NEWSLINK: “AP Interview: Russia must be more tolerant, candidate [Ksenia Sobchak] says” – AP

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“A celebrity Russian TV host who intends to run for president in next March’s election said Friday that she hopes to make the nations’ tightly-controlled political system more inclusive and democratic. The 36-year-old Ksenia Sobchak has cast herself as a ‘candidate against all’ in the March 18 vote. She’s seeking to reach out to those who have grown tired of […]

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Putin Speaks Directly To Separatist Leaders, Presses Prisoner Swap

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 15, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-ukraine-prisoner-swap-medvedchuk-separatists/28856131.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin has told leaders of Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk that he favors a plan for a prisoner swap with Kyiv, in a rare acknowledgement of direct contact with the separatist forces. Russian state-run […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Bonfire of the Prosecutors; Political animosities are pushing the U.S. toward a significant political crisis” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Henninger

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to … House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte … asked the Justice Department’s career lawyers to look into the possibility of … a second special prosecutor, to investigate Hillary Clinton. * * * The people who brought us the Trump-Russia collusion narrative are now weeping crocodile tears that the appointment of a second prosecutor would mean […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Latest U.S.-Russian Effort on Syria: Good for Preventing Accidents, So-So for Everything Else” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Syria Map

“The one concrete result to emerge from … Trump and … Putin’s informal meetings on the sidelines of … APEC … has been the Nov. 11 U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Syria. … [which] has elicited some official optimism, but what does it amount to really? … a promising step forward to end the strife in that war-torn land and ‘save tremendous numbers of lives,’ as Trump […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-219 :: Friday, 17 November 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-#219 Friday, 17 November 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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Talk of restoring monarchy in Russia premature – Maria Romanova

Romanov Family Photo

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) – Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, the head of the Russian Imperial Family, said she hopes to move to Russia soon and believes that it is “not yet the time” for the restoration of monarchy. “I really hope for that [move to Russia]. I am often asked [about the fact] that I live in Spain, but […]

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Russia’s New Law Against Foreign Media ‘Won’t Even Work’; New amendments targeting U.S. media could implicate news organizations from other countries too

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – November 15, 2017) After the Kremlin-backed RT news outlet begrudgingly registered as a foreign agent on Monday, Russia promised to retaliate. Earlier on Wednesday, its lawmakers did just that. New legislation, which will allow authorities to brand any international media organization a “foreign agent,” passed swiftly through three readings in the State […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘You can always expect retaliatory measures from Moscow’ Deputy Duma Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy explains Russia’s new legislation against ‘foreign agents’ in the news media” – Meduza

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“On November 15, lawmakers in the lower house of Russia’s parliament unanimously passed all three readings of amendments to federal laws on the mass media. If adopted by the Federation Council and President Putin, the reforms will empower the Justice Ministry to add certain media outlets to Russia’s registry of foreign agents. State Duma deputies say the legislation is being […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The importance of Russia’s unimportant prime minister” – bne Intellinews/ Mark Galeotti

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

“Elections in 2018 are very unlikely to mean a new president for Russia, but they could see a new prime minister appointed. … while the role is essentially to be presidential henchman and scapegoat, it is a role with meaning, and … Putin’s choice will be both consequential and also a potential indicator of the direction he plans to take …. […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin supported Viktor Medvedchuk’s proposed prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Donetsk and Lugansk republics” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 15, 2017) During Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Voskresensky New Jerusalem Monastery, Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right movement, sought the Russian President’s support for his proposed prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Leader of the Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right movement Viktor Medvedchuk: Mr President, may I […]

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Russian Duma Approves Restrictions On Foreign Media

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 15, 2017- also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-amnesty-foreign-media-bill-repressive/28854885.html) The lower house of Russia’s parliament has unanimously approved legislation that would authorize the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents.” The State Duma approved the amendments — which Amnesty International said would deal a “serious blow” to […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-218 :: Thursday, 16 November 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-#218 Thursday, 16 November 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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Study: U.S. Sanctions Hurting Russians’ Support for U.S., not Kremlin

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Henry Hale, George Washington University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs – November 14, 2017) Are American sanctions hurting support for Putin? New political science research suggests the answer is no. This study was presented at the 2017 convention of the main association for specialists on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia (ASEEES) in Chicago, […]

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Interfax: Russia’s defense spending tops 5.3% of GDP, near $70 bln – PwC

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade

MOSCOW. Nov 15 (Interfax) – Russia ranks seventh among the world’s major defense-industry players, with defense expenditures totaling $69.2 billion, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in a statement regarding its second Global Defense Perspectives report. In the current rating, Russia occupies seventh place; its defense expenditures amount to 5.32% of GDP and total $69.2 billion. It has moved up one position since […]

