NEWSWATCH: “Russia and Ukraine: More similar than either wants to admit” – bne Intellinews/Anders Åslund

“… Russians see themselves as economically superior while Ukrainians cherish their freedom. Yet … economically the similarities are greater than the differences. Their current fundamental problem is their absence of real property rights. … Russia experienced an attempt at serious market economic reform from 1991-94 … avoid[ing] Ukraine’s … hyperinflation in 1993. While Russia’s situation was bad, Ukraine’s was far […]

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NEWSWATCH: “We’re as close to Doomsday today as we were during the Cold War” – Washington Post/Lawrence Krauss, Robert Rosner

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

“… To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger – and its immediacy. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress … increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region and the United States. * * * Global nuclear risks were compounded by U.S.-Russia relations that now feature more conflict than cooperation. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Bell: meet the Russian media start-up fighting for the precarious future of independent media”

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

“After she was fired as editor-in-chief of Russia’s highly respected media outlet RBC for critical reporting, Elizaveta Osetinskaya left her country and headed to the US. Now she’s founded The Bell, a six-person media start-up fighting for space in Russia’s troubled world of independent media. * * * The Bell launched a weekly English-language website and newsletter in December, which is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Would Be ‘Economic War’ to Head of Russia’s VTB; Personal sanctions would be preferable to institutional ones, Kostin says” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Francine Lacqua

VTB Bank File Photo

“As Moscow braces for a possible expansion of U.S. sanctions, the head of Russia’s second-biggest bank said any further restrictions on the nation’s lenders would be tantamount to ‘economic war.’  * * * While VTB has been subject to restrictions on raising financing since 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, new sanctions could go as far as cutting off […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Won’t Tell Voters How He’ll Pay for Domestic Spending” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… offering Russians the biggest increase in domestic spending in years … what [Putin] won’t be talking much about is the package of tax hikes, benefit cuts and other changes … to help pay for [it] … possible increases to the pension age and the income tax … cuts in tax breaks for staples like food … [and] co-pays for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Pentagon: China, Russia Outpace Terrorism Threat” – AP

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“Countering China’s rapidly expanding military and an increasingly aggressive Russia are now the U.S. military’s top national security priorities, outpacing the threat of terrorism, the Pentagon said …. A new national defense strategy says that competition with China and Russia has threatened America’s military advantage around the world. … require[ing] increased investment to make U.S. forces more lethal, agile and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Contrary to Expectations, US-Russian Relations Deteriorate Under President Trump” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham

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

  “… Trump’s presidency began … with widespread expectations of improvement in U.S.-Russian relations [yet now they are] in worse shape than he found them. … the National Security Strategy … identified Russia (along with China) as a strategic adversary intent on undermining U.S. primacy … [Additionally, consider] Trump’s decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine to help deter Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Intel Committee Releases Glenn Simpson Testimony Transcripts” – House Intelligence Committee

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today voted to publish the transcripts of testimony provided to the committee by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. The November 8 transcript is available here: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD001.pdf and the November 14 transcript is available here: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD002.pdf

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine passes bill to get occupied regions back from Russia” – AP

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

“Ukraine’s parliament … passed a bill to reintegrate the country’s eastern territories … currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists … supporting taking them back by military force if necessary.  The bill describes the areas in Ukraine’s … Donetsk and Luhansk regions as ‘temporarily occupied’ by ‘aggressor country’ Russia. … Poroshenko welcomed the new bill, saying it would help restore control of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Future of Navalny’s Opposition Movement; Why It Will Continue to Challenge the Kremlin” – Foreign Affairs/Anton Barbashin

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

“In March 2017 … Navalny released a shocking video investigation … reveal[ing] that Medvedev has been able to amass a tremendous fortune while in power … several mansions in Russia, a villa and property in Italy, and other assets worth roughly $1.2 billion. … spark[ing] a great deal of interest among Russians … receiv[ing] almost 26 million views on YouTube […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin tries to stir voters’ interest in Putin’s election campaign; Slick, US-style apparatus set up in effort to present Russian poll as a contest” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille

Russia Regions Map

“… With 18 years in power … far-reaching control over institutions from parliament to courts and the election watchdog, and no serious challenger, [Putin] can afford to skip wooing voters …. the Kremlin frets that too smooth a campaign is dangerous. … voters’ passivity [includes] resignation that they cannot effect political change anyway … [that] could metastasise into widespread disaffection […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy suddenly shrinks in November” – Reuters

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s economy unexpectedly contracted in November, hit by a drop in industrial production, the economy ministry said …. Gross domestic product shrank 0.3 percent year on year in November, the economy ministry said, contrasting with analysts’ consensus call for a 1.5 percent growth. Russia’s oil-dependent economy was on the mend in 2017 after two years of recession, triggered by a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin will elevate loyalty over all in his next presidency” – RaamopruslandNL/ Mark Galeotti

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Is Putin’s grip on power still as strong as ever? Some observers are … presenting him as some kind of a ‘lame duck president’, even as he prepares to be re-elected yet again. … Mark Galeotti suggests such talk misrepresents the nature of power in today’s Russia. ‘Power is the capacity to act and get away with it’ …. Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s invisible, ubiquitous lobbyists; How armies of fixers and specialists negotiate the nation’s dicey relationship between businesses and the state” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“Technically speaking, lobbying doesn’t exist in Russia. The concept, at least, isn’t established anywhere in the country’s laws, and the activity itself isn’t formally regulated in any way. On December 18, just the latest business association encouraged the parliament to rectify this situation, though previous efforts like this one have always come to nothing. There are, nevertheless, many people in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia has been meddling in foreign elections for decades. Has it made a difference?” – Washington Post/ Lucan Ahmad Way, Adam Casey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Russia has been intervening in foreign elections for decades. Has it been effective? …. we put together and examined a data set of all 27 Russian electoral interventions since 1991. …  First wave: In the former Soviet states, 1991 to 2014 … Second wave: in Western democracies, 2014 to now …. It’s true that Russia has been increasingly trying to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Steele boasted to friends of his ‘professional’ work on Russia-Trump dossier” – Washington Times/ Rowan Scarborough

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… On Friday, two Republican senators made a criminal referral to the Justice Department. An investigation revealed that … Steele misled the FBI, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The FBI told lawmakers that the bureau had not confirmed the dossier’s core collusion charges since … Steele’s first briefing in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Gazprom gas exports to Europe rise 8% to new record” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s gas exports to Europe rose 8.1 per cent last year to a record level of 193.9bn cubic metres (bcm), the company’s head said … as the world’s largest gas producer continued to increase sales despite rising competition from LNG and other sources. Gazprom … has a monopoly over Russia’s gas pipelines to Europe [and] has been forced to reduce […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Toughens Penalty for Bomb Threats Plaguing Russia” – AP

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

“… Putin has signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison. … Since September, authorities have received false bomb reports allegedly targeting more than 3000 structures in about 180 Russian cities. The subsequent building evacuations have sometimes caused severe traffic problems. A top Interior Ministry official said […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Declares St. Petersburg Blast Terrorism; Grocery store bombing injured 13; Russian president orders officials to act decisively to stop further attacks” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

St. Petersburg

“A bomb blast at a St. Petersburg grocery store [from a handmade explosive device] … injured 13 …. No one has claimed responsibility. … Until recently, Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus had seen almost daily violence from Islamic separatists …. Security measures and the departure of fighters to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cut violence …. many […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Barred From Running and Boycotting: Navalny’s Quandary in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

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

“… Navalny, a Russian anticorruption activist, would have no real chance of defeating … Putin in an election. … But on Monday the Kremlin barred him from running for president in March. Then on Tuesday, threatening legal action, it warned him against organizing a boycott of the election. In one surreal turn after another, the Russian authorities have dismissed Mr. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kennan Cable No. 29: U.S. Sanctions Law and Western Coordination on Russia Policy” – Kennan Institute/ Dominik Tolksdorf

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

“The United States and the European Union have coordinated their sanctions against Russia for more than three years. In July 2017 the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed additional sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea that were signed into law by President Trump on August 2. The legislation was drafted in the context of the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “They’re back! Must-read paper on ‘The Return of Global Russia,’ a new Carnegie project, is avail online and explains the Kremlin’s increasingly expansive foreign policy paradigm …” – Andrew S. Weis/ Carnegie Endowment/ Twitter

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

(Andrew S. Weiss, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment Russia and Eurasia Program – Twitter – @andrewsweiss) “They’re back! Must-read paper on ‘The Return of Global Russia,’ a new Carnegie project, is avail online and explains the Kremlin’s increasingly expansive foreign policy paradigm http://ceip.org/2C5ksHh via @pstronski and Richard Sokolsky …” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below; tweet also […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Backed by Putin, Russian Military Pushes Into Foreign Policy” – Reuters

Sergei Shoigu file photo

“From Damascus to Doha … Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has been showing up in unexpected places, a sign of the military’s growing influence under … Putin. … at times wearing his desert military uniform, Shoigu has held talks with Syria’s president in Damascus, met Israel’s prime minister in Jerusalem and been received by the Emir of Qatar in Doha. The defense ministry’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Criticizes Germany’s Support of New Russian Natural Gas Line; Top state department official praises Denmark for passing law that could hamper pipeline project” – Wall Street Journal/ Paul Sonne

Gas Flame file photo

“[Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs A. Wess Mitchell] offered harsh words … for Germany over the country’s continued support for a new Russian gas pipeline to Europe … known as Nord Stream 2 … a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian state energy giant Gazprom [that] would double Russia’s export capacity … adding a second link between Russia and Germany. * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Re-election Is Assured. Let the Succession Fight Begin” – New York Times/Neil MacFarquhar, Ivan Nechepurenko, Oleg Matsnev

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Ask Russian analysts to describe the coming presidential election campaign, and their answers contain a uniform theme: a circus, a carnival, a sideshow. What they do not call it is a real election. With the victory of President Vladimir V. Putin assured, the real contest, analysts said, is the bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred fight to determine who or what comes after him […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Putin’s Heartland, Apathy and Disappointment Rule” – AP

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

“Three months ahead of Russia’s presidential election, apathy and disappointment pervade … A new person is unlikely …. If Putin’s 18 years in power have induced apathy and a sense of helplessness … that’s the big issue in Navalny’s view. Putin has made voters in industrial cities … his base, touting stability …. A … Levada Center [survey] suggests that enthusiasm for Putin is in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Red mist; How the Russia investigation looks from Moscow; Hyperventilating about Vladimir Putin infuriates Russian liberals, but it has led to a better Russia policy” – The Economist

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

“Buzzfeed recently broke an explosive story about Russia’s meddling in America’s elections. On August 3rd 2016, it reported, just as the presidential race was entering its final phase, the Russian foreign ministry wired nearly $30,000 through a Kremlin-backed bank to its embassy in Washington, DC, with a remarkable description attached: ‘To finance election campaign of 2016’. … only one of 60 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For Some Russian Oligarchs, Sanctions Risk Makes Putin Awkward to Know” – Reuters

“The threat of new U.S. sanctions has spread anxiety among Russia’s wealthiest people that their association with … Putin could land them on a U.S. government blacklist …. drawn up by early next year … part of a sanctions bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress …. Although those included on the list would not automatically be sanctioned, six people … part of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Gazprom spends big to keep trillion dollar dream alive; Russian gas exporter ramps up borrowing and raids cashpile to maintain growth” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Gas Facility file photo

