JRL NEWSWATCH: “Michael McFaul on Putin the Intimidator” – Los Angeles World Affairs Council

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“… The first time … McFaul met … Putin … [when] he was an assistant to the mayor of St Petersburg[,] ‘He made absolutely no impression on me …’ said McFaul. ‘I would never have predicted … that he would become President of Russia.’ … when McFaul arrived in Moscow in 2012 as … U.S. ambassador …. [a]t their very […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top Agent Said F.B.I. Would Stop Trump From Becoming President” [Excerpt] – New York Times/Michael S. Schmidt

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“New texts released … by the Justice Department’s inspector general show that the F.B.I. agent overseeing the investigation into … Trump’s campaign pledged to stop … Trump from becoming president. ‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?’ asked a top F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, in one text. ‘Right?!’ Peter Strzok, the agent overseeing the F.B.I.’s investigation into links between […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin builds a Presidential Administration fit for stagnation” – bne Intellinews/Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations Prague

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

“[Judging from Presidential Administration personnel decisions, Putin] considers [that] … no change in direction is needed. The Presidential Administration is undoubtedly the most powerful institution in Russia. … [A]s Putin continued … ripping away … autonomy and authority of any bodies which could challenge his hyper-presidential power, he soon was forced to come to terms with the basic reality of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In World Cup’s Shadow, Layoffs and Anger at Russian Factory” – AP/New York Times

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

“[At] Volgograd’s … Red October steelworks … many … were temporarily laid off because of the World Cup. … aggravat[ing] troubles at the struggling factory, prompting angry workers to plan a protest timed for the … World Cup …. Authorities are apparently trying to head off trouble through pressure and promises of cash. Welcome to the daily realities of … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “An outrageous penalty; As the World Cup begins, Russia should free Oleg Sentsov; A film-maker locked up for protesting against the annexation of Crimea is on hunger strike” – The Economist Editorial

Oleg Sentsov file photo, adapated from image at csce.gov

“… Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director serving a 20-year sentence … in Siberia. … was jailed for protesting against … Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war Russia’s president unleashed in eastern Ukraine …. Sentsov started a hunger strike demanding the release of all 64 Ukrainian political prisoners from Russian jails. The … World Cup … June 14th […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “No major changes for the presidential administration” – Bear Market Brief E-Mail Newsletter

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

“… seven advisers and aides … lost their roles … leaving Putin’s team … largely intact. … [REMAINING:] Anton Vaino … [as] chief of staff, Sergei Kirienko and Alexei Gromov … [as] first deputies, Magomedsalam Magomedov and Vladimir Ostrovenko … [as] deputies … Dmitry Peskov … [as] press secretary. [CHANGES:] German Klimenko … internet czar, has been relieved of his […]

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked” – Reuters

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

“The top U.S. counterintelligence official is advising Americans traveling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. … William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travelers ….”   […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Authorities begin process of raising retirement age” – Bear Market Brief E-Mail Newsletter

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

“… the [Russian] government may submit a draft bill to the Duma to raise the retirement age. … suggest[ing] the strictest variant: 65 years for men, 63 years for women. … likely follow[ing] MinFin’s proposal of increasing the retirement age by one year annually. …  Several key decisions … What to do with those who qualify for early retirement … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin says he’s making Russia great again. In reality, it’s crumbling; The country has been bolstered by European disunity but that obscures a multitude of ills” – The Spectator (UK)/Owen Matthews

Kremlin and River

“[Despite the World Cup and] … patriotic hype over grand multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects like a new bridge to Crimea and shiny stadiums, Russia is crumbling. … [Russia’s own statistics indicate] 68,100 schools in 2000; 41,100 now. … 10,700 hospitals [when Putin took power, now reduced to] 5,400. … living space declared unfit for habitation has more than doubled … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians taught how to smile ahead of World Cup” – The Telegraph (UK)/Alec Luhn

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

“Russia has spent $12bn building stadiums, airports and roads in 11 cities for the World Cup, but it may be just as big of a challenge to put a smile on … faces …. [T]housands of volunteers and public transportation employees have been undergoing special lessons about smiling, being polite and saying key phrases in English. The results have been […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian Gordian Knot begins to unravel” – Asia Times/Norman A. Bailey

Syria Map

“… Putin said two completely unexpected things: first … Iran should evacuate its forces from Syria and stop interfering with events in the northern Arab arc (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon). Second … Israel has a right to defend its borders, whether in the north or in the south (Hezbollah and Hamas territories respectively). … within a few days of a meeting […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ambassador Huntsman may face the biggest test since the Cold War: Rebuild Russian relations with fewer resources at a time when he needs more of them” – Salt Lake Tribune/Thomas Burr

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

“The previous U.S. ambassador to Russia had a staff of more than 1,200 people, an embassy in Moscow and three consulates as well as a country house.  Jon Huntsman has about 455 staffers left, and only the embassy and two consulates remain operating.  At a tense time for U.S.-Russian ties – arguably the most turbulent since the Cold War – […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Success Masks Russian Weakness” – Wall Street Journal/Walter Russell Mead

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

“Despite … Putin’s successes, Russia remains weak, and its leverage over other nations is limited. China can woo its neighbors with multibillion-dollar projects like its ‘One Belt, One Road’ trade initiative. Russia has much less to offer: If China is a tiger, Russia is a pussycat on stilts. … Putin can obstruct Germany’s faltering European project, but he lacks the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia woos a Europe feuding with U.S. over tariffs, Iran” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

EU Map

“The scene at [SPIEF:] … Putin … flanked by French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. * * * Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from the [EU] … and warned … U.S. sanctions might be imposed on European companies participating in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Londongrad oligarchs are being forced back to Russia’s embrace; As sanctions bite, tycoons feel hemmed in by Vladimir Putin’s power” – Financial Times/Max Seddon

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“…. once ideal go-betweens between Russia and the west. … [s]uddenly, oligarchs are too Russian for a west eager to clean up its act and too western for a Russia hunting for ‘enemies of the people.’ … the nature of oligarchy … has changed dramatically …. Putin shifted the power dynamic …. under an unwritten rule: they were allowed to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “[‘Let’s talk about Russia’s next top model – for economic growth …’]” – Bear Market Brief/Weekly Tea with Aaron Schwartzbaum (@aaron_schwa)

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

“Let’s talk about Russia’s next top model … for economic growth …. Two camps have come to the forefront … statists and liberals. … [with] a clearer picture of the government, the question is which camp, if either, won. At first glance, it would look like the liberals at least did comparatively better. Glazyev may leave, Siluanov, a product of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too [Excerpt]” – Russia Matters/Morena Skalamera

Gas Flame file photo

[Full text: russiamatters.org/analysis/transformed-gas-markets-fuel-us-russian-rivalry-europe-plays-key-role-too; This article first appeared on the Russia Matters website, russiamatters.org, with the title “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too”] “This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “World Cup to Have Little Impact on Russia’s Economy: Moody’s” – Reuters

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

“The 2018 soccer World Cup will have little lasting impact on the Russian economy … Moody’s Investors Service said …. Russia will host [the tournament] … in 11 cities … having spent billions of dollars on preparations. … Moody’s finding is at variance with an assessment … by former deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich …. [S]ectors expected to benefit most […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Whatever It Was, We Didn’t Do It” – New York Times Editorial

Kremlin and River

“… Russia’s reaction to all accusations of foul play [has been consistent], whether … [to] well-documented charges by the Netherlands, Australia and other nations that [Russia] was responsible for downing a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 … the British accusation that Russia was most likely behind the poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in England […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “It’s Time To Admit The Russia Investigation Was Illegitimate From The Start” – The Federalist/Margot Cleveland

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… DOJ intentionally failed to inform the [FISA] court that the [DNC] … paid for the Christopher Steele dossier. That unverified and mainly false dossier formed a significant part of the government’s application for a wiretap …. I … spent nearly 25 years reviewing challenges to warrants based on claims of withheld (or false) evidence. … unlike the typical criminal […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Meet the Ministry of Enlightenment; Reformists and traditionalists are at war over Russian schools; Is teaching a ‘divine calling’ to support the state, or is about preparing students for the future?” – The Economist

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

“… Russia has a strong crop of teachers … [and] a talented and well-educated population. Over 55% of working-age adults have degrees. Student performance in international tests has been rising steadily; Russia now scores around the average for OECD countries. Yet years of under-financing-the government spends just 3.6% of GDP on education – and an archaic curriculum have left the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Ambassador Skips Encounter With Sanctioned Russian Tycoon” – Reuters

