Half of Russians don’t trust conclusions made by British in Litvinenko case

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(Interfax – January 31, 2016) Over half of Russians (53%) believe the London court had no real grounds to accuse Russian officials of involvement in the death of former Federal Security Service official Alexander Litvinenko, Levada Center has reported. The poll, which surveys 1,600 respondents, was conducted in 137 populated areas of 48 regions of Russia on Jan. 22-25. The […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Keith Darden – January 28, 2016 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/non-west-for-russia-to-lead) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia […]

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Sweden delivers judgment in favor of Russia in dispute with Yukos holders

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) A Swedish appeals court upheld Russia’s appeal filed earlier in its dispute with the Spanish investment funds, which were holders of American Depositary Receipts (‘ADRs’) of Yukos, Kommersant newspaper reported on Jan. 28. The appeals court acknowledged the fact that the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce that sustained the funds’ claims to […]

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Ukraine’s Graft Fight Shows Little Progress, Transparency Says

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany – January 27, 2016) Ukraine’s efforts to stamp out corruption last year brought scant progress, according to Transparency International, which said civil society, journalists and whistle-blowers have been more effective than government officials in combating graft. The former Soviet republic’s score rose “only one additional point” in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, the Berlin-based […]

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Russian Entente Nears as Allies Give Ukraine Sanctions Hint

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – January 26, 2016) After almost two years on the outside, signs are growing that Russia may soon be invited in from the cold. The worsening of crises from Syria to Libya are forcing the international community to reconsider sanctions slapped on President Vladimir Putin’s government over Ukraine as a way of getting a key diplomatic power […]

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Kudrin: Sanctions against Russia could start to ease late 2016-early 2017

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – January 22, 2016) Relations between Russia and the West are normalizing and sanctions will be lifted, Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister, said. “I’m sure the sanctions will start to soften at the end of this year or start of next year. Nobody in Russia wants to keep up confrontation. I think the Minsk accords will be […]

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NEWSWATCH: “EU, Russia may nuke asteroids. Blowing up comets and asteroids with nuclear bombs is just one way to save the planet from an Armageddon-style impact, say scientists.” – The Daily Telegraph (UK)

File Image of Earth Orbit and Asteroids

The Daily Telegraph covers the prospect of the EU and Russia launching nuclear missiles against asteroids or comets that threaten the earth. The European Commission funded Russian scientists to develop plans to save the world from rogue asteroids by blowing them up with nuclear weapons.  … Russia’s top space research institute teamed up with missile and rocket engineers to look […]

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Why Vladimir Putin won’t go to Davos

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The Russian delegation at the Davos Forum will be headed by Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far East. According to experts, this means that Russia will primarily focus on the presentation of Asian projects at the forum. Neither the president nor the prime minister will travel to Switzerland. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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2015: The Year Putin Bounced Back

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – December 29, 2015) In December 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama fielded a question about Russia while addressing a group of American business leaders in Washington. President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine and “backward-looking” policies, Obama said, are “isolating Russia completely internationally.” If it was Russian expansionism last year that triggered this isolation, it was Putin’s […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Putin: Russia Did Have People in Ukraine Doing ‘Certain Military Tasks'”

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

Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s admission at a press conference that Russian personnel are present in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, even while disputing whether that meant regular Russian troops were present. … Putin said … Russia did have personnel in eastern Ukraine who were carrying out certain military tasks but denied Moscow had deployed regular troops …. ‘We never said […]

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EU Council divided on procedure for prolonging sanctions against Russia

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(Interfax – December 11, 2015) The EU restrictive measures against Russia may not be prolonged on Dec. 14, a high-ranking EU official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters in Brussels on Dec. 11. The source assumed that the sanctions will be prolonged fully, but not necessarily on Dec. 14. The source said such a decision does not have […]

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NEWSWATCH Deutsche Welle: “Activists or Kremlin agents – who protects Russian-speakers in the Baltics? Moscow has been financing Russian-language NGOs in the Baltic states for years. Security authorities there are suspicious of the organizations, but the NGOs deny there is any cause for concern.”

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Deutsche Welle covers Russian government financing of NGO activity in the Baltics. Authorities have long had these NGOs in their sights. In its annual report, Latvian police stated that the Russia-backed organizations are tasked with the distribution of “biased and distorted information” on domestic procedures in Latvia. According to Estonian and Latvian authorities, the violation of the rights of Russian […]

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RBTH: “Russia and the EU: United by the refugees’ tragedy; Similar approach to border controls is key to managing migration.”

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – DMITRY BABICH, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 8, 2015) Dmitry Babich is a political analyst at Sputnik International. In recent years, Russia and the European Union have developed a taste for stressing what divides them, particularly the “differences in values” which presumably make us two worlds apart. But there is at least one […]

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Will hybrid warfare doctrine draw NATO and Russia further apart?

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NATO has adopted a new doctrine aimed at conducting a swift response to any attempts to use hybrid warfare against its member states, including the possible use of “little green men” to effect a change of power. Where does this leave relations with Russia, which is clearly perceived by the alliance as a potential instigator of such activity? (Russia Beyond […]

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Russia won’t turn off gas to Ukraine and risk transit to EU – energy minister

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(Interfax – Vladivostok, December 5, 2015) Russia will in no circumstances turn off the gas supply to Ukraine and place the transit of gas to Europe at risk, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has said. He said this in an interview with Vesti on Saturday with Sergey Brilyev, which was broadcast in the [Russian] far east. “Ukraine is receiving gas […]

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Russians Want Better Ties With West, But No Change in Policy – Poll

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 3, 2015) Amid a standoff over the crisis in Ukraine and ongoing conflict in Syria, most Russians want their country to mend ties with its nemeses even while maintaining its political course, the independent Levada Center pollster said Wednesday. Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a new poll said Russia should […]

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Putin talks tough on Turkey but holds back on anti-West rhetoric

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Analyzing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual speech to the Federal Assembly, Russian observers interviewed by RBTH underlined the contrast between Putin’s harsh stance toward Turkey and his apparent readiness to cooperate with the West, though they said the address was lacking in groundbreaking ideas. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – December 4, 2015) Against the […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Talks With Russia on EU-Ukraine Trade Deal Fail to Reach Compromise. Moscow makes new demands over bilateral accord set for Jan. 1”

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The Wall Street Journal covers efforts by the EU and Ukraine to consult with Russia over an upcoming EU-Ukrainian trade deal. Russia laid out a long list of demands for amending a sweeping trade deal between Ukraine and the European Union a month before the pact is due to be fully implemented…. at a fresh round of discussions among the […]

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Three-quarters of Russians stand for normalizing relations with West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – December 2, 2015) Most Russians (75 percent) think that Russia should normalize relations with the United States and other Western nations, and 16 percent argue the opposite, Levada Center has told Interfax. Ten percent of 1,600 respondents interviewed in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on November 20-23 were undecided. In the opinion of 51 percent of the […]

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Downing of Russian Plane has Serious Consequences for Putin at Home, in Central Asia, and in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 25, 2015) The shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkish forces after Kremlin ignored repeated warnings from Ankara not to violate Turkey’s airspace not only increases the risks of a clash between Russia and the West but has serious consequences for Putin at home, in Central Asia and the […]

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NEWSWATCH International New York Times/Maxim Trudolyubov: “Putin’s Emergency Politics”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Writing in The International New York Times, Maxim Trudolyubov comments upon Russia’s relationship with Europe and the United States, and policies towards Syria and Ukraine, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in France. Much has changed for Vladimir Putin since the terror attacks in Paris. The trope that aggressions in Crimea and Ukraine show that he is more of a […]

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Western sanctions cost Russia 1.5% of GDP – Alexei Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – November 21, 2015) Russia’s GDP would have been 1.5 percent higher if sanctions had not been imposed against Moscow, former Russian Finance Minister and Committee of Civil Initiatives Chairman Alexei Kudrin has said, pointing out that no positive effect from the sanctions has been seen in any industry. “The sanctions have considerably complicated the situation in the country. […]

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Can Putin Come In From The Cold?

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 18, 2015) He wasn’t ostracized. He wasn’t isolated. And certainly nobody threatened to shirtfront him. In the space of a year, Vladimir Putin has gone from being the pariah of Brisbane to being the star of Antalya. The contrast between last year’s G20 summit in Australia and this year’s in Turkey couldn’t […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “EU’s Juncker dangles trade ties with Russia-led bloc to Putin”

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Reuters covers European overtures to Russia to improve ties with a ceasefire in Ukraine. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, suggesting closer trade ties between the 28-nation EU and a Russian-led economic bloc once a ceasefire is implemented in Ukraine. … written after a G20 summit in Turkey … Russian aggression in Ukraine […]

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The Beginning of the End of Russia’s Estrangement from the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – November 17, 2015) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of […]

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Terrorist Attacks Force Russia and the West to Talk About Collaboration

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – November 19, 2015) Seventeen days after a Russian civilian airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, Russian officials admitted it was a terrorist attack. On Nov. 17 Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), stated that the plane was blown up by an improvised explosive device. […]

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G20 summit in Turkey: What were the 4 major events for Russia?

