RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-121 :: Thursday, 30 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#121 Thursday, 30 June 2016 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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Russia Seeks to Reassure Over Brexit Volatility

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Daniel Schearf – June 29, 2016) As Britain and Europe struggle to come to terms with the British vote in favor of leaving the European Union, financial markets are roiling across the globe, including in Russia. Even before the vote for a British EU exit, the head of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, warned that […]

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Russian markets rode out Brexit volatility fairly smoothly – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. June 30 (Interfax) – Russian markets made it through the surge in volatility caused by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union fairly smoothly, Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said at a financial conference on Thursday. “Speaking about Brexit, in or estimate its direct influence on the Russian financial system and economy will be fairly limited. We’ve […]

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Governor Belykh’s Arrest Has Russian Elite on Edge

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – June 30, 2016) For the last decade, regional governors in Russia are usually appointed apparatchiks, with faces unrecognizable outside their home territory. There are some exceptions to the rule, like Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the republic of Chechnya. Another rare exception was Nikita Belykh, the governor of the Kirov region, a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Turkey map

(Kremlin.ru – June 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss priority areas for 2017. The President also instructed the Government to begin work on normalising relations with Turkey. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to inform you that after receiving a letter from the Turkish President, we have decided to start work […]

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U.S. Ambassador To Russia: NATO ‘Most Effective Defensive Alliance’ In History

John Tefft file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – June 27, 2016) The U.S. ambassador to Russia has tried to allay Moscow’s concerns about NATO’s intentions ahead of a crucial summit next week while offering an impassioned defense of the alliance, which he says has been forced to respond to Kremlin aggression in Ukraine. In a June 27 interview with the Russian-language services of RFE/RL […]

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Moscow a safe haven? Brexit erodes perceptions of political risk

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – NATASHA DOFF, KSENIA GALOUCHKO – June 28, 2016) Britain’s vote to quit the European Union has flipped perceptions of global political risk on their head. Brazil’s new government and Russia’s isolation represent a buying opportunity for Europe’s biggest asset manager as political chaos across the continent erodes developed economies’ traditional haven status. Even before the Brexit […]

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Interfax: Shoigu: NATO doubled intensity of trainings near Russian borders

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – June 29, 2016) NATO has dramatically intensified the number of trainings near the Russian borders, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. “The intensity of the trainings of the NATO armed forces conducted in direct vicinity of the Russian borders has more than doubled,” he said at a Russian Defense Ministry collegium meeting on June 29. “We do not […]

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Russia Takes $6.2 Billion Bite Out of Banks to Soak Up Cash

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Anna Baraulina – June 28, 2016) It’s been blamed for fighting inflation at the expense of the economy and turning its targets into “fetishes.” Now Russian lenders say the central bank’s latest swipe at price risks is putting pressure on their bottom line and credit. Reserve-ratio requirements will be increased by 75 basis points […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Reception in honour of graduates of military academies

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Kremlin.ru – June 28, 2016) A reception in honour of graduates of military academies, institutes and universities run by the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, Federal Security Service and Federal Guards Service was hosted at the Grand Kremlin Palace. Distinguished graduates of academies under the responsibility of the Federal National Guard attended the reception […]

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Putin will decide whether to “veto” anti-terrorist laws when he receives them for signing – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. June 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a decision on the so-called ‘anti-terrorist package’ of laws after he receives it for signing, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “We know of different views on this bill. We know of specific remarks, including those made by communications [operators], public figures, and public organizations. […]

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Russian ruling party confirms Duma election candidates

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – June 27, 2016) A United Russia congress on 27 June approved the ruling party’s candidates and manifesto for the State Duma election in September, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Lists of candidates Half of the 450 seats in the new Duma will be elected by proportional representation and the other half by a majority vote […]

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RBTH: Russia to open new naval base in Black Sea to counter NATO

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

The Russian Navy is to open a new base on the Black Sea coast in Novorossiysk hosting Varshavyanka class Project 636.6 diesel-electric submarines with Kalibr cruise missiles. However, there are still some weather-based issues to be resolved. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – June 29, 2016) The Russian Defense Ministry is completing the construction of […]

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Interfax: Basurin reports over 800 attacks in DPR territory, injury of three civilians in past 24 hours

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

DONETSK. June 29 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) saw 830 attacks of the Ukrainian army in the past 24 hours; three civilians were injured, Eduard Basurin, a senior official of the DPR Defense Ministry, told the press. “The situation in the Donetsk People’s Republic remains critical. The number of shelling incidents grew over the past day. The […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-120 :: Wednesday, 29 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#120 Wednesday, 29 June 2016 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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Lack of Solidarity Among Russian Opposition an Ominous Echo of 1937, Pavlova Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 27, 2016) The reaction of many Russian opposition figures to the arrest of corrupt figures today eerily and ominously echoes the reaction of many ordinary Soviet citizens to the arrest and then execution of many corrupt officials in the late 1930s, according to Irina Pavlova, a US-based Russian historian. And the […]

