NEWSWATCH: “Intel Report: Kremlin Sees U.S. Urging Regime Change in Russia” – AP

DIA Headquarters file photo, adapted from DIA Public Affairs photo at defense.gov

[DIA report here dia.mil/Portals/27/Documents/News/Military%20Power%20Publications/Russia%20Military%20Power%20Report%202017.pdf] “Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has assessed. The unclassified report by the Defense Intelligence Agency … portrays Russia as increasingly wary of the United States. It cites Moscow’s ‘deep and […]

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Kremlin’s Claims about Economic Growth Rest on Three Weak Reeds, Russian Experts Say

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 29, 2017) Independent Russian economists say that claims by Moscow officials concerning the supposed growth in Russia’s GDP do not correspond to reality, Russian experts say. Instead, they reflect some statistical sleight of hand, the low base from which any change is calculated, and even the anomalously cold weather of recent […]

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Russia Sticks to Conservative $40 Oil Forecast for 2018 Budget

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 29, 2017) The Russian government is sticking to its conservative assumptions for oil prices as it drafts the budget for the next three years, relying mainly on domestic borrowing to finance the deficit in order to preserve its rainy-day funds. Oil prices are running above the government’s $40-a-barrel forecast, but growing supply […]

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Je Suis Malobrodsky: Theater, Politics and Russian Scandal; Navigating Russian fiscal laws is something akin to traversing the woods in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – June 30, 2017) [Former theater critic for the Moscow Times] The theater world may now be at the center of one of Russia’s most profound political scandals. The stakes are high: Can the government and its people coexist? And if not, where is the country heading? Last week Alexei Malobrodsky, the former […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-123 :: Friday, 30 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#123 Friday, 30 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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[PDF] NEWSLINK: “[DIA Report:] ‘Russia Military Power: Building a Military to Support Great Power Aspirations'” – Defense Intelligence Agency [116-page PDF]

DIA Headquarters file photo, adapted from DIA Public Affairs photo at defense.gov

“… Since returning to power in 2012, Russian President Putin has sought to reassert Russia as a great power on the global stage and to restructure an international order that the Kremlin believes is tilted too heavily in favor of the United States at Russia’s expense. …”

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NEWSLINK: “How to ‘Think Like the Russians’: A Partisan Perception Chart for Improving U.S.-Russian Relations” – Russia Matters/ Bruce Allyn

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

U.S.-Russia relations have dropped to a low point reminiscent of the scariest days of the Cold War, and the risk of nuclear miscalculation is the highest it’s been in nearly 55 years. With passions flaring and recriminations flying, how can Washington and Moscow find a calm common language and ratchet down tensions? …

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NEWSLINK: “Understanding Russia Doesn’t Mean Liking Moscow; It Means Making America Safer” – Russia Matters/ Paul Saunders

Kremlin and River

One of America’s biggest problems in dealing with Russia today is the pressure on policymakers to decide on a course of action without a good understanding of our rival and its motives, goals and priorities. While few would condemn a company for studying the market to assess its competitors, or decry U.S. politicians for doing research on their opponents, attempts […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-122 :: Thursday, 29 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#122 Thursday, 29 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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Reconstructing the power vertical: the authoritarian threat in Ukraine; Subverting the fight against corruption, whipping up patriotic publics and coopting the media and judiciary – this is the face of authoritarian drift in Ukraine.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Minakov – June 29, 2017) Mikhail Minakov is Associate Professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and President of the Foundation for Good Politics, Kyiv. He is also visiting professor at the Institute for European Studies, Europa-Universitaet Viadrina and editor-in-chief of the journal Ideology and Politics. Eastern Europe has become a source of short- and long-term risks for the entire […]

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NEWSLINK: “Media Contempt for Facts Grows Along With the Dangers of War With Russia; “Russiagate” has become a grave threat to US national security-but its discredited foundational allegations persist.” – The Nation/ Stephen F. Cohen

