Interfax: Putin visits Crimea, says Ukraine’s future is “together with Russia”

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

(Interfax – Yalta, August 17, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Russians and Ukrainians one people and expressed confidence that Ukraine will overcome its problems and come out of “external administration”. “I consider Russians and Ukrainians generally to be one people,” he said at a meeting with representatives of ethnic public organizations of the Republic of Crimea. “I am […]

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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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Five Years Ago, Russians Said They Were For Democracy, Something They Wouldn’t Say Now

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 17, 2015) Many people assume that the high levels of support that Russians express for the Putin regime now shows them to be by nature authoritarian. Others, citing poll data only a few years old, say that Russians are naturally democratic but are too oppressed by the security services or bamboozled […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#159 :: Monday 17 August 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#159 17 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by a […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: “Russian Roulette. The regime has replaced institutions with one-man rule and treats criticism as treason. But it could get even worse.”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lucas reviews two books, Putinism by Walter Laqueur and Putin’s Russia edited by Leon Aron. Lucas assesses Putinism, unfolding under the extensive reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a negative light: Making sense of Putinism is rather like trying to analyze a Russian salad. Unappetizing cubes of meat and vegetables lurk in […]

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NEWSLINK Kiev Post/Alexei Bayer: “Even if the Russian economy crumbles – as it is likely to do in the near-to-medium term, just as the Russian economy collapsed under Bolshevism – it will not result in any kind of a new beginning. There may be changes, but probably not for the better.”

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

Even if the Russian economy crumbles – as it is likely to do in the near-to-medium term, just as the Russian economy collapsed under Bolshevism – it will not result in any kind of a new beginning. There may be changes, but probably not for the better.

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NEWSLINK Boston Globe book review: “‘The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution’ by Dominic Lieven”

Romanov Family Photo

Lieven, a senior research fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge, England, who taught Russian studies at the London School of Economics for a third of a century, has produced what is basically a Russian history of the origins of World War I, though with ample and appropriate recognition of the role of Western Europe in the fighting.

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NEWSLINK The National Interest/Eugene Steinberg: “Revealed: Russia’s Mighty Pivot to Africa”

Africa Map

Russia’s interests in Africa are manifold. As economic sanctions constrict its trade with the West, Africa is becoming an increasingly attractive investment opportunity. At the same time, Africa’s fifty-four countries represent a political opportunity to relieve Russia’s isolation and build support for its actions in the UN. Finally, Russia’s prominence in Africa lends credibility to its reassertion of world power […]

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NEWSLINK Globe and Mail (Canada): “Russia’s Brief, Shining Moment”

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

Mark MacKinnon visits the unassuming city in the shadow of the Urals where, not long ago and for not very long, free expression was allowed to flourish. In fact, it was encouraged and even financed by the state. Then something happened.

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Why are we so worried about the Russian doping scandal?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

Fresh allegations over doping in international athletics have cast plenty of shame and doubt. They also reveal the west’s political prejudices and ignorance. (opendemocracy.net – Rolf Fretheim, Thomas Rowley – August 14, 2015) Rolf Fredheim is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge, where he works on […]

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NEWSLINK Columbia University: Save the Date: CATHARINE THEIMER NEPOMNYASHCHY’s Memorial Service (October 2)

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

Friday, October 2, 2015 2:00 – 4:00 pm James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st St) A memorial service will be held for Professor Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy on Friday, October 2, 2015 in the James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st St). The service will be followed by a reception at the Diana Center, […]

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Assessment of the state of Russian studies in the US on behalf of ASEEES

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(August 14, 2015) Current tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and other issues have prompted discussions in the media and in policymaking circles about the state of expertise on Russia in the United States. Some observers argue that since the collapse of the Soviet Union the quantity and quality of Russia-related research and graduate training at US-based […]

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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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Georgy Satarov: ‘The Opposition Needs to Put the Authorities in Zugzwang’

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – August 12, 2015) As part of the Institute of Modern Russia’s ongoing interview series with Russian and Western experts, imrussia.org editor-in-chief Olga Khvostunova sat down with INDEM Foundation president Georgy Satarov to talk about social discontent, the consequences of the law on ”undesirable organizations,” the principle of simplification in Putin’s politics, and the […]

