Like Stalin, Putin hasn’t Changed the Rules of the Game; He’s Destroyed Them, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 28, 2015) The Anschluss of Crimea and the murder of Boris Nemtsov were not continuations of the rules of the game that had existed before, with the first following the 2008 Russian actions in Georgia and the second that of murders like Galina Starovoitova and Anna Politkovskaya, Vitaly Portnikov says. Instead, […]

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Interfax: DPR claims Ukraine holding approx. 450 prisoners of war

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

DONETSK. Aug 27 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic allows for the possibility of carrying out a new prisoner swap with Ukraine next week. “According to the official data, 450-460 prisoners of war are being held by the other side in addition to civilians. These are those who have been reported,” Viktor Anosov, a representative of the DPR military […]

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Sept. 1 ceasefire in Donbass agreed at meeting in Minsk

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

A meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk with representatives from the Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics” has ended with the parties agreeing to a ceasefire effective from Sept. 1. However, experts are not convinced this a breakthrough on the path to peace. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Eekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 27, 2015) The participants of […]

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Report With Tally Of ‘Russian War Casualties’ Causes Stir

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – August 26, 2015) A Russian-language website has caused a stir with a report asserting that more than 2,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Delovaya Zhizn, which translates as Business Life, published the information online in March, as part of a larger story of how the Russian federal […]

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[Nataliya Vasilyeva (AP Moscow correspondent) tweets re: reports on Russian casualties in Ukraine]

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[DJ: Nataliya Vasilyeva (AP Moscow correspondent) tweets: 2 day of Western officials retweeting a Forbes report quoting a Ukrainian web-site quoting a non-existent Russia news web-site re Ukraine. The main problem here is, of course, where was the Forbes online editor when the story was published, why nobody bothered to check sources? The ease of spreading rumors in the digital […]

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RBTH: “Kiev under pressure from EU over Minsk accords, insist Russian experts”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Recent talks between the Ukrainian, French and German leaders on the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region saw Paris and Berlin express their continued support for Kiev, but Russian analysts say Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is under pressure to make compromises. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH – August […]

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Interfax: “Diplomat: Rise in NATO activity in Europe near Russian borders is provocative”

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – August 26, 2015) Moscow has branded provocative the rise in NATO military activity in the areas bordering Russia but does not see a threat of a direct military confrontation, Russian Foreign Ministry European Cooperation Department Director Ivan Soltanovsky told Interfax in an interview on August 26. “We have a negative attitude to the mounting military activity of NATO […]

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Russian ombudsman slams ex-Defence Ministry official’s parole as “elite” justice

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 25, 2015) Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has strongly condemned a court decision to release on parole Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a key figure in the Oboronservis case, suggesting the move amounted to “elite” justice, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 25 August. Earlier on 25 August, a court in Vladimir Region granted Vasilyeva parole after she […]

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Interfax: DPR claims 30 truce violations by Ukrainian army, says large calibers being used

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

DONETSK. Aug 26 (Interfax) – The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has observed 30 incidents of shelling from the Ukrainian side over the past day, a ministry representative said on Wednesday. “The Ukrainian army has committed 30 ceasefire violations over the past day. Some 113 82mm and 120mm mines, 85 152mm artillery shells and 15 tank […]

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NEWSWATCH The Daily Caller: “McCain On Putin: ‘He Wants To Restore The Russian Empire'”

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

The Daily Caller covers recent remarks by U.S. Senator John McCain suggesting imperialistic ambitions are evidenced by Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. … McCain said Wednesday during his trip to Sweden that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to “restore the Russian Empire.” The purpose of the trip, made along with Sens. John Barrasso and Sheldon Whitehouse, is to […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Times: “East Ukraine could be annexed soon”

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

The Washington Times reports on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and prospects for Russian annexation of eastern Ukraine. … increased violence in East Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels of the Donetsk People’s Republic … comes with reports of an increased Russian military presence on the border … * * * … Xinhau, the Chinese state news agency, reported that […]

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NEWSWATCH Ottawa Citizen: “The coming war with Russia”

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

The Ottawa Citizen reports on concerns over the prospects for open military conflict between NATO and Russia. A couple of months before he retired in July, the head of Canada’s air force provided a blunt assessment of what might emerge from the current military mission to Ukraine. “We pray that our ongoing NATO mission isn’t accompanied by the escalation of […]

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U.S. Told Ukraine to Stand Down as Putin Invaded

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin, Eli Lake – August 21, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces took over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in early 2014, the interim Ukrainian government was debating whether or not to fight back against the “little green men” Russia had deployed. But the message from the Barack Obama administration was clear: avoid military confrontation with […]

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Half of Russians Believe Putin is Poorly Informed of Situation in the Country, Poll Shows

Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 20, 2015) Over half of Russians think President Vladimir Putin does not receive a complete picture of what is going on in Russia or is being deliberately misled by his entourage, according to a poll released Wednesday by an independent Russian polling center. Fifty-six percent of respondents in the poll conducted by the Levada […]

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Russia ready to discuss new CFE treaty with NATO – Foreign Ministry

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, August 18, 2015) Russia is ready for dialogue with NATO on new parameters of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) if the alliance’s proposal answer present-day realities, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, has said. “In principle, we are ready to discuss the parameters of a […]

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Ukraine Says Separatist Attacks Ease for First Time in Week

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany, Aliaksandr Kudrytski – August 18, 2015) Ukraine said attacks by pro-Russian insurgents in its easternmost regions abated for the first time in eight days, allaying concern that a six-month-old peace accord is unraveling. Ukrainian officials said they saw a drop in the use of heavy weaponry and reported no new civilian deaths overnight after […]

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Interfax: “Putin: ‘Crimeans voted for reunion with Russia. Done. Full stop'”

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

(Interfax – August 18, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has declined to comment on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s reaction to the Russian leader’s trip to Crimea. Speaking to journalists on Aug. 18, Putin stressed that the Crimeans have put a full stop on the issue of the peninsula’s future. “No, I am not commenting on it, because the future of […]

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NEWSLINK Washingtonpost/Lev Golkin: “Eastern Ukraine needs help, not isolation”

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

Twenty-five years ago, my family was stuck in then-Soviet Ukraine. We had nothing, and the West, including the United States, helped us and hundreds of thousands of other refugees even though we were technically “Soviet puppets,” born on the wrong side of the line. Today is a different story. Isolating a region for geopolitical considerations is one thing; withholding life-saving […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Ukraine bid to shut out Russia with border ‘wall’ falters.

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

AFP covers Ukraine’s unfolding efforts to fortify its border with Russia with defensive structures. … the ambitious project to seal up Ukraine’s porous 2,000-kilometre (1,200-mile) frontier with its ex-Soviet neighbour was announced in March 2014 after Moscow seized … Crimea …. … over a year later, only a small fraction of the $250-million (225-million-euro) project that Kiev hopes could help […]

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Russian official warns of Kiev’s plans for “long-term confrontation” with Moscow

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – August 11, 2015) Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev has said that Ukraine’s national security strategy for the period until 2020 is directed at a long-term confrontation with Russia, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 11 August. “According to our specialists, the Ukrainian national security strategy is directed at a long-term confrontation with Russia, which cannot fail […]

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Fifteen Years on, Russians Less Inclined to Cast Blame for Kursk Submarine Tragedy

Kursk Submarine File Photo, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 12, 2015) Fifteen years after one of the worst disasters in Russian naval history – the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in which all 118 crew members died – the number of Russians who blame the authorities for not doing enough to rescue the sailors has dropped. […]

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Interfax: Pro-Russian rebel official says MH17 “most likely” downed by Ukrainian Buk

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) Andriy Purhin (Andrey Purgin), the deputy speaker of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) people’s council, has said that the Malaysian Boeing is likely to have been downed by a Ukrainian Buk air defence system, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax quoted him as saying on 12 August. “Certainly, a Buk [missile] is more likely [to […]

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Moscow Mulling ‘Nuclear Provocation’ Against Ukraine, Kyiv Analyst Says

Radioactivity Symbol

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 4, 2015) To overcome the stalemate on the ground and to get itself out of the diplomatic corner it has painted itself into by vetoing the UN Security Council resolution on the Malaysian airliner tribunal, Moscow appears to be planning an act of “nuclear provocation” against Ukraine so as to turn […]

