U.S. Ambassador To Russia: NATO ‘Most Effective Defensive Alliance’ In History

John Tefft file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – June 27, 2016) The U.S. ambassador to Russia has tried to allay Moscow’s concerns about NATO’s intentions ahead of a crucial summit next week while offering an impassioned defense of the alliance, which he says has been forced to respond to Kremlin aggression in Ukraine. In a June 27 interview with the Russian-language services of RFE/RL […]

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Moscow a safe haven? Brexit erodes perceptions of political risk

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – NATASHA DOFF, KSENIA GALOUCHKO – June 28, 2016) Britain’s vote to quit the European Union has flipped perceptions of global political risk on their head. Brazil’s new government and Russia’s isolation represent a buying opportunity for Europe’s biggest asset manager as political chaos across the continent erodes developed economies’ traditional haven status. Even before the Brexit […]

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RBTH: Four possible effects of Brexit on Russia’s economy

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Rather than being a boon, UK’s possible exit from the EU could cast the Russian economy into troubled waters. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, KIRA EGOROVA, RBTH – June 27, 2016) Despite Russia being called one of Brexit’s possible beneficiaries, in reality the UK’s potential exit from the EU poses more risks for the Russian economy […]

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Interfax: United Russia intends to work on normalizing relations with EU

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MOSCOW. June 27 (Interfax) – The party United Russia stated Russia’s economic development, resumption of active contacts with the European Union and partnership with its neighbors as priorities in its election program. “In the upcoming political cycle, we will actively work on normalizing our relations with the EU,” the party said in its political program approved at the congress in […]

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RBTH: How would Russia have voted in Brexit referendum?

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

As Britain prepares to decide whether to leave the EU, experts weigh in on what Russia has to gain and lose from Brexit. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – June 22, 2016) As the British people prepare to cast their votes in the most fateful vote in a generation – a ballot that has the […]

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The trap of “countering Russia”; Across eastern Europe, U.S. engagement against Russia is having an adverse effect on grassroots protesters – and no easy solution is forthcoming

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – June 23, 2016) Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist Poland: Generations […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Heads to China to Cement Ties, but Obstacles Remain” – AP

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With … Putin heading to China this weekend, officials in both countries extoll a blossoming ‘strategic partnership’ …. But despite Moscow’s push to strengthen ties with Beijing amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, Russia-China trade has shrunk sharply and a slew of ambitious projects have remained largely on paper. Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing’s hard-nosed […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

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Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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No, Russia is not preparing for all-out war; Russia’s snap military mobilisation drills are an internal exercise. But troublesome relations with the west could still have unintended (and unpleasant) consequences.

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – June 21, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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Putin Understands West but West Doesn’t Understand Putin, Moscow Hybrid War Specialist Says

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Russia’s power does “not even come close” to that of the US, Andrey Manoylo says; but Moscow has an advantage “right now” because it understands the value of “asymmetric action” and because “the US clearly has difficulties with predicting Russia’s activities,” because of Washington’s overly simplistic models of Russian […]

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Putin’s New Friendship Offensive Won’t Work Abroad or at Home, Shevtsova Says

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s “main message” at the St. Petersburg economics conference that Moscow “again wants to be friends” with the West will not work either in the West, which has been transformed by the Kremlin leader’s aggressiveness, or at home among Russians because he depends on continued anti-Western mobilization, Liliya […]

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Putin’s Reliance on American Commerce Has Never Been Greater

File Photo of Boeing 747, adapted from image at navy.mil

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – June 15, 2016) U.S. becomes Russia’s No. 5 partner as trade war hits EU worse Boeing, Cargill, Yum! lead U.S. companies expanding in Russia President Vladimir Putin loves to reel off statistics, but here’s one he may not trumpet at his annual investment forum in St. Petersburg this week: Russia’s reliance […]

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International Economic Forum opens in St. Petersburg

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian observers expect dialogue and possible progress on the softening of EU sanctions against Russia from the forum, as well as Gazprom and Shell’s joint launch of an enormous LNG plant in Russia’s northwest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 16, 2016) Leading world economists have gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

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(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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Don’t ignore the left! Connections between Europe’s radical left and Russia; Europe’s radical left is connected personally and politically to the Kremlin

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

(opendemocracy.net – Péter Krekó, Lóránt Győri – June 13, 2016) Péter Krekó is the Director of Political Capital Institute, a think-tank based in Budapest, Hungary. He is also an assistant professor at ELTE University, and a co-chair of the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network Prevention working group. Lóránt Győri is an analyst at the Political Capital Institute. The fact that many […]

