William Hill: “New Book: No Place for Russia: European Security Institutions Since 1989”

Europe Map

Subject: New Book: No Place for Russia: European Security Institutions Since 1989 Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2018 From: William Hill <williamhhill@gmail.com> I believe the following will be of interest to many of your readers, and would be grateful if you could include it in JRL. As of today (August 14, 2018) my new book — William H. Hill, No Place […]

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Nigel Gould-Davies: “BOFIT Policy Brief: Assessing Western Sanctions”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Subject: BOFIT Policy Brief: Assessing Western sanctions Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2018 From: Nigel Gould-Davies <nigelgd.office@gmail.com In case of interest to JRL, my policy brief for the Bank of Finland’s Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT) on “Economic effects and political impacts: Assessing Western sanctions on Russia”, just published: helda.helsinki.fi/bof/bitstream/handle/123456789/15832/bpb0818.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Abstract: This brief assesses the effectiveness of Western sanctions on […]

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Growing Russian Sympathy for West a Bigger Problem for Kremlin than Regime’s Declining Ratings, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 4, 2018) According to a new Levada Center poll, 68 percent of Russians do not want to live in “‘a besieged fortress’ and fight with the West but instead want to a rapprochement with the West, a change in attitudes with more far-reaching consequences than the declining popular ratings of Vladimir […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Can’t Split Russia From China – Yet; As Beijing gets stronger, there may be hope for a Kissingerian maneuver” – Bloomberg/Hal Brands

Asia Map

“… In the long term, China represents the larger threat to U.S. interests, as a result of its vast economic and military potential. Yet in the near term … Putin has proved himself to be the more dangerous and disruptive actor. The Russian leader has launched three major military interventions over the last decade – in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Almost 80% of Belarusians don’t have negative attitude towards EU – poll” – Interfax

Belarus Map

MINSK. July 30 (Interfax) – Belarusian citizens have a positive or neutral attitude in general towards the European Union, according to a poll conducted by the project EU Neighbors East. Thus, 34% of polled Belarusian citizens described their attitude toward the EU as “positive”, 43% “neutral” and 18% “negative.” Respondents’ positive associations with the EU are human rights (67%), freedom […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Roads Could Win or Lose a War With Russia; Amid cries to increase NATO defense spending, many see investments in heavy vehicles and good roads as ways to deter Russia” – Popular Mechanics

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

“As Russia rises in Eastern Europe, the best deterrence against Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical ambitions may not be more tanks and missiles, but new roads that can carry heavy civilian transport vehicles. That could solve NATO’s big problem, which is the inability to get vehicles and supplies where they’re needed fast. Roads Win Wars: The strategic challenge for NATO is easy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S.-Russia Relations are Stuck on Repeat; Both Trump and Putin are now locked into narratives about what did (or did not) happen that prevent this issue from being dealt with-and this holds the entire rest of the bilateral agenda hostage” – The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev

“… the United States has not altered its position that Crimea remains a part of Ukraine and continues to deny any recognition that … annexation … [by Russia] was legal. … the United States has not, as a result of the Helsinki meeting, agreed to stop providing Ukraine with weapons or to cease the training of the Ukrainian military. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “These Are the High Stakes of the NATO and Trump-Putin Summits; Trump and America’s allies must stand firm while also not sleep-walking into war” – The National Interest/Peter Zwack

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… The Russian meeting is preceded by Trump’s fraught attendance at the … NATO[] summit and a next-day visit to an uneasy United Kingdom. … Every foreign power – not least, China – will watch closely. * * * This is a crisis, and it’s time for both sides of America’s domestic political scene to display unity. The United States […]

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NEWSLINK: “Are Russia’s soccer fans dangerous? In the West, many people are wondering if mass brawls among fans will mark the World Cup in Russia” – Deutsche Welle

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Russian fans have a negative image in Europe, with many remembering the riots in Marseille during the 2016 European Cup.”  