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

“U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. stayed away from an event on Friday that would have required him to be in the same room as Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian metals tycoon subject to U.S. sanctions. Huntsman had initially been scheduled to be part of a panel discussion on U.S.-Russian business ties as part of the St Petersburg investment forum, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Endgame in Syria Has Arrived; It’s not an Assad victory – it’s a frozen conflict” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Jonathan Spyer

Syria Map

“Syria increasingly seems to be moving toward de facto partition accompanied by ongoing low-level military conflict and a functional, but sluggish politics – a so-called frozen conflict. This may have been the goal all along for … Putin, who has initiated and managed such conflicts elsewhere, including in Georgia and Ukraine. * * *  Russia has … preserved the integrity […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “CCW Russia Brief Issue 2: Playing it Safe: Continuity Through the ‘New’ May Decrees and ‘New’ Government” – Oxford University/Changing Character of War Centre (CCW)/Richard Connolly

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s recovery from the recession of 2015-16 suffered an unexpected setback at the end of 2017. After registering modest but uninterrupted growth from the end of 2016 to the middle of last year, and despite rising oil prices, seasonally adjusted GDP fell in the final quarter of 2017, according to Rosstat data, due to an unexpected decline in fixed investment […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s finance minister promises no new taxes, but hints at ‘adjustments'” – Meduza

Anton Siluanov file photo

“… Siluanov says Russia has no plans to change its tax system in the next six years, but there will be ‘adjustments.’ … the government is once again considering measures to simplify the tax code, in order to encourage more businesspeople to stop working in the economy’s ‘gray sector’ …. Russian media has repeatedly said the government is discussing major […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “SUNY New Paltz graduates told to help preserve democracy, beware of fake news [Excerpt]” – Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York)/William J. Kemble

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

“Graduates of the Class of 2018 at SUNY New Paltz … were encouraged to preserve democracy by not buying into fake news coming from an apparent Russian propaganda campaign. James Ottaway Jr., president of Ottaway Newspapers, raised the urgency during his commencement address, saying there is a responsibility for people to avoid taking a shallow approach when reviewing information that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian government gets a new programme and people” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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

“… Russia’s petro-driven economic model was already clearly broken in 2013 when GDP growth dropped to zero at a time when oil prices were still over $100 per barrel. … the geopolitical showdown over first the fate of Ukraine and then the tussle in Syria meant that Putin postponed more prosperity as he redirected every spare penny into modernising Russia’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Flexes Its Soft Power Muscles; Extending output cuts deepens its role in global affairs” – Bloomberg/Julian Lee

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

“Oil has … [surpassed] $80 a barrel for the first time since November 2014. OPEC’s inventory target for output cuts has been met. … even though [Russian] oil companies want to turn on the taps and its finance ministry may be worried about prices rising too far, Russia won’t [end] its output deal with the group … when … participants […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Keeping the ‘New Cold War’ Cold: Nuclear Deterrence With U.S. and Russian Nuclear Force Modernization [Excerpt]” – PONARS Eurasia/Keith Darden

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

(PONARS Eurasia – Keith Darden – May 2018) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Policy Memo) After two decades of dramatic reduction and deliberate neglect, the nuclear arsenals that were at the center of security relations between the Cold War superpowers are reaching the ends of their operational lives. Rather than […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine should blow up Putin’s Crimea bridge” – Washington Examiner/Tom Rogan

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

“… Ukraine should now destroy elements of the bridge. While that course of action would be an escalation against Putin and … almost certainly spark Russian retaliation, this bridge is an outrageous affront to Ukraine’s very credibility as a nation. … from Putin’s perspective that’s the whole point. The bridge cost Russia’s near-bankrupt government billions of dollars, but it offers […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Kudrin sets goals following his appointment as head of the Audit Chamber” – Intellinews/Vadim Dumes

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“… Kudrin set out … four main goals following his appointment as … new head of Russia’s Audit Chamber, a state agency …. Russian watchers have been disappointed by Kudrin’s appointment to the … relatively toothless body …. there is a chance that the intention is to beef up the Chamber’s role …. [but the appointment o]n balance … is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia to Soften Plan for Retaliation Against U.S. Sanctions” – Bloomberg/Stepan Kravchenko

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Russia’s parliament plans to adopt a bill on counter-measures to U.S. and European Union sanctions this month after softening the initial draft to remove language that had targeted specific sectors and products ranging from medication to aerospace. * * * … the Kremlin put the brakes on the plan, hoping to prevent another round of escalation in tensions with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia hosts World Cup in heat of battle with West” – AFP

