Russia-Ukraine conflict overshadows EBRD meeting

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Tbilisi – May 15, 2015) The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has overshadowed the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) annual general meeting in Tbilisi this week, with Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak accusing the bank of a “political motivated” decision to suspend lending to Russia. The development bank’s […]

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Ukraine Shouldn’t Hold Out for Haircuts

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 13, 2015) With Greece missing one deadline after another to reach agreement with its creditors, it’s easy to forget that a day of reckoning is also nearing for Ukraine. The government is supposed to reach a debt restructuring deal with private bondholders by June, but is no closer than when talks began […]

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30 Years On, Gorbachev Rues Running of His Soviet Anti-Alcohol Campaign

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 15, 2015) Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that his massive anti-alcohol campaign in the 1980s was too swift and sweeping, and combating heavy drinking – which remains a major problem as Russia’s problem 30 years later – should have been handled more patiently, according to a recent interview. Speaking on […]

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Interfax: Russia takes steps to establish interaction with Ukraine on issue of humanitarian aid – Russian Foreign Ministry

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) – Russia is ready for cooperation with Ukraine on the issue of humanitarian assistance supplies and is already taking steps in this direction, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Moscow is ready for close constructive cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities on issues relating to the supply of humanitarian assistance to civilians who are suffering from the acute […]

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Interfax: Poroshenko’s declarations drive Donbas peace talks to blind alley – Pushilin

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

MOSCOW. May 17 (Interfax) – The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic finds unacceptable the instructions given by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to Kyiv’s envoy to the subgroup for political issues Volodymyr Horbulin about the possibility of launching the dialogue on the modality of local elections in Donbas only after a complete ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armaments […]

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McCain Nixes Pentagon Plan to Use More Russian Rocket Engines

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 15, 2015) The United States will not allow domestic space companies to use more Russian rocket engines despite requests from the Pentagon, news agency Reuters reported, citing a letter written by U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee John McCain. In a response to a letter from U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter […]

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NEWSLINK The Daily Signal: In New Role, US Army Prepares Ukrainians for Different Type of War

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

The sounds of gunfire and explosions are constant on the firing range at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center outside this western Ukrainian town. At one spot, behind an earthen bunker, U.S. Army paratroopers are qualifying Ukrainian National Guard soldiers in Soviet-era shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Further down the line, Ukrainian soldiers shoot at targets using different types of Kalashnikov […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Kerry Is So Very Nice to Putin. Easing sanctions if Russia settles for what it’s already grabbed

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Podiums

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Monday that the Kremlin continues to provide heavy arms and training to its proxy militias in eastern Ukraine—a “blatant violation,” he says, of the Minsk deal Russia signed in February to end the fighting. NATO says Russia is also building forces on both sides of its international border with Ukraine. Civilians in the port of […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Museum Director at Hermitage Hopes for Thaw in Relations With West

File Photo of Hermitage Art Museum

These days, Mr. Piotrovsky, 70, has a dual mandate: Maintaining the Hermitage’s centuries-old ties with the wider world amid the chill, and making the case to the international art world that Russia is still a respectable partner. The loan of the Elgin marbles helped on both counts. He is also hoping to help resolve an impasse that has blocked all […]

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Putin Declares War on Russians’ Health

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – May 14, 2015) At what point will Russians begin to question the choices being made by their government? Maybe when those choices start killing them. As Bloomberg’s Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer report, Russia’s health system has suffered a severe reversal as a lower oil price has reduced government revenue and spending. Forced to pick […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#97 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Friday, May 15, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#97 :: Friday 14 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 Daily Bruin: Former ambassador speaks at Anderson as part of lecture series. (Michael McFaul)

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

A former U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation argued domestic Russian politics are the main cause of renewed tensions between the United States and the Russian Federation at a lecture at the Anderson School of Management Tuesday

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EVENT REMINDER: War, State, and Society in Ukraine – Monday, May 18 in Washington, D.C.

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Date: Fri, 15 May 2015 From: PONARS Eurasia / IERES <aschmem@gwu.edu> Subject: REMINDER: Invitation: War, State, and Society in Ukraine IERES – The Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies New Approaches to Security and Research in Eurasia War, State, and Society in Ukraine Dominique Arel (University of Ottawa) Keith Darden (American University) Georgi Derluguian (New York University Abu Dhabi) […]

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EBRD sees Russia’s GDP contracting by 4.5% in 2015

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – May 14, 2015) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects deep recession in Russia to have a larger-than-expected negative spill-over effect on countries with strong ties with its economy, the bank says in its latest Regional Economic Prospects report published on May 14. Russia’s GDP is seen contracting by 4.5% in 2015, […]

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As Inflation Soars, One in Five Russians Can Only Afford Bare Necessities

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – May 15, 2015) Many Russians flocked to stores late last year as the ruble plummeted against the euro and dollar, eager to get the most out of their savings before the prices of imported goods rose. Nearly 20 percent of Russians can now afford nothing more than the absolute necessities as double-digit […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#96 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Thursday, May 14, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#96 :: Thursday 14 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 Washington Post: Boris Nemtsov’s last act of courage

Nemtsov March of Mourning

IN THE final years of his life, Boris Nemtsov never gave up on politics in Russia, even when many others were discouraged or frightened away from standing up to President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Nemtsov, once in the front ranks of Russia’s post-Soviet reformers, in the last decade and a half became a persistent Putin critic. To some, he was a […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: Russian Court Quashes Latest Bid to Jail Kremlin Critic Navalny.