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Pushes NATO to Ready More Forces to Deter Russian Threat” – Reuters

NATO Meeting file photo

“The United States is pressing European allies to ready more NATO battalions, ships and planes for combat … to shore up NATO’s deterrence against a potential Russian attack. … seek[ing] broad agreement for the plan … when … defense ministers meet, laying the ground for endorsement by NATO leaders at a [July] summit …. [envisioning] 30 land battalions, 30 air […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia woos a Europe feuding with U.S. over tariffs, Iran” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

EU Map

“The scene at [SPIEF:] … Putin … flanked by French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. * * * Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from the [EU] … and warned … U.S. sanctions might be imposed on European companies participating in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too [Excerpt]” – Russia Matters/Morena Skalamera

Gas Flame file photo

[Full text: russiamatters.org/analysis/transformed-gas-markets-fuel-us-russian-rivalry-europe-plays-key-role-too; This article first appeared on the Russia Matters website, russiamatters.org, with the title “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too”] “This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid […]

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Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tim Daiss – May 28, 2018) There’s been a lot of talk on both sides of the Atlantic about the U.S. pivot and efforts at locking in natural as market share in Europe. Much of this comes amid President Donald Trump’s so-called American energy independence push as well as both U.S. and several EU members thrust to wean […]

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Europe Buys More Russian Gas Despite Strained Relations

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – May 8, 2018) The West-Russia relations have reached a new low since the Cold War amid the spy poisoning scandal in the UK, allegations of Russian meddling in elections, and fresh U.S. sanctions on Russia. Yet European countries continue to buy increased amounts of Russian gas, and Russia’s state-held gas giant Gazprom is boosting production […]

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NEWSLINK: “NATO Prepares for War With Russia With Simulated Naval and Cyberattacks” – Newsweek/Cristina Maza

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… As tensions ratchet up between Moscow and the West, NATO countries, especially those like Estonia that border Russia, are increasingly preparing for the worst. The Locked Shields live-fire cyber exercise is a key part of that preparation. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Misplaced Fears Over Nord Stream 2; Nord Stream 2 provides another reliable route for transporting gas to Europe, nothing more, nothing less.” – The National Interest/Klaus Schäfer, Mario Mehren, Rainer Seele

Gas Flame file photo

“… The European gas market has … modernized and liberalized over the last decade. …. The Third Energy Package put in place a well-developed, intra-European framework of hubs that allows gas to flow freely in multiple directions from a variety of points of origin. … allow[ing] European consumers to buy gas from whomever they wish … [it] simply does not […]

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Russia Tells Its Study-Abroad Students: It’s Time To Come Home

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 17, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-tells-its-study-abroad-students-it-s-time-to-come-home/29173184.html) A Russian government agency is calling on Russians studying at universities abroad to come home to continue their studies, a campaign that appears tied to the sharp downward spiral in relations between Moscow and the West. Rossotrudnichestvo, which is tasked with overseeing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Trade With the West Surges Even as Sanctions Mount; Last year’s increase, three years after penalties tied to annexation of Crimea, shows limits of curbs in longer term” – Wall Street Journal/Andrea Thomas, James Marson, Stefan Lange

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

” …. The U.S. and Europe’s largest nations, including France and Germany, saw exports to and imports from Russia skyrocket in 2017 after three years of decline. … at their highest levels since 2014, the year Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea …. The turnaround could be short-lived. … [After] Washington … unveiled fresh sanctions … in the latest U.S. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian officials accuse West of fomenting new Cold War” – AP

Sergei Shoigu file photo

“Top Russian defense and security officials on Wednesday launched diatribes at the West, accusing it of fomenting a new Cold War in a bid to retain waning influence in global affairs. Moscow used an annual security conference attended by top defense officials from Asia, Africa and Latin America to harshly criticize the U.S. and its allies …. Russia-West relations have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia and NATO: Talking Their Way Out of Another Cold War” – Bloomberg/James Stavridis

NATO Meeting file photo

“… Tactically, the two generals need to create an effective regime to avoid unintended confrontations between NATO and the Russians. … aircraft and ships have been on collision courses …. there have probably also been close … interactions under the ice in the Arctic. The two leaders should see that their staffs confer on ways to reduce the potential for […]

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Interfax: Russian foreign policy expert says relations with West at new low [Fyodor Lukyanov]

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

(Interfax – March 26, 2018) Relations between Russia and the West have reached an unprecedented crisis, according to the head of an influential Russian foreign affairs think-tank. Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, was commenting on the expulsion of diplomats from EU countries and the USA in response to the Skripal poisoning. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Factbox: Diplomatic Moves Against Russia After Nerve Gas Attack” – Reuters

