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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Andrew Davies’ New ‘War and Peace’ Takes the Small Screen by Storm

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Des Brown – January 27, 2016) British screenwriter Andrew Davies is television’s best English literature lecturer. He introduced homicidal British Prime Minister Francis Urquhart to BBC viewers in the “House of Cards” trilogy between 1990 and 1995. Just over two decades ago, a wet-shirted Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy captured the national imagination in Davies’ […]

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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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to German newspaper Bild [Part 1]

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 11, 2016) [As published in Bild: bild.de/politik/ausland/wladimir-putin/russian-president-vladimir-putin-the-interview-44092656.bild.html] The interview was recorded on January 5, in Sochi. Question: Mr President, We have just marked the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War. Last year, we witnessed a great number of wars and crises across the world, something that had not happened for many years. What did […]

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100 Million Fewer People Speak Russian Now than Did 25 Years Ago

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia Staunton, December 26, 2015) The number of people who speak Russian has declined by 100 million since 1989 or 27 percent, according to Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Duma committee on compatriots and Eurasian integration. (In 1989, 370 million said they spoke Russian; now, 270 million do.) But instead of seeing this as […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/Eugene Rumer, Paul Stronski: “Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia at Twenty­Five-A Baseline Assessment”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace undertakes an overview of former Soviet states two-and-a-half decades following the USSR’s collapse. For nearly twenty-five years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the former Soviet lands now collectively referred to as Eurasia defied the best and the worst expectations of students of the region’s history. Unfortunately, […]

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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.”

Europe Map

(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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RIA Novosti : “Russian envoy: Raised focus on relations with China predates Western sanctions”

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(RIA Novosti – December 8, 2015) Russian ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Andrey Denisov has denied that Russia’s “eastward turn” – its visible attempt to improve relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, primarily China – was a response to the introduction of sanctions against Russia by several Western countries; rather, he said, it had been mooted over […]

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RBTH: “Russia can now ignore rulings by European human rights court”

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

The Russian State Duma has passed a law making it possible to recognize, upon a motion from the president or the government, some rulings by international courts as unenforceable in Russia. While critics say the law is aimed at limiting the powers of the European Court of Human Rights, an RBTH source says the state is merely defending its sovereignty […]

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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

Gas Flame file photo

(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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NEWSWATCH New York Times: “Russia’s Fury Over Montenegro and NATO”

File Photo of Montenegro Coastal City Kotor with Portion of Old Fortress, Town in Distance, Mountain

The New York Times comments upon Russia’s reaction to the prospect of Montenegro joining NATO. It is a measure of how cold the West’s relations with Russia have become that NATO’s membership invitation to Montenegro — a small, poor Balkan state with a military force of 2,000 and no strategic significance save putting the last bit of Europe’s Mediterranean coastline […]

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Got a Diplomatic Dilemma? Send in the Clowns

Clown file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Justin Lifflander – December 2, 2015) While some potential visitors have crossed Russia off their list, a group of humanitarian clowns still regards the country as an ideal destination. The 22nd annual clown tour of Russia, which ended last week, brought more than 40 garishly dressed volunteers from 12 countries, including those with problematic relations […]

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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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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Kevin Ryan: “Turkish Shootdown Shows Importance of NATO-Russia Dialogue”

NATO Meeting file photo

In the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft, Retired Brigadier General Kevin Ryan addresses the need for greater dialogue between NATO and Russia. It is important to recognize how serious the situation has become between Russia and NATO over the last two years. In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its activities in Ukraine, almost all operational communications between the militaries of NATO and Russia have been suspended. […]

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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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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”

EU Map

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

Middle East Map

(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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TRANSCRIPT: Victoria Nuland Remarks at the Berlin Security Conference

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(US Department of State – November 17, 2015) Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Berlin, Germany (As Prepared) Thank you, Reimer for that introduction. Thank you to: Mr. Uwe Proll; BSC Congress President, Ambassador Jiri Sedivy; Behorden Spiegel; and of course, Ambassador Emerson and the U.S. Embassy staff in Berlin for hosting us today. Ambassador Philippe […]

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‘A monstrous blow to European civilization’: Russia reacts to Paris attacks

Paris, France, View from Eiffel Tower

People in Russia are mourning together with the families and friends of those killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris, voicing their solidarity with the people of France. Russian politicians have urged unity in the face of the threat of international terrorism (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – November 15, 2015) Both the president and […]

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EU and Russia remain hostage to Ukrainian crisis as progress stalls

St. Basil's Domes

After modest progress made this fall on organizing elections in eastern Ukraine and the withdrawal of weaponry from the frontlines, talks on resolving the conflict in the Donbass region have again run into trouble, with the timeline for implementing the Minsk peace agreements to be extended into 2016. Where does this leave the peace process and is there a risk […]

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EVENT: The Ukraine Syndrome and European Monism with Dr. Richard Sakwa, Wednesday, November 18 in Washington, D.C.

File Photo of George Washington Bust at George Washington University

The Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) George Washington University The Ukraine Syndrome and European Monism with Dr. Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, England November 18, 2015 The crisis of state building and national development in Ukraine has deep roots and complex interactions, but ultimately the ‘Ukraine syndrome’ reflects the […]

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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!

Europe Map

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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NEWSWATCH Stars and Stripes: “Army chief: Russia threat demands review of Europe force posture”

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

Stars and Stripes reports on U.S. Army review of its European force posture in light of issues posed by Russia. The U.S. Army is reviewing its force structure in Europe, measuring everything from crisis-response capabilities to its mix of armor and infantrymen, as the service adapts to counter a revanchist Russia, the Army chief of staff said. Gen. Mark Milley, […]

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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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Containing The Putin Syndicate

Europe Map

(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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Exiled Russian Economist Reportedly Joining European Development Bank

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 15, 2015) A prominent Russian economics professor who fled the country two years ago is to be appointed chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), news agency Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Sergei Guriev has lived in self-imposed exile in Paris since 2013. He left […]

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Russian Branch of Ecology NGO Bellona Closes Over ‘Foreign Agent’ Status

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 14, 2015) Bellona Murmansk, a Russian branch of the Norwegian environmental organization, has closed down but hopes to re-establish itself soon in a new legal form, the NGO said on its website this week. “Bellona Murmansk will continue its work under a different kind of bureaucratic structure that will free it from the yoke […]

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