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UKRAINE & RUSSIA :: Recent Issues: 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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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

Protecting the Motherland: Russia’s Counter-Color Revolution Military Doctrine

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 206 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Roger McDermott – November 18, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s order to revise Russia’s 2010 Military Doctrine by the end of this year prompted speculation in the Russian media and raised varying opinions about the revision process’s possible motives and its timing. It

Russian independent radio board chairman says not aiming to destroy station

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(Interfax – November 18, 2014) Mikhail Lesin, chairman of the board of directors of Gazprom-Media, which owns the Russian editorially independent radio station Ekho Moskvy, met the station’s members of staff on 18 November, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on the same day. They met to discuss the ongoing dispute between Lesin and Aleksey

Gazprom Media to consider proposal on selling stake in Echo of Moscow to minority shareholders – editor

File Photo of Interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio

(Interfax – November 19, 2014) Gazprom Media Board Chairman Mikhail Lesin is ready to consider a proposal from the Echo of Moscow radio minority shareholders on selling them a controlling stake belonging to Gazprom Media, Echo of Moscow Editor-in-Chief Alexei Venediktov said. “Mikhail Lesin said at a meeting with the editorial board [on Tuesday] that,

Magazine Pays Homage to Embattled Russian Activists With Global Thinkers List

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber- November 19, 2014) Two Russian rights advocates have been included on Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the top 100 leading global thinkers for their roles in raising contentious issues surrounding this year’s Sochi Olympic Games. LGBT rights defender Yelena Klimova and environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko were included in

Russia Sees Recession Next Year If Oil Price Falls to $60

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – November 18, 2014) Russia’s economy will sink into a recession next year if the price of oil slumps to $60 a barrel and the U.S. and its allies tighten sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. The economy of the world’s largest energy exporter

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


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

St. Basil's file photo

… 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

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-#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

St. Basil's file photo

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

St. Basil's file photo

… 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. …

Ukraine Default Risk Climbing One Year on From Maidan

Maidan Square file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marton Eder – November 13, 2014) Almost one year after the Maidan Square demonstrations began in central Kiev, Ukraine’s record-high borrowing costs are showing how difficult the path toward Europe has become. The yield on Ukraine’s dollar-denominated note due in July 2017 hit a record 17.95 percent yesterday, almost quadruple the

Interfax: Putin says discussing anti-Russian sanctions at G20 summit useless

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin says it would be useless to initiate a discussion of anti-Russian sanctions at the G20 summit in Australia and denies cooling in relations with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. “If the subject [of sanctions] is raised, I will speak about it, of course, but I am

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian separatists call for new round of Minsk Group talks

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RIA Novosti – Donetsk, November 13, 2014) Representative of the DPR [Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic] at the tripartite negotiations Denys Pushylin [Denis Pushilin] has called for a new meeting of the Minsk Group with the participation of the OSCE, Ukraine and Russia as soon as possible. “We insist that the Minsk Group should meet

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#236 table of contents with links :: Thursday 13 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

… 17. Interfax-Ukraine: Advisor to SBU chief: There are all signs that Russia is preparing for active hostilities.
18. Wall Street Journal: Ukraine Digs In to Keep Donetsk Airport From Rebels. Villagers Hide in Cellars Amid Daily Barrages From Both Sides.
19. RFE/RL: Robert Coalson, News Analysis: What’s Behind The Resurgence Of Fighting In Eastern Ukraine? …

Russia to Rethink Study Abroad Program as East-West Relations Sour

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 13, 2014) The government is revising a program that allows graduates to study abroad at the state’s expense and could limit it to nations and universities that are deemed friendly to Russia, the education minister said, amid worsening relations with the West. “We are now carefully

Stratfor: A Struggle Over Russia’s Interior Ministry Could Emerge

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Stratfor.com – November 11, 2014) Summary In recent weeks, rumors that Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev will be replaced have been circulating among Russian media and pundits who watch Moscow. Stratfor has been monitoring the Russian government’s coherence and the strength of its leader, President Vladimir Putin, as the country faces a series of crises involving

What’s Behind The Resurgence Of Fighting In Eastern Ukraine?

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL News Analysis – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – November 11, 2014) Fighting in eastern Ukraine — and particularly around the city of Donetsk — has flared up again, more intensely than at any point since the shaky cease-fire was agreed in Minsk on September 5. Journalists and other observers on November 7 reported seeing

Putin Proposing Molotov-Ribbentrop-Style Grand Bargain to West, Illarionov Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 13, 2014) Vladimir Putin is proposing the kind of grand bargain to Barack Obama that Hitler proposed to Neville Chamberlain and then to Joseph Stalin, in which the West would accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea in exchange for Moscow’s cooperation on Iran, according to Andrey Illarionov.

