NEWSWATCH: “Inside the belly of Russia’s ‘propaganda machine’: A visit to RT news channel; US security services have fingered the channel as a key player in the Kremlin’s efforts to sway Western politics. But inside its offices, RT seems a far cry from what the US says it is – and what it aspires to be.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Satellite Dishes

… The network appears to have changed focus about five years ago to become more about promoting the Russian point of view on international affairs, and much less about covering Russia per se. It also became a platform for coverage of social problems in Western societies, government malfeasance, corporate non-accountability, and the dysfunctions of democracy that often contrasts in tone, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia, U.S. Mulling Joint Mission to Venus” – Space.com/Mike Wall

Planet Venus file photo, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Russia’s space program and NASA are working together on a mission to Venus that would investigate some of the scorching-hot planet’s biggest mysteries, including, perhaps, whether it harbors life. An international team of scientists tasked with fleshing out the main goals of the mission, which is known as Venera-D, is wrapping up its work and will deliver its final report […]

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NEWSWATCH: “China Goes Food Shopping-to Russia; ‘Everything that can be consumed by a human being in China is something they’re interested in,’ Russian official says” – Wall Street Journal/AMIE FERRIS-ROTMAN/Liyan Qi

Asia Map

China bought more than $1 billion in food products from Russia last year, replacing Turkey as the top importer of Russian foodstuffs. … central to Russia’s economic and political pivot toward Asia, as the Russian economy continues to suffer under Western sanctions and the low price of oil, and U.S.-Russian relations deteriorate …. Russia and China … describe current relations […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him” – McClatchy/KEVIN G. HALL, TIM JOHNSON

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A #Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company are mentioned in the now-notorious document alleging connections between the Donald #Trump campaign and Russian #hackers says no #intelligence officers have ever contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false. * * * #XBT, owner of Dallas-based enterprise-hosting company #Webzilla, is run by a successful Russian tech […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Soviet dissident had thousands of child abuse images, UK court told; Vladimir Bukovsky downloaded indecent images and films over 15-year period, Cambridge crown court hears” – The Guardian (UK)/Luke Harding

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

“… Bukovsky, 73, is charged with 10 counts of making and possessing indecent photos and one count of possessing an indecent computer-generated graphic. He denies all charges. * * * Bukovsky has been a longstanding opponent of Soviet and Russian power. He began his struggle against the Soviet regime in the early 1960s. Soviet authorities eventually kicked him out of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Twenty years ago, Russians loved the US. Where did it all go wrong? In the immediate post-Soviet era, Russians held the US in high esteem. But that started to change amid economic woes and Western adventurism in the Balkans and Middle East.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

“… Time magazine’s July 15, 1996, cover. … depicts Russian President Boris Yeltsin, recently reelected … grinning and clutching an American flag under the headline ‘Yanks to the Rescue!’ The story tells of a group of high-powered US political consultants who were secretly brought to Russia amid the hard-fought presidential elections of 1996, in which a beleaguered Mr. Yeltsin was […]

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NEWSWATCH: “General Frost to the Rescue: cold helps Russia comply with OPEC deal” – Reuters

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

“… Russia … in the past … accused of dragging its feet in implementing oil production and exports deals, reduced production by 100,000 barrels a day in the first few days of January … a third of the way towards the total cut Russia promised to deliver by mid-2017. … [at least partly] the result [of]  …unusually cold temperatures in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to hacked servers” – The Hill

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“The FBI requested direct access to the … DNC … hacked computer servers but was denied, Director James Comey told lawmakers …. The bureau made ‘multiple requests at different levels’ … but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a ‘highly respected private company’ would get access and share what it found with investigators. ‘We’d always prefer to have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For 1st time since Cold War, U.S. tanks roll into Russia’s backyard” – CBS