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Following the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey on Nov. 15-16, RBTH presents an overview of the four most interesting events and statements concerning Russia made at the meeting of world leaders. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – November 17, 2015) 1. Unplanned meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents Russian President Vladimir Putin and his […]

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Kremlin’s Campaign against Russophobia Threatens both Russia and the West, Polish Experts Say

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(Paul Goble – Staunton, November 11, 2015) The Kremlin’s revival of a campaign against what it calls “Russophobia” constitutes a threat not only to Western countries but to Russia’s future as well, according to two Polish experts. As such, they argue, it can properly be described as “a weapon of mass destruction.” In a new study, “Russophobia in the Kremlin’s […]

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Ukraine: Europe’s forgotten refugees

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

While the world focuses on refugees arriving in Europe from warzones in the Middle East, the plight of those fleeing war in Ukraine has been forgotten. (opendemocracy.net – Sara Cincurova – November 20, 2015) Sara Cincurova is a freelance journalist focusing on human rights. She is a former family support worker and holds a Master’s degree from the Paris Descartes […]

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Exiled Kremlin Critic Becomes EBRD Chief Economist

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 4, 2015) Sergei Guriev, a former adviser to the Russian government who fled the country two years ago, has been appointed chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the bank said in a statement Tuesday. Guriev is to take up his post in summer 2016. He will become the first […]

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Détente NOW!

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Subject: Détente NOW! Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2015 From: “Dr. Christian Wipperfürth” <cwipperfuerth@email.de> Your readers might be interested in the “Détente NOW!” – Initiative by leading members of the Social Democratic Party (which takes part in the German government), the industrie and NGOs. It can be found at http://www.cwipperfuerth.de/2015/10/detente-now-english/ —- Pax Christi Press Release (translation) Berlin, October 2015 For a […]

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European Union Prohibits Studies of Sanctioned Russian Banks

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 23, 2015) The European Union has prohibited its financial institutions from publishing analytical research of the Russian banks under EU sanctions, the European Commission said in a statement. The European Commission, the EU’s legislative body, prohibited publishing research on Russian banks because the analysis contained in the reports could help investors in Russia make […]

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ASN 2016 World Convention Call for Papers (Deadline Reminder: 29 October)

Columbia University Campus with Main Building

Subject: To Post: ASN 2016 World Convention Call for Papers (Deadline Reminder: 29 October) Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 00:30:09 +0000 From: Dominique Arel <darel@uottawa.ca> To: davidjohnson@starpower.net <davidjohnson@starpower.net> Dear David: could you post this Deadline Reminder on JRL? Thanks, Dominique [A PDF of this announcement can be accessed at http://nationalities.org/uploads/documents/ASN16_Call_for_Papers.pdf] Call for Papers 21st Annual World Convention of the Association […]

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Foreign Investors Complain About Russia’s Unpredictable Laws

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – October 20, 2015) Unpredictable lawmaking is undermining Russia’s ability to attract foreign investors, the Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) – a group of the biggest foreign companies working in Russia – told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. A report by financial services group and FIAC member EY (Ernst & Young) into […]

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Containing The Putin Syndicate

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 15, 2015) The signs of the times are everywhere. Estonia is erecting a 2.5-meter-high metal mesh fence reinforced with barbed wire along much of its border with Russia — and backing it up with high-tech drones, sensors, radars, and cameras. Neighboring Latvia has also announced plans to build fences along its eastern […]

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EU said close to lifting sanctions on Belarus as Lukashenko’s landslide win satisfies

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – October 13, 2015) The EU is close to lifting sanctions on Belarus after its authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, won a fifth term in polls on October 11 with 83% of the vote, making some concessions to the political opposition in the process. While there hasn’t yet been any formal announcement of […]

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Lukashenko Victory Set to Stoke EU Rapprochement, Moscow Unease

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 12, 2015) Autocratic Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko looked set to win a fifth term as president Sunday in a largely uncontested and protest-free election that is likely to pave the way for a thaw in relations with European countries and a possible confrontation with neighboring Russia, traditionally a staunch ally. Exit […]

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RBTH: Sochi forum: Sanctions curbing foreign investment in innovation in Russia

Skolkovo File Photo

Participants of the recent International Investment Forum in Sochi say that U.S. and EU sanctions on Russia are impeding international investment in innovative start-ups, with foreign companies not aware of what they can do under the new conditions. Meanwhile, according to Russian observers, several new innovative clusters may be created in Russia, including in Sochi. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – […]

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