Neither Russians nor the West Understand the Full Dimensions of What’s Happening in Moscow, Gudkov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 29, 2017) Neither in Russia nor in the West is there a good understanding of the full dimensions of what is now taking place in Russia, Levada Center director Lev Gudkov say, with people in both places living with illusions that reflect more what they want to believe than the disturbing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For Some Russian Oligarchs, Sanctions Risk Makes Putin Awkward to Know” – Reuters

“The threat of new U.S. sanctions has spread anxiety among Russia’s wealthiest people that their association with … Putin could land them on a U.S. government blacklist …. drawn up by early next year … part of a sanctions bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress …. Although those included on the list would not automatically be sanctioned, six people … part of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Regions Strike Back: Provincial Leaders Want More From Moscow” – Carnegie Moscow/ Andrey Pertsev

Russia Regions Map

“Russian regional leaders are rediscovering their power and their ability to fight with Moscow over budgets and autonomy. Discontent over Moscow siphoning off regional funds has reached a breaking point, while Tatarstan is in a new contest with the center over regional language rights. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Before Election, Putin Offers $8.6 Billion to Russians to Have More Babies” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Olga Tanas

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

“… The government will spend 500 billion rubles ($8.6 billion) over three years on measures to encourage Russians to have more babies, including mortgage subsidies and payments to new and growing families …. The money will come from government reserves and won’t require changes in the budget, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the upper house of parliament. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Gazprom spends big to keep trillion dollar dream alive; Russian gas exporter ramps up borrowing and raids cashpile to maintain growth” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Gas Facility file photo

“In an effort to fight back, Gazprom is …. [r]amping up borrowing and raiding its … cash pile … splurging on critical new infrastructure …. it announced that it expected to spend 24 per cent more this year on long-term investment, capital expenditure and acquisitions previously forecast. … next year’s spending [is projected to] hit a record Rbs 1.28tn ($22bn), up 13 per cent on […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-226 :: Thursday, 30 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-#226 Thursday, 30 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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NEWSWATCH: “Russian answer to opioid epidemic: ‘Cold turkey’; Russia has an opioid abuse problem as big as America’s, but a very different way of dealing with it. No methadone replacement therapy in Moscow – just a couple of aspirin and a short, sharp withdrawal shock.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Blurred Image of Young Woman Holding Up Pill Between Her Thumb and Index Finger, adapted from image at drugabuse.gov

“Russia has an opioid addiction crisis about as grave as America’s. … the two countries’ approaches to the problem could hardly be more different. … most US and European clinics offer patients methadone as replacement therapy [yet] Russian doctors disdain such ‘soft’ treatment. … their [cold turkey] methods … have a lower success rate than the 50 percent achieved in the United States. … […]

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World more peaceful when Russia, U.S. work together – Ambassador Huntsman

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 28 (Interfax) – United States Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman is convinced that Russia and his country should work together to preserve peace in the world. Speaking at the opening of the U.S. artist Susan Swartz’ exhibition at the Marble Palace of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, Huntsman expressed his hope for an improvement […]

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Russia’s Optimistic GDP Projections Fall Shy of Targets; The government’s GDP target was undermined by disappointing third-quarter GDP numbers and industrial output stumbling in the fall

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 29, 2017) [Text with chart themoscowtimes.com/articles/russias-optimistic-gdp-projection-falls-short-of-targets-59734] Russia’s GDP is expected to grow by 1.9 percent in 2017 and 2018 in the latest outlook published by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Nov. 28. The OECD’s optimistic forecast is almost in line with 2-2.1 percent official government’s target, which was recently undermined […]

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Russia’s new media law: expanding the field of uncertainty; Russia’s new legislation is not only aimed at foreign media. It’s another step in the process of blurring legal definitions – until they’re useless.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Lukashevsky – November 29, 2017) Sergey Lukashevsky is the director of the Sakharov Center, Moscow. The Russian state currently lives for two problems – its relations with the US, and the upcoming presidential elections. Society is worried about something slightly different – the state of the healthcare system, rising taxes and reducing incomes. But it’s the authorities […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-225 :: Wednesday, 29 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-#225 Wednesday, 29 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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Dysfunction in U.S.-Russia Relations

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Matthew Rojansky – November 27, 2017) Matthew Rojansky is Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C I am an American expert on Russia. It is my job to pay close attention to the ups and downs of the U.S.-Russia relationship, with the goal of helping U.S. policymakers, the press, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-224 :: Tuesday, 28 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-#224 Tuesday, 28 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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Interfax: OSCE sees tangible progress in Transdniestrian settlement

Moldova Map and Flag

CHISINAU. Nov 28 (Interfax) – The recent agreements between Chisinau and the unrecognized Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic, including the one to open for traffic a bridge destroyed 25 years ago and rebuilt in 2000, are signs of constructive interaction between the conflicting sides, the OSCE said in a statement. A two-day round of the official Transdniestrian settlement talks in the 5+2 […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko calls decrease in number of orphans unprecedented

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 28 (Interfax) – The number of orphans has halved in Russia, which is unprecedented by world standards, Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko said at a meeting of the president’s coordination council on the implementation of the national child action strategy for 2012-2017. “I deem our achievements in addressing the problem of social orphans to be crucial. Our joint […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Business ombudsman Boris Titov to run for president” – bne Intellinews/ Vadim Dumes

Boris Titov file photo

“Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov will run for president in the 2018 election, representing the business-oriented Party of Growth …. [running] on the ‘Growth Strategy’ program developed by the Stolypin Club … unlikely to become a serious competitor … [but he] could bring pressing economic issues [to] the forefront …. * * * … the greatest other threat to [Putin’s] re-election is perhaps public apathy […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-223 :: Monday, 27 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-#223 Monday, 25 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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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Populism Trap” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Julia Gurganus

Putin Descending a Staircase

“In contrast to the populist image … Putin has created to galvanize support, he is part of today’s Russian establishment elite. This puts him in an awkward position as populism spreads across Europe and Russia marks the one hundredth anniversary of the 1917 revolution. Should Putin again take the populist approach, he is likely to inspire accusations of hypocrisy from the […]

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Kudrin says govt studying his proposals at Putin’s instructions

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Alexei Kudrin, head of the Center of Strategic Research and Committee of Civic Initiatives and former Russian finance minister, says President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to analyze his proposals on Russia’s development strategy. “I reported the key provisions of our proposals on the country’s development strategy to him. That primarily concerns the budget […]

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Kremlin Pours Cold Water on Kadyrov’s Retirement Plans; It was not the first time that Kadyrov had announced his resignation

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 27, 2017) Ramzan #Kadyrov, the strongman leader of #Chechnya, said on Sunday that his job is over and that it was time for him to step aside. A rebel turned gamekeeper, Kadyrov has been a central and controversial figure in the #Caucasus, tasked by the #remlin to keep peace in the region after two […]

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How did 1917 change the west? Failed utopias lead to the death of idealism, and the likes of Putin and Trump are symbols of this process. As we watch Russia struggle with history, the U.S. and U.K. cannot afford to pretend that this history doesn’t affect us too.

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Sam Greene – November 22, 2017) Samuel A. Greene is Reader in Russian Politics and Director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London Revolutions – and their centenaries – are best dealt with in the first person. That, of course, creates a certain awkwardness for an academic, whose stock in trade is meant to be distance from […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are spooked; The personal sanctions against regime cronies are especially tough” – The Economist

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

“… CAATSA moderately increases the pressure …. It extends the restrictions on investing in new Russian oil and gas projects to the operations of Russian firms in third countries. … the effectiveness of these new sanctions, which the administration is allowed to pause until late January, is undermined by the fact that European firms have been ring-fenced from their effects. Gazprom … has […]

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Nine Months After New Domestic Violence Law, Russian Women Still Struggle; The decriminalization of battery has made it harder for women to come forward, advocates say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Manuilova – November 24, 2017) For Svetlana, a 35-year-old mother of three from Moscow, domestic violence is a family affair. Her ex-husband repeatedly threatened to take their son away and beat her mother. Last spring, it was Svetlana’s turn. “He cornered me in our flat in Moscow for several hours and beat me,” she […]

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Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – November 21, 2017) While OPEC is said to be mostly leaning toward a 9-month extension of the production cuts, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak and major Russian oil companies discussed last week a six-month extension after March 2018, and all but one company said they were ready to extend, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on […]

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Russian Labor Official Tells Russians to Stop Partying and Start Working

File Image of Artist's Rendition of Champagne Glasses

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 22, 2017) Russians should spend more time at work if they want to be successful, the head of Rostrud, Russia’s Federal Labor and Employment Service, says. Next year, Russia will have 28 official national holidays. They include 10 days in early January when Russians celebrate the Orthodox Christmas and the country traditionally grinds to […]

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The Good Russians: Poorest Give to Others Even When They Don’t Have Enough to Eat

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 23, 2017) One of the many things those Russian officials and their allies who condemn any critic of the Russian government as a Russophobe don’t understand is that the objects of such attacks make a distinction they do not – between the horrific government and the many good Russians who suffer […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-222 :: Friday, 24 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-#222 Friday, 24 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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NEWSWATCH: “In Western Moscow, Putin Allies Lose an Election but Cling to Power” – Reuters

