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Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Open newsletter – May 6, 2022

TODAY:

  • AROUND THE WORLD
  • DEFENSE – MILITARY – CYBER
  • HORIZONS
  • TECH

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Bulgaria

  • May 5. By Margarita Assenova, The Jamestown Foundation. Russian President Vladimir Putin miscalculated again when he stopped natural gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria on April 27. Now Russia appears to have lost the gas markets in both countries as they are preparing to permanently wean themselves from Russian energy supplies. The official reason for the sudden severing of gas exports was the refusal of Poland and Bulgaria to pay for the Russian gas in rubles instead of euros or dollars. But the Kremlin ruling on gas payments is notably based on Putin’s March 1 decree on economic measures in retaliation for the “unfriendly actions” of the United States and its allies (Kremlin.ru, March 31). Clearly, Poland was punished for its critical military aid to Ukraine, while Bulgaria was warned to refrain from sending any weapons to the embattled East European country. About Turn: Arms, Oil, Gas and Politics in Bulgaria

China

  • May 5. By Willy Wo-Lap Lam, The Jamestown Foundation. Are President Xi Jinping’s recent turn to liberalized measures on technology firms and his commitment to using infrastructure projects to boost the economy an indication that the supreme leader has adopted a relatively pro-market approach to policymaking? At a late April Politburo meeting, Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), said that Beijing would promote the “healthy development” of the internet platform economy through “normalizing control over the tech sector,” and that specific measures would be taken to boost high technology industries, especially information technology (IT) conglomerates. Xi has also stopped mentioning the goal of “common prosperity,” which has been used as a pretext to squeeze tycoons running multi-billion-dollar technology giants (CCTV.com, May 2; SCMP, April 29). At the same time, Xi is pulling out all the stops to ensure that this year’s GDP growth target of 5.5 percent is reached. The “core of the CCP leadership” has emphasized that the Chinese economy must expand at a higher rate than that of the United States in order to demonstrate “the superiority of the Chinese system” (Deutsche Welle Chinese, April 27; Radio French International, April 27). Xi Jinping Revives Pro-market Policies to Bolster Economy Ahead of 20th Party Congress

Russia – Ukraine

  • May 5. By Vali Kaleji, The Jamestown Foundation. The Russo-Ukrainian war, the extensive sanctions against Russia that the West adopted in response, and the growing possibility that European border states will block east-west transit routes traversing Russian territory into Europe, including the so-called Northern Corridor of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), are all having far-reaching implications for the landlocked countries of Central Asia as well as the South Caucasus. The Middle Corridor or the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), which starts from Southeast Asia and China, and then runs through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia and further to European countries, are increasingly seen as potential alternatives to trade routes relying on Russia (see EDM, April 181920). But another budding option is to develop and link to Iran’s overland transit networks, which offer connections to Turkey, the Middle East and Europe, as well as to Iranian seaports on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of ​​Oman. Construction of Highway and Railway Links Between Zangilan and Nakhchivan: The Views From Baku and Tehran
  • May 5. By Paul Globe, The Jamestown Foundation. Russian combat losses in Ukraine, problems with this year’s spring draft, trouble recruiting volunteers, and difficulties in forcing soldiers to fight abroad in the absence of a declaration of war are prompting ever more questions about how sustainable Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine is at its current level of manning and resourcing (Online.ua, March 2; LBC, April 28). In response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declared yesterday (May 4) that suggestions Moscow would use the May 9 Victory Day commemorations to announce a general mobilization or even officially declare war were “nonsense” (Meduza, March 4). Yet unintentionally, his words had the effect of calling more attention to both the steps Moscow has taken toward mobilization over the last few weeks and to talk inside Russia about whether the country has no choice but to pursue such measures. Debate on Whether Moscow Must Mobilize for Ukrainian War Intensifies Inside Russia
  • May 5. By Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One. One reason the Russian military has struggled to win territory in Ukraine is its lack of a strong corps of non-commissioned officers, or NCOs, which are more crucial than ever to success on the modern battlefield, U.S. military officials and experts say. NCOs: America Has Them, China Wants Them, Russia is Struggling Without Them
  • May 5. By Associated Press, Defense News. The invasion of Ukraine means that fewer Russian tanks and other military hardware will rumble through Moscow’s Red Square on Monday, when the country marks its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. See the weapons at Russia’s Victory Day parade rehearsal
  • May 5. By IAEA. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, today met with the head of Ukraine’s regulatory body, Oleh Korikov, to discuss the Agency’s efforts to help ensure the safety and security of the country’s nuclear facilities during the current conflict. Update 73 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine
  • May 5. By Kateryna Stepanenko, Mason Clark, and George Barros, ISW. The Ukrainian counteroffensive out of Kharkiv city may disrupt Russian forces northeast of Kharkiv and will likely force Russian forces to decide whether to reinforce positions near Kharkiv or risk losing most or all of their positions within artillery range of the city.Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zalyzhnyi stated on May 5 that Ukrainian forces are transitioning to counteroffensive operations around Kharkiv and Izyum, the first direct Ukrainian military statement of a shift to offensive operations. Ukrainian forces did not make any confirmed advances in the last 24 hours but repelled Russian attempts to regain lost positions. Russian forces made few advances in continued attacks in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces may be able to build their ongoing counterattacks and successful repulse of Russian attacks along the Izyum axis into a wider counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied territory in Kharkiv Oblast. Russian Campaign Assessment, May 5
  • May 5. By ISW. The Ukraine Invasion Update is a weekly synthetic product covering key political and rhetorical events related to renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine. This update covers events from April 22 to May 4. All of the ISW Russia’s team’s coverage of the war in Ukraine—including daily military assessments and maps, past Conflict Updates, and several supplemental assessments—are available on our Ukraine Crisis Coverage landing page. Ukraine Invasion Update 25

DEFENSE – MILITARY – CYBER

HORIZONS

  • May 5. By Jongrim HaM. Ayhan Kose, and Franziska Ohnsorge, Brookings. As the old adage goes, all good things come to an end. Gone are the days of low inflation and easy global financial conditions. Many emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) have recently been experiencing an unpleasant combination of elevated inflation and rising borrowing costs. At 8.5 percent in March 2022, inflation in EMDEs has reached its highest level since 2008 (Figure 1). In advanced economies, inflation is now at its highest level since 1991. Global financing conditions are tightening, as major advanced economy central banks are expected to raise policy interest rates at a faster pace than previously anticipated to contain inflationary pressures. Coping with high inflation and borrowing costs in emerging market and developing economies
  • May 5. By Lucy Ashton, IAEA. Hydrogen is expected to play a central role in achieving climate change goals while helping to secure supplies of reliable clean energy worldwide. But with almost all hydrogen currently generated using fossil fuels, shifting to clean production by nuclear power and renewables is urgently needed. That is a challenging prospect, requiring the creation of a new industrial base and supply chains. IAEA to Develop Roadmap for Commercial Deployment of Hydrogen

TECH