Russia and Ukraine Trade Turnover Falls by Two-Thirds

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Russian trade turnover with Ukraine fell by around 60 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to a recent study by researchers at the World Trade Center Moscow, news agency RBC reported Wednesday. Russian exports to Ukraine fell 63.5 percent, from $8.1 billion to $2.9 billion, while imports of Ukrainian goods fell 60 percent from $4 billion to 1.6 billion between January and April […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#107 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Friday, May 29, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#107 :: Friday 29 May 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 The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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$110 Billion Expected to Flee Russia This Year as Sanctions Bite

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 29, 2015) Capital flight from Russia is forecast to hit $110 billion this year, the Economic Development Ministry said Thursday, as Western sanctions limit foreign investment and force Russian companies to pay off billions of dollars in foreign debt. The ministry’s base forecast anticipates that U.S. and EU sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine […]

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Moscow Times: Putin’s Approval Rating Remains at 86% Unfazed by Economic Crisis, Ukraine Conflict

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – May 29, 2015) President Vladimir Putin continues to enjoy the approval of a staggering 86 percent of the Russian public, a poll revealed Thursday, indicating levels of support that many Western leaders could only dream of. Putin’s approval rating, announced by independent Moscow-based pollster the Levada Center, sat at the same level […]

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Will Ukraine’s bondholders force a default on purpose?

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 26, 2015) Will Ukraine’s private bondholders force the country to default on its debt on purpose by refusing to negotiate on the restructuring, or “haircut”, that Kyiv is demanding on $10bn worth of debt? It’s not such a crazy question, because it has happened before. In 2009, Morgan […]

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Russia and Ukraine Trade Turnover Falls by Two-Thirds

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 28, 2015) Russian trade turnover with Ukraine fell by around 60 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to a recent study by researchers at the World Trade Center Moscow, news agency RBC reported Wednesday. Russian exports to Ukraine fell 63.5 percent, from $8.1 […]

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Yoga Journal Celebrates Its First 10 Years in Russia

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtime.com – Lara McCoy – May 28, 2015) To celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring, the Russian edition of Yoga Journal didn’t make plans for a huge party, or even a special yoga retreat. Instead, the magazine marked the milestone by launching an extensive analytical survey of yoga in Russia and its practitioners, which appears in the […]

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Ukraine Creditors Said to Offer Coupon Cuts, Debt Extensions

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff – May 28, 2015) Ukraine’s creditors including Franklin Templeton put forward a restructuring proposal that includes maturity extensions of up to 10 years and reductions in interest payments of about $500 million. The offer, submitted on May 9 by a group owning about $8.9 billion of Ukraine’s debt, involves amortizing the bonds over a […]

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Putin Classifying Troop Losses Proves They’re in Ukraine – Analysts

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 29, 2015) Legal amendments introduced Thursday that classify as state secrets any losses sustained during peacetime special operations are further confirmation of Russia’s direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict, legal and military experts told The Moscow Times. The amendments, signed by President Vladimir Putin, make “information disclosing the loss of personnel […]

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What Putin Got Wrong

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 28, 2015) Since the Ukraine crisis erupted, Vladimir Putin has befuddled his foes with hybrid-war tactics, poisoned discourse with a sophisticated disinformation campaign, and alarmed the West with a series of provocative moves aimed at probing NATO’s defenses. The Russian president has kept his opponents off balance and on the defensive; and […]

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Poll shows 80 per cent of Russian businessmen see economic crisis in the country

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Moscow, May 28, 2015) Data from a telephone poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) shows that an overwhelming majority of Russian businessmen (80 per cent) believe Russia to be in an economic crisis now, while 16 per cent are sure that there is no crisis. Two-thirds of those polled believe that the crisis harms the sector […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: The Russians Are Coming, Again; Vladimir Putin violates another peace deal with Ukraine.

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

So much for February’s Ukraine cease-fire. Russian proxies on Saturday shelled Avdiyivka, a town in eastern Ukraine held by the Kiev government, killing a Ukrainian service member and a civilian in an attack that also shut down a coke-manufacturing plant. On Sunday pro-Kremlin forces fired on Ukrainian positions near the port of Mariupol, killing a Ukrainian soldier and wounding two.

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[PDF] TRANSCRIPT: BROOKINGS HOSTS VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN FOR REMARKS ON THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT

File Photo of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in front of U.S. Flag and Russian Flag

… You know, it’s now been 14 months since Russian aggression in Ukraine last spring. And it has literally transformed the landscape of European security. Everybody wants this conflict to end as soon as possible. The question is on whose terms and how will it end. Because it’s not a remote conflict between neighbors arguing over who gets what, what’s happening […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: For fear of ‘foreign agents,’ Kremlin blacklists a Russian charity

Dynasty, which promotes scientific education, is funded almost entirely by Russian communications tycoon Dmitry Zimin. Because he’s using offshore accounts to do so, he’s run afoul of Kremlin bureaucrats. Critics say it’s time for a rethink.

