War Fever

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Jill Dougherty – July 18, 2016) Jill Dougherty is an expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union. In her three-decade career with CNN she served as Foreign Affairs Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C.,where she covered the State Department and provided analysis on international issues. The Russia File is happy to welcome Jill Dougherty as […]

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Nothing To Fear

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – July 18, 2016) So the big talking point coming out of the Kremlin is that NATO is overreacting to a non-existent Russian threat. According to Moscow, rotating just four combat battalion groups, a total of 4,000 troops, on the alliance’s eastern frontier constitutes a “provocation.” According to Vladimir Putin’s regime, […]

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Despite Putin Jibes, Russia Places Hope In ‘Brexiteer’ Boris Johnson

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, July 14, 2016) In a single sentence, he once called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “manipulative tyrant” and likened him to the big-eared, bug-eyed “house elf” from the Harry Potter series. But the surprise appointment of Boris Johnson to head the British Foreign Office is being cautiously welcomed by Moscow — and […]

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NATO-Russia Council: From High Hopes To Broken Dreams

NATO Meeting File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Charles Recknagel – July 12, 2016) When the NATO-Russia Council meets in Brussels on July 13, it will be as a shadow of its former self. As ambassadors gather at NATO headquarters, their agenda will be limited to discussing only political issues because all the council’s cooperative programs have been suspended. And where once the talk […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO, Russia to Discuss Increased Baltic Tensions. Russia promises troop buildup in response to 4,000-strong Western force” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Russian officials pushed a new air-safety initiative for the Baltic Sea in a meeting with [NATO] ambassadors … as they continued to criticize [NATO’s] planned buildup in the region. … [a proposal that] would require all planes flying in the Baltic Sea region to operate with their transponders turned on … … allied officials welcomed [the proposal] saying it could […]

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RBTH: NATO moving its troops closer to Russia but wants dialogue with Moscow

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

Russian military experts have summed up NATO’s actions as “they want peace but prepare for war,” adding, however, that Moscow will not be taking retaliatory measures against the alliance following its latest summit in Warsaw. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, ALEXANDRA YELFACHEVA, RBTH – July 12, 2016) The North Atlantic Alliance is to deploy four additional […]

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NATO Can Reduce the Threat of Escalation With Russia

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 7, 2016) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit starting in Warsaw on Friday will probably lead to increased — and unnecessary — tension between NATO and Russia. Yet it may also yield good results: Acknowledging the increased hostility might make it possible for the two sides to ensure there are fewer dangerous […]

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NEWSWATCH: Ukraine’s Poroshenko: “‘We believe in Europe’; Memories of war and oppression are short in the EU, as Brexit shows. Not in Ukraine.” – Petro Poroshenko/Politico.eu

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

Writing in Politio.eu, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addresses the UK’s exit from the EU and Ukraine’s professed ongoing commitment to European unity. These aren’t the easiest days for a united Europe. Both Eastern and Western Europe are suffering from Brexit fever. The destiny of those who want to be out has been decided – just like the destiny of those […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO Set to Approve Baltic Force at Warsaw Summit; Alliance officials say they are uncertain how Russia’s Putin will respond” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prepares to kick off its summit here Friday, allies are casting a wary eye on Russia and its reaction to the expected approval of a new alliance force in the Baltic. … described by some as the most important gathering of NATO since the end of the Cold War … will authorize the presence […]

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We Are Right, You Are Wrong: Russia’s Response to Brexit

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – June 29, 2016) 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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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Baltic outpost digs in for standoff with NATO” [Kaliningrad] – Reuters

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Russia and NATO are each building up their military capability across eastern Europe, spurred by the conflict in Ukraine …. For Russia, a strategic centerpiece is … Kaliningrad … a small piece of Russian territory sandwiched between NATO members Poland and Lithuania, allowing the Kremlin to project its military power into the alliance’s northern flank. … there was ample visible […]

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Russian Oil Exports Set for Record as Europe Competition Grows

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman and Dina Khrennikova – July 3, 2016) Russian crude exports are on track to set a record this year, which is intensifying competition in Europe as Iran boosts shipments to the region. Exports rose 4.9 percent to 5.55 million barrels a day in the first half of the year from the same period in […]

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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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Former U.S. Defense Officials Warn Of Russian Response To NATO Summit

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – June 23, 2016) WASHINGTON — A former top U.S. Defense Department official has warned that the buildup of NATO troops in Eastern Europe, and Russia’s own troop movements along its western borders, are deepening the risk of an accidental outbreak of war. The comments on June 23 by Ian Brzezinski, deputy assistant secretary […]

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

EU Map

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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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

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

EU Map

(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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How the reporting of the British media changed during the Marseille cashes

Rotating Soccer Ball

Subject: How the reporting of the British media changed during the Marseille cashes Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 ) From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Being French, having lived in England for half of my life, and being Russophile, I followed the Marseille streetfight events and the way they were reported in the British press with a special interest. In the France […]

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

EU Map

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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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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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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NEWSATCH: “Will Any More European Powers Contribute to NATO’s Eastern Force?” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Now that the U.S. is only sending one—not two—battalions for the alliance military force on the eastern flank, there is a big question regarding which country will fill the void. … [NATO] has been working on a plan to step up its deterrence of Russia by creating a force of about 4,000 troops, a battalion for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania 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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