NEWSLINK: “Russiagate’s ‘Core Narrative’ Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence; The unprecedented allegation that the Kremlin ‘attacked America’ and ‘colluded’ with its president in order to elect him is based on two documents devoid of facts or logic” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

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

“… Cohen reminds listeners that the Russiagate scandal, which first leaked into the media in mid-2016, has already done immense political damage during these two years. …”

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NEWSLINK: “David Dimbleby on a Russia in crisis and the holes in President Putin’s defence” – The Times (UK)

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

“With coercion and cunning propaganda, the president has kept Russians in line. But on a pre-World Cup visit David Dimbleby finds money is running out and the Kremlin’s cultivation of a siege mentality is starting to backfire”

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RUSSIALIST: “Journalist Who Faked Own Death in Kiev Demands $50,000 for Interview” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2018) Arkady Babchenko, the exiled Russian journalist who faked his own death in Ukraine to evade what he says was a Russian assassination plot, has set a $50,000 price for an exclusive interview. Ukrainian security officials said they staged Babchenko’s apparent murder last week to thwart and expose a Russian plot to assassinate […]

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Reporter’s Notebook: After A ‘Death’ And ‘Resurrection’ In Kyiv, Confusion And A Desire For Answers

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – KYIV, June 1, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/reporters-notebook-after-death-and-resurrection-in-kyiv-confusion-and-desire-for-answers/29266391.html) The news arrived with a soft ping that hit like a ton of bricks: “Arkady was just killed.” Dozens of members of a Facebook Messenger group for journalists in Ukraine and Russia understood at once it […]

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Amid ‘Russiagate’ Hysteria, What Are the Facts? We must end this Russophobic insanity

Jack Matlock file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

(Jack F. Matlock Jr. – June 2, 2018) Jack F. Matlock Jr., Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, is the author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended and Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray-And How to Return to Reality. [Short Version: thenation.com/article/amid-russiagate-hysteria-what-are-the-facts/] [Longer version: jackmatlock.com/2018/06/musings-russiagate-hysteria/#more-982] Whom the gods would destroy, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Translating “The Americans,” and Seeing a Mirror of My Own American Experience” – The New Yorker/Masha Gessen

“… I immigrated to the United States with my parents in 1981, the year the show begins. … * * * In its quest for uncanny accuracy, ‘The Americans’ was full of lessons about Russia, spies, the Cold War, and life. The most important of these, surely, is that eternity will come crashing down when you least expect it to.”

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukrainian president reacts to criticism of Babchenko’s staged murder, praises security operation” – Interfax

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

KYIV. May 31 (Interfax) – Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has responded to critics of the Ukrainian security services’ special operation that involved staging a murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv. “You should be accusing Russia, not the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians are doing everything possible to keep themselves together and to defend themselves. I can assure you it […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Assassins were trying kill Babchenko. He has every right to do anything to survive. (As someone who also has had death threats lodged against me, I find lectures about how hunted people are supposed to act to be insensitive.)'” – Michael McFaul/Twitter

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Michael McFaul – @McFaul – Twitter – May 31, 2018) “‘Assassins were trying kill Babchenko. He has every right to do anything to survive. (As someone who also has had death threats lodged against me, I find lectures about how hunted people are supposed to act to be insensitive.)’” [embedded live feed of tweet also should load below] Assassins were […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Whatever It Was, We Didn’t Do It” – New York Times Editorial

Kremlin and River

“… Russia’s reaction to all accusations of foul play [has been consistent], whether … [to] well-documented charges by the Netherlands, Australia and other nations that [Russia] was responsible for downing a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 … the British accusation that Russia was most likely behind the poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in England […]

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NEWSLINK: “Babchenko’s Death and Russia’s Dark Power; Russia has adopted a policy of blessing freelance murders carried out in its name” – Moscow Times/Mark Galeotti

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Editor’s note: Since the publication of this article, Arkady Babchenko has appeared at a press conference in Kiev, and said his ‘murder’ was part of a sting operation. … Another dead critic of the Kremlin. Another round of knee-jerk accusations and denials. Another funeral.  Does the Putin regime murder its enemies as a matter of policy, does it simply create […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “SUNY New Paltz graduates told to help preserve democracy, beware of fake news [Excerpt]” – Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York)/William J. Kemble