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

“More than 10 weeks after losing a local council election in western Moscow … Putin’s party is clinging to power there – by fair means or foul.  The standoff over control of Filyovsky Park Council came to a head when opposition councilor Vadim Korovin tried to sit in the chairman’s seat at a meeting on Tuesday. A councilor from the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Eric Schmidt Says Google News Will ‘Engineer’ Russian Propaganda Out of the Feed; ‘It’s basically RT and Sputnik,’ he said on Saturday.” – Motherboard/Justin Ling

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

“Eric Schmidt, Executive Chariman of Alphabet, says the company is working to ferret out Russian propaganda from Google News after facing criticism that Kremlin-owned media sites had been given plum placement on the search giant’s news and advertising platforms. …”

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Russian Studies is Thriving at ASEEES

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Sarah Wilson Sokhey, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Boulder – November 20, 2017) [Article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/article/russian-studies-thriving-aseees] Timothy Frye’s assertion last month in The National Interest that Russian studies are thriving, not dying was soundly confirmed at the annual ASEEES conference this past weekend. More than 3,000 area studies specialists-many of them experts on […]

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Putin’s press conference due to take place on Dec. 14 – Kremlin

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press conference is due to take place on December 14, with press accreditation already announced, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday. Russian journalists registered with Roskomnadzor and foreign journalists accredited with the Russian Foreign Ministry can submit their applications. Accreditation ends at 5 p.m. on December 1, 2017. Journalists […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware the Russian Elephant” – The American Interest/ Peter Pomerantsev

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

“As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail. The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ the cognitive linguist George […]

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Tips from the Experts: Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Regina Smyth, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Law, Indiana University – November 16, 2017) How can scholars make significant contributions to policy making? Reflecting on a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to strengthen regional studies training at U.S. universities, Indiana University’s Russian Studies Workshop organized a roundtable at last week’s ASEEES […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-221 :: Tuesday, 21 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-#221 Tuesday, 21 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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VIDEO: US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscow’s Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

(Voice of America – VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2017) [Video and article also appeared at voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-to-russia-attacks-on-us-funded-agencies/4125489.html] The U.S. ambassador to Russia has attacked Moscow’s move toward forcing nine United States government-funded news operations to register as “foreign agents” as “a reach beyond” what the U.S. government did in requiring the Kremlin-funded RT television network […]

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Most Russians Hold Putin Responsible for Country’s Problems – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2017) A majority of Russians hold President Vladimir Putin responsible for Russia’s problems, according to the results of a Levada Center poll published Monday. Putin is widely expected to announce his candidacy for elections next March which would give the president a fourth term. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose anti-corruption protests this year […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Most Prefer Russia As A Friend, Not An Enemy” – Rasmussen Reports

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

“Voters by a two-to-one margin agree with … Trump that it’s better for the United States – and the world – to have Russia on our side. … [a] Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds … 52% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the president’s statement … that ‘… having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, […]

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Saakashvili Tells Protesters In Kyiv He Is Ready To Become Ukraine’s Prime Minister

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 20, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/saakashvili-ukraine-russia-georgia-kyiv-poroshenko-georgia/28863506.html) Mikheil Saakashvili, the former governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region, told a protest rally in Kyiv that he is ready to “create a new government of Ukraine” and to become the country’s prime minister. “Ukraine needs an urgent formation of a new government,” […]

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Putin’s Meddling in US Elections Backfiring on His Own Allies at Home and on Americans Who Helped Them, Shevtsova Says

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 16, 2017) The Kremlin’s effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections has provoked one consequence Moscow has long wanted – the demoralization of the American elite – but it is having other less welcome ones on both that elite and the Russian one, something only becoming clear, Liliya […]

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A Billionaire Is Trying to Ignite a Revolution in Russian Education; Moscow’s outskirts will soon house a school that pledges to foster Russia’s future leaders

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Emily Erken – November 17, 2017) An education revolution could be coming to Russia. Its stage: the fields and forests on the outskirts of the country’s capital. In 2012, the Russian government incorporated large swaths of land into Moscow, nearly doubling the city’s already vast area. Dubbed New Moscow, the new space was soon auctioned […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukraine seeks distance from Moscow with new Christmas holiday” – AFP

Rada File Photo

“Ukrainian lawmakers on Thursday voted for a new public holiday on December 25 in a move that they said would allow the country to distance itself from Russia, which celebrates Orthodox Christmas in January. …”

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  NEWSLINK: “It’s not just anecdotal: the U.S. is rejecting more and more visa requests from Russians” – Meduza

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

“The U.S. State Department published data revealing that American officials have increasingly been denying B1/B2 tourist visas to Russian citizens. The adjusted refusal rate for Russians in fiscal year 2017 was 11.61 percent – 1.25 percent higher than a year before. In 2009, the State Department denied just 4.9 percent of Russians’ tourist visa applications. …”

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It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. “It is not yet unclear whether Putin will run for the re-election. As you know, he did not say anything about it,” Peskov told reporters, replying to a question as to whether the possibility of involving […]

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