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UKRAINE & RUSSIA :: Recent Issues: TUESDAY JRL 9.30.14 :: MONDAY JRL 9.29.14 :: THURSDAY JRL 9.25.14 :: TUESDAY JRL 9.23.14 :: SUNDAY JRL 9.21.14 :: more ...

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The Russian Matrix; On their TV channels, Ukrainians and Russians have been getting completely different versions of what has been happening in Ukraine in recent months. Just like The Matrix.

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(opendemocracy.net – Oleg Kashin – September 24, 2014) Oleg Kashin is a prominent Russian journalist. His work has appeared in Kommersant, Lenta, Colta and numerous other publications. One of the main elements of collective consciousness in post-Soviet Russia is a belief that this consciousness can be manipulated in the most unlikely ways. The Hollywood film

Interfax: Ukrainian lustration law unconstitutional – prosecutor general

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Sept 30 (Interfax) – The lustration law passed by Verkhovna Rada complies neither with the Ukrainian Constitution, nor international law, its enactment will entail negative consequences, said Vitaliy Yarema, the country’s Prosecutor General. “As regards lustration, I have (expressed) my point of view, and not only mine but also that of the legal experts

Interfax: Envoy Chizhov: European Commission starts to weigh Russian concerns over EU-Ukraine free trade

EU Map

BRUSSELS. Sept 30 (Interfax) – Russia is awaiting the European Commission’s proposal to lift its concerns about the enforcement of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told reporters. “The decision of the European Council was anticipated and quite consistent with the agreement reached

Russia is actively preparing for war

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Ben Aris in Moscow – September 30, 2014) Russia is actively preparing for a war that nobody wants and that will probably never happen. But its increasingly obvious commitment to real preparations for a potential military conflict with the West have been convincing enough to create trump cards

Oldest Russian NGO facing financial troubles – head

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, September 28, 2014) The oldest Russian noncommercial organization [the usual Russian phrase for what is referred to elsewhere as NGOs], the Moscow Helsinki Group, had to scrap the majority of its human rights projects due to a shortage of funds, Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alekseyeva told Interfax on Monday [28 September].

Defense Ministry Dismisses Reports of Russian Paratroopers Killed in Ukraine

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 30, 2014) An opposition lawmaker who inquired about the reported deaths of Russian paratroopers in Ukraine has been told by the Defense Ministry that the accounts are “rumors” and that releasing information about military casualties would violate privacy laws. State Duma lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov – one of the few

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#204 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 30 September 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-#204 :: Tuesday 30 September 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 4 Ukraine 1. Reuters: EU keeps Russia

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#203 table of contents with links :: Monday 29 September 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-#203 :: Monday 29 September 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 4 Ukraine 1. ITAR-TASS: EU postpones application

Another Lenin Down, but How Many More Remain?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 29, 2014) The demolition of the statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has attracted international attention, with some seeing this as a provocation by one or another side in the war in Ukraine and others viewing it as an indication of the maturation

15 Global Firms Hit by Russia’s Law Limiting Foreign Ownership of Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s law limiting foreign ownership of media in Russia to 20 percent will overturn the country’s media scene. Foreign companies have been at the forefront of developing media in Russia since the early 1990s. They own stakes in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and television stations. Under the

Curbs on Foreign Ownership Will Gut Russia’s Media

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – September 28, 2014) An era in Russian media ended Friday as parliament passed a law limiting foreign ownership in domestic media assets at 20 percent, hitting some of the world’s largest media companies and turning back the clock on an industry that has thrived on foreign brands

Ruble Sinks to Historic Low Against Currency Basket

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) The ruble sunk to a record low against the Central Bank’s currency basket Monday, continuing a steady slide that has seen it lose over 15 percent of its value this year. The Russian currency dropped during morning trading and was worth 44.37 against the euro-dollar basket shortly

