RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#63 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Tuesday 31 March 2015

Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#63 :: Tuesday 31 March 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  RUSSIA 1. Russia Direct: Yemen, Nemtsov, Ukrainian oligarchs: Top Russian news from last week. 2. TASS: Putin’s rating up more than 50% […]

» Read more

Nemtsov Allies Plan to Publish ‘Putin.War’ Report on Russian Soldiers in Ukraine

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 31, 2015) A report being prepared by supporters of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov claims that Moscow has started discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to Ukraine and then denying compensation to the families of men who were killed in order to cover up Russia’s involvement in the […]

» Read more

Ukraine constitutional commission to include 59 Ukrainians, 13 foreign experts – Poroshenko

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

KYIV. March 31 (Interfax) – A constitutional commission being formed in Ukraine will comprise of 72 members, among them 13 experts from international organizations, says President Petro Poroshenko’s decree posted on his website on Tuesday. Constitutional amendments are expected to strengthen the role of territorial communities and lift parliamentary and judicial immunity, the decree says. “I am convinced that following […]

» Read more

Russians’ Hatreds Easy to Unleash But Difficult to Limit, Reverse or Overcome

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 30, 2015) Many are taking comfort in the notion that just as Russians appear to have reduced their hatred of immigrants when encouraged by the Kremlin to hate Ukrainians instead so too their hatred against the latter could be ended relatively easily if Moscow changed course — and in any case […]

» Read more

Why the Jihadi Threat to Russia Is Getting Worse

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

More jihadi fighters come from Russia than any country outside the Middle East and North Africa. What happens when they come home? (Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – March 30, 2015) The deadly terror attacks in Paris in January underscored the risk facing Western Europe as jihadis return home from fighting in Syria and Iraq. But the place that […]

» Read more

Russians With Houses on State Land Get Right to Buy Plots at Discount

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 31, 2015) Russians with homes and cottages located on state-owned land now have the exclusive right to buy that land – and at a reduced rate, according to an order signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the government’s website Monday. “For a citizen possessing a residence, dacha or garage on the […]

» Read more

Opposition government led by Kolesnikov presented in Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

KYIV. March 31 (Interfax) – Boris Kolesnikov, a former MP (Party of Regions faction), has headed up Ukraine’s opposition government, an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent has reported, citing a statement made by Yuriy Boiko, the head of the parliamentary faction Opposition Bloc, at a presentation of the opposition government in Kyiv on Tuesday. He said he is confident that this government will […]

» Read more

Ukrainian army positions in Donbas attacked 11 times – Kyiv

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

KYIV. March 31 (Interfax) – Militia forces attacked the Ukrainian army’s positions in the south-east of Ukraine 11 times from 6:00 p.m. to midnight on March 30, the army operation press center reported on Tuesday morning. “The situation in the east of Ukraine did not change drastically overnight. The number of shelling instances on the part of illegal armed units […]

» Read more

Russian money infects London

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 31, 2015) Walk down Oxford Street into Knightsbridge and the signs “we speak Russian” are pasted inside the windows of many high-end shops. Bishops Avenue in north London has become one of the world’s most expensive addresses and is home to several oligarchs in exile. The lingua franca […]

» Read more

Ukraine Clashes Ease as Envoys Ready Rebel Talks on Deescalation

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kateryna Choursina, Daryna Krasnolutska – March 31, 2015) Clashes in Ukraine’s easternmost regions abated further as the government saw fewer rebel attacks and a three-party envoy group prepared talks with pro-Russian insurgents on deescalating the yearlong conflict. Rebel “provocations” with small arms and mortars continued, though no artillery fire was recorded for several days, National Security […]

» Read more

Cultural Figures Demand Minister’s Sacking Over Opera Scandal

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 31, 2015) Leading cultural figures launched a petition Monday calling for the dismissal of Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, saying his position on a controversial opera production was an attack on freedom of creativity, while the Kremlin said it had the right to influence the content produced by cultural organizations financed by […]

» Read more

Party led by Navalny can’t run in elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – March 30, 2015) The Moscow City Court has upheld the Justice Ministry’s refusal to include the Progress Party in the register of parties that have the right to run in elections, an Interfax correspondent has reported, citing a decision made by the judicial collegium on civilian cases read on Monday. The court declined the complaint filed by representatives […]

» Read more

Worker Strikes Will Only Boost Kremlin’s Popularity, Say Analysts

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 31, 2015) Withheld salaries, unforeseen firings and pay cuts have amplified discontent in an array of Russia’s economic sectors, leading to a handful of strikes political analysts said Monday were more likely to bolster workers’ support for the Kremlin than weaken it. A scattering of Russian teachers, builders and factory workers […]

