JRL NEWSWATCH: “Stroppy in Strunino; The lessons from protests in small-town Russia; The government is getting less and less popular” – The Economist

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

“… in this sleepy town some 120km north-east of Moscow … when local activists organised a march … against planned cuts to medical services, more than 100 people took to the streets. …. an example of shifts in public opinion … reshaping the country’s political landscape. … The rapture [over Ukraine] began to fade … when the government announced plans […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top American investor detained in Moscow” – BMB Russia/ Bear Market Brief

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Michael Calvey … was detained in Moscow … on charges of fraud. … Since founding Baring Vostok in 1994, Calvey has been one of the preeminent foreign investors in Russia. … [T]he fraud allegations may be fallout from an ownership dispute over Vostochny Bank …. a blow to Russia’s already cold investment climate. … one journalist noted, the Kremlin must […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Venezuela Sets the Stage for a Putin-Trump Confrontation; In the past, Trump has taken hard stances against Russia, only to back away” – Moscow Times/ Lincoln Mitchell, Tinatin Japaridze

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

“… the economic tragedy in Venezuela has evolved into a full-blown political crisis. Demands for President Nicolas Maduro’s ouster, now fronted by the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly Juan Guaido, have reached fever pitch as years of his misrule have destroyed Venezuela’s once prosperous economy. … the decision [by Trump] to recognize Guaido as the legitimate Venezuelan leader is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The end of an era? The INF Treaty, New START, and the future of strategic stability” – Brookings/ Frank A. Rose

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

“On February 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and notified Russia and the other treaty parties that the United States would be withdrawing from the treaty in six months …. Pompeo said: ‘Russia remains in material breach of its treaty obligations not to produce, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Officials get somber on GDP growth” – BMB Russia/ Bear Market Brief

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Oreshkin cited … one-off factors such as an increase in oil production and a dangerous boom in consumer borrowing as unsustainable sources of 2018 growth. … tr[ying] to refocus the discussion on structural reforms …. [and] a massive investment drive via national projects in infrastructure, demography, health, education, and exports …. Nevertheless, to the extent that the high 2018 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Surkov Hints Putin Himself No Longer Essential for the System to Persevere; Does Vladislav Surkov’s latest piece of post-modern fancy have a serious political message?” – Moscow Times/ Mark Galeotti

Vladislav Surkov file photo

“… Surkov … coined ‘sovereign democracy’ and ‘non-linear war’ … a presidential adviser with apparent overall responsibility for policy over Ukraine …. [H]e has to negotiate razor-toothed factional and jurisdictional disputes between the Kremlin, the presidential administration in Old Square, the FSB and the military. … [one of the] high-flyers … lack[ing] a strong personal connection with Putin, or a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia” – NBC News/ Ken Dilanian

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

“After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee. … investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Peskov does not know whether Putin read Surkov’s article” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said he doubts that President Vladimir Putin will react to the article by Vladislav Surkov that was published on Monday, considering that he is busy preparing to deliver the address to the Federal Assembly. “I do not think so; a lot of articles [are being published]. You must agree that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With Savings to Burn, Russia Turns (Again) to a State-Led Spending Plan” – New York Times/ Andrew E. Kramer

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… So much gold has piled up in its central bank that Russia surpassed China last year to become the world’s fifth-largest holder of gold. … Russia has $472 billion in reserves, more than the country’s combined public and foreign debt of $453 billion and nearly three times what the I.M.F. recommends. … the lode is also making for an […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s New Shield From U.S. Sanctions: A Siberian Gold Mine; Sukhoi Log, widely seen as one of the world’s largest untapped gold deposits, could give Moscow a bulletproof currency backstop” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

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

“… Tests commissioned by the company last year and undertaken by Australia-based AMC Consultants, along with a scoping study conducted in 2018, determined that there are 63 million ounces of gold at Sukhoi Log, Polyus has told investors. While independent mining analysts haven’t confirmed that estimate on their own, many of them refer to Sukhoi Log as one of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “More controversy as Rosstat upgrades Russian GDP growth to a six-year high” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“More questions were raised over the veracity of the Russian State Statistical Service’s (Rosstat’s) results after it upgraded its estimates of growth in the construction sector that led to a revision of 2018 growth from 1.6% to 2.3% – the best result in six years …. Russia is emerging from a ‘silent crisis’ … caused by the collapse of oil […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Reconsidering Russia Podcast #17: Stephen F. Cohen”

(Reconsidering Russia Podcast #17: Pietro A. Shakarian interview of Stephen F. Cohen – February 1, 2019 – embedded audio should load below, or click here: mixcloud.com/reconsidering-russia/reconsidering-russia-podcast-17-stephen-cohen/) “Guest: Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian History at New York University and Princeton University. … author of numerous books on Russia and the former Soviet region, including the influential “Bukharin and the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian population put in its first full-year decline in a decade” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

Bne Intellinews reports on Russian demographics and population decline, citing statistics from state agency Rosstat that Russian population fell from 146,880,432 at the beginning of 2018 to 146,793,744 at the start of 2019, a decrease of 86,688. Says bne intellinews: “The fall in the natural population has been partly offset by inbound migration, which covered half of the fall in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘These Are Our Friends’; Russians Push to Preserve North Korea Ties; Some Russian business owners and ethnic Koreans are braving U.S. ire to maintain business ties with Pyongyang” – Wall Street Journal/ Anatoly Kurmanaev, Thomas Grove, Ksenia Barakovskaya, Lyubov Barabashova, Ian Talley

North Korea Map and Flag, adapted from .gov image

“… some 13,000 North Korean workers [were] left in Russia by October …. Some Western diplomats view Moscow’s implementation of … sanctions as overly liberal. … allowing [Pyongyang] to continue earning foreign currency and sourcing vital supplies in Russia and undermining U.S. attempts to strong-arm the country into giving up [WMD]. … Russian customs data show North Korea imported about […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia drops two places on Bloomberg innovation ranking” – bne Intellinews

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Despite … hype surrounding … state digitisation … Russia fell to … 27th … in … [Bloomberg] global innovative rankings …. but was still … third best in Emerging Europe …. now on a par with Malaysia and Luxembourg. Last year, Russia was two positions higher. The top slot was once again taken by South Korea, the six-time champion of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trust in Putin slides to 13-year low of 33.4% in January” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“Trust in … Putin fell to a 13 year low in the first poll of 2019 by the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), slipping from 36.5% on December 29 to 33.4% on January 13. … Putin’s lowest popularity … since … 2006. Even during the mass protests of December 2011 following a rigged Duma election […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Accuses Facebook, Twitter of Failing to Comply With Data Laws; Social-media giants’ servers for storing Russian’s personal data must be located in Russia, says watchdog” – Wall Street Journal/Ann M. Simmons

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

“Russia launched administrative action against Facebook … and Twitter … for failing to comply with its data laws … just days after Facebook removed … accounts of what it said were two misinformation campaigns based in the country. … Roskomnadzor, the federal executive body responsible for censorship in media and telecommunications, said the social-media networks hadn’t submitted … formal and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Facebook Shuts Hundreds of Russia-Linked Pages, Accounts” – AP

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

“Facebook … removed hundreds of Russia-linked pages, groups and accounts that it says were part of two big disinformation operations …. after finding two networks ‘that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior’ on … Facebook and Instagram …. Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said … that one network operated … in Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Central Asia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As U.S. Nuclear Pact Hangs in the Balance, Russia Makes Last-Gasp Bid to Keep It Alive; Russia exhibits missile hardware amid U.S. accusations that it is in violation of a treaty signed in 1987” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“Russia made a last-ditch effort … to counter U.S. accusations that it was in violation of a Cold War-era nuclear missile treaty, showing foreign diplomats some of a disputed missile’s hardware and divulging its purported capabilities. The U.S. has given Russia until early February to comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, threatening to otherwise suspend its obligations under the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says oil price war with U.S. would be too costly” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

“Russia should not unleash an oil price war against the United States but … stick with output cuts even … losing market share in the medium term, one of the main Russian architects of a production pact with OPEC said. Since 2017, Russia and OPEC have cut oil production jointly … to boost the price of crude. … oil has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Volodin proposes expansion of Duma powers” – Bear Market Brief

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin is lobbying for constitutional changes … [to] expand the power of the Duma in an attempt to improve the relative balance of power and checks and balances within government …. The Kremlin is actively downplaying talk, likely trying to head off any progress so it can shape outcomes. Nothing Volodin could propose would fix the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia sanctions: Myths and lessons” – The Hill/ Nigel Gould-Davies

