RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-157 :: Wednesday, 29 August 2018

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2018-#157
Tuesday, 28 August 2018

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1. Facebook: Mark Galeotti. “Fred Weir is spot on here. Apart from the wider issue of whether the US intelligence community has such a cohort of well-placed spooks that it can be cavalier about their security, the willingness today especially of the NYT and WaPo to run stories based pretty much entirely on ‘some spook we can’t name us told us this’ is quite alarming.”
2. U.S. Department of Defense: Iraq: Status of WMD Programs (2002): “Our assessments rely heavily on analytical assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence.”
3. Christian Science Monitor: Fred Weir, The Kremlin pushes pension reform, but the Russian public pushes back. As in much of the Western world, the number of Russian pensioners is tipping beyond a point of sustainability. But efforts to raise retirement ages are stirring deep – and rare – public resistance.
4. Putin details amendments to soften impact of impending pension system reform.
5. The President’s address to Russian citizens.
6. Meduza: ‘We look after the women in our country’ In a nutshell, here’s Putin’s big speech about raising the retirement age.
7. Bear Market Brief: Putin announces softening of pension reform.
8. Wall Street Journal: Putin Dials Back Pension Plan After Backlash. Bill to bump up the qualifying age for state pensions draws popular ire, hits president’s popularity.
9. Bloomberg; Leonid Bershidsky, Putin’s Master Class in Survival. Want to know why he’s still in power? Look at his response to unpopular changes to Russia’s pension system.
10. Paul Goble: Introduction of Personal Credit Scores in Russia Seen Helping Banks and Consumers.
11. Russia Insider: Andrei Martyanov, Russia Is Playing the Long Game, With No Room for Instant Gratification Strategies of Super Patriots. The ‘collective Putin’ knows that what Russia needs are 20 years of peace, which have already done so much to transform, strengthen and secure the country. []
12. Financial Times: Lilia Shevtsova, Putin beware: Russians are changing their view of the west. The Kremlin dilemma is that either rapprochement or retrenchment will sap its legitimacy.
13. US dollar and rouble equally attractive to Russians as means of savings poll shows.
14. The Times (UK): Extreme prejudice: how the Kremlin is cracking down on discontent. Social media satirists are facing criminal charges every bit as serious as those levied against anti-Putin protesters, Tom Parfitt reports.
15. New York Times: Russia Hated John McCain, and Will Miss Him Dearly.
15a. Sputnik: What Putin Said About McCain.
16. ‘Europe has to play its trump cards’: German energy giant says Russian gas vital for continent.
17. Facebook: Alexander Mercouris, SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA ARE CERTAIN TO FAIL.
18. Wall Street Journal: Russian Troops Gear Up for Massive War Games With Chinese Military. The joint exercise is a further sign of Moscow’s pivot away from the West.
19. Paul Goble: Latest Military Exercise Shows ‘Kremlin is Actively Preparing for a World War,’ Felgengauer Says.
20. Asia Time: Russia’s fleet to counter US moves ahead of Syrian offensive. Moscow beefs up naval presence as Washington threatens to launch strikes against Assad’s forces if they use chemical weapons.
21. AFP: In Lebanon, Russia uses softer touch to win influence.
22. Financial Times: Israel reaps rewards of unlikely alliance with Vladimir Putin. Netanyahu’s flattery of Moscow helps promote Israeli goals in Syria.
23. Wall Street Journal: Holman Jenkins, So Long, Russia. And Thanks! Democrats have always known that Trump’s business was his real vulnerability.
24. The Village Voice: “Active Measures” Accidentally Makes Trump-Russia Collusion Sound Like Mad Propaganda.
25. Daily Beast: Maria Butina: Private Messages Reveal Accused Russian Spy’s True Ties to D.C. Wise Man. The head of the Center for the National Interest said his interaction with Butina was limited, but emails and direct messages show it was closer than previously understood. (re Dmitri Simes)
26. Sputnik: Ukrainian Consultant Reveals Steele Sought Bogus Stories for Trump Dossier.
27. (November 2017): Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire. Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
28. Washington Post editorial: Election security can’t wait. Someone should convince the White House
29. Gareth Porter, How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites. The narrative about Russian cyberattacks on American election infrastructure is a self-interested abuse of power by DHS based on distortion of evidence. []
30. Wall Street Journal: America Goes on the Cyberoffensive. U.S. government hackers will now have greater latitude to deter and answer attacks.
31. Ben Aris, Ukraine and the IMF deal: can the country pay its debts?
32. Russia Insider: Rostislav Ishchenko, Poroshenko Was Desperate for Trump to Attend Ukraine Independence Parade, Boost His Re-Election Chances. Trump unceremoniously turned him down, sent a mere advisor, John Bolton, instead. []
33. Georgia Today (Tbilisi): Emil Avdaliani, What History Teaches Us About Modern Russia.

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