RIA Novosti: Obama: There Will Be No War Between NATO and Russia

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

WASHINGTON, September 29 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama has excluded the possibility of military confrontation between Russia and NATO over the Ukrainian crisis in his interview to CBS Monday. “No, I don’t think there’s going to be a military confrontation between NATO and Russia, although we have worked very hard to reassure that

Ukraine to increase military expenditure fivefold by 2020 – Kiev

Maidan Square file photo

(Interfax – September 29, 2014) The reform program Strategy 2020 provides that Ukraine should become “a military state,” increasing its military expenditures from 1 percent of the GDP to 5 percent, Dmytro Shimkiv, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said. “We are operating under the assumption that Ukraine should become a military state,” he

Progress seen in ceasefire talks in Donbas – Ukraine National Security Council

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Sept 28 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council said progress has been made in talks with the militia on ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. A joint group, comprised of representatives of the Ukrainian military, the militia and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, are assessing the situation and holding talks to

Russia Calls for Joint Effort With U.S. to Fight Islamic State

Map of Iraq

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s deputy foreign minister on Monday called for a joint effort between Moscow and Washington in fighting the radical group Islamic State, but appeared to play down fears of a high number of Russians in the group. “The Americans say terrorism represents a direct threat to their

U.S.-Russia Cycle of One-Upmanship Could Prove Catastrophic

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

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) The Ukraine crisis has sparked a resurgence of one-upmanship in U.S.-Russian relations, unparalleled since the height of the Cold War, that – if left unchecked – could take a truly catastrophic turn. After the Maidan movement brought an end to Viktor Yanukovych’s reign in Kiev, Russia

RIA Novosti: Poroshenko: No Federalization in Ukraine Considered, Only Local Councils’ Extended Powers

Ukraine Map and Flag

KIEV, September 29 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian authorities consider only delegating powers to the local councils and setting up a special zone in Donbass for three years, as a part of decentralization process, not federalization, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told “1+1″ TV channel Sunday. “I can reassure that neither sovereignty issue, nor the issues of

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#202 table of contents with links :: Thursday 25 September 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-#202 :: Thursday 25 September 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 4 DJ: This is likely the last

Russians’ Greatest Fears Coming True, Undermining Stability, Gontmakher Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 24, 2014) The eight developments Russians identified as of their greatest fears are all coming true, and that pattern regardless of what else happens undermines the stability of Russian society and the Russian state, according to Moscow economist and commentator Yevgeny Gontmakher. In August, Russians were

Business New Europe: Russia has eager new oil and gas customers in Asia

Gas Facility file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – September 25, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. The main focus of Western sanctions against Russia has been to cause disruption to the banking and oil sectors. The former has directly squeezed the availability of liquidity on

Stagnation looms for Russia as consumption and oil revenues fall

oil-well-2

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 25, 2014) Consumer demand in Russia, around half of its $2 trillion economy, and the key growth driver over recent years, is stalling over the crisis in Ukraine, according to a World Bank analysis of the economy. Consumption growth will slow to 0.5% in 2015 and 0.6% in

Russia needs reforms, not a sanctions war

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Mau, special to RBTH – September 24, 2014) Vladimir Mau is the rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration. Mutual sanctions are always extremely unpleasant, and the application of sanctions and the “hot” trade war between Russia, Europe and the United

RIA Novosti: Russia Sends List of Unanswered Questions to MH17 Investigators

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) said Thursday it had sent a list of questions about the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine to an international panel investigating the disaster. “Oleg Storchevoi, a deputy head of Rosaviatsiya and Russia’s envoy to the investigation into circumstances and causes

RIA Novosti: Putin Called Top Moral Authority Among Russian Celebrities: Opinion Poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – Two thirds of Russians say that some of the country’s famous citizens can be considered as moral authorities, and 36 percent of them believe President Vladimir Putin is taking the lead , a poll by the Public Opinion Fund reported Wednesday. Around 60 percent of respondents believed that there

