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UKRAINE & RUSSIA :: Recent Issues: THURSDAY JRL 12.18.14 :: WEDNESDAY JRL 12.17.14 :: SUNDAY JRL 12.14.14 :: THURSDAY JRL 12.11.14 :: WEDNESDAY JRL 12.10.14 :: TUESDAY JRL 12.9.14 :: MONDAY JRL 12.8.14 :: SUNDAY JRL 12.7.14 :: more ...

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#259 table of contents with links :: Thursday 18 December 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-#259 :: Thursday 18 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. AP: 80 Percent of Russians

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#258 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 17 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#258 :: Wednesday 17 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Sputnik: Medvedev: ‘Russia Has Experienced Tragic Events in Ukraine as Our Own Pain’ 2. www.rt.com: ‘Dating

RIA Novosti: Putin Says Poroshenko Seeks Peace in Ukraine, But Many Others Want War

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

Russian President Putin commented on ecomomic blockade of Donbas, humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s southeast and Poroshenko’s commitment to restoring peace in the country. MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is looking to restore peace in his country, but many senior officials are opposed to this idea, Russian President Vladimir Putin Said

NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that

NEWSWATCH: Poroshenko best chance for Ukraine at present — Lavrov

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

[“Poroshenko best chance for Ukraine at present — Lavrov” – ITAR-TASS – Dec. 17, 2014] Russian government-backed news agency TASS reported on comments to French television by Russian Foreign Ministery Sergei Lavrov, indicating that Russia can work with current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. President Petro Poroshenko is the best chance for Ukraine at present, Russian Foreign

NEWSLINK: Russia says it wants east Ukraine to stay with Kiev under reformed constitution

Sergei Lavrov file photo

[“Russia says it wants east Ukraine to stay with Kiev under reformed constitution” – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Reuters reports on Russian calls for Ukrainian constitutional reform to provide greater autonomy for eastern regions impacted by separatists.  They cite comments from an interview with Interfax by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Moscow wants Ukraine to carry

Russian Media Downplay Extent of Ruble Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Ivan Nechepurenko – December 17, 2014) While the ruble pinballed erratically between 58 and 80 per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, making headlines around the world, Russia’s state-run media have attempted to take a soft and conciliatory stance on the home currency’s woes. A news bullet by state-owned Channel

What awaits Russia’s economy in 2015 after ruble collapse?

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Konstantin Korishchenko, special to RBTH – December 17, 2014) Konstantin Korishchenko is head of the stock market and financial engineering department at the Finance and Banking Faculty of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and a former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank.

Medvedev says ruble ‘undervalued’ as slide slows

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 17, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the ruble undervalued at a meeting on December 17 with the top officials of the government, the central bank and heads of Russia’s largest exporters. He said that regulation of the currency market would remain based on

Picking through the ruble

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 16, 2014) The Russian ruble crashed again on December 15, in the biggest fall since the last big crisis in 1998. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) belatedly stepped in with a huge interest rate hike overnight, but it has been

Russia Beyond the Headlines: A war of words in U.S.-Russia relations

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Pavel Koshkin – December 17, 2014) The press has hyped poll numbers showing an increase in anti-Americanism in Russia, but experts argue that the numbers need context. A popular T-shirt sold in central Moscow features a man in a martial arts costume resembling Russian president and known judo

STRATFOR: Viewing Russia From the Inside

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – December 16, 2014) Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn’t rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year – the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used

Fears of Capital Controls Grow as Russia’s Economy Goes Haywire

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 17, 2014) The possible implementation of capital controls in Russia came a step closer Tuesday as the authorities appeared to be running out of options to stem the country’s dramatic currency collapse. The ruble defied an emergency interest rate rise of 6.5 percentage points announced overnight,

All love for Russia lost in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 16, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin may have won the battles in East Ukraine but he has definitely lost the war for hearts and minds in Ukraine, which suggests that he will also fail to achieve his long-term goals to keep Ukraine out

Moscow Times: Ukraine Ranked 3rd Deadliest Country for Journalists

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 17, 2014) War-torn Ukraine was one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists this year, international press rights group Reporters Without Borders said in a report released Tuesday. Ukraine ranked third among the world’s deadliest locales for media professionals, with six such casualties this year, trailing

Business New Europe: What price European values when economic collapse is imminent?

