NEWSLINK: “Factbox: U.S. Companies With Exposure to Russia” – Reuters

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“… But new developments have raised the possibility of fresh challenges for U.S. companies in Russia. The United States on Wednesday announced it would impose fresh sanctions on Russia after Washington determined Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain. Russia on Thursday condemned the new round of […]

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NEWSLINK: “This Russian Spy Agency is in the Middle of Everything; Only a few years ago, the GRU looked like it might be dissolved. But Putin found new uses for it: covert war in Ukraine and ‘active measures’ that helped Trump get elected” – The Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

“… Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU‍, is getting blamed for all sorts of things …. Robert Mueller indicted 12 GRU officers for hacking into computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The GRU allegedly was behind the recent poisonings of four people in Britain, including former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, who survived, and a woman […]

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NEWSLINK: Mikheil Saakashvili: “When Russia Invaded Georgia; It happened in 2008 and foretold a decade of Putin’s adventurism” – Wall Street Journal

Georgia Map

“Like many other heads of state, I had planned to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. I canceled my trip after Russian-backed separatists began firing on Georgian positions in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia. … Long before its conventional assault on Georgia, Russia openly backed separatist militants, launched cyberattacks, and used disinformation to meddle in the internal affairs […]

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NEWSLINK: “Believe it or not, Trump’s following a familiar script on Russia; The West has spent a decade playing into Putin’s hands” – Washington Post/Robert Kagan

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

“… Ten years ago this week … Putin struck one of the first major blows when he sent Russian forces into South Ossetia in neighboring Georgia in support of Russian-backed separatists. The Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, fearing a full-blown invasion, ordered his troops to attack, thus springing Putin’s trap. Using the Georgian attack as a pretext, Putin launched that full-blown […]

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NEWSLINK: “How the GRU spy agency targets the west, from cyberspace to Salisbury” – The Guardian (UK)/Andrew Roth

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

“… A British security source … [said] the nerve agent attack on the former double agent Sergei Skripal was also ordered by the [GRU] intelligence agency. The British government is poised to submit an extradition request to Moscow for two Russians suspected of carrying out the Salisbury attack that left one person dead and three injured, including Skripal and his […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Elite Fixation With Russiagate; Does a broader public share this sense of crisis?” – The Nation/Aaron Maté

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… But does the American public at large share the prevailing elite assessment [of Trump and U.S.-Russian relations and the Helsinki Summit]? Save for a White House vigil led by two longtime Hillary Clinton staffers and a few scattered rallies-and in stark contrast to mass protests over Trump’s misogyny, Muslim ban, and zero-tolerance immigration policy-Americans have not poured into the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Henry Kissinger Pushed Trump to Work With Russia to Box In China; The former secretary of state pushed one president to use China to isolate the Soviet Union. These days, he’s counseling almost the reverse-and officials are listening” – Daily Beast/ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, ANDREW DESIDERIO, SAM STEIN, BETHANY ALLEN-EBRAHIMIAN

Asia Map

“Henry Kissinger suggested to President Donald Trump that the United States should work with Russia to contain a rising China. The former secretary of state – who famously engineered the tactic of establishing diplomatic relations with China in order to isolate the Soviet Union – pitched almost the inverse of that idea to Trump during a series of private meetings […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin wanted to interrogate me. Trump called it ‘an incredible offer.’ Why? When foreign affairs are, literally, personal.” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“I thought I was done worrying about Vladimir Putin. … his proxies falsely argued that I had been sent by President Barack Obama to fund the opposition and foment revolution; that I hoped Putin would end up like Serbian autocrat Slobodan Milosevic, dislodged and imprisoned; and that I was a pedophile. …. But this month, at the Helsinki summit between […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Western Sanctions on Russia’s Oil and Gas Sector: a Damage Assessment” – Carnegie Moscow/Tatiana Mitrova