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

  “… Russia was a controversial choice when it was handed the rights to the world’s most watched event in a 2010 vote now tainted by bribery charges. … The years since have seen Moscow clash with the West over everything from Syria and Ukraine to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England. Russia was even banned […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Armenian PM Tells Putin He Wants Closer Ties With Russia” – Reuters

Armenia Map and Flag

“Armenia’s new Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who came to power last week after a peaceful revolution, told … Putin … he favored closer political and military ties with Russia. …. Armenia won independence from Moscow in 1991, but has been hampered by its conflict with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh and has looked to Russia to guarantee its security. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “John McCain: ‘Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man'” – Wall Street Journal/The Saturday Essay/John McCain

John McCain file photo

[note from JRL web editor: warning, contains mild profanity] “… Sir Andrew Wood, a retired British diplomat … told me he knew a former MI6 officer … Christopher Steele ….  * * * I agreed to receive a copy of … ‘the dossier.’ …. The allegations were disturbing … I had no idea which if any were true. I could not […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Cohen vs. McFaul – Is Russia or America to blame for the New Cold War?” – Meduza/Kevin Rothrock & Embedded YouTube Video

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

“Living in New York City, retired from academia, and unencumbered by the Washington consensus on Russia, Professor Stephen Cohen does not keep a low profile. In recent years, he has been one of America’s most vocal ‘dissidents’ when it comes to the nation’s Russia policies. On Wednesday, May 9, Cohen visited the Harriman Institute at Columbia University to debate Stanford […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia in charts: the reality behind Putin’s development goals; Some of the president’s social and economic six-year targets look daunting” – Financial Times/Valentina Romei, Kathrin Hille

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

“… to implement [Putin’s] plans the government would need to spend an additional Rbs8,000bn over six years, said … Medvedev …. close to 9 per cent of Russia’s 2017 gross domestic product, and almost half of total federal expenditure budgeted for this year. … In many areas, the country is so far from … Putin’s 2024 goals that his plans […]

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NEWSWATCH EVENT VIDEO: “[Stephen Cohen and Michael McFaul Debate:] THE NEW U.S.-RUSSIAN COLD WAR – WHO IS TO BLAME? [Live Streamed, Wednesday, May 9, 5-7p.m. ET, from New York City]” – Columbia University, Harriman Institute/NYU Jordan Center

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

“THE NEW U.S.-RUSSIAN COLD WAR-WHO IS TO BLAME? Columbia University, Harriman Institute/NYU Jordan Center Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Teatro, Italian Academy (2nd Floor, 1161 Amsterdam Ave) [harriman.columbia.edu/event/new-us-russian-cold-war] … Registration is SOLD OUT. … “ Live stream: harriman.columbia.edu/event/new-us-russian-cold-war It can also be accessed directly through YouTube, here: youtube.com/watch?v=jUWAsTij9yg  “Please join The Harriman Institute and New York University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The big chill: the alarming decline in U.S.-Russian relations; A candid expert account suggests little will change under the current leadership” – Financial Times/Mary Sarotte

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

“Soviet-era jokes are fashionable once again in Russia. … a man walks into the headquarters of … the FSB … and says, ‘My pet parrot is missing.’ An agent responds, ‘Why are you wasting my time? Complain to the police or animal control!’ Man adds hastily, ‘Sorry, I told them already. I’m informing you because, if they find my parrot, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Putin sticks with same prime minister for new term” – Reuters

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

“… Soon after the inauguration … the Kremlin issued a statement saying that Putin had nominated … Medvedev to be prime minister in his new term. … a loyal Putin lieutenant [who] has held the job since 2012. … By choosing Medvedev … a safe pair of hands whose chief quality is loyalty to his boss, Putin indicated he favored […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Hundreds arrested during Russian ‘He’s not my tsar’ protests” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.orgadapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Up to 2,000 people were briefly arrested during a series of protests across Russia on May 5 just a few days before … Putin’s upcoming inauguration. … [with the] slogan was ‘He’s not my tsar.’ The biggest, and what turned out to be the most violent protest, was organised for the heart of Moscow on Pushkin Square by anti-corruption blogger […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Saint Nick of Armenia: how protest leader Nikol Pashinyan ‘rescued’ Armenia and made it merry; Armenia’s intensive street mobilisation over the past month has taken many by surprise. Who is the man at the centre of these protests? [Excerpt]” – OpenDemocracy/Emil Sanamyan

