NEWSLINK: “Mattis slams Russia, says Putin ‘attempts to undermine America’s moral authority'” – CNN/Ryan Browne

James Mattis file photo

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis slammed Russia on Friday, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘attempts to undermine America’s moral authority’ and ‘seeks to shatter NATO.’… ‘For the first time since World War II, Russia has been the nation that has redrawn international borders by force in Georgia and Ukraine while pursuing veto authority over their neighbors’ diplomatic, economic and security […]

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NEWSLINK: “At Site of U.K. Poisoning, Doubts About Case Creep In” – New York Times/Ellen Barry

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

“… along Salisbury’s shopping streets, residents and businesspeople compare notes on the questions that remain unanswered. …”

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NEWSLINK: “After forging new ties with North Korea, Trump administration turns to Russia” – Washington Post/John Hudson, Greg Jaffe, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey

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

“Days after a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Trump administration is forging ahead with new engagements with another longtime adversary: Russia. … Trump is expected to meet with … Putin next month while he is in Europe for a NATO summit, according to a senior administration official and two diplomats familiar with his schedule. In […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Aging and Inexperienced: Why Russia’s World Cup Squad Is Doomed to Fail; Critics say the team is drawn from the worst generation in the history of Russian football” – Moscow Times/Evan Gershkovich

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… When the final whistle sounded, jeers and whistles rang out from the stands … filled almost entirely with home supporters.  Going into its first domestic World Cup, Russia has now gone without a win in its last seven matches. … drawing against Turkey … losing to Austria — both of which failed to qualify — in its final two […]

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NEWSLINK: “THE EARLY CHAPTERS; Books on the Russia scandal focus on the news. What they need is more history” – Washington Post/Carlos Lozada

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

“… None of the works on Trump and Russia is comprehensive; the appeal of one or another depends on the angles you obsess over and the blind spots you ignore. …” * * * THE FUTURE IS HISTORY How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia By Masha Gessen. Riverhead. 515 pp. $28 COLLUSION Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Bullying the Big Cities: The Kremlin’s New Approach” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrey Pertsev

Russia Regions Map

“The regional unification of record-high presidential election results has closed the Kremlin bureaucrats’ eyes to the diversity of different parts of the country, their elites, and the preferences of their electorates. In this model, regional masters of balance and public politics are extraneous. But the expulsion of old regional barons is risky: the banner of public pushback and local patriotism […]

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NEWSLINK: “World Cup dream is ‘sportswashing’ Russia’s appalling record” – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

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

“In 2010 when this tournament was awarded, no one thought Russia would suddenly become a bastion of human and civil rights, though it’s worth reflecting on all that’s happened since then. There’s not just the annexation of Crimea, the war in Ukraine and the concerns about US election meddling. Or just the controversy surrounding the nerve agent attack on the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller asks to secure evidence in ‘Putin chef’ case, citing Russian intelligence and ongoing interference operations” – Washington Post/Spencer S. Hsu

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Federal prosecutors say they believe operations to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing and want a court to tightly control how evidence gathered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Internet trolling in 2016 is shared with a Russian company accused of helping to mislead American voters. … The filing seeking a protective order for documents came in proceedings […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Are Russia’s soccer fans dangerous? In the West, many people are wondering if mass brawls among fans will mark the World Cup in Russia” – Deutsche Welle

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Russian fans have a negative image in Europe, with many remembering the riots in Marseille during the 2016 European Cup.”  

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup; Long before anyone had heard of Christopher Steele or a “p[**] tape,” there was an investigation into FIFA corruption” – New York Times/Ken Bensinger

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… In stark contrast to England, Russia appeared profoundly unqualified to host a monthlong tournament expected to draw well over three million spectators. For starters, Russia didn’t have a great soccer tradition; its team hadn’t even qualified to play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks to an embarrassing loss to Slovenia. More important, it didn’t have adequate stadiums […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tomorrow Putin answers Russians’ questions on live TV. Here’s what his performance will tell us” – Washington Post/Christine E. Evans/Susanne Wengle

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

“… Many observers describe these shows as entirely fake, and ‘Direct Line’ is indeed a highly staged and controlled event: Journalists have reported on this year’s preparations and the elaborate rehearsals that those selected to appear undergo. If we look closely at the interactions between Putin and citizens and compare this show with previous ones – this will be the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Top Russian pundit calls for Palestine talks in Moscow” – Asia Times/M.K. BHADRAKUMAR

Map of Israel, Palestine, Holy Land

“In an interview with the influential Russian daily Izvestiya, the well-known ‘Orientalist’ scholar and establishment figure, Vitaly Naumkin, has floated the startling idea that Moscow must play a role in resolving the Palestinian problem. He said, ‘Moscow has long urged for [organizing] a top-level meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Russia, on a Moscow platform. It is necessary to turn […]

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NEWSLINK: “Don’t Be Fooled – Ukraine Is Not a Frozen Conflict. There are signs of escalation in the simmering conflict.” – The National Interest/Lyle Goldstein

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

“With the North Korea and Iran pots both simultaneously coming to a boil, it’s naturally hard for national security specialists to take on any more complex and dangerous issues. Yet Syria and Yemen demand major attention as human rights catastrophes. … U.S. troops are still somehow mired in Afghanistan – ‘the forever war’ …. there is the seeming possibility of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Interview: Will Russia Move to the Left?” – The National Interest/Paul Saunders/Maksim Shevchenko

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… Editor’s Note: Paul J. Saunders, associate publisher of the National Interest, interviewed Maksim Shevchenko, a former newspaper editor and television personality who is a prominent left-wing candidate for the post of Moscow mayor. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin’s Russia Became Mafia Heaven; Inside the long, strange story of organized crime taking over the former Soviet Union-and how Russia tamed it only to unleash it on the West. [re: Mark Galeotti]” – ViceCom/Seth Ferranti

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

“…  Putin is engaged in this kind of political war with the West—he’s effectively trying to weaponize Russian organized crime against the west. We have seen Russian-based organized crime groups being used to kill enemies of his, to gather intelligence, to move spies across boarders, and raise money for Putin by supporting particular groups or media outlets that he likes […]

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JRL NEWSLINK: “F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware” – New York Times/Louis Lucero II

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Hoping to thwart a sophisticated malware system linked to Russia that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, the F.B.I. has made an urgent request to anybody with one of the devices: Turn it off, and then turn it back on. The malware is capable of blocking web traffic, collecting information that passes through home and office routers, and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Ridiculous To Say FBI Spying Meant To Protect The Trump Campaign; The decision to use Stefan Halper as an informant instead of a messenger cannot possibly be considered a favor to the Trump campaign. It’s as insulting as it is ridiculous to assert.” – The Federalist/Jason Beale

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Jason Beale (a pseudonym) is a retired U.S. Army interrogator and strategic debriefer with 30 years experience in military and intelligence interrogation and human intelligence collection operations. …”  

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RUSSIALINK: “Political Dispersion: Russia’s New Cabinet” – Carnegie Moscow/Tatyana Stanovaya

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“The political and administrative dispersion of governance is under way in Russia: regulatory functions are being scattered among government and near-government players, which will inevitably result in the formation of first moderate and then increasingly pronounced polycentricity within the state. Initiative will eventually stop being punishable. …”

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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: “Putin Hazed Me: How I Was Stalked, Harassed and Surveilled by Kremlin Stooges; In my first year in Moscow, I witnessed the unraveling of the U.S.-Russia Reset firsthand” – Politico/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… it became clear that my family and I were being followed. I had been in Moscow as ambassador then for less than a year. As I wrote to the head of our security team on October 7, ‘My guards informed me that I was followed today while attending my son’s soccer game. And they then kept with us as […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Definitive Story Of How Trump’s Team Worked The Trump Moscow Deal During The Campaign” – Buzzfeed

Donald Trump

“… Talks to construct the 100-story building continued …. The tower — a sheer, glass-encased obelisk situated on a river — would have soared above every other building in Moscow …. the sharply angled skyscraper would have climaxed in a diamond-shaped pinnacle emblazoned with the word “Trump,” putting his name atop the continent’s tallest structure. …”    

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NEWSLINK: “Approval of Russia investigation slips as Trump’s ramped-up attacks solidify his base against it” – Los Angeles Times/Chris Megerian, Noah Bierman