RIA Novosti: Russian Envoy Slams Ukrainian Prime Minister’s Address to UN Assembly

UN Building file photo

UNITED NATIONS, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has criticized the speech delivered by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to the UN General Assembly. “It is strange that the Ukrainian prime minister, instead of resolving the numerous problems of his country, which is approaching an economic collapse, has

Reflections on Russians and Ukrainians

Maidan Square file photo

From: Kirk Bennett (kirkbennett7@yahoo.com) Date: September 24, 2014 Subject: Reflections on Russians and Ukrainians Kirk Bennett is a former Foreign Service officer who served in both Moscow and Kyiv. The opinions expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the U.S. government. Amid all the analyses of the crisis in Ukraine there

[Ira Straus on Ukraine, NATO] re JRL-2014#201 (Adomanis)

NATO meeting file photo

From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com Subject: re JRL-2014#201 (Adomanis) Date: Sept 23, 2014 Re: 11. Forbes.com: Mark Adomanis, Ukrainians Still Don’t Want To Join NATO. It is disappointing to see such a misleading article, from one of the few pro-Russia writers still around who has generally been accurate and had a grasp of reality. The article

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#201 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 23 September 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-#201 :: Tuesday 23 September 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 4 DJ: Another quicky JRL. Brought to you

A lasting ceasefire, temporary sanctions

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – INVISIBLE HAND – Liam Halligan in London – September 23, 2014) The partial ceasefire in Donbass and Lugansk has done little to ease the East-West information war and diplomatic argy-bargy relating to Russia and Ukraine. If anything, the rhetorical exchanges have become testier during September, with the EU and US expanding

Why study Russian? It’s not all politics

Russian Folk Singers file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ivan Savvine, special to RBTH – September 10, 2014) Ivan Savvine is an art historian and writer as well as a teacher. He was raised in St. Petersburg. There is a popular belief that in the United States, interest in all things Russian and in particular Russian language

Ukrainian Leaders Walk Away From Law on Self-Administration in Occupied Territories

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 167 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Vladimir Socor – September 23, 2014) Utter confusion surrounds Ukraine’s just-adopted law on the “special procedure of local self-administration in individual districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.” Pursuant to the September 5 ceasefire protocol, President Petro Poroshenko initiated this law, his administration drafted it, and

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#200 table of contents with links :: Sunday 21 September 2014

St. Basil's file photo

… 21. The Economist: Win some, lose more. For all the celebrations in Kiev over ratifying the trade deal with Europe, it is the Russians who got most of what they wanted.
22. Euromaidan Press: Lilia Shevtsova: Putin “is looking for new ways to strangle Ukraine.”
23. Paul Goble: Window on Eurasia: If Putin Isn’t Stopped in Ukraine, He Will Move against Baltic Countries, Piontkovsky Says. …

WHITE HOUSE TRANSCRIPT: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Sept. 18

White House

(White House – September 18, 2014) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome President Poroshenko to the Oval Office. He and I have been working together a lot over the last several months. And as I told him personally, and I want to repeat publicly, I think his leadership has been absolutely

If Putin Isn’t Stopped in Ukraine, He Will Move against Baltic Countries, Piontkovsky Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 20, 2014) If the West does not stop Vladimir Putin’s campaign to subordinate Ukraine to Moscow, then the Kremlin leader will move against the Baltic countries even though that carries with it the direct threat of a military conflict with NATO, according to Andrey Piontkovsky. But

RIA Novosti: Parties at Minsk Talks Agree on Memorandum Regulating Ukrainian Ceasefire Implementation

Ukraine Map and Flag

MINSK, September 20 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev authorities and pro-independence fighters in southeastern Ukraine have agreed on complete ceasefire, establishment of the buffer zone, withdrawal of heavy weapons away from the contact line on both sides, and deployment of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission. Early Saturday morning parties at