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… All the massive hardware of a U.S. combat brigade arrived in Germany over the weekend, and started rolling east toward Poland, where 4,000 American soldiers will be waiting for it. … the first build-up of American troops and weapons in Europe in almost 30 years … meant, in large part, to reassure America’s nervous allies in Europe that the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “FBI, Dems bicker over investigation of hacked servers” – The Hill/KATIE BO WILLIAMS

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“… The DNC told Buzzfeed in a statement published Wednesday that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached. … a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization … ‘The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why doubts still cloud Russian hacking allegations; Evidence that the government has presented so far linking Russian operatives to the DNC hack is questionable, fueling skepticism and doubt about Moscow’s role.” – Christian Science Monitor/Paul F. Roberts

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Since the White House blamed #Russia for hacking US political organizations to undermine the presidential election, administration critics, skeptics, and cybersecurity experts have pushed the government to reveal its evidence. … much of what has come out of Washington … has only raised more questions about the government’s claims. A joint analysis of recent hacking activity by the FBI and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Obama Signs Law That Could Reopen Cultural Exchange with #Russia; Russia’s major museums have not lent artworks to the US since 2011.” – Artnet News/Alyssa Buffenstein

Hermitage Museum

A new law signed … grants foreign states immunity from US jurisdiction in cases related to the temporary exhibition of loaned artworks …. Despite current tensions between Obama and … Putin – and opposition to the bill from groups like the Holocaust Art Restitution Project – the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act could mean the renewing of cultural […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation” – Washington Post

File Photo of Vermont Mountains and Forest, Adapted From Image at usda.gov

As federal officials investigate suspicious Internet activity found last week on a Vermont utility computer, they are finding evidence that the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target … the utility …. An employee at Burlington Electric Department was checking his Yahoo email account … and triggered an alert indicating … his computer had connected to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Despite political clout, Russian seniors find later life options limited; Though their numbers are increasing and their voting bloc powerful, elderly Russians generally lack either the savings or sufficient government pension to finance a comfortable retirement” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… Tradition remains strong here, and huge numbers of pensioners still live with their families. Millions more take refuge in state-run old age homes, which are of varying quality. Due to the unusual political strength of pensioners and war veterans in Soviet and now Russian society, publicly-run facilities for the elderly have always been relatively well-resourced and are currently under […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In 2017, Putin faces his toughest challenge: Russian pessimism; After several years of economic hardship and international pressure over its annexation of Crimea, Russia may see its lot improve next year. But most are skeptical of the possibility of lasting change” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Putin at Desk

… Most adult Russians have seen roller-coaster ups and downs in the past 25 years, from the harrowing collapse of the superstate of their birth, the USSR; to a decade of economic despair and social decay; to several years of revival under Putin that came to a screeching halt amid economic crisis and global condemnation following Russia’s annexation of Crimea […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin focuses on domestic issues in his annual press conference marathon; International relations and the showdown with the West in Ukraine and Syria got little attention this year” – bne Intellinews

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

… Putin … [began] his annual marathon press conference … with a run down of the latest macroeconomic results. In the last two events he spent more time on international relations and the showdown with the West in Ukraine and Syria, which got little attention this year. * * * Putin indirectly dismissed … speculation … Russia hacked the US […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t be so sure Russia hacked the Clinton emails” – Reuters/James Bamford

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

… as both sides begin arming their cyberweapons, it is critical for the public to be confident that the evidence is really there, and to understand the potential consequences of a tit-for-tat cyberwar escalating into a real war. … there is little doubt about Russian cyber fingerprints in various U.S. campaign activities. Moscow, like Washington, has long spied on such […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russian Restaurateur With Ties to Putin; Yevgeny Prigozhin is accused of possessing links to private military force that fought in Ukraine, Syria” – Wall Street Journal

“The U.S. has imposed sanctions on a Russian restaurateur and caterer with connections to President Vladimir Putin who has been accused of funding Russian online ‘troll farms’ and possessing links to a private Russian paramilitary group that fought in Ukraine and Syria. The U.S. Treasury Department officially sanctioned Yevgeny Prigozhin on Tuesday for contributing to the conflict in Ukraine through […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Hackers and American Hacks; The CIA that misjudged Putin for years is now sure of his motives” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

