RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#266 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 30 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#266 :: Wednesday 31 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. http://en.ukraina.ru: Ukrainian MP counts 217 Kremlin agents in the […]

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Ukraine May Leave Crimea’s Fate to Next Generation, Premier Says

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany and Kateryna Choursina – December 30, 2014) Ukraine may have to leave the fate of Crimea to future generations, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, a day after the president said the country can’t afford to take back its rebel-held areas by force. The government in Kiev and its allies have condemned the March annexation […]

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Oliver Stone Interviews Yanukovych for Documentary on U.S. ‘Coup’ in Ukraine

Oliver Stone

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 31, 2014) Hollywood film producer Oliver Stone has said he wants to make a four-hour documentary telling the “dirty story” of the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in what he believes was a “coup” organized with the help of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. “A dirty story through and through, but […]

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Interfax: Ukraine crisis caused by USSR’s “reckless” dismantling – Gorbachev

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Interfax – Moscow, December 30, 2014) Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev believes that the world was on the brink of a major disaster in 2014. In an interview with Interfax he said this concerned not just relations between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, but events in global politics as a whole. As for relations between Ukraine and […]

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Interfax: Russian foreign minister: we are not interested in alienation or confrontation between Russia, West

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Interfax – December 29, 2014) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has given an interview with Interfax, in which he summed up the results of this foreign policy year and spoke about the priorities of Russian diplomacy in 2015 Question: Year 2014 was marked by a difficult conflict between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine, and many people […]

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What to Expect From 2015, The Year of The Goat

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – December 31, 2014) After a tumultuous 2014, many Russians who light-heartedly turn to the Chinese astrological calendar for cues during their New Year’s celebrations may welcome the symbol of the coming year –a timid, amiable sheep. Depending on the translation, the animal may also be known as a goat or a ram, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#265 table of contents with links :: Monday 29 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#265 :: Monday 29 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Russia Beyond the Headlines: Russians still ‘happy’ despite economic difficulties, say sociologists. […]

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Interfax: Settlement of crisis in Ukraine in 2015 is not only possible, but realistic – Lavrov in interview with Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – The resolution of the crisis in Ukraine is quite possible in 2015, but only if Kyiv and southeastern Ukraine reach agreements without outside influence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “As to the crisis in Ukraine, its resolution is not only possible, but quite realistic,” he said in an interview with Interfax, responding to a […]

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Russia’s Media Machine Looks West

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Glenn Kates – December 29, 2014) It’s May 2 in Odesa and a doctor is trying desperately to rescue pro-Russian protesters — more than 40 of whom will die — trapped in the Ukrainian city’s labor-union building. “As a doctor I rushed to give help to the one who could be rescued, but I was stopped […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#264 table of contents with links :: Saturday 27 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#264 :: Saturday 27 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Russia Direct: The Russian media forecasts a gloomy 2015. 2. BBC: […]

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RIA Novosti: NATO will be useful if it drops its geopolitical ambitions – Russian envoy

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage

(RIA Novosti – December 26, 2014) Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko has said that NATO is beginning to realize that it cannot overcome the current crisis in European security without Russia, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 26 December. “My impression is that among many NATO member states, first of all the […]

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Best of 2014: People of the year

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – December 22, 2014) The year 2014 was complicated, with groundbreaking events aplenty on the political scene, as well as in technology, media and numerous cultural spheres. RBTH presents the Russians who in its view played the most noteworthy roles in politics, science, and culture this year. 1. […]

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China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion

China Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – December 22, 2014) Two Chinese ministers offered support for Russia as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up the ruble without depleting foreign-exchange reserves. China will provide help if needed and is confident Russia can overcome its economic difficulties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a Dec. 20 report by Hong […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#263 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 23 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#263 :: Tuesday 23 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Richard Sakwa: Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands. 2. The Daily […]

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Putin goes

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(opendemocracy.net – Aleksandr Morozov – December 22, 2014) Russian journalist , political analyst . Since August of 2011 – editor in chief of ” Russian Journal” , the director of the Center for Media Research UNIK Until ‘Black Tuesday’ on 16 December 2014, fifteen years after he first took power, there were no grounds for any consideration of whether Putin […]

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Putin stays

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(opendemocracy.net – Chris Weafer – December 22, 2014) Chris Weafer is the co-founder of Macro Advisory, and former Chief Strategist at Sberbank CIB. He served for four years as Chief Strategist with Uralsib Financial Corporation and for five years with Alfa Bank. The Kremlin has adopted a deliberate strategy – to let the rouble continue falling as the “lesser of […]