HIATUS: JRL E-Mail Newsletter Vacation: Sept. 11-28

St. Basil's file photo

Note from David Johnson, from JRL 2014-199: DJ: [JRL 2014-199] This is the last issue of JRL before the September 11-28 vacation. Let’s hope for positive news. …        

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#199 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 10 September 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-#199 :: Wednesday 10 September 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 4 DJ: This is the last issue

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#198 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 9 September 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-#198 :: Tuesday 9 September 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 Beyond the Headlines: Fyodor

Moscow Times: Ukraine Crisis Halves Number of U.S. and EU Tourists Visiting Russia

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 10, 2014) Russian travel agencies say 40 to 60 percent fewer European and U.S. holiday makers came to Russia in the first half of this year than in the same period of 2013, while three times fewer Russian tourists went abroad, a trend they attribute to bad blood between

Interfax: Sanctions against Russia already affecting production of tight reserves, could impact shelf

Oil Worker file photo

KHANTY-MANSIISK. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed by the EU and U.S. against Russia are already affecting the production of tight reserves, Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi said at a briefing in Khanty-Mansiisk. “The sanctions, first due to technology, have not yet impacted [the country's economy], but are already affecting the production of

Business New Europe: MH17 report – The how, but not the who

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nikolai Holmov, OdessaTalk – September 10, 2014) Today saw the release of the preliminary findings of the downing of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine. To be blunt, these preliminary findings confirming very much what everybody suspected – no crew error, no mechanical failure, no flying in unauthorised airspace

Interfax: Russia calls for thinking about consequences of weapons supplies to Kyiv

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) – Russia knows about the agreements reached by Ukraine and some NATO countries on direct supplies of weapons to Kyiv and suggests thinking about the consequences of the implementation of such decisions. “We believe that all questions on this matter, including relating to the responsibility for the consequences of such a

Business New Europe: Russia demands sweeping changes to Ukraine’s association agreement with EU

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 10, 2014) Moscow wants amendments to five vectors of Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union, according to liberal Ukrainian paper Zerkalo Nedeli. The amendment would see as much as 20% of goods excluded from free trade between EU and Ukraine. This would require renegotiation of the agreement

Arming Ukraine: Arming Ukraine will lead to a widening of the conflict, more death and destruction, and a far more aggressive Russian policy.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Daniel Kennedy – September 5, 2014) Daniel Kennedy is an Associate Editor at oDR. He is an Associate at Global Partners Digital, a social purpose company working to protect and promote human rights values online. As Ukraine struggles to combat domestic insurgents and what appears to be a Russian invasion in all but


Consumers Stay Away From Moscow’s Malls as Sanctions Deepen Russia’s Slump

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 9, 2014) Nearly 25 percent fewer people visited Moscow’s malls in the week leading up the start of the school year than in the same period of 2013, a survey said, indicating that Western sanctions and an economic slowdown are hitting Russian consumer demand. A report by consumer market

Interfax: Russia dramatically reduces imports of sanctioned products from non-CIS in August

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) – Russia dramatically reduced imports of products that are under the food embargo in August compared with July. The food embargo was imposed on August 7, 2014. According to the Federal Customs Service (FCS), vegetable, dairy, poultry and pork supplies declined the most dramatically. So, in August the cost of imports

Business New Europe: Last minutes of MH17 flight not recorded by Nato Awacs spy planes

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 9, 2014) The last minutes of the MH17 flight downed over East Ukraine July 17 were not recorded by NATO Awacs “eye in the sky” planes, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel. As a result, the German government has no “certain knowledge” that the plane was shot down by

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#197 table of contents with links :: Monday 8 September 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-#197 :: Monday 8 September 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. Moscow Times: Mark Adomanis, The

Interfax: Over 100,000 Ukrainians granted refugee status in Russia – deputy PM

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Interfax – September 8, 2014) Gorki, 8 September: Some 105,000 Ukrainian citizens have been granted the refugee status, some 500 people apply every day for participation in the programme for voluntary resettlement of compatriots from abroad, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Kozak has said. “I would like to remind you that the (refugee – Interfax) status

Business New Europe: Borders of Donbas “special status” territory in dispute

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 9, 2014) The borders of the territory in Donbas receiving a “special status” under the terms of a ceasefire between Russian-backed rebels and Kyiv are under dispute, according to conflicting statements made by Yury Lutsenko, advisor to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, and self-proclaimed first deputy prime minister of

Business New Europe: Amnesty International report: Ukraine voluntary battalions guilty of war crimes

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 9, 2014) Rights watchdog Amnesty International released a report on September 8 entitles (Ukraine: abuses and war crimes by the Aidar Volunteer Battalion in the north Luhansk region,” which claims militias fighting together with the official Ukrainian army are guilty of abuses including possible executions. “Members of the

Interfax: Moscow fears Kyiv may be forming attack force in southeast

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) – Russia is concerned about the amassing of heavy weaponry by the Ukrainian army in the Debaltseve area, which may be a sign of the formation of an attack force, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We know that the militia and we, as a party which has attested to the

Interfax: Donbas reports renewed shelling in Avdiivka, Debaltseve

Ukraine Map and Flag

DONETSK. Sept 9 (Interfax) – Residents of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka claim that the explosion of a shell launched from Ukrainian army positions destroyed a stretch of railway on Tuesday. “The Ukrainian troops ruined a stretch of railway. There was a commuter train going from our station, from Avdiidka to Krasnoarmeisk. Now there is

One Year After Leader’s Death, North Caucasus Insurgency Soldiers On

Doku Umarov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – September 7, 2014) September 7 marks the first anniversary of the death from poisoning of Doku Umarov, the Chechen field commander who abandoned the cause of an independent Chechen Republic Ichkeria in 2007 and instead proclaimed a Caucasus Emirate (IK) encompassing the entire North Caucasus. While Umarov’s death has had

Interfax: Rosstat affirms 0.8% Q2 Russian GDP growth estimate

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Sept 8 (Interfax) – The Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) has affirmed its preliminary estimate of 0.8% year-on-year GDP growth for the second quarter of 2014, the agency said. GDP was 17.697 trillion rubles in current prices in Q2. Rosstat published its preliminary estimate for Q2 in the middle of August. The Russian Economic

Interfax: Russian economy to grow 0.5 percent this year, possibly more, says Medvedev

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – September 8, 2014) The Russian economy is projected to grow 0.5 percent this year, and while this is not a very good figure, the situation in other countries does not differ much from Russia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Russian newspaper Vedomosti. “We have focused on significantly higher

Poroshenko’s party holds lead in parliamentary election polls

Petro Poroschenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – September 8, 2014) The party of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko leads the latest opinion polls, but voters are focusing on charismatic individuals and the party landscape is still in a state of flux ahead of the early parliamentary elections on October 26. Fresh opinion

RIA Novosti: German Defense Ministry Opposes NATO’s Request to Increase Military Spending

NATO meeting file photo

MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) – Berlin will neither increase its military spending at the request of NATO on account of the crises in Ukraine and Iraq, nor decrease it, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview with ARD. “Currently, the Bundeswehr is well equipped and is fully prepared for participation

Baseball: The great Russian pastime?

Rotating Baseball

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Boiko, special to RBTH – September 7, 2014) Baseball has struggled in Russia, but is showing signs of life among the nation’s youth. The all-American sport of baseball has few fans among the Russians, who have long favored soccer or hockey. Yet the game has its own

Re: South shore of the Kola peninsula

Map of Russia

Subject: South shore of the Kola peninsual Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2014 14:09:31 -0500 From: William Brumfield <william.brumfield@gmail.com> David, below is announcement for the latest in my RBTH series. A stunning part of northwest Russia. Regards, William —— My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines is devoted to the south shore of the Kola

