JRL NEWSWATCH: “Newest U.S. Sanctions Against Russia Hit an Economic Nerve” – AP

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… The Trump administration announcement of export restrictions in response to accusations Moscow used a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy in Britain sent the ruble tumbling to a two-year low and drew a stern warning from [Medvedev]. While the initial sanctions may have a limited impact, a second batch expected within months could hit the Russian economy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “To advance almost all of our core national security and economic interests, the U.S. does not need Russia. Remember that.” – Michael McFaul/twitter

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Michael McFaul – Twitter @McFaul – August 12, 2018) “To advance almost all of our core national security and economic interests, the US does not need Russia. Remember that.” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below; or click here for direct link: twitter.com/McFaul/status/1028111350403411968] To advance almost all of our core national security and economic interests, the US does not […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Buddhism flourishes in Siberia, opening window on its pre-Soviet past; Orthodox Christianity may be Russia’s most high-profile religion, but it is only one of the country’s four official ‘founding’ faiths. Another of the four, Buddhism, has been experiencing a rebirth in post-Soviet Russia.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

“… For ethnic Buryats, the resurgence of Buddhism is part of a more complex awakening, as local scholars explore the Buryats’ distinctly non-Russian historical and cultural heritage, and endeavor to reconcile it with their identity as modern-day Russians. Similar processes are unfolding in many of [Russia’s] 22 ‘ethnic republics’ …. Today, there are about 1.5 million Buddhists in Russia, concentrated […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Gorky Park, with nuclear worries” – The Hill/Matthew Bunn

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… U.S. nuclear weapons are aimed at military targets, from nuclear missile silos to military bases and production facilities. But many of those targets are located not far from cities, and the terrible destructive power of nuclear weapons does not discriminate. … Today, both Russia and the United States are modernizing their nuclear forces to keep these threats robust for […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Misery” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

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

“… If the only American media you consumed was the New York Times, you’d come to the inevitable conclusions that a) Americans are united in their obsessive hatred of their president, and b) it’s all the fault of those horrible Russians who colluded with Trump to get him elected. But judging by the bestseller list, it’s not the New York […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Administration Gets Tough on Russia – Despite Trump; The president holds chummy meetings with Vladimir Putin, while his administration imposes new sanctions.” – New York Times Editorial

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

“… [N]ew sanctions imposed on Russia … [feature] a ban on export of anything with a potential military use, announced by the State Department …. Putin’s Russia is asking for punishment when his agents use a chemical weapon against a double agent, brazenly meddle in Western elections, cheat in international sports, ruthlessly ravage Ukrainian territory or violate human rights. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “This is not a hoax, and things are not okay” – Washington Post/Joe Scarborough

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

“… Imagine that U.S. military leaders spent most of 1941 warning President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Democratic Party of a coming Pearl Harbor attack. Then imagine history’s harsh judgment against FDR’s party had it ignored those concerns, voted against efforts to fortify the Pacific fleet and plotted the firing of generals who were working to expose the looming Japanese […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Moscow’s Newest Park, All of Russia Comes Together” – New York Times/Roslyn Sulcas

Russia Map

“[The author visits] ….Zaryadye Park, Moscow’s first new green space in 50 years, designed by … American architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro … one of the most ambitious and expensive architectural projects in Russia in decades. … [with] numerous buildings on [a] 35-acre site … tucked under curving, plant and tree-filled slopes. Each … represents an aspect of Russia’s varied […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Think Tank’s Tiny Lab Helps Facebook Battle Fake Social Media” – Reuters/New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“A day before Facebook announced that it had discovered and disabled a propaganda campaign designed to sow dissension among U.S. voters, it exclusively shared some of the suspicious pages with an online forensics team so busy it hasn’t put a nameplate on the door.  The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is based in a 12-foot-by-12-foot office in the Washington, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Russia, the Corporate Raiders Are Often Cops; Companies face harassment from law-enforcement officials, according to business owners, lawyers and activists” – Wall Street Journal/James Marson, Thomas Grove

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

“… Russian companies routinely face harassment from law-enforcement officials seeking to extort money or expropriate businesses, according to business owners, lawyers and activists. One in six Russian business owners is facing criminal prosecution, according to [a Kremlin-launched agency]. …  Putin’s authoritarian rule relies on security officials and political heavyweights who use their authority not only to squash political opponents but […]

