NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Hand Is Visible Everywhere in the Middle East; Moscow has used its new-found influence in the Middle East to thwart the U.S. effort to use Saudi Arabia as a pressure point against the Russian economy.” – The National Interest/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Middle East Map

“… During the Cold War, the Soviet Union attempted to compete frontally against the United States-and found itself outclassed. Today, Russia is engaged in a more subtle strategy. So far, it appears to be paying dividends.”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s CBR gets tough on banks, demands they reveal owners’ identities” – bne Intellinews

Central Bank of Russia file photo

“The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) will demand that all of Russia’s banks fully disclose the identities of their owners from the start of 2018, Kommersant daily reported on September 11 citing the draft order prepared by the regulator. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Greasing the public’s hands: how oil and gas taxes financed the Kremlin’s social contract” – Bear Market Blog/ Miranda Lupion

Gas Flame file photo

“This past month, Russian news outlet RBC published a detailed report breaking down the revenue sources that funded the Kremlin’s 2016 federal budget. While the headline, “50 Companies Furnished Half of the Russian Budget’s Tax Revenue,” may come as no surprise to those familiar with the country’s business landscape, the fine print is worth a double take. In 2016, revenue […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to be nominated as a presidential candidate in November” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be nominated as a presidential candidate in November. The procedure for nominating the current president as a candidate for a new term will be held in two stages, Kommersant reports, citing sources in the Kremlin where closed meetings on the upcoming presidential elections in 2018 have been held. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russian life expectancy reaches a record 72.5 years” – bne Intellinews/

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“The average life expectancy of Russians reached 72.5 years for the first time in history … according to Rosstat … men’s life expectancy increased by a year from 66.5 to 67.5 years and for women it was 77.4 years. During the worst of the economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, male life expectancy fell to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Art Fair Cosmoscow Celebrates Its Fifth Edition” – Forbes/ Ann Binlot

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… Cosmoscow began in 2010 with just 28 galleries, and it was put on hiatus until 2014. From September 7 to 10, the only contemporary art fair in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States celebrated its fifth edition at Gostiny Dvor. Cosmoscow 2017 featured 54 galleries, 20 of them international, including Osnova Gallery, Pechersky Gallery, Sandy Brown from Berlin […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Cold War’s Tragic Hero; A definitive biography shows a Soviet leader changing his mind. Max Boot reviews ‘Gorbachev’ by William Taubman.”

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

“… Perhaps Russia’s dire straits, with an imploding economy overseen by a corrupt oligarchy, could have been avoided if Mr. Gorbachev had engineered a smoother transition from dictatorship to democracy, from communism to capitalism. But the dissolution of every great empire has been a messy, bloody business. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Kremlin Leadership Politics: No Longer ‘Bulldogs Fighting Under A Rug?'” – Center for European Policy Analysis/ Donald N. Jensen

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

“The 2017 edition of “Politburo 2.0″ the biannual overview of power in the Kremlin published by Moscow’s Minchenko Consulting Group, came out 23 August at an especially timely moment. First, with presidential elections scheduled for March 2018 and Russia’s Vladimir Putin not yet having formally declared his intention to serve another term, members of the elite are uncertain about their […]

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NEWSLINK: “RT reading list” – Boycott Russia Today/ To Inform is to Influence

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

“From ‘Boycott Russia Today’ … Updated “RT reading list” now in our BRT Notes section, with a dozen 2017 citations having been added …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Catholics react skeptically to Cardinal Parolin’s visit. First visit by a senior Vatican official since 1999 offers some peace, conjecture.” – National Catholic Reporter/ Jonathan Luxmoore

Saint Peter's Basilica

“When Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, ended his official trip to Russia on Aug. 24, news reports were full of praise for the latest expression of closeness between Rome and Moscow. But there are signs that not everyone is satisfied with the aloof tone of the four-day visit — or confident about its benefits for Catholics. … While […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukrainian crisis: Is there a way out?” – Washington Times/ Edward Lozansky

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“Are we preparing for the war with Russia over Ukraine? That’s how it looks if you saw in the news how U.S. Marines regularly do simulated battles with Russian-speaking insurgents.  This is taking place in North Carolina and Germany, but the assumed country is Ukraine, where some American troops have established a combat training center staffed by Ukrainians and reportedly […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Society Wants Change – But of What Nature?” – Carnegie Moscow/ Denis Volkov

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

“… In December 2016, 53 percent of Russia’s population said they wanted to see decisive changes. Only a third (35 percent) believed that everything should remain as it is. Questions posed in different formulations indicate that the number of supporters of change could be as high as two-thirds of the population. But what specific changes do people want? …. Among the broader […]

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NEWSLINK: “Washington and Moscow Must Embrace Détente – Despite Trump. Sober realism about U.S. policy towards Russia has seldom been more imperative and less evident” – The National Interest/ Katrina vanden Heuvel

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“U.S.-Russia relations are in a perilous state. Any wisp of hope coming from Donald Trump’s ‘summit’ with President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 was dispelled by breaking news on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, this time implicating Donald Trump Jr., among others. William Perry, a former secretary of defense under Bill Clinton, terms the situation “worse than […]

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NEWSLINK: “On Free Press in Russia” – Cornell Daily Sun/ Artur Gorokh

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

“… When thinking about the issue of free press, we must address two separate issues: firstly, how much effort does it take for a motivated individual to get access to reliable information and diverse opinion; and, secondly, how informed the typically unmotivated population really is. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Move Moscow to Far East Russia? Russian demographer Yury Krupnov has proposed transferring the capital to an area nearer to China, Japan and South Korea, which he calls the center of the world’s geo-economic map” – Asia Times/ Inga Velanskaya

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

“When … Putin announced a policy to promote and invest in the economy of the country’s Far East, he probably wasn’t expecting a proposal to move Moscow to the Pacific coast. … what Yury Krupnov came up with as chairman of a think-tank on Russian regional development. … In the so-called ‘Doctrine of De-Moscovication’ Krupnov argues development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s government moves from war budget to election budget” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The Russian government has moved from a war budget to an election budget as social spending soars and defence spending is cut. With the presidential election now only a year away, which Russian President Vladimir Putin, virtually unopposed, is expected to easily win, the Russian government has changed its budgetary focus and boosted social spending to soften up the electorate. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s surveillance state is giving us a false sense of security The Russian state’s mass expansion of surveillance online and offline is not making citizens any safer.” – OpenDemocracyNet – Damir Gainutdinov

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

“… Human rights defenders moving around the country regularly encounter increased attention from law enforcement agencies — they are detained, searched and questioned about why they’re travelling ….”

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NEWSLINK: “Reconsidering Russia Podcast: An Interview with Alexander Rabinowitch”

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

“… This interview includes discussions with Dr. Rabinowitch on the history and historiography of the Russian Revolution, the forthcoming centenary, his Russian émigré family background, the role of the Russian émigrés in the formation of Russian Studies in the US. and his meetings with Aleksandr Kerensky, Vladimir Nabokov, Irakli Tsereteli, and Boris Nicolaevsky.”

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NEWSLINK: “Putin, Stalin, Orthodoxy, and Russian Traditionalism” – Russian and Eurasian Studies/ Gordon Hahn

Joseph Stalin file photo

“Much Western media and many observers of Russian politics are fond of playing up an ostensible revival of Stalin – his ‘rehabilitation’ as it were – under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Russian-Saudi rapprochement and Iran. Would Russia draw closer to Saudi Arabia and risk losing Iran?” – Al Jazeera/ Leonid Issaev

Middle East Map

“… A number of developments in recent months have signalled a possible rapprochement between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have made a joint effort to push for further cutting of oil production to help bring up prices. Since the beginning of this year, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih have been seeking to conclude […]

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NEWSLINK: “Looking out Five Years: What Should Washington and Its European Allies Expect From Moscow? Russians have become skeptical about a truly global order. At best, interactions with Western countries will be transactional, based on national interests when those happen to coincide or come close” – Carnegie Moscow Center/ Dmitri Trenin

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“In the next five years, Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe will be competitive and tense. Russia will not invade NATO territory unprovoked, but incidents along the new front line, stretching from the Arctic to the Baltic to the Black Sea and elsewhere, may occasionally endanger peace between Russia and the United States and its allies. Operating from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Demands on Russian Foreign Policy And Its Drivers: Looking Out Five Years; Russia’s foreign policy priorities in the coming years hinge upon solidifying Russia’s great power status outside the post-Soviet space as well as reducing the country’s political isolation” – Carnegie Moscow/ Dmitri Trenin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… This is the first article in a series looking ahead at the drivers of Russian foreign policy from 2017 to 2022. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Terra Scientia on Klyazma River National Educational Youth Forum, Vladimir Region, August 11, 2017” – Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… We are going through a critical stage in international relations. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “Without reforms, economic sclerosis awaits; What are Putin’s economic policy options if he retains power in 2018?” – Intersection/ Georgy Bovt