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Russia, U.S. Bicker Over Missile Defense Shield After Iran Agreement

Mssile Defense Control Room

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 11, 2015) With an international resolution on Iran’s nuclear program in the bag, Russia is pushing the U.S. to honor an alleged 2009 promise by President Barack Obama to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe to shield against Iranian missiles. “President Obama in 2009 publicly said that […]

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Interfax: Donetsk People’s Republic says Horlivka came under fire

St. Basil's Domes

MOSCOW. Aug 13 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian Armed Forces have fired heavy weapons against the town of Horlivka, the Donetsk news agency reported on Thursday, citing the information and analytical department of the town’s administration. “The shelling began at 10:30 p.m. Some heavy [weapons] were fired. Shells dropped near the village of Oksenivka,” it said. According to the local authorities, […]

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London promises to increase training program for Ukrainian troops

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

KYIV. Aug 11 (Interfax) – The United Kingdom will double its contribution to efforts to train Ukraine’s military, UK Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon has said. Speaking at a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kyiv, Fallon described today’s situation in the east of Ukraine as extremely complicated. A lot of people have been killed and there are […]

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Toward a ”Reaganov” Russia: Russian Security Policy after Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Clifford Gaddy and Michael O’Hanlon – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/toward-%E2%80%98%E2%80%98reaganov%E2%80%99%E2%80%99-russia-russian-security-policy-after-putin] Clifford Gaddy is Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution. An economist specializing in Russia, Gaddy is the co-author of “Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernization” (Routledge, 2013). His earlier books include “Russia’s Virtual […]

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Putin’s Choices: Explaining Russian Foreign Policy and Intervention in Ukraine

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Kimberly Marten – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at http://twq.elliott.gwu.edu/putin%E2%80%99s-choices-explaining-russian-foreign-policy-and-intervention-ukraine] Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and a faculty member of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. She is also Director of […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: As the Arctic Thaws, New Temptations

Arctic Map

The New York Times comments on Russia’s attempt to use the United Nations to expand Russian territory in the Arctic, accompanied by expanded Russian military activity in the region. As the Arctic rapidly thaws and surrenders access to its awesome wealth of energy and precious minerals, it is inevitable that nations in the far north will stake claims over huge […]

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Abandoned Mistral Deal Still Divides Russian Officials, Analysts

Mistral Class Ship

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 5, 2015) France has agreed to reimburse Russia for the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers purchased under a 2011 contract, ending a months-long dispute over the fate of Russia’s largest foreign arms purchase in the post-Soviet era. But the question of whether Russia really needs such expensive ships other than for mere […]

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re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII

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

Subject: re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 15:51:31 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his D.Phil. (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His essays on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms — The headline of Beevor’s article in The Guardian (1) is “By banning my […]

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Ukraine As A Bargaining Chip?

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – July 28, 2015) f you believe all the talk out there lately, Vladimir Putin is not only duplicitous and hypocritical — he’s also been pretty damn busy lately. Busy cutting secret deals with the same Europeans and Americans he has been vilifying for years. And if you believe the rumors, the Europeans and Americans have […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Georgia Dials Down Conflict With Russia. Shift comes as fighting in Ukraine draws the West and Moscow into a contest for spheres of influence.

Georgia Map

The Wall Street Journal covers Georgia’s shifting policies towards Russia Georgia has toned down its confrontational stance toward Moscow, even as Russia has supported separatists in Georgia and Ukraine. The two countries severed diplomatic relations after the 2008 war and still don’t have embassies. Joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is still Georgia’s declared ambition, [Zurab] Abashidze[, Georgia’s special representative […]

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RIA Novosti: East Ukraine separatist spokesman denies reported plans to create “dirty bomb”

Radioactivity Symbol

(RIA Novosti – August 1, 2015) Documents provided by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which have been mentioned by the foreign mass media and which allegedly contain information about development of a “dirty nuclear bomb” by members of the militia, are Kiev’s “yet another lie” and attempt to discredit the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), RIA Novosti (part of […]

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