Alexei Navalny file photo

Reuters covers the latest attempt to jail Russian lawyer, whistleblower and opposition figure Alexei Navalny. A Moscow court on Wednesday rejected a bid by law enforcement officials to have Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny jailed for violating the terms of his suspended five-year sentence on embezzlement charges. Navalny, who led mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in 2011-2012, denies any […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: A Tiny Crack in the Russian Ice

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Podiums

It is a measure of how low American-Russian relations have sunk that a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State John Kerry that achieves nothing is perceived as good news. But good news it was when they met for four hours in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Tuesday, following talks between Mr. Kerry and the Russian […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Secretary of State John Kerry] Press Availability With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Podiums

(US Department of State – Sochi, Russia – May 12, 2015) [Compare with Russian Foreign Ministry version: mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/1832A4FE6BF 5B7E643257E440029BBE5] MODERATOR: (In progress) (Via interpreter) ready to start the press conference. Heads of the foreign policy agencies of the U.S. and Russia. FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thanks a lot for your patience and waiting till the end of […]

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Currency Crisis Leaves Russian Scientists With No Funds for Foreign Journal Subscriptions

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 13, 2015) After scientists across Russia lost access to thousands of academic journals on Tuesday due to the ruble’s sharp devaluation, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov vowed to restore access to academic publishing giant Springer, Russian media reported. Universities and research institutions across the country lost access to Springer due to a […]

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In Putin’s Russia, Universal Health Care Is for All Who Pay

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer – May 13, 2015) Expectant mothers in Moscow must wait as long as six weeks for ultra-sound scans, up from three days last year. Hospital outpatients pay for blood tests and X-rays that were free 12 months ago. And Marif Alekberov, a 27-year-old fireman with leukemia, is being told to find […]

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Questions Raised Over Poroshenko’s Role In Valuable Kyiv Land Deal

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Maksym Savchuk, Daisy Sindelar – May 13, 2015) KYIV — An investigation by RFE/RL shows that Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko may have used his presidential influence to shut down investigations into a land deal aimed at building a private mansion on a historic site in the Ukrainian capital. Two reports broadcast on RFE/RL’s Ukrainian-language television program, […]

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More and More Russians See America as a Threat, Poll Reveals

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Gladkova – May 13, 2015) Amid soaring tensions over the Ukraine crisis, Russians have grown increasingly leery of the intentions and capabilities of the United States, according to the results of a survey released by independent pollster the Levada Center on Tuesday. According to the poll, which was conducted in April among 1,600 adults […]

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Debt restructuring row flares between Kyiv and creditors as IMF deadline looms

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 14, 2015) Ukraine’s finance ministry and holders of its sovereign Eurobonds have taken their dispute over debt restructuring public, as a mid-June deadline set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requiring final agreement on terms draws close. The ministry criticised the level of secrecy over the identities of the mainly […]

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Kerry Brings Cautious Signs of Russia Detente to NATO Meeting

NATO Logo, NATO, OTAN

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – ANTALYA, Turkey – May 14, 2015) After his whirlwind visit to Sochi on Tuesday for marathon talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has headed across the Black Sea to Turkey, where he wasted no time in briefing his counterparts on the […]

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Russia Was Right: Shale in Europe Has Proved a Dud

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Mortkowitz Bauerova – May 11, 2015) When Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. opened an office in Poland in 2009, it had a reason to be optimistic: the shale boom was transforming the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of natural gas. To the companies rushing to imitate that success in Europe, Poland looked like the next Texas. […]

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Interfax: Russian diplomat likes U.S. warning to Ukrainian leadership

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, May 13, 2015) The warning given by US Secretary of State John Kerry to official Kiev not to try to capture Donetsk airport by force attests to the fact that Washington’s efforts for Ukrainian settlement are starting to have future, according to deputy director of the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mariya Zakharova. […]

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: Residents in bombed buffer zone between Ukraine, Russian-controlled east cling to peace hopes

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

Avdiivka, a Ukrainian-controlled city on the war front just 10 miles north of Donetsk, is a bizarre buffer zone. “Neither Ukrainian nor (separatist) Donetsk People’s Republic laws work there,” Alexei, a taxi driver from the village of Ocheretine, northwest of Avdiivka, told the Kyiv Post. Locals say they don’t consider themselves part of either Ukraine or separatist-held areas and, consequently, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#95 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#95 :: Tuesday 12 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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Interfax: Ukraine can retain Donbas if it treats it as special region – Russian Federation Council member

