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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov 2, 2017

TODAY: Putin meets Iranian and Azerbaijani counterparts, praises cooperation and progress in Syria; Rosneft signs $30bln deal with Iran’s national oil company; Gazprom affiliate spent $1m protecting Nord Stream 2; Russia launches channel in China; Chechen authorities to take homophobic attack allegations seriously; Navalny vows to sue Kremlin.

President Vladimir Putin met with his Iranian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Tehran yesterday in the hope that “our cooperation can isolate America”. During the visit, Putin gave his backing to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, and praised their cooperation in Syria. Putin sees the situation in Syria as developing positively, although the opposition has rejected the latest Russia-backed peace initiative (provoking threats of exclusion from the Russian side). Rosneft has signed a road map with the National Iranian Oil Company that will help them implement $30 billion worth of investments. An affiliate of Gazprom apparently spent $1 million in the US lobbying to protect the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany, from sanctions.

Russia has launched a Russian-language television channel in China named Katyusha; Channel One called the launch “one of the most important bilateral achievements” between the two. Novatek signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China National Petroleum Corp. Chechen investigators have launched an investigation into a gay man’s allegations that police tortured him due to his sexual orientation. The BBC offers some background on the new laws regulating the use of VPNs and proxy servers. Is Putin’s Ukraine policybadly backfiring”? Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has vowed to sue the Kremlin over its “coordinated” effort to thwart his campaign for next year’s presidential elections.

The Washington Post anticipates that the Mueller case “will dominate American debate for the next year, at least”. Some images of the ads that Russia bought on social media have been released.

PHOTO: (R-L) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev walk during a meeting in Tehran, Iran November 1, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS