RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#247 :: Monday 21 December 2015

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#247
Monday 21 December 2015

A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs
The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University.
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1. Russia Beyond the Headlines: Russian business falls in love with “Western” Christmas. Russian Christmas – celebrated in January – is still a noncommercial family occasion. December is now the main month for holiday shopping.
2. Russia Beyond the Headlines: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – the view from Russia. RBTH selects excerpts from Russian media reviews of the eagerly-awaited new Star Wars episode, which has already been called “the biggest film of the year.”
3. Washington Post editorial: For Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, a bond of power-hungriness, vulgarity and cynicism.
4. Steven Shabad: Putin on Trump.
5. Lisa Marie White, Spambot Western Media Has It Backward — Putin Thinks Americans Want Trump.
6. ‘Putin killed reporters? Prove it!’ – Trump to ABC show host.
7. Christian Science Monitor: Fred Weir, In annual TV marathon, Putin offers Russians a fleeting moment of intimacy. President Vladimir Putin gave little away during Thursday’s event, but his mastery of the virtual town-hall meeting was evident.
8. Bryan MacDonald, Putin wraps up 2015: Three hours of questions, 1,400 journalists & one star of the show.
9. Russia Insider: Deena Stryker, Putin’s Press Conference Reveals Him as an Authoritarian Democratic Socialist. Is the West missing the forest of effective government by obsessing about the tree of democracy?
10. Russia Direct: Dmitry Polikanov, Putin’s press conference: A modest rapprochement with the West? During his year-end press conference, Russian Presdient Vladimir Putin appeared to soften the Russian rhetoric about Syria and Ukraine, and even suggested that some sort of reconciliation might be possible with the people of Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine.
11. The New Yorker: Masha Lipman, Putin’s Shaky Tsardom.
12. Interfax: Russian calls not to impose values on others ignored by West – Putin.
13. Interfax: Recurrent Western attempts to ‘educate’ the East a kind of mania – Naryshkin.
14. Mark Adomanis, Who Cares How Putin Walks?
15. Russia Beyond the Headlines: What awaits Russia’s economy in 2016 – collapse or recovery? Analysts have reacted to the latest collapse of oil prices with varying forecasts. Some believe oil prices are on their way down to the critical level of $35, which would keep the Russian economy in recession. Others, however, including Western analysts, are of the opinion that 2016 may see the first shoots of recovery.
16. TASS: Privatization of state corporations could solve number of problems in Russian economy.
17. Mark Adomanis, “Reform” Does Not Equal Growth.
18. Bloomberg: Siberian Surprise: The Numbers Behind Russia’s Oil Resilience.
19. Valdai Discussion Club: OIL PRICE SLUMP IS A LOSE-LOSE SITUATION. The current oil price slump is different from that in the 1980s due to depletion of resources. The amount of cheap oil is reducing. (Danila Bochkarev)
20. Russia Beyond the Headlines: Ben Aris, How much are Western sanctions hurting Russia’s economy? The difficult economic conditions have forced Russian businesses to reassess, which could be a good thing in the long run.
21. Washington Post: E.U. extends sanctions against Russia amid growing splits over their future.
22. Moscow Times: Orthodox Church Receives Majority of Russian Government Grants.
23. Andrei Jvirblis, The Russian government ’embraces’ transparency. Russia is finally embracing transparency-so long as it poses no threat to political stability.
24. AP: Russia Opens New Stalin Museums, Grapples With His Legacy.
25. The Unz Review: Michael Hudson, The IMF Changes Its Rules to Isolate China and Russia.
26. Sputnik: Détente 2.0? US No Longer Sees Russia as Top Security Concern.
27. U.S.-Russia tensions dissipate in space where Russians and Americans depend on each other for survival.
28. Moscow Times: Russia Will Not Object Assad Ouster After Syrian War Ends.
29. ‘US not after regime change in Syria, but Assad must go’ – Kerry to Russian TV.
30. Russia Beyond the Headlines: UN Syrian peace plan deal: What was agreed upon in New York? On Dec. 18 in New York, members of the International Syria Support Group agreed on the principles of reaching a political settlement to the crisis in Syria. Later, after five hours of discussions, the group’s decisions on Syria were unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council. But what questions are still hindering progress?
31. Alexander Mercouris, Russia Plays a Winning Syria Game at the United Nations. Russian diplomacy achieved a trio of Security Council Resolutions over the last month which give Russia a decisive advantage.
32. The Unz Review: The Saker, Week Eleven of the Russian Intervention in Syria: A Step Back from the Brink?
33. Irrussianality: Paul Robinson, DEMOCRACY ≠ LIBERALISM.
34. Russia Direct: US-Russia relations should be seen beyond the immediate agenda. RD Interview: Stanford University’s Kathryn Stoner offers her views on what needs to be done next to fix U.S.-Russian relations. One long-term opportunity, she says, is the promotion of peer-to-peer programs that engage young Russians and Americans.
35. BBC: James Nixey, Is Russia still a key world power?
36. Gilbert Doctorow, The Danger After Putin.


37. TASS: We cannot allow east Ukraine’s Russian speakers to be “devoured”, Putin says.
38. NATO chief misinterpreted Putin’s words on military presence in Ukraine – Kremlin.
39. Interfax: West mistaken – no plans to re-create Soviet Union – Putin on Ukraine.
40. The Guardian: Volodymyr Ishchenko, Kiev has a nasty case of anti-communist hysteria. Ukraine has banned a party that is neither communist nor dangerous – clearing the way for a new left loyal to neither Russia nor the west.
41. The Jerusalem Post: Ukrainian Jews shocked after city elects neo-Nazi mayor.
42. Financial Times: Roman Olearchyk and Neil Buckley, Ukraine: Still hoping for change.
43. Moscow lawyers up to take Kiev to court over debt.
44. Bloomberg: After Default to Putin, What’s Next for Ukraine-Russia Bond Row.
45. TASS: Some 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees stay in Russia – Federation Council vice speaker.
46. RFE/RL: Ukrainian Refugees Say Russia Not So Welcoming Anymore.
47. Transitions Online: Julia Ivanova, Crimea in Darkness, Part 3. As Crimea’s power supply slowly returns to normal, TOL looks at how people are coping with blackouts and shortages.
48. Dutch newspaper: Corruption in Ukrainian secret service taints MH17 investigation.
49. Facebook: Ivan Katchanovski, Maidan Snipers.
50. Russia Insider: Full Transcript: Expletive-Loaded Shout-fest Ukraine Cabinet – Must See Video!!
Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia