JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s VK announces privacy changes to protect users from arrest” – bne Intellinews

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

“Russia social media site vKontakte (VK) expanded its privacy functions to give its users more tools to protect them from arrest, the company said …. The Kremlin has been cracking down on online criticism of the government. Vedomosti reports that of 182 criminal cases launched in 2017 for social network posts, 138 were based on VK posts, with another four […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Bloomberg Got It Wrong; Today’s dominant ‘party lines’ are often shaping reporting to a greater extent than the facts” – The National Interest/Paul J. Saunders

File Photo of Jared Kushner adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro, adapted by Steven C. Welsh www.stevencwelsh.info :: www.stevencwelsh.com

“George Orwell was never overly impressed with the news media, which he considered often more interested in advancing preferred narratives than reporting the facts. … Today’s dominant ‘party lines’ are likewise often shaping reporting to a greater extent than the facts. … Bloomberg reporters Caleb Melby and David Kocieniewski, who recently sought to insinuate the Center for the National Interest […]

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Research the revenge: what we’re getting wrong about Russia Today; Data-mining and analysis will not reveal what makes Russian propaganda tick.

Kremlin and River

(opendemocracy.net – Vasily Gatov – August 15, 2018) Vasily Gatov is visiting fellow at the Center of Communication Leadership and Policy at USC Annenberg, and is a Russian media researcher and author based in Boston. He has over 30 years of professional experience in domestic and international media, as well as media analysis, strategy and development. [opendemocracy.net/od-russia/vasily-gatov/what-we-are-getting-wrong-about-russia-today] I personally know […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin urges social media prosecutions to stay within ‘reason'” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – August 14, 2018) The Kremlin has called on investigators and courts in Russia to stay within reason when prosecuting social media users for content they have posted online. “Of course, it is impossible to use general phrases here as each case is unique and needs a separate investigation … But, of course we know that there have been […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Misery” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“… If the only American media you consumed was the New York Times, you’d come to the inevitable conclusions that a) Americans are united in their obsessive hatred of their president, and b) it’s all the fault of those horrible Russians who colluded with Trump to get him elected. But judging by the bestseller list, it’s not the New York […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Venediktov quit Ekho board of directors to avoid conflict of interest over radio station’s budget” – Interfax

File Photo of Interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio

MOSCOW. July 30 (Interfax) – Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov said he quit the radio station’s board of directors over a conflict of interest; the decision to replace him with his deputy Yekaterina Godlina was made and approved by shareholders back in late June. “The decision was due to the fact that a majority of the board of directors supported […]

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Trump Bump and Trump Filter Bubble: How the media’s obsession with Trump may encourage the Russian propaganda machine

Satellite Dishes

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Andrey Miroshnichenko, Sergei Samoilenko – July 27, 2018) Andrey Miroshnichenko, is a Ph.D. student in communication and culture at York University, Toronto. Sergei Samoilenko is professor in the Communication department at George Mason University. [Text with links: kennan-russiafile.org/2018/07/27/trump-bump-and-trump-filter-bubble-how-the-medias-obsession-with-trump-may-encourage-the-russian-propaganda-machine/] The recent Helsinki summit put U.S.- Russia relations back in the headlines. The critical coverage of the […]

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George Beebe: Subject: Correction re article in The National Interest (JRL #132 item 9)

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

Subject: Correction re article in The National Interest (JRL #132 item 9) Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 From: George Beebe <gsbeebe@me.com> The folks at The National Interest bungled the authorship of the “Trump-Putin/Cold War” article attributed to me. It was, in fact, written by Daniel McCarthy. I have a separate article on the subject that should be online soon. [Re. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Summitgate and the Campaign vs. ‘Peace’; Not surprisingly, Trump’s meetings with NATO and Putin are being portrayed as ominous events by Russiagaters” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

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

“As Cohen pointed out in previous discussions, U.S.-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) summits are a long tradition going back to FDR’s wartime meeting with Stalin in Yalta in 1943. Every American president since FDR met with a Kremlin leader in a summit-style format at least once, several doing so multiple times. The purpose was always to resolve conflicts and enhance cooperation […]

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NEWSLINK: “Implausible Deniability: Novichok Victim Dies: Did the Kremlin Really Lose Control of its Deadliest Poisons? The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

“… Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley visited … Salisbury and somehow ingested the exotic nerve agent used in the poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter …. Sturgess died. … a 44-year-old mother of three. … the police now have a murder case on their hands.  The masterminds of the Skripal attack, at least, are thought to be […]

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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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