Somewhere in the Kremlin … Putin must be laughing. The Russian strongman almost certainly sought to undermine public confidence in American democracy … and as the Obama Administration leaves town it is playing into his hands. … the real story behind … reports that U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Russia intervened to assist … Trump’s presidential campaign. … attributed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Let’s get the facts right on foreign involvement in our elections; America needs a bipartisan investigation into the extent of foreign involvement in the 2016 elections” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

… we know that Russian actors stole data from people working at the Democratic National Committee. We know that another foreign actor, WikiLeaks, published data stolen from the DNC …. We also know that WikiLeaks and others published data stolen from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman …. We also know that Russian hackers were probing computers that contained information on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Nuclear War Is No Longer ‘Unthinkable’ for Russia; Putin is warning the United States to back off” – The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The newly-released ‘Foreign Policy Concept’ of the #Russian Federation contains some interesting changes and updates. … this document reflects the #Kremlin’s strategic mindset and how it views international relations …. The first is a slight but significant shift in assessing the possibility of the use of #nuclear weapons from ‘unthinkable’ to ‘unlikely.’ While the concept does not anticipate a high […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Updates Plan to Counter Cyberattacks and Foreign Influence” – New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

The Kremlin published a new plan … against what it described as stepped-up cyberattacks and ‘information-psychological’ methods by foreign intelligence agencies …. updat[ing] a similar information security doctrine put in place by … Putin in 2000. … American officials have mulled retaliating against Russia for … hacking before the presidential election …. The 16-page document sketches out … threats … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Continue the Unfinished Business of Integrating Russia into the Global Economy. Renewed economic interaction would increase the West’s influence, not lessen it” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/J. Andrew Spindler

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump has an unusual opportunity … to improve the tone of U.S.-Russian relations, currently at one of their lowest ebbs …. The positive possibilities in the short run are substantial …. the potential for a U.S.-Russian collaboration in the Middle East, particularly with regard to defeating ISIS and developing a peace plan for Syria. … there are many other […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Reassess and Reassure. A new Trump administration could move Russia away from its anti-Western posture.” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/Andrew Kuchins

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“The first thing … Trump can do is strike a new tone … open, respectful, businesslike and disciplined. He should acknowledge … deep concern at the state of U.S.-Russia relations … and express that his administration views Russia as an essential partner in reducing nuclear risks … fighting #terrorism and bringing more stability to the greater Middle East, and mitigating […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Panetta: Putin Wants To Restore the Soviet Union; The former secretary of defense has made similar remarks before, but this time he was more direct” – U.S. News

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

#Russian President Vladimir #Putin’s main interest is restoration of the Soviet Union, former Secretary of Defense Leon #Panetta said …. ‘Let’s not kid anybody,’ said Panetta, who also served as CIA director and White House chief of staff. ‘Putin’s main interest is to try to restore the old Soviet Union. … that’s what drives him.’ Panetta added of the current […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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NEWSWATCH: “America and #Russia: Transcending Friend or Foe. #Trump’s administration must grasp the costs America is willing to pay and the limits of what can be demanded of Russia.” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/Nikolas Gvosdev

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… the … #Trump administration needs to conduct an honest review of past U.S. policies towards #Russia (especially the so-called ‘reset’) and … ascertain … successes and failures … strong points and … weaknesses. … it must take stock of its own priorities and redlines… [and] identify where and when it will spend political capital to advance the relationship by […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘We’re OUTBREEDING you!’ Putin taunts West as he unveils drive to boost Russian birth rate” – The Daily Express (UK)