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

“Following are diplomatic measures announced against #Russia by the United States, Canada, several EU countries and Ukraine in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent with military-grade nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s been waging war on the West for years. We just haven’t noticed. It’s way past time for the United States and its allies to get serious about Putin’s aggression.” – Washington Post/Max Boot

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

“… The war arguably began in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, a pro-Western country that sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and was anxious to join NATO. Rather than punishing Vladimir Putin for his aggression, the Obama administration later responded with a “reset” of relations. …”

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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What does the flight of a controversial news editor tell us about press freedom in Ukraine? After the editor-in-chief of a controversial (and anonymously funded) website flees for Vienna, there are questions to answer – both for Ukraine’s authorities and the editor.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Brian Milakovsky – March 8, 2018) Brian Milakovsky lives in eastern Ukraine where he works on post-conflict economic recovery. He has worked on ecological and humanitarian issues in Ukraine and Russia since 2009. Kyiv is abuzz with the news that the editor-in-chief of several popular and controversial media outlets has fled Ukraine and asked for political asylum in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine maintains gas transit to Europe despite new gas war with Russia” – Intellinews/Ben Aris

Gas Flame file photo

“Fears that Russia would stop sending transit gas to its European customers via Ukraine were not borne out over the weekend despite Russian state own gas monopolist Gazprom’s announcement that it was going to break its contracts with its Ukrainian counter party Naftogaz on March 2. Naftogaz immediately announced emergency measures, calling on Ukrainians to turn down the thermostat, switching […]

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NEWSLINK: “COPENHAGEN CONFERENCE” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

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

“… I participated in a conference in Copenhagen to launch a book entitled ‘The New Cold War’, edited by Danish MP Marie Krarup and consisting of interviews she conducted with 17 experts about Russian-Western relations. … I spoke straight after the defence minister. I made three main points … “

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NEWSWATCH: “Averting the U.S.-Russia Warpath; Even as U.S.-Russian tensions have risen, fundamental shifts in the military-technological environment threaten to erode strategic stability between the two nations.” – The National Interest/ James N. Miller, Richard Fontaine, Alexander Velez-Green

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“For nearly twenty years following the end of the Cold War, military confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation seemed implausible. … Before the first decade of the new century had passed, however, Russian officials were accusing the United States of working to isolate Russia. Such apprehensions have mounted steadily in Russia …. Russian behavior, including interventions in […]

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Interfax: Medvedev: U.S. seeks to oust Russian companies from European market by putting them on different lists

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

SOCHI. Feb 15 (Interfax) – The United States is seeking to oust Russian companies from European market by including them in different lists, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “Why are they doing so? For purely pragmatic reasons, this is because they want to promote their companies to European market, but, saying it straightforwardly, Europe and the U.S. are now […]

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NEWSLINK: “Expansion, Sanctions, and Opposition-Promotion: the West’s Failed Russian Transformation Strategy” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/ Gordon M. Hahn

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“… The West’s post-Ukraine crisis sanction meanwhile are intended to undermine the regime from above. The hope in Washington and Brussels is that by pressuring state and private oligarchs close to Putin or the Kremlin, some may withdraw their support and seek either to remove Putin in a coup or join the opposition and remove him in a revolution or […]

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NEWSLINK: “Richard Sakwa: The Key Challenge for Russia is to Avoid Inflicting Damage on Itself” – Rethinking Russia/Richard Sakwa Interviewed by Pavel Koshkin

“Rethinking Russia sat down with University of Kent’s Professor Richard Sakwa to discuss his new book Russia Against The Rest, its relations with the West, its role in a new world order as well as its greatest challenges in 2018. … On Jan. 30, The U.S. Treasury released the Kremlin Report, which contains a list of 220 Russian officials and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “From the Czech Republic, a warning for our midterms: The Russians are still meddling” – Washington Post editorial

Maps of Czech Republic and Environs, adapted from images at CIA.gov

“Milos Zeman … [Czech] president … speaks and acts as if he were a pure Russian agent. … defend[ing] the seizure and annexation of Crimea … den[ying] the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine … call[ing] for the lifting of all sanctions …. he reiterated his proposal that Czechs vote in a referendum on whether to remain in NATO […]

