as a safety precaution against the coronavirus outbreak. The diplomat, Consul General Cui Shaochun, had arrived in Yekaterinburg to take up his new post but had not yet met with any Russian diplomats. (The Washington Post, 02.10.20)
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Putin have discussed by phone preparations for a new summit in the so-called Normandy format and a possible prisoner swap, Zelenskiy's office said on Feb. 14. The Kremlin said on Feb. 14 that during the talks, Putin "directly" asked Zelenskiy if Kyiv plans to fully comply with the 2015 Minsk peace agreement (RFE/RL, 02.14.20)
- Zelenskiy has fired his chief of staff Andriy Bogdan who had caused unease because of his previous ties to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. In Bogdan’s place, Zelensky named Andriy Yermak. In his prior role as presidential adviser, Yermak had served as the Ukrainian leader’s diplomatic back channel for peace talks with Russia and relations with the West. Yermak was also involved in negotiating prisoner swaps with Russia. In addition, evidence gathered during Trump's impeachment hearing shows Rudolph Giuliani met with Yermak to "strongly" urge an investigation Trump wanted of Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son's ties to Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. (RFE/RL, 02.11.20, Reuters, 02.11.20, Financial Times, 02.11.20).
- Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, was now the most senior Kremlin official when it came to Ukraine. Yermak said Feb. 10 that he had met Kozak and thought he was an improvement on Surkov. Russia wishes to "wrap up the situation in Donbas," Yermak said Feb. 10. (Interfax, 02.11.20, Reuters, 02.11.20)
- Lavrov has stated that Russia is ready to exchange ambassadors with Ukraine again. (Interfax, 02.10.20)
- Two top officials who gave damaging testimony in the U.S. House of Representatives' impeachment hearings of Trump have been ousted from their positions following Trump’s acquittal in a Senate trial. The officials are U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Amb. Gordon Sondland. (RFE/RL, 02.08.20)
- That amount for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative last year, $250 million, will again be included in the Pentagon budget released Feb. 10. (U.S. News and World Report, 02.10.20)
- Ukraine's military says 2,576 units of its weaponized armored vehicles and equipment were damaged between April 2014 and June 2016 in the combat zone of the two easternmost regions. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- Pope Francis received Zelenskiy and his wife at the Vatican on Feb. 8. “I asked for help with the release of Ukrainians captured in the Donbas, Crimea and Russia,” Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter. (RFE/RL, 02.08.20)
- The number of Russians who believe Russia was responsible for the downing of the MH17 has increased five-fold to 10 percent from 2 percent in 2015, according to a new study from the Levada Center. (The Moscow Times, 02.14.20)
- Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office in Lviv suspects an underworld criminal and a police major of collusion in the arson of a vehicle belonging to RFE/RL correspondent Halyna Tereshchuk. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:
- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Feb. 14 that Russia insisted on merging the two states during last week's talks on further integrating the countries' economies. “They understand integration as swallowing up Belarus. This isn't integration. It's incorporation. I will never go for this,” Lukashenko said. Lukashenka has also said Belarus would start taking oil from a transit pipeline if Russia does not supply its neighbor with the required volumes of crude, the state news agency BelTA reports. (AP, 02.14.20, RFE/RL, 02.14.20)
- Amid a push from Russia for closer ties, Belarus is considering adopting a new national coat of arms that pointedly looks west. The new emblem shows a map of Western Europe and the Atlantic Ocean, a politically pointed change from the former emblem, which showed Russia and Eurasia. (RFE/RL, 02.13.20)
- Meeting in Brussels on Feb. 12, EU ambassadors approved a one-year extension of the bloc's arms embargo on Belarus, as well as asset freezes and visa bans on four Belarusian citizens. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- The death toll in violent ethnic clashes last week between Kazakhs and ethnic Dungans in Kazakhstan's south, which shocked the Central Asian nation, has risen to 11. (RFE/RL, 02.13.20)
- Kyrgyzstan says Russia plans to install new air- and missile-defense equipment and drones at its air base near the former Soviet republic's northern city of Kant. (RFE/RL, 02.13.20)
- Azerbaijan's ruling Yeni Azerbaijan (New Azerbaijan) party says it has won at least 72 seats in the 125-seat parliament in the Feb. 9 elections. (RFE/RL, 02.12.20)
- Armenia is set to hold a referendum on constitutional changes April 5, in an attempt by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to remove a majority of judges at the country’s Constitutional Court. (RFE/RL, 02.10.20)
- No significant developments.