NEWSWATCH Ottawa Citizen: “The coming war with Russia”

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

The Ottawa Citizen reports on concerns over the prospects for open military conflict between NATO and Russia. A couple of months before he retired in July, the head of Canada’s air force provided a blunt assessment of what might emerge from the current military mission to Ukraine. “We pray that our ongoing NATO mission isn’t accompanied by the escalation of […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Peter Pomerantsev: West Needs to Up the Ante in Infowar

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Writing in The Moscow Times, Peter Pomerantsev addresses the heft of the Kremlin media machine and the U.S. response. The West is finally coming to a belated comprehension of the power of the Kremlin media machine. The Soviet Union is no more, but the Kremlin holds a media hegemony over 142 million citizens of Russia and 93 million residents of […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: Russia used to have a powerful weapon in its energy sector. Not anymore.

Gas Flame file photo

The Washington Post assesses shifts in Russia’s position within the energy sector, and the impact upon Russian coercive pressure on the West. For years, Russia’s ability to choke off energy shipments any time tensions spiked with the West was a potent threat, one that could force much of Europe to shiver during the wintertime. But with energy prices swooning, the […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Chris Weafer: No End in Sight to the Ruble’s Downward Slide

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Writing in The Moscow Times, Chris Weafer considers trends in the Russian economy, with a focus on the