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

… Putin… issued an extraordinary putdown to the West as he boasted that Russia was outbreeding its rivals and unveiled new scientific measures to up the country’s birth rate further still. … plans to roll out 94 “hi-tech” perinatal centres across the country during his annual address to parliament. … Putin pledged a series of measures, from scientific to social, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ahead of promised cut, Russia’s oil output hits record high” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Russia plans to use its November oil production … its highest in almost 30 years, as its baseline when it cuts output under [a] deal with OPEC …. Russia … promised to gradually cut output by up to 300,000 … bpd … aimed at supporting oil prices. Its daily oil production rose to an average of 11.21 million bpd in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin gives a Soviet-style state of the union, and some #Russian eyes glazed over” – Washington Post/David Filipov/Andrew Roth

Kremlin and River

… Putin called for better ties with the United States in his annual address … while brushing away … concerns about Kremlin interference in other countries. But the moment that went ­viral … was … Medvedev, eyes turned down, appearing to doze off. Whether the premier was napping or … checking his notes …. In a businesslike tone that recalled a Soviet […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Last chance? Putin vows – again – to bring economic reform to Russia. In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

… pledging … deep domestic reforms to wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore the country’s global reputation … Putin may be putting [his] powers to the test. … analysts say this may be the last chance to start delivering. … Putin … clearly realizes that … approval ratings depend heavily on … public […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Turchynov hopes Trump’s administration approves lethal weapon provision to Ukraine” – Interfax-Ukraine

“National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said he hopes that the new U.S. administration will make a decision on granting lethal weapons to Ukraine. ‘I do think that Ukraine has a chance to get lethal weapons. … The position of the Republican Party towards Ukraine is sufficiently clear and consistent. All their votes in the Congress and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Campaign in Syria Exposes Moscow’s Defense Gaps; Deployment of warships to assist Assad regime lays bare weaknesses in Russian military’s naval aviation and carrier operations” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of Deck of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

“A flotilla of Russian warships in the Mediterranean … provid[es] a high-profile show of force in support of the Syrian regime. But … also throw[s] into sharp relief the limits of Moscow’s conventional military. … the quarter-century-old Kuznetsov lacks the kind of powerful catapult system … featured on U.S. carriers, forcing Russian planes to carry lighter payloads and less fuel […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Warning Russia on Hacking Isn’t Enough” – New York Times Editorial

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

… A stronger White House response would begin with … Obama revealing more information about how the hacking was done and by whom. He could also … disclose Russian computer codes, embarrass wealthy Kremlin officials by exposing their overseas bank accounts and even disable Russian networks. … impose sanctions on Russians … responsible for the hacking or on military leaders […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Alaska has lessons for Trump in working with Russia” – Alaska Dispatch News/David Ramseur

… Trump … has a unique opportunity … to reset the worst relations between the U.S. and Russia since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. For a blueprint, Trump would be wise to look to Alaska. Beginning in the mid-1980s, citizen-diplomats from Alaska and the Russian Far East overcame tensions to melt the ‘Ice Curtain,’ which had prevented human contact across […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russians are so captivated by Trump. Negative feelings toward the US are higher than at any time since scientific polling began in #Russia in the mid-1980s. But many see the prospect for a turnaround.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Donald Trump

“… Russians have always been fascinated with the United States … the only country in the world that they will compare themselves with. Their attitudes … have swung over the decades between uncritical love and bitter hatred. … negative feelings are higher than at any time since scientific polling began in Russia in the mid-1980s, but … hopes aroused by […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine turns to Tampa group for help setting up new commando HQ” – Tampa Bay Times

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

Commando forces in … Ukraine were decimated … against pro-Russian insurgents and … “little green men” — masked Russian commandos in unmarked army uniforms. … when it came time to rebuild and adjust … Ukrainian officials turned … to the non-profit Global SOF Foundation, a Tampa-based special operations advocacy group. … credited with helping put Ukraine on the right footing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian bribery probe widens amid reports of Kremlin power struggle” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“… Russia’s state-run news agency reported … more officials could be targeted in the corruption probe that has already led to the arrest of the … economic development minister. Other news reports … name[d] names, all of them of officials close to … Medvedev, leader of the so-called liberals, who tend to favor a smaller state role in society and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Watch Out for Putin, Senators Warn Trump; On Capitol Hill, lawmakers express concern over president-elect’s foreign-policy ambiguity” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Two senior Senate Republicans are warning Donald Trump against cozying up to Moscow as lawmakers from both political parties voice alarm about potential consequences of the president-elect’s foreign-policy moves. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, warned Tuesday against rapprochement with Moscow after what appeared to be an amicable Monday phone call between Mr. Trump and Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Opposition Leader Navalny’s Case Sent for Retrial” – AP