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Switzerland probes Russian 2018 World Cup bid over bribery charges

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 27, 2015) Russia’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup is under criminal investigation on corruption suspicions, Switzerland’s attorney general announced May 27, after investigators seized data and documents from the Zurich headquarters of soccer’s global governing body FIFA. The move comes only weeks before the draw for the qualifying rounds […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#106 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Thursday PM, May 28, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#106 :: Thursday PM 28 May 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 The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#105 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Thursday AM, May 28, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#105 :: Thursday 28 May 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 The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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NEWSLINK International New York Times/Michael Khodarkovsky: Putin’s Disunited Nation

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

During those tense days in early March when Vladimir Putin disappeared from public view, the Russian president issued only one official statement: He instructed his prime minister to prepare a blueprint for a new federal agency that would work toward ‘consolidating the unity of the multiethnic nation of the Russian Federation.’The move passed relatively unnoticed, but it raises provocative questions. […]

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Russian Constitutional Court says election monitor not “foreign agent”

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2015) Russia’s Constitutional Court has again stated that a non-governmental organization (NGO) does not have to declare itself as a “foreign agent” if it has not used funds sent to its accounts from foreign sources, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 May. The court made the statement, published on its website, in response to […]

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Russian Rights Activist Alexeyeva Returns to Kremlin Council

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 28, 2015) One of Russia’s best-known human rights advocates and the founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, has rejoined the Kremlin’s human rights council, saying she intended to look into the persecution of nongovernmental organizations under the country’s “foreign agents” law. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday appointing […]

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Juvenile delinquency rates down three-fold in Russia since early 1990s

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

MOSCOW. May 28 (Interfax) – Juvenile delinquency rates went down three-fold in Russia in the past 15 years, Russian First Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Gorovoi said on Thursday, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the juvenile delinquency service. “Juvenile delinquency rates peaked in the early 1990s. The rates are down three-fold in the past 15 years,” he said. […]

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Russia on track for poor harvest

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow, May 28, 2015) Russia is on course for a poor harvest after rains failed in key agricultural regions in the south. Following a record harvest in 2014, this year’s grain production could fall to levels last seen during the disastrous drought of 2010 – bad news for an economy already […]

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Worst Not Over for Russia as Economy Shrinks 4.3% in April

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 28, 2015) Russia’s economic recession deepened in April as the decline in gross domestic product accelerated to 4.3 percent year-on-year, quashing hopes that the worst of the crisis had passed, state development bank VEB said in a report released Wednesday. “The accelerating fall in GDP in April indicates that the crisis still hasn’t passed […]

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Three-quarters of Ukrainians not satisfied with government

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – May 27, 2015) A recent survey by international polling firm TNS has shown that less than a quarter of Ukrainians are currently satisfied with the government in Kyiv, while only slightly more than a third are satisfied with President Petro Poroshenko. 51% of those surveyed said they were either […]

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Gorbachev Foundation: Russia, West reach dangerous line of confrontation

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – May 28, 2015) Russia can return to a sustainable development path provided that it revives democratic institutes and political competition and rids of excessive centralization of power and dangerous confrontation with the West, says a report on perestroika values in the contemporary Russian context. The document drawn up by the Gorbachev Foundation and the Civil Initiatives Committee will […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#104 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#104 :: Wednesday 27 May 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 The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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Russia Prepares for Possible New Summer Military Campaign in Eastern Ukraine

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

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 95 – Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – April 21, 2015) Summer is the best time for major offensive military action in the Donbas region (Donetsk and Luhansk provinces) of eastern Ukraine. In the spring and autumn, long periods of bad weather turn unpaved roads and plains into a mud quagmire (Rasputitsa), […]

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Russia Could Use Prison Labor For 2018 World Cup

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 25, 2015) A prominent member of parliament for the ruling United Russia party has drafted a bill to allow enterprises to employ thousands of convicts as a cheap workforce to build infrastructure for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The legal amendments reported on May 25 in leading business daily Kommersant create a mechanism […]

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Russia Is Using Mobile Crematoriums to Hide Ukraine’s Dead

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – May 26, 2015) Josh Rogin is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about national security and foreign affairs. He has previously worked for the Daily Beast, Newsweek, Foreign Policy magazine, the Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly and Asahi Shimbun. Russia is so desperate to hide its military involvement in Ukraine that it has brought […]

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Rights Groups Condemn ‘Dangerous’ Russian Undesirables Law

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) Rights groups named as potential targets of a new law allowing the government to brand international organizations “undesirable” and shutter their Russia operations have criticized the legislation, calling it a “dangerous” new weapon in a Kremlin campaign to suppress civil society. Activists expressed concern on May 26 that the […]

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Putin Faces New Kind of Parade of Sovereignties in Degraded Russian Regions

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 27, 2015) Russian governors, “even the most loyal” to the Kremlin, as a result of the intensification of the economic crisis, find themselves between a rock and a hard place and are beginning to complain about Moscow’s failure to articulate an anti-crisis strategy which takes the interests of their regions into […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#103 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#103 :: Tuesday 26 May 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 The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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Ukrainian Conflict is between ‘Heirs of Kievan Rus’ and ‘Heirs of Golden Horde,’ Piontkovsky Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 25, 2015) “The Ukrainian-Russian conflict is to a significant degree a conflict between the heirs of Kievan Rus [Ukraine] and the heirs of the Golden Horde” [Moscow], according to Andrey Piontkovsky, and one of its key results will be “an intensification of the swallowing of Russia by China.” In the course […]

