NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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Russia Eyes Reforms to 13 Percent Flat Income Tax; A new series of reform proposals could tie tax rates to income levels

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer – February 22, 2017) #Russia has long prided itself on its simple 13 percent flat income #tax rate. But a series of reform proposals could push the country towards a progressive alternative. The Finance Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry and the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) are actively developing reforms for the Russian […]

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Putin Moving to Depoliticize Entire Russian System, Stanovaya Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin’s installation of technocrats as governors in place of politicians is likely to have an impact on the country’s systemic parties, leading to their de-politicization as well by means of the replacement of the aging politicians who head them now by younger pragmatic functionaries, according to Tatyana Stanovaya. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 21, 2017) Sergei Sobyanin updated the President on Moscow’s socioeconomic development in 2016, the implementation of several large transport projects, including the launch of the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) railway line, and renovation of the housing stock. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sobyanin, let us talk about Moscow’s performance in 2016 and plans for 2017. Moscow […]

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Putin Orders Demolition of Moscow’s Iconic Post-War Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – February 21, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the complete demolition of Moscow’s post-war Khrushchevkas: Soviet housing blocks which once offered hope to millions of families after World War II. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Tuesday that 1.6 million Muscovites were still living in the buildings, many of which were […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-38 :: Wednesday, 22 February 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-#38 Wednesday, 22 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Half of Russia Still in Crisis Prepares for Worse to Come

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – February 20, 2017) The half of Russia’s economy that hasn’t got wind of a recovery is already hunkering down for the crisis to come. Once indispensable for the country’s prospects, consumption flat-lined well below zero throughout last year even as the broader economy defied gloom. From the ruble to industrial output and wages, […]

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Putinism as Gaullism; There are limits of defining a regime by the name of its leader, but Putinism has the echoes of post-war France, and of its president.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Marlene Laruelle – February 21, 2017) Marlene Laruelle is assistant director at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. She is also co-director of PONARS Eurasia, and the author of several books on Russian and Central Asian politics and society. The Russian state under Vladimir Putin’s leadership […]

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Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as World’s Top Crude Oil Producer

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Claudia Carpenter – February 20, 2017) Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades. Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-37 :: Tuesday, 21 February 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-#37 Tuesday, 21 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Moscow Times: Read Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s Poem to Russia’s Late UN Ambassador

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 21, 2017) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has published a poem dedicated to his country’s late permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. Churkin died unexpectedly yesterday in New York, reportedly from heart problems, just a day shy of his 65th birthday. Since then, many politicians and diplomats have paid their respects to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mutual Assured Deterrence” – Project-Syndicate/Sergei Karaganov

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Relations between Russia and the European Union, and with the EU’s close ally the United States, are increasingly fragile. There has been an effort to cope with shifting power dynamics in Europe by restoring the military-political divide between NATO and Russia – this time, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of where it was during the Cold War. But […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Secret U.S. Army Study That Targets Moscow. A quarter century after the Cold War, the Pentagon is worried about Russia’s military prowess again. [Re: Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster]” – Politico/Bryan Bender

H.R. McMaster file photo, adapted from image at army.mil

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster has a shaved head and gung-ho manner that only add to his reputation as the U.S. Army’s leading warrior-intellectual, one who often quotes famed Prussian general and military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz. A decade ago, McMaster fought a pitched battle inside the Pentagon for a new concept of warfare to address the threat from Islamist terrorists […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Study looks at free-trade-with-Russia scenario. Free trade between the EU and Russia could bring enormous benefits for both sides, a study by the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute suggests. Only, the Ukraine conflict still stands in the way.” – Deutsche Welle

EU Map

A free trade area for the European Union, Russia and other states would have economic advantages for all sides involved, according to model-based calculations by the Ifo research institute. … The study admits that a free trade agreement of this kind is barely conceivable as long as the Ukraine conflict remains unsettled and Western sanctions against Russia are in place. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Could Russia have avoided revolution in 1917? A century on from Nicholas II’s abdication, Dominic Lieven asks whether democracy was ever likely to take root.” – Financial Times

Romanov Family Photo

“When I began my academic career in the 1970s, the shadow of the 1917 Revolution loomed over the whole of Russian history. Historians of late imperial and early Soviet Russia, in particular, worked at the epicentre of the ideological conflict between democratic capitalism and communism that raged in the cold war era. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russian IPO wave on the way” – bne/Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“A wave of Russian IPO could be gathering momentum out to sea after iconic toy store Detsky Mir placed its €333mn IPO earlier this month. Russia’s equity market has come back to life with about $1.9bn worth of securities issued in just the last three months. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Disillusioned With the West, Russia Too Is Pivoting to Asia” – The Wire (India)/ Fred Weir

Kremlin and River

“East-West conflict over Ukraine is likely to continue to loom large when it comes to Russian foreign relations, especially as there seems no way – short of a third world war – that it is ever likely to relent on the main issue, its annexation of Crimea.”

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Kicking habits, kicking back; In Russia, a punitive Soviet approach to drug users is still in place. But a new generation of activists is ready to challenge it.

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Lebedev – February 20, 2017) Dmitry Lebedev is a freelance journalist from Moscow. He holds a Master’s research degree in political philosophy from Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. When Russian media report an increase or decrease in drug addiction in the country, they are usually only reflecting the number of users officially registered at state clinics. The practice […]

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Interfax: Over 80% of Russians sure army can deter military threat – poll

File Photo of Tanks on Parade

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Over half of Russians (58%) believe in the existence of a military threat posed by other countries, Levada Center told Interfax, adding that the indicator had notably declined in the past two years from 68% in 2015. Some 34% of 1,600 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on January 20-23 maintained the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lost in Translation” – Sarah Lindemann-Komarov/Portland Press Herald (Maine)/Medium

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Throughout the 25 years I have lived in Siberia people have turned to me as a translator, not of English, but of America. Never more so than now, from my University students to the Kazakh fast food cashier at the mall, “Trump?”. I know they ask hoping I can provide a translation of the meaning of Trump that will reinforce […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-36 :: Monday, 20 February 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-#36 Monday, 20 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Interfax: Moody’s upgrades Russia rating outlook to stable

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Moody’s Investors Service has changed the outlook for Russia’s sovereign ratings to stable from negative. Russia’s issuer rating and the rating for Russian government bonds have been affirmed at Ba1, and the short-term rating has been affirmed at Not Prime, the rating agency said in a press release. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov welcomed Moody’s decision. […]

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NEWSLINK: “The ‘Russia Scare’ Coalition: ISIL’s ‘Useful Idiots’? Victory by the ‘Russia scare’ coalition will limit America’s ability to fight ISIL, complicate efforts to win UNSC support for tough enforcement of the Iran nuclear deal and give China more leverage over both Moscow and Washington.” – The National Interest editorial

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“The turmoil surrounding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation and wider allegations of links between President Donald Trump, his campaign and Russia seems to have made a strong impression in Moscow. Many there had already calibrated initially unrealistic expectations after Mr. Trump’s initial weeks in office; recent events have tempered even these more limited ambitions. Hopes have long faded that Washington […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: SHOULD WE FEAR RUSSIA? [re: Dmitri Trenin]” – Paul Robinson/Irrussianality

Kremlin and River

“… Trenin’s answer to the question posed by his book is a bit of a ‘no’ and a bit of a ‘yes’. Russia isn’t a ‘threat’, he says, but its policies do pose a ‘challenge’ to the West, and are likely to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. ‘While most fears need to be put to rest’, he concludes, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin’s Political Meddling Revives Old KGB Tactics. Russia is returning to the playbook of the Cold War in its covert efforts to interfere with elections in the West.” – Wall Street Journal/Andrew Weiss

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Last month, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said that, during the 2016 election, the Kremlin had pulled off a ‘covert influence campaign’ that ‘was probably the most successful in recorded history.’ It has become accepted wisdom that Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign represents a fundamentally new sort of intrusion into a modern democracy’s inner workings. But the Kremlin’s efforts […]

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NEWSWATCH: “After 100 years, his tsar is in the ascendant. A century after the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Putin is taking inspiration from opposing legacies – imperial authority and Soviet military might – to project his power.” – The Sunday Times (UK)/Robert Service

Romanov Family Photo

“Over the next few months, Russia will be marking the centenary of its revolution, and the country’s president,Vladimir Putin, will be explaining its meaning to his people. … a task … Communist rulers used to undertake on an annual basis. They stood in a grim line in Red Square and took the salute from a parade of troops, Communist Party […]

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RUSSIALINK: TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address and answers to questions at the 53rd Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 18, 2017”

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… Question: I have a concrete question about military exercises. Why are Russian military exercises held without prior announcement, and why are they so non-transparent? This year you will hold the largest Zapad (West) exercises in 20 years, which have alarmed your neighbours. What should be done to build up confidence regarding this issue? …” [featured image is file photo]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Direct/Ivan Tsvetkov: “After Flynn’s dismissal, Russia starts to doubt Trump. After National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s scandalous resignation and Donald Trump’s tough new rhetoric toward the Kremlin, Russia has started to back away from the U.S. president. That could be dangerous.”

Kremlin and River

“This week has not been easy for U.S.-Russia relations, especially with the scandalous resignation of President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Russia is now back on the agenda of the U.S. media after a brief period in which U.S. President Donald Trump’s early presidential moves overshadowed any talk of foreign policy. The image of Flynn is controversial in […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-35 :: Friday, 17 February 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-#35 Friday, 17 February 2017 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 Largest Oilfield May Be About to Gush Cash Once Again

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Andrey Biryukov – February 15, 2017) #Russia’s largest #oil field, so far past its prime that it now pumps almost 20 times more water than crude, could be on the verge of gushing profits again for #Rosneft PJSC. Samotlor, the 25 billion-barrel giant that bankrolled the Soviet Union for decades, would be the biggest […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Federal Security Service Board

(Kremlin.ru – February 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSLINK: “Survey: U.S. Vital Interests Vis-à-Vis #Russia” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham, Stephen Kinzer, Jack Matlock, Matthew Rojansky, Paul Saunders

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Every new U.S. president assumes office with a firm intention to pursue polices based on national interests, but not every one of them publicly formulates what exactly these interests are. We have asked a handful of top experts on #Russia three related questions: (a) What are America’s top five vital national interests; (b) which of them can Russia significantly impact […]

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NEWSLINK: “It’s the Russians! … or Is it? Cold War Rhetoric in the Digital Age” – ICIT/James Scott

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“…. Western systems lack the security and resiliency to withstand foreign compromise. Moreover, Incident Response techniques and processes are not comprehensive or holistic enough to definitively attribute an incident to a specific threat actor from the multitude of script kiddies, hacktivists, lone-wolf threat actors, cyber-criminals, cyber-jihadists, hail-mary threats, and nation-state sponsored advanced persistent threats (APTs), who all possess the means, […]

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The Suspense Is Now Over For Russia’s Political Elite: Putin Is Running

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – February 16, 2017) Late in 2016, things did not look so rosy for Vladimir Putin. The Russian economy was in decline, the country was isolated on the global stage, and the president was a figure shunned by Western nations. Some commentators even began to entertain the possibility that Putin would use the […]

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RCAS concert in Washington: “Famous Contemporaries: Glière, Medtner and Rachmaninov”

Sergei Rachmaninoff file photo

Subject: RCAS concert in Washington: “Famous Contemporaries: Glière, Medtner and Rachmaninov” Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2017 From: Mary Kruger <mary.kruger.network@gmail.com> Concert: “Famous Contemporaries: Glière, Medtner and Rachmaninov” Friday, February 24, 2017, 7:30 PM Presented by the Russian Chamber Art Society at La Maison Française Embassy of France 4101 Reservoir Road NW Washington, DC 20007 Street parking available nearby The Russian […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-34 :: Thursday, 16 February 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-#34 Thursday, 16 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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President Trump’s Boris Yeltsin Moment

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 15, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. President Donald Trump is irritated about the media furor surrounding the departure of his national security adviser. “The real scandal here is that classified information is […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – February 15, 2017) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin, who briefed the President on the economic situation in Russia in 2016, and the prospects for 2017. Ways to continue reducing inflation this year were also under discussion. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Oreshkin, do you have the final figures or the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-33 :: Wednesday, 15 February 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-#33 Wednesday, 15 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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End of Kremlin’s Dream of ‘Big Deal’ with Trump Makes Putin More Dangerous Not Less

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 16, 2017) Andrey Piontkovsky is undoubtedly correct that “‘a big deal’” between Moscow and Washington has become “impossible” given the fallout from the Flynn scandal because “any step by Trump in this direction would mean for him political death” (nv.ua/opinion/piontkovskiy/novaja-realnost-kremlja-647586.html). But while the Russian commentator doesn’t say so in his latest […]

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The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eli Lake – February 14, 2017) Eli Lake is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Two explosive reports on Trump and Russia. Zero on-the-record sources.” – Washington Post/Callum Borchers

Satellite Dishes

“… Which is it? Is the media making up fake nonsense? Or is the intelligence community leaking real information? …. anonymity invariably promotes skepticism about sources’ motives. The Times wrote that ‘all of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.’ That makes sense; it also makes sense to wonder whether […]

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Interfax: Claims of Snowden’s possible extradition to U.S. absurd – Russian Foreign Ministry

Edward Snowden file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 15 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed reports by several media organizations on the possibility that Russia could extradite former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States as a ‘gift’ to new U.S. President Donald Trump as absurd. “The Russian side has already commented at various levels on the absurdity of such a claim,” Russian […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-32 :: Tuesday, 14 February 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-#32 Tuesday, 14 February 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: “A way to get real news to Russia; A U.S. attempt to counter disinformation takes shape in Current Time” – Washington Post

Satellite Dishes

… Current Time television, a product of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, is a 24/7 Russian-language television network based in Prague … aimed at audiences inside Russia as well as the borderlands of the former Soviet Union. … intended to provide ‘fair and accurate reporting, serving as a reality check on disinformation that is driving conflict […]

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Brazil, Russia Get Top Marks in Emerging Market Survey

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Yumi Teso, Lilian Karunungan – February 12, 2017) [Charts here https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-12/brazil-russia-favored-in-emerging-market-survey-china-dodged] Combine the prospects for interest-rate cuts with their higher carry-trade returns and two countries stand out as the best bets this year in emerging markets: Brazil and Russia. In a survey of 16 investors and analysts conducted Jan. 23 to Feb. 1, the nations’ bonds […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Trump Is Right on Russia” – New York Times/ANATOL LIEVEN

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Few of the Trump administration’s priorities have received as much criticism from the American foreign policy establishment as the president’s desire to improve relations with Russia. … This makes little sense. There are many good reasons for the United States to reach conciliation with Moscow on issues from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. … Unlike China, Russia is not […]

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