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JRL RUSSIAWATCH: “Russian pollster reports sharp rise in positive views of U.S.” – LevadaRu

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

“The number of Russians liking the U.S. has doubled over the past two months, a poll by the independent public research organisation Levada Centre suggests. Forty-two per cent of those polled in the firm’s July survey said they had a ‘positive’ attitude towards the U.S., as opposed to 20 per cent of those asked about the same issue in May.  […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. to impose ‘crushing’ set of sanctions on Russia’s debt and oil” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“A proposed ‘crushing’ bipartisan bill introduced by the … Senate … will not be debated until … autumn and many … harsh terms could be considerably watered down, Luis Saenz, … co-head of equities at BCS Global Markets said …. [The] bill … targets Russian debt and energy companies, designed to punish Russia for interfering in the U.S. presidential election, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians ready to protest pension reform, ratings of ruling United Russia drop” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Putin Sitting at Desk, Looking Down, Writing, During Call-In Show, adapted from screenshot of video at kremlin.ru

“… discontent over controversial pension reform … keeps on snowballing … the readiness of Russians for mass protests over economic policies has risen from a record low to top 40% for the first time since 2009 …. approval indicators for the government have fallen across the board. Putin’s … personal popularity … underpin[g] the stability of the Russian political system, […]

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JRL RUSSIAWATCH: “Putin’s approval rating falls to five-year low, poll suggests” – LevadaRu

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

“… Putin’s approval rating has hit a five-year low of 67 per cent, the latest survey by independent pollster Levada Centre suggests [published July 31]. The last time the Russian leader’s rating was below 70 per cent was in July 2013 [when it hit] 65 per cent …. Putin’s approval rating dropped 12 percentage points since … May. … Medvedev’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Can’t Split Russia From China – Yet; As Beijing gets stronger, there may be hope for a Kissingerian maneuver” – Bloomberg/Hal Brands

Asia Map

“… In the long term, China represents the larger threat to U.S. interests, as a result of its vast economic and military potential. Yet in the near term … Putin has proved himself to be the more dangerous and disruptive actor. The Russian leader has launched three major military interventions over the last decade – in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Are the FBI and CIA Hiding? The agency might have led the bureau down a rabbit hole in the 2016 Trump counterintelligence probe” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas J. Baker

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Although the FBI’s case officially began July 31, 2016, there had been investigative activity before that …. John Brennan’s CIA might have directed activity in Britain … [problematic considering] longstanding agreements that the U.S. will not conduct intelligence operations there. It would explain why the FBI continues to stonewall Congress … Further, what we know about the case’s origin does […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia dumped 84% of its American debt. What that means” – CNN/Matt Egan

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

“… Between March and May, Russia’s holdings of US Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total US debt holdings. … Maybe Russia just wanted to diversify its portfolio, as the central bank stated. Or perhaps Russia was seeking revenge for Washington’s crippling sanctions on aluminum maker Rusal. …. Even at Russia’s recent peak of $105.7 billion in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Orthodox Church a ‘national security threat’ to Ukraine, says president; Petro Poroshenko said the Russian church was separated from the state ‘only on paper.'” – PoliticoEU/KAIT BOLONGARO

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

“… At a ceremony marking [Ukraine’s] conversion to Christianity 1,030 years ago … [Poroshenko] said that the Russian [Orthodox] [C]hurch’s sway among Ukrainian believers is a ‘direct threat to the national security of Ukraine.’ … ‘this obliges us to act.’ There are two branches of the Orthodox Church active in Ukraine: the Russian church and its Ukrainian cousin. The former, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Novichok Was in a Perfume Bottle, U.K. Victim Says” – New York Times/Michael Schwirtz, Eric Schmitt

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

“… The latest poisoning raised the prospect that in their haste to flee the area, the would-be assassins simply tossed aside a top secret, Soviet-designed weapon that the British authorities, despite a cleanup operation that lasted weeks, failed to discover. …” Click here for: “Novichok Was in a Perfume Bottle, U.K. Victim Says” – New York Times/Michael Schwirtz, Eric Schmitt […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Communists push for a national referendum against raising the retirement age” – Meduza