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Getting Each Other Wrong

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – June 14, 2016) Politicians have to walk the walk in order to be credible. This is even more true in today’s world, given the rise of populist demagoguery and the sorry state of trust between the most important players. The dialogue taking place between Russia, the U.S., […]

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Russians believe policy should not change under sanctions

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(Interfax – June 8, 2016) Most Russians (71 percent) are expecting the European Union to extend sanctions against Russia this summer, and 15 percent claim the opposite, the Levada Center told Interfax. Fourteen percent of 800 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on May 27-30 could not predict what the European authorities would do. The share of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “America Needs to Break its Old Habits on Russia. Washington’s strategy is a relic of a bygone era.” – The National Interest/Thomas Graham

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

… there should be no doubt that the goal that had animated policy since the end of the Cold War … slow but steady integration of Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community — is beyond reach. Russia is no longer interested, if it ever was. Its ambition is to fortify itself as an independent great power based in central Eurasia. It […]

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NEWSLINK “RBTH/Gazeta.ru/Fyodor Lukyanov: “Will Russia integrate into the Western world, post-sanctions? Recent overtures by top EU and German officials usher in hopes that relations between Moscow and the West could be on the verge of a turn for the better – but the real question is what direction Russia will take after sanctions are lifted and the tensions have abated.”

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RBTH: Political division over Ukraine sets scene for thaw in Russia-EU relations

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The release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko by Moscow and hints in Germany of a relaxation on sanctions, as well as positive overtures toward Russia by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, have raised real hopes that Russia and the EU may be ready to start rebuilding their relationship. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald – May 31, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Step-by-Step Rapprochement. Germany Considers Easing of Russia Sanctions. Standing tough on Russia remains official policy, but Germany has begun working on the careful easing of sanctions imposed following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. The US is opposed, but many in the EU could support the new approach.” – Der Spiegel

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… What Merkel didn’t say … is that behind the scenes, her government has long since developed concrete plans for a step-by-step easing of the sanctions against Russia and that the process could begin as early as this year. … the message has been that the trade and travel restrictions will only be lifted once all the provisions foreseen by […]

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OPPORTUNITIES: Research fellow openings at Centre for East European and International Studies (Zentrum für Osteuropa – und internationale Studien)

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Subject: Job advert Date: Mon, 30 May 2016 From: Lejly Agamuradova <agamuradova@dgo-online.org> Job advert Centre for East European and International Studies (Zentrum für Osteuropa- und internationale Studien) The German Bundestag has allocated funds to enhance expertise on Russia and Eastern Europe in Germany. On this basis, the Federal Government is establishing the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) […]

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There is hope Russia, EU can take relations trajectory consistent with interests of their countries – Peskov

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MOSCOW. May 30 (Interfax) – There is hope for an improvement of Russia-EU relations, and the participation of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum can help that, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “On the whole, the subject of Russia-EU relations has paramount importance, relations with the European Union are still crucial for the […]

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Ukraine’s New Hope

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 25, 2016) So after holding her in captivity for 708 days, the Kremlin has finally released its most famous hostage. And as a result, Ukraine might have gained something it has long lacked — and badly needs: a political figure with clear and unambiguous moral authority; someone unsullied by the past and […]

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What is causing the conflict in Ukraine?

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

Understanding the economic roots of rebellion in eastern Ukraine suggests that the resolution to the crisis must address restoring economic and political justice. (opendemocracy.net – Tymofiy Mylovanov – May 25, 2016) Tymofiy Mylovanov is the interim President of the Kyiv School of Economics, and Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh. He received his economics PhD from the University of Wisconsin, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with French business community representatives

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with French business community representatives. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, Let me welcome you all to Moscow. It is a great pleasure to meet the members of the Economic Council of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. France is without a doubt one of our longstanding […]

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Russia Hails Eurobond Triumph as Traders Ask: Who Bought It?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Lyubov Pronina – May 25, 2016) Russia hailed its sale of $1.75 billion of Eurobonds as a triumph in the face of sanctions and “unprecedented pressure” from U.S. and European Union governments. While Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the deal showed foreigners have “trust” in Russia, investors expressed concern the bond won’t be admitted […]

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The Futility of Dialogue With Putin

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

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 100 – Pavel K. Baev – May 23, 2016) The need to keep the channels of dialogue open with an unpredictable Russia is taken as an absolute imperative by many Western politicians. But they are often surprised when this tactic backfires. The foreign ministers of the member states of […]