Moscow Times: Russia Hardens Military Thinking as NATO Fizzes Over Ukraine

NATO meeting file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – September 8, 2014) As West’s Cold-War-era military alliance cranks its belligerence levels up to 11, NATO’s historic enemy, Russia, is rejigging its own military thinking in response. In response to the harder stance confirmed at NATO’s summit last week in Wales, Russian officials are revisiting the country’s

RIA Novosti: Prime Minister Yatsenyuk: Ukraine to Become Independent From Russian Gas in Five Years

Arseniy Yatsenyuk file photo

MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev will stop being dependent on Russian gas in five years, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in an interview to Ukraine’s 1+1 television channel. The “victory” is achieved when Ukraine will not buy Russian gas at all, which could be accomplished in a five-year period, Yatsenyuk said in

Gas war seen as next phase of Russia-Ukraine conflict

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – September 8, 2014) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/gas-war-seen-next-phase-russia-ukraine-conflict] Even if a lasting ceasefire in eastern Ukraine can be secured, the cessation of military hostilities will only mark the beginning of a new fight. The battle between Russia and Ukraine over gas supplies is about to restart

RIA Novosti: Political Analyst: US Backs Kiev Regime As Only Anti-Russian Force in Ukraine

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) – The United States supports Nazi-like Kiev regime as it is the only anti-Russian force that exists in Ukraine, director of the Moscow-based Institute of Globalization Studies said Monday. “The US supports them out of need, simply because they are the only existing anti-Russian,Russophobic force that exists in Ukraine. It’s

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Why linguistic nuance is often the first casualty of media reporting

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Tseytlin, special to RBTH – September 8, 2014) Sergei Tseytlin is a freelance translator who also works for RBTH. Sergei Tseitlin was born in Moscow and grew up in New York. He has been living in Italy for last 16 years – first in Milan, then in

RIA Novosti: Medvedev: Russia to Stick to Current Development Course Despite External Disturbances

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is not planning to change its development course, despite being subject to external disturbances, according to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “The conditions for economic development, for the development of the country and people’s lives are certainly not simple. Speaking bluntly, as a member of the country’s leadership,

Interfax: War did massive damage to Donetsk – city mayor

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Sept 8 (Interfax) – Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko says the military action has done “massive” damage to the city. “It’s in the billions [hryvni]. If we take the industrial sector, residential; buildings, social infrastructure, energy facilities, and railway, it will be a colossal amount of damage. It will take the city’s economy a lot

VIDEO: Will the cease-fire between Ukraine and Russian separatists last?

Maidan Square file photo

From PBS, Jeffrey Brown interviews Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Nicholas Burns, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, about unfolding events in Ukraine and the Western response. Click here for transcript: pbs.org/newshour/bb/will-cease-fire-ukraine-russian-separatists-last/    

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#196 table of contents with links :: Saturday 6 September 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-#196 :: Saturday 6 September 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. Reuters: Putin is under Satan’s

NATO’s Eastern Countries Fractured Over Response To Russia

NATO meeting file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – September 6, 2014) Czech President Milos Zeman sparked a testy exchange with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt this week at the NATO summit in Wales, declaring that Prague had not yet seen “clear proof” of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. “President Zeman should ask his own people,” Bildt retorted. “I don’t

How Must Ukraine Use the Ceasefire?

Maidan Square file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 7, 2014) Even though there is every indication that the ceasefire has already been broken and that Vladimir Putin had no intention of living up to its promise of a move toward peace, Ukrainians are confronted with the challenge of considering how best to use the

Business New Europe: Ukraine ceasefire holding in the main but still shaky

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 8, 2014) For the ceasefire deal struck in Belarus between the government in Kyiv and separatist rebels on September 5 to hold, Ukraine needed to get through at least 48 hours without a major clash between the opposing sides. By the morning of September 8 it seemed that

