Forcing Repatriation of Funds Won’t Solve Russia’s Economic Problem, Gontmakher Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2017) Many including some in the Kremlin believe that forcing oligarchs to repatriate the money they have sheltered abroad will go a long way to solve Russia’s economic problems, Yevgeny Gontmakher says; but they are wrong: far more will have to happen for any money returned to make a major […]

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Interview: Sobchak Calls Presidential Run A Step To Changing Russian System, Rejects Navalny Boycott

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 29, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-sobchak-interview-presidency-navalny/28946492.html) Russian journalist and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak has dismissed calls by a barred opposition leader for an election boycott as “pointless” and said her candidacy in the March presidential vote could help fuse opposition elements into a legitimate political force in Russia. […]

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NEWSLINK: “The KGB Playbook for Turning Russians Worldwide Into Agents; A KGB manual showed how valuable-and how treacherous-Russian émigrés could be. Did KGB veteran Vladimir Putin learn those lessons?” – Daily Beast/ Michael Weiss

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

“This is the third and last article in a series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world.”

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Lucy Komisar: Re: “Developments re Browder”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Subject: Developments re Browder Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2017 From: Lucy Komisar you might be interested in one of these 1 About the new Magnitsky List – Browder targeted a lawyer involved in the $230 million tax refund fraud ten years ago who he had ignored since then. the man was put on the list exactly 2 months after he […]

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Putin wishes change for better, success, wellbeing to Russians, peace, prosperity to ‘beloved, one and only Russia’

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

MOSCOW. Dec 31 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin said he believes since his childhood days that every wish made on the New Year’s Eve will come true. Residents of Kamchatka were the first to hear the New Year’s address of the president. Putin reminded Russians that this is a family holiday first and foremost. “We are celebrating it just as […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-245 :: Sunday, 31 December 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-#245 Sunday, 31 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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The Five Big Russia Questions For 2018

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 28, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/five-russia-questions-for-2018/28944045.html) With 2017 almost behind us, and 2018 nearly upon us, here are five questions The Power Vertical will be keeping an eye on going forward. 1. How Will The Kremlin Handle Navalny’s ‘Campaign’? As expected, Aleksei Navalny won’t be […]

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NEWSLINK: “The KGB Playbook for Infiltrating the Middle East; In 1988, the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, looked at its mistakes in the Middle East, where the CIA often had the upper hand. Putin has worked to change that” – Daily Beast/ Michael Weiss

FSB Building file photo

“This is the second article in a three-part series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world.”

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-244 :: Friday, 29 December 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-#244 Friday, 29 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia to Keep Its Grip on Europe’s Gas Market After Record 2017” – Bloomberg/ Elena Mazneva

Gas Facility file photo

“Russia is working to keep natural gas exports to Europe near record levels in 2018 after the continent’s biggest supplier, Gazprom PJSC, said its deliveries this year signal it is achieving on its ambitions to expand. …”  

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Artificial increase of voter turnout in Russian presidential elections is harmful, it harms electoral system – Pamfilova

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

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) – Russian Central Elections Commission Chair Ella Pamfilova has spoken categorically against attempts to artificial increase voter turnout in the 2018 Russian presidential election. “I am warning our representatives in the regions, administration officials, not to make any attempts to force an artificial increase in voter turnout,” Pamfilova said at a Central Elections Commission meeting on […]

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2017 Hottest Year on Record in Russia

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 28, 2017) The passing year was Russia’s hottest in recorded history on the back of increasingly warm winters. “The average temperature [in 2017] was the warmest of all these years,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited Roman Vilfand, the head of Russia’s meteorological center, as saying on Thursday. He forecast above-average temperatures in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Declares St. Petersburg Blast Terrorism; Grocery store bombing injured 13; Russian president orders officials to act decisively to stop further attacks” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

St. Petersburg

“A bomb blast at a St. Petersburg grocery store [from a handmade explosive device] … injured 13 …. No one has claimed responsibility. … Until recently, Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus had seen almost daily violence from Islamic separatists …. Security measures and the departure of fighters to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cut violence …. many […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-243 :: Thursday, 28 December 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-#243 Thursday, 28 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Barred From Running and Boycotting: Navalny’s Quandary in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

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

“… Navalny, a Russian anticorruption activist, would have no real chance of defeating … Putin in an election. … But on Monday the Kremlin barred him from running for president in March. Then on Tuesday, threatening legal action, it warned him against organizing a boycott of the election. In one surreal turn after another, the Russian authorities have dismissed Mr. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Revealed: The Secret KGB Manual for Recruiting Spies” – Daily Beast/ Michael Weiss

FSB Building file photo

“This is the first of a three-part series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world. Its veterans still make up an important part of now-Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power base. All were trained in the same dark arts, and these […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Government Members” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Kremlin.ru – December 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held the last meeting with Government members this year at the Government House. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. As per our tradition, we have only one issue on the agenda of our meeting today. I would like to wish you a happy New Year and all the best, as well […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-242 :: Wednesday, 27 December 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-#242 Wednesday, 27 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘I don’t like the Central Election Commission’ Alexey Navalny’s speech to the government officials who moments later barred him from Russia’s 2018 presidential election (full translation)” – Meduza

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org by Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Russia’s Central Election Commission refused to register Alexey Navalny’s presidential candidacy on December 25, a day after the opposition politician’s campaign staged nomination gatherings in 20 cities across the country and Navalny personally submitted his candidacy application to the commission. Before the formal vote, Navalny addressed the commission in a fiery speech where he called on election officials to let […]

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The Worse Russians Live, The Happier They Are, VTsIOM Poll Suggests

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Staunton, December 23, 2017) According to a poll conducted by the VTsIOM agency, Russians now have begun to feel even happier than they did before the onset of the crisis as measured by the different between those who tell sociologists that they are happy and those who say they are not. Valery Fedorov, the head of VTsIOM, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-241 :: Tuesday, 26 December 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-#241 Tuesday, 26 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] United Russia Party Congress” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Kremlin.ru – December 23, 2017 Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the United Russia political party 17th Congress. Nearly 2,500 people are taking part in the congress, including 455 delegates from the party’s 85 regional branches, heads of ministries and agencies, State Duma deputies, representatives of the regional executive and legislative bodies, secretaries of United Russia regional political councils, […]

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NEWSLINK: “A Christmas Encounter With the ‘Russian Soul’; The man who found my wallet demanded an ‘honorarium.’ He learned a lesson when I stood firm.” – Wall Street Journal/ David Satter

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

“As tension with Russia deepens, it may seem as if Americans have little in common with those living under Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship. But I have witnessed the triumph of good over evil in Russia many times, including on one striking occasion 25 years ago this month, when an expression of the ‘Russian soul’ defused a dangerous situation and gave me […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-240 :: Saturday, 23 December 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-#240 Saturday, 23 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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85 Percent of Poor Russian Cities Located in Europe, Research Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 22, 2017) More than four out of five large Russian cities dependent on Moscow’s financial assistance are located in European Russia, according to new research by the Strelka Consulting Bureau. Russia’s so-called “Robin Hood” tax system subsidizes the nation’s poorer regions by reallocating tax revenues from wealthier regions. A mere 14 of 85 Russian […]

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Putin signs decree on state policy to develop competition

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Dec 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the main focus of state policy to develop competition, the Kremlin said in a press statement. “With the goals of strengthening the national economy, the future development of competition and not allowing monopoly activity, I hereby order that active assistance to develop competition in Russia be […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-239 :: Friday, 22 December 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-#239 Friday, 22 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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U.S. Policy Toward Russia Toughens, Despite Trump Talk

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – RFE/RL News Analysis: Mike Eckel – December 20, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-us-trump-putin-tough-policy-despite-talk/28929575.html) Statements from the Kremlin and the White House last weekend about thwarting a purported terrorist attack in St. Petersburg seemed to suggest that the United States and Russia were entering a new era of comity and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kennan Cable No. 29: U.S. Sanctions Law and Western Coordination on Russia Policy” – Kennan Institute/ Dominik Tolksdorf

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“The United States and the European Union have coordinated their sanctions against Russia for more than three years. In July 2017 the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed additional sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea that were signed into law by President Trump on August 2. The legislation was drafted in the context of the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. […]

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Putin Offers Debt Relief to 42 Million Russians Before Elections

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin’s draft proposal to provide debt relief to a third of the Russian population before next year’s presidential elections is breezing its way through the Russian parliament. Kremlin officials are hoping for a 70 percent turnout with 70 percent of votes cast for Putin as president. A Levada poll published earlier […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-238 :: Thursday, 21 December 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-#238 Thursday, 21 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Arseny Roginsky: Giving Russia its history back; On 18 December, Arseny Roginsky, historian, dissident and one of the founders of Russia’s Memorial society, passed away. He will be sorely missed.

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Kaluzhsky – December 20, 2017) Mikhail Kaluzhsky is Lead Russian-Language Editor at oDR. “For me, the archive (and I mean, of course, only literary and historical archives) is the natural continuation of the library. And unpublished archival documents are in no way different from published documents, you can treat them as accidentally unpublished or as-yet-unpublished. I believe […]

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Law on foreign-agent media to affect owners of sites with info disseminated with foreign funding

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

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) – The law on foreign-agent media will affect private individuals who own websites on which public information disseminated with money coming from foreign sources is published, Andrei Klishas, the head of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State-Building, said. “As to applying the requirements of the law on foreign-agent media to private individuals, they […]

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Launching Campaign, Putin Says Russia’s ‘Stability’ Crucial

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 19, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-calls-us-senator-mccain-old-world-but-admires-his-patriotism/28537171.html) President Vladimir Putin has kicked off his reelection campaign by calling for the protection of Russia’s “freedom” and “stability,” suggesting the country needs to ward off influence from abroad and attempts by the domestic opposition to shake up politics. Putin’s remarks came […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-237 :: Wednesday, 20 December 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-#237 Wednesday, 20 December 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Central Banker Named Putin Heir in Doomsday Prediction

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 19, 2017) President Vladimir Putin will continue to rule behind the scenes after installing the current Central Bank chairwoman as his proxy, the Bloomberg news agency predicted in its annual worst-case scenario guide on Monday. Putin, who announced plans to seek a fourth term this month, is widely expected to win the 2018 presidential […]

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Russian electoral body ready to consider Navalny’s documents

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org by Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

(Interfax – December 18, 2017) Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) will consider the documents of all those who want to register as contenders in next year’s presidential election, including opposition politician Alexei Navalny, Interfax news agency reported on 18 December. The agency quoted the head of the commission, Elena Pamfilova, as saying that after the would-be contenders “conduct the appropriate […]

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Moscow does not rule out U.S.’s plans to secede from INF Treaty, pledges instant mirrored response

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

MOSCOW. Dec 19 (Interfax) – Moscow believes that the United States is looking for a pretext to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and is pledging an instant mirrored response, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov, told Interfax in an interview on Tuesday. “The stubborn reluctance [of Washington] to support its […]

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NEWSWATCH: “They’re back! Must-read paper on ‘The Return of Global Russia,’ a new Carnegie project, is avail online and explains the Kremlin’s increasingly expansive foreign policy paradigm …” – Andrew S. Weis/ Carnegie Endowment/ Twitter

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

(Andrew S. Weiss, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment Russia and Eurasia Program – Twitter – @andrewsweiss) “They’re back! Must-read paper on ‘The Return of Global Russia,’ a new Carnegie project, is avail online and explains the Kremlin’s increasingly expansive foreign policy paradigm http://ceip.org/2C5ksHh via @pstronski and Richard Sokolsky …” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below; tweet also […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Relations With the West One Year After the U.S. Presidential Elections” – NYU Jordan Center/PONARS Eurasia

File Photo of Manhattan and Manhattan Bridge, adapted from image at loc.gov, from photo by Carol M. Highsmith

“On Wednesday November 8th, the NYU Jordan Center and PONARS Eurasia hosted a joint conference entitled, “Russia’s Relations with the West one Year after the US Presidential Elections.” Taking place on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president, the panel brought together scholars from a range of countries to consider the current state of U.S.-Russian/Eurasian relations and […]

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