RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#171 :: Monday 31 August 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#171 Monday – 31 August 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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Kirk Bennett: “On Treating Ukraine Like Georgia – A Reply to Paul Saunders”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Subject: ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS Date: Sun, 30 Aug 201 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett was the Senior Georgia Desk Officer at the State Department from 2007-09. Kudos to Paul Saunders for his spot-on exposition of U.S. policy […]

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Ukrainian premier Yatsenyuk’s party drops out of elections

Arseniy Yatsenyuk file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – August 28, 2015) The People’s Front party founded by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and allies has effectively thrown in the towel, annnouncing that it will not participate in local elections on October 25, 2015. The move follows a catastrophic drop in ratings to under 3%. “People’s Front party will not […]

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Russian nationalist says followers fight on in Ukraine despite internal disputes

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

(Interfax – August 29, 2015) Russian nationalist politician Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned National Bolshevik party (whose members make up most of the Other Russia party), says his members are continuing to fight with the separatist militias in southeast Ukraine, despite not being allowed to lead units or engage in political activity there, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported […]

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Odds grow for Ukrainian default on $3 billion Russia debt

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – August 28, 2015) Despite an initial surge of optimism about Ukraine’s financial health after it appeared to clinch a crucial restructuring deal with private creditors, the country is increasingly expected to default on a $3bn Russian-held Eurobond due for redemption in December 2015. The likelihood of the scenario grew after the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#170 :: Friday 28 August 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#170 Friday – 28 August 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 […]

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Like Stalin, Putin hasn’t Changed the Rules of the Game; He’s Destroyed Them, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 28, 2015) The Anschluss of Crimea and the murder of Boris Nemtsov were not continuations of the rules of the game that had existed before, with the first following the 2008 Russian actions in Georgia and the second that of murders like Galina Starovoitova and Anna Politkovskaya, Vitaly Portnikov says. Instead, […]

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Ukraine’s wartime privatisation

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – August 28, 2015) Desperate to raise money, the Ukrainian government is determined to start a massive privatisation campaign before the end of this year. A total of 345 companies are on the list, including some of the state’s most attractive assets. But will there be any buyers? The economy […]

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Ukraine not out of the woods yet

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – August 28, 2015) The $3.6bn debt deal announced on August 27 by Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance, where private bondholders agreed to take a 20% writedown on the face value of $18bn in government debt, is very good news. Yet it’s not a done deal and the final […]

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Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

Subject: Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the […]

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Russians Consider Marrying, Giving Birth and Education Most Important Things

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 28, 2015) When asked what the most important things to do before turning 30 are, most Russians chose getting married, giving birth and receiving an education, while things like starting a business or traveling the world were at the bottom of the list, a poll released Wednesday by an independent Russian […]

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Interfax: DPR claims Ukraine holding approx. 450 prisoners of war

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

DONETSK. Aug 27 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic allows for the possibility of carrying out a new prisoner swap with Ukraine next week. “According to the official data, 450-460 prisoners of war are being held by the other side in addition to civilians. These are those who have been reported,” Viktor Anosov, a representative of the DPR military […]

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Sept. 1 ceasefire in Donbass agreed at meeting in Minsk

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

A meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk with representatives from the Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics” has ended with the parties agreeing to a ceasefire effective from Sept. 1. However, experts are not convinced this a breakthrough on the path to peace. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Eekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 27, 2015) The participants of […]

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Report With Tally Of ‘Russian War Casualties’ Causes Stir

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – August 26, 2015) A Russian-language website has caused a stir with a report asserting that more than 2,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Delovaya Zhizn, which translates as Business Life, published the information online in March, as part of a larger story of how the Russian federal […]

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[Nataliya Vasilyeva (AP Moscow correspondent) tweets re: reports on Russian casualties in Ukraine]