For Russia, Ideal Scenario In Ukraine Might Just Be The Bosnian Model

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Charles Recknagel – September 05, 2014) When Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at Ukraine, does he see Bosnia? The Balkan country, which has a tripartite presidency that reflects its ethnic balance, has remained at peace for almost two decades since the 1995 Dayton accords ended its three-year war. But it is widely regarded

RIA Novosti: Moscow: Ukrainian Crisis Became Excuse for NATO’s Eastward Expansion Nurtured for Years

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – The crisis in Ukraine has become an excuse for NATO’s long nurtured plans of eastward expansion and the build-up of its forces on the Russian border, Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday commenting on the NATO summit in Wales. “The summit adopted a line towards NATO’s eastward expansion and build-up

RIA Novosti: Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk rebel leaders emphasize political process

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RIA Novosti – September 5, 2014) Minsk, 5 September: In addition to the OSCE, the leaders of Ukraine and Russia, who initiated the peace process, are the guarantors of the Minsk accords, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk republic, Igor Plotnitskiy [Ihor Plotnytskyy], has said. As part of the Friday [5 September] meeting in

Interfax: Luhansk starts rebuilding infrastructure – city council

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Sept 6 (Interfax) – For the first time in the past few months Luhansk was quiet overnight, with no shooting, but the city is still without electricity, water and communications, the city council said on Saturday. “According to residents, as of September 6, the night was quiet for the first time in the past

Interfax: National Guard commander mentions minor violations of truce on militia’s part

Ukraine Map and Flag

KHARKIV. Sept 6 (Interfax) – Minor violations of the truce in Ukraine on the part of the militia were recorded until 6:45 p.m. Kyiv time on September 5, Ukrainian National Guard Commander Stepan Poltorak said. “The National Guard is stationed virtually along the entire perimeter of the combat activities. There were minor violations in the

RIA Novosti: Official: Ukraine’s NATO Membership Not Discussed at Meeting in UK

NATO Meeting file photo

NEWPORT, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – NATO and Ukraine did not discuss the possibility of the Eastern European country’s membership in the military alliance, a NATO official said Friday. “In regard to membership, no, that question wasn’t raided and wasn’t discussed,” the official said on conditions of anonymity. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian government approved legislation

Moscow Times: Mrs. America Defies Politics and Brings Beauty Pageant to Crimea

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 5, 2014) While NATO on Thursday called on Russia to “end its illegal annexation of Crimea,” the organizers of a U.S. beauty pageant seem unfazed about the peninsula’s political status, and are planning to ship the country’s most beautiful married women to Sevastopol. Organizers of the Mrs. America beauty

Moscow Times: U.S.-Russia Split Over Ukraine Gives Islamic State Upper Hand

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – September 5, 2014) As the NATO summit gets under way in Wales and world leaders put on a united front against the growing threat posed by radical terrorist organization the Islamic State, continued bickering between Russia and the West over events in Ukraine threatens to give the

Interfax: Parties led by Poroshenko, Lyashko, Tymoshenko may garner comparable number of votes in Ukrainian parliamentary elections – poll

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Sept 4 (Interfax) – The Solidarity party led by Petro Poroshenko, the Radical Party led by Oleh Lyashko, and the Batkivshchyna all-Ukrainian association have roughly equal electoral ratings in the run-up to early parliamentary elections scheduled in Ukraine for October 26, 2014, as is seen from a poll conducted by GfK Ukraine. In particular,

Moscow Times: New EU Sanctions to Inflict Long-Term Pain

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – September 5, 2014) The Russian business world is braced for the European Union’s unfurling of a fresh round of economic sanctions on Friday, with analysts predicting that Russia’s $2 trillion economy will be squeezed even tighter while its companies face isolation from international markets. A peace plan

Interfax: Gen. Baluyevsky: New Russian military doctrine to have no provisions on preventive nuke strike, potential enemy

Russia ICBM on Mobile Launcher

MOSCOW. Sept 5 (Interfax) – The updated Russian military doctrine will not designate a potential enemy and conditions of a preventive nuclear strike against it; such information is available in classified directives, former Russian General Staff Chief Gen. of the Army Yuri Baluyevsky, who co-authored the 2010 military doctrine of Russia, told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

Interfax: Stepashin: U.S., its allies are looking to get Putin out of power, isolate Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

MOSCOW. Sept 5 (Interfax) – Sergei Stepashin, chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society and former prime minister of Russia, believes the purpose of the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies on Russia is to get Vladimir Putin out of power and isolate Russia on the international scene. In his letter to U.S.