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 15, 2014) Ukraine needs about $15bn now or it will collapse, possibly in the next few weeks. Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, called on Western donors to come up with a $15bn rescue package to stave off collapse on December 11

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#257 table of contents with links :: Sunday 14 December 2014

St. Basil's file photo

1. RFE/RL: The Kremlin’s Top 75 Lies About The Ukraine Crisis.
2. BBC: Ukraine underplays role of far right in conflict.
3. AFP: Russia threatens response if US sets new sanctions over Ukraine. …

The Kremlin’s Top 75 Lies About The Ukraine Crisis [with video]

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – December 12, 2014) The folks at StopFake.org are committed to uncovering untrue or misleading information being disseminated by Russian media about the crisis in Ukraine. And now StopFake has published a video (below) that runs down the Top 75 lies and untruths of 2014. “Obviously, when you see these, you’ll see there’s

Russian NGOs need to rethink their strategy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Andrei Jvirblis – December 10, 2014) Russia’s voluntary sector, faced with growing government interference, needs to be more open about its aims and operations if it wants more public support. Opinion polls show a long-term decline in public trust in the Russian voluntary sector, which has become less open about its operations, in

Yavlinsky calls for returning Kudrin to government

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – December 13, 2014) Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate. “We believe the government needs to be changed – whether it’s going to be the entire

Is Moscow Setting the Stage for Using Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine?

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 14, 2014) One of the most accurate leading indicators of what Moscow is planning to do in Ukraine are the charges it makes that the West is about to do the same thing there. That pattern, well-established over the last year, makes the latest such suggestion

Russia Celebrates Constitution, But Few Russians Know What It Says

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 12, 2014) Russia celebrates Constitution Day on Friday, a poll shows a vast majority of citizens have no knowledge of what their country’s Constitution actually says, but four in ten still believe it protects their rights, a recent poll indicated. A total of 41 percent of respondents said they

FEEDBACK REQUESTED: Thanks for following Johnson’s Russia List! We would love to hear from you …

St. Basil's file photo

Thank you very much for following Johnson’s Russia List, with 7,646 followers on twitter and counting … 2,963 persons “liking” the JRL on facebook and counting … thousands subscribing to the core e-mail newsletter … and thousands visiting the JRL web home … Do you have any feedback you care to share about the JRL

Russia’s Cities Becoming Less Moscow- and Russia-Centric, New Studies Find

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 13, 2014) Two studies about how residents of Russia’s cities feel about where they live and identify themselves suggest that the residents of Russian cities away from the core of the country are ever less focused on Moscow as the center of their lives and identify

Business New Europe: “Better late than never?”

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 12, 2014) There is an obvious solution to help deal with Russia’s economic slowdown that is being exacerbated by the tumbling oil prices: do those reforms that should have been done ten years ago. It’s kind of obvious. But also just

Business New Europe: Flippant claim that ‘Russia is Spain’ is wide of the mark

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Business New Europe – Henry Kirby in London – December 11, 2014) After months of downward pressure, the ruble went into near free-fall during the first week of December. From 36 to the dollar in early August, the Russian currency fell rapidly from 47 to 53 to the greenback in just a few days, amid

Business New Europe: Russia is running out of money – not…

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 11, 2014) There has been a spate of articles recently suggesting that Russia is on the edge of a complete economic meltdown. There was an article in the UK’s The Daily Telegraph suggesting that its economy has lost a third of

Ukraine’s battle against corruption faces politicization and tiny salaries

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – December 11, 2014) Ukraine has declared war on corruption, but the politicisation of the anti-corruption campaign and tiny salaries could lead to collateral damage. On paper at least, anti-corruption in Ukraine is not afraid of big-ticket arrests: on December 10, Serhiy Kostyuk, head of

New Ukraine finance minister drafts sweeping welfare cuts

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 12, 2014) In order to put the country back on a sound financial footing, Ukraine’s finance ministry is proposing sweeping cuts, from cutting the years of mandatory schooling, to firing two-thirds of MPs, to hiking the pension age. According to leaked documents drawn up by

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#256 table of contents with links :: Thursday 11 December 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-#256 :: Thursday 11 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Financial Times: IMF warns

Growing pessimism over Russia-U.S. relations creates fears of Cold War 2.0

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Ilyashenko, special to RBTH – December 11, 2014) Twenty-five years ago, at a meeting in Malta, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his American counterpart George Bush, Sr. proclaimed the end of the Cold War. Now, a quarter century later, Russian politicians and experts are raising the alarm

Teaching orthodoxy in Russian schools

Russian-Orthodox-Cathedral-Moscow

(opendemocracy.net – Natalya Yakovleva – December 4, 2014) Natalya Yakovleva is a journalist in Novosibirsk. She writes for the Literary Gazette and the Teachers’ Gazette. Orthodox ideology is being rushed into the Russian school curriculum – in the interests of nationalism. It all happened very fast. In the middle of 2009 Dmitry Medvedev, the then

Moscow Times: Life After Putin: Teaching Future Russia

Skolkovo File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – December 11, 2014) The professional future is bright in Russia, where space geologists and airship constructors will be among the most in-demand professionals by the 2020s, according to an atlas of Russia’s future job market recently published by Skolkovo’s Moscow School of Management. But whether Russia will

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Medvedev urges Russia to address dependence on world oil prices

Oil Worker file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – December 11, 2014) In an address broadcast on Russia’s main TV channels, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said the country needs to wean itself off its dependence on oil prices. In order to accomplish this, Russia needs to develop innovative projects and use the

Moscow Times: Medvedev: In 2014, Crimean Annexation, Sochi Olympics Outshone Grim Economic Situation

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 11, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev struck an optimistic note throughout a 1 1/2-hour news conference Wednesday, drawing attention to what he viewed as Russia’s crowning achievements of this year: the Sochi Olympic victory and the annexation of Crimea. Medvedev spoke about a wide array of

Interfax: Majority of Russians deem incorporation of Crimea shortly after referendum right

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – December 10, 2014) Over half of Russians (52 percent) are confident that the Crimean independence referendum was an exclusive initiative of the Crimean administration, Levada Center told Interfax. A third (34 percent) suspect that “Russian authorities might have been behind the referendum.” Fourteen percent of 1,600 respondents polled in 130 populated localities on

RIA Novosti: Moscow open to dialogue with USA, but won’t give up interests – Russia’s Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(RIA Novosti – December 9, 2014) Russia is open to dialogue with Washington, but it will not give up its interests under any circumstances, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said in an interview with RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya). “For our part, we are always open to a

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#255 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 10 December 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-#255 :: Wednesday 10 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. AFP: Truce holds in Ukraine

Russian Ruble’s 800-Year History Haunts Current Plunge

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 11, 2014) Sergei Sorokoumov has devoted the last quarter of a century to an attempt to raise Russian’s pride in the ruble, the country’s national currency since the 13th century. Recently Sorokoumov’s efforts seem to have become a thankless task. The Russian currency has lost over

Ruble Collapses, Russians Yawn

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – thebloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – December 9, 2014) With the ruble down 40 percent against the dollar so far this year, and down more than 14 percent in the last 30 days, one might have expected widespread economic panic among Russians. But there’s been nothing of the kind. It’s been business as usual

Justice Ministry Adds Moscow School to List of ‘Foreign Agents’

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 11, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has added a Moscow school to the federal register of “foreign agents,” a move that the school’s founders decried as “baseless,” and vowed to fight in court. The Moscow School of Civic Education has become the 18th nongovernmental organization to wind up on the