Alexei Navalny file photo

Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday scrapped a criminal conviction and sent the case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for retrial, opening the door for his potential run for office.  … convicted in 2013 of embezzling timber …. Following unsuccessful appeals in Russia, Navalny, a trained lawyer, turned to the European Court of Human Rights which ruled in February that Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “World Bank Improves Russia Economic Outlook, Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth in 2017” – Reuters

World Bank Building

… the World Bank said …. Russian gross domestic product will contract by 0.6 percent … oil prices are projected to recover to an average of $55 per barrel in 2017 [and] the Russian economy is expected to bottom out in the second half of this year. The World Bank sees it growing by 1.5 percent in 2017 and 1.7 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump in Position to Forge New U.S.-Russia Relationship; President-elect has shown interest in tighter ties with the #Kremlin, which could rock Washington’s allies” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

With his win … Trump is uniquely positioned to overhaul America’s relationship with Russia. … how Moscow will engage with the president-elect is still far from clear. During the campaign … Trump … suggested he would tear up Washington’s Russia playbook and work more closely with the Kremlin. … Putin … congratulated … Trump on his election victory, telling him […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Government Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election” – NBC

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia’s electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents …. U.S. officials continue to express concern that Russia will use its cyber capabilities to try to disrupt next week’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Makes U-Turn After Evicting Amnesty From Moscow Office” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

… Amnesty International can return to the Moscow office it was evicted from this week, a Kremlin human rights adviser said on Thursday …. Amnesty has been a vocal critic of Russia over its bombing campaign in Syria and had said it believed the eviction might be part of an official crackdown on civil society groups. … Kremlin officials have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Aims to Disrupt Other Western Elections, U.S. Officials Say; Electoral chaos in West being sowed to safeguard Putin’s hold on power, Kremlin watchers say” – Wall Street Journal/Alan Cullison

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

… Russian-backed hacking … that has rocked the presidential campaign may peak on Election Day, but is likely to continue next year and into 2018 as Moscow seeks to influence U.S. politics and key elections in Europe … administration officials warn. Russian meddling … may become more potent in Europe than in the U.S., White House officials and other experts […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia may be wounded, but it can still bite; The country is in decline, but Vladimir Putin is willing to take bold risks” – Washington Post

Kremlin and River

Whoever wins Tuesday’s presidential election will face an assertive, aggrieved Russia whose risk-taking behavior under … Putin is increasingly worrisome …. pushy, headstrong Russia presents a paradox … most measures … a country in decline, with a sagging economy, an underdeveloped technology base and a shrinking population. Corruption pervades nearly every sector. The collapse of the Soviet Union is still […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s oil output in October hits new post-Soviet era high” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Russia’s oil output set a new post-Soviet era record high in October, rising 0.1 percent from September to 11.2 million barrels per day (bpd), energy ministry data showed …. underscor[ing] the difficulty the government could have in freezing output levels as part of a global pact with other top producers [to impact prices] …. Oil and gas sales account for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Being Russian in Putin’s Russia; Russia is still struggling to define itself nearly a century after the Soviet Union was established.” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin has inherited the problem of unity. … He needs an actionable ideology he can implement at the political and cultural level. … Through heavy-handed propaganda, Moscow has used the current stand-off with the United States to rally nationalist fervor against a common enemy. Following Russia’s failures to prevent a revolution in Ukraine, it presented Crimea as a source […]

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