Kremlin and River

“… it is increasingly difficult for a country like present-day Russia to survive and ‘wait through’ the present. The longer anyone postpones the political decisions about launching some ‘healing measures’, the larger the scale of economic and technological collapse there will be; the economic model will inevitably become less and less competitive the more policy makers sit on their hands. […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Costs of Ignoring Russia; Current mutual hostility threatens an explosive confrontation” – The National Interest/ Dimitri K. Simes

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Improving the dangerously unstable U.S.-Russia relationship will be very difficult, but it is important for U.S. national security. Current mutual hostility threatens an explosive confrontation that could destroy American (and Russian) civilization as we know it. Short of that, Russia can do much more than it is today to damage U.S. interests and values without taking extreme risks. Accordingly, the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia industrial production is rising in all eight federal districts” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Industrial output growth continued in the first half of this year in all of Russia’s eight federal districts (or Okrug in Russian, each district containing Russia 80 regions), according to the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT). …”

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NEWSLINK: “Marshall I. Goldman, Expert on Russian Economy, Dies at 87” – New York Times

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“Marshall I. Goldman, who diagnosed deficiencies in Moscow’s economic policies for decades and was among the first Kremlinologists to predict the downfall of Mikhail S. Gorbachev, died on Aug. 2 in Cambridge, Mass. He was 87. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Wants Innovation, but It’s Arresting Its Innovators” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

Skolkovo File Photo

“… The troubles of Mr. Trubitsyn, however, may help explain why such a breakthrough has proved so elusive: The Russian state, which Mr. Putin has made the main vehicle for his plans for the nation’s resurgence, often stifles growth. A bureaucracy empowered by a steady erosion of democratic checks and balances can often smother new ideas. Grand state-directed projects to […]

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NEWSLINK: Sean’s Russia Blog Podcast: “Retrospective on Stalinism [with Sheila Fitzpatrick, Sean Guillory]”

Joseph Stalin file photo

“… Sheila Fitzpatrick is Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago and a Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. She’s the author numerous books and articles on Soviet history including A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold War Russia; Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia; The Russian Revolution; […]

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NEWSLINK: “Three Questions: Russian intellectual history as a practice and project (Historia Nova Interviews)” – Nancy Condee/ NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia

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

“Background: On the fifth anniversary of the Historia Nova Prize, Irina Prokhorova poses three questions to the HN winners on the current state of intellectual history in Russian studies. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Factbox: What Do the New U.S. Sanctions on Russia Target?” – Reuters

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… * The law establishes a review process that allows #Congress to block any effort by #Trump to ease or lift sanctions on #Russia. Lawmakers passed the bill to punish Russia over its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its involvement in Syria’s civil war. * Trump, or any U.S. president, […]

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NEWSLINK: “We Need to Stop Using Russia as a Political Football; From Nixon to Trump, there have always been long-term risks in exploiting foreign policy for domestic political gain” – The Nation/ Vadim Nikitin

Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon Sitting and Talking, as Nixon Gestures, with Third Man Standing and Leaning Closely Between Them

“By voting in new sanctions against Russia, Congress torpedoed the White House’s dream of rapprochement with the Kremlin. Yet its real target was not a foreign foe but an unpopular Republican president threatened by impeachment over alleged electoral manipulation. With the commander in chief dogged by perceived softness on Moscow and crippled by plummeting approval ratings, Congress chose foreign policy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion” – New York Times/ John Sipher, Steve Hall

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

“… John Sipher, a former chief of station for the C.I.A., worked for over 27 years in Russia, Europe and Asia and now writes for The Cipher Brief and works for CrossLead, a consulting company. Steve Hall is a former C.I.A. chief of Russian operations and a CNN national security analyst. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Latest Diplomatic Rift Places US, Russia on Edge of ‘Tipping Point'” – Russia Matters/ Paul Saunders

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

“The Russian government’s recent announcement of its decision to eject American diplomats and block access to two diplomatic properties may signal an approaching tipping point in the United States-Russia relationship. Trump administration officials and members of Congress should consider very carefully how to proceed. While the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official announcement of Moscow’s latest moves focused primarily on Russia’s complaints […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin says the U.S. Mission in Russia needs to cut 755 employees. What do all these people do?” – Washington Post/ Andrew Roth