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#254 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 9 December 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-#254 :: Tuesday 9 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Russia Insider: Patrick Armstrong, Report

Interfax: Updated Russian military doctrine has no preemptive nuclear strike provision – source

Russia ICBM on Mobile Launcher

(Interfax – December 10, 2014) A new edition of the Russian military doctrine does not contain a preemptive nuclear strike provision but it clearly defines circumstances under which strategic nuclear forces can be used, a source involved in the drafting of the document told Interfax-AVN on Wednesday. “The updated version of the military doctrine will

Reporting on Russian Television

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(openedemocracy.net – December 8, 2014 – Elisabeth Schimpfossl) Dr Elisabeth Schimpfossl is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University College London. Her research focuses on elites, transformation and media in post-Soviet Russia. The idea of censorship on Russian television misses the point. When it comes to reporting,

Russia to study Navalnyy NGO’s anti-graft proposal after 100,000 sign petition

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, December 9, 2014) One hundred thousand Russians have supported the idea of criminal liability to be introduced for the illegal enrichment of officials obliged to submit the details of their incomes and expenditures, which will lead to a federal expert group examining whether the law needs to be amended. A proposal to


Decentralization of Ukraine ‘Impossible’ at Present, Moscow Expert Says

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Window on Eurasia: Paul Goble – Staunton, December 9, 2014) Despite Vladimir Putin’s call for the federalization of Ukraine and Petro Poroshenko’s suggestion that he is prepared to oversee steps toward the decentralization of power in his country, nothing can be done toward either under the current crisis conditions, according to Moscow’s leading expert on

Interfax: Militia will stick to truce deal as long as Ukraine army observes it – Purgin

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW/KYIV. Dec 9 (Interfax) – Militiamen of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic will not open fire on Ukrainian government forces as long as the Ukrainian army observes the ceasefire, DPR People’s Council Speaker Andrei Purgin told Interfax on Friday. “No shelling can be heard at the moment. Obviously, the truce is holding. Our forces have

Interfax: Ukrainian General Staff Chief: Donbas truce to last indefinitely

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Dec 9 (Interfax) – The ceasefire regime declared in the army operation zone on December 9 will last indefinitely, Ukrainian General Staff Chief – Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Viktor Muzhenko said. “Seeking to implement the peace plan we are introducing a ceasefire regime, the so-called regime of silence, at 10 a.m. on

Interfax: EU membership Ukrainian government ultimate goal – PM

EU Map

KYIV. Dec 9 (Interfax) – Ukraine’s membership in the European Union is the Ukrainian government’s final goal, said Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “Our ultimate goal is membership in the European Union. If it is to be attained Ukraine will have to go through serious trials, implement radical reforms, change Ukraine and make it a European

Putin’s New Deal Spells End to 15 Years of Wage Gains

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Agnes Lovasz, Evgenia Pismennaya – December 8, 2014) Vladimir Putin’s confrontation with the U.S. and Europe augurs a new deal for his 144 million subjects. Instead of the rising living standards he’s delivered the past 15 years in exchange for the public’s acquiescence, the Russian president now holds out

Kremlin to sell off 19.5% stake in Rosneft in bid to raise funds

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH- December 9, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to sell off 19.5 percent of the shares in Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft. According to experts, this might help the government generate extra cash amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions. However,

Interfax: Russian Investigative Committee opens over 21,000 anti-corruption inquiries in 2014

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Interfax – December 9, 2014) The damage done to Russia by corrupt practices nears 15 billion rubles ($281 million) a year and about half of that sum is compensated for, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said. “The damage done to the budget and aggrieved parties in [corruption] cases referred to court this year exceeds

Interfax: Kremlin chief of staff “acknowledges” corruption problem

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

(Interfax – December 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has spoken about corruption in Russia. In his remarks, reported by Russian Interfax and TASS news agencies on 8 December, Sergey Ivanov said the Russian government “acknowledged” the problem and had been taking “consistent” steps to deal with it. He dismissed a Transparency International

