Russia May Shrink Its ‘Foreign Agents’ Registry by Half

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 24, 2017) Russia may drastically shrink its registry of “foreign agents” – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and political activities, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports. The government will likely remove half of the organizations from the registry following an analysis of the law’s application by a presidential administration working group. More than 50 […]

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Putin to Stress Superpower Status in Presidential Campaign; Restoring Moscow’s global influence will be a dominant theme of the 2018 election, experts say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Matthew Kupfer – March 23, 2017) In 2016, Donald Trump rode a wave of popular discontent to the White House on the promise that he would “make America great again.” As Russia’s presidential election, scheduled for March 2018 draws nearer, President Vladimir Putin may try a similar tactic – by contending that he […]

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@McFaul: “This is important. Russia has a serious, sophisticated disinformation strategy. We ignore it at our peril. “

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

[Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, @McFaul at twitter.com/mcfaul, tweets about #Russia and disinformation: embedded tweet should load below; tweet also is available at twitter.com/McFaul/status/843706148733693953] This is important. Russia has a serious, sophisticated disinformation strategy. We ignore it at our peril. https://t.co/eq15A6f6HG — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 20, 2017

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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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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Why Russia does not want to join OPEC; Russia sees oil club as a competitor, though they share tactical interests”

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARIA KUTUZOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH) Russia is not considering joining OPEC, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak has told a U.S. conference. Speaking during the CERAWeek Oil Conference in Houston, Texas early March Novak added: “But our cooperation with the oil exporting countries has proven to be necessary and useful.” He has often spoken […]

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NEWSLINK: “Dearth of young diplomatic talent in Moscow sparks concern; ‘Old boys’ network’ steers Russia through worst stand-off with west since cold war” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

foreign-ministry-200

“… The Kremlin’s hesitation over … Ushakov throws a spotlight on the bureaucracy steering Moscow through its most serious stand-off with the west since the cold war and engineering the push to restore Russia’s global power status. It is an apparatus built under the Soviet Union and staffed by people whose skills were honed in the Soviet era. Russian diplomatic […]

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NEWSWATCH: “This Is the Russia You’re So Afraid Of?” – New York Times/Maria Antonova

Russia Regions Map

“… neglect began after the Communist system collapsed and has continued …. Russia is projecting its power from Ukraine to Syria to Western Europe…. [there are] allegations that the Kremlin meddled in the American presidential election …. support for … Putin is high and disdain for America … serves as … an artificial social cohesive …. Most people’s lives focus on economic survival … but … state television […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Russian Threat? Americans Shouldn’t Be Running Scared Of Moscow” – Doug Bandow/Forbes

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

“… Russia lacks the global reach to challenge America. … Moscow also lacks the economic foundation to match the U.S. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, ‘One effect of the country’s deteriorating economic situation has been the delay in concluding the next State Armament Program; originally intended to have been started in 2016, this has now been pushed back […]

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NEWSLINK: “Disillusioned With the West, Russia Too Is Pivoting to Asia” – The Wire (India)/ Fred Weir

Kremlin and River

“East-West conflict over Ukraine is likely to continue to loom large when it comes to Russian foreign relations, especially as there seems no way – short of a third world war – that it is ever likely to relent on the main issue, its annexation of Crimea.”

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Interfax: Over 80% of Russians sure army can deter military threat – poll

File Photo of Tanks on Parade

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Over half of Russians (58%) believe in the existence of a military threat posed by other countries, Levada Center told Interfax, adding that the indicator had notably declined in the past two years from 68% in 2015. Some 34% of 1,600 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on January 20-23 maintained the […]

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Re: The Gathering Storm

Eurasia Map

Subject: The Gathering Storm Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> The Gathering Storm By David Law Senior Associate, Security Governance Group; former Head of NATO Policy Planning and Speechwriting Unit With Donald Trump now sworn in as the American President and Commander-in-Chief, here are some thoughts on where the world may be headed. In 1948, Winston Churchill […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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Russia Set to Send ‘Bull Terrier’ Ambassador to Washington; Russia appears to be falling back on Soviet-era policy of disarmament as the focal point for relations with the U.S.