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.) Cohen is increasingly alarmed that as Washington and Moscow drift toward military conflict, the US political-media establishment remains obsessed with “Russiagate”-allegations that Russian President Putin ordered the hacking of the Democratic […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Washington Post, Russia, and Trump” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/ Gordon M. Hahn

“Is it all the result of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ or just bad propaganda/stratcomm (strategic communications)? Like the rest of the U.S. mainstream media, ever since the defeat of their preferred candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post has been engaged in an extensive ‘hissy fit’ and disinformation campaign that greatly exaggerates and even outright manufactures […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 28, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with leader of the Russian Federation Communist Party (KPRF) faction in the State Duma Gennady Zyuganov. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zyuganov, we are meeting for one of our regular sessions to discuss your activities. As you know, I recently met with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and with [A Just […]

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TRANSCRIPT: The President congratulated Foreign Intelligence Service staff and veterans on the 95th anniversary of Russian illegal intelligence

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 28, 2017) Vladimir Putin visited the headquarters of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) to attend a gala event devoted to the 95th anniversary of Russian illegal intelligence. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, colleagues, I would like to congratulate all current staff and veterans of the Foreign Intelligence Service on the 95th anniversary of Russian illegal […]

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Jury Deliberating For Second Day In Case Of Accused Nemtsov Killers

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – June 28, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-chechnya-nemtsov-murder-trial/28583189.html) The jury in the trial of five men who are charged in connection with the 2015 killing of opposition politician and former Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov is continuing deliberations for a second day in Moscow. The jury on June […]

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Microsoft, Analysts See Hack Origin at Ukrainian Software Firm

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Giles Turner – June 28, 2017) Microsoft Corp., cybersecurity analysts, and Ukrainian police say the global hack that has disrupted companies across the globe can be traced to a Ukrainian accounting software producer called M.E.Doc. The cybercrime unit of the Ukrainian police said late Tuesday that a software upgrade from M.E.Doc unwittingly contained the virus. Microsoft […]

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Putin’s Next Spectacle

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – June 28, 2017 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-transcript-putins-next-spectacle/28583415.html) The Kremlin needs a new distraction. Russia’s rulers need a new story to tell. Vladimir Putin needs a new bright shiny object to wave in front of the Russian people. And if recent experience is any guide, Putin’s next spectacle, the Kremlin’s […]

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Bondholder’s Dream Beckons as ‘Japanification’ Sweeps Russia

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – June 28, 2017 – Anna Andrianova) From the bondholder’s perspective, Russia has a lot in common with Japan and Italy. That’s a good thing, mostly. An aging population more prone to saving, combined with a “strongly conservative” economy, offer the best mix for fixed-income investors, according to Renaissance Capital. While poor demographics will haunt Russia’s growth […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the bureau of the Russian Engineering Union and the League for Assisting Defence Enterprises of Russia

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 27, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the bureau of the Russian Engineering Union and the League for Assisting Defence Enterprises of Russia. During a meeting on the development of machine building and the military industrial complex at the Kalashnikov Concern. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to welcome […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-121 :: Wednesday, 28 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#121 Wednesday, 28 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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Ukraine Says There’s No Evidence of Illicit Payments to Manafort

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany – June 27, 2017) Ukrainian prosecutors said they’d found no proof of illicit payments to U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager from his work for the party of the nation’s ousted leader. Anti-corruption investigators in the ex-Soviet republic said last year that they’d found ledgers showing $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments between […]

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Kennan Cable No.24: Russian Foreign Policy in the Arctic: Balancing Cooperation and Competition

Arctic Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Stacy R. Closson, Assistant Professor, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky – June 26, 2017) Introduction The Arctic region presents a particularly interesting case study of Russian foreign policy. In a time when Russia is showing renewed aggression on three fronts – the Baltic Sea region, Syria, and Ukraine – and meddling in […]

