Interfax: U.S. global missile defense may create prerequisites for massive preventive strike on adversary – Kosachyov

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 13 (Interfax) – The deployment by Washington of its global missile-defense shield poses a threat to strategic stability in the world and may create prerequisites for a powerful preventive strike, Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote in a statement on his Facebook page. “Our Defense Ministry’s information about the consequences of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin creeps into Germany; The far-right AfD was buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere” – Washington Post Editorial

Map of Germany

“The German party Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is anti-immigration, anti-Europe-bailout and very anti-Angela Merkel, the chancellor who was just reelected to a fourth term. Founded only four years ago in protest of European bailouts for Greece and riding the backlash to refugees flooding Germany, the AfD reaped 12.6 percent of the vote … and won a place for the first time […]

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Interfax: Foreign activity on Kirovles case is attempt to influence 2018 elections in Russia – Federation Council

File Photo of Council of Europe Headquarters Building with Flags in Front

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – The high interest of structures of the Council of Europe in the Kirovles case is an attempt to influence the preparations for the presidential elections in Russia, the Russian Federation Council commission on the protection of state sovereignty said. “Foreign activity around the debate in the structures of the Council of Europe on the so-called […]

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At Forum, Experts Slam Russian ‘Disinformation’ Campaigns Aimed at West

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Cindy Saine – WASHINGTON – September 15, 2017) The German Marshall Fund says it has documented Russian interference in the elections or political affairs of at least 27 countries since 2004, ranging from disinformation campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to cyber attacks. The Helsinki Commission held a hearing Thursday on Capitol […]

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PONARS Eurasia releases 5 policy e-books to mark 20th Anniversary

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – September 7, 2017) PONARS Eurasia is pleased to make available five thematic policy memo volumes to mark the program’s 20th Anniversary! Europe’s Eurasian Challenge http://www.ponarseurasia.org/perspectives/europes-eurasian-challenge-ebook2017 Navigating Turbulent Regional Waters: Politics in Southern Eurasia http://www.ponarseurasia.org/perspectives/navigating-turbulent-regional-waters-ebook2017 Russian Foreign Policy after Crimea: How to Understand and Address It http://www.ponarseurasia.org/perspectives/russian-foreign-policy-after-crimea-ebook2017 Russia’s New Domestic Scene: Economy, Nationalism, Power, Opposition http://www.ponarseurasia.org/perspectives/russias-new-domestic-scene-ebook2017 […]

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Russian Language on the Decline Thanks to English, Says Official

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 29, 2017) The number of Russian speakers has decreased by about 50 million since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the chairman of the State Duma Committee for Education and Science was cited as saying by the Interfax news agency on Monday. Vyacheslav Nikonov called for an expansion of the Eurasian Union […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy boss: sanctions no longer bite” – AP

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Maxim Oreshkin … [said that] the Russian economy is on track to grow at least 2 percent this year. That would be a first after 2014, when the economy sank into recession driven by sinking oil prices and sanctions over Russian actions in Ukraine. … he said, ‘we see more willingness on the Asian side to work with us.’ He wouldn’t […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s TB problem is ticking time bomb for Europe; Controlling the airborne disease takes on additional urgency this year as the country seeks to integrate into EU with a new visa-free regime” – Politico/ LILY HYDE

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… Odessa has the highest rate of TB in Ukraine, with 110 cases per 100,000 people in 2016, and rising fast. Closely linked with migration, instability and poverty, controlling this airborne disease takes on additional urgency this year as Ukraine seeks to integrate into Europe thanks to a new visa-free regime. Part of a migration corridor from Central Asia and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Looking out Five Years: What Should Washington and Its European Allies Expect From Moscow? Russians have become skeptical about a truly global order. At best, interactions with Western countries will be transactional, based on national interests when those happen to coincide or come close” – Carnegie Moscow Center/ Dmitri Trenin

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“In the next five years, Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe will be competitive and tense. Russia will not invade NATO territory unprovoked, but incidents along the new front line, stretching from the Arctic to the Baltic to the Black Sea and elsewhere, may occasionally endanger peace between Russia and the United States and its allies. Operating from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Attacks on Democracy Aren’t Only a Problem for America; And that’s a problem for skeptics of Russian meddling” – The Nation/ Joshua Holland