Anatoly Antonov and Others Facing U.S. Official with U.S. and Russian Flags on Table

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – February 9, 2017) Few watching the Russian Defense Ministry’s Dec. 2, 2015 press conference could have guessed the man speaking was a professional diplomat, let alone a skilled negotiator. “[Turkish President Recep] Erdogan and his family are at the heart of this criminal business. But even if their faces are […]

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Border regime with Belarus was not introduced, at issue are border zones to regulate trips by citizens of third countries – Kremlin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – #Moscow has pointed it out to #Minsk that no decisions on the introduction of a border regime on the #Russian-#Belarusian border have been made and the Federal Security Service director’s order on the creation of border zones is aimed at regulating trips by citizens of third countries. “Belarusian President Alexander #Lukashenko [on Friday] made critical […]

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UN Braces as Trump’s Detente With Russia Upsets Balance of Power

UN Building file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kambiz Foroohar – January 31, 2017) President Donald #Trump’s outreach to #Russia is reverberating through the United Nations, where U.S. allies worry that a partnership between Washington and Moscow could undermine a historic balance of power dating to the early days of the Cold War. For decades, the five veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia investment and political stories go their separate ways” – bne/Intellinews/Ben Aris

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“There are two Russias at the moment. The first is the evil “Putin’s Russia” that kills journalists, bombs civilians and invades other countries. Then there is “bull Russia”, where investors have been making fat profits ….”

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Putin’s War On The ’90s

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 25, 2017) Vladimir Putin wants to relitigate the 1990s. He seems determined to erase an entire decade. He wants a do-over. He wants backsies. And this, I believe, is one of the keys to understanding the Kremlin leader’s behavior. It explains Putin’s memorable comments that Ukraine, which like the rest of the […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin won 2016, but Russia has its limits as a superpower” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“… Putin heads into 2017 … having brokered a cease-fire in Syria that sidelined the United States … having won the praise of … Trump by declining to retaliate in response to the Obama administration’s decision to punish Moscow over its alleged interference in the U.S. election. … Putin is as popular as ever at home …. But Russia is […]

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Putin’s Little Helpers

Vladimir Putin

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 19, 2016) We’re all complicit in turning Vladimir Putin the man into Vladimir Putin the myth and the legend. We’re all guilty, to a degree, of making the Kremlin leader seem omnipotent. All of us, in one way or another, have turned the leader of a country with a GDP lower than […]

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RBTH: 2016 in review: Top 5 political events

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

From the war in Syria to high-level corruption and doping scandals, here are the stories that shook up Russian politics in the past year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – December 19, 2016) 1. Intervention in Syria Although President Vladimir Putin stated in March 2016 that the operation in Syria, which began in September 2015, […]

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In Russia, the Refrigerator is Finally Defeating the TV but Not Having the Political Impact Many Expected

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 12, 2016) For months, Moscow commentators have suggested that Russians are caught between what the Kremlin shows them on television and what they see in their increasingly empty refrigerators and predicted that eventually the refrigerator would defeat the TV and that this would have immediate political consequences. The findings of two […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Nuclear War Is No Longer ‘Unthinkable’ for Russia; Putin is warning the United States to back off” – The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The newly-released ‘Foreign Policy Concept’ of the #Russian Federation contains some interesting changes and updates. … this document reflects the #Kremlin’s strategic mindset and how it views international relations …. The first is a slight but significant shift in assessing the possibility of the use of #nuclear weapons from ‘unthinkable’ to ‘unlikely.’ While the concept does not anticipate a high […]

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Human rights council to continue attempts to improve law on foreign-agent NGOs – Fedotov

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) – The Russian presidential Council for human rights will be seeking changes to the law on foreign-agent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) until it becomes workable, the Council’s chairman Mikhail Fedotov said. “We did not promise that we’d quit our attempts to improve it. We will continue these attempts until it becomes a normal, a quite workable law,” […]

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RUSSIALINK Sputnik News: “‘Current Reality’ Prompts Changes to Russia’s New Foreign Policy Concept”

foreign-ministry-200

“… In an interview with Sputnik, political analyst Dmitry Abzalov of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Communications, attributed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to change the country’s foreign policy concept to the current international situation. ….”

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russia sets out its policy on terrorism, nuclear war & global ties in new Foreign Policy Concept”

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries. … the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s ‘views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy’ are […]

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Putin approves Russia’s new foreign policy blueprint

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(RIA Novosti – December 1, 2016) President Vladimir #Putin has signed a decree approving #Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept, state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported on 1 December. The key points of the document, according to RIA Novosti, are as follows: USA – The risk of a war, including a nuclear war, between the leading powers is low, but the […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “DON’T MENTION THE WAR”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin approved a new ‘Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation’. Documents like this are aspirational; they reflect what a government would like to do, not what it is able to do. They are also for public consumption; their purpose is to send certain signals to the policy community, both inside and outside of government. Nevertheless, they are up […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Primakov Readings International Forum

Yevgeny Primakov file photo, with William Cohen in partial profile

(Kremlin.ru – November 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin addressed a meeting of the International Forum Primakov Readings devoted to studying Yevgeny Primakov’s academic and political heritage. The International Forum Primakov Readings took place on November 28-30 in Moscow with the support of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Primakov Institute of World Economy and […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Kommersant: “Russians think their country should become ‘a great power'”

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

“The majority of Russians assume that the country will be a great power in the future and are ready to accept hardline policies for the sake of order in the country, according to a survey by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Most people are more concerned about personal problems than those of the state, however.”

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Putinism a Greater Threat to the West than Soviet Communism Was

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2016) Putinism, as ideology and practice, is now a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was, a reality few in Western countries now recognize precisely because the Kremlin leader is making use, in the best tradition of the judo master he is, values and methods that are […]

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Global Conflict ‘Russians’ Greatest Fear’ – Poll

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 14, 2016) Potential global conflict is Russians’ greatest fear, a report by state-run pollster the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) has announced. VTsIOM’s annual “fear index” rates common anxieties among the Russian population from 100 to -100. Global tensions, conflict and war took the top slot as Russians’ main worry with a ranking […]

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Russia’s Strategic Calculus: Threat Perceptions and Military Doctrine

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Policy Memo – PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 11, 2016) Dmitry Gorenburg is Senior Research Scientist at CNA Corporation and Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Russian foreign policy is driven by the political elites’ search for a new basis for national self-esteem after the collapse of the […]

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Russia Is Not Immune

Putin Descending a Staircase

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 11, 2016) For years, Vladimir Putin’s regime has been exploiting and manipulating the antiestablishment wave sweeping across the West. The Kremlin has been piggybacking on the angst and anger of the dispossessed and the disenfranchised to hobble Western governments and undermine faith in democratic institutions. It’s been using the West’s democratic institutions […]

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Russia Today Far More Dangerous than USSR Was and West Far Less Ready to Counter It, Analysts Say

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 4, 2016) Russia under Vladimir Putin is far more dangerous to the West than the Soviet Union ever was, two Russian analysts argue; and the West for the moment at least is far less capable of dealing with the challenges and threats the Kremlin leader now poses, according to a third. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Channel 2 Israel

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – November 5, 2016) Ahead of his upcoming visit to the State of Israel, the Prime Minister gave an interview to Yonit Levi, host of the Israeli Channel 2 News. Yonit Levi (via interpreter): Prime Minister, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I have several questions for you. In your opinion, what could Russia and Israel […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia may be wounded, but it can still bite; The country is in decline, but Vladimir Putin is willing to take bold risks” – Washington Post

Kremlin and River

Whoever wins Tuesday’s presidential election will face an assertive, aggrieved Russia whose risk-taking behavior under … Putin is increasingly worrisome …. pushy, headstrong Russia presents a paradox … most measures … a country in decline, with a sagging economy, an underdeveloped technology base and a shrinking population. Corruption pervades nearly every sector. The collapse of the Soviet Union is still […]

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RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST 2015-2016: PUSHING ON AN OPEN DOOR