“In an effort to fight back, Gazprom is …. [r]amping up borrowing and raiding its … cash pile … splurging on critical new infrastructure …. it announced that it expected to spend 24 per cent more this year on long-term investment, capital expenditure and acquisitions previously forecast. … next year’s spending [is projected to] hit a record Rbs 1.28tn ($22bn), up 13 per cent on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian answer to opioid epidemic: ‘Cold turkey’; Russia has an opioid abuse problem as big as America’s, but a very different way of dealing with it. No methadone replacement therapy in Moscow – just a couple of aspirin and a short, sharp withdrawal shock.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Blurred Image of Young Woman Holding Up Pill Between Her Thumb and Index Finger, adapted from image at drugabuse.gov

“Russia has an opioid addiction crisis about as grave as America’s. … the two countries’ approaches to the problem could hardly be more different. … most US and European clinics offer patients methadone as replacement therapy [yet] Russian doctors disdain such ‘soft’ treatment. … their [cold turkey] methods … have a lower success rate than the 50 percent achieved in the United States. … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Business ombudsman Boris Titov to run for president” – bne Intellinews/ Vadim Dumes

Boris Titov file photo

“Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov will run for president in the 2018 election, representing the business-oriented Party of Growth …. [running] on the ‘Growth Strategy’ program developed by the Stolypin Club … unlikely to become a serious competitor … [but he] could bring pressing economic issues [to] the forefront …. * * * … the greatest other threat to [Putin’s] re-election is perhaps public apathy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Populism Trap” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Julia Gurganus

Putin Descending a Staircase

“In contrast to the populist image … Putin has created to galvanize support, he is part of today’s Russian establishment elite. This puts him in an awkward position as populism spreads across Europe and Russia marks the one hundredth anniversary of the 1917 revolution. Should Putin again take the populist approach, he is likely to inspire accusations of hypocrisy from the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are spooked; The personal sanctions against regime cronies are especially tough” – The Economist

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

“… CAATSA moderately increases the pressure …. It extends the restrictions on investing in new Russian oil and gas projects to the operations of Russian firms in third countries. … the effectiveness of these new sanctions, which the administration is allowed to pause until late January, is undermined by the fact that European firms have been ring-fenced from their effects. Gazprom … has […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Western Moscow, Putin Allies Lose an Election but Cling to Power” – Reuters

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

“More than 10 weeks after losing a local council election in western Moscow … Putin’s party is clinging to power there – by fair means or foul.  The standoff over control of Filyovsky Park Council came to a head when opposition councilor Vadim Korovin tried to sit in the chairman’s seat at a meeting on Tuesday. A councilor from the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware the Russian Elephant” – The American Interest/ Peter Pomerantsev

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

“As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail. The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ the cognitive linguist George […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Most Prefer Russia As A Friend, Not An Enemy” – Rasmussen Reports

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

“Voters by a two-to-one margin agree with … Trump that it’s better for the United States – and the world – to have Russia on our side. … [a] Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds … 52% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the president’s statement … that ‘… having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Bonfire of the Prosecutors; Political animosities are pushing the U.S. toward a significant political crisis” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Henninger

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

“… Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to … House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte … asked the Justice Department’s career lawyers to look into the possibility of … a second special prosecutor, to investigate Hillary Clinton. * * * The people who brought us the Trump-Russia collusion narrative are now weeping crocodile tears that the appointment of a second prosecutor would mean […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Latest U.S.-Russian Effort on Syria: Good for Preventing Accidents, So-So for Everything Else” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Syria Map

“The one concrete result to emerge from … Trump and … Putin’s informal meetings on the sidelines of … APEC … has been the Nov. 11 U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Syria. … [which] has elicited some official optimism, but what does it amount to really? … a promising step forward to end the strife in that war-torn land and ‘save tremendous numbers of lives,’ as Trump […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The importance of Russia’s unimportant prime minister” – bne Intellinews/ Mark Galeotti

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

“Elections in 2018 are very unlikely to mean a new president for Russia, but they could see a new prime minister appointed. … while the role is essentially to be presidential henchman and scapegoat, it is a role with meaning, and … Putin’s choice will be both consequential and also a potential indicator of the direction he plans to take …. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GDP growth in Russia disappointingly slows” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s GDP growth disappointed on the down side as the July-September numbers came in well below the government expectation at 1.2%, making the annual GDP growth of 1.8%. The government had been expecting 2.2%. * * * … [and] Russia’s GDP growth has been achieved against the backdrop of rather shaky industrial output. …” Click here for: “GDP growth in Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Joint U.S.-Russia statement calls for U.N.-supervised elections in Syria” – Politico/ Nancy Cook

