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UKRAINE & RUSSIA :: Recent Issues: TUESDAY JRL 11.25.14 :: MONDAY JRL 11.24.14 :: FRIDAY JRL 11.21.14 :: THURSDAY JRL 11.20.14 :: WEDNESDAY JRL 11.19.14 :: TUESDAY JRL 11.18.14 :: MONDAY JRL 11.17.14 :: more ...

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Interfax: Moscow hopes six mediators, Iran overcome differences in further talks

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Moscow hopes another extension of the six-party talks with Iran will be the last, says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. “With respect to the decisions, the last four days have been more important than the last four months, and the issues that remain are so obvious and clear that

The True Russia in Book ‘Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible’

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – November 25, 2014) Television “is the only force that can unify and rule and bind this country,” British producer and journalist Peter Pomerantsev says in his superb debut book “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” which follows the author’s decade-long career in factual television set against

Moscow Times: Iran Talks Show Why West Still Needs Russia

Iran Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 25, 2014) As Monday’s negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program failed to yield a deal and resulted in Iran, Russia, the U.S., China, Britain and Germany setting a new deadline of July 1, analysts hailed the talks as a rare remaining area of cooperation between Russia and

Russia pivots East – or is it just playing the field?

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ian Ivory of Goltsblat BLP – November 24, 2014) Ian Ivory is an English qualified solicitor and Partner at Goltsblat BLP, the Russian Practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), an award-winning international law firm. Ian is a fluent Russian speaker and regularly represents both Russian and international corporations on

Russia and Breakaway Georgian Region to Create Joint Military

Georgia Beach in Abkhazia Region

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – November 22, 2014) Russia will form a joint army with Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia under a new cooperation pact that one expert said is part of the continuing fallout from the Ukraine crisis. The treaty was inked Monday in Sochi by Russian President Vladimir Putin and

Spy Malware Deployed Against Russia by Unknown Nation, Report Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 25, 2014) Russian and Saudi Arabian telecommunications and Internet firms are being targeted by highly advanced cyber espionage malware that is likely being controlled by a Western intelligence agency, The Financial Times reported Monday. Leading computer security company Symantec issued a statement Sunday warning about a

Russia to fingerprint foreigners seeking visas starting Dec. 10, 2014

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Interfax – November 25, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the collection of biometric data for personal identification of foreign citizens and stateless persons. The decree posted on the official legal information portal says foreigners and stateless persons applying for Russian entry visas or transit visas in their travels across Russian

Russian Oil-Output Cuts to Support OPEC Seen as Unlikely

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Elena Mazneva – November 26, 2014) Each time oil takes a dive, the idea of Russia allying with OPEC to shore up prices gets an airing. It happened in the months after 9/11 and again during the 2008 financial crisis. Now it’s back on the agenda. Russia’s top two

How to Become a Russian Billionaire With No Help from the Kremlin

Krasnodar and Road

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 20, 2014) It’s a hot day in Krasnodar, deep in southern Russia. The action is hot on the soccer field, too. Ari, the local club’s Brazilian striker, takes a pass from the left flank and scores a beautiful goal. Ari (full name Ariclenes da Silva Ferreira) then

Failures of Russian Law Enforcement Leading More Russians to Want to Carry Guns

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 24, 2014) Russians increasingly want to have the right to carry guns for the same reason many people in the United States say they do – their conviction that police are not willing or able to defend them and their belief that they must therefore be

Unnecessary Sacrifice

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Alexander Podrabinek – November 24, 2014) Prominent Russian journalist, writer and human rights activist. His articles appeared in Novaya Gazeta, Ezhenedelny Journal (Ej.Ru), Grani.Ru, et al. He is a regular guest at Ekho Moskvy radio station. Podrabinek is also a well-known Soviet dissident and former political prisoner. In

RIA Novosti: Top Russian psychiatrist links increased drunk driving to economic strain