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Panic In The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 13, 2015) You know things are getting really bad when Sergei Lavrov blows his cool. The Russian foreign minister is usually smooth as silk in public, shamelessly and effortlessly twisting, spinning, distorting, and lying on behalf of Vladimir Putin’s regime. But this week, Lavrov was caught on camera — and on mic […]

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Kyiv Must Work to Isolate Moscow Rather than Negotiate with It, Yeremenko Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 11, 2015) Up to now, Ukraine has made “a serious error” by trying to negotiate with Russia about the Donbas, Bogdan Yeremenko says. What it should be doing is devoting all its efforts to isolating Russia internationally.  That will have far more impact on Moscow’s behavior than any talks Ukraine might […]

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Interfax: Netherlands: Investigators so far don’t confirm finding Buk parts on MH17 crash site in Donbass

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

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) The international group of investigators conducting the criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Malaysian Boeing crash in Donbas does not confirm finding fragments of a surface-to-air missile Buk on the crash site in Donbass, the Dutch National Public Prosecutor’s Office reported. It is now too early to draw conclusions that the found fragments are […]

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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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Russians Named Europe’s Least Productive Workers

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 11, 2015) The productivity of the Russian workforce is the lowest among European countries, according to a report issued Monday by the France-based international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. In Russia, labor productivity – measured by the gross domestic product valued in U.S. dollars divided by the total number of hours […]

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Putin’s Other War? Russians’ Binge Drinking

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Peter R. Orszag – August 11, 2015) Peter R. Orszag is a Bloomberg View columnist. Now vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group at Citigroup, he was previously director of the Office of Management and Budget. Russian President Vladimir Putin may be undermining global peace and civic […]

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Kremlin Forms NGO Expert Group

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 11, 2015) The Kremlin has announced the creation of an expert group to consider changes to a controversial law that labels NGOs receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents,” the RBC news agency reported Monday, citing deputy presidential chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin. The group will work within the presidential administration and will consist […]

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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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BOOK REVIEW: “We are in power; that is democracy”

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer in Moscow – August 11, 2015) “Boris Yeltsin was able to have a constitution adopted in a referendum that guaranteed him broad powers and an almost complete lack of checks and balances – the first major step toward the poisoning of Russia’s political institutions and guaranteeing the transition to Vladimir Putin”. That […]

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Eight Facts to Celebrate 100 Starbucks in Russia

Starbucks Counter with U.S. Ambassador and Crew

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ilaria Parogni – August 12, 2015) American coffeehouse chain Starbucks Coffee celebrated the opening of his 100th Russian branch in Tuesday. The new venue is located inside the shopping center Galereya in St. Petersburg, the company announced on social media. Starbucks is currently holding celebrations at the new location and at the company’s flagship store […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#158 :: Friday 14 August 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#158 14 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by a […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#157 :: Thursday 13 August 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#157 13 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by a […]

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Russian Press Digest 12 August 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Wednesday, the Russian press reports on import substitution, copyright news and the emergence of a new, Cossack currency in St Petersburg. This morning, business daily Kommersant leads with an article on import substitution-a commission devoted to the issue has just been set up, with Dmitry Medvedev its head. The commission’s first meeting took […]

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Russians Require Minimum Monthly Income of $350, Poll Shows

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 13, 2015) The minimum monthly income a household needs to make ends meet, according to the average Russian, is 22,755 rubles ($350) per person – nearly 2.5 times more than the official minimum cost of living in Russia, a survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) revealed. Respondents’ answers varied according to […]

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‘Virtual Civil War’ Going on in Russia Today Moscow Sociologist Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 12, 2015) Only 25 to 30 percent of Russians actively profess[] Putin’s national-patriotic ideology, but far fewer, ten to 15 percent are “convinced liberals, Leonty Byzov says. This division, far deeper than in the past, means that “a virtual civil war” is going on in Russia, one that could in a […]

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Fractures Form Inside Russia’s Central Bank as Recession Deepens

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov – August 12, 2015) In his first stint as a top Russian central bank official in the early 1990s, Dmitry Tulin saw how flooding cheap credit to dying industrial giants delivered hyperinflation instead of growth. Now back as the bank’s monetary chief, Tulin, 59, has argued internally for easier credit and more […]

