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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NEWSLINK: “Stanford professor analyzes Russian Empire’s history in new book; Stanford history professor Nancy Kollmann discusses the establishment of the Russian Empire and how Russia’s past shapes its present” – Stanford News/ ALEX SHASHKEVICH

Kremlin and River

“The spotlight on United States-Russia relations has intensified over the past year to levels not seen since the Cold War, according to experts.  To understand Russia, it’s important to understand the course of its history.  Stanford history professor Nancy Kollmann provides insight into the rise of the Russian Empire in her recently published book, The Russian Empire 1450-1801. Stanford News […]

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The Impossible Grand Bargain

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 16, 2017) There’s a very simple reason why a new reset won’t work. There’s a very simple reason why any grand bargain with Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin regime is doomed to failure. There’s a very simple reason why a new detente with Moscow would probably make matters much worse. And that’s the simple […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The scary truth about what Putin really wants (and Obama’s willful ignorance)” – Fox News/Judith Miller

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

What is Vladimir Putin up to? Evidence of Russian ambition seems to mount by the day. Seizing its neighbor’s territory. Russian bomber overflights of NATO member states. Sophisticated cyberattacks aimed at influencing America’s presidential election. Missiles fired at civilian aircraft. Devastating air strikes on hospitals and relief convoys in Aleppo as the ink dries on a U.S.-Russian cease-fire agreement for […]

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Putinism like Communism in the Past an Even Graver Threat than Kremlin Leader Himself

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 23, 2016) That Vladimir Putin represents a threat to the countries around Russia’s periphery and to the principles on which the international order has been based no one disputes, but some both in Russia and the West are beginning to recognize that Putinism as a manner of rule is an even […]

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The Putin Doctrine

Russian Soldiers Marching

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 17, 2016) Eight years ago, Georgia’s government apparently started a war with Russia — even though Georgian troops never left Georgian territory. Two and a half years ago, the Ukrainian people apparently started a war with Russia — by overthrowing a corrupt and autocratic ruler in a popular uprising. You really gotta […]

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Russia Might Not Be a Failed State But It is a Failed Country, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, June 14, 2016) The fact that Russians devote so little attention to their independence day even as they devote so much to Victory Day, Vadim Shtepa says, highlights a fundamental reality: Russia may not be a failed state according to the classic definitions, but it is a failed country, one that has not been able to […]

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Putin Needs a Victory and Annexing Belarus on the Cheap Could Give Him One, Oreshkin Says

Belarus Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 10, 2015) Having suffered increasingly obvious “fiascos” in Ukraine and Syria, Vladimir Putin now needs “a victory,” Dmitry Oreskhin says. “And it turns out that Belarus and Lukashenka are the most suitable variant whom he could defeat with minimal costs” because “Belarus could not hold out for two weeks” if Moscow […]

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Kremlin’s Campaign against Russophobia Threatens both Russia and the West, Polish Experts Say

Europe Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, November 11, 2015) The Kremlin’s revival of a campaign against what it calls “Russophobia” constitutes a threat not only to Western countries but to Russia’s future as well, according to two Polish experts. As such, they argue, it can properly be described as “a weapon of mass destruction.” In a new study, “Russophobia in the Kremlin’s […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post/Daniel Treisman: “Searching for the roots of Russia’s aggression”

Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier, Crimea, Ukraine, 1855; adapted from image at loc.gov; Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer;

Writing in The Washington Post, Daniel Treisman of UCLA, and the Russian Political Insight project, considers the roots and contours of Russian aggression.  In part, he draws upon and reviews several new books, by Marvin Kalb, Walter Laqueur and Steven Lee Myers. A generation after the Cold War ended, Russian fighter jets are again probing NATO’s defenses in the skies […]

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Russia Can No Longer Afford to Be the Militarist and Expansionist Power It has Always Been, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2015) After a brief attempt to escape from its past in the 1990s, Russia under Vladimir Putin is “again returning to militarism … the model of existence in which Russia had existed for centuries” in order to prepare for war. No other such civilization exists in the world now, but Russia “cannot militarize as […]

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Putin: ‘We Have Never Viewed Europe as a Mistress’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 8, 2015) President Vladimir Putin insisted that the West should not view Russia as a threat in an interview published Saturday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of an official visit to Italy that kicks off this week. “I think that only an insane person – and only in a […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Russia – perhaps more restrained and less powerful than you think?

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Debates about the origins of Russia’s intervention into Ukraine have typically taken as given Russia’s position as a muscular, capable regional power, engaged in what Realists regard as power maximization. This perspective suggests the moves by Russia were caused by external forces and NATO’s move east, with conquest of the former Soviet space an inevitable response. Critics of this perspective suggest that […]

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Business New Europe: Crimea – withering on the vine or Russia’s blossoming new stronghold?

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Anna Kravchenko in Moscow and Nick Allen in Berlin – March 18, 2015) A year on from its whirlwind absorption by Russia, Crimea’s change of flag was on March 18 celebrated with a ‘rebranding’ and a splash of festivities across the world’s largest country. “I’d like to congratulate people in Crimea and all Russian […]

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Moscow Times: Russia Will Overcome Post-Crimea Challenges, Putin Vows

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 19, 2015) With the Kremlin walls glowing crimson in the background Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin praised tens of thousands of adulating fans for their support of Russia’s annexation of Crimea one year ago. He acknowledged that issues have mounted since the annexation, but assured the cheering crowd – the size of […]

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