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Ukrainian conflict: What exactly is Russia trying to achieve in the east?

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH – September 4, 2014) Moscow has a vital interest in maintaining a unified Ukraine in which the pro-Russian south-eastern regions will have a distinct voice. The main goal of Russia’s support for the militants in the Donbass region is to ultimately prevent Ukraine’s

Interfax: OSCE mission in Ukraine may be increased to 500 observers – Russian envoy to OSCE

File Photo of OSCE Banners

MOSCOW. Sept 5 (Interfax) – The OSCE intends to increase the number of its observers in Ukraine to 500, which may be enough for monitoring a ceasefire observance in eastern Ukraine, in the nearest future, Russian permanent envoy to the OSCE Andrei Kelin said. “We will begin recruiting in the nearest future. We may increase

What the FSB is doing in Russian universities

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

(opendemocracy.net – ALEKSANDR CHORNYKH – September 2, 2014) Aleksandr Chornykh writes for the Russian newspaper Kommersant. He specialises on education in Russia, and is one of the leading experts in his field. In Soviet times, the KGB kept a close watch on intellectuals – they might turn out to be dissidents. Today, the FSB still skulks on

Justice Ministry Adds Nuclear Research Center to ‘Foreign Agents’ List

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry added a Moscow-based think tank that specializes in nuclear arms research to its controversial list of “foreign agents” on Wednesday. The designation means that the PIR Center, founded in 1994, has been found to receive funding from abroad and to conduct political activities, thus

The Troubled Rebirth of Political Opposition in Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Vladimir Gelman – September 2014) Distinguished Professor, Political Sciences and Sociology; Aleksanteri Institute at the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies In the 2000s, most experts considered the role of political opposition in Russia as peripheral at best. But with the protest wave of 2011-12, opposition actors and movements reentered

The Poroshenko Phenomenon: Elections and Challenges Ahead

Petro Poroschenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Olexiy Haran and Petro Burkovsky – August 2014) Petro Burkovskyi is deputy chief of the Analytical and Information Division in the National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS), on civil service since 2005. Olexiy Haran is professor of Comparative Politics and Founding Director at the School for Policy Analysis, Kyiv Mohyla University. Back in

Fewer Russians Blame Authorities for Deaths in Beslan Attack

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 2, 2014) On the 10th anniversary of the Beslan terrorist attack in which more than 330 people died, a poll revealed Monday that fewer Russians think authorities mishandled the crisis than in 2004. The poll, conducted by the independent Levada Center from Aug. 22 to 25, showed a less

Decade After Beslan, Questions Remain Unanswered

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 1, 2014) The children who set off for their first day of school 10 years ago in the small Caucasus town of Beslan, North Ossetia, will graduate from high school this coming academic year – at least, those who survived will. On Sept. 1, 2004, a

Lyubimovka Marks Real Start of Theater Season

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – September 4, 2014) It’s not quite true that the Lyubimovka play festival is the first real event of each theater season in Moscow. This year, for example, some 10 top venues, including the Moscow Art Theater, the Mayakovsky and the Gogol Center, are already up and running.

Russian Human Rights Council Attempts to Scrap Fines for ‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 3, 2014) The Presidential Human Rights Council has prepared amendments to a controversial law that would stop nongovernmental organizations being fined for failing to register as “foreign agents,” Kommersant reported Tuesday. A law introduced by the government in 2012 requires NGOs that receive funding from abroad and are engaged

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