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[DJ: Nataliya Vasilyeva (AP Moscow correspondent) tweets: 2 day of Western officials retweeting a Forbes report quoting a Ukrainian web-site quoting a non-existent Russia news web-site re Ukraine. The main problem here is, of course, where was the Forbes online editor when the story was published, why nobody bothered to check sources? The ease of spreading rumors in the digital […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#169 :: Thursday 27 August 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#169 Thursday – 27 August 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 […]

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Khodorkovsky Calls for Civil Disobedience against Unjust Laws and Putin’s Unjust System

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 27, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that Russian citizens are fully entitled not to observe unjust laws imposed not to promote justice but to protect the power of Vladimir Putin, a potentially dramatic development in the relationship between the Russian opposition, the Russian people, and the Kremlin. In a blog post on […]

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RBTH: “Kiev under pressure from EU over Minsk accords, insist Russian experts”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Recent talks between the Ukrainian, French and German leaders on the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region saw Paris and Berlin express their continued support for Kiev, but Russian analysts say Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is under pressure to make compromises. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH – August […]

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Adoption in Russia: Families Helping Families

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Tyan – August 27, 2015) It would be hard to find a better advocate for adoption in Russia than Ulia Khashem. With her pink curls, big eyes and handmade jewelry, it’s easy to see why people on social media call her a fairy godmother. Her job is to organize a summer camp for seriously […]

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All You Need to Know About Ukraine’s $18 Billion Debt Agreement

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff – August 27, 2015) Ukraine reached a bond-restructuring agreement with about half of its private-sector creditors on Thursday after five months of negotiations. Below are the details of the terms of the agreement and what happens next. Which bonds are included? The deal covers $18 billion of Ukraine’s foreign debt, including 11 government Eurobonds […]

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Interfax: “Diplomat: Rise in NATO activity in Europe near Russian borders is provocative”

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – August 26, 2015) Moscow has branded provocative the rise in NATO military activity in the areas bordering Russia but does not see a threat of a direct military confrontation, Russian Foreign Ministry European Cooperation Department Director Ivan Soltanovsky told Interfax in an interview on August 26. “We have a negative attitude to the mounting military activity of NATO […]

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A Winter Of Discontent For Russia

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – August 25, 2015) Winters are the stuff of legend in Russia and – despite a fair bit of warming – winter 2015/16 is shaping up to be one of the harshest, and most formative, in recent memory. After a brief period of respite – and muted acceptance of the “new normal” – to start the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#168 :: Wednesday 26 August 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#168 Wednesday – 26 August 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 […]

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Russian ombudsman slams ex-Defence Ministry official’s parole as “elite” justice

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 25, 2015) Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has strongly condemned a court decision to release on parole Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a key figure in the Oboronservis case, suggesting the move amounted to “elite” justice, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 25 August. Earlier on 25 August, a court in Vladimir Region granted Vasilyeva parole after she […]

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Russians More Optimistic about Ethnic Problems at Home But Have Little Reason to Be, Experts Say

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 26, 2015) The shares of Russians who say that ethnic conflicts in their country are “likely” or “more likely than not” have declined from 17 and 45 percent respectively in October 2013 to five and 20 percent now, according to the findings of a new Levada Center poll. But Mikhail Remizov […]

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Dom Knigi: Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian

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

Subject: Dom Knigi: Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:24:33 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian Antony Penaud received his DPhil (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. A friendly pdf […]

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Russia Faces Reality With Prediction of Deeper Economic Slump

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Olga Tanas – August 25, 2015) Russia’s government is starting to face reality. While insisting the worst of its recession was over, it cut its economic forecasts for this year and next amid the renewed plunge in energy prices and persistent sanctions over Ukraine. Economists said the revisions fell short of their estimates predicting […]

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By Blocking Wikipedia, Russian Government Shows its Power Over Web

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 26, 2015) After blocking a Wikipedia article for less than than 18 hours, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor removed it from a list of banned webpages on Tuesday in a move that reflects the power the Russian state wields over the Internet, pundits told The Moscow Times. At the end of […]

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Russian poll on nationalism and xenophobia produces worrying results