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

“Graduates of the Class of 2018 at SUNY New Paltz … were encouraged to preserve democracy by not buying into fake news coming from an apparent Russian propaganda campaign. James Ottaway Jr., president of Ottaway Newspapers, raised the urgency during his commencement address, saying there is a responsibility for people to avoid taking a shallow approach when reviewing information that […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Battle Against Kremlin Propaganda Network RT” – Daily Beast/Jamie Ross

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

“The Kremlin-funded news channel RT is facing an existential threat in one of its most important target markets. An onslaught of 10 simultaneous investigations into alleged breaches of impartiality laws leave it in serious danger of losing its broadcasting license in the United Kingdom. After years of broadcasting a pro-Russian take on the day’s news to a small but loyal band […]

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NEWSLINK 2007: “David Johnson in the Moscow News [11 years ago]” – Sean’s Russia Blog/Sean Guillory/Moscow News

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

“Since the merits of David Johnson and his, in my opinion, indispensable Johnson’s Russia List is such a hot topic of debate, I point readers to his interview in the Moscow News. It is rare that we actually hear what the man behind JRL actually thinks about Russia. Most of the time critics infer his views from the copious numbers […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Signs Order to Restructure Government Ministries” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order to restructure several government ministries after meeting with Prime Minister-designate Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday. Among other shifts, the order created a Ministry of Science and Higher Education separate from the Education Ministry and added digital development to the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, while adding a tenth deputy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t ‘overdo’ it online, if you fear the fuzz; A linguist explains the messy science that fuels Russia’s anti-extremism policing” – Meduza

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

“The number of ‘extremist’ crimes committed in Russia has been growing for the past several years. According to the ‘Sova’ analytical center, police launched 563 extremism investigations in 2016 and 858 new cases in 2017. Most of the suspects in these investigations are ordinary Internet users who have expressed their political views on social media. Dozens of these people have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “After a week of Russian propaganda, I was questioning everything” – PBS Newshour/Elizabeth Flock

Satellite Dishes

“… Enter Radio Sputnik. Like its sister outlet RT … a Russian government-funded media outlet, widely seen by Russia experts as a vehicle to disseminate disinformation for the Kremlin, and, like its space-dwelling namesake, to make the West look bad. … RT is television[ …] Sputnik lives on the radio, a wire service and website. Both RT and Sputnik are […]

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UKRAINELINK: “With influence activities exposed, Kremlin acts even more boldly – Estonian intel chief” – UNIAN

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

“The fact that Russian influence operations were thrust into the public limelight with revelations of Moscow’s interference with U.S. elections did not deter the Kremlin; on the contrary – it takes pride in it, according to Mikk Marran, Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. From the Kremlin’s perspective, influence operations are ‘cheap, reliable and essential,’ Marran wrote ….” […]

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[SATIRE] NEWSLINK: “Bezos Says That When Pee Tape Is Released It Will Be Free for All Amazon Prime Members” – The New Yorker/Andy Borowitz

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

“Satire from The Borowitz Report: … Bezos’s offer drew a mixed response from Prime members, with some begging Amazon not to offer the … tape to them. …”

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British Media Regulator Probing RT’s Impartiality After Salisbury Poisoning

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 18, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/british-media-regulator-probing-rt-s-impartiality-after-salisbury-poisoning/29174828.html) Britain’s media watchdog has started probing whether Russian news channel RT broke impartiality rules in its programs after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury last month. Media regulator Ofcom warned on […]

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RUSSIALINK: “State TV Still Biggest and Most Trusted News Source for Russians – Poll” – Moscow Times

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 18, 2018) A new survey has shown that state-run television maintains its hold on the Russian public’s news consumption habits despite a trend in which young Russians are increasingly getting their news online. Among Russians polled by the independent Levada Center, 85 percent said they watch television for news about Russia and the world. […]

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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “Int’l rules of conduct needed to prevent situations like blocking of Russian media outlets’ Facebook accounts – Nikiforov”

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) – Russia will insist that the United Nations adopt an international convention to lay down rules of conduct on the Internet and deal with the illegal blocking of online resources, Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Thursday. “Our foreign colleagues, above all American, continue to exhibit their customary practice of double standards. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “When does Russian propaganda work – and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.” – Washington Post/Leonid Peisakhin, Arturas Rozenas