Russia’s Dozhd TV Defies Crackdown by Continuing Broadcasts From Apartment

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – December 9, 2014) Russia’s main independent television channel, Dozhd, has been forced to leave its Moscow studio for the second time in as many months, but is continuing its broadcasts from an apartment in the capital, news reports said. The digital channel has been struggling for survival

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#253 table of contents with links :: Monday 8 December 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-#253 :: Monday 8 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. TASS: Over 75% of Russians

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#252 table of contents with links :: Sunday 7 December 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-#252 :: Sunday 7 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Ivan Katchanovski: Dmytro Bulatov. 2. Channel

Khodorkovsky Speech Aired in St. Pete Hotel Despite Chaos

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 8, 2014) It seems St. Petersburg authorities on Sunday did not want a Holiday Inn conference room to show a speech by one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and vocal critics: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The conference area was searched for drugs, police attempted to evacuate the

‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs Won’t Be Allowed to Monitor Russian Elections

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 8, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has worked out a procedure that would allow non-governmental organizations to remove themselves from the federal register of “foreign agents” if they appeal the move and pass a snap inspection, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The move comes days after President Vladimir

Ukraine talks restart, second Minsk summit on cards

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 8, 2014) After many had written off Europe’s attempts to find a peaceful way out of the Ukrainian imbroglio following the chilly G20 summit in Brisbane on December 1, the talks got a new impetus on December 6 when French President

TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by the President at the Business Roundtable [excerpt re: Russia]

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release December 03, 2014 Remarks by the President at the Business Roundtable [excerpt re Russia] Business Roundtable Headquarters The President: So I think we have to be cautious and clear-eyed about our relationship with China, but there’s no reason why we should not be able

Russia does not mind not getting Mistral but it wants its money back – Putin

Mistral Class Ship

(Interfax – Moscow, December 6, 2014) Russia proceeds from the fact that the contract to supply Mistral helicopter carriers will be carried out by the French side, otherwise it expects the money that has been paid to be returned, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “There is a contract, and it is a legal document.

Shipping Chokepoint Strangles Ukraine Hopes for U.S. LNG

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Isis Almeida – December 4, 2014) Ukraine’s plan to diminish its energy dependence on Russia is adrift in the Bosporus Strait. The nation, which gets half its gas from Russia, wants to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Black Sea and held talks with Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG) to

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#251 table of contents with links :: Friday 5 December 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-#251 :: Friday 5 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Russia Direct: Dmitry Polikanov,

Interfax: “Lavrov: Moscow has information foreign forces push for Kyiv’s economic siege on Donbas”

Sergei Lavrov file photo

BASEL. Dec 5 (Interfax) – There is information that foreign forces have pushed for Kyiv’s economic siege on southeastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “I really do not want to suspect anyone but there is information that such an aggressive treatment of the aforementioned territories has been encouraged from abroad,” Lavrov said at

Business New Europe: Ukraine seeks power and coal from Russia and rebel-held east

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 5, 2014) Kyiv has started talks with Russia as well as with Russian-backed rebels in East Ukraine in order to source electric power and coal, as Ukraine’s national grid faces a critical shortage of fuel, Ukraine’s new energy minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said on December 4.

Moscow Times: Brawl Erupts in Ukraine Parliament (Video)

Rada File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – December 5, 2014) [Video here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/brawl-erupts-in-ukraine-parliament-video/512625.html] A dispute at a session of Ukraine’s newly elected parliament has prompted lawmakers to resort to a more direct method of resolving political disagreements – a shoving match. The run-in among two dozen or so deputies over the distribution of legislative

Interfax: “DPR: Political union with Ukraine is impossible”

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – December 5, 2014) The administration of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) says it is ready for negotiations with Ukraine on economic issues, but a political union is impossible. “The issue of giving Donbas autonomous status as part of Ukraine is out of date. We are now saying that a political union with

Moscow Times: Putin Promises Controlled Freedom in Face of Western Containment

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 5, 2014) President Vladimir Putin told the nation on Thursday that Russia’s ongoing clash with the West – which he compared to Hitler – was inevitable and will only make the country stronger by mobilizing its economy and society around common goals and traditional moral values.

