U.S.-Russia Relations in 2013: A Year of Living Ambiguously

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – January 15, 2014) The year 2013 was not an easy one for the United States, and Russian President Vladimir Putin used the situation to strengthen his position both on the world stage and in the post-Soviet space. Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at […]

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McFaul: Happy New Year: Looking Back, Looking Forward [excerpt]

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul – http://m-mcfaul.livejournal.com/ – January 15, 2014) [excerpt; complete text here http://m-mcfaul.livejournal.com/17235.html] January is always a good month to assess the accomplishments of the previous year and look forward to progress in the new year. This month marks not only the end of my second year as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation but also the […]

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Old New Year Has Enduring Popularity in Russia

File Photo of New Year's Eve Revelers With Sparkler Near Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2014) Nearly half of Russians are planning to ring in the “Old New Year” on Monday night, in a sign of the enduring popularity of the holiday based on the old Julian calendar. “Old New Year” is a legacy of the calendar that the country used before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. The Russian […]

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Top Ten Most Popular Stories of 2013

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – January 10, 2014) The news in Russia over the course of 2013 had its ups and downs. Meteors and a NSA intelligence leaker appeared out of nowhere and landed in Russia while the Olympic torch relay was for the first time launched into the cosmos. Political movements came into their own, victories […]

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The Top Five Bizarre Stories From 2013

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 8, 2014) [Videos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/the-top-5-bizarre-stories-from-2013/492451.html#ixzz2poNBUVlR] The news coming out of Russia in 2013 was full of emotions. Anti-gay laws and corruption scandals caused outrage, Olympic torches were carried with pride and falling meteors provoked awe that was captured on a small army of dash cams. There were also stories that made our readers (and […]

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Channel One Leads in Putin’s New Year Address Ratings

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 6, 2014) Almost 95 percent of Russian television viewers saw the traditional New Year’s address by President Vladimir Putin, according to preliminary data from media research firm TNS Russia. This year’s address differed starkly from previous years in that it was delivered in two versions, the initial one recorded in the Kremlin and broadcast […]

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Six Laws to Look Out For in The New Year

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 2, 2014) Besides hangovers and eerily quiet streets, the first day of the New Year also brings with it a score of new measures that were signed into law the year before. From a ban on Norwegian fish imports to protection against ATM fraud, here are a few picks from the […]

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2013 in sport: The year of anticipation

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – James Ellingworth, special to RBTH – December 26, 2013) For Russian sports fans, 2013 was all about looking ahead to next year – and the future’s bright If you struggled to wait for Santa Claus, spare a thought for Russian sports fans – their whole 2013 has been like an extended Christmas Eve, […]

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Putin Stole The Headlines In 2013, But How Is He Positioned For 2014?

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – January 1, 2014) At a press conference back in September, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a seemingly throwaway remark that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid outside military intervention by giving up all his chemical weapons. The same day, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin seized the diplomatic initiative by calling on his […]

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Eat, drink and be merry ­ but at your own expense!

File Photo of New Year's Eve Revelers With Sparkler Near Kremlin

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – December 31, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. New Year is by far Russia’s most important and lavishly celebrated public holiday.  But as Russians prepare to celebrate it, Putin is trying to impose austerity on […]

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Russian citizens name Putin person of year again – poll

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

(Interfax – January 1, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named the person of the year again, Putin is first in popularity ratings since 1999, sociologists of the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) told Interfax citing a poll held. The survey was held on December 7-8 in 43 Russian regions in 100 cities, towns and villages and involved 1,500 respondents. […]

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What to Expect From The Year of The Horse

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 1, 2014) Many Russians love to honor the animal that symbolizes the coming year, based on the Chinese astrological calendar, believing ­ half-jokingly but many would insist ­ that it brings them luck for the next 12 months. “Whose year is the next one?” Russians ask each other around December. The […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] New Year’s Address to the Nation

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Kremlin.ru – December 31, 2013) Vladimir Putin welcomed in the New Year in Khabarovsk together with residents of the Far East who have suffered from devastating flooding. In Khabarovsk, the President delivered his New Year’s Address to the Nation. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Friends, The New Year of 2014 is almost here: in a few moments, we will take […]

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Interfax: Attempts to hold nationalist rallies due to terrorist attacks in Volgograd are unacceptable – Federation Council

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) – The attempts to hold any nationalist rallies due to terrorist attacks in Volgograd are unacceptable, the Russian Federation Council said. “Amid the current situation various nationalist movements should not be allowed to earn points with this tragedy, terrorist attacks and people’s grief. Appeals for nationalist gatherings are voiced in Volgograd. Such rallies will play into […]

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Russian New Year’s celebration: It’s all in the numbers