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The rouble crisis in Siberia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Fofanova – December 17, 2014) Anna Fofanova is a Tomsk-based editor and journalist. As the rouble collapses, residents of Tomsk have long memories – from Black Tuesday 1994 to Black Tuesday 2014. Tomsk is a provincial city in the best sense of the word. Indeed, as the largest centre for education and science on the other side […]

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Russians in Biggest Cities Feel the Most Pain from Crisis, Gudkov Says

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 22, 2014) Russians living in the largest cities, the people who benefited the most from the oil-driven boom of the last decade, now feel the greatest concern about the impact on their lives of the economic crisis because they are better informed than those in smaller ones and rural areas, a […]

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Does anybody in Russia care about the ruble?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Bovt, special to RBTH – December 19, 2014) After becoming two times poorer in real terms since the beginning of the year due to the collapse of the ruble, Russians could well have taken to the streets to protest against the government’s economic policies. Why hasn’t that happened? And why is mass […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#262 table of contents with links :: Monday 22 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#262 :: Monday 22 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. The Guardian: Ian Traynor, US campaign behind the turmoil in […]

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A New Genre in Russian Commentary – Thinking about Russia after Putin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 20, 2014) In the minds of some, Vladimir Putin used his press conference this week to demonstrate his conviction that he will remain president of Russia forever (replika.com.ua/ru/3_politika/ zadacha_putina_probivat_na_ prochnost_zapadnuyu_koalitsiyu), ever more Russian commentators are asking “What will be the situation after Putin?” Among those doing so is Daniil Kotsyubinsky, a […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#261 table of contents with links :: Saturday 20 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#261 :: Saturday 20 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. New York Times: Putin Cites Claim About U.S. Designs on Siberia […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#260 table of contents with links :: Friday 19 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#260 :: Friday 19 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Interfax: Russian Labor Ministry reports natural population growth in 2014. […]

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The oil price is all that matters regarding Russia

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – December 19, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. The key takeaway concerning the economy and the ruble from President Valdimir Putin’s press conference on December 18 is that the Kremlin does not have any strategy or plan to try and pull out of this […]

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How does the 2014 ruble crisis compare with the 1998 vintage?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 17, 2014) The ruble’s crash on December 15 from RUB53 to nearly RUB80 vs the dollar has caused many commentators to compare this crisis to Russia’s financial collapse in 1998. Is Russia really going into a full-scale meltdown for the fourth time in two decades? Crashing oil prices […]

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Interfax: Russian Labor Ministry reports natural population growth in 2014

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

MOSCOW. Dec 19 (Interfax) – A natural population growth in Russia stood at 37,100 in January-October 2014, Labor and Social Protection Minister Maxim Topilin said. “On the whole, natural population growth amounted to 37,100 people in January-October 2014. It grew by 23,200 persons compared with the relevant period of 2013,” the ministry press service quoted Topilin as saying on Friday. […]

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Russia’s Increasing Alienation from West ‘Only Partially’ Result of Putin’s Actions, Bunin and Makarkin Say

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 19, 2014) Many in Moscow and the West believe that Vladimir Putin bears complete responsibility for the breakdown in relations between Russia, on the one hand, and Europe and the United States, on the other, and thus they believe that if he changes course or is replaced, a more positive partnership […]

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Is the protest movement dead? Street politics: Reform agenda loses appeal as pressure on the economy grows.

Moscow Protest file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Krol, Yevgeny Levkovich, special to RBTH – December 16, 2014) Three years ago, Russia witnessed its largest anti-government protests since the early Nineties, with four mass demonstrations in a month, the largest of which drew an estimated 150,000 people to the streets of Moscow. Today, opposition rallies struggle to attract 10,000. President […]

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Russia doomed to recession (excerpt)

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 19, 2014) [Full text and charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/russia-doomed-recession] 1.0 Economics 1.1 Economics overview The mood amongst Russia watchers is as black as it has always been in the midst of one of Russia’s major crises. The forecasts for 2015 are almost – but not unanimously – bleak. The crash of […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#259 table of contents with links :: Thursday 18 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#259 :: Thursday 18 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. AP: 80 Percent of Russians Back Putin Even as Ruble […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#258 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 17 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#258 :: Wednesday 17 December 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Sputnik: Medvedev: ‘Russia Has Experienced Tragic Events in Ukraine as Our Own Pain’ 2. www.rt.com: ‘Dating that will never end in […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Says Poroshenko Seeks Peace in Ukraine, But Many Others Want War

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

Russian President Putin commented on ecomomic blockade of Donbas, humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s southeast and Poroshenko’s commitment to restoring peace in the country. MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is looking to restore peace in his country, but many senior officials are opposed to this idea, Russian President Vladimir Putin Said Thursday. “Naturally, the president of […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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NEWSWATCH: Poroshenko best chance for Ukraine at present — Lavrov