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Karasin, Abashidze meet in Prague to confirm commitment to continue course toward normalization of Russia-Georgia relations – Russian Foreign Ministry

Georgia Map

MOSCOW. June 27 (Interfax) – Another meeting between Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Zurab Abashidze, Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, was held in Prague, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “The parties have confirmed readiness to continue the pragmatic course toward step-by-step normalization of the bilateral relations,” the Russian ministry said in a statement following […]

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RBTH: Why Erdogan apologized to Putin

Turkey map

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 bomber in the skies over Syria, the president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. According to experts, Erdogan took such a step due to the deterioration in relations with the EU over refugees and the economic consequences of the breakdown in […]

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Former U.S. Defense Officials Warn Of Russian Response To NATO Summit

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – June 23, 2016) WASHINGTON — A former top U.S. Defense Department official has warned that the buildup of NATO troops in Eastern Europe, and Russia’s own troop movements along its western borders, are deepening the risk of an accidental outbreak of war. The comments on June 23 by Ian Brzezinski, deputy assistant secretary […]

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Interfax: Ex-Russian military representative to NATO sees no prerequisites to improve relations between Russia, alliance

NATO Logo, NATO, OTAN

MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) – The resumption of contacts between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance is premature, former Russian chief military representative to NATO, State Duma deputy Viktor Zavarzin said. “Today, the issue of resuming the relationship with NATO is premature, let they behave correctly, let they correctly understand Russia’s role in international security, European security,” Zavarzin said at […]

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The Corner of Russia’s Economy Where Crisis Rages Unabated

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – June 26, 2016) As Russia’s government counts the months to an economic rebound, a bellwether of investment is nearing levels of distress last seen during the throes of a recession seven years ago. The value of construction works plunged 9 percent from a year earlier in May, the worst showing since October, even […]

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Sharapova to spend disqualification period at Harvard

File Photo of Maria Sharapov Carrying Olympic Torch and Waving at Sochi

Maria Sharapova enrolls at Harvard Business School after being banned from tennis for two years. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – June 27, 2016) Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, who has been banned from tournament play for two years, will spend her disqualification period at the Harvard Business School. However, what exactly she will study […]

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Wealthy Russian Families Lose Up to 75% of Their Income in 2015

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 24, 2016) Wealthy Russian families lost between 25 and 75 percent of their income in 2015, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday, citing the Russian Wealth Report 2016. On average, families with an annual income between 15 million and 100 million rubles ($235,000 to $1.5 million) lost 45 percent of their revenue, according to […]

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Primakov Offers Five Lessons Today’s Russian Leaders Aren’t Following, Bordyugov and Rybakov Say

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 27, 2016) Yevgeny Primakov died a year ago and most remarkably has continued to be treated as an unalloyed positive way in Russia. That sets him apart from almost all other Moscow figures of the last 30 years and suggests that his approach has some important lessons for current Russian leaders, […]

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Russian Opposition Governor Arrested for Corruption Claims Innocence

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 27, 2016) A Russian governor arrested for corruption has claimed his innocence in a Moscow court. Nikita Belykh, governor of the Kirov region in central Russia, was arrested Friday after allegedly taking a 400,000 euro ($440,000) bribe. Appearing in court on Saturday, June 25, Belykh maintained that he was not guilty, telling the court, […]

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RBTH: Four possible effects of Brexit on Russia’s economy

EU Map

Rather than being a boon, UK’s possible exit from the EU could cast the Russian economy into troubled waters. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, KIRA EGOROVA, RBTH – June 27, 2016) Despite Russia being called one of Brexit’s possible beneficiaries, in reality the UK’s potential exit from the EU poses more risks for the Russian economy […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to media questions [Putin on Brexit)

Eurasia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 24, 2016) Vladimir Putin responded to media questions at the end of his working visit to Uzbekistan to attend the SCO Heads of State Council, timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the SCO. Question: I would like to ask you about Brexit. Well before the vote, it was alleged that Russia would be happy if […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] United Russia party congress

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin is taking part in political party United Russia’s 15th congress. The congress will approve the party’s election campaign programme and present party lists of candidates for the upcoming State Duma election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, I welcome the delegates and guests at this United Russia congress. This congress is an […]

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Interfax: United Russia intends to work on normalizing relations with EU