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

“… First, sanctions now directly target economic elites and major private assets, not only state officials and companies. Second, the United States is deploying some of the most potent weapons in its sanctions arsenal … hitherto used against terrorist groups, transnational crime and ‘rogue states.’ Third, sanctions have become an accepted, not exceptional, instrument for dealing with Russia. … 1. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Outlines Broader Missile-Defense Strategy; Plan’s vision includes space-based sensors to detect hostile or accidental launches” – Wall Street Journal/ Gordon Lubold, Courtney McBride

Mssile Defense Control Room

“… Trump called … for … expanded and more sophisticated missile-defense … and said America’s allies must share in future costs …. The missile-defense plan, put forth by … Trump … at the Pentagon, is laid out in a review ordered early in the Trump administration and issued Thursday, the first such review in nine years. … call[ing] for new, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians are ashamed of the ‘eternal poverty’ of their country” – bne Intellinews

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

“… The collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of superpower status was … humiliating … Putin has played on [that] with actions like the annexation of Crimea and the war in Syria, to restore some sense of national pride. However, a … Levada Center [poll] this month found that Russians continue to be ashamed of their ‘eternal poverty’ […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia faces sharp outflow of private investment; More than $67bn shifted out of the country’s economy last year” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“More private money left Russia in 2018 than … since the Crimean crisis and oil market rout of 2014 …. Over $67bn … according to the … central bank …. some … attributed to fears over … U.S. sanctions and threats of more actions from Washington …. [ING’s] Dmitry Dolgin … [indicated that when] Russia’s central bank suspended foreign exchange […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Sanctions Test in the U.S. Senate; A move to block sanctions relief has been defeated, averting a likely spike in global aluminum prices but also spotlighting the tough road ahead for Congress in shaping policy on Russia” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Stephen Sestanovich

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

“Fifty-seven senators … tried unsuccessfully … to keep … Trump … from going forward with sanctions relief for Russia’s largest aluminum producer, Rusal, and its parent companies. … highlight[ing] internal tensions over Russia policy and the difficulty Congress faces …. Sanctions against Russia have enjoyed strong support in Congress since the annexation of Crimea …. The Treasury Department claimed … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Push to Dump Dollar Proves Hard Sell With Russia Inc.” – Bloomberg/ Natasha Doff, Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova, Annmarie Hordern, Andrey Biryukov, Anna Baraulina, Ilya Arkhipov, Yuliya Fedorinova

File Photo of Assorted U.S. Cash, adapted from image at tsa.gov

“Russia’s central bank dumped $101 billion last year in its biggest-ever shift away from the U.S. currency amid fears of new sanctions. But the Kremlin’s drive to wean the rest of the economy off the greenback has been slower going. Despite … Putin’s regular public exhortations to accelerate ‘de-dollarization,’ even the country’s state-owned companies are sticking to the currency. Shifting […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Sorry, but Trump is not ‘tough on Russia’; The administration has taken some tough stances toward Moscow. Why does the president disavow them?” – Washington Post/ Michael McFaul

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“… The Trump administration has a tough policy on Russia, one that I mostly support. But Trump himself does not. For the past two years, he has consistently made it clear that he does not support his own administration’s policy toward Russia. The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy states very bluntly that ‘China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “State Duma refuses to resume cooperation with PACE, increasing chances that Russia could leave the Council of Europe ” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“Federal lawmakers in Russia say they are opposed to sending a delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) …. a plenary session of the State Duma … endorsed an announcement refusing to resume cooperation with PACE until Russia’s voting rights are restored …. According to the Duma[] … more than half the judges now working in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin can’t afford to ditch the dollar” – Reuters/ Steven E. Halliwell

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Paul Manafort, while managing Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, is accused of passing private polling data to his Russia business partner, a man with alleged ties to Russian intelligence. … revealed in an unsealed court filing … likely to stoke the case in Congress for increased sanctions …. [T]he reverberations will be felt in Moscow, where anger and frustration over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Washington theaters shine a spotlight on Vladimir Putin” – Washington Post/ Nelson Pressley

