NEWSLINK: “Why the New Cold War Is More Dangerous Than the Preceding One; Questionable but orthodox Cold War narratives make actual war with Russia more likely than during its 40-year predecessor.” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

“Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and radio-show host John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Syria crisis: G7 leaders couldn’t change Vladimir Putin’s mind on backing Assad – even if they wanted to. Russia now relies on Syria for its new status as a great world power – and the West knows the risks of leaving a power vacuum in the Middle East.” – The Independent (UK)/ Patrick Cockburn

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

“It is very unlikely that Russia will change its support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, despite calls to do so from foreign ministers from the G7 nations gathered in Italy in the aftermath of the use of poison gas in Syria and the US missile strikes. Russia owes its return to great power status in the eyes of much of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “How the Tumultuous ’90s Paved the Way for Putin’s Russia” [Book Review of “WHO LOST RUSSIA? How the World Entered a New Cold War”] – New York Times/ Rajon Menon

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… So who lost Russia? Russia’s leaders, primarily Putin, who neither built democracy nor made Russia a partner of the West? Or the West, which was never serious about respecting Russia’s interests, let alone a partnership? Conradi doesn’t provide a clear-cut answer to his question. Given the complexities he grapples with, who can blame him?”

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Trump Lacks Room to Move on Sanctions on Russia, Economists Say

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andre Tartar, Anna Andrianova – April 3, 2017) What a difference three months can make. Donald Trump dropped enough hints during the campaign and in the run-up to his inauguration as U.S. president to turn most economists into believers in an imminent easing of sanctions imposed against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. But as scandals […]

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Our Man in Washington

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Andrei Babitsky – March 29, 2017) Andrey Babitsky, an independent journalist, columnist at Vedomosti Daily and contributor to the opinion platform InLiberty, has been covering Russian economy, politics and the country’s tech industry for the past 10 years. He has served as deputy editor-in-chief at Esquire magazine and headed opinion pages at Forbes Russia. There […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia cannot live with the west – or without it; Technological backwardness increases its dependence on liberal democracies” – Financial Times/Lilia Shevtsova

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

“Great power status and the desire for external domination have long been central components of the Russian system of personalised power. … With diminishing resources, the Kremlin has increasingly resorted to intimidating … liberal democracies into accepting Russia’s grand ambitions. At the same time, the country has to wrestle with … how to preserve its role as a global power without […]

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NEWSLINK: “Dearth of young diplomatic talent in Moscow sparks concern; ‘Old boys’ network’ steers Russia through worst stand-off with west since cold war” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

foreign-ministry-200

“… The Kremlin’s hesitation over … Ushakov throws a spotlight on the bureaucracy steering Moscow through its most serious stand-off with the west since the cold war and engineering the push to restore Russia’s global power status. It is an apparatus built under the Soviet Union and staffed by people whose skills were honed in the Soviet era. Russian diplomatic […]

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Putin Aims to Undermine Western Democracies With Election Meddling, Experts Say

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Ken Bredemeier – March 9, 2017) WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin is single-handedly trying to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe and rupture their decades-old NATO alliance by meddling in their elections, foreign affairs analysts and Estonia’s former president told a congressional hearing Thursday in Washington. One of the experts, Peter […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Will Russia rejoice if the EU falls apart? Unlikely”

EU Map

“The European Union’s persistent instability during the last two years has been exacerbated by the big unknown by the name of Trump. Today, there are five official scenarios for the EU’s future. With the EU reform effort in serious doubt, does Moscow have an opportunity, or challenge?”

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Putin’s Russia Seen Dominating European Gas for Two Decades

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Anna Shiryaevskaya – March 1, 2017) Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent. Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

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

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mutual Assured Deterrence” – Project-Syndicate/Sergei Karaganov

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Relations between Russia and the European Union, and with the EU’s close ally the United States, are increasingly fragile. There has been an effort to cope with shifting power dynamics in Europe by restoring the military-political divide between NATO and Russia – this time, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of where it was during the Cold War. But […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Study looks at free-trade-with-Russia scenario. Free trade between the EU and Russia could bring enormous benefits for both sides, a study by the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute suggests. Only, the Ukraine conflict still stands in the way.” – Deutsche Welle

EU Map

A free trade area for the European Union, Russia and other states would have economic advantages for all sides involved, according to model-based calculations by the Ifo research institute. … The study admits that a free trade agreement of this kind is barely conceivable as long as the Ukraine conflict remains unsettled and Western sanctions against Russia are in place. […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: SHOULD WE FEAR RUSSIA? [re: Dmitri Trenin]” – Paul Robinson/Irrussianality

Kremlin and River

“… Trenin’s answer to the question posed by his book is a bit of a ‘no’ and a bit of a ‘yes’. Russia isn’t a ‘threat’, he says, but its policies do pose a ‘challenge’ to the West, and are likely to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. ‘While most fears need to be put to rest’, he concludes, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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NEWSLINK: “German intelligence finds no evidence of Russian meddling; But authorities warned Russia has been on a ‘confrontational path’ since 2014 and its media is ‘hostile.'” – PoliticoEU/ESTHER KING

Map of Germany

“A year-long investigation into potential Russian interference with German politics has failed to uncover evidence of Kremlin-backed meddling, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Monday. German intelligence authorities found no concrete proof of disinformation campaigns targeting the government and have decided against publishing the 50-page report to avoid further straining relations with Moscow, according to SZ. …”

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NEWSLINK: “TODAY’S FEAR-MONGERING” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail newspaper writes some good op-eds. But like a lot of commentators he seems to go completely off the rails when the subject of Russia comes up. His latest piece entitled ‘Is Putin scoring political goals on an empty net?’ had me spluttering over my breakfast cereal this morning, and merits a detailed response.”