Oil Well file photo

“Don’t be misled by Western sanctions’ limited impact on Russia. In reality, they operate with an accumulating effect: the more time passes, the greater the potential technological backlog, financing gap, and negative consequences will be. In the long run, sanctions may jeopardize Russia’s oil and gas production volumes and the development of pipeline infrastructure, gradually squeezing the country out of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s Russia becomes Trump’s America” – Brookings/Elaine Kamarck

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

“I was nearing the end of Timothy Snyder’s new book, ‘Road to Unfreedom,’ when the headline came across my iPhone announcing that someone named Maria Butina had been arrested for being a Russian spy. I had to go back to page 250 and check the spelling. Sure enough, it was the same Maria Butina who appears in Snyder’s book in […]

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NEWSLINK: “A majority thinks Russia has dirt on Trump, a new poll shows” – CNBC/John W. Schoen

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“- By a 51-to-35 percent margin, U.S. voters are convinced the Russian government has dirt on Trump, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll. – His overall approval rating now sits at 38 percent, compared with 58 percent disapproval, according to the poll. – The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that Trump’s rating is underwater by nearly 10 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Large Russian Companies Are Turning Inward; The mobile operator Megafon’s plan to delist in London is the latest sign that the West is becoming inhospitable” – Leonid Bershidsky/Bloomberg

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

“The planned delisting of Megafon PJSC, Russia’s second-biggest mobile operator, from the London Stock Exchange is no ordinary event. The company is one of the most liquid Russian stocks trading overseas, and its exit is further evidence that the country’s businesses are turning inward as exposure to the West becomes increasingly problematic. In 2011, almost 70 Russian companies’ depositary receipts […]

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NEWSLINK: “Democrats Will Regret Becoming the Anti-Russia Party; Riling up the public against Moscow is good for Democrats in the short term-and bad for America” – Micah Zenko/Foreign Policy Magazine

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… When a political party increases its animus toward a foreign country – believing that this will enhance its own popularity-it introduces second-order effects that can manifest themselves years later. It creates a voting bloc of Americans who become socialized to hate a foreign government and, by extension, its citizens. It reduces the motivations and complexities of that government to […]

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NEWSLINK: “What’s Russia’s average pension? How much money will the government save by raising the retirement age? The surprising numbers behind Russian pension reform” – Meduza

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… $209 is Russia’s average monthly pension, according to the Pension Fund’s January 2018 records … 31.4% of Russians are pensioners. That’s 46 million people ….”  

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RUSSIALINK: “The Helsinki Summit: the Beginning of a Journey” – Igor Ivanov/Russian International Affairs Council

File Photo of Igor Ivanov, adapted from image at defense.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.info and www.stevencwelsh.com

“The long-awaited meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump has finally happened. The very fact that the meeting took place is a very positive development in international affairs. After all, a situation in which the leaders of the world’s two leading powers do not meet for years cannot be considered normal. Too many problems exist in the world, and too […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki was a historic event – in the worst possible way” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

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

“As I touched down in Helsinki two days ago, I had one small hope — that the ‘summit’ between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would not be a historic one. During my five years serving in the Obama administration, I attended many summits, meetings and talks with Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Putin. Almost all were memorable to me, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “THE HELSINKI SUMMIT – CAN THE ELECTION-INTERFERENCE SHADOW BE LIFTED?” – Valdai Discussion Club/ Timothy Colton/ Harvard

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“The Helsinki summit between Presidents Putin and Trump was their first full-scale … The pair called for “constructive dialogue” without revealing any concrete results from the talks, other than plans for aides to follow up. They did hint at progress toward an understanding over Syria, presumably involving mutual acceptance of continuance of the Assad regime and Russian restraints on Iran, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller’s New Indictment – Do the Feds Take Us for Idiots” – Medium/Mark McCarty

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… The timing of the indictment is of course quite strategic — released right before Trump’s summit with Putin, there will be no time for critiques of the indictments to appear and be digested prior to the meeting; hence, the chances of a successful outcome auguring for peace will be lowered. And how convenient that Assange has been rendered incommunicado just when […]