Syria Map

“… a new joint statement on Syria between the U.S. and Russia … [says] Syria must eventually hold U.N.-supervised elections to bring new leadership to the country as part of … ending its … civil war [say] two senior State Department officials. … follow[ing] … U.N. Security Council resolution … 2254. … [the election is to] include the ballots of the Syrian diaspora, displaced from the country […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Celebrates an Uncomfortable Centennial” – Stratfor.com

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“The centennial anniversary of the launch of the Russian Revolution on Nov. 7 will serve as a haunting reminder for Russia’s current leaders that their power is finite. … a year after Russia observed the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, a similarly unsettling marker for the [Putin] government … facing opposition from within its own ranks and on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. to Seek Russian Approval for Peacekeepers in Eastern Ukraine; U.S., Western officials hope Putin is seeking a way out of separatist conflict” – Wall Street Journal/ Laurence Norman, Julian E. Barnes

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

“U.S. officials are preparing to test Moscow’s willingness to end the Ukraine conflict by seeking Russia’s approval for 20,000 peacekeepers across Ukraine’s embattled east, U.S. and Western officials said. … driven by hopes in some Western capitals, including Paris and Berlin, that … Putin is seeking a way out of Moscow’s military support to Ukrainian separatists. * * * … U.S. officials […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Reality TV Opposition” – New York Times/Oleg Kashin/ Translated by Carol Apollonio

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“[Sobchak’s father] was mayor of Leningrad … [and] made … Putin his deputy. … he defended Mr. Putin from corruption accusations. … [Sobchak] fled the country … [facing] his own corruption allegations. … [returning] after … Putin became prime minister …. For the opposition, [Ksenia] Sobchak’s meeting with [Putin] … amounts to treachery: A true [Putin] opponent … would never negotiate with him about participating in the election. But are there any real […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia hackers had targets worldwide, beyond U.S. election” – Washington Post/AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… [H]ackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election …[also] target[ed] the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list …. the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between the hackers and the Russian government … an operation that stretched back years […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Containing Our Intelligence War with Russia; We should be wary of conflating Moscow’s desire to change our international behavior with an intent to destroy our nation” – The National Interest/ George Beebe

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

“… We must not rely solely on mutual pledges of restraint, however. We must take urgent steps to improve our defenses against cyber sabotage and influence operations. Within the cyber realm, we should make a concerted effort to patch vulnerabilities, update software and employ malware detection systems. This would make cyberattacks more difficult, even if it would not preclude intrusions […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia moves up to 35th place in the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business’ index” – bne Intellinews

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

“… Russia is ranked 35th in the 2018 issue of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report published on October 31, moving up five places …. Another international rating, the 2017 Economic Freedom Index compiled by the Heritage Foundation in February, placed Russia in the 114th position in the ‘Mostly Unfree’ category … with a score of 57.1 of 100. … the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Uzbekistan’s new president tiptoes toward liberalization” – Washington Post

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

“Uzbekistan has a reputation – dismally earned by its long-time leader, Islam Karimov, who died last year – for torturing and incarcerating opposition critics, journalists and others. Mr. Karimov’s iron-fisted 27-year rule largely wiped out independent media and civil society. So it is encouraging to hear that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev may be changing direction. In Central Asia’s most populous nation, human […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Manafort Indictment; Mueller’s charges relate to money-laundering cash from Ukraine” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

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

“… Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for tax fraud …. [accusing] Manafort (and business partner Richard Gates) of funneling money from a pro-Russia party in Ukraine into offshore shell companies and bank accounts. They … allegedly used these accounts to fund their spending habits, neglecting to declare the money to the IRS. The indictment also accuses … Manafort of […]

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