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Moscow Media Report that West Wants to Dismember Russia Dismissed by Russian Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 26, 2017) On Saturday, a Russian television program featured a claim by an unnamed Russian intelligence officer that NATO viewed the destruction of the USSR as “only the first step” and then planned “to create a Middle Volga Republic” in order to reduce “all of Russia to the size and power […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. [excerpt re: NGOs]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Valentina Matviyenko: Mr President, we also organised public hearings on a subject that was long ripe for discussion. We simply gave this discussion a formal framework through these hearings on the inadmissibility of interference in Russia’s internal affairs. We know how […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-120 :: Tuesday, 27 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#120 Tuesday, 27 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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AUDIO NEWSWATCH: “Many In Eastern Ukraine Want To Join Russia” – National Public Radio (NPR)

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

“… Putin insists Russia doesn’t want to annex separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine, but many residents, who already use the Russian ruble and depend on Russia in many ways, wish he would. … An update now from eastern Ukraine, where, for the last three years, Russia has fueled a separatist war. … Putin insists he wants only to protect ethnic […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin Seduced Oliver Stone – and Trump” – New York Times/ Masha Gessen

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

“Watching four hours of Oliver Stone interviewing President Vladimir Putin of Russia is not a lesson in journalism. Mr. Stone is an inept interviewer, and he does not get Mr. Putin to say anything the world hasn’t heard from him before. Watching the interviews for entertainment is a questionable proposition, too: The four-part series contains many dull exchanges and even […]

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Kremlin Aide Lists Moscow’s Five Biggest Concerns in North Caucasus

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 23, 2017) Magomedsalam Magomedov, the former head of Daghestan who is now deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration, told the leaders of the republics in the North Caucasus that Moscow currently has five major concerns about developments in their region that they must address. In remarks to the annual conference […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-119 :: Monday, 26 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#119 Monday, 26 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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Disconnected society: how the war in the Donbas has affected Ukraine; People displaced by the war in eastern Ukraine need a community to represent their interests – any community. Why is that proving so difficult?

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

(opendemocracy.net – Kateryna Iakovlenko – June 26, 2017) Kateryna Iakovlenko is a journalist and researcher from Rovenky, Luhansk. She researches Ukrainian art of the 1980s-1990s, and is postgraduate student at the New Media Department, Lviv National University. An Italian journalist once asked me why I love my country. He also asked me whether I consider myself Ukrainian. After all, I […]

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Summer 2017 reading on Russia: 5 must-read books for those who seek to understand the country’s past and its present

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

By Pavel Koshkin (pkoshkin.russia.direct@gmail.com). Pavel Koshkin is a contributor for Forbes-Russia magazine and the deputy editor of International Desk at RBC Daily, a Russian independent newspaper. He is the former editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, an English-language analytical media outlet that suspended its activity due to various challenges. With Russia celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, here are five […]

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Behind Brave Face on Sanctions, Russia Is Already Adjusting

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 23, 2017) They are only discussed. They may not even be implemented. But the new sanctions under consideration in the U.S. Congress have already become a factor the Bank of Russia can’t ignore. While Governor Elvira Nabiullina dismissed sanctions as having little impact on Russia, the looming threat of wider measures was […]

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Russian Youth aren’t the Revolutionaries the Kremlin Fears or the Opposition Hopes For, Olshansky Says

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 22, 2017) Given the large number of young people taking part in the March 26 and June 12 demonstrations, many in the Kremlin have expressed concern and many in the opposition have expressed hope that young people now constitute a revolutionary force. But those fears and hopes are misplaced, Dmitry Olshansky […]

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Unemployment ranges from 1.5% in Moscow to 27.2% in Ingushetia – Rosstat

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. June 23 (Interfax) – Russian unemployment in May continued to vary widely by federal district, when the highest rate 3.4 times greater than the lowest, and by region, where the highest was 18 times greater than the lowest, Rosstat reported. Unemployment declined to 5.2% in May from 5.3% in April, 5.4% in March and 5.6% in February and January. […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-120 :: Monday, 26 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#119 Monday, 26 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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NEWSLINK: “An inside listen into Obama’s struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault” – Washington Post/ Allison Michaels

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

The story raises “Can He Do That?” questions for both the Obama and Trump administrations. Can a president fail to sufficiently punish a country that interferes in our democratic elections? Can an incoming president deny that such interference occurred? And what happens when the two leaders transition power?