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

[“Poroshenko best chance for Ukraine at present — Lavrov” – ITAR-TASS – Dec. 17, 2014] Russian government-backed news agency TASS reported on comments to French television by Russian Foreign Ministery Sergei Lavrov, indicating that Russia can work with current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. President Petro Poroshenko is the best chance for Ukraine at present, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia says it wants east Ukraine to stay with Kiev under reformed constitution

Sergei Lavrov file photo

[“Russia says it wants east Ukraine to stay with Kiev under reformed constitution” – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Reuters reports on Russian calls for Ukrainian constitutional reform to provide greater autonomy for eastern regions impacted by separatists.  They cite comments from an interview with Interfax by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Moscow wants Ukraine to carry out … constitutional reform to […]

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Russian Media Downplay Extent of Ruble Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Ivan Nechepurenko – December 17, 2014) While the ruble pinballed erratically between 58 and 80 per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, making headlines around the world, Russia’s state-run media have attempted to take a soft and conciliatory stance on the home currency’s woes. A news bullet by state-owned Channel One aired at 6 p.m. […]

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What awaits Russia’s economy in 2015 after ruble collapse?

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Konstantin Korishchenko, special to RBTH – December 17, 2014) Konstantin Korishchenko is head of the stock market and financial engineering department at the Finance and Banking Faculty of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and a former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. As the Russian ruble plunges […]

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Medvedev says ruble ‘undervalued’ as slide slows

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 17, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the ruble undervalued at a meeting on December 17 with the top officials of the government, the central bank and heads of Russia’s largest exporters. He said that regulation of the currency market would remain based on market principles, but the presence […]

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Picking through the ruble

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 16, 2014) The Russian ruble crashed again on December 15, in the biggest fall since the last big crisis in 1998. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) belatedly stepped in with a huge interest rate hike overnight, but it has been roundly criticised for being “behind […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: A war of words in U.S.-Russia relations

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Pavel Koshkin – December 17, 2014) The press has hyped poll numbers showing an increase in anti-Americanism in Russia, but experts argue that the numbers need context. A popular T-shirt sold in central Moscow features a man in a martial arts costume resembling Russian president and known judo enthusiast Vladimir Putin knocking down […]

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STRATFOR: Viewing Russia From the Inside

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – December 16, 2014) Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn’t rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year – the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the […]

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Fears of Capital Controls Grow as Russia’s Economy Goes Haywire

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 17, 2014) The possible implementation of capital controls in Russia came a step closer Tuesday as the authorities appeared to be running out of options to stem the country’s dramatic currency collapse. The ruble defied an emergency interest rate rise of 6.5 percentage points announced overnight, falling 20 percent to above […]

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Moscow Times: Ukraine Ranked 3rd Deadliest Country for Journalists

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 17, 2014) War-torn Ukraine was one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists this year, international press rights group Reporters Without Borders said in a report released Tuesday. Ukraine ranked third among the world’s deadliest locales for media professionals, with six such casualties this year, trailing behind Syria with 15 casualties […]

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Business New Europe: What price European values when economic collapse is imminent?

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 15, 2014) Ukraine needs about $15bn now or it will collapse, possibly in the next few weeks. Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, called on Western donors to come up with a $15bn rescue package to stave off collapse on December 11 and was met by a […]

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The Kremlin’s Top 75 Lies About The Ukraine Crisis [with video]

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – December 12, 2014) The folks at StopFake.org are committed to uncovering untrue or misleading information being disseminated by Russian media about the crisis in Ukraine. And now StopFake has published a video (below) that runs down the Top 75 lies and untruths of 2014. “Obviously, when you see these, you’ll see there’s a purpose behind all of […]

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Russian NGOs need to rethink their strategy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Andrei Jvirblis – December 10, 2014) Russia’s voluntary sector, faced with growing government interference, needs to be more open about its aims and operations if it wants more public support. Opinion polls show a long-term decline in public trust in the Russian voluntary sector, which has become less open about its operations, in fear of media attacks. This […]

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Yavlinsky calls for returning Kudrin to government

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – December 13, 2014) Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate. “We believe the government needs to be changed – whether it’s going to be the entire government or its economic block […]

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Is Moscow Setting the Stage for Using Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine?

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 14, 2014) One of the most accurate leading indicators of what Moscow is planning to do in Ukraine are the charges it makes that the West is about to do the same thing there. That pattern, well-established over the last year, makes the latest such suggestion – that the US supposedly […]

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