Europe Map

“… the Kremlin’s attempts to influence other countries’ electoral processes have been a problem across Europe for over a decade, and … our intelligence agencies weren’t alone in sounding the alarm. And that’s a serious problem for those who are dismissive of the evidence of Russian intervention. …  * * * While Russian interference in last year’s election was all about […]

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Five years of Russia’s Foreign Agent Law; Russia’s Foreign Agent Law has made the existence of many NGOs practically impossible. But solidarity is rising among organisations that are working against these restrictions.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Daria Skibo – August 14, 2017) Daria Skibo is a sociologist and researcher at the Centre for Independent Sociological Research, St Petersburg. Russian civil society received July’s news happily: the case against Valentina Cherevatenko, the first person to face criminal charges under Russia’s Foreign Agent law, was dropped. In June 2017, Cherevatenko, head of the Women of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Contact averts conflict. Why Russia is foolish not to invite NATO observers to its war games. Instead, the biggest exercises in Europe since the cold war will be conducted amid secrecy and mistrust.” – The Economist editorial

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… Russia will hold … the biggest military exercise in Europe since the end of the cold war. According to NATO estimates … involv[ing] at least 100,000 troops …. Revived from Soviet times by … Putin … the Zapad (West) drills … take place every four years. … the Kremlin insists that the scenarios … are purely defensive [but] that is not always how they have looked […]

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Don’t Expect Anti-Russian Ardor from Germany; Germans are looking for a rapprochement with Russia. One popular politician wants to ensure they get it.

Map of Germany

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 9, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the darling of Russia hawks because of her steadfast insistence on Ukraine-related sanctions against the Kremlin. But if she wins the […]

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U.S. Sanctions Are Another Gift to Putin; Far from being hurt by them, he finds them useful.

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 31, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Russian President Vladimir Putin tends to respond to Western sanctions in ways its authors probably didn’t anticipate: by going after those Russians who could most help […]

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New U.S. sanctions bill on Russia threatens to further erode Minsk agreement; The diplomatic spat over new U.S. Russia sanctions risks eroding common US-EU position on Ukraine conflict.

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(opendemocracy.net – Moritz Pieper – July 27, 2017) Moritz Pieper is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Salford, UK. He received his PhD from the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Beijing, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Brussels, […]

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New U.S. Sanctions on Russia Are a Mixed Bag; Europeans are rightly wary that promoting U.S. exports is an ulterior motive.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 24, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. The European Commission is preparing to counteract the new sanctions the U.S. Congress may impose on Russia this week. This may sound as if Europe is […]

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Interfax: Serious Russia-NATO talk about de-escalation in Europe requires restoration of military contacts – Grushko

NATO Meeting file photo

BRUSSELS. July 13 (Interfax) – Information briefings even at the level of ambassadors in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) are not sufficient for a serious talk about de-escalation of the military situation in Europe; what is needed is a restoration of interrupted military contacts, Alexander Grushko, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, said after a NRC meeting on Thursday. “If someone is […]

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Interfax: Russia’s Lavrov “flattered” by election meddling claims

Map of Germany

(Interfax – July 13, 2017) Moscow denies that it is meddling in German elections, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. “We are, of course, flattered that we are being portrayed as a country which decides the fate of the world, both in the US and Germany,” he said, responding to a question about alleged Russian interference in German elections. […]

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Russian government extends counter-sanctions till end of 2018

EU Map

MOSCOW. July 5 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a resolution extending the ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food, the governmental website said in a report on Wednesday. “The ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food originating from the United States, EU member countries, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No Thaw Likely at Trump-Putin Meeting” – Wall Street Journal/ Nathan Hodge

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Russian officials are cautious about expectations for a fresh start in relations with Washington despite a planned first meeting between … Putin and … Trump next week. … Lavrov expressed hope that ‘pragmatism will prevail.’ But he added that U.S.-Russian relations ‘have become hostage to the internal politics’ inside Washington. * * * Russia continues to chafe under U.S. and Western […]

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Kudrin doesn’t rule out Russia – EU free trade zone “in distant future”

