Interfax: Russia-U.S. disagreements over INF treaty not resolved so far because Washington unready to accommodate Moscow’s concerns – Ryabkov

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

MOSCOW. May 27 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry is still committed to the 1987 Treaty Between the United States of America and the Soviet Union on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The Russian Federation is committed to this treaty and abides by all of its provisions,” Ryabkov […]

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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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Was Russia’s First Bond Sale in 3 Years a Success?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – May 26, 2016) [Chart here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/was-russias-first-bond-sale-in-3-years-a-success/570254.html] Bidding opened suddenly on the morning of May 23. After a three-year absence from international markets, and with very little warning, Russia announced it wished to borrow billions of dollars. The Finance Ministry sought to help finance a yawning budget deficit caused by the low price […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. and Russia Plan for Conflict” – Stratfor

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

… In critical areas, including … Syria and Ukraine and arms control … both [the United States and Russia] would genuinely like to negotiate viable solutions. Nevertheless … mistrust … runs deep … vast differences of opinion and outright conflicts of interest will continue to undermine efforts …. With little hope of a positive outcome, the strategic decision-makers in Washington […]

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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

Russia Map

(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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Warning Of War, Ex-Deputy Commander Says NATO Must Counter ‘Russian Adventurism’ In Baltics

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Eugen Tomiuc – May 22, 2016) A former NATO deputy supreme commander is warning that the alliance could find itself in a full-fledged armed conflict with Russia within a year if it does not strongly step up its presence in the Baltic states. Retired British General Richard Shirreff set out the stark scenario in a book […]

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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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The West Shouldn’t Fear Russia’s ‘Hybrid Warfare’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 18, 2016) In the two years that have passed since Russia annexed Crimea, the expression “Russian hybrid warfare” has become a fixture in the Western political, media and academic lexicon. It’s a catch-all for Russian hostility — and a perfect mirror image of the Kremlin’s own paranoia about the West. The Atlantic […]

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A Euro ‘vision’ of discord: The reaction from Russia and Ukraine

Joseph Stalin file photo

Eurovision, Europe’s most popular song contest, has pitted Russia against Ukraine. The winning song and the results of the jury have prompted considerable commentary in both countries, turning an apolitical show into yet another frontline in an ongoing media war. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 17, 2016) The Eurovision 2016 winning […]

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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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Ukraine’s Free Trade Deal Was Just a Start

EU Map

(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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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia Resents Us” – Patrick Buchanan

Europe Map

… a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. … the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes. … Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it. […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Conventional arms race draws the world closer to state of brinkmanship. With NATO’s military buildup near Russian borders and signs of instability from the Middle East to East Asia, it’s no longer inconceivable that the great powers could find themselves involved in a conventional war.”

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NEWSWATCH: “The West needs to stop panicking about Russia’s “hybrid” warfare” – Vox/Mark Galeotti

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

… The fact is that Russian security discussions are dominated by an awareness of the country’s vulnerabilities to a stronger, richer, larger, more advanced West. Up to now, though, we have not let ourselves acknowledge our strengths. The greatest risk for the West is, after all, not its weakness of means but a perception of its weakness of will, both […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Lawmakers look to get tough on Russia” – The Hill

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian aggression will be high on lawmakers’ minds when the House Armed Services Committee meets Wednesday to mark up its annual defense policy bill. … the Russians have buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer, barrel rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane and warned the United States to steer clear of its territory. … committee members say there will be plenty in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Reasons to be hopeful after the Russia-NATO Summit. Russia and NATO renewed their dialogue for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, but the talks failed to produce any results. However, the very fact that the summit took place means a lot and gives reason to hope that the two sides can eventually find a compromise.”

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: “Chernobyl’s Silent Exclusion Zone (Except for the Logging)”

Chernobyl File Photo

  … on Ukraine’s dirtiest patch of land, Stop Corruption says, … under-the-table dealings of the bureaucrats who manage the area are flourishing … the group says, the Exclusion Zone Management Agency has turned a blind eye to … Chernobyl logging. The Zone of Alienation, as it is also known, is a rough circle with an 18-mile radius, fenced off […]

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Russia will watch for “adverse consequences” of Ukraine-EU deal – Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – April 21, 2016) Russia will only be “too happy” if Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU brings it economic stability and prosperity, but will take “balancing measures” if the deal has a negative impact on Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This topic rather concerns the EU and Ukraine. As regards the economic aspect, to the extent that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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Polish Minister Says Russia More Dangerous Than Islamic State

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

(RFE/RL – April 15, 2016) Poland’s foreign minister has said that Russia is an “existential threat” to European countries and is more dangerous than the Islamic State (IS) militant group. Speaking at a conference in Bratislava on April 15, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said “Russia’s activity is a sort of existential threat because this activity can destroy countries.” The migration […]

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Interfax: Less than half of Ukrainians support NATO membership – poll

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

(Interfax – April 16, 2016) Only 45% of the population support the idea of Ukraine’s joining NATO, as is seen from a public opinion poll. Asked how they would vote if a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO were held today, 45% of those polled said they would vote in favor of NATO membership, 30% would vote against it, 16% […]

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Putin doesn’t expect Western sanctions to be lifted soon, says Russia to keep countersanctions in place

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin does not expect the Western sanctions to be lifted from Russia in the near future. “I don’t think our partners will decide to lift the restrictions and limitations from our country in the near future,” Putin said during a Q&A session on Thursday. “Even though the Minsk Agreements on southeastern Ukraine […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Investors Starting to Show Interest in Russia Again: Credit Suisse.” – Reuters

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Investors are starting to look at Russia again after cutting off exposure amid geopolitical tensions two years ago, the head of Credit Suisse’s $60 million Russian Equity Fund said. There are no big inflows yet but a rebound in Russian stock markets in the past few months as the oil price and the rouble have picked up is encouraging interest […]

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Russia Wins Silent Victory Against Ukraine With Dutch ‘No’ Vote

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – April 8, 2016) The Netherlands on Thursday awoke to a post-election hangover dominated by questions over how to interpret the results of a plebiscite in which an overwhelming majority of voters opposed a trade deal between the EU and Ukraine that for years has been a source of conflict with Moscow. The […]

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RBTH: Dutch vote on Ukraine: Result will force Europe to ‘restrain’ ambitions

Europe Map

Most Russian media have welcomed the Dutch rejection of an EU association agreement with Ukraine, hoping that the results may not only affect the attitude of Europeans to Ukraine but also to force the EU to “restrain” its ambitions. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – April 7, 2016) Dutch voters have rejected the association agreement […]

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Dutch Voters Snub Kiev, Not Brussels

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 7, 2016) It’s easy to discount the outcome of Wednesday’s Dutch referendum on Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union as another sign of minority discontent with the European project. It has far more significance than that though, particularly for Ukraine: The faltering state has failed to gain support among ordinary Europeans, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Dutch referendum on Ukraine: A hard Dutch kick: Voting down the EU’s treaty with Ukraine would hand Vladimir Putin a win.” – The Economist

EU Map

… Yanukovych … succumbed to Russian pressure and renounced an association agreement with the European Union that he and his predecessors had spent six years negotiating. Many Ukrainians thought their country’s best hope for transforming itself from a corrupt gangster state into an orderly democracy … had been sacrificed on the orders of … Putin …. Thousands set up camp […]

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