Investors Take U.S. List Of Russian ‘Oligarchs’ In Stride — For Now

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – January 30, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-investors-brush-off-us-treasury-oligarchs-list/29007996.html) For months Russia’s business and political elite were fretting about the planned release of a U.S. list of potential Russian targets for fresh sanctions — including government officials and “oligarchs” purportedly close to the Kremlin. After that unclassified list […]

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Can Russia Sustain Its Foreign Policy Power Plays in 2018?

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Brown, Editor, Moscow Times – January 31, 2018) When Vladimir Putin landed in Syria late last year, he was greeted by President Bashar Assad not as a foreign dignitary, but as the guardian of the embattled nation. “Syria has been preserved as a sovereign and independent state,” Putin told soldiers assembled at the Khmeimim […]

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NEWSWATCH: Kennan Cable No. 30: Democracy in Ukraine: Are We There Yet? [Excerpt]

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Matthew Rojansky, Mikhail Minakov – January 30, 2018) Rojansky is director of the Kennan Institute. Mikhail (Mykhailo) Minakov is the editor-in-chief of Focus Ukraine, [the] Kennan Institute’s Ukraine-focused blog. [Full text: wilsoncenter.org/publication/kennan-cable-no-30-democracy-ukraine-are-we-there-yet] Introduction More than a quarter century ago, the Ukrainian people made a historic choice in favor of independence, democracy, and the free market. […]

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Why The List Matters

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 31, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-transcript-why-the-list-matters/29009462.html) So by now we’ve all probably heard the initial reaction to the U.S. Treasury Department’s much-anticipated list of the most influential Russian officials and oligarchs who could be subject to future sanctions. It’s nothing more than a “who’s who” […]

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NEWSLINK: “DC Think Tanks Fail To Deliver Russian ‘Sanctions’ Smackdown, Market Up” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

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

“… The bulk of the names on the list, including Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, VTB Bank president Andrey Kostin, and metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska, were all names on ‘black’ and ‘gray’ lists circulating between the State Department and Washington think tanks for months. Treasury said that the appearance on the list does not mean they are banned from traveling to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Washington added every Russian billionaire to its ‘list of oligarchs.’ Does that make sense? Who are these ‘oligarchs’?” – Meduza

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

“1. What Happened? … 2. Who does Washington consider an “oligarch” in Russia? … 3. But who are “oligarchs” really? It is just very rich business people? … 4. Who are Russia’s oligarchs? Where’d they come from? … 5. Is this the only definition of “oligarchy”? … 6. Does Russia have “oligarchs” today? …”

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Interfax: Putin warns against further politicization of global sports

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Jan 31 (Interfax) – Russia hopes that international sports organizations will not turn into government departments in certain countries however powerful these might seem sometimes, President Vladimir Putin said. “Of course, we very much feel for our athletes who could not go to the Olympic Games. We will do everything to support them,” Putin said at a meeting with […]

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Interfax: Increase in number of minors taking part in unauthorized rallies is problem – human rights council

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

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – The number of minors taking part in unauthorized events has increased considerably, the Russian presidential human rights council said. “One of the problems is a considerable number in the percentage of minors. At Sunday’s event, by 3:30 p.m., some 60% [of the participants] were minors,” Kirill Kabanov, a member of the human rights council, said […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-21 :: Wednesday, 31 January 2018

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 2018-#21 Wednesday, 31 January 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “From the Czech Republic, a warning for our midterms: The Russians are still meddling” – Washington Post editorial

Maps of Czech Republic and Environs, adapted from images at CIA.gov

“Milos Zeman … [Czech] president … speaks and acts as if he were a pure Russian agent. … defend[ing] the seizure and annexation of Crimea … den[ying] the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine … call[ing] for the lifting of all sanctions …. he reiterated his proposal that Czechs vote in a referendum on whether to remain in NATO […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia ‘will target US mid-term elections’ says CIA chief” – BBC/Gordon Corera

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“Even though there has been co-operation in counter-terrorism (the CIA helped stop a plot in St Petersburg last year) … Pompeo says he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary, sharing the concerns in many European countries about its subversion. ‘I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their activity,’ … Asked if his concerns extended to the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections […]

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Russia’s presidential elections: predictable results with an unpredictable aftermath; This March, Russia goes through the motions of yet another (re)election. Here are the contenders, and a few reasons why their contest may just be worth watching.

Kremlin and River

(opendemocracy.net – Ilya Budraitskis – January 29, 2018) Ilya Budraitskis is Moscow-based historian and political writer. He is current member of editorial board of Moscow Art Magazine, Openleft.ru and LeftEast. [“A strong president for a great country”. Campaign office for Vladimir Putin’s (re)election, Kazan, January 2018. Photo (c): Maksim Bogodvid / RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.] This article originally appeared […]

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Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman on Why Russians Should Boycott the Elections

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2018) The Moscow Times spoke with opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman, who has been the mayor of Yekaterinburg since he defeated a United Russia candidate in 2013. Roizman has openly supported opposition leader Alexei Navalny in calling for an electoral boycott of the upcoming presidential elections. Here is why. On the presidential election in […]

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Interfax: There are enough potential buyers of Russian defense industry products to replace those who may stop buying them due to U.S. actions – Russian MP

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax) – The number of potential buyers of products manufactured by the Russian defense industry is sufficient to replace those who could quit this market following the publication of the ‘Kremlin list’ by the United States, deputy head of the State Duma Defense Committee Yury Shvytkin told Interfax. “If we take the defense industry, if these or […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-20 :: Tuesday, 30 January 2018

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 2018-#20 Tuesday, 30 January 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia and Ukraine: More similar than either wants to admit” – bne Intellinews/Anders Åslund

“… Russians see themselves as economically superior while Ukrainians cherish their freedom. Yet … economically the similarities are greater than the differences. Their current fundamental problem is their absence of real property rights. … Russia experienced an attempt at serious market economic reform from 1991-94 … avoid[ing] Ukraine’s … hyperinflation in 1993. While Russia’s situation was bad, Ukraine’s was far […]

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[Ambassador Huntsman:] We Can and Must Improve Ties With Russia; For a better future for Russians, Americans and the world, we have to begin to find solutions to the common problems

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jon Huntsman – January 26, 2018) Jon Huntsman is the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. Reflecting on my first three months as U.S. Ambassador to Russia and looking forward to the prospects for 2018, I remain convinced that, not only can we improve the U.S.- Russia relationship, but we must. We are making progress, and there […]

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Few Russians Think ‘Era of Oligarchs’ is Over

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 28, 2018) At Davos, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that there aren’t any oligarchs left in Russia, a declaration that has attracted a great deal of attention both in Russia and abroad but very little support among Russians who continue to see oligarchs as an evil force in their […]

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Birth Rate Hits 10-Year Low in Russia

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2018) Russia’s birth rate has fallen to the lowest level in a decade, with just 1.69 million births recorded last year, despite government efforts to reverse the demographic trend, according to official data. The government plans to spend $8.6 billion over three years to encourage Russians to have more babies starting this election […]

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Interfax: Trump would like to see relations with Russia improved – U.S. ambassador to Russia

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

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) – U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has said he believes that President Donald Trump would like to spend more time on relations between Russia and the United States. “I know that the President would like to see this relationship improved. I think he would like to spend more time on the relationship itself, as he […]

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Interfax: Ambassador Huntsman hoping for more meetings with Russian officials to normalize dialogue

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

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – United States Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman expects to have more meetings with Russian officials to normalize dialogue between the two countries. “I wish we had more meetings, and we will continue to ask,” Huntsman told journalists in Moscow on Monday. He said that replies normally come to the embassy and was thus unaware whether […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-19 :: Monday, 29 January 2018

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 2018-#19 Monday, 29 January 2018 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. Envoy: Lack Of Political Will In Moscow Thwarting Ukraine Peace

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – KYIV, January 24, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-volker-russia-willingness-end-conflict/28994196.html) The U.S. special envoy for Ukraine said the country’s new law on reintegrating its conflict-torn regions has “regularized” the country’s military operation against Russia-backed separatists, but doesn’t change anything on the ground. In an interview on January 24 with RFE/RL’s Ukrainian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “We’re as close to Doomsday today as we were during the Cold War” – Washington Post/Lawrence Krauss, Robert Rosner

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

“… To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger – and its immediacy. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress … increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region and the United States. * * * Global nuclear risks were compounded by U.S.-Russia relations that now feature more conflict than cooperation. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Bell: meet the Russian media start-up fighting for the precarious future of independent media”

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

“After she was fired as editor-in-chief of Russia’s highly respected media outlet RBC for critical reporting, Elizaveta Osetinskaya left her country and headed to the US. Now she’s founded The Bell, a six-person media start-up fighting for space in Russia’s troubled world of independent media. * * * The Bell launched a weekly English-language website and newsletter in December, which is […]

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NEWSLINK: “The name of the game is cruelty. Why Russia’s State Duma wants to ban a ‘baiting stations’ in the training of hunting dogs, and why the Senate is opposed.” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“In mid-January, the State Duma created a mediation committee to review draft legislation that would ban ‘baiting stations,’ where hunting dogs are trained to attack leashed wild animals. Co-sponsored by Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, the bill passed the lower house of Russia’s parliament in December 2017, before running into rare opposition from the Federation Council, which soon voted down the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Project Inertia: The Outlook for Putin’s Fourth Term” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrei Kolesnikov

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Do not expect modernization after Putin’s 2018 reelection. Instead, the system he built will function on autopilot as the Russian leader continues to lose direct control over events, ideas, and actions. But that doesn’t imply democratization. In essence, the head of state finds himself chained to the galley that he built himself”

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Russian Meddling Is a Meme

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – January 24, 2018) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of […]

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NEWSLINK: “STALIN, PADDINGTON, AND THE PRESS” – irrussianality/Paul Robinson

File Photo of Reel of Film

“What do Josef Stalin and Paddington Bear have in common? Answer: The Russian Ministry of Culture has tried to ‘ban’ films about them – or at least that what recent headlines would have you believe. The truth is a bit more complex. …”

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-18 :: Thursday, 25 January 2018

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 2018-#18 Thursday, 25 January 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Russia’s Brain Drain on the Rise Over Economic Woes – Report

Artist's Rendition of Head and Brain, adapted from .gov image at lbl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 24, 2018) An increasing number of educated Russians are leaving the country for economic and political reasons, according to researchers at a prestigious Russian state university. Researchers at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) conducted interviews with Russian emigrants abroad and cited statistics from countries receiving them. Previous reports […]

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Interfax: OSCE concerned by rise in Donbas shelling after New Year lull

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

DONETSK. Jan 23 (Interfax) – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has recorded an increase in ceasefire violations in Donbas after some lull over the New Year holiday period, Alexander Hug, Alexander Hug, first deputy head of the OSCe Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (OSCE SMM), said. During the holiday period, the OSCE registered a minor decrease […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin to deploy ‘canine KGB death squads’ to butcher thousands of stray dogs in football World Cup host cities, claim campaigners” – The Mirror (UK)/ Will Stewart

File Photo of Dog at Animal Shelter Jumping Up on Person in Winter Clothing, With Beseeching Look

“WARNING – DISTRESSING IMAGES: The mass slaughter of stray dogs will take place despite assurances to the contrary, say animal rights campaigners”  

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Would Be ‘Economic War’ to Head of Russia’s VTB; Personal sanctions would be preferable to institutional ones, Kostin says” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Francine Lacqua

VTB Bank File Photo

“As Moscow braces for a possible expansion of U.S. sanctions, the head of Russia’s second-biggest bank said any further restrictions on the nation’s lenders would be tantamount to ‘economic war.’  * * * While VTB has been subject to restrictions on raising financing since 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, new sanctions could go as far as cutting off […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-17 :: Wednesday, 24 January 2018

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 2018-#17 Wednesday, 24 January 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Presidential candidate Yavlinsky’s public support HQ gets three co-chairs

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 23 (Interfax) – The public support headquarters of Yabloko party co-founder and presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky has opened in Moscow. The headquarters will have three co-chairs: the leader of the Choice of Russia movement, Vladimir Ryzhkov, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov, and ex-Petrozavodsk mayor Galina Shirshina. “Only voters can return meaning to elections, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Won’t Tell Voters How He’ll Pay for Domestic Spending” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… offering Russians the biggest increase in domestic spending in years … what [Putin] won’t be talking much about is the package of tax hikes, benefit cuts and other changes … to help pay for [it] … possible increases to the pension age and the income tax … cuts in tax breaks for staples like food … [and] co-pays for […]

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Washington’s ‘Kremlin Report’ Marks End of an Era in International Relations, Shevtsova Says

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 21, 2018) Most analysts have focused on the possibility that “the Kremlin Report,” as the new US sanctions regime is usually called, will have an impact on the Putin regime. That is likely, Lidiya Shevtsova says; but more than that, it “closes an entire era not only in relations between America […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-16 :: Tuesday, 23 January 2018

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 2018-#15 Tuesday, 23 January 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Russians So Overwhelmingly Apolitical that Poll Numbers are Meaningless, Kagarlitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 20, 2018) Given that 90 percent of Russian society is “apolitical,” Moscow commentator Boris Kagarlitsky says, “it is impossible” to say how much support Vladimir Putin or anyone else has. Indeed, asking that question under Russian conditions now is completely inappropriate. This comment from the director of the Institute of Globalization […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin spoke at meeting for Supreme Court 95th anniversary” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – January 23, 2018) The meeting was held at the Supreme Court building in Moscow and was attended by members of the judiciary, the Government and the Federal Assembly. The history of Russia’s supreme legislative authority for civil, criminal and administrative cases and economic disputes began with the establishment of the Supreme Court of the RSFSR in 1923. In […]

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NEWSLINK: “Was This Russian General Murdered Over the Steele Dossier? The notorious dossier on Trump that Republicans want to discredit may well have been credible enough in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes to get at least one person killed” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

NEWSLINK: “Russia faces 6 more years of stagnation under Putin” – CNN/ Alanna Petroff

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russian President Vladimir Putin looks set to win re-election in March, extending his stay in the Kremlin to 2024. For Russia’s economy, that likely means six more years of anemic growth. …”

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Russian Reformers Failed to Take into Consideration Russian Nationalism and Orthodoxy, Chubais Says

Anatoly Chubais file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 19, 2018) Anatoly Chubais, one of the main architects of Russia’s radical economic reforms in the 1990s, says that he now considers that one of the main errors he and his like-minded reformers may was “to a significant degree” their failure to take into consideration “the special features of Russian culture.” […]

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Explaining Russia’s Schizophrenic Policy toward the United States

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

(PONARS Policy Memo – PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Kimberly Marten – January 19, 2018) Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the Director of the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at Columbia’s Harriman Institute. The weaknesses and inconsistencies of Russia’s recent actions toward the United States need to be explained. […]

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