‘We must face down the ISIS threat in Syria together’

Syria Map

Nobody wants to deploy ground forces in Syria, says Russian Ambassador to the UK (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – October 29, 2015) Alexander Yakovenko is Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was previously Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. ISIS has established a bridgehead in Syria and other countries of the Middle East. The terrorists do not conceal […]

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Russian Justice Ministry Proposes Further Checks to ‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov, Eva Hartog – October 29, 2015) The Justice Ministry has proposed legal amendments that would set a procedure for the government to shut down nongovernmental organizations deemed “foreign agents,” state-run news agency TASS reported. The bill would require NGOs designated as “foreign agents” to supply the Justice Ministry with thorough accounts of their […]

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The autumn of indifference

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Julia Reed in Moscow – October 29, 2015) Earlier in October, Moscow was in the middle of an Indian summer. Autumn is the time to be in the city. I was sitting in a one-room Lebanese cafe a seven-minute walk away from the Kremlin, customers coming in and out for a cigarette […]

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Reclusive Russian Family’s Last Survivor Toughs It Out In The Taiga

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

(RFE/RL – Nick Holdsworth – October 28, 2015) SIBERIAN TAIGA, Russia — Agafia Lykova emerges from the thick forest on the banks of the Abakan River like an image from Russian folklore. Dressed in ragged black sackcloth with a tattered head scarf and a triangular prayer amulet hanging from a beaded cord around her neck, she greets visitors arriving by […]

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The Origins of Separatism: Popular Grievances in Donetsk and Luhansk

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

(PONARS – ponarseurasia.org – Elise Giuliano – October 2015) Elise Giuliano is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University and Academic Advisor of the MA Program in Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe at Columbia’s Harriman Institute. [Text with charts here http://www.ponarseurasia.org/memo/origins-separatism-popular-grievances-donetsk-and-luhansk] (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) What were the origins of separatism in the Donbas? When the […]

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DPR, LPR obstructing verification of withdrawn armaments – OSCE mission

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

KYIV. Oct 29 (Interfax) – Representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are obstructing the access of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) monitors to weapon storage sites, Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said. The OSCE SMM continues to monitor the withdrawal of artillery pieces with calibers under 100mm and mortars with calibers under 120mm and to […]

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NEWSWATCH Stars and Stripes: “Army chief: Russia threat demands review of Europe force posture”

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

Stars and Stripes reports on U.S. Army review of its European force posture in light of issues posed by Russia. The U.S. Army is reviewing its force structure in Europe, measuring everything from crisis-response capabilities to its mix of armor and infantrymen, as the service adapts to counter a revanchist Russia, the Army chief of staff said. Gen. Mark Milley, […]

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Russia Oil Production Poised for Record as Industry Defies Slump

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Julian Lee – October 29, 2015) Russian oil output is poised to break a post-Soviet record for the fourth time this year as the nation’s producers once again prove themselves resilient to a slump in crude prices. Production of crude and a light oil called condensate is on track to reach 10.77 million barrels […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#211 :: Thursday 29 October 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#211 Thursday – 29 October 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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Putin’s Mafia Statecraft

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 27, 2015) In the past couple years, Russian hackers have launched attacks on a French television network, a German steelmaker, the Polish stock market, the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. State Department, and The New York Times. And according to press reports citing Western intelligence officials, the perpetrators […]

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Hard to call Russian banking system healthy – Sberbank exec

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Oct 28 (Interfax) – It is currently difficult to call the Russian banking system healthy, Sberbank (MOEX: SBER) deputy CEO Bella Zlatkis believes. “If two or three banking institutions in the country close per week, if this number increases by tens in a year, if a whole number of banking institutions are having problems with capital and liquidity, I […]

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Putin’s Movement Not Taking On Bigger Role Until 2016, Say Experts

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – October 28, 2015) The All-Russian People’s Front (ONF), the organization created in 2011 on the eve of the State Duma elections and headed by President Vladimir Putin, made the headlines this week as federal and some regional authorities announced plans to give it more power in various decision-making processes. The Economic Development […]

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Stephen Blank: “The Black Sea and Beyond”