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

“The Russian president was satirized … in the delirious ‘Putin on Ice (that isn’t the real title …)’ at Baltimore’s Single Carrot Theater. Putin is unnamed but unmistakable in Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph’s ‘Describe the Night,’ an Obie Award winner last year as best American play …. [C]ementing Putin as a stealth theatrical headliner is ‘Kleptocracy,’ a new drama […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Constitutional Court decides to ease limits on foreign involvement in the media – a bit” – Meduza/ Mikhail Zelensky, translation by Hilah Kohen

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

“Russia’s Constitutional Court issued a decision … regarding Article 19.1, a law that governs mass media. The law prohibits foreigners from founding or controlling media outlets in Russia, but the Court ruled that it requires correction. The new ruling indicates that the prohibition itself is just ‘because that sort of influence might threaten the security of state information,’ but the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia’s Economy Is Headed for Trouble; A lack of real reforms and a hyper-dependence on oil has prevented the emergence of a healthy, diverse economy” – The National Interest/ Michael Rubin/ American Enterprise Institute.

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin’s lasting legacy … will not be his wars in Georgia or Ukraine nor the new submarines, fighter jets, nuclear weapons, or hypersonic missiles whose manufacture and unveilings he has overseen. Rather, Putin’s historic legacy will likely be inheriting a country with great economic potential and leaving it an empty husk.  After so many years in power, Putin has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Huge crowds greet Putin in Belgrade” – Intellinews/ Valentina Dimitrievska

Map of Serbia and Environs, and Broader Map of Europe Highlighting Serbia

“Thousands of people welcomed … Putin … as he arrived for a one-day visit to Serbia to discuss the Kosovo issue and bilateral cooperation. Russia is one of the biggest allies and supporters of Serbia and one of the biggest investors in the country. Most Serbians consider Russia as a brotherly nation with historical, cultural and religious ties. … During […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “No end to World War II in sight in the Kuril Islands; As Abe and Putin prepare to deal, a dispute that dates back to the final hours of World War II looks unlikely to be resolved” – Asia Times/Giovanni Pigni

Map of Northern Japan, Kurill Islands, Sea of Okhotsk, Portions of Russian Far East

“… Japanese-Russian negotiations over the disputed Southern Kuril islands took place … in Moscow, ahead of … [a] summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and … Putin. … the only obstacle preventing the two nations signing an official peace agreement to end World War II. … The Kuril archipelago … [includes] 56 islands stretching from the Russian peninsula of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Ukrainian Harvard team” – Kyiv Post/ Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… After the 100-day EuroMaidan Revolution forced Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych into Russian exile in 2014, Ukraine demanded a new kind of leadership. The revolution played its role in history and brought about significant change in government, politics and civil society. However, now the time has come for Ukraine to step again on the path of steady evolutionary growth and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The revival of Russia’s cinema industry” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

File Photo of Reel of Film

“Russia’s cinema business is growing three times faster than the real economy, but it’s a bumpy ride. In 2018 Russian movie-goers set a new record with 56mn visits to a cinema to generate a box office take of RUB13.5bn ($200mn). With one Russian in three having a night out in front of the silver screen, the growth of the business […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian lawmakers amend criminal code to reduce pressure on social media activity” – bne Intellinews

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

“… the State Duma … adopted amendments to … partially decriminalise … [criminal] code[] Article 282 … widely used for … offences involving social media content. As reported by … Meduza, first-time offenders will now face … misdemeanour charges, risking a RUB20,000 fine ($287 at the current exchange rate) or a 15-day jail sentence, instead of felony charges and a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Confronts the Prospect of a ‘Nonstop Political War’ for Survival” – New York Times/ Peter Baker

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

“WASHINGTON – So it has come to this: The president of the United States was asked over the weekend whether he is a Russian agent. And he refused to directly answer. The question, which came from a friendly interviewer, not one of the ‘fake media’ journalists he disparages, was “the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” he declared.  But […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: @Anders_Aslund tweet re: Trump and Putin

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

(Anders Aslund – Twitter @anders_aslund – January 13, 2019) [Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council] “Everything suggests that #Trump is #Putin’s agent: secret meetings, persistent public praise, undermining US foreign policy interests & alliances. The actual Kremlin payment can easily be done #offshore in anonymous companies as the #SteeleDossier suggested.” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below:] Everything suggests […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Managing Russia’s dissolution” – The Hill/ Janusz Bugajski