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NEWSLINK: “Summitgate and the Campaign vs. ‘Peace’; Not surprisingly, Trump’s meetings with NATO and Putin are being portrayed as ominous events by Russiagaters” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“As Cohen pointed out in previous discussions, U.S.-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) summits are a long tradition going back to FDR’s wartime meeting with Stalin in Yalta in 1943. Every American president since FDR met with a Kremlin leader in a summit-style format at least once, several doing so multiple times. The purpose was always to resolve conflicts and enhance cooperation […]

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NEWSLINK: “This Is How Vladimir Putin Manufactures Conflict Between Nations” – Observer/John R. Schindler

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

“… The casual manner with which Kremlin spies ruthlessly exploit others for their own ends is not a nice story, given that their methods embrace violence and life-ruining measures as nonchalantly as Westerners order a cup of coffee. The cornerstone of the Chekist worldview is provocation, what the Russians call provokatsiya. It’s not new, indeed it was honed into a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Semi-state Security Actors and Russian Aggression” – Lawfareblog/Kimberly Marten

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

“… missing from much of the discussion is the fact that a variety of semi-state security groups, with a hazy relationship to Moscow’s central authorities, are playing an increasing role in Russian actions both at home and abroad. The United States and other Western states must develop a better understanding of the complex motives and economic interests held by these […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘They Will Die in Tallinn’: Estonia Girds for War With Russia; The head of the tiny NATO member’s special forces details his country’s preparations for a conflict many here see as inevitable” – Politico/Molly K. McKew

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“… The Kremlin invaded Georgia to prevent its accession to NATO. Russia used different means to accomplish the same goal with Ukraine, and then attempted to assassinate the prime minister of Montenegro in a last-ditch effort to forestall the same — all of which expose the Kremlin’s deep paranoia about its former vassals defending themselves from Russian belligerence. The Baltics, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Implausible Deniability: Novichok Victim Dies: Did the Kremlin Really Lose Control of its Deadliest Poisons? The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

“… Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley visited … Salisbury and somehow ingested the exotic nerve agent used in the poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter …. Sturgess died. … a 44-year-old mother of three. … the police now have a murder case on their hands.  The masterminds of the Skripal attack, at least, are thought to be […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s performance in World Cup – and the country’s history – are raising doping suspicions” – Los Angeles Times/Kevin Baxter

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

“Russia will meet Croatia in the quarterfinals Saturday in Sochi, where it will play in a stadium built to stage the opening and closing ceremonies of those now-discredited Winter Olympics. And though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing with the soccer team, its performance here — including a round of 16 win over Spain, the World Cup champion eight […]

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NEWSLINK: “Savchenko kept in individual cell, has ceased hunger strike” – UNIAN (Kyiv)

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

“Tetiana Protorchenko, the press secretary of Ukrainian Member of Parliament Nadiia Savchenko, who has been arrested on charges of plotting a coup, has said the lawmaker is kept in a single confinement cell of a detention center. ‘Nadiia is in an individual cell, she takes a shower once a week. She ceased her hunger strike two weeks ago for taking […]

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NEWSLINK: “A better life prevails over political protests for Russia’s young people; Young Russians turn to social networks to get their news and tend to have conservative views, according to a study by the Centre for East European and International Studies” – Pavel Los, Mikhail Bushuev

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

“… The researchers cautioned, however, that Russian young people should not be misunderstood as a homogeneous “unit.” The scholars identified two broad camps among the country’s youth. One side holds conservative views, supports Russia’s regime and values the importance of the Russian “nation,” while the other subscribes to a more liberal view in favor of cosmopolitanism and opportunity equality. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Foreign Minister S.Lavrov’s interview with Channel 4 (UK), Moscow, June 29, 2018” – Russia in Global Affairs