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NEWSLINK: “Independent Journalists in Russia Will Have to Live Without Their Western Role Models; The Western media’s controversial reporting is affecting independent journalism in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Oleg Kashin

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“The Western press has discovered that structures close to the Kremlin bought shares in Facebook and Twitter – obviously with far-reaching political designs. * * * At some point, quantity becomes quality, and the Western press has already published so many inaccurate, exaggerated, and knowingly untrue things about this country that the only Russians who seriously consider Milner a Kremlin […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-217 :: Wednesday, 15 November 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-#217 Wednesday, 15 November 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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U.S., Russia Envoys Differ On Peace And Peacekeepers In Eastern Ukraine

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 14, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/volker-surkov-meeting-ukraine-u-s-russia/28853193.html) After talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, U.S. and Russian envoys say their countries have “different concepts for how to make peace” but will continue to work to achieve that goal. “Both sides agreed to reflect on the discussions … and […]

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Looming Demographic Collapse Now ‘Main Threat to Russian National Security,’ Health Expert Says

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 14, 2017) The situation with regard to Russia’s birthrate is much worse than officials say, Igor Gundarov says. It is not easily correctible as some think but rather reflects a “cascading demographic” decline that now represents the main threat to the national security” of the country. The specialist on health care […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GDP growth in Russia disappointingly slows” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s GDP growth disappointed on the down side as the July-September numbers came in well below the government expectation at 1.2%, making the annual GDP growth of 1.8%. The government had been expecting 2.2%. * * * … [and] Russia’s GDP growth has been achieved against the backdrop of rather shaky industrial output. …” Click here for: “GDP growth in Russia […]

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Interfax: Russian Justice Ministry to recognize media outlets as foreign agents – Tolstoy

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) – The Justice Ministry will recognize media outlets as foreign agents consistent with proposed legislative amendments, State Duma Vice-Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, who supervises the working group preparing countermeasures against the U.S. restrictions on the activity of Russia media outlets, told reporters on Tuesday. “An executive agency will recognize [a media outlet as a foreign agent]. Of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump and Putin: What Comes Next? Will a future, formal Trump-Putin summit be a game changer?” – The National Interest/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Keeping the tenor of the encounters between the two presidents at Da Nang informal precluded the chance of any intense bargaining sessions on the sidelines. But for the Russian side, it also raises questions – of whether Trump is in fact inclined to bargain with the Kremlin, or whether he has the clout to carry through any agreement in […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 13, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky to discuss the ministry’s performance over the past nine months. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medinsky, three quarters have passed, and the year is drawing to a close. Any good news? Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky: With your permission, I would like […]

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Oscar Contender Andrei Zvyagintsev Feted in Hollywood

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ali Sar – HOLLYWOOD, November 13, 2017) Not many foreign film directors are easily recognized at public events here. But an exception is Russian moviemaker Andrei Zvyagintsev. At the American Film Institute’s annual festival fans approach him for his autograph, ask to take pictures with him and compliment him on his work. A newspaper reviewer […]

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NEWSLINK: “Leadership In Russia: Hacking, Trust And Where Do We Go From Here?” – Forbes/ Shellie Karabell

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“… election hacking is only part of the ‘trust’ problem: there’s the Ukraine invasion, Olympic doping scandals, the civil war in Syria. …”

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NEWSLINK: “When Russians stopped believing in the Western media; Journalist Oleg Kashin says American journalism has lost his compatriots’ faith (op-ed)” – Meduza

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“Earlier this month, leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers revealed new details about how the Russian investor Yuri Milner once poured millions of dollars into Facebook and Twitter ….”

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-216 :: Tuesday, 14 November 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-#216 Tuesday, 14 November 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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Kremlin to Target All Foreign Media Amid U.S. ‘Foreign Agent’ Spat

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2017) All international media outlets in Russia could be hit with new restrictions as part of an escalating media tit-for-tat between Moscow and the United States. The Kremlin’s RT news network agreed to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. by Monday following U.S. allegations it interfered in the 2016 presidential election. […]

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Interfax: Russian Strategic Missile Forces comprise approx. 400 ICBMs – commander

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian Strategic Missile Forces comprise about 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles with various types of warheads, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Commander, Col. Gen. Sergei Karakayev, told the Defense Ministry’s newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda in an interview. “As of today, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces operate about 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles with warheads of various types […]

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Russian Info War Against U.S., Far Broader than Last Year’s Elections, an Act of Terrorism, Latynina Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 12, 2017) Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil. In the case of what has come to […]