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Assuming that Russia knows how its propaganda affects its audience, we might be able to figure out what it was trying to do in the U.S. election. If Russia targeted voters predisposed toward Trump, trying to motivate them to vote, that would suggest its goal was to help him get elected. But if Russia spread its biased messages broadly, that […]

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From Tatiana Stanovaya: “Exclusive analysis about Russia; New project dedicated to Russian politics”

View of Kremlin from River, adapted from image at rpolitik.com

Subject: Exclusive analysis about Russia Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2018 From: Tatiana Stanovaya <analysis@rpolitik.com> New project dedicated to Russian politics Dear colleagues, I would like to present you a new issue of analytical Bulletin #2(3)2018 «RUSSIAN POLITICS. Unvarnished and Undiluted». https://rpolitik.com/category/bulletins/ Main headlines: The Kemerovo fire. What impact it will have on the FSB’s growing role? Ziawudin Magomedov and the […]

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Defending Digital Democracy

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

Subject: Democracy’s Front-Line Defenders Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 From: Eric Rosenbach <erosenbach@belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu> Defending Digital Democracy America’s enemies aren’t resting. Neither are we. I hope you’ll be in touch with me with thoughts about how we can strengthen our efforts to defend democracy. Warm regards, Eric Rosenbach Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Director, Defending Digital […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia: Sham Elections for a Dictator” – Freedom House

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

“‘… ‘… Putin will win by an overwhelming margin thanks to regime-controlled media that glorifies the leader and demonizes his critics, the regime’s monopoly of all sources of economic power and wealth, and the removal of all serious opposition candidates through fraudulent legal maneuvers or by assassination.  Russia’s fake elections are now a model for autocrats in other countries, from […]

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Films about Putin posted on social media not violations – Pamfilova

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

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) – The posting of Andrei Kondrashov’s film “Putin” and similar videos on social media is not a violation, because election laws do not regulate the Internet, Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chair Ella Pamfilova said in response to a question from Interfax. “This is not a violation, because we don’t regulate the the Internet,” Pamfilova said. “If […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN ON U.S. ELECTION MEDDLING: ‘SO WHAT?’ AND OTHER KEY QUOTES FROM MEGYN KELLY’S INTERVIEW” – Newsweek

Kremlin and River

“… Putin said he ‘doesn’t care’ about the alleged meddling of Russian nationals and companies in the U.S. presidential election on 2016 that saw the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump over his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. Putin discussed the indictment filed by special counsel Robert Mueller last month as part of an exclusive interview to NBC’s Megyn Kelly aired […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less'” – NBC News

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

“… Putin has told NBC News that he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin. In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November […]

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NEWSLINK: “Confronting Putin” – NBC

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

“In this NBC News Special, Megyn Kelly travels to Russia for a rare exclusive sit-down interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Megyn grills Putin on the Kremlin’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. …”

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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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NEWSLINK: “We’re All Russian Bots Now; Americans don’t need help from Moscow to tear each other apart on social media” – Politico/Howard Axelrod

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… To call us all unwitting pawns isn’t fair, of course, as there’s no grand conspiracy at work here. Just an ongoing degradation of public discourse, which poses an ongoing and deepening threat to democracy. …”

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NEWSLINK: “State Dept. Was Granted $120 Million to Fight Russian Meddling. It Has Spent $0” – New York Times/GARDINER HARRIS

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“… not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Truth and Justice forum of regional and local media” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 2, 2018) Vladimir Putin took part in the Fifth Truth and Justice Forum of Regional and Local Media organised by the Russian Popular Front. The President answered questions from regional and local media representatives. Meeting with regional and local media representatives at the Fifth Truth and Justice Media Forum organised by the Russian Popular Front. During the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin publishes uncensored translations of Western news; The state-sponsored InoSMI gets hundreds of thousands of Russian readers each day, who generally seem to view Western coverage of Russia as selective and simplistic. But the site also highlights how important cultural context is to understanding the news” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

“One of Russia’s most popular internet news sites is one that many Russians believe to be a dedicated purveyor of ‘fake news.’ Yet it enjoys almost 300,000 daily readers, is consulted by editors around the country as they prepare their own news coverage, and is also reported to be heavily used by the Kremlin staff who compile … Putin’s morning […]