Russia Regions Map

“Russia’s ongoing attacks on Ukraine and … persistent subversion of Western states demonstrates that Washington and Brussels have failed to restrain Moscow’s imperial ambitions. Engagement, criticism and limited sanctions have … reinforced Kremlin perceptions that the West is weak and predictable. To curtail Moscow’s neo-imperialism a new strategy is needed … [to] nourish[] Russia’s decline and manages the international consequences […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘The art of rejection’ A new report reveals the hidden mechanisms authorities use to restrict protests in Russia” – Meduza

Moscow Protest File Photo

“Article 31 of the Russian Constitution states that citizens of the Russian Federation ‘shall have the right to assemble peacefully.’ However, when protests are not approved by local authorities, those who join them can face arrest, professional consequences, and even criminal charges. The anti-corruption protests that swept Russia on March 26 and June 12, 2017, as well as the Voters’ […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to resume forex purchases after sanctions hiatus; Moscow will spend Rbs265.8bn between next Tuesday and early February” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s finance ministry said it is resuming foreign currency purchases on open markets after fears over U.S. sanctions saw it halt them last year to head off a slide in the rouble rate. … Rbs265.8bn … next Tuesday and February 6, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. … the first since the central bank … stopped them in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Europe is fast-becoming a natural gas battleground for Russia and the U.S.” – CNBC/ Holly Ellyatt

Gas Flame file photo

“With 28 countries and a combined population of around 512 million people, the European Union is something of a prized market – and political battleground – for the world’s largest energy exporters …. Russia has long been the dominant source and supplier of natural gas to Europe’s mass market but the U.S. is looking to challenge Russia … [with] U.S. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Enforce the Monroe Doctrine on Russian Moves in Latin America; The Trump administration needs to adopt a firmer policy toward Moscow’s intrusions into Latin America” – The National Interest/ Ted Galen Carpenter

Latin America Map

“… Moscow[ has sent] two nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela to show support for Nicolas Maduro’s leftist regime. Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said … Russia would continue to send military aircraft and warships to visit Venezuela as part of … bilateral military cooperation. … The Trump administration increasingly is concerned about the Maduro regime’s ugly authoritarianism, the meltdown of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia in Africa: Is it becoming a key player?” – BBC/ Kumar Malhotra

Africa Map

“Russia’s recent activities in Sudan and the Central African Republic have been the subject of intense speculation. … along with renewed economic ties, private Russian military contractors are reported to have been active in both countries. … particularly sensitive in Sudan, where there have been widespread, often violent anti-government protests. Moscow has been increasingly turning its attention to sub-Saharan Africa, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In former Soviet states, a new tech-savvy resistance is stirring; From Russia to Armenia to Belarus there has been a surge in online justice campaigns. And it’s making a difference”- The Guardian/ Barbara von Ow-Freytag

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

“… innovative activism is emerging across the former Soviet Union. I work for an organisation that supports civic activists and I see a new energy, self-belief and creativity that defies the pessimism permeating western debates about civil society in the region. … these Generation Z activists … [have] linked … with designers, tech experts and artists to test new forms […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian inflation, growth to remain low in 2019 says World Bank” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russian inflation is in focus for 2019 as prices began to rise at the end of 2018 and ended the year slightly above the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) target rate of 4%. … the World Bank says that inflation will remain low this year and growth will be 1.5%, the same as in 2018 …. The U.S. government has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Soldier, spy: more details of Vladimir Putin’s past revealed; Russian president, on a visit to a fortress, says he commanded a howitzer artillery battalion” – The Guardian/ Marc Bennetts

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

“… Putin has revealed that he commanded an artillery battalion during the Soviet period, a detail of his shadowy biography … previously unknown. … Putin’s official biography makes no mention of [it] …. According to the Kremlin, Putin joined the KGB immediately after graduating [in law] from … Leningrad State University in 1975. … [spending] 16 years … rising to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Curious Story of an American Arrested by the Kremlin” – Stratfor/ Scott Stewart

Kremlin and River

“Highlights Russia has arrested an American corporate security director, Paul Whelan, but he doesn’t have the profile befitting a non-official cover intelligence officer, even though there are elements in his background that would bring him to the attention of the Kremlin’s security services. Russian authorities arrested Whelan not long after Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty in a U.S. court […]

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