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, November 24, 2014) The Russian Health Ministry’s chief freelance psychiatrist [Zurab Kekelidze] has declared that the number of road traffic accidents involving drunk drivers has risen by 10 per cent in Russia this year, possibly due to psychological strain owing to changes to the international and economic situation. “In the first

Marriage? No thanks, I’m too busy: Why Russians are delaying tying the knot

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Darya Lyubinskaya, special to RBTH – November 25, 2014) Russians are increasingly leaving marriage to a later age in order to focus on their careers and personal interests. While a decade ago 40 percent of weddings were between people under the age of 24, that figure is now

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#244 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 25 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#244 :: Tuesday 25 November 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist me JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Russia Beyond the Headlines: Marriage?

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#243 table of contents with links :: Monday 24 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#243 :: Monday 24 November 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist me JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Financial Times: John Thornhill, It

NEWSLINK: Russia puts losses from sanctions, cheaper oil at up to $140 billion/year

Anton Siluanov file photo

[“Russia puts losses from sanctions, cheaper oil at up to $140 billion/year” – Reuters – Nov. 24, 2014] Reuters reports on Russia’s claims about the extent to which Western sanctions and lower oil prices are impacting the Russian economy. The assertions were made by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov at a Monday press conference. Lower oil

NEWSLINK: Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards?

China Map

[“Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards? With Russia alienated by the West and China eager to buy high-end weaponry, a joint military pact – though still a long way off – looks increasingly seductive to both” – Christian Science Monitor – Fred Weir – Nov. 21, 2014] The

NEWSLINK: Newsless Joe Biden’s disappointing visit to Kyiv

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium with U.S. Seal, With Ukrainian and U.S. Flags in Background

[“Newsless Joe Biden’s disappointing visit to Kyiv” – Kyiv Post – Brian Bonner – Nov. 23, 2014] The Kyiv Post covers U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s recent trip to Ukraine and bemoans the fact that more was not accomplished, at least publicly. At the same time, a meeting involving Biden, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt, new members

NEWSLINK: On revolution anniversary, anger over unpunished deaths

Ukraine Map and Flag

[“On revolution anniversary, anger over unpunished deaths” – Kiev Post – Olena Goncharova – Nov.21, 2014] A year after Maidan protests, the Kiev Post covers ongoing reactions in Ukraine over killings that occurred during the protests and the pace of investigation and prosecution. The killings of more than 100 Ukrainians by the ousted president remain

NEWSLINK: It is time for the west and Ukraine to offer Putin a deal. Ukraine will never succeed with a hostile Russia on its borders.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[“It is time for the west and Ukraine to offer Putin a deal. Ukraine will never succeed with a hostile Russia on its borders.” – Financial Times – John Thornhill – Nov. 23, 2014] A Financial Times commentary by John Thornton urges Western and Ukrainian engagement of Russia to help facilitate a way forward for Ukrainian peace and

U.S. Ambassador John Tefft Unfazed by ‘Inevitable’ Slump in Russia Relations

John Tefft file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 24, 2014) The new U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, has said the current crisis between Moscow and Washington can be resolved and that Western sanctions may be rolled back if Russia implements the terms of a peace plan for Ukraine that it co-signed. Tefft, who

De-Stalinization Hasn’t Been Completed in Russia, Lukin Says

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 23, 2014) De-Stalinization will have occurred not when everyone denounces Stalin in a chorus at the direction of the state but rather when each person can assess him in his or her own way and have debates about him, Vladimir Lukin says. Unfortunately, Russia has not

Kremlinphobia, russophobia and other states of paranoia; The Russian government likes to regularly accuse the West of being ‘russophobic.’ They’re right, but not for the reasons they think.