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NEWSWATCH: “Toward a New Equilibrium in U.S.-Russian Relations; The new administration must understand how Russia relates to American goals” – Thomas E. Graham/The National Interest

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

… Trump will face no more urgent foreign-policy task than developing a Russia policy. … The Russia We Face: The starting point for a new strategy is a clear understanding of how Russia relates to American goals. Its nuclear arsenal, vast natural resources and proximity to regions of undisputed strategic value …. Relations will focus on security matters …. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The sanctions on Russia are working, Mr. President: Don’t lift them prematurely” – The Hill/Alexander Vershbow

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… I have seen many U.S. presidents seek to engage … Russia. While it has never been easy, it was possible to find areas of common ground that increased the security of both sides — as long as the U.S. set clear objectives and stuck with them. … The sanctions are working. … Russia is interested in having sanctions removed. […]

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Russia, the Catalyst of Change

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

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – January 30, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti Regardless of what one can prove in the complicated story of Russian hackers meddling in the institutions of the United States, there is still a story to tell about Russian influence on the West. It has […]

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Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That’s Not Going to Be Easy

Donald Trump

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – January 27, 2017) No actor on the world stage was as publicly energized by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as Russia. At first glance, the support seemed entirely emotional. But there was also a rational interest: Trump was open to lifting sanctions, after all. Sanctions have had a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian retail slump clouds forecasts for economic recovery” – Reuters

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

Russian retail sales fell more than expected in December, official data showed on Wednesday, challenging the government’s optimistic predictions for an imminent economic recovery. Retail sales are the largest contributor to Russian gross domestic product and have suffered steep falls since the economy entered a deep slump in 2014, when oil prices collapsed and the West imposed sanctions over the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia shouldn’t pin hopes for lifting of sanctions on foreign elections – Medvedev” – RT/Russia Today

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

“‘It’s time to discard the illusions that any sanctions imposed on our country would be lifted. Obviously, they are there to stay for a long time. And don’t lay your hopes on someone else’s elections,’ [Medvedev] said Sunday, in a speech addressing a United Russia party meeting in Moscow. …”

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State Duma speaker deems CoE pressure over family violence decriminalization by Russia to be inadmissible

File Photo of Council of Europe Headquarters Building with Flags in Front

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin deems the pressure of Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland on Russia in connection with the law decriminalizing family violence to be inadmissible. “This is pressure, and it is inadmissible,” Volodin told the press on Wednesday. The State Duma adopted the amendments in first reading in January, and the […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the U.S. troop buildup in Europe”

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance? …”  

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RUSSIALINK: “What kind of Russia should the West fear? RD Interview: Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center explains how current misguided perceptions in both the United States and Russia could lead to a dangerous new geopolitical reality.” – Russia Direct

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

“… Russia should not be afraid of the West. A country like Russia can only be defeated by itself. Thus, it should be focused on dealing with its own weaknesses. In my view, NATO’s enlargement doesn’t create an existential threat for Russia and should be dealt with seriously, but calmly. The fear [of the West] is a very bad thing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Thousands of U.S. Troops En Route to Eastern Europe; Hundreds of tanks, fighting vehicles, and attack helicopters to be deployed in unprecedented operation” – Transitions Online

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“A massive movement of U.S. troops and materiel is underway, headed for Eastern Europe with one goal uppermost: ‘to deter Russian aggression.’ U.S. troops began offloading more than 2,000 pieces of equipment including Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles … [to] equip around 3,500 U.S. troops  … one of the largest movements of American forces in Europe since the end […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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Lift Russian Sanctions for ‘Positive Developments’ in Ukraine – OSCE Chair

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 9, 2017) Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has called on European leaders to begin lifting sanctions against Russia in exchange for “any positive development” in the Ukrainian crisis. Kurz, a politician for the Austrian People’s Party, claimed that the change in policy would “send a clear signal to Russia.” “My concept is clear. I […]

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Russian Central Bank Chief Nabiullina Named European Banker of the Year

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The British finance journal The Banker has named Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina as the European Central Bank Chairman of the year. The journal highlighted Nabiullina’s success in controlling Russia’s inflation rate. “The efforts of the Central Bank head has led to the fact that the rate of inflation by the […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry Appeals for NATO Reset

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The Russian Foreign Ministry has unexpectedly spoken out in favor of a reset with NATO. A representative of the Ministry said it denied seeing the NATO alliance as an anachronism, and expressed a desire to restore relations with the military bloc. “We need to build normal relations with NATO and renew what […]

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Rosneft Privatization Deal Closed As Italian Financing Comes Through

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The tumultuous privatization saga of Russia’s largest oil company appears to be drawing to a close. Swiss-British commodities trading firm Glencore and the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund have closed a deal to purchase 19.5 percent of state-controlled Rosneft, according to a statement on Glencore’s website. The news was followed by an announcement […]

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EVENT: Reminder: Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia | Thursday, January 12th at 9:00am [in Washington D.C.]