Most of Russians believe support for Ukraine separatists to cause economic crisis, still support government actions

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe/IntelliNews – bne.eu – November 12, 2014) More than half of Russians now believe that the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine will lower their standard of living and cause an economic crisis in Russia, but even so they continue to back their government’s actions, according to survey

China Favored to Win U.S.-Russia Showdown

China Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 12, 2014) In what appears to have been an expertly crafted demonstration of Eastern diplomacy, Chinese President Xi Jinping walked into the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Monday flanked by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. Obama and Putin maintained equally icy demeanors, while Xi

The difficulty of “Restoring Names” of the oppressed in today’s Russia

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – November 12, 2014) Crimes? What crimes? In 1997, the then prime minister of Sweden, Goran Persson, heard on the radio the results of a survey that Swedish youth knew next to nothing about the Holocaust. Outraged by the finding, he got the support of

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Low oil prices hurt Russia and the West

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald, special to RBTH – November 12, 2014) Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist who focusses on Russia and international geopolitics. Are Western and Gulf oil interests ganging up to break Russia? Is the country hopelessly addicted to black gold? Bryan McDonald find the truth is a

Launch of Sputnik Comes Amid High Stakes in Media War

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – November 12, 2014) The Kremlin strengthened its position in the drawn-out media war with the West this week with the launch of Sputnik, an international multi-platform news agency meant to provide a pro-Russian alternative to Western media coverage, as Russia’s independent media outlets struggle to stay afloat.

Moscow Times: Most Russians Say State-Run Media ‘Objective’ in Ukraine Coverage

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 13, 2014) Most Russians believe that the country’s state-run news agencies have provided objective coverage of the events unfolding during the Ukraine conflict, a poll by the Levada Center revealed Wednesday. Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the poll, conducted between Oct. 24 and 27, said they

Interfax: There is no, has never been Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied the information on Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine and movements of Russian troops over the Russian-Ukrainian border. “I am telling you totally frankly and officially that there are no military movements across the [Russian-Ukrainian] border, let alone a Russian military presence in southeastern

Ukraine’s ceasefire breaking down

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne/IntelliNews – November 13, 2014) The shaky month and half ceasefire in Ukraine seems to be breaking down amid a mounting daily death toll over the past week and reports of Russian “little green men” and soldiers crossing the border into the disputed eastern provinces. Nato reported that columns

Interfax: Former Deputy PM Arbuzov: Ukrainians misled about European integration

Ukraine Map and Flag

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian authorities are adamant to integrate with the European Union at any cost and do not wish to think about possible consequences, according to former Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov. “Western regions have always adhered to European integration because they are attracted to EU member countries culturally

Interfax: Russian GDP growth slows to 0.7% in Q3 from 0.8% in Q2 – Rosstat

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – Russian GDP increased by 0.7% year-on-year in Q3 2014, the Federal Statistics Service’s (Rosstat) preliminary estimate published on Thursday said. Rosstat’s data coincided with the calculations of the Economic Development Ministry, which estimated GDP growth in Q3 at 0.7%. Rosstat has not published estimates for GDP growth in January-September. However,

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#235 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 11 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

… 47. The Interpreter: Executive Summary. The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money.
48. Paul Goble: Window on Eurasia: A Russian Maidan Could Take Place Outside of Moscow.
49. The New York Review of Books: Timothy Snyder, Putin’s New Nostalgia. …

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#234 table of contents with links :: Monday 10 November 2014

St. Basil's file photo

… 23. Interfax: Moscow says Silk Road route may go via Russia.
24. Reuters: Russia, China ink framework deal on second major gas supply deal.
25. New York Times: As Russia Draws Closer to China, U.S. Faces a New Challenge. …

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

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Thank you very much for following Johnson’s Russia List, with 7,454 followers on twitter and counting … 2,804 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

A Russian Maidan Could Take Place Outside of Moscow

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 11, 2014) The Russian political system is so hyper-centralized and Russian political culture is so Moscow-centric that almost all discussions about radical change in that country focus on the capital city and its residents rather than on the rest of what remains the largest country on

Kommersant Editor Steps Down Amid Rumors of Pressure From Above

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 11, 2014) The editor-in-chief of business daily Kommersant has resigned, triggering speculation Monday that he was forced out over a recent article in the newspaper about oil giant Rosneft. While theories behind the move multiplied and media reports fluctuated between calling it a dismissal and a

Can the liberal arts model thrive in Russia?

Moscow State University file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Christopher A. Stroop, special to RBTH – November 6, 2014) Christopher A. Stroop (Stanford University, Ph.D.) is a senior lecturer at RANEPA and editor of its English-language journal, State, Religion and Church: srch.ranepa.ru. When Christopher A. Stroop began teaching at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and

RE: DJ: RIA Novosti is dead. Valdai Discussion Club?

Valdai Club Gathering at Long Tables in Large Hall

Subject: RE: DJ: RIA Novosti is dead. Valdai Discussion Club? Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 From: Alexei Ilyichev <a.ilyichev@valdaiclub.com> Dear Mr. Johnson, Valdai Discussion Club is now absolutely independent non-profit organization with no connection to RIA Novosti and its successor Sputnik. So please don’t worry about its fate. Best regards, Alexei Ilyichev Editor www.valdaiclub.com The

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