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – November 21, 2014) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. ‘Russophobia’ has become a charge as common as fascism in the information war between Russia, Ukraine and the West. The accusation brings to mind the tale of the

Medicine and Meat Out of Reach Amid Ukrainian Price Shock

Maidan Square file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – November 20, 2014) Valentyna is thankful for the two pensions she and her husband share, even if Ukraine’s inflation shock means they’re no longer enough to buy medicine and meat. “We have some potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers from our dacha,” said the 72-year-old pensioner as she made her

Putin Talks Obama, God and the Iron Curtain in New Interview

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 24, 2014) President Vladimir Putin addressed everything from the possibility of re-election and his thoughts on U.S. President Barack Obama, to God and his preference for tea, in a massive interview published by state news agency TASS on Sunday. Putin on His Political Future Putin said in the interview

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#242 table of contents with links :: Friday 21 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#242 :: Friday 21 November 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist me JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. CNN.com: Starving, seething and scared:

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#241 table of contents with links :: Thursday 20 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#241 :: Thursday 20 November 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist me JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. New York Times editorial: Ukraine’s

Faces Of The Maidan: Where Are They Now?

Maidan Square file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Iryna Stelmakh, Tom Balmforth – November 20, 2014) Kyiv’s Euromaidan protests began a year ago on November 21 and continued for months, through the cold winter of 2013-14. During the long, tense days of waiting and of celebrating genuine people power on Kyiv’s Independence Square, the world had the chance to

Don’t speak, memory: Voice against Stalin’s crimes may soon be silenced

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – November 21, 2014) Russia’s supreme court is preparing to examine the lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Justice requesting to liquidate Memorial, Russia’s first organization dedicated to preserving the memory of Stalin’s repressions and victims. RBTH reports on who else is telling

Interfax: Kudrin suggests five steps towards effective Russian economy amid sanctions

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – November 21, 2014) Russia may see a growth and develop every sphere of public life even under the sanctions, said Committee of Civil Initiatives Chairman Alexei Kudrin. “There is always a wish to have a simple recipe: five steps that can make a great change. I have to admit there is no such

Interfax: Putin says calling for overthrow of Russia’s system of government “extremism”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Interfax – Moscow, November 20, 2014) Calls to overthrow the existing system [of government in Russia] are a manifestation of extremism and anti-popular thinking, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “In standing up for freedom of elections, assembly, marches, rallies, you should not forget responsibility for your words and actions. You must know and understand

Hermitage’s Head Defends Contemporary Art Show

Hermitage Museum

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Kit Rees – November 21, 2014) He’s the head of one of the seemingly most conservative art institutes – St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum – but Mikhail Piotrovsky has been in the middle of a dispute about contemporary art this year as the museum hosted the 10th biennial Manifesta art festival.

TRANSCRIPT: Text of Ambassador Pyatt’s Panel Comments at the Kyiv Post Tiger Conference WEF Panel

Geoffrey R. Pyatt file photo

(US Embassy Ukraine – November 19, 2014) I think with government servants like Hanna Hopko and Dmytro (Shymkiv), you get a sense of Ukraine’s direction. I think the greatest single risk factor is business as usual. It’s the assumption in some circles that Ukraine can keep doing as it had been doing in the past.

New Ukraine Coalition Agreed; Sets NATO As Priority

NATO meeting file photo

(RFE/RL – November 21, 2014) Ukraine’s newly agreed five-party ruling coalition has reportedly set the country’s membership of NATO as its major goal. The coalition comprises the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the Popular Front, Samopomich (Self-Rule), the Radical Party, and Batkivshchyna (Fatherland). The five pro-Western parties that passed the 5 percent threshold in last month’s parliamentary

The Tale of Two Crises (re The Economist)

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

Subject: The tale of two crises (re The Economist) Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 From: Ben Aris <baris@bne.eu> I would like to comment on two sets of pieces you ran from the Economist on eastern European woes on JRL#241. I know I keep taking pops at the Economist and I try not to as I

Moscow Times: Putin Warns of Color Revolutions and Uncontrolled Migration in Extremism Speech

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 21, 2014) President Vladimir Putin called on law enforcement agencies, religious leaders, institutions of civil society and Russia’s education system to join together to prevent the rise of extremism. Describing the threat of extremism, Putin pointed to color revolutions. “In the modern world extremism is often used as a

Russia’s Igor Strelkov: I Am Responsible for War in Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 21, 2014) Russian national Igor Strelkov, a former commander of pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine, has claimed “personal responsibility” for unleashing the conflict across the border, in which 4,300 people have been killed since April. “I was the one who pulled the firing trigger of this

Interfax: Russians say Crimea situation legal, Western opinion doesn’t bother them – poll

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – November 21, 2014) Most Russians approve of the Crimean affiliation to Russia and the negative attitude of Ukraine and the West does not bother them, the Levada Center told Interfax. Eighty-four percent of 1,600 respondents polled in 134 populated localities on November 14-17 supported the Crimean accession to Russia, 11 percent opposed the act

Interfax: Russia will pay bigger price in case Donbas situation escalates further – Biden

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium with U.S. Seal, With Ukrainian and U.S. Flags in Background

KYIV. Nov 21 (Interfax) – The United States Vice President Joe Biden has said that the U.S. is prepared to put more pressure on Russia if it does not honor its obligation to settle the situation in southeastern Ukraine and continues escalation. Russia will pay an even bigger price and will be isolated, if these

Interfax: DPR militia report strikes against Donetsk

Ukraine Map and Flag

DONETSK. Nov 21 (Interfax) – Six residential buildings were damaged as a result of artillery strikes carried out by the Ukrainian army against the city on November 20, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told Interfax on Friday. “Five houses in the Kuibyshevsky district and one in

One year after Maidan

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – November 21, 2014) On November 20 – almost one year to the day since the start of the Maidan protests that brought down President Viktor Yanukovych – a broad coalition deal was finally signed in Ukraine between the leading pro-European parties. Ukraine’s People’s Front,

Moscow Times: Gorbachev on Russia and Ukraine: ‘We Are One People’

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 21, 2014) [Video interview here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/mikhail-gorbachev-nobody-will-shut-my-mouth-video/511564.html] Many people who send letters to the first and last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, still write on the envelope: “To the Secretary General of the Communist Party, Kremlin.” The Russian postal service is used to this and

Interfax: “Refusal of U.S. Senate to restrict NSA powers marks decline of democracy – Pushkov”

Alexei Pushkov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee is disappointed that the U.S. Senate decided against considering legislation restricting the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA). “The U.S. Senate turned down the bill limiting the spying activeness of NSA. In this way liberties are sacrificed to total control. The

Interfax: Russian Justice Ministry withdraws claims against embattled NGOs

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, November 19, 2014) The Russian Justice Ministry has withdrawn claims against two foreign agent non-commercial organizations over their reports on foreign financing; only the non-commercial organization Soldiers’ Mothers of St Petersburg will be held responsible for not presenting its report, the ministry’s press service has reported. “The Russian Ministry of Justice had

Interfax: FSKN: Drug mortality rate in Russia 20 times higher than in Japan

Russian Drug Den File Photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Russia has the world highest mortality rate amongst drug addicts, Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said. “The use of narcotic drugs causes an unprecedentedly high mortality rate in the age group from 15 through 34, at least 50,000-60,000 people die each year from internal organ pathologies,” Ivanov


Russia’s energy ministry revises oil price to $80-$90 per barrel

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne/IntelliNews – November 20, 2014) Russia’s energy ministry has revised the outlook for global oil prices downwards from previous $95 per barrel to $80-$90 per barrel, deputy minister Kirill Molodtsov told the press, without specifying the time frame of the outlook. Currently the ministry is witnessing surplus demand in

Statement by U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft; Ambassador Tefft Presents Credentials to President Putin

John Tefft file photo

(US Embassy Moscow – November 19, 2014) It was a privilege to present my credentials today to President Putin as the new U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. I joined 14 other ambassadors in the Kremlin’s beautiful Alexander Hall. As a U.S. diplomat for more than four decades, I am committed to maintaining open and

Kremlin Divided Only on When to Begin Full-Scale War with Ukraine, Sheremet Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 19, 2014) There are “no influential forces in the Kremlin now” calling for peace in Ukraine or with Russia’s other neighbors, independent Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet says. There are only various groups calling for war and differing only on when, where and how to carry out

STATEMENT BY SENATORS JOHN MCCAIN AND LINDSEY GRAHAM ON NEED TO SUPPORT UKRAINE IN FACE OF RENEWED RUSSIAN AGGRESSION

File Photo of U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(mccain.senate.gov – Washington, D.C., November 18, 2014) U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement urging the Obama Administration and the European Union to provide the support Ukrainian leaders have long sought in the face of renewed Russian aggression: “President Putin’s renewed aggression in Ukraine demands more than additional

Calls for Latinization of Ukrainian Alphabet on ‘Civilizational Grounds’ Anger Russians

Maidan Square file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 14, 2014) Renewed calls by some Ukrainians to shift the alphabet of their national language from one based on Cyrillic characters to a Latin-based script in order to escape from the influence of Moscow and be closer to the West has infuriated Russian nationalists, who say

Kiev Brings Back Orthodox Santa Claus Instead of Soviet-Era Father Frost

Artist Rendition of Santa Claus on Hill with Snow and Village in Distance, with Caption NORAD Tracks Santa

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2014) New Year celebrations in Ukraine’s capital Kiev this year will be spearheaded by Saint Mykolay – the country’s Orthodox analogue of Santa Claus – instead of his secular Soviet-era counterpart Father Frost, according to an outline of the festivities published by the city administration. The holiday saint

Interfax: Separatist leader challenges Ukrainian president to “duel” to “put end to war”

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – Luhansk, November 19, 2014) Head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic Ihor Plotnytskyy [Igor Plotnitskiy] has written an open letter to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in which he challenged Poroshenko to “engage in a duel”. “I am totally convinced that residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics, the entire population of Ukraine,

Moscow Times: Russia’s Demand of NATO Unlikely to Defuse Ukraine Conflict

NATO meeting file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – November 20, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman on Tuesday voiced what Russia wants from the West over Ukraine: guarantees that the former Soviet republic will not join NATO, an outcome that political analysts agree was already unlikely in the year-long conflict that has already claimed 4,000 lives.

RIA Novosti: Ukraine’s non-aligned status very important, good for Kiev – Russia’s Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, November 19, 2014) Ukraine’s non-aligned status is important for ensuring Euro-Atlantic security and is in the interests of the Ukrainians themselves, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said at a [joint] news conference with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto. “There is no doubt that the non-aligned status (of Ukraine – RIA Novosti)

FMS: Number of Ukrainians staying in Russia 1 million up year-on-year

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Approximately 2.6 million Ukrainian nationals are staying in Russia at the moment, which is one million more than a year ago, Federal Migration Service (FMS) chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said at the Thursday meeting of the Council of Legislators dedicated to migration policy issues. “About 2.6 million Ukrainian citizens are currently

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#240 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 19 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#240 :: Wednesday 19 November 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist me JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Interfax-Ukraine: Ukraine says Russian-trained

VIDEO: Is Putin intentionally provoking the West?

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

PBS News Hour interviews Russia scholar Kimberly Marten about Russia’s unfolding relations with the West. [click here for transcript] Said Marten: I think part of what’s going on is that Putin is trying to take attention off of the problems that the Russian economy is facing.  The sanctions are working much better than … predicted … they’re having real impact

Interfax: Lavrov says Kerry told him to ignore Obama’s words on Russia threat

kerry-lavrov-200

(Interfax – November 19, 2014) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had suggested to him that he should pay no attention to U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks in which he called Russia a principal threat to the world. “The first time I took note of the listing of threats

McDonald’s Moscow Restaurant Reopens After 3-Month Shutdown

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leslie Patton, Ilya Khrennikov – November 19, 2014) McDonald’s Corp.’s (MCD) largest restaurant in Russia reopened after local officials shuttered the location for three months, an optimistic sign for a company trying to return to business as usual in the country. The outlet, situated in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, resumed business today,

Sanctions Affect Half Of Russia’s Banking Sector, Report Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 19, 2014) Russian banks are the most vulnerable among the world’s large emerging market economies due to Western sanctions and near zero levels of economic growth, a Standard & Poor’s report released Wednesday said. Sanctions directly affect more than 50 percent of Russia’s banking sector, which is dominated by

Interfax: Russian central banker says economy can withstand lower oil price, sanctions

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Interfax – November 18, 2014) The head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, has said that the economy would retain stability if things go less than well, i.e. if oil prices averages 80 dollars per barrel and sanctions continue until the end of 2017. Speaking in the State Duma on 18 November, she added

Russia moves to free-sinking currency

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – November 19, 2014) After controlling the ruble-dollar exchange rate for more than two decades to ease the pain of the transition to a free market, on October 9 the Russia’s central bank finally let the ruble go. The Russian currency is now a fully

Business New Europe: Number of Russians who think corruption got worse in past 15 years went down 20%

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne/IntelliNews – bne.eu – November 19, 2014) According to a poll conducted by the independent Levada centre, 39% of Russians think that corruption in the country got worse in last 15 years. That is 20% less than in July 2010, when 60% of respondents said the situation worsened. Traffic police are

Interfax: Gorbachev: West has probably accepted fact that Crimea is Russia

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Interfax – November 19, 2014) Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev believes that Russia and the West should find a compromise on the Ukrainian crisis or they will lose. “It [a compromise] has not been found yet, but it is quite possible. I think Russia and the entire Europe will lose if that doesn’t happen. The

Russia Denies Ukraine Blame After Germans Push for Talks

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany, Anton Doroshev – November 19, 2014) Russia’s foreign minister blamed the conflict in Ukraine on other countries’ efforts to increase their security since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A day after Russia and Ukraine clashed over how to move toward a new cease-fire agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei

Interfax: Russian diplomat says Kiev needs to negotiate with rebels, not Moscow

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – Moscow, November 18, 2014) Kiev should conduct negotiations on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis not with Moscow, but with the militia from southeast Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin has said. “The Kiev government should conduct negotiations not with Moscow, but with representatives of southeast Ukraine,” he told Interfax. This was

Interfax: Ukraine insists on efficiency of Geneva negotiating format – Yatsenyuk

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Nov 19 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian leadership believes the Geneva format of negotiations with Russia is the optimal one, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said. “This is a common position of the Ukrainian head of state and head of government: the Geneva format, with the U.S.’, the EU’s, Russia’s, and Ukraine’s involvement, is the

Ten Kremlin Moves That Hurt Russia’s Economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – November 19, 2014) As the Russian economy ambles toward recession, the government grapples with how to explain the downturn – no easy feat after 15 years of slowly mounting prosperity and President Vladimir Putin’s campaign promises of lavish social spending. So far, the authorities have been inclined

Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Irina Reznik- November 19, 2014) Vladimir Putin sat motionless as the minister, seizing on the Russian leader’s first major meeting with his economic team in months, itemized the challenges. A recession is imminent, inflation is getting out of hand and the ruble and oil are in freefall, Economy Minister

Proper Response to Kremlin is to Make Ukraine a NATO Member Now

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 19, 2014) Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, says that Russian wants to receive “a 100 percent guarantee” that “no one will think about Ukraine entering NATO.” The only proper response to that outrageous example of imperial overreach is to offer NATO full membership in the

Pro-Moscow Separatists Face Health Crisis

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Voice of America – Jamie Dettmer – November 19, 2014) Ukraine’s government is threatening to stop funding hospitals and medical services in areas in the east of the country controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. This is leaving the insurgents scrambling to make up for the shortfall amid signs that some locals want a return to normal.

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#239 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 18 November 2014

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… 28. Business New Europe: Chris Weafer, 2015 looks likely to be Russian economy’s “Annus Horribilis”
29. Wall Street Journal: Russian Agency Looks to Meet With Twitter, Facebook on New Laws.
30. Moscow Times/Reuters: More Than 1 Million People in Russia Live as Slaves, Study Finds. …

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#238 table of contents with links :: Monday 17 November 2014

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[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#238 :: Monday 17 November 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist me JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Reuters: Heavy shelling rocks rebel-held

The problems of environmental activism in Russia; Climate change is still of little interest to Russians. But why?

Polar Bear on Ice

(opendemocracy.net – Angelina Davydova – November 17, 2014) Angelina Davydova is an independant environmental journalist based in St Petersburg. This autumn, in cities worldwide there were climate-themed marches to tie in with the Ban Ki-Moon UN summit, the most of important of which was a 400-thousand-strong demonstration in New York; and Russia too passed a

Russia May Be Planning National Space Station to Replace ISS

International Space Station file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – November 18, 2014) Russia may be planning to build a new, independent national space station rather than prolong its participation in the $150 billion International Space Station (ISS) program beyond its current 2020 end date, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday. The U.S. space agency NASA proposed last

Russia launches its own ‘Wikipedia’

File Photo of Little Russian Girl at Laptop Next to Globe

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 17, 2014) It’s already got its own search engine called Sputnik, but now in an effort to better control the contents on RuNet, the Kremlin plans to launch its own version of Wikipedia. The Russian version of the user-generated encyclopaedia is designed to give “citizens more detailed and

2015 looks likely to be Russian economy’s “Annus Horribilis”

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – November 18, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. In a memorable speech delivered in late 1992, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II described the year just ending as an “Annus Horribilis” as she referred to a year filled with misery and

Early shift to free-floating policy gives shelter to battered Russian ruble

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – November 17, 2014) Since the beginning of 2014 the value of the ruble has fallen by about 50 percent against the dollar and the euro, a slide most analysts attribute to low oil prices. In the end, Russia’s Central Bank decided to bring forward

Putin, Now Marginalized Internationally, May Become Even More Dangerous, Oreshkin Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 18, 2014) The G-20 meeting in Brisbane demonstrated that “the marginalization of Putin is a fait accompli,” that he has failed to split the West, and that its leaders have no intention of acting as Neville Chamberlain did in the late 1930s, according to Dmitry Oreshkin.

Why new ‘quiet rivalry’ between U.S. and China is in Moscow’s interests

China Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH – November 17, 2014) Beijing and Washington have developed a mechanism through which one side is to inform the other of any large-scale military actions. They have also agreed on a set of rules of behavior in the event their military units collide

Grappling With Russians’ Paranormal Obsessions

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Marc Bennetts – November 17, 2014) An excerpt from “Resurrections for Roubles: Adventures with Modern Russia’s Psychics, Sects, and Sorcerers.” When I first moved to Russia in 1997, despite only initially knowing about 10 words of the language, I would buy a couple of papers every morning and attempt to

Russian Capital Flight May Hit $130 Billion, Finance Minister Says

Anton Siluanov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 18, 2014) Capital outflow from Russia could grow to $130 billion this year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Monday, news agency Bloomberg reported. The prediction brings the government’s expectations closer to that of the Russian Central Bank, which said on Nov. 10 that capital outflow could hit $128 billion

Embattled Ekho Moskvy’s Long Record Of Riling Officials

File Photo of Interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – November 18, 2014) The doggedly independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy is facing an existential crisis this week, with its editorial leadership and its operations due to be scrutinized in a snap shareholders meeting on November 21 called by state-owned Gazprom-Media, which holds a controlling stake in the

Interfax: Putin backs proposal to devise procedure for NGOs’ removal from foreign agents register

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 17, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has backed Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova’s proposal to devise a procedure of removing nongovernmental organizations from the register of foreign agents after their foreign funding ends. Pamfilova told Putin that the Justice Ministry cannot remove NGOs, no longer financed from abroad, from the foreign agents register