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Interfax: New U.S. nuclear doctrine is next step to build infrastructure enabling global strike on Russia – MP Slutsky

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – The United States’ new nuclear doctrine is aimed at protecting the infrastructure which is being created in Europe to enable a strike on Russia, the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Leonid Slutsky said on Facebook. “It’s hardly a revelation that the U.S. is building comprehensive infrastructure to support Prompt Global Strike. Under the pretext […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia has been meddling in foreign elections for decades. Has it made a difference?” – Washington Post/ Lucan Ahmad Way, Adam Casey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Russia has been intervening in foreign elections for decades. Has it been effective? …. we put together and examined a data set of all 27 Russian electoral interventions since 1991. …  First wave: In the former Soviet states, 1991 to 2014 … Second wave: in Western democracies, 2014 to now …. It’s true that Russia has been increasingly trying to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Gazprom gas exports to Europe rise 8% to new record” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s gas exports to Europe rose 8.1 per cent last year to a record level of 193.9bn cubic metres (bcm), the company’s head said … as the world’s largest gas producer continued to increase sales despite rising competition from LNG and other sources. Gazprom … has a monopoly over Russia’s gas pipelines to Europe [and] has been forced to reduce […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia to Keep Its Grip on Europe’s Gas Market After Record 2017” – Bloomberg/ Elena Mazneva

Gas Facility file photo

“Russia is working to keep natural gas exports to Europe near record levels in 2018 after the continent’s biggest supplier, Gazprom PJSC, said its deliveries this year signal it is achieving on its ambitions to expand. …”  

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85 Percent of Poor Russian Cities Located in Europe, Research Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 22, 2017) More than four out of five large Russian cities dependent on Moscow’s financial assistance are located in European Russia, according to new research by the Strelka Consulting Bureau. Russia’s so-called “Robin Hood” tax system subsidizes the nation’s poorer regions by reallocating tax revenues from wealthier regions. A mere 14 of 85 Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kennan Cable No. 29: U.S. Sanctions Law and Western Coordination on Russia Policy” – Kennan Institute/ Dominik Tolksdorf

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“The United States and the European Union have coordinated their sanctions against Russia for more than three years. In July 2017 the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed additional sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea that were signed into law by President Trump on August 2. The legislation was drafted in the context of the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. […]

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Moscow does not rule out U.S.’s plans to secede from INF Treaty, pledges instant mirrored response

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

MOSCOW. Dec 19 (Interfax) – Moscow believes that the United States is looking for a pretext to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and is pledging an instant mirrored response, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov, told Interfax in an interview on Tuesday. “The stubborn reluctance [of Washington] to support its […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Military and NATO May Now Target Russia With Cyber Weapons, Marking Huge Policy Change” – Newsweek/ Tom O’Connor

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… NATO’s recent decision to integrate cyber warfare into its command  … represents a stark 21st-century warning to foes, especially Russia …. Capitalizing on the multinational coalition’s recognition of cyberspace as a theater of operations at last year’s Warsaw Summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced … the creation of Cyber Operations Center as part of an overall effort to update and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Criticizes Germany’s Support of New Russian Natural Gas Line; Top state department official praises Denmark for passing law that could hamper pipeline project” – Wall Street Journal/ Paul Sonne

Gas Flame file photo

“[Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs A. Wess Mitchell] offered harsh words … for Germany over the country’s continued support for a new Russian gas pipeline to Europe … known as Nord Stream 2 … a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian state energy giant Gazprom [that] would double Russia’s export capacity … adding a second link between Russia and Germany. * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are spooked; The personal sanctions against regime cronies are especially tough” – The Economist

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

“… CAATSA moderately increases the pressure …. It extends the restrictions on investing in new Russian oil and gas projects to the operations of Russian firms in third countries. … the effectiveness of these new sanctions, which the administration is allowed to pause until late January, is undermined by the fact that European firms have been ring-fenced from their effects. Gazprom … has […]

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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited, Weak’ Response To Russia

Europe Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, November 9, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-threat-to-democracy-western-response-european-values-think-tank/28842909.html) A group of security and foreign-policy experts says Western governments have been “limited and weak” in their response to the Kremlin’s barrage of “hostile actions” toward democracies. In a declaration initiated by the Prague-based think tank European Values titled How The […]

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