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NEWSLINK: “NATO is headed for a very messy break-up” – Boston Globe/ Stephen Kinzer

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“… Recently Turkey and the United States stopped issuing visas to each other’s citizens. This is more than just another travel ban. It is a geopolitical spectacle unique in modern history: two allied countries blocking normal back-and-forth travel. An old relationship has gone deeply sour. …”

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After 22 Years, Novaya Gazeta Editor Dmitry Muratov Steps Down

Collage of Russian Newspapers

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2017) Dmitry Muratov, the veteran editor-in-chief of the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper is stepping down from his post. Muratov has been in his position for 22 years, and shepherded the independent newspaper and site through the turbulent years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Boris Yeltsin administration, and since 2000, […]

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Interfax: Mirroring measures against international media meddling in Russia’s internal affairs may be applied to specific social media – State Duma Deputy Speaker Tolstoy

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia’s ‘mirroring’ measures against international mass media interfering with internal Russian affairs may also be applied to some social networking websites, State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy (United Russia) said. “Apart from formal participation in the capital – that is, equity holding – or in the functioning of a media in Russian territory, there is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Joint U.S.-Russia statement calls for U.N.-supervised elections in Syria” – Politico/ Nancy Cook

Syria Map

“… a new joint statement on Syria between the U.S. and Russia … [says] Syria must eventually hold U.N.-supervised elections to bring new leadership to the country as part of … ending its … civil war [say] two senior State Department officials. … follow[ing] … U.N. Security Council resolution … 2254. … [the election is to] include the ballots of the Syrian diaspora, displaced from the country […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting wrapped up in Vietnam; [Putin meeting with Russian and foreign journalists]” – KremlinRu

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(kremlin.ru – Nov. 11, 2017) The 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting ended in Danang. On the second day of the Meeting, the APEC leaders reviewed the prospects for the global economy with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. During the business breakfast, a discussion was held on establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade zone and a possible expansion […]

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Russia Unfazed By U.S. Oil Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – November 9, 2017) Western energy sanctions vis-à-vis Russia have become a steady phenomenon of the global oil and gas market. Most Russian oil companies don’t expect sanctions to be scrapped anytime soon-an assessment espoused by the political elites of the country, too. The sides even seem to have resigned their minds to the current frosty […]

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Interfax: Russia’s GDP growth to exceed 2% in 2017 – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MANILA. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian government is expecting 2017’s GDP growth to exceed 2%, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a session of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 (ABIS 2017). “We saw positive changes both last and this year, and our recovery growth has been rather good. We are expecting the Russian GDP to increase […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-215 :: Monday, 13 November 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-#215 Monday, 13 November 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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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited, Weak’ Response To Russia

Europe Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, November 9, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-threat-to-democracy-western-response-european-values-think-tank/28842909.html) A group of security and foreign-policy experts says Western governments have been “limited and weak” in their response to the Kremlin’s barrage of “hostile actions” toward democracies. In a declaration initiated by the Prague-based think tank European Values titled How The […]

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Only 15 Percent of Russians are Politically Active, 10 Percent for the Regime and Five Against It, New Research Shows

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 9, 2017) Ten percent of Russians are actively supportive of the regime, while five percent back the extra-systemic opposition. The remainder, new research by sociologists at the Public Opinion foundation says, remain or have become “indifferent observers.” Those are some of the conclusions offered by Yekaterina Bogomolova, Yelena Galitskaya, Yuliya Kot, […]

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What You Need to Know About RT’s Pending Foreign Agent Registration; A law dating back to the 1930s could send U.S.-Russia relations spiraling

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – November 10, 2017) An obscure U.S. law, meant to guard against foreign propaganda, has been the driving force behind escalating U.S.-Russia tensions in recent weeks. Designed nearly a century ago, it could now force the Kremlin’s RT news outlet to register as a “foreign agent” – and push the precipitous U.S.-Russia relations […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Celebrates an Uncomfortable Centennial” – Stratfor.com

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“The centennial anniversary of the launch of the Russian Revolution on Nov. 7 will serve as a haunting reminder for Russia’s current leaders that their power is finite. … a year after Russia observed the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, a similarly unsettling marker for the [Putin] government … facing opposition from within its own ranks and on […]

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Surkov’s ‘Crisis of Hypocrisy’ Not Just in the West but in Russia Too, Inozemtsev Says

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 8, 2017) In an essay posted on the RT portal yesterday, Vladislav Surkov argues that the West is suffering from “a crisis of hypocrisy” in which people are no longer prepared to accept the shibboleths of the past and are demanding a clearing away of the existing political and social system […]

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