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

Subject: Reminder: Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia | Thursday, January 12th at 9:00am Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2017 From: Samuel Charap <Charap@iiss.org> The International Institute for Strategic Studies – Americas Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia Thursday, January 12, 9:00-10:00am IISS-AMERICAS BOOK LAUNCH 9:00-10:00am Discussion followed by […]

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Debates in the West about Putin Now Recall Those in Europe about Hitler in Mid-1930s, Ikhlov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 15, 2016) There has been a dramatic increase in the influence of pro-#Putin forces in the West in recent months, Yevgeny Ikhlov says; but at the same time, there has also emerged in Western societies a real horror about what the #Kremlin leader is doing in #Syria in general and in […]

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RBTH: Poles apart: Can the divisions between Russia and the West be bridged?

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

Russian and Western experts recently met in Moscow to discuss sensitive issues related to international politics in which Russia cannot find common ground with the U.S. and Europe: the expansion of NATO, the war in Syria and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – December 8, 2016) Russian and Western international […]

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Sanctions, economic pressure are increasingly used for political pressure – Putin

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Dec 7 (Interfax) – Russia should take into account the increase in the use of methods of economic and sanction pressure when working on its long-term economic strategy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Economic restrictions, pressure, and sanctions are being increasingly used for political purposes, under the guise of political purposes, often in competition. We should take these tendencies […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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Putin approves Russia’s new foreign policy blueprint

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(RIA Novosti – December 1, 2016) President Vladimir #Putin has signed a decree approving #Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept, state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported on 1 December. The key points of the document, according to RIA Novosti, are as follows: USA – The risk of a war, including a nuclear war, between the leading powers is low, but the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘We’re OUTBREEDING you!’ Putin taunts West as he unveils drive to boost Russian birth rate” – The Daily Express (UK)

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

… Putin… issued an extraordinary putdown to the West as he boasted that Russia was outbreeding its rivals and unveiled new scientific measures to up the country’s birth rate further still. … plans to roll out 94 “hi-tech” perinatal centres across the country during his annual address to parliament. … Putin pledged a series of measures, from scientific to social, […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Direct: “Does Putin really intend to restore the Soviet Union? RD Interview: Professor Richard Sakwa from the University of Kent talks about Russia’s foreign policy and explains why Russia is creating alternative regional institutions such as the Eurasian Economic Union.”

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

“Despite the deteriorating state of relations between Russia and the West, experts and politicians continue to search for ways out of the crisis. Many blame Russia and President Vladimir Putin for the desire to restore the Soviet Union and pursue an authoritarian path of development. However, as other experts argue, such perceptions stem from a misunderstanding of Russia’s interests, goals […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “DON’T MENTION THE WAR”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin approved a new ‘Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation’. Documents like this are aspirational; they reflect what a government would like to do, not what it is able to do. They are also for public consumption; their purpose is to send certain signals to the policy community, both inside and outside of government. Nevertheless, they are up […]

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How Russian Propaganda Really Works in the West

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – November 28, 2016) Until recently, the phenomenon of Russian government propaganda was only interesting to a small group of Russia experts, news junkies and counter-propaganda fundraisers. It was mainly seen as a tool for keeping Russians supportive of Vladimir Putin. No longer. Thanks to post-U.S. election blame games, and the upcoming election season […]

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russians warm towards West & favor rapprochement, poll shows”

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

“The latest poll has shown that the proportion of Russians who favor warmer and closer relations with Western nations is growing fast and has almost reached the historical maximum registered in 2000. …”

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Russians Want West to Make Up with Them and Don’t See Why Ukraine Should Be an Obstacle, New Poll Suggests

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 29, 2016) In presenting the latest Levada Center poll on Russian attitudes toward the West, the center’s Aleksey Grazhdankin says that a majority of Russians think that the initiative for improving East-West ties should come from the West and “do not understand why the actions of their country in Ukraine” have […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Replies to media questions following APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(Kremlin.ru – November 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin answered media questions following the working sessions of the economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Or good evening. Or good night already in Moscow. Let us get straight to your questions, without any introductory remarks. Please. Question: There was fear on the meeting’s sidelines […]

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Putinism a Greater Threat to the West than Soviet Communism Was

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2016) Putinism, as ideology and practice, is now a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was, a reality few in Western countries now recognize precisely because the Kremlin leader is making use, in the best tradition of the judo master he is, values and methods that are […]

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