» Read more

Putin’s Economic Team Plays Houdini

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 27, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-27/putin-s-economic-team-plays-houdini] Last week, the Russian central bank’s currency reserves increased for the first time since last July, showing that the economy may have moved past the panic caused by last year’s oil price slump. Perhaps Russia’s improving indicators will convince Western governments that economic sanctions are having no […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH Washington Times: Russia’s grab for its neighbors; ‘Europe whole and free’ should be more than a slogan

Europe Map

[“Russia’s grab for its neighbors: ‘Europe whole and free’ should be more than a slogan’” – Washington Times – Paula Dobriansky, Blaise Misztal – March 29, 2015] Writing in the Washington Times, Paula Dobriansky and Blaise Misztal address concerns about Russia’s impact on peace, security and economic stability in Europe. They also assess the prospects for political consensus in the United States to […]

» Read more

Interfax: Russian extremists are stopped from joining Ukraine fighting – Interior Ministry

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – Moscow, March 30, 2015) The situation in Ukraine has divided the ranks of Russian extremists and nationalists and the police are trying to prevent their participation in the armed conflict on the Ukrainian territory, Vladimir Makarov, deputy head of the Main Anti-Extremism Directorate of the Russian Interior Ministry, has said during a meeting of the Presidential Council for […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Map of U.S. Military Activities in Europe

[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015] Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. … All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Reuters: Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says.

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

People in the United States feel under threat, both from beyond our borders and within them. In fact, when asked about both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was a pretty darn close call — 20 percent saw Putin as an imminent threat compared to 18 percent who said the same about Obama.     http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/03/30/americans-see-putin-as-only-slightly-more-imminent-threat-than-obama/

» Read more

NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: Kolomoisky speaks of his inner tug-of-war and patriots from the Opposition Bloc

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

The former governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, businessman Igor Kolomoisky, appeared on the political talk show “Pravo na vladu” on 1+1 TV channel on March 26 in a sort of farewell address after his high-profile resignation. He stepped down from his post in the early hours of March 25 after a dramatic showdown with the government that saw Kolomoisky twice dispatch […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: In Russia, Exhibition Seeks to Show Ivan Wasn’t So Terrible

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

[“In Russia, Exhibition Seeks to Show Ivan Wasn’t So Terrible; Medieval-history show raises question if Russia’s often-bloody history is being whitewashed to fuel nationalist campaign” – Wall Street Journal – JAMES MARSON – March 31, 2015] The Wall Street Journal covers efforts to rehabilitate the image of Ivan the Terrible, and questions about whether revisions of historical accounts are aimed at remaking the […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH New York Times: Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

[“Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible” – New York Times – NEIL MacFARQUHAR and SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY – MARCH 30, 2015] The New York Times reports on a Russian historical exhibition that apparently attempts to rehabilitate the reputation of Ivan the Terrible, blaming foreigners for his negative image. Ivan the Terrible, the Russian czar, should really be considered […]

» Read more

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#62 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Monday 30 March 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#62 :: Monday 30 March 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  RUSSIA 1. Forbes.com: Mark Adomanis, 10 Charts That […]

» Read more

Putin’s Collapse Could Spark Russia’s Violent Disintegration, Kasparov Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 28, 2015) Speaking in Kyiv yesterday, Russian opposition leader Garri Kasparov said that the collapse of Vladimir Putin’s regime could spark the disintegration of the Russian Federation and that that in turn would likely be far more dangerous and explosive than was the end of the USSR. It could occur suddenly […]

» Read more

Russia forging new acquaintances in Latin America

Latin America Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yevgeny Bai, special to RBTH – March 27, 2015) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently completed a tour of Latin America that was notable for its focus on countries usually seen to be outside Moscow’s sphere of interest. With traditional ally Venezuela mired in crisis and the leaders of Brazil and Argentina occupied […]

» Read more

The Russian politics of multiculturalism

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Alekseveva – March 30, 2015) The relationship between religion and ethnicity on the one hand, and civic assimilation on the other, is far less harmonious than Putin’s magniloquence asserts. Much has been made in the last several years of Vladimir Putin’s close alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). With charges of corruption, laundering, and a now […]

» Read more

Online film festival offers chance to view little-known Russian movies

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 30, 2015) The sixth annual Double Dv@ Online Festival of Russian Film will take place on the website of Rossiyskaya Gazeta from April 6-20. Most films will be shown with English subtitles. Each film will be available for 48 hours. http://d2.rg.ru/ According to the press release: “The aim of the program is […]

