NEWSWATCH Washington Post: Petro Poroshenko interview: ‘Ukraine is fighting….for global democracy and freedom’

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

The Washington Post features an interview of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko conducted by Lally Weymouth, prior to Poroshenko’s recent address before the United Nations. [Poroshenko:] ‘… we have a very dangerous conflict in the center of Europe with the participation of thousands of Russian troops. We are doing our best to block Putin with political and financial support. We have […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: When Kremlin candidate loses election, even voters are surprised.

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

Reuters covers a recent Russian regional election in which the ruling United Russia party suffered defeat. When Communist Sergei Levchenko beat the incumbent from President Vladimir Putin’s party to become governor of Irkutsk region in Siberia on Sunday, even the voters who backed him were surprised: the Kremlin doesn’t lose elections. The result is said to raise questions about the […]

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Bank of America Seeing Life Signs in Russia’s Foundering Economy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – September 27, 2015) [Chart here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-27/bank-of-america-seeing-life-signs-in-russia-s-foundering-economy] Bank of America Corp. is starting to see faint signs of an economic recovery in Russia. The magnitude of a slowdown in capital investment is easing, while corporate profits have been increasing, a combination that Vladimir Osakovskiy, the bank’s chief economist in Moscow, said could mark a […]

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Russia admits lack of technologies for offshore oil production

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

The Russian government has announced that it is seeking to source equipment for offshore oil production from new countries due to the impact of sanctions by the European Union and the United States. However, as experts note, the development of Arctic fields is being hindered by low oil prices. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#189 :: Tuesday 29 September 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#189 Tuesday – 29 September 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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Interfax: Joint command in fight against ISIL unrealistic, but efforts on the ground should be coordinated – Lavrov

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

MOSCOW. Sept 29 (Interfax) – At their meeting in New York, the Russian and U.S. presidents did not discuss a coalition to fight the Islamic State (ISIL) group in ‘the classical sense of the word’, any joint command is unrealistic, but activities on the ground and airstrikes require coordination, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. The Russian and U.S. […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “At UN, Putin talks tough against IS. Will the West work with him? The Russian president bluntly blamed the US for the chaos in the Middle East. But his plan for an alliance against IS may still find some listeners in the West.”

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Moscow Times: More Foreign Retailers Coming to Russia Despite Economic Crisis

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – September 25, 2015) A dramatic decline in consumer spending in recession-hit Russia has not scared foreign retailers away from starting new business in the country, research published on Thursday found. In the three months from July to September, 14 new foreign retailers have set up shop in Russia – two more than […]

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VIDEO: NEWSWATCH CBS News/60 Minutes: “All eyes on Putin: At a time of icy relations with the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a rare — and surprising — interview to 60 Minutes”

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

(CBS News – September 27, 2015) Charlie Rose interviews Russian President Vladimir Putin for 60 Minutes on CBS. Click here for CBS News transcript – “All eyes on Putin: At a time of icy relations with the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a rare — and surprising — interview to 60 Minutes.” Embedded video below. View More: Newsmakers News|60 […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post/Daniel Treisman: “Searching for the roots of Russia’s aggression”

Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier, Crimea, Ukraine, 1855; adapted from image at loc.gov; Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer;

Writing in The Washington Post, Daniel Treisman of UCLA, and the Russian Political Insight project, considers the roots and contours of Russian aggression.  In part, he draws upon and reviews several new books, by Marvin Kalb, Walter Laqueur and Steven Lee Myers. A generation after the Cold War ended, Russian fighter jets are again probing NATO’s defenses in the skies […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#188 :: Monday 28 September 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#188 Monday – 28 September 2515 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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NEWSWATCH Kyiv Post: “That was one lousy interview with Putin, Charlie Rose”

Vladimir Putin

The Kyiv Post critiques Vladimir Putin’s recent interview by Charlie Rose for CBS News’ 60 Minutes. Russian President Vladimir Putin is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year with his vast worldwide propaganda networks such as Russia Today. All he needs to do is find more unprepared, ill-informed and poor interviewers such as Charlie Rose of the American “60 […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest/Zalmay Khalilzad: “Face-to-Face: Obama Meets Putin. ‘The likelihood of negotiating settlements in Ukraine and Syria could be increased if President Obama uses the meeting with Putin to underscore a reality to Putin: Russia is exposed.'”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

[featured image is file photo]

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Ukraine’s seamy coal trade learns to vault the frontlines

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – September 25, 2015) Ukraine “should provide for transparency in coal purchases in the anti-terrorist zone [rebel-territories in East Ukraine] and abroad,” US ambassador to Kyiv Geoffrey Pyatt has warned amid growing attention to the shadowy lucrative trading that continues across the front line of the armed conflict. Pyatt, quoted […]

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The opposition’s last mandate

Russia Regions Map

Deputies of the Pskov regional assembly are attempting to remove a colleague from their ranks-opposition lawmaker and journalist Lev Shlosberg (opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Prokopyeva – September 23, 2015) Svetlana Prokopyeva is a journalist from Pskov, Russia and former editor in chief of Pskovskaya Guberniya. When the regional assembly of Russia’s north-western Pskov region convenes on 24 September, it promises to […]