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Natural Born Liar

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore- June 22, 2017) [Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-transcript-natural-born-liar/28572901.html] What is the point of lying when what you are saying is obviously, demonstrably, and often ridiculously false? It’s a question worth asking in the aftermath of U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone’s recent interview series with Vladimir Putin. During the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on measures to protect the rights of people involved in shared-equity construction projects and on defining the legal status of self-employed individuals. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we are here to discuss several issues. I would like to start with several matters that […]

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Putin says stopped learning physics, chemistry to become intelligence officer

Putin at Desk

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said he decided to become an intelligence officer back in his school years and even visited the KGB to ask for advice. “I was a student of the Institute of Technology’s chemistry school but developed a different inclination and decided to join the security services. I came to a KGB reception […]

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Putin, Depersonalized: What Does Oliver Stone’s Film Reveal About Russia’s Leader? In “Putin Interview”, the ordinary and casual moments are the most compelling

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – June 21, 2017) American filmmaker Oliver Stone has faced intense criticism since the release of his 4-hour “Putin Interviews” earlier this month. Critics have assailed Stone for giving a platform to the Russian president and asking softball questions. But the controversial film, currently being broadcast on Russian state television, has its intriguing […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-117 :: Thursday, 22 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#117 Thursday, 22 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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Russians Aren’t Blowing Bigger Wages in Boon to Central Bank

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 21, 2017) There’s less than meets the eye to Russia’s consumer recovery. While real wages grew at the same pace of 3.7 percent in April and May, the most in over three years, retail sales only crawled just above zero after a record 27 months of contraction. The Bank of Russia expects […]

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Not Just A Putin Problem

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – June 21, 2017) [Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-not-just-a-putin-problem/28570823.html] “Krym Nash” was just the beginning. Crimea is not the only place and Ukraine is not the only neighbor where Russia has territorial ambitions. And this is not just a fixation of Vladimir #Putin and his cronies, but […]

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Thirty Percent of Russians Now Identify as Muslims, New Survey Finds

Russian Mosque file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2017) Thirty percent of Russians now identify as Muslims, according to a new survey by the ZoomMarket marketing agency, just 12 percent fewer than the 42 percent who say they are Orthodox Christians. Some 18 percent say they are atheists, with all other denominations in the single digits. Thus, three […]

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Rosatom: Climate’s new best friend; As Russia’s economic crisis continues to hit budgets, the country’s state nuclear corporation is going green to raise funds on the international level.

Russian Nuclear Power Plant

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Slivyak – June 21, 2017) Vladimir Slivyak is the co-chair of the Russian environmental NGO Ecodefense and has been taking part in UN climate change talks since 1995. The recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum was widely covered by the Russian media, partly because of the eye-catching debates in which president Vladimir Putin himself took part. In […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Civic Chamber members

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – June 20, 2017) Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with members of the 6th Civic Chamber. The Civic Chamber’s new membership was established in a three-stage process. Forty members were approved by the Presidential Executive Order of March 20, 84 were delegated by regional civic chambers, and 43 were selected in a vote from among 403 candidates put […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russians Remain Confident in Putin’s Global Leadership; Majority says Russia has improved its international standing, but views of the economy are mixed and corruption is a concern” – Pew Research Center/ MARGARET VICE

Kremlin and River

“President Vladimir Putin’s handling of foreign affairs gets high ratings from most Russians, in contrast to more tempered views of his economic policies and anti-corruption efforts at home. … Today, however, Putin earns lower marks (63%) than he did two years ago (83%) for his handling of relations with Ukraine. Support for the Russian president has also declined when it […]

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Why Putin Isn’t Laughing at Russia’s Foul-Mouthed YouTube Craze

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer – June 19, 2017) Nikolai Sobolev’s acute sense of what’s on the minds of his young audience has made his expletive-laced video blog one of Russia’s hottest. But after a steady diet of topics like teen angst, the 23-year-old found an unexpected new issue was taking off this spring: opposition […]

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