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

“Russia’s Central Election Commission has received a notice from the Communist Party about possibly holding a national referendum on raising the country’s retirement age …. [asking] ‘Do you agree that the age in the Russian Federation at which citizens are entitled to old-age social insurance should not increase?’ … the State Duma [has] passed the first reading of draft legislation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Surprise, Maryland – your election contractor has ties to Russia” – Washington Post Editorial

Baltimore Inner Harbor and Skline file photo, adapted from image at epa.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“… an Internet technology company with which [Maryland] contracts to hold electronic voting information is connected to a Russian oligarch … ‘very close’ to … Putin. Maryland leaders did not know about the connection until the FBI told them. Maryland[] … chose a company to keep electronic information on voter registration, election results and other … data. … [a] company […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Helsinki Summit: A Good Idea Turns Bad; Mitigating the dangers of a U.S.-Russian escalatory spiral will be difficult” – The National Interest/George Beebe

“George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest’s intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union.” “… the United States and Russia … managed to sail their listing bilateral ship directly into the rocks of the Russian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Tells Diplomats He Made Trump a New Offer on Ukraine at Their Summit” – Bloomberg/Ilya Arkhipov

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

“… Putin told Russian diplomats that he made a proposal to … Trump at their summit … to hold a referendum to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine …. White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. … Leaders of so-called people’s republics in Donetsk and Luhansk held referendums in May 2014 that declared independence. The votes […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Pension reform” – BMB Russia/Aaron Schwartzbaum

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

“… Russian authorities have been dithering on the pension system literally for year. … [R]egardless of the character of a loss of benefits, pension reform is exactly that: a loss of benefits. … [T[here is another center-periphery dynamic at play …. The average life expectancy has … increased on average … predominantly [for] … middle-class or wealthy urban dwellers. The […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Achilles heel: Putin still falling short on master plan for aging oil economy” CNBC/Ashleigh Garrison, Kelly Song

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian President Vladimir Putin has displayed geopolitical intelligence and military strength, but he falls short when it comes to mastering the Russian economy. The Russian market is still largely dependent on rising oil prices and the lack of innovation is a major economic weakness. GDP is growing, but slowly, and critical foreign investment remains low due to Putin’s provocations and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Open to Second Trump-Putin Summit; Officials in Moscow remain surprised by firestorm over recent meeting” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas Grove

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

“The Russian government signaled Friday its openness to a possible second summit between … Putin and … Trump …. The summit earlier this week was broadly perceived in Moscow as a possible, positive step forward in Russia-U. S. ties, but Russian officials have been surprised by the persistent criticism against … Trump ….” Click here for: “Russia Open to Second […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Joint News Conference by Trump and Putin: Full Video and [Link to] Transcript” – New York Times/Federal News Service

“After meeting privately in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, President Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia held a joint news conference. ….”  [embedded video and link to transcript follow below] “Mr. Putin (through an interpreter): … negotiations with the president of the United States, Donald Trump, took place in a frank and businesslike atmosphere. I think we can call […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian pundit says migration policy needs to be ‘more open'” – Izvestia/Sergei Ryazantsev

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

In Izvestia, Sergei Ryazantsev argues: “… The United Nations rates [Russia] third after the United States and Germany in terms of number of immigrants. … in 2015 … the US population born overseas amounted to 46.6m; 12m went to Germany, 11.6m to Russia. Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and representatives of other republics of the former USSR began to come […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S.-Russia Relations are Stuck on Repeat; Both Trump and Putin are now locked into narratives about what did (or did not) happen that prevent this issue from being dealt with-and this holds the entire rest of the bilateral agenda hostage” – The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev

“… the United States has not altered its position that Crimea remains a part of Ukraine and continues to deny any recognition that … annexation … [by Russia] was legal. … the United States has not, as a result of the Helsinki meeting, agreed to stop providing Ukraine with weapons or to cease the training of the Ukrainian military. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “International order for 4 centuries has been based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for sovereignty. Russia has violated this norm by seizing Crimea and by interfering in the 2016 US election. We must deal w Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is.” – @RichardHaass

Richard Haass file photo, adapted from image at state.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.info and www.stevencwelsh.com

(Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations – Twitter – @RichardHaass – July 15, 2018) “International order for 4 centuries has been based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for sovereignty. Russia has violated this norm by seizing Crimea and by interfering in the 2016 US election. We must deal w Putin’s Russia as […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final” – AP