» Read more

New Report Names and Shames Russia’s Worst Regional Governors

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 30, 2015) A Kremlin-linked think-tank released a rating of Russia’s regional governors on Monday that names the head of the Leningrad region, which surrounds St. Petersburg, as the most effective manager and the head of the Sverdlovsk region in the Ural Mountains as the least effective. The rating, which was conducted […]

» Read more

Expats in Russia: No longer a boom – but not all doom and gloom

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald, special to RBTH – March 30, 2015) The ruble’s calamitous fall against the euro and dollar this winter and a well-publicised recession makes Russia less attractive for expats than anytime in recent memory. But are they really leaving the country? Bryan MacDonald discovers that how the economy is faring back home […]

» Read more

IMF ties itself into knots over status of Russia’s loan to Ukraine

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 27, 2015) A confusing argument has broken out over the crucial question of whether Ukraine’s $3bn worth of bonds held by Russia and due in December are “official” debt or not. The answer is important because if the bonds are “official” and Ukraine doesn’t pay them, the International […]

» Read more

Ukrainian opposition plans to form shadow government

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Interfax – March 29, 2015) Ukraine’s Opposition Bloc plans to form a shadow government, says a posting on the opposition party’s website. “I will be responsible for industry, new industrialization and rehabilitation of Donbas as deputy prime minister,” vice chairman of the Opposition Bloc’s parliamentary faction Oleksandr Vilkul was quoted as saying. Vilkul said that [ex-deputy prime minister] Borys Kolesnykov […]

» Read more

Russian Souvenirs Make Up to 500% Profit Online Despite Political Faceoff

Russia Nesting Dolls file photo, adapted from image wiesbaden.army.mil with photo credit Anemone Rueger

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – March 30, 2015) Russia’s relations with the West may have reached lows unparalleled since the Cold War, but the trend for kitschy Russian and Soviet souvenirs abroad appears to be as popular as ever, bringing vendors a pretty penny. Selling souvenirs on online marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy can yield a […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH BBC: Vladimir Putin’s formative German years

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

[“Vladimir Putin’s formative German years” – BBC News – Chris Bowlby – Dresden, March 27, 2015] The BBC covers some of Vladimir Putin’s experiences earlier in life, including his first foreign posting as a KGB officer, in East Germany during the collapse of Soviet Communism in eastern Europe. They also explore speculation about the lasting impact of those experiences upon Putin’s perspective towards […]

» Read more

RBTH: Crimea: Do Amnesty International claims of ‘climate of fear’ have any basis?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Timofeichev, RBTH – March 24, 2015) Amnesty International has released a report on the human rights situation in Crimea, timing it to coincide with the first anniversary of the peninsula’s takeover by Russia. The report speaks of abductions and torture, attacks on the media and NGOs, violations of the rights of Crimean […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH The Guardian: How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision: A month after the politician’s killing in Moscow there are signs of a Kremlin power struggle – and Russia’s president may soon have to take sides” – The Guardian – Shaun Walker in Moscow – March 29, 2015] The Guardian covers the aftermath of the Moscow assassination of former Deputy Prime Minister and […]

» Read more

INTERVIEW: Crimean Tatar leader urges West to step up sanction pressures on Russia

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – March 30, 2015) While many in the West now pay only lip service to the idea of Russia handing back the Crimean peninsula it annexed in March 2014, Mustafa Jemilev, one of the most influential leaders of the Crimean Tatars and an envoy of the Ukrainian president, has not […]

» Read more

Report: Euphoria over ‘return’ of Crimea has passed among Russians

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 30, 2015) A new report suggests that the number of Russians who see the acquisition of Crimea in 2014 one year ago as a positive achievement is decreasing. The authors of the report believe that the reason for that is the fading of the initial euphoria over the […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH BBC: Brand Putin: Russia’s president still in fashion 15 years on

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

[“Brand Putin: Russia’s president still in fashion 15 years on” – BBC News – Sarah Rainsford – Moscow, March 27, 2015] The BBC examines Russia President Vladimir Putin’s personal notoriety and power as political symbol. Fifteen years ago, Vladimir Putin was elected promising to make Russia strong again: a country its citizens could be proud of and that the world would respect. * […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH Reuters: Russia’s rich forego some luxuries but still back Putin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

[“Russia’s rich forego some luxuries but still back Putin” – Reuters – Elizabeth Piper –  March 29, 2015] Reuters covers the reactions among Russia’s elite to economic changes such as Western sanctions, a falling ruble, oil price losses and other disruptions. … the enforced modesty has not yet driven the super wealthy out of Russia or against President Vladimir Putin, who […]