Interfax: Date of negotiations with Kyiv has not been determined yet – DPR

Ukraine Map and Flag

DONETSK. Dec 5 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) says the date of the next negotiations between the militia and Kyiv has not been determined yet. “The working group composed of our and Ukrainian military meets weekly when the need arises. The new meeting of the group has not been scheduled yet and

Interfax: Head of Presidential Human Rights Council disagrees with colleague from Human Rights Watch on human rights situation in Russia

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – The human rights situation in Russia cannot be called bad and existing problems can be resolved gradually, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Russian presidential human rights council, said. “The human right problems in Russia can be resolved; we know that it is possible from experience. We are not a

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Five Russian books for your Christmas gift list

Fyodor Dostoyevskty file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Phoebe Taplin, special to RBTH – December 3, 2014) Book reviews: Great Russian reads sparkling with wit, humor and drama that should be on your Christmas gift list. 1) ‘Crime and Punishment’ Fyodor Dostoevsky Hailed by AN Wilson in The Spectator as a “truly great translation” that captures

Moscow Times: Prestigious Ranking Has Moscow State University in 5th Place

Moscow State University file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 4, 2014) Lomonosov Moscow State University has ranked in the top five of the 2015 BRICS and Emerging Economies university rankings published this week by Times Higher Education, an esteemed UK-based magazine. The university, or MSU, climbed five places from last year to rank fifth in this year’s list,

Interfax: Human rights activists expect Russia to achieve anti-corruption results in 30 years

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

(Interfax – December 3, 2014) Russia may achieve tangible anti-corruption results by the middle of this century on the condition the crackdown on corruption starts right now, said Yelena Panfilova, chairperson of the board of the Transparency International anti-corruption research center. “We are asked at every meeting whether we can follow the example of Singapore

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#250 table of contents with links :: Thursday 4 December 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-#250 :: Thursday 4 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. BBC: Anatol Lieven, How can

Putin’s Luck Runs Out

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 3, 2014) Vladimir Putin has been on quite a roll for about a year now. But December 1, 2014, just might turn out to be the day the tide finally turned against him. Ever since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March sparked the worst East-West showdown since

Russia Fails to Make Headway in Global Corruption Ranking

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko- December 4, 2014) Russia slipped three places to rank a dismal 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s annual latest corruption survey, unveiled Wednesday. This is evidence that the Kremlin’s anti-graft crusade declared three years ago has not worked, the watchdog’s deputy chairperson Yelena Panfilova said in

Business New Europe: Ukraine remains Europe’s most corrupt country

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 3, 2014) Ukraine remains Europe’s most corrupt country, and one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by international NGO Transparency International. The rating shows almost no improvement with the situation before a revolution promising a

Oilprice.com: Ukraine’s Next Energy Minister Will Be Bought and Paid For, As Usual

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Oilprice.com – James Stafford – December 2, 2014) A month after Ukrainian general elections, there is still no new government, and elite power circles are playing a very dangerous game with the country’s most important ministry-energy. It’s a game from which Ukraine will not recover for decades in the best-case scenario. The past week has

Interfax: Luhansk region authorities, LPR report clashes, shelling

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Dec 4 (Interfax) – Kyiv-controlled areas of the Luhansk region have been shelled 55 times in the past 24 hours, the press service of Luhansk region state administration head Hennadiy Moskal said on Thursday. “The towns of Stanitsa Luhanska, Shchastya, Trekhizbenka, Chornukhyne, Zolote and Olkhove have been shelled. No local civilians were killed or

Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Is Russia’s middle class suffering as sanctions bite?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald, special to RBTH – December 4, 2014) Sanctions, unilaterally imposed by western nations, are supposedly causing economic problems in Russia. Bryan MacDonald investigated whether these claims are true and found that ordinary Russians had mixed opinions. Reading some western media outlets, you’d think Russia’s economic sky