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

“… Pussy Riot has claimed responsibility for four people who ran onto the field and disrupted the World Cup final. … [tweeting] that the disruption was a protest.  … four people … charged onto the field in the 52nd minute … in what appeared to be old-fashioned police uniforms … [They] were tackled to the ground by stewards. … ‘Hello […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Iran Role in Syria Key Item at Trump-Putin Summit” – AP

Syria Map

“As fighting wanes after seven years of war, the U.S. has made curtailing Iran’s influence in post-war Syria a strategic objective – one strongly backed by Israel. … officials from the U.S. and Russia have signaled that a broad framework for such a deal is likely to be the main outcome. But any agreement is likely to be carefully phrased […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump, Putin May Agree to Resume Stalled Arms Control Talks” – Reuters

Russian Nuclear Submarine

“… When [Trump and Putin] meet in Helsinki … they are likely to touch on whether to extend the “New START” agreement to 2026 and what to do about … the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) …. Historically, arms control has been an area where Washington and Moscow have been able to talk to one another even when their broader […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “These Are the High Stakes of the NATO and Trump-Putin Summits; Trump and America’s allies must stand firm while also not sleep-walking into war” – The National Interest/Peter Zwack

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

“… The Russian meeting is preceded by Trump’s fraught attendance at the … NATO[] summit and a next-day visit to an uneasy United Kingdom. … Every foreign power – not least, China – will watch closely. * * * This is a crisis, and it’s time for both sides of America’s domestic political scene to display unity. The United States […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Says He Can’t Say if Putin Is Friend or Foe” – Reuters

Europe Map

“… Trump [embarks upon] a tour of Europe … [featuring] a NATO meeting and a visit to Britain. … Trump repeated his criticism of NATO allies for not spending enough on … defense and pointed to [British] political tensions … over … Brexit …. ‘So I have NATO, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s army advances slowly at Russian front” – Kyiv Post/Illia Ponomarenko, Volodymyr Petrov

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

“For the Ukrainian military, this heavy strike by Russian-led forces, who hold ground just three kilometers to the south, came as no surprise. Despite dozens of cease-fires having been agreed at the negotiating table in Minsk (the latest one was supposed to start on July 1), the relentless stalemated warfare in the Donbas still drags on, with exchanges of fire […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Does Vladimir Putin Speak for the Russian People?” – New York Times Book Review/Daniel Beer

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

“… Putin turned directly to McFaul and berated him for trying to ruin United States-Russia relations. * * * … McFaul concluded that [Putin] was ‘paranoid,’ a man of ‘fixed and flawed views’ who ‘saw us as the enemy,’ … that so long as he ruled Russia, ‘strategic partnership was impossible.’ … [But McFaul’s] relentless focus on Putin’s individual role […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Says World Cup Has Broken Stereotypes About Russia” – Reuters

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

“… Russia’s host nation status had been met with resistance by some in the West … suggest[ing] the tournament could be unsafe and play into the hands of Putin … accused by Washington of conducting ‘malign activities’ around the world. … the month-long tournament … has so far been without major security incidents. Concerns about racism and hooligan violence … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The real World Cup losers: The Russian people” – Washington Post/Frank A. Guridy, Tinatin Japaridze

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

“… Putin’s bet that the World Cup will produce a win for his government is a big gamble. The global political climate of 2018 is very different than the environment that existed when Russia was awarded the World Cup eight years ago, or even four years ago when Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula after hosting the 2014 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Authorities Prepare to Soften Pension Reform-Sources” – Reuters

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“[Sources claim that] Russian authorities are considering ways to soften a plan to raise the pension age … following protests and a slide in … Putin’s popularity ratings. The government announced its plan last month to raise the retirement age for men to 65 from 60 and for women to 63 from 55 to ease pressure on state coffers from […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin sees ‘positive trends’ in Russian economy” – AFP

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Wages in Russia have fallen for four consecutive years as the Russian economy reeled from a crash in oil prices in 2014, along with international sanctions imposed over … Ukraine.  Putin’s approval ratings slumped by a record 14 percentage points according to a state pollster following a government proposal to raise the state pension age to 65 for men […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the World Cup is bigger than Putin; ‘I can write about the genius of French forward Kylian Mbappé, knowing the FT is also covering Russian elite corruption'” – Financial Times/Simon Kuper