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U.S. Social Networks, Blogs Allowed Back Into Crimea

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 25, 2015) The United States on Friday announced that U.S. companies can still give users in Crimea access to a range of free online communications services, despite an earlier U.S. ban on providing any services to the region after it was annexed by Russia last year. The decision will allow U.S. Internet companies such […]

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Death of Novorossia: Why Kremlin Abandoned Ukraine Separatist Project

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 26, 2015) Standing in front of a small Moscow church last September, President Vladimir Putin told journalists that he had lit candles inside for people who had been injured or given up their lives defending Novorossia. The historical term, meaning “New Russia,” was first used by the president last April and […]

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Interfax: DPR accuses Kyiv of pulling heavy weapons towards contact line

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

(Interfax – DONETSK, May 26, 2015) The Ukrainian army has deployed a Tochka-U tactical missile system in the Kramatorsk area, Eduard Basurin, a senior official of the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), has said. “A Tochka-U system has been tracked down near the town of Kramatorsk. It is possible that the Ukrainian authorities may stage an […]

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Fulfillment of S-300 deal with Iran will take time – Russian official

Iran Map and Flag

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) The right time to begin implementing a contract for the delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran has not yet come, Deputy Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Yevgeny Lukyanov told Interfax on Tuesday. “A decision concerning S-300 deliveries to Iran has been adopted, but the implementation of this project will take time. As […]

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Russia agrees to remove some NGOs from its “foreign agents” register

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

(Interfax – May 25, 2015) Three nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have become the first to be taken off the Russian government’s register of “foreign agents” after changes to the law made their removal possible, Interfax news agency reported on 25 May. In autumn 2014 an NGO in St Petersburg complained that it could not get itself off the register because there […]

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Dmitry Zimin plans to stop financing Dynasty Foundation

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

(Interfax – May 26, 2015) Founder of Russia’s non-profit Dynasty Foundation Dmitry Zimin has announced plans to stop providing money to the organization after it was assigned ‘foreign agent’ status by the Russian authorities. “Certainly, I will not spend my own money acting under the trademark of some unknown foreign state. I will stop funding Dynasty,” Zimin told Interfax on […]

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NEWSLINK Euromaidan Press: Separatists in Donbas have more tanks than Germany, France, and Czech Republic combined

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

The armed forces of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics” (“LNR” and “DNR”) have accumulated significant reserves of heavy weapons. According to deputy commander of the Anti-Terrorist Operation, Col. Valentyn Fedychev, as of 8 April 2015 Russia’s hybrid army in Donbas has 700 tanks, over 1 100 ACVs, 600 artillery systems, and 380 MRLS, as reported by news.liga.net

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NEWSLINK Washington Times: Russia recovery talk premature as sanctions threaten to cripple economy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Despite a small rebound in world oil prices, “Russia is not out of the woods yet because the sanctions are going to continue to have an impact,” said Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a former State Department official who served in Moscow and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.   http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/25/russia-recovery-talk-premature-as-sanctions-threat/

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Legally silencing Russia’s undesirables

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Russia has just taken another step toward pernicious use of the law to buttress the authoritarian whims of its leader. Both houses of parliament recently passed legislation that would allow the government to label as “undesirable” — in effect, to outlaw — any foreign or international organizations deemed a threat to the “defensive capabilities or security of the state, to […]

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NEWSLINK Chatham House: A ‘New Cold War’? Abusing History, Misunderstanding Russia

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

The war in Ukraine suggests a new era of competition between the West and Russia. It has (again) revealed both fundamental differences in how European security is understood, and increasing friction in values. Together, these problems suggest an emergent ‘clash of Europes’ that pits the West’s relatively liberal vision for the region against a more conservative ‘Russian Europe’

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: Alexei Bayer, America should teach Ukraine to wage a clandestine war

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

Where Ukraine really needs U.S. help is in the area of domestic security. In other words, it needs to fight the kind of war Russia has started – especially now, since the hot conflict in its eastern part has become stationary and the war is entering a clandestine phase.  

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: What people in southeast Ukraine really think of Novorossiya.

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

Our comparative project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation examines post-Maidan attitudes in Ukraine, as well as in Crimea now annexed to Russia, and in the Russian-supported de facto states of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria. In December 2014, we organized simultaneous public opinion surveys in these regions and surveyed …  

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#102 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Monday, May 25, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#102 :: Monday 25 May 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 The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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IMF joins ‘worst is over’ crowd by predicting weaker recession for Russia in 2015

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 22, 2015) In the latest prognosis of Russia’s economic prospects by the big-league financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has presented a revised and more optimistic scenario than some of its peers. GDP will fall by 3.4% in 2015 and return to growth in 2016, with a 0.2% increase […]

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