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

“When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday that the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Russia would have to cut 755 diplomatic and technical staff, many people had the same first thought: We have 755 diplomats in Russia for Putin to expel? Doesn’t that seem like a lot? The answer is yes, that does seem like a lot. Because no, we […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Villages, and Their Way of Life, Are ‘Melting Away'” – New York Times/ NEIL MacFARQUHAR

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

“… With Russia’s natural population growth entering an extended period of decline, villages like Baruta are disappearing from across the country’s continental expanse. * * * Russia’s demographic problem dates back at least 100 years, to the upheaval of the 1917 revolution, followed by Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. Both events curbed population growth, foreshadowing the devastating impact of World […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion” – New York Times/ DANIEL HOFFMAN

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

“… Having long considered the United States its main enemy, the Kremlin deploys a full quiver of intelligence weapons against America and its national security agencies, political parties and defense contractors. Its intelligence services, though best known for clandestine operations to recruit spies, also run covert ‘influence operations’ that often use disinformation to try to affect decisions or events in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian propaganda has flooded U.S. airwaves. How about some reciprocity?” – Washington Post editorial

Historic Washington Post Masthead, adapted from image at nlrb.gov

  “… The asymmetry is a problem. … Putin’s government, intent on undermining liberal democracies by casting doubt on the very notion of truth, and sowing division and doubt about basic Western institutions, has become increasingly adept at weaponizing information. U.S. intelligence agencies have called attention to Moscow’s fake news campaign, as have U.S. allies in Europe. … The wild […]

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NEWSLINK: “RUSSIANS ARE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST CAT LOVERS” – Dalia Research

File Photo of Young Cat Amidst Tall Grass, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Our latest survey shows that a majority (59%) of Russians own a cat. This is more than 10 percentage points higher than any other country in our survey of 52 countries. Surprised? Don’t be. In Russia, cats have been placed on a high pedestal since Empress Elizabeth’s reign in the 1700s, where felines prized for their mouse-catching abilities were brought to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with «NBC», Moscow, July 21, 2017” – Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“Question: Minister, thank you very much for your time. There is a lot to talk about. There is Syria, there is North Korea, there is China, there is Ukraine, there is ISIS. But inevitably, I’d like to begin by talking to you about Russian-US relations. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Why is Vladimir Putin holding a news conference just for kids?” – Washington Post/ Andrew Roth

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

“… The Kremlin is getting interested in Russia’s youth ahead of next year’s presidential elections, amid a growth in students at opposition rallies and research showing increased interest in politics among young Russians. In a rare, kid-targeted event, the Kremlin is rolling out its most popular talent Friday afternoon: Putin himself, who will use his exhaustive Q&A style for a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin visits veteran dissident Alekseyeva on her 90th birthday. (with video)” – RussiaFeed

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

“… On Thursday, July 20, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin has paid a visit to Lyudmila Alekseyeva to congratulate the veteran activist on her 90th birthday and thank her for her long-term service to the nation. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Evolving Grand Eurasia Strategy: Will It Work?” – Carnegie Moscow Center/ Dmitri Trenin

Asia Map

“With a shift in strategy, 2014 was a pivotal year for Russia’s foreign policy. It was then that Moscow began moving away from its traditional focus on Europe and the Atlantic, with secondary attention to the former Soviet borderlands. The Ukraine crisis served as the coup de grâce for the two concepts that had guided Russian foreign policy since the […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Politics of Russian Nationalism. Vladimir Putin as Centrist.” – Public Seminar/ Richard Anderson

Kremlin and River

“Vladimir Putin rules Russia because he is a centrist.  Since the Soviet dissolution in 1991, strange bedfellows in a coalition that combines communists with tsarists have urged reunification.  They are opposed by a few democrats, who urge Russians to content themselves with those 1991 boundaries. Americans certainly should understand why people anywhere feel safer in a larger state that aggressively […]

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NEWSLINK: “Cold weather hits Russian economy in May but recovery still on track” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s statistics agency released a slew of numbers for June and revised the May numbers. The bottom line is while the economy took a hit from the bad weather in May, the recovery is broadly on track and life is starting to look better for the man in the street after two years of grinding pain. Real disposable incomes and […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Russian spies living next door” – CNN/ Thom Patterson

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

“… U.S. authorities secretly surveilled all the spies for years, bugging the Guryevs’ house and even secretly searching it when they weren’t around. The FBI told CNN’s original series “Declassifed” that the Guryevs tried so hard to blend into American society that they didn’t even speak Russian inside their own home. Eventually, the United States cracked a secret code the […]

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