Interfax: Russians tend to call relations with U.S. tense – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – The attitude of Russians to the United States has tangibly deteriorated in the recent period, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) has said. Fifty-three percent had a generally positive attitude to the U.S. in February 2013, while 30% declared their dislike for the country. The trend has now reversed:

End Of South Stream: Winners & Losers

Black Sea Satellite Photo file image

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Daisy Sindelar – December 02, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin rarely makes an uncalculated gesture or concedes defeat. So his announcement on December 1 that Russian energy giant Gazprom was pulling out of plans to build the South Stream natural gas pipeline to southeastern Europe took many by surprise. Russia had

Five Forces Battering Russia’s Economy as Putin Faces Nation

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 4, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s annual state of the union address on Thursday takes place at a time of economic pain and international isolation unprecedented during the Russian leader’s almost 15-year political dominance. More than 1,000 senior government officials will gather in the Kremlin to hear

The Question Russians Are Asking that Putin Can’t Answer

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, December 4, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Federal Assembly is the subject of intense interest for the light it will shed on where the Kremlin leader is headed next. But there is one question Russians are asking that he cannot possibly answer without calling into

Interfax: Putin’s address sends clear signal Russia is “strong and confident in itself” – press secretary

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

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – The central idea of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly, delivered on Thursday, is that Russia remains strong even as it faces unprecedented pressure today, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. “The president sent a clear signal. I even marked it in my notes. In

Interfax: Russia not seeking self-isolation, not looking for enemies – Putin

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – Russia is not going to follow the way of isolationism, xenophobia, and a search for enemies, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “We ourselves will never follow the way of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspiciousness, and the search for enemies. These all are manifestations of weakness, but we are strong and confident. Our

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#249 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 3 December 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-#249 :: Wednesday 3 December 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  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Sergei Karaganov, 2014:

Ukraine approaches energy crisis

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 3, 2014) Ukraine still has to pay for more than 1bn cubic meters of natural gas that it needs in December, worth some $385m, outgoing energy minister Yury Prodan said on December 2, as a cold spell hit the country. Power generators are introducing rolling

Moscow Times: Theory Blaming West for Collapse of Soviet Union Gaining in Popularity, Poll Shows

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 3, 2014) More Russians blame the collapse of the Soviet Union on a “conspiracy” of hostile Western forces than seven years ago, in a sign the wave of anti-Western state media coverage unleashed during the Ukraine crisis is influencing Russians’ view of the past. A report published Monday by

Questions appear as Russia drops controversial South Stream pipeline

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – December 2, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia is calling off the South Stream project to construct a gas pipeline to Europe via the Black Sea. According to Russian experts, the recent dramatic increase in the project’s cost could have had

Interfax: EU, NATO currently don’t see Ukraine as their member – Kuchma

Leonid Kuchma file photo

(Interfax – December 3, 2014) Ukrainian former President Leonid Kuchma believes Ukraine should be realistic about its capabilities and should come close to meeting the standards of the EU and NATO before speaking about membership in these structures. “We can head anywhere. We have indeed taken the course in the direction to the EU and

New parliament, old ways in Ukraine

Rada File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 1, 2014) It should have been a great day in Ukraine’s effort to transform itself into a modern liberal democracy in the EU mould. The freshly elected Ukrainian parliament held its first session on November 27, completing the process of political transition from

Government forces use cluster bombs in east Ukraine – Human Rights Watch

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Human Rights Watch, an international human rights organization, claims that Ukraine is using cluster bombs in the hostilities in the Donbas region. “As for the cases that we have investigated, there were clear indications that Ukraine is to blame for the use of this weapon,” Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director

Russia to Make Internet Providers Censor Content – Report

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – December 3, 2014) The Kremlin is pushing to have Russian Internet providers filter content before delivering it to users, a potentially very costly censoring procedure, a prominent news website said. The new rules may be passed by the State Duma before the year’s end, Gazeta.ru said Monday,

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