Russia Geopolitical Watch – from 11 March to 17 March 2023

Russia Watch Team:  Arnaud Huss, Nicolas Girard, Corentin DelonErwann Leyral, Emeline Palvany, led by Ilinka Léger and Enzo Padovan.

The files we followSanctions against Russia ; Russian economy; Russian domestic politics; Defence and military in Russia; Russian diplomacy in Africa and Asia; Soft power and Russian influence; Russia and multilateralism.

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Defence and military in Russia – Nicolas Girard

On 14th March, a US drone crashed into the Black Sea after a collision with Russian fighter jets. According to the official statement of the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian jets did not shoot nor collided with the American drone. They only followed the unmanned aircraft after it violated Russian airspace above the Black Sea, near the coasts of Crimea. Adversely, the United States Department of Defence stated that the Russian fighters jets flew in a manner that destabilised the US drone, leading to its crash into the sea. According to US authorities, the drone was conducting routine operations in international airspace and never violated Russian airspace.

On 15th March, on the initiative of the US Secretary of Defense, phone calls were held between Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu. According to the statement published on the Russian Defence Ministry website, facts were mentioned even though each part sees them differently. Russia pointed out the provocative aspect of the US flights near its borders and sovereign airspace. Russia also expressed that it would not want relations to deteriorate any further but that it will respond firmly to potential provocations. 

Russian diplomacy in Africa and Asia – Enzo Padovan

On 14th March, the Russian comedian Danila Poperechny held a performance in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital city. During the event, the artist’s microphone was deactivated, whenever he expressed himself on topics related to the Ukrainian issue. “At least 50 minutes of material were “blacked out” at the behest of local law enforcement”, Danila Poperechny explained on his Instagram account, before ironically adding “I felt like home”. Therefore, numerous comments on the Russian power have been silenced, and the comedian apologised to his fans, giving them the option to ask for a refund.

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