EU Map

MOSCOW. July 3 (Interfax) – The head of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has called for intensifying trade cooperation with European countries. “We need to reach a new agreement with EU countries in the future, and in the distant future this could be a free trade zone. If we want to be open […]

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Kennan Cable No.24: Russian Foreign Policy in the Arctic: Balancing Cooperation and Competition

Arctic Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Stacy R. Closson, Assistant Professor, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky – June 26, 2017) Introduction The Arctic region presents a particularly interesting case study of Russian foreign policy. In a time when Russia is showing renewed aggression on three fronts – the Baltic Sea region, Syria, and Ukraine – and meddling in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian entrepreneurs wish you’d stop worrying about Putin and start thinking about them” – Washington Post/ David Filipov

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… With European governments grappling over whether and how Russian hackers might be attacking their electoral systems, and Washington torn asunder over the question of possible collusion between the Kremlin and members of President Trump’s campaign and administration, the forum presented journalists with a chance to go face to face with Moscow’s principal players. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: Joint news conference with [Putin and] President of France Emmanuel Macron

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 29, 2017) Following bilateral talks, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron held a joint news conference. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would also like to thank President Macron for inviting me to come to this wonderful corner of France, to Versailles, which I have never visited before. It is definitely an impressive […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Snapshot Analysis: Trump, NATO, Russia” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“As predicted … #Trump’s summit with other #NATO leaders … showed a White House focused on meeting its treaty commitments … also determined to see its partners take on primary responsibility for countering threats that affect them, particularly in their own neighborhood. For #Russia, Trump’s public comments sounded like a mixed bag: … the president called Moscow a ‘threat’ and expressed no interest […]

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NEWSLINK: “Best To Assume Russia Sanctions Last Forever” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… the G-20 meeting this June … will be the first time [Trump and Putin] meet, and that could give us the official, presidential word on sanctions. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Macron meets Russia’s Putin near Paris, promising tough talks” – Reuters/ Michel Rose, Denis Dyomkin

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“#French President Emmanuel #Macron met #Russia’s Vladimir #Putin near Paris on Monday, promising some frank talking with the Kremlin leader after an election campaign in which his team accused Russian media of trying to interfere. … * * * While Moscow backs [#Syria’s] … al-Assad, France supports rebel groups trying to overthrow him. France has also taken a tough line on […]

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Moscow’s Main Agent Is Hype

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – May 12, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapital. In an election seen by many in Europe […]

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Interfax: EBRD financials “masking” negative trends, creating risk of rating downgrade, recapitalization – Oreshkin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

NICOSIA. May 10 (Interfax) – The financials of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), while formally showing positive figures, are “masking” a number of negative trends and management assumptions, and continuing the current approach to the EBRD’s activities could lead to a downgrade of its ratings and the need for recapitalization, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said […]

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Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Lands in Barcelona for Treatment

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 8, 2017) Russian opposition leader and presidential candidate Alexei Navalny landed in Barcelona Sunday to receive medical treatment, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. On May 4, Navalny said he had received a passport for foreign travel. But his lawyer later Tweeted that a probation officer had informed Navalny that he shouldn’t […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Kremlin turns its electoral meddling to Western Europe; Russia’s next targets are moderates in France and Germany” – Washington Post editorial

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

“… it should be clear that the new normal of Russian conduct on the international stage includes tampering with elections in Western democracies to boost candidates the Kremlin believes likely to do its bidding and to harass those who won’t …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia cannot live with the west – or without it; Technological backwardness increases its dependence on liberal democracies” – Financial Times/Lilia Shevtsova

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

“Great power status and the desire for external domination have long been central components of the Russian system of personalised power. … With diminishing resources, the Kremlin has increasingly resorted to intimidating … liberal democracies into accepting Russia’s grand ambitions. At the same time, the country has to wrestle with … how to preserve its role as a global power without […]

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Putin Aims to Undermine Western Democracies With Election Meddling, Experts Say

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Ken Bredemeier – March 9, 2017) WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin is single-handedly trying to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe and rupture their decades-old NATO alliance by meddling in their elections, foreign affairs analysts and Estonia’s former president told a congressional hearing Thursday in Washington. One of the experts, Peter […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Will Russia rejoice if the EU falls apart? Unlikely”

EU Map

“The European Union’s persistent instability during the last two years has been exacerbated by the big unknown by the name of Trump. Today, there are five official scenarios for the EU’s future. With the EU reform effort in serious doubt, does Moscow have an opportunity, or challenge?”