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“One year into the Russia investigation … Mueller … works away, mostly silent. … Trump and his allies have been anything but, and they’ve had some success in undermining public confidence in the sprawling inquiry. Though the investigation has reached deeper into his inner circle, Trump’s approval ratings lately have ticked slightly higher, despite remaining at historic lows for a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94” – New York Times/William Grimes

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“Richard Pipes, the author of a monumental, sharply polemical series of historical works on Russia, the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik regime, and a top adviser to the Reagan administration on Soviet and Eastern European policy, died on Thursday at a nursing home near his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 94. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Never-ending Russia probe could fuel GOP’s midterm message” – Fox News/Alex Pappas

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“As … Mueller’s probe hits the one-year mark … Republicans in midterm elections have started to see an opportunity to use the Trump controversy to their advantage … appealing to voters tired of the never-ending investigation.  Candidates in some GOP primaries this year already have worked to woo Trump supporters by arguing it’s time to end the Russia probe. Other […]

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NEWSLINK: “See Which Facebook Ads Russians Targeted to People Like You” – New York Times/Keith Collins

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Congress last week released thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russia that ran through the 2016 presidential election, the most comprehensive look to date at the misinformation campaign mounted on the social network. Choose from the options below to see which ads were targeted to people like you or those you know, down to age, location and interests. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s ‘Brain Drain’ and the Prospects for Regime Transformation” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/Gordon M. Hahn

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

“The U.S. government … is claiming a sharp spike in asylum claims from Russian citizens, hitting a 24-year high in 2017 …. One of the main drivers of revolutionary forms of democratic regime transformation, according to contemporary social science, is the lack of sufficient social mobility for middle class youth that often emerges in authoritarian countries with high or rising […]

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NEWSLINK: “England fans at World Cup ‘at risk of blackmail from Russian mafia hookers’; There are fears gangsters could threaten to send incriminating pictures to fans’ wives or post them on social media” – The Daily Mirror (UK)/Tom Davidson

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… ‘It’s not just the Russian government we have to be fearful of when it comes to England fans.  It is also the Russian mafia who we know exploit sex, and use the internet and dating, to offer women in order to blackmail customers.’ …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Michael McFaul: The smear that killed the ‘reset’; Putin needed an American enemy. He picked me.” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Michael McFaul, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Hoover fellow at Stanford University, was the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. He is the author, most recently, of ‘From Cold War to Hot Peace.’ …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Senators: Extent of Russian election intrusion still unknown” – Washington Post/AP, Mary Clare Jalonick, Christina A. Cassidy

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“The United States still doesn’t know — and may never know — the extent of Russian interference in state election systems in 2016, according to bipartisan findings released Tuesday by the Senate intelligence committee. … The committee found that in at least six states ‘Russian-affiliated cyber actors’ conducted ‘malicious access attempts on voting-related websites’ that went beyond routine scanning previously […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Navy is resurrecting a fleet to protect the East Coast and North Atlantic from Russia” – Washington Post/Alex Horton

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“The U.S. Navy has reactivated a fleet responsible for overseeing the East Coast and North Atlantic — an escalation of the Pentagon’s focus on a resurgent Russia and its expanding military presence. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Vladimir Putin starts new term with call to modernise Russia; President says Moscow will address domestic reforms while upholding global interests” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

Kremlin and River

“… Putin said that while Russia would continue to uphold its interests on the international stage, his priority now lay in internal development. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “How Western Sanctions Will Alter Ties Between Russian Big Business and the Kremlin” – Carnegie Moscow/Tatyana Stanovaya

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“The United States’ latest round of sanctions has hit Russia hard. In the future, the Russian state will have to share the emerging risks and minimize socioeconomic consequences for the impacted regions and industries. This will lead to a new wave of property redistribution based upon state – not economic – interests. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Revealed: UK’s push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance; Exclusive: ministers will use series of summits to pursue containment strategy and urge rethink of diplomatic dialogue” – The Guardian (UK)/Patrick Wintour

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

“The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin’s aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria. British diplomats plan to use four major summits this year – […]

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NEWSLINK: “From Cold War to Hot Peace” – Medium/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… What happened? How did we go from toasting the Reset in Prague in 2010 to lamenting its end in Moscow just two years later? Nothing fundamental had changed in our policy toward Russia. Nor had Russia done anything abroad that might trigger new animosity — that would come later. The one obvious change between these two meetings was Russia’s leadership. Medvedev […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Q&A: Ukraine’s Got Javelins Now. So What?” – Atlantic Council/Melinda Haring