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Research on tsarist family assassination case goes on actively – senior criminal investigator

Romanov Family Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – The active stage of the new genetic tests in the assassination case of the tsarist family has begun, senior criminal investigator of the Main Criminal Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Solovyev told Interfax on Friday. “Experts are doing very active work. Everything necessary is being done,” he said. The investigative committee resumed an […]

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Putin looking limber for his UN Syria leap

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – September 25, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a UN general assembly to be held in New York on September 28, their first meeting since 2013. The White House said Russian sanctions will be high on the […]

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Putin Praises American Qualities in Interview with U.S. Television

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 25, 2015) In excerpts from an upcoming American television interview, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he admired American creativity and open-mindedness – a break from his usual anti-U.S. rhetoric ahead of a planned meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. CBS network’s “60 Minutes,” an American TV news program, posted an interview […]

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Crimean Tatars blockade border posts over political discrimination

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

For the last several days Crimean Tatar demonstrators have been refusing to allow trucks with Ukrainian goods into Crimea and are putting forward political demands, calling for an end to discrimination by the peninsula’s Russian authorities. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – September 24, 2015) The import of Ukrainian goods into Crimea is currently at […]

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Energy Sector Accounts for 98% of Russian Corporate Profits

Gas Flame file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – September 25, 2015) Oil and gas companies earned 98 percent of all profits made by large Russian firms last year, a new ranking showed, making a mockery of attempts to wean Russia off its reliance on energy exports. A list by the RBC news agency of the biggest 500 Russian companies – […]

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Putin Pushing New Social Contract Based on Fighting Corruption Rather than Economic Growth, Petrov Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 24, 2015) The recent arrests of governors is part of a broader effort by Vladimir Putin to create a new social contract with the population, Nikolay Petrov says. In the old one, he offered stability and economic growth; now that he cannot offer those things, he is pushing himself forward as […]

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Russia Plans $3.6 Billion Food Stamp Program as Poverty Rises

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 25, 2015) The Russian government may spend 240 billion rubles ($3.6 billion) on a national food stamp program to support an estimated 15-16 million Russian citizens whose poverty has deepened amid an economic slump, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday. To deal with an economic shock that has spurred inflation into double digits […]

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Oilprice.com: How Russia’s Oil Companies Are Defying Sanctions and Low Oil Prices

Oil Wells File Photo

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – September 24, 2015) Winning and losing is largely a matter of perspective, and that’s no different in today’s low oil price environment. Still, certain data and metrics can provide a more incorruptible viewpoint on the carnage, or lack thereof. In that regard-and to the surprise of many-count Russia’s oil majors among the current winners. Ranked […]

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Ukraine reforms national security sector for future membership in EU, NATO – military doctrine

NATO Meeting file photo

KYIV. Sept 24 (Interfax) – Kyiv considers as a priority task the deepening of cooperation with NATO and the attainment of full compatibility between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the relevant forces of the alliance’s states by 2020. This is determined by the new version of the Military Doctrine, the text of which was posted on the official website of […]

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[Ashton] Carter Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Ukraine

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(US Department of Defense – defense.gov – Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News – WASHINGTON, September 24, 2015) The United States will continue to back the Ukrainian military’s right to defend itself when Russian-separatist forces attack its positions, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today. In a joint news conference with Ukrainian Defense Minister Col.-Gen. Stepan Poltorak following their meeting during Poltorak’s […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#187 :: Friday 25 September 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#188 Friday – 25 September 2515 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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Saakashvili’s personal agreement is needed to launch procedure of appointing him as Ukrainian PM – Poroshenko

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

KYIV. Sept 24 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has responded to an online petition asking him to appoint the Odesa region’s Governor Mikheil Saakashvili Ukraine’s prime minister. “The candidate’s personal agreement to take on this post is a necessary condition for launching the aforementioned procedure of appointing the prime minister of Ukraine. However, Saakashvili has not offered any comments […]

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Interfax: Up to 150,000 ethnic Russians may relocate from Ukraine to Russia in 2015 – migration service chief

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) – Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS) expects the arrival of up to 150,000 ethnic Russians from Ukraine in 2015, and 2.6 billion rubles has been allocated from the federal budget for these purposes, FMS director Konstantin Romodanovsky has said. “Since September 2014, regional programs have been confirmed in the Rostov region and the Stavropol territory as […]

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Interfax: Kiev, unrecognized republics should discuss elections in east Ukraine – Kremlin

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

(Interfax – September 23, 2015) The implementation of the Minsk agreements with regard to local elections in Donbass, among other things, should be discussed via a direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk, presidential spokesman Dmitriy Peskov has said as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 23 September. This is how Peskov answered a question about whether Moscow […]

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Five facts about Moscow’s new central mosque

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

Ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) on September 23, a new central mosque was thrown open to the public after a special ceremony in Moscow. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galina Babich, special to RBTH – September 23, 2015) [Photos here asia.rbth.com/society/2015/09/23/five_facts_about_moscows_new_central_mosque_49461.html] 1. One of the largest mosques in Russia The central Moscow […]

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Design Chosen for Moscow Monument Commemorating Gulag Victims

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 24, 2015) The winner of a public initiative competition to design a Moscow monument honoring victims of the gulags has been chosen from 336 entries by a jury and team of experts. Sculptor Georgy Frangulyan, announced Wednesday on his website that his proposal, a large-scale relief of human figures, symbolizing gulag […]

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Playground politics in Ukraine and Syria

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – September 24, 2015) We learn everything we need to know about how to treat our fellow human beings at school. You are supposed to be polite, share your toys, call the nurse when your schoolmates fall down and graze their knees, and do what the teachers tell […]

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Saakashvili for Prime Minister of Ukraine?

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – September 23, 2015) After 24 years of independence and two revolutions, the promise of reforms that would turn Ukraine from a kleptocracy enabled by Soviet-era institutions into, say, Poland still hasn’t materialized. Popular patience is wearing thin. So three months ago, President Petro Poroshenko sent his friend (and Russia’s bete noire) Mikheil Saakashvili […]

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Russia’s banking pain is forcing long-overdue sector consolidation

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – September 24, 2015) Russian banks are in a world of pain. Real incomes are falling for the first time since President Vladimir Putin has been on the job, and sanctions have cut banks off from their main source of long-term cheap financing. The upshot is that Russia’s financial sector […]

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Moscow Times: “Middle East Leaders Line Up for Putin”

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – September 24, 2015) Turkish President Recep Erdogan on Wednesday became the third Middle Eastern leader in as many days to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow as the Kremlin appears to be building its military capability inside war-torn Syria and looks for a more assertive role in the region. Putin […]

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Russia’s Last Tsar Exhumed as Murder Case Reopened

Romanov Family Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – September 24, 2015) Russian investigators on Wednesday exhumed the remains of Russia’s last tsar and his wife, who were slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 together with their children and servants, after reopening the investigation into the century-old murder. The Investigative Committee said in a statement Wednesday it was reopening the probe […]

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Achieving balanced budget at cost of its quality unacceptable – PM

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that the structure and effectiveness of budget expenditures are no less important than balancing the budget. “The creation of comfortable conditions begins with ensuring macroeconomic stability. Low inflation and a balanced budget remain priorities for the country’s sustainable development. Inflation must be reduced to the level of 4% in […]

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Most Russians Not Saving Money, Poll Shows

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 24, 2015) Almost a quarter of Russians know someone who lost their job in recent months, but 80 percent of people are not saving any money, a survey published by the state-run VTsIOM pollster on Wednesday showed. Twenty-seven percent of Russians know at least two people who lost their jobs in the last two […]

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Russian Orthodox Church condemns participation by Ukrainian police in conflicts between religious organizations

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

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Vladimir Legoida, head of the synodal information department, has condemned the takeover by schismatics in Ukraine of the Church of St. George and called on the administration of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to investigate police involvement in violence against believers. On September 21, the Day of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, representatives of the Kyiv […]

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EU-Russia food fight masks business as usual

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Liam Halligan in London – September 22, 2015) For several days in late July and early August, thousands of farmers across North East France used tractors to obstruct roads from Germany. The aim was to prevent trucks carrying agricultural goods from crossing the Rhine. In South West France, too, more Gallic protesters, similarly mounted […]

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Commander-in-Chief Poroshenko’s shipyard to play key role in rebuilding Ukraine’s navy

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – September 22, 2015) A shipyard owned by President Petro Poroshenko, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s military, is taking on a major role in rebuilding the country’s decimated navy, as the defence sector gears up to meet the Russian challenge. The Poroshenko-owned shipyard and engineering plant Leninska Kuznya is taking the first […]

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Moscow’s Amfest Film Festival Goes Off the Beaten Track

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – September 21, 2015) Amfest, the American film festival organized by the Cool Connections agency with the support of the U.S. Embassy, is once again taking over the halls of the Formula Kino Gorizont theater. This is the festival’s 10th year in Russia. The festival prides itself on showing movies that have never […]

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Putin calls on CSTO to fight terrorist threat in Central Asia

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

The Collective Security Treaty Organization Summit, which took place in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on Sept. 14-15, was chiefly devoted to countering the threat of Islamist terrorism in Central Asia. However, Russian experts believe that corruption and poverty are a greater threat to the region than terrorism. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#186 :: Thursday 24 September 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#186 Thursday – 24 September 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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Pope Francis Says Russia Is Needed to Solve World Problems

Saint Peter's Basilica

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 23, 2015) Pope Francis has said Russia plays a crucial role in solving the world’s problems, a TASS news agency report said. “Without Russia, not one of today’s most pressing global problems can be solved,” the pontiff was cited Tuesday as telling a TASS reporter aboard a flight to Cuba. The pontiff continued his […]

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Russian Imports Plunge 39 Percent as Recession Takes Hold

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – September 23, 2015) The value of goods imported by Russia from outside the former Soviet Union tumbled 39 percent in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, as a deep recession cut into the country’s buying power. According to preliminary data from the Federal Customs […]

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