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Degradation of Russian Elites Underlies Russia’s Decline, Pastukhov Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) “The thinning out of the Russian ‘cultural stratum’ and, as a result, the degradation of elites who have turned out to be incapable of responding to new historical challenges,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, is the underlying cause of the current decline of the country. All other causes, technological, societal and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO finalizes military build-up to counter Russia” – AFP

NATO Meeting file photo

NATO foreign ministers were … finalising the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. … [At] a “landmark” summit … in July … NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states as part of a “deter […]

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Economy Minister Says Russia Out of Recession More Than Six Months

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 20, 2016) The Russian economy has been out of recession for more than six months, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said during a briefing at the Russia-ASEAN summit on Friday, the TASS news agency reported. Russia’s GDP may perform better than the official forecast, which predicted a decline of 0.2 percent, Ulyukayev said, attributing […]

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Eurovision meets its Waterloo as Russia-Ukraine rivalry takes center stage

Joseph Stalin file photo

While Russian officials lost no time in lashing out over Ukraine’s Eurovision victory with a song about the Stalinist deportations of the Crimean Tatars, the results of the public vote suggest that Russia-Ukrainian enmity doesn’t extend to the general public. But the overtly political nature of the winning song may mark a watershed for the competition. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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Is NATO’s antimissile defense system in Europe a threat to Russia?

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

Moscow has called the American antimissile defense system in Romania a threat to its security. Washington and Brussels insist that the system is not aimed at Russia and is helpless against Russian missiles. But is this true? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – May 16, 2016) The first American antimissile defense system on European soil, […]

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Interfax: Federation Council not ruling out deployment of U.S. missile defense shield in Romania may influence New START Treaty’s fate

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

MOSCOW. May 13 (Interfax) – The activation of a Romania-based facility of the U.S. missile defense shield and the further deployment of this shield in Eastern Europe may influence Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in 2010, Frants Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council, […]

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RBTH: Peace in Donbass no closer as Kiev and Moscow refuse to give ground

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

Talks in Berlin between the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine have failed to provide a breakthrough on the resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with the issue of elections continuing to be a sticking point. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – May 12, 2016) The two-year-old conflict between government forces and […]

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Ukraine’s Free Trade Deal Was Just a Start

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 11, 2016) Ukraine’s free trade agreement with the European Union was so controversial that it caused the former Soviet republic’s break with Russia, which had opposed the closer ties with Europe. Several months in, it looks like the deal is benefiting the EU more than it is helping Ukraine. That doesn’t mean […]

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Interfax: Target for U.S. missile shield in Europe still important issue, Russia sees it as threat – Kremlin spokesman

Mssile Defense Control Room

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) – It is still important to clarify against whom the U.S.’ missile defense system in Europe is being deployed, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “It was first explained quite elaborately by a missile threat that could potentially emanate from Iran,” Peskov told journalists on Thursday. “Now we know that the Iran situation has changed […]

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Why is NATO once again talking of deterring ‘resurgent Russia’?

NATO Meeting file photo

Recent comments by high-ranking U.S. military officials show that the West is continuing to support the idea of a military build-up in Eastern Europe to “deter” Russia. What’s behind these statements? Some believe that the groundwork is being laid to change the balance of power in Eastern Europe in the West’s favor. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXÉI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The danger of Russian disinformation” – Washington Post/Anne Applebaum, Edward Lucas

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

…authoritarian regimes, led by Russia but closely followed by China, have begun investing heavily in the production of alternatives. Because national media is often weak, it has become far easier for channels such as RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik (a Russian “news” agency) to establish credibility in smaller European markets. … even in larger countries, the Russian use of […]

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Kyiv Must Reject West’s Calls to Change Constitution and Hold Elections in Occupied Donbas, Piontkovsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 7, 2016) Kyiv must reject calls by Berlin and Paris to change the Ukrainian constitution and allow elections in the occupied Donbas because these calls, which reflect Moscow’s exploitation of the desire of the two European leaders to be seen as peace makers, would result in the destruction of the Ukrainian […]

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Why Gazprom’s ‘Monopoly’ in Europe is Far from Over

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Ilana Stav – April 4, 2016) The first U.S. shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) arrived in Portugal last week and Gazprom did not immediately cut its own gas prices for Europe. While European media has hailed the entry of U.S. gas into the market as a game-changer and a monopoly-breaker, in the short term, nothing has changed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Worst may be over for Russia, risks rising in central Europe: IMF”

Europe Map

The worst of the economic slump in Russia may be over the International Monetary Fund said on Friday, but warned possible euro zone stagnation and shifting politics made central Europe’s prospects increasingly uncertain. … Using forecasts produced last month, it said growth in the central channel from Poland down to Turkey would remain as healthy as 3-4 percent this year, […]

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