» Read more

Government: Russians Smoking, Drinking Less Thanks to Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 30, 2015) More and more Russians are trading in vodka and cigarettes for gym memberships, according to a report released by the government on Sunday. The report was published in a bid to outline the government’s achievements in fulfilling President Vladimir Putin’s so-called “May Orders,” a series of campaign promises – including ones related […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Forbes: 10 Charts That Explain Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

For reasons that are far beyond my ability to explain, Russia is a place that attracts clichés in much the same way that a bright flame attracts moths. Having always found the place confusing, contradictory, and vaguely mysterious, Westerners have settled upon a few choice quotes that supposedly summarize Russia in its entirety. Even today, with the welcome rise of […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK: i24news.tv: One man’s journey to the heartland of fascism. Hostility to minorities and attempts to rewrite Holocaust history …

Auschwitz Concentration Entrance with Sign Arbeit Macht Frei

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Baltic independence and more than a decade of full membership in the European Union and NATO. If the assumption was that those developments would cure Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian society from the scourges of fascism, racism, and anti-Semitism, the events of the past month clearly show that these plagues have not been eradicated. […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Ukraine Today: Residents of eastern Ukrainian frontline town of Shchastya living in fear

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

More than two-thirds of 15,000-strong population have fled since Russian-backed insurgency began The eastern Ukrainian town of Shchastya is located some 20 km away from the separatists’ stronghold of Luhansk. The word Shchastya means happiness in Ukrainian. But life in this quiet town during the past year has been anything but happy. http://uatoday.tv/politics/residents-of-eastern-ukrainian-frontline-town-of-shchastya-living-in-fear-418269.html

» Read more

NEWSLINK New York Times: Russian Theater Director Fired for Offending Christians

In the latest skirmish between the Russian Orthodox Church and the cultural elite, the culture minister on Sunday fired the director of a Siberian theater who included a controversial interpretation of the life of Jesus in the Richard Wagner opera “Tannhauser.” The director, Boris Mezdrich, had failed to apologize and to take other steps to mitigate the outcry among the […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Moscow Times: What Will the Kremlin Do Next in Ukraine?

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

With the Minsk II agreement stalled and EU sanctions tied to its full implementation, it is getting increasingly hard to see Moscow’s endgame in Ukraine. Minsk II contains a set of conditionalities that provided the Kremlin with non-lethal means to realize its objectives in Ukraine — a new constitutional setup that would give the Donbass republics a special status with a veto over Kiev’s policies. But this will not materialize. … http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/what-will-the-kremlin-do-next-in-ukraine/518190.html

» Read more

NEWSLINK Central European Policy Institute: CEPI Ukraine Watch

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Week of March 20-27 Insider and Ukrainska Pravda reconstructed six days which lead to dismissal of Ihor Kolomoisky as governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Zerkalo Nedeli has reported that hot phase of the conflict has subsided due to the intervention from West and effective mediation of Boris Lozhkin. However, it seems premature to conclude that de-oligarchization process has started in Ukraine, […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK GordonHahn.com: Coopting Neo-Fascism: Yarosh, Poroshenko, and the State’s Monopoly on the Organs of Coercion.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Dmitro Yarosh, one of the Ukrainian parliament’s neo-fascists and leader of the Right Sector (RS) party and volunteer battalions, has suggested “deportation, deprivation of civil rights, etc.” for the residents of the Donbass who oppose “ukrainization” in the breakaway region. Without coercion, the next stage of “soft ukrainization,” in which “sovok” or the alleged remnants of ‘Soviet’ (read: Russian) culture […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK ReadRussia: How Not to Influence People. Russia’s “tough” posturing just makes it look ridiculous

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear missiles” isn’t the most intuitive headline in the world. Indeed it sounds like something from a parody magazine or from a clumsy remake of Dr. Strangelove. If Denmark is famous for anything (a contentious proposition, but indulge me) it’s precisely because it is inoffensive and non-threatening. It’s a small, rich, tolerant country sandwiched between Germany […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH Moscow Times: Predicting the Future With Russia’s Economic Nostradamus

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[“Predicting the Future With Russia’s Economic Nostradamus. (Mikhail Dmitriyev)” – The Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 18, 2015] The Moscow Times talks with former Putin Deputy Economy Minister Mikhail Dmitriyev about unfolding changes in the Russian economy, as well as the interaction between foreign and military policy, economic pressures, political trends and public attitudes towards the Russian government and the […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH AFP: Ruble gain brings hope to Russian economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

[“Ruble gain brings hope to Russian economy” – AFP – March 30, 2015] AFP covers variations in the value of the ruble amidst Russia’s ongoing economic crisis. It has been a torrid time of late for the Russian economy, as the fallout from Ukraine and tumbling oil prices have plunged the country into financial crisis. However, an unexpected recent rebound by […]

» Read more
1 2 3 7