File Photo of Soldier Firing Javelin Shoulder-Mounted Anti-Tank Missile

“On April 30, the U.S. Department of State confirmed … the delivery of Javelin antitank missile systems to Ukraine. This issue has been long-standing: the Obama administration refused to send the weapons to Kyiv, while President Donald Trump changed course. Some experts warn that giving Ukraine lethal defensive weapons will only enrage the Russians and escalate the war, while others, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Meet The Russians Behind Your Blockchain (And Cryptocurrency, Too)” – Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… Russian tech companies are not sanctioned. So far there is no Iron Curtain. Russians are behind some of the most successful blockchain platforms in the world. The Russians also dominate the cryptocurrency mining space. Go to a blockchain conference, and there are sure to be Russian miners dominating the exhibition hall. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Significance of Armenia’s ‘April Revolution’; The massive street protests forced the country’s longtime leader to resign. But what’s next for Armenia?” – The Nation/Pietro A. Shakarian

Armenia Map and Flag

“… Sargsyan has served two terms as president, since 2008, and has been involved in Armenian politics in some capacity since 1990. With the switch to a parliamentary political system (similar to that of neighboring Georgia) in 2015, the oligarchs around Sargsyan persuaded him to remain as prime minister in order to protect their interests. Earlier, in 2014, he had […]

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NEWSLINK: “Forgotten Truths: On the Imperative of Cooperating With – Not Criminalizing – Russia; Cooperation with Moscow remains vital for American national security, but ‘Russiagate’ allegations, now codified in a DNC lawsuit, are making that decades-long pursuit a crime” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

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

“… Nearly two years of “Russiagate” allegations, which still remain unproven, have more than implied that “contacts” or “ties” with anyone “linked to” Russian officialdom, directly or indirectly, are inherently suspicious ….”

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NEWSLINK: “Time to show Russia a military parade – In Syria” – Brookings Institution/Shalom Lipner

Syria Map

“Editor’s Note: Nowhere are Russia’s footsteps more pronounced today than in the Middle East, its old Soviet stomping grounds, where the locals are increasingly deferential to Putin. The question is what Trump intends to do about the situation, writes Shalom Lipner. This piece originally appeared in The National Interest. …”  

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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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NEWSLINK: “The Beginning of the End of the Russia Hoax” – Rush Limbaugh

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… my answer was, ‘Before I get into that, Chris, I just want to tell you, this whole idea that the Russians had anything to do with the outcome of the presidential election is absurd. The idea that they colluded or tampered or worked with Donald Trump to do it is doubly absurd. There is nothing to it.’ …”

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NEWSLINK: “Nobody is safe from Russia’s colossal hacking operation; Russia hackers have targetted ‘millions’ of connected devices in the UK and US. It’s all part of Putin’s grand plan to disrupt the west” – Wired (UK)/Nicole Kobie

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… this week U.S. and U.K. authorities teamed up to issue a joint warning about communications infrastructure, including home-office routers. The rare joint alert noted that routers, switches, firewalls and network intrusion detection systems at government and businesses were the main targets of Russian hackers, but it added that even “small-office/home-office customers” should take more protective action, as should Internet […]

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NEWSLINK: “Permanent Stagnation: Putin’s Invisible Fourth-Term Agenda; The symbolic and real dimensions of Russian politics are in radical contradiction of each other” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrei Kolesnikov

Putin Descending a Staircase

“… Putin’s hopes for a brief honeymoon after Russia’s utterly predictable and boring presidential election were quickly dispelled. While Western observers are captivated by the fallout from the lurid poisoning of a former Russian double agent in the UK, a sweeping wave of new U.S. sanctions, and the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, Russians have […]

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NEWSLINK: “Regaining by force or abandoning Donbas: Experts name four scenarios for east Ukraine developments” – UNIAN (Kyiv)

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

“According to experts, the current situation being preserved until 2020 would be the most sustainable scenario. Neither war nor peace; return by peaceful means; return by force; and the abandonment of the occupied territories – these are the key options for Donbas developments for the coming years. Experts of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) have been studying the […]

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