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

“…  the Russian World Cup isn’t Berlin all over again. First, Putin isn’t as evil and ambitious as Hitler. Second, he’s a much better-known quantity than Nazism was in 1936. Hitler at that point had said disturbing things but few foreigners took him either literally or seriously. He hadn’t lifted a finger against other countries. Many Jews were still living […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s Bread and Circus” – Kennan Institute/Maxim Trudolyubov

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

“…. Increasing taxes, raising the retirement age, even starting another war because Russia is doing so well in soccer are the recurring jokes on Moscow’s streets. People compete in creativity in trying to imagine what else the government can do to them while everyone is distracted by the World Cup. One of the jokes is that Putin will now present […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “National Security Adviser John Bolton on ‘Face the Nation,’ July 1, 2018” – CBS

File Photo of John Bolton Raising Hand at United Nations, with United States Nameplate on Desktop in Front, adapted from image at state.gov

“… There are possibilities for … a larger negotiation on … get[ting] Iranian forces out  [of Syria] …. * * * [T]he Russians are always saying to us they want to cooperate on international terrorism …. * * * I had meetings … with … Putin and his foreign minister … defense minister and … diplomatic adviser … the [U.S.] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Can we believe what we see at Putin’s World Cup?” – San Diego Union Tribune/Mark Zeigler

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

“… [when] FIFA’s 22-person executive committee awarded both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups … victories by Russia and Qatar … risky bids, were met with immediate speculation of vote bartering and outright bribery. … rumors of a Russian scheme to bribe referees on Spain’s behalf in the 2010 World Cup …. FIFA sent investigators to look into it … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Should the World Expect from the Trump-Putin Summit? However fractured the relationship, it makes sense for the world’s two nuclear superpowers to sit down together and re-establish some of the channels of communication.” – The National Interest/Angela Stent

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

“… Trump has been consistent in his desire to make a ‘deal’ with … Putin …. ‘Russiagate’ investigations [have impacted that prospect] …. Given the tense state of U.S.-Russian relations and the paucity of high-level contacts, there are strong arguments for Trump to hold a summit with Putin. … it makes sense for the world’s two nuclear superpowers to … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “An Agenda for the Trump-Putin Summit; To forge a better relationship, Washington and Moscow need to work through the issues that most sharply divide them” – The National Interest/Doug Bandow

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

“… Trump will meet … Putin next month in Helsinki …. The president should approach the summit with a realistic assessment of Moscow’s capabilities and intentions. Putin is no friend of Western-style liberalism, but then, many U.S. allies are no less authoritarian. There is no evidence that he bears any ideological animus toward America or Europe. KGB officers were among […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Daily says Russian leaders’ ratings drop as they announce pension reform; Yelena Mukhametshina and Olga Churakova: President and premier’s ratings go back to what they were several years ago. Effective discussion of pension reform could halt decline in authorities’ popularity” – Vedomosti

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Vedomosti reports declining reported polling numbers for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, following announcements of pension reform. According to polling numbers published June 22, 2018, FOM [Public Opinion Foundation] indicates: Putin’s electoral rating fell from 62% to 54% in one week those trusting Putin fell from 75% to 67% Putin performance approval ratings fell from 75% […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump to Meet Russia’s Putin in Finland on July 16; Summit will be U.S. president’s first with the Russian leader, and the two will discuss national security and outlook for developing Russian-American relations” – Wall Street Journal/Rebecca Ballhaus, Anatoly Kurmanaev

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

“… Trump is set to hold the first [formal] summit of his presidency with … Putin on July 16 in Helsinki … White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the leaders would meet to discuss relations between their two nations and a ‘range of national security issues.’ The Kremlin … announced the details of the meeting at the same time […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How bad are things for Russia’s oldest liberal democratic political party? Well, it’s currently suing itself in Moscow” – Meduza

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

“The federal bureau of the ‘Yabloko’ political party is being sued for refusing to nominate Moscow branch leader Sergey Mitrokhin as the party’s candidate in this September’s Moscow mayoral election. The party held primaries … but the winner withdrew his candidacy in favor of Mitrokhin …. Yabloko’s federal bureau [then] refused to nominate Mitrokhin, though the party’s Moscow branch submitted […]

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