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Putin’s Russia Seen Dominating European Gas for Two Decades

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Anna Shiryaevskaya – March 1, 2017) Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent. Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

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

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mutual Assured Deterrence” – Project-Syndicate/Sergei Karaganov

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Relations between Russia and the European Union, and with the EU’s close ally the United States, are increasingly fragile. There has been an effort to cope with shifting power dynamics in Europe by restoring the military-political divide between NATO and Russia – this time, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of where it was during the Cold War. But […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: SHOULD WE FEAR RUSSIA? [re: Dmitri Trenin]” – Paul Robinson/Irrussianality

Kremlin and River

“… Trenin’s answer to the question posed by his book is a bit of a ‘no’ and a bit of a ‘yes’. Russia isn’t a ‘threat’, he says, but its policies do pose a ‘challenge’ to the West, and are likely to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. ‘While most fears need to be put to rest’, he concludes, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A way to get real news to Russia; A U.S. attempt to counter disinformation takes shape in Current Time” – Washington Post

Satellite Dishes

… Current Time television, a product of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, is a 24/7 Russian-language television network based in Prague … aimed at audiences inside Russia as well as the borderlands of the former Soviet Union. … intended to provide ‘fair and accurate reporting, serving as a reality check on disinformation that is driving conflict […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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NEWSLINK: “German intelligence finds no evidence of Russian meddling; But authorities warned Russia has been on a ‘confrontational path’ since 2014 and its media is ‘hostile.'” – PoliticoEU/ESTHER KING

Map of Germany

“A year-long investigation into potential Russian interference with German politics has failed to uncover evidence of Kremlin-backed meddling, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Monday. German intelligence authorities found no concrete proof of disinformation campaigns targeting the government and have decided against publishing the 50-page report to avoid further straining relations with Moscow, according to SZ. …”

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NEWSLINK: “TODAY’S FEAR-MONGERING” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail newspaper writes some good op-eds. But like a lot of commentators he seems to go completely off the rails when the subject of Russia comes up. His latest piece entitled ‘Is Putin scoring political goals on an empty net?’ had me spluttering over my breakfast cereal this morning, and merits a detailed response.”

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NEWSWATCH: “Toward a New Equilibrium in U.S.-Russian Relations; The new administration must understand how Russia relates to American goals” – Thomas E. Graham/The National Interest

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

… Trump will face no more urgent foreign-policy task than developing a Russia policy. … The Russia We Face: The starting point for a new strategy is a clear understanding of how Russia relates to American goals. Its nuclear arsenal, vast natural resources and proximity to regions of undisputed strategic value …. Relations will focus on security matters …. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The sanctions on Russia are working, Mr. President: Don’t lift them prematurely” – The Hill/Alexander Vershbow

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… I have seen many U.S. presidents seek to engage … Russia. While it has never been easy, it was possible to find areas of common ground that increased the security of both sides — as long as the U.S. set clear objectives and stuck with them. … The sanctions are working. … Russia is interested in having sanctions removed. […]

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Russia, the Catalyst of Change

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

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – January 30, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti Regardless of what one can prove in the complicated story of Russian hackers meddling in the institutions of the United States, there is still a story to tell about Russian influence on the West. It has […]

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Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That’s Not Going to Be Easy

Donald Trump

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – January 27, 2017) No actor on the world stage was as publicly energized by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as Russia. At first glance, the support seemed entirely emotional. But there was also a rational interest: Trump was open to lifting sanctions, after all. Sanctions have had a […]

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Moscow theater performance of ‘Anna Karenina’ to play at a cinema near you

Leo Tolstoy file photo

Other major Moscow theater performances will follow suit later in the spring. Organizers see art and culture as a way to transcend politics. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDRA GUZEVA, RBTH – January 25, 2017) The Vakhtangov Theatre’s interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel, Anna Karenina, is screened in cinemas across the U.S., UK, and Ireland. It’s a […]

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