Black Sea Satellite Photo file image

Subject: The Black Sea and Beyond Date: Wed, 28 Oct 201 From: Stephen Blank <traininblank@aol.com> David could you please place a notice of my new article The Black Sea and Beyond in the Proceedings of the US Naval Institute, http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2015-10/black-sea-and-beyond The naval and strategic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cast a long shadow over Eastern Europe and the Middle […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#210 :: Wednesday 28 October 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#210 Wednesday – 28 October 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 military intelligence officers captured in eastern Ukraine change story

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

(Human Rights in Ukraine – khpg.org – Halya Coynash – October 27, 2015) One of the two Russian spetsnaz officers captured in eastern Ukraine in May this year is now denying that he was a serving Russian officer, and the other, whose family has just hired a different lawyer, may be planning to do the same.   Any claim now that […]

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BNE: Local elections in Ukraine pave the way for parliamentary crisis

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – October 27, 2015) Local elections in Ukraine, held on October 25, predictably demonstrated a decline in public support for pro-Western political forces headed by the current president and prime minister. This outcome could trigger manoeuvring among other political players, including members of the ruling coalition, aimed at […]

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Smooth censorship in Russia

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

Everybody understands everything, everybody knows everything, and no one says anything aloud. (Opendemocracy.net – Gregory Tumanov – October 27, 2015) Grigory Tumanov is a Moscow based journalist and blogger. He is a staff correspondent for Kommersant daily, one of Russia’s most respected publications. Follow him on Twitter @scumsquad The history of censorship in Russian media runs for pages and pages. […]

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Is Russia The King Of Arctic Oil By Default?

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – October 22, 2015) To be king implies preeminence, or lasting rule. In the Arctic, such oil and gas supremacy is still little more than a dream. That dream remains alive in Russia however, and the nation – through an unmatched stubbornness and a decidedly timid field of competitors – is making a strong bid for […]

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Russian Military Spending to Increase by Less Than 1% Next Year

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – October 27, 2015) Russia’s defense spending is set to increase by a modest 0.8 percent next year, falling far short of the estimated 10 percent annual budget increases required over the next five years to hit equipment modernization targets mandated by President Vladimir Putin. Russian military expenditure has been rising since 2011, […]

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Interfax: Foreign Ministry: Russian sub rumors are part of information campaign

Russian Nuclear Submarine

(Interfax – October 27, 2015) Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has described a number of Western military officials’ latest remarks as elements of an information campaign being waged against Russia. “We have encountered a very large-scale, well-orchestrated and strategically structured information campaign aimed at shaping public opinions. The main goal of this campaign is to create an enemy image. […]

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But why Russia?

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

Recent arrival in Moscow, Fraser Young, delves into the myths and legends that help give his adoptive new home such a mysterious allure. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – FRASER YOUNG , SPECIAL TO RBTH – October 27, 2015) Fraser Young is a recent graduate of Leeds University, where he studied History and Russian Language; he is an avid […]

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Inozemtsev’s Five Reasons Why Russia Unlikely to Become a Democracy Anytime Soon

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, October 26, 2015) Democracy is a system which allows the population to “choose and replace their government through free and fair elections,” Vladislav Inozemtsev says. That is something that is not the case in Russia today, and there are five reasons to think it will not be the case anytime soon. In an address to the […]

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Ex-Russian Officials: Stagnation, Declining Living Standards Loom For Russians

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(RFE/RL – WASHINGTON, October 26, 2015) Russia’s economy will stagnate in coming years due to sanctions, low oil prices, and deeper systemic problems, former Russian officials say, but it’s unclear whether this torpor will strengthen political opposition to President Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister and current opposition politician, told an October 26 panel discussion that Russia […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#209 :: Tuesday 27 October 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#209 Tuesday – 29 October 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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Has Ukraine’s ‘Revolution of Dignity’ left women behind?

Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution called for dignity and justice, but almost two years later gender equality is not a priority on the Ukrainian political agenda – not even for female lawmakers. (opendemocracy.net – Francesca Ebel – October 26, 2015) Francesca Ebel is a freelance reporter focusing on Ukraine, Russia and the former Soviet Union. She has contributed to The Independent, The […]

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European Union Prohibits Studies of Sanctioned Russian Banks

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 23, 2015) The European Union has prohibited its financial institutions from publishing analytical research of the Russian banks under EU sanctions, the European Commission said in a statement. The European Commission, the EU’s legislative body, prohibited publishing research on Russian banks because the analysis contained in the reports could help investors in Russia make […]

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New bankruptcy law may bring Russians relief from debt collectors

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGÓROV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – October 26, 2015) Debt collectors in Russia often exceed their authority and resort to bullying, intimidation and even physical violence in order to force individuals to pay. However, a new law on individual bankruptcy is designed to help borrowers avoid such unpleasant encounters, though critics fear it […]

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BNE: Putin’s approval rating reaches all-time high of 90%

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 23, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has soared to a historical peak of 89.9% on the back of his proclaimed anti-terror campaign in Syria, according to a new poll. The rating broke the last record of 89.1% registered in June 2015 as the Kremlin boss continues to defy Western opinion and […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#208 :: Monday 26 October 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#208 Monday – 26 October 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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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “If Kremlin doesn’t fight Islamists in Syria, will it have to in Russia? Radical Islamists are a legitimate threat to Russia’s security, particularly via its post-Soviet neighbors to the south. But the risk of blowback is high too.”

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Will ‘Sunstroke’ Make the Oscar List?

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ali Sar – October 26, 2015) HOLLYWOOD – Nikita Mikhalkov’s film “Sunstroke” will be the director’s sixth submission to the Oscar competition and will give the renowned Russian moviemaker a chance to capture his second Academy Award. Unlike last year’s awards entry “Leviathan,” the story about a corrupt mayor of a small seaside fishing village, […]

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U.S. professor unveils Russian ‘Architecture at the End of the Earth’ in DC

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

William Brumfield presents new book on cultural heritage of Russia’s north. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA SOROKINA, RBTH – October 23, 2015) William Brumfield presented highlights and stunning photos from his new book Architecture at the End of the Earth: Photographing the Russian North on Oct. 15 at the headquarters of the American Councils for International Education […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#207 :: Friday 23 October 2015

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#207 Friday – 23 October 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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Announcement of new Russian-language journal Kontrapunkt

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Subject: Announcement of new Russian-language journal Kontrapunkt Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 From: Cory Welt <cwelt@gwu.edu> New Russian-Language Journal of Politics & Society “Counterpoint” George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) is pleased to announce the first publication of Counterpoint (Kontrapunkt), a new open-access Russian-language journal of politics and society edited by Maria Lipman available at […]

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Putin’s Bipolar Disorder

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 21, 2015) Separatist leaders in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region announce they plan to hold a referendum on joining Russia. Kremlin-backed parties lead the polls in Moldova with the pro-Western government in Chisinau mired in corruption allegations. And Moscow appears to be getting its way on the implementation of the Minsk cease-fire […]

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Russia’s secret treason investigations; In Russia, the number of state treason cases is rising. Secret service tactics mean we know less and less about who is under investigation

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

(opendemocracy.net – Gleb Belichenko – October 22, 2015) Gleb Belichenko is a journalist and former member of the activist group Team 29, which works to further freedom of information in Russia. Statistics for the past few years show that, in Russia, four to six people a year are put on trial for state treason. In 2014, this number rose sharply: […]

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Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine. Second edition.

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

From: director@cast.ru (Ruslan Pukhov) Date: 20.10.2015 Subject: Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine. Second edition. Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine offers an in-depth look at the state of the military in both Russia and Ukraine, as well as the history, political circumstances and events leading to the annexation of Crimea and outbreak of […]

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Russian Academia Divided Over FSB Vetting of Research Papers

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – October 22, 2015) A report this week of research papers and scientific articles becoming subject to vetting by the Federal Security Service (FSB) before publication rattled Russian academics, coming on the heels of several cases in which people have been accused of espionage and treason in connection with their professional activities. The […]

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Moscow State University Tops Emerging Countries Ranking Rating

Moscow State University file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 22, 2015) Moscow State University (MSU) has topped a list of the 150 best universities of emerging countries in Europe and Central Asia by the Britain-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) education platform. MSU was given an overall score of 100, achieving perfect scores in the academic reputation, employer reputation and faculty/student ratio categories, the online […]

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