EU Map

MOSCOW. June 27 (Interfax) – The party United Russia stated Russia’s economic development, resumption of active contacts with the European Union and partnership with its neighbors as priorities in its election program. “In the upcoming political cycle, we will actively work on normalizing our relations with the EU,” the party said in its political program approved at the congress in […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-119 :: Tuesday, 28 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#119 Tuesday, 28 June 2016 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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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-118 :: Monday, 27 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#118 Monday, 27 June 2016 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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New Anti-Terrorist Acts Means Kremlin is Preparing for War at Home and Abroad, Ponomarev Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2016) Today, the Russian Duma passed on second and third reading the so-called “Yarova-Ozerov law on terrorism,” a draconian measure that means not only that Vladimir Putin’s recent call for improved relations with the West was nothing more than “a special operation” but also and more seriously that he is […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-117 :: Friday, 24 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#117 Friday, 24 June 2016 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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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-116 :: Thursday, 23 June 2016

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#116 Thursday, 23 June 2016 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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to the Xinhua News Agency of China

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 23, 2016) In the run-up to his visit to the People’s Republic of China, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Chinese news agency Xinhua. The interview was recorded on June 17 on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Interview with Xinhua news agency. With Xinhua General Director Cai Mingzhao. President of Xinhua News Agency […]

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RBTH: How would Russia have voted in Brexit referendum?

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

As Britain prepares to decide whether to leave the EU, experts weigh in on what Russia has to gain and lose from Brexit. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – June 22, 2016) As the British people prepare to cast their votes in the most fateful vote in a generation – a ballot that has the […]

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The trap of “countering Russia”; Across eastern Europe, U.S. engagement against Russia is having an adverse effect on grassroots protesters – and no easy solution is forthcoming

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – June 23, 2016) Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist Poland: Generations […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-115 :: Wednesday, 22 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#115 Wednesday, 22 June 2016 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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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Heads to China to Cement Ties, but Obstacles Remain” – AP

Asia Map

With … Putin heading to China this weekend, officials in both countries extoll a blossoming ‘strategic partnership’ …. But despite Moscow’s push to strengthen ties with Beijing amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, Russia-China trade has shrunk sharply and a slew of ambitious projects have remained largely on paper. Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing’s hard-nosed […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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All Russians Are Tainted by Putin’s Regime

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 21, 2016) The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athletes compete in the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they haven’t used performance-enhancing drugs won’t be popular with other countries. Nonetheless, it was the right call. But it also carries some unpleasant undertones: It formally requires Russians to prove that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin addressed the State Duma’s plenary session

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2016) The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session. Speech at the State Duma’s plenary session. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. […]

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RBTH: The 3 key areas of disagreement between Moscow and Damascus

Syria Map

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Russia has been seen as a loyal ally to Bashar Assad, giving unwavering support to the Syrian president. Yet, the positions of Moscow and the Syrian regime are far from identical. Russia advocates a political solution to the crisis, whereas Assad sees war as the answer. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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Sechin predicts oil price to reach $50-55 per barrel by end of 2016, $65 per barrel by end of 2017

Igor Sechin file photo

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) – Oil prices will reach the levels of $50-55 per barrel by the end of 2016 and $65 per barrel by the end of 2017, Rosneft (MOEX: ROSN) CEO Igor Sechin said during an interview with Rossiya-24 television. “The current volatility will continue. We think that by the end of the year we will stably reach […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Senate Committee Looks To Revive Cold-War Era Body To Catch Russian Spies; A new intelligence bill also proposes tightening how Russian diplomats can travel. ” – Buzzfeed

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

In its 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill, the Senate Intelligence Committee is asking the White House to reinstate a presidentially-appointed group to unmask Russian spies and uncover Russian-sponsored assassinations. The group, which would include personnel from the State Department, intelligence community and several other executive offices, would meet monthly. Along with spies and covert killings, the committee would also investigate the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with students taking part in International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Kremlin.ru – June 20, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with students participating in the International Collegiate Programming Contest. The President congratulated the contest participants. One Russian team won the competition and four others were among the top ten. Mr Putin thanked the students and their teachers for their work and wished them success in future competitions and in their future work. […]

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No, Russia is not preparing for all-out war; Russia’s snap military mobilisation drills are an internal exercise. But troublesome relations with the west could still have unintended (and unpleasant) consequences.

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – June 21, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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Putin Understands West but West Doesn’t Understand Putin, Moscow Hybrid War Specialist Says

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Russia’s power does “not even come close” to that of the US, Andrey Manoylo says; but Moscow has an advantage “right now” because it understands the value of “asymmetric action” and because “the US clearly has difficulties with predicting Russia’s activities,” because of Washington’s overly simplistic models of Russian […]

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