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

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

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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NEWSWATCH: “State Department launches $40 million initiative to counter Russia election meddling” – USA Today/Oren Dorell

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“The State Department … unveiled a new program to counter Russian meddling in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The $40 million initiative will battle state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda targeting the U.S. and its interests …. run from the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) … starting with a new $1 million Information Access Fund, that on Monday issued a request […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Probe Has Turned The News Into ‘Ancient Aliens’; The news media’s rush to judgement on the Russia probe has left them looking like ancient astronaut theorists: entertaining but wrong.” – The Federalist/David Marcus

Satellite Dishes

“… Trump is absolutely aware of how eager the news media is to bring him down. … he has made … ‘Fake News’ his number-one nemesis. …. When indictments against Russian nationals came down last week for interfering with the election, it came with the caveat that no Americans had any knowledge of it. Even so, many in the news […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power; From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role.” – The National Interest/George Beebe

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Few questions have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government’s national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. … particularly … in the United States, where … the Intelligence Community (IC) ha[s] grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions […]

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Roskomnadzor threatens to block sites that don’t delete info from Navalny film by Wed night

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

MOSCOW. Feb 14 (Interfax) – Roskomnadzor has given websites that have yet to delete the information contained in the film made by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation until Wednesday evening to do so, saying they will be blocked if they do not comply. “The monitoring of the sites that have failed to delete the prohibited information and remain in the Unified […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GOP Focuses on Russia Allegations That Reached Steele; Notes by freelance journalist Cody Shearer got to writer of dossier via Clinton associate” – Wall Street Journal/Byron Tau

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

“Republicans on Capitol Hill are probing a collection of unverified and salacious allegations against … Trump … compiled in late 2016 by … freelance journalist and researcher … Cody Shearer, who … passed his work along to an associate of Hillary Clinton. … eight pages of raw and unverified notes … purportedly drawn from interviews with two prominent journalists and […]

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Ukraine’s blacklists in defence of democracy and national security are doing it no favours; Fresh bans on Russian and Ukrainian cultural production are signs that Ukraine could be losing its hard-won freedom.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Kateryna Botanova – February 9, 2018) Kateryna Botanova is a critic and curator. She is founder and chief editor (2010-2015) of korydor, an online journal about contemporary culture, and cultural editor for Ukrainska pravda (2015-2016). She is the co-curator of CULTURESCAPES festival, Switzerland [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/kateryna-botanova/ukraines-blacklists-in-defence-of-democracy] In recent months, the wave of bans and blacklists in Ukraine’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s media scene: not just a state affair; Despite Western preconceptions of a Soviet-like puppet media, the Russian news landscape is quite diverse, with outlets public and private, big and small. But government influence remains a critical concern” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Collage of Russian Newspapers

“… Today’s Russian media is a mixture of old Soviet products – which have evolved but often retain dependency on the support of the state or Kremlin-friendly oligarchs – and a few independent ones that answer to business or politically minded owners. … most information about national and foreign affairs comes from the three big Moscow-based TV networks and national-scale […]

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NEWSWATCH: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki

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

“It may not look like war, but perhaps it should. Russia’s interference in American democracy proves that popular conception of the term needs to be updated – and failure to do could increase U.S. susceptibility.” Click here for: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki  

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NEWSWATCH: “The Bell: meet the Russian media start-up fighting for the precarious future of independent media”

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

“After she was fired as editor-in-chief of Russia’s highly respected media outlet RBC for critical reporting, Elizaveta Osetinskaya left her country and headed to the US. Now she’s founded The Bell, a six-person media start-up fighting for space in Russia’s troubled world of independent media. * * * The Bell launched a weekly English-language website and newsletter in December, which is […]

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New Times: “In Anticipation of a Big Reshuffle”

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – January 15, 2018 – mrussia.org/en/the-rundown/media-must-reads/2896-big-reshuffle%2C-“kremlin-report%2C”-putin-and-2018-elections) While Putin has not announced any final decisions, journalist Denis Vardanyan discusses the reshuffling expected in the Kremlin and the government after the March 18 elections. The likely candidates comprise three groups: those whose work is marred by mistakes, those who want a reassignment, and those whose fate […]

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