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… Question: Foreign Minister, the summit is happening in Helsinki. Russian President V.Putin and US President D.Trump together. Is this the post-West world order that you have talked of in the past? Has it now arrived? …”

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NEWSLINK: “Why the CIA Needs Its Own Horowitz Report; No need to speculate: The intelligence agencies saw Trump as a de facto agent of the Kremlin” – Wall Street Journal/Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

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

“Now that the world has digested the Horowitz report, notice how much of the story it doesn’t tell. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is treated as a closed loop when, in fact, much of its decision making was based on intelligence and advice supplied by other agencies. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Saint Petersburg, Russia, Wins The World Cup Of Condensed Guides To European Culture” – Forbes/Gil Press

St. Petersburg

:… Shamlikashvili … [is] the owner of Indigo Hotel which opened in 2014 as the first of InterContinental Hotels Group’s Indigo brand of boutique hotels in Russia. Like many entrepreneurs in the U.S., Shamlikashvili is an outsider and has arrived at her venture in a circuitous way. She grew up Jewish in Tbilisi, Georgia, and received both an MD from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Former Ambassador McFaul Talks U.S.-Russia Relations and ‘Hot Peace'” – The Washington Diplomat/Aileen Torres-Bennett/Michael McFaul

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

“… Obama thought very similar to the way I did. There was hardly any daylight, both on substantive issues and analytic framework. …”    

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Summer Folk Head Out to the Dacha” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

“Дача: country cottage … Visitors to Moscow and other large Russian cities will notice two curious things in the summer: enormous traffic jams leading out of the cities on Thursday and Friday evenings, and empty cities on the weekends – with the exception of die-hard football fans, that is. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Grand Dacha Exodus. …”

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NEWSLINK: “In Meeting With Putin, Experts Fear Trump Will Give More Than He Gets” – New York Times/Mark Landler

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

“… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials insist that the Trump administration has been tougher toward Russia than the Obama administration was. They cite American sanctions, arming of Ukrainian troops, expulsion of diplomats and vocal public shaming of Russia for its cyberattacks. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Trump catches World Cup fever…but will he watch final with Putin?” – Washington Time/S.A. Miller

Donald Trump

“… The White House is planning a Trump-Putin meeting in Moscow that likely would occur around the same time as the World Cup final July 15. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Aggression Is a Choice; A conversation with Michael McFaul on Putin, Russia, and what the president should read” – The Weekly Standard/Adam Rubenstein

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

“… Putin is not the only decision-maker regarding Russian foreign policy. Internally, there are bureaucratic politics, interest groups, and even economic actors who lobby the Kremlin. After 15 years in the Kremlin, however, Putin has become increasingly isolated from other foreign policy advisors and more confident in his individual talents to conduct Russian foreign policy. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “How Russia’s Military Is Becoming Even Deadlier [with comment]” – The National Interest/Dave Majumdar

Syria Map

“… From the Russian perspective, Moscow’s campaign in Syria affords the Kremlin invaluable combat experience that is helping it to refine the capabilities of its military forces. … In the Kremlin’s view, one of the most important reasons for Russia to continue its campaign in Syria is to further refine its newly developed precision-guided strike capability. ‘Syria is not a […]

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NEWSLINK: “The World Cup Is Fun. Except for the Russians Being Tortured.” – New York Times/Alexey Kovalev

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

“… Putin has given the Russian security services free rein in the lead-up to the World Cup.  …”

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RUSSIALINK: “A Butterfly on the Football Field” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

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

“In honor of World Cup 2018, I thought I ought to offer the basics of football slang. Here the key word is ‘basics.’ Decades of living next to a stadium – the roar of the crowd, the traffic, the mounted police, the rowdy fans, the loud celebrations, and the tendency to use any courtyard as a public toilet – have […]

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NEW BOOK NEWSLINK: “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age” – Wilson Center

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Please join us for an exclusive look at The Perfect Weapon … In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee …    

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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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