Armenia Map and Flag

(opendemocracy.net – Emil Sanamyan – May 5, 2018) Based in Washington DC, Emil Sanamyan writes mostly about the South Caucasus region and its adjacent states. Recently, he has been editing the Focus on Karabakh page at the USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies and blogging about Armenian politics at Eurasianet.org. [Complete text: opendemocracy.net/od-russia/emil-sanamyan/saint-nick-of-armenia-how-nikol-pashinyan-rescued-armenia-and-made-it-merry] Four months ago, Armenian parliamentary deputy Nikol Pashinyan, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin launches another term as Russia’s president. It might even be his last.” – Washington Post/Anton Troianovski, Amie Ferris-Rotman

Putin Descending a Staircase

“… Putin, already the longest serving leader of Russia since Stalin, launched a fourth presidential term on Monday in which he has promised to improve Russian lives at home while showing no sign of backing down in his confrontation with the West ….” Click here for: “Putin launches another term as Russia’s president. It might even be his last.” – […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Amid international pressure, Russia’s economy is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly” – CNBC/Dawn Kissi

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russia ‘maintained strong growth underpinned by solid productivity, with a sustainable growth trend estimated at 2-2.5 percent,’ … [but] the rebound obscures … ‘one of the few countries in the world with negative population growth, which reduces their overall growth potential.’ The population shrinkage – by some measures at around 0.4 percent – dampens productivity, making growth above 2 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “McFaul: Putin is disappointed in what Trump has delivered to Russia directly, but very satisfied with the damage he has done to American unity domestically and American leadership abroad. For more, listen in: NPR Politics …” – @McFaul on Twitter

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Michael McFaul – @McFaul – Twitter – May 5, 2018) Putin is disappointed in what Trump has delivered to Russia directly, but very satisfied with the damage he has done to American unity domestically and American leadership abroad. For more, listen in: NPR Politics @nprpolitics “The disarray inside the United States, that’s a giant victory for Vladimir Putin,” ex-Ambassador Michael […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As He Begins a New Term, Putin Pushes Lofty Goals for Russia” – AP

Putin at Desk

“If … Putin fulfills … goals … set for his new six-year term as president, Russia in 2024 will be far advanced in new technologies and artificial intelligence, many of its notoriously poor roads will be improved, and its people will be living significantly longer. There’s wide doubt about how much of that he’ll achieve, if any of it. Analysts […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t ‘overdo’ it online, if you fear the fuzz; A linguist explains the messy science that fuels Russia’s anti-extremism policing” – Meduza

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

“The number of ‘extremist’ crimes committed in Russia has been growing for the past several years. According to the ‘Sova’ analytical center, police launched 563 extremism investigations in 2016 and 858 new cases in 2017. Most of the suspects in these investigations are ordinary Internet users who have expressed their political views on social media. Dozens of these people have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Measuring National Power: Is Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Decline?” – Russia Matters/Simon Saradzhyan, Nabi Abdullaev

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

“As Vladimir Putin embarks on another six-year term as Russia’s president, Western pundits and policymakers are left wondering whether his reelection means that Moscow’s muscular policies toward America and other Western powers will continue or even escalate. But what is the reality of Russian power in the Putin era? Is Russia a rising, declining or stagnating power? How does its […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Misplaced Fears Over Nord Stream 2; Nord Stream 2 provides another reliable route for transporting gas to Europe, nothing more, nothing less.” – The National Interest/Klaus Schäfer, Mario Mehren, Rainer Seele

Gas Flame file photo

“… The European gas market has … modernized and liberalized over the last decade. …. The Third Energy Package put in place a well-developed, intra-European framework of hubs that allows gas to flow freely in multiple directions from a variety of points of origin. … allow[ing] European consumers to buy gas from whomever they wish … [it] simply does not […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Exeter author: U.S., Russia relations spiral into second Cold War” – SeacoastOnline (New Hampshire)/Alex LaCasse

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

“… deteriorating relations between United States, its western partners and Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin have already spiraled into a second Cold War. * * * Despite … ongoing animosity between Russia and the United States, Straus believes there is a deal to be struck … over global security issues like Syria. However, he said that would likely […]

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