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – August 25, 2015) More Russians than ever (41%) believe that illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries should be granted legal status in Russia and given the chance to assimilate, although 43% still want them to be expelled from the country. According to a survey published by independent polling company Levada […]

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‘Black Monday’ inflicts further damage on Russian markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Amid turmoil on global financial markets, the Russian ruble fell to a historic low against the U.S. dollar on Aug. 24, while the key stock market index, the RTS, dropped 6 percent. Russian analysts say that there is little room for optimism while oil prices remain low. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan – August 25, 2015) […]

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Russia Won’t Suffer the Soviet Union’s Fate

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 25, 2015) If you believe low oil prices killed the Soviet Union, it seems reasonable to wonder whether the current commodities bust will topple President Vladimir Putin or even break up Russia. Cheap oil, however, didn’t destroy the Soviet empire: Communism did. Putin’s Russia is more oil-dependent than its predecessor, but it […]

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Interfax: Putin’s job approval rating exceeds 80% – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) – The job approval rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin stands at 83% in August, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax on Wednesday following this month’s survey. Seventeen percent of respondents of the center’s latest poll were dissatisfied with Putin’s work as Russian president. In June the approval rate was 89%, in April-May – 86% and in […]

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Falsification, cover-up and political exploitation of killings of the Maidan protesters from the Volyn Region during the Maidan Massacre

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Ivan Katchanovski – Facebook – August 23, 2015) Ivan Katchanovski teaches at the School of Political Studies and the department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of “Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post-Soviet Ukraine and Moldova” and the co-author of “Historical Dictionary of Ukraine, Second Edition. [Wait for embedded feed of original […]

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Ukraine Is Too Corrupt for Debt Deal to Work

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 25, 2015) Ukraine is reportedly close to a deal with its private creditors, who may accept a 20 percent haircut. This is an uneasy compromise that would solve little, because the government continues to fail where it really matters: cutting corruption and bringing the country’s huge shadow economy into the tax system. […]

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Russian economy minister says oil price expected at 52 dollars

Oil Wells File Photo

(RIA Novosti – August 24, 2015) Russian Economic Development Minister has said the price of oil will find a new balance in a few months at the level of just over 50 dollars a barrel, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 24 August. He said the average price of Urals oil will amount […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

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

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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Sanctions not responsible for Russia’s falling GDP, say experts

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

According to a new report by Central Bank analysts, sanctions against Russia have not played a significant role in the decline of Russia’s economy, with experts agreeing that low oil prices are principally to blame. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – August 24, 2015) The introduction of Western sanctions against Russia is responsible for only […]

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RBTH: Why Russians support Internet censorship

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

According to a joint report by American researchers and Russian sociologists, 49 percent of Russians are not opposed to Internet censorship. They do not perceive attempts to control the Internet as an infringement on the freedom of speech, experts explain. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 22, 2015) Nearly half of Russians (49 percent) […]

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Interfax: DPR claims 30 truce violations by Ukrainian army, says large calibers being used

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

DONETSK. Aug 26 (Interfax) – The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has observed 30 incidents of shelling from the Ukrainian side over the past day, a ministry representative said on Wednesday. “The Ukrainian army has committed 30 ceasefire violations over the past day. Some 113 82mm and 120mm mines, 85 152mm artillery shells and 15 tank […]

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NEWSWATCH TASS Interview: Victoria Nuland: We do want to be able to communicate clearly with Russia

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

In an interview with TASS, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland reportedly focused upon U.S.-Russia relations, Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear program and visa problems for Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. I would argue that since the breakup of the Warsaw pact, since the breakup of the Soviet Union the entire orientation of US policy, […]

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Russian media watchdog lifts ban on Wikipedia drug article

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Roskomnadzor has removed a ban on a Wikipedia article about the drug charas. The online encyclopedia complied with the media watchdog’s demands after Russian telecom providers were told to block access to the material. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 25, 2015) A Wikipedia article about the narcotic substance charas that violated Russian laws […]

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