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – December 27, 2013) New Year celebrations are popular all over the world, but in Russia they are the main national holiday. The festivities last for at least eight days, and sometimes as many as 20. Russians’ pagan ancestors celebrated Kolyada, a winter solstice holiday. Early Slavs celebrated it from […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Makes Two New Year’s Speeches for 2014

Vladimir Putin file photo

MAGADAN/KHABAROVSK, December 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin broke with tradition this December 31 and delivered two New Year’s speeches instead of one. In a pre-recorded New Year’s address to Russians shown on television minutes before midnight in Russia’s easternmost Kamchatka region, Putin outlined the priorities for the coming year. “Next year, a lot needs to be done […]

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The blank poster: Russia heading into 2014

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(opendemocracy.net/Chatham House – Roderic Lyne – December 25, 2013) Sir Roderic Lyne served as British Ambassador to Russia from January 2000 until August 2004, when he retired from the Diplomatic Service after 34 years. He now works as a consultant, principally advising businesses on Russia and the CIS. He was a member of the Chilcot Enquiry. Experts agree modernisation and […]

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Russia’s year in review: terror, political surprises, and hope

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – December 30, 2013) From the sudden release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky to the tragic events in Volgograd, here are 10 top headline grabbers for 2013 according to The Moscow News staff. 1. Khodorkovsky bombshell President Vladimir Putin’s decision to suddenly pardon oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was possibly the most unexpected news of the year. After two […]

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RIA Novosti: Half of Russians Describe 2013 as Successful Year – Poll

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ More than a half of Russians said they will remember 2013 as a successful year for them, an independent pollster said on Saturday. A total of 51 percent said the year was successful for them, 24 said it was unsuccessful and 25 percent had no answer. However, 30 percent said that this year was […]

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The Soviet Union, spy scandals, sex and UFOs: Top 13 stories of 2013

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexandra Guzeva, RBTH – December 30, 2013) As the year draws to a close, check out these 13 stories that RBTH readers found most interesting, engaging or thought-provoking in 2013. Most popular stories of 2013: Russia to ban cash transactions over $10,000 Russia beckons for Tebow Putin’s medical secrets leaked to the media […]

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The Five Biggest Events That Shaped Putin’s 2013

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm – December 30, 2013) Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times. Looking back at the main events that shaped Russia over the past 12 months, it is clear that 2013 will go down in history as President Vladimir Putin’s “anti-year.” It was in 2013 that the powers that be not […]

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Russia’s 2013: the year in human rights

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(opendemocracy.net – Tanya Lokshina – December 24, 2013) Tanya Lokshina is Russia Program Director at Human Rights Watch The amnesty, presidential pardon and resulting ‘celebrity releases’ might understandably overshadow the rest of 2013, says Tanya Lokshina. But it’s far too early to suggest they underpin a significant improvement in the rights situation in Russia. What will we remember about 2013? […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] New Year reception at the Kremlin

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 27, 2013) An official New Year reception was held in the Kremlin Palace on behalf of the President of Russia. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good evening, friends, We have an excellent tradition of meeting in the Kremlin on the eve of the New Year. Such receptions are considered official events; however, I hope you are in […]

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Russian New Year’s celebration: It’s all in the numbers

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – December 27, 2013) New Year celebrations are popular all over the world, but in Russia they are the main national holiday. The festivities last for at least eight days, and sometimes as many as 20. Russians’ pagan ancestors celebrated Kolyada, a winter solstice holiday. Early Slavs celebrated it from […]

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Reports of Imminent Resignation False, U.S. Ambassador McFaul Says

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 26, 2013) U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul plans to ring in the New Year in Moscow for the first time in his life, combining Russian and U.S. traditions, he said in an interview published Wednesday. McFaul, who’s been in Russia since early 2012, also said that the reports of his resignation were greatly […]

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Interfax: Russia hits dead-end but slaps Americans on nose – Communist Party

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 23 (Interfax) – Russian Communist Party Central Committee First Deputy Chairman, State Duma First Vice-Speaker Ivan Melnikiov has presented the results of the outgoing year the way they are seen by the communists. “The period of pretentious capitalism which is addicted to the resource model started to expire in 2013. Practically everyone said that the country had hit […]

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The basics of the best Russian drinking toasts

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH – December 26, 2013) It is customary in Russia to propose a toast before each new round of drinks. At official events, the toasts are serious and earnest. At a party with close friends in attendance, they are usually ironic and jocular. People in other countries usually think […]

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Russia 2013: Success and Anxiety; How Russians will remember the outgoing year.

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nikolay Surkov, Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – December 24, 2013) The outgoing year had a disturbing start ­ a large-scale disaster. In February, a large meteorite fell in Chelyabinsk, a major industrial center of the Urals. The explosive power of this meteorite was approximately 500 kilotons (30 times stronger than the Hiroshima atomic bomb). […]

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