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

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – Kyiv should grant special status to southeastern regions of Ukraine in order to preserve the country’s unity, says Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee. “Only decentralization, reducing everyone to the same level would be not enough, and if Ukraine wants to preserve Donbas as its part, it should treat […]

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Interfax: Poroshenko statement on Russian troops in Ukraine is unfounded – Kremlin spokesman

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – The Kremlin sees Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s statement on the presence of 11,000 Russian troops in Ukrainian territory as unfounded and not conducive to any positive developments. “I don’t see fit to repeat such unfounded accusations, without any concrete information and proof, which are not conducive to anything positive, to put it mildly,” Russian presidential […]

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Interfax: NATO silent on Russian efforts to bolster Euro-Atlantic security – Russian NATO delegation

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

(Interfax – May 13, 2015) The Russian delegation to NATO has issued an analysis of Euro-Atlantic security, pointing to the causes of the military and political tensions in the regions. “Recently, NATO’s information offices have persistently imposed their simplified black-and-white picture of the history of the difficult relationship between the alliance and Russia on public opinion, ascribing to Russia the […]

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NEWSLINK Politico.eu/Mikhail Saakashvili: Poroshenko’s Four Ds. The Ukrainian president outlines the roadmap to “a new, democratic, European Ukraine.”

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

Post-Maidan Ukraine is at war. Not only against Russian invaders, but more generally against sovietism. This war has a military front in the East, but as important is the political, economic, social frontline in the rest of the country. Resisting the invaders and reforming the nation are two fronts of a same fight: the struggle for the emergence of a […]

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Moscow Times: Despite Crisis, Most Russian Companies Aren’t Cutting Jobs

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 13, 2015) Despite the economic crisis, two-thirds of Russian companies aren’t cutting jobs and prefer to survive the crisis by shortening work hours or cutting workers’ salaries, a study by global management consultancy Hay Group found. “A lot of companies have refused to take radical measures, as in some sectors the situation has stabilized,” […]

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Moscow Times: Russia Declared Best of BRICS in Developing Human Capital

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – May 14, 2015) Russia on Wednesday claimed 26th place in a global ranking of countries’ ability to foster human capital thanks to its highly educated populace, putting it first among the BRICS group of developing nations. Among BRICS members Russia led by a mile, according to the survey of 124 economies published […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Signs Putin Doesn’t Think He’s Lost the Sanctions Game; any reactions?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Secretary of State John Kerry‘s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday has revived one of Washington’s top guessing games: Is Mr. Putin impressed by Western sanctions? A well-informed Russian friend of mine told me Monday that Mr. Putin will not rethink his Ukraine strategy until he is convinced that Europe and the U.S. are able to make their […]

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Russian Polluters Evading Huge Environmental Fines

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – May 12, 2015) Russia’s environmental protection watchdog is failing to collect penalties imposed on polluters worth tens of millions of dollars per year. Penalties worth 2 billion rubles ($40 million) ordered by the Federal Service for Supervising Natural Resources, or Rosprirodnadzor, went unpaid in 2014, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov told […]

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Nemtsov Report Says More Than 200 Russian Soldiers Killed In Ukraine War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 12, 2015) [Report here https://openrussia.org/] More than 200 Russian military personnel have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to a report based on research begun by slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The estimated death toll is one of the main findings of the much-anticipated report on Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, which […]

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Victory Day in Kyiv

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine has a new holiday – 8 May, Day of Remembrance – and a new symbol, the poppy. But 9 May remains, as a reminder of the fact that war is ‘never a pretty story.’ (opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – May 11, 2015) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist […]

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Authorities Again Threatened by Bolotnaya Square

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – May 12, 2015) Yelena Gremina’s production of “The Bolotnaya Square Case” at Teatr.doc may be the most benign dangerous 65 minutes I have ever witnessed. A contradiction in terms, you say? Not in the land, which, as the great poet Fyodor Tyutchev put it, cannot be understood by mind alone. The fact […]

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Interfax: Issue of lifting sanctions from Russia should be raised by EU – Naryshkin

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Russia will not initiate a discussion on the issue of the lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions. “We, of course, are not going to discuss any criteria for lifting the sanctions. The first step should be taken by the European Union, which took such unfriendly actions on Russia under […]

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A New Wave of Russian Nationalism? What Really Changed in Public Opinion after Crimea

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

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Mikhail Alexseev, Henry E. Hale – May 2015) Mikhail Alexsee is Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University. Henry E. Hale is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University [Figures here http://www.ponarseurasia.org/memo/new-wave-russian-nationalism] How did the dramatic events of 2014, including the annexation of Crimea and the onset of violent armed […]

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Interfax: Donbass “republics” ready to discuss autonomy within Ukraine-rebel chiefs

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

(Interfax – May 11, 2015) The leadership of the [self-proclaimed] Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] has admitted the possibility of assuming a broad autonomy status, but without any harm to the interests of the self-proclaimed republic. “We agree to the broadest autonomy without harm to our interests. If Kiev does not adhere to the Minsk agreements, the DPR will be forced […]

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