Middle East Map

(Robert O. Freedman, Johns Hopkins University – 31 October 2016) There is no question but that Russia has been very active in the Middle East over the last year, especially in Syria. There is a question however as to whether Moscow has been able to transform this activity into actual influence in the region. I would argue that the answer […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Being Russian in Putin’s Russia; Russia is still struggling to define itself nearly a century after the Soviet Union was established.” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin has inherited the problem of unity. … He needs an actionable ideology he can implement at the political and cultural level. … Through heavy-handed propaganda, Moscow has used the current stand-off with the United States to rally nationalist fervor against a common enemy. Following Russia’s failures to prevent a revolution in Ukraine, it presented Crimea as a source […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview for the Rossiya 1 television network documentary entitled ‘My mind is set: Yevgeny Primakov’

Sergei Lavrov file photo

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview for the Rossiya 1 television network documentary entitled “My mind is set: Yevgeny Primakov”, Moscow, October 31, 2016

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s renewed might rests on weak economic foundations. Putin bravado does not extend to modernisation of the economy” – Financial Times/Neil Buckley

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

… the gap between the image … Putin portrayed … and the reality was exposed by a sobering assessment of Russia’s economy by another senior official … further emphasised by a draft budget … envisaging a 27 per cent cut in defence spending …. the official … made it clear how Russia’s ambitions clash with its capabilities. … western sanctions […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post/Daniel Drezner: “Five things I learned about Russia last week. I was in Sochi all last week with a healthy fraction of the Russian foreign policy elite. Here’s what I learned”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

… 1) Russian-American relations are going to be bad for a good long spell. Regardless of the nationality or ideological predisposition of the participant, everyone attending Valdai thought this to be true…..

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club (complete text)

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Kremlin.ru – October 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the final session of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s 13th annual meeting, which this year took the theme The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow. Over the three-day event, 130 experts and political analysts from 35 countries examined current issues concerning development of international relations, internal political organisation, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Russian Popular Front’s interregional forum

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Kremlin.ru – Yalta – October 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the interregional forum Action Forum. Crimea, organised by the Russian Popular Front (ONF). Main themes on the agenda include the energy sector, gas supplies, developing Crimea’s agriculture sector and tourism potential, improving access to education, quality of service in the housing and utilities sector, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russia seeks to shape global political debates with new award”

Valdai Club Gathering at Long Tables in Large Hall

“Russia seeks to gain more voice in shaping global political debates amidst increasingly partisan rhetoric on international politics with a newly announced award by the Valdai Discussion Club.”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Statement for the press following visit to Berlin

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

(Kremlin.ru – October 20, 2016) Following negotiations on a settlement in Ukraine and the situation around Syria, the Russian President made a statement for the press. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to say a couple of words regarding the agreements reached with my colleagues. First on the Minsk Agreements: all the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Ulyukayev at] The 30th session of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

(Government.ru – October 17, 2016) The participants discussed proposals to improve customs legislation and technical regulation, develop the banking and financial sectors, and increase investment in agriculture, the processing industry and pharmaceuticals production. Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks: The Foreign Investment Advisory Council, which was established in 1994, proved to be a good format in great demand and very useful for […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “FOREIGN EDUCATION”

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

“According to the website Znak, a strong recommendation has been issued to Russian state officials to bring home any children who are studying abroad. Strictly speaking, this is not mandatory, but ‘One of the sources said that anyone who fails to act, will find such non-compliance to be a “complicating factor in the furtherance of their public sector career”.’ This […]

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NEWSLINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Transcript: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Amanpour program on CNN International, Moscow, 12. October 2016

Sergei Lavrov file photo

Question: We are here at an extraordinarily difficult and painful time: what’s happening in Syria has got the world very, very upset. In the United Kingdom people are saying that this is the worst bombardment of civilians since the Nazis bombed Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. John Kerry has said that Russia and the Syrian regime owe the world […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency and IANS News Agency

India map

(Kremlin.ru – October 13, 2016) Ahead of his visit to India, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency and IANS News Agency. Question: Russian-Indian relations can be qualified as privileged strategic partnership. As to the economy, a perfect example of this point is cooperation in atomic energy, I particular, the construction of the Kudankulam NPP. What […]

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