Russians say people have right to self-determination but breakup of states undesirable – poll

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Nov 18 (Interfax) – Russians have mixed feelings about the wish of some territories to separate from their mother states: 42% support this trend, 30% have a negative opinion and 28% are undecided, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said. Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents exhibit the highest degree of understanding towards the

Russians tend to call corruption indestructible – poll

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – November 18, 2014) Over a third of Russians believe it is impossible to eradicate corruption in their home country, Levada Center told Interfax. Some 43 percent of 1,630 respondents polled in 134 populated localities said corruption was worst in the traffic police, 39 percent said this about the police in general and 35

Ukraine to cut financial ties to rebel-held Donbass

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 17, 2014) Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko has ordered all state institutions to withdraw from the rebel-held Donbass and to stop paying salaries and pensions from the state budget to residents of the region. In a decree signed on November 15, Poroshenko ordered the National Bank of Ukraine to

Recent JRL Tables of Contents

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Links to recent JRL Tables of Contents from the JRL e-mail newsletter TUESDAY JRL 11.18.14 MONDAY JRL 11.17.14   FRIDAY JRL 11.14.14 THURSDAY JRL 11.13.14 TUESDAY JRL 11.11.14 MONDAY JRL 11.10.14 SUNDAY JRL 11.9.14   FRIDAY JRL 11.7.14 THURSDAY JRL 11.6.14 WEDNESDAY JRL 11.5.14 TUESDAY JRL 11.4.14 MONDAY JRL 11.3.14 SUNDAY JRL 11.2.14 ::  

Russia Tightens Control Over Foreign Ownership of Print Media

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – November 17, 2014) Foreign companies will soon have to seek government permission before buying a more than 25 percent stake in newspapers or magazines in Russia, extending state control in an industry still reeling from legal changes earlier this year, business daily Vedomosti reported late last week.

Profile: Elvira Nabiullina, Woman at Center of Russia’s Ruble Collapse

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 15, 2014) Reaching the climax of a personal attack on Russia’s Central Bank chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina in a debate in the State Duma early last week, Communist deputy Vyacheslav Tetyokin did not hold back. Nabiullina, he said, was “the most expensive woman in the history of

Time for change – G20

G20 Australia 2014

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne/IntelliNews – November 17, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of the western world at the weekend at the G20 summit, the first face-to-face meeting of all the world’s leaders since the Russian annexation of Crimea in March. “At the closing of the evening program of

Pressure mounts on independent Russian media as legal net tightens

Collage of Russian Newspapers

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sam Skove, special to RBTH – November 14, 2014) In recent months, newspapers, radio stations and websites have lost staff while new laws put restrictions on media ownership and advertising. Meanwhile, billions of rubles are being plowed into Kremlin-backed media outlets such as RT and new kid on

Putin’s Early Departure From G20 Summit a ‘Mistake’

G20 Australia 2014

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 17, 2014) President Vladimir Putin made an early departure Sunday from the two-day G20 Summit in Australia, after fielding an abundance of criticism from Western leaders over Russia’s allegedly aggressive role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, a move some observers say will inevitably be interpreted

Interfax: Putin: What was done in Crimea was not in any way different from what had been done in Kosovo

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – November 17, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again said that Russia did not commit any violations of international law by incorporating Crimea and described the Western reaction as totally disproportionate to what had happened. “We believe that this sort of reaction was totally disproportionate to what had happened. Whenever I hear

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#237 table of contents with links :: Friday 14 November 2014

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… 20. Reuters: Ukraine’s main task is to build army to stop Russia: PM Yatseniuk.
21. Bloomberg: Ukraine Default Risk Climbing One Year on From Maidan.
22. The Economist: Ukraine’s economy. Worse to come. The swooning economy is in desperate need of investment.
23. The Economist editorial: The collapse of Ukraine’s economy. Don’t chicken out of Kiev. Throttled by Russia, Ukraine’s economy needs more Western help-especially investment in infrastructure. …

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