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Poll: Banned food better be given to needy, orphans

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

(Interfax – August 13, 2015) Forty percent of Russians have backed the authorities’ decision to destroy embargoed food, while the number of opponents is a bit higher (48 percent), the Levada Center has told Interfax on Aug. 13. In the opinion of the respondents, the food would better be given to orphanages, homeless shelters or hospitals (43 percent) or be […]

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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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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#156 :: Wednesday 12 August 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#156 12 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by a […]

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VIDEO: Conversation: Russia’s Perfect Economic Storm

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Stratfor.com – August 11, 2015) Video Transcript: Ben Sheen: Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Ben Sheen, I’m a managing editor here at Stratfor, and with me today is Stratfor’s senior Eurasia analyst, Lauren Goodrich, who will be talking to me about the state of the Russian economy. So Lauren, Russia is struggling at the moment. […]

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RIA Novosti: Food spending taking up most of Russian household budgets – poll

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(RIA Novosti – August 11, 2015) Food items are becoming the largest part of the household budget, particularly meat and chicken, according to a poll commissioned for the Bank of Russia by the Infom company, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 11 August. “The main items Russians are cutting back on are groceries, […]

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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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‘Is your mum a foreign agent?’

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

Russian NGOs, large and small, are facing closure after the blacklisting of their foreign funders. Colta.ru speaks to some of the organisations affected. (opendemocracy.net/Colta.ru – EKATERINA SELIVANOVA, NADEZHDA KONOBEYEVSKAYA, and YAKOV KAPITONOV – August 11, 2015) Ekaterina Selivanova is a Moscow-based journalist. She writes for Colta.ru and The New Times. Nadezhda Konobeyevskaya is an independent journalist, and writes for Novaya […]

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Hillary Clinton’s Role in Losing Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 10, 2015) Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, and the Russia expert Kathryn Stoner say U.S. foreign policy has had a relatively neutral effect in determining Russia’s course. In an article published last week, they argued that President Vladimir Putin’s virulent anti-Americanism was driven by domestic, tactical considerations, allowing us […]

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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

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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RBTH: The battle for Arctic heats up

Arctic Map

Russian scientists say their new model for the Arctic’s tectonic evolution shows that the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges are part of the Eurasian mainland. This apparently substantiates Russia’s claim to 1.2 million square kilometers of Arctic sea shelf. At stake is control over vast natural resources, and opposition from western nations is almost certain. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – […]

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Why Putin Is Losing

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 10, 2015) Are little green men about to appear on the North Pole? Russia’s claim last week, using an extremely creative interpretation of international law, to exclusive economic rights to nearly half a million square miles of the Arctic Sea, was certainly a head scratcher. Sure the territory is valuable due to […]

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Crimean Anschluss Divides Russian Left Just as Much as It Does Russian Right

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 8, 2015) That Vladimir Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea has divided Russian nationalists has been obvious since the opening days of Russian aggression against Ukraine, with some Russian nationalists supporting Moscow’s and others going so far as to travel to Ukraine to fight against the imperialism they see as a threat. But […]

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Ukraine Returns Artillery to War Zone as Ministers Hold Call

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – August 11, 2015) Ukraine returned heavy artillery to the front line of its more-than-yearlong conflict with pro-Russian rebels after reporting shelling at levels not seen in weeks. Weapons, pulled back as part of a February truce, were sent back to a village in the Donetsk region on Monday after separatists stormed it, the […]

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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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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#155 :: Tuesday 11 August 2015

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#155 11 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by a […]

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Western Experts Cry Foul Over Russian Books Published in Their Names

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 10, 2015) Prominent Western experts and journalists accused a Russian publishing house Sunday of pirating their work and printing books using their names without their permission or prior knowledge. Journalists Luke Harding and Edward Lucas and U.S.-based Russia expert Donald Jensen confirmed to The Moscow Times that they did not know […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post/Jim Hoagland: Vladimir Putin, failed spy

Putin Descending a Staircase

The Washington Post examines reports that Putin was actually not a successful KGB operative, but rather someone who used connections to boost his professional life with a move into politics.  Moreover, Putin reportedly has been said to have presented traits of recklessness out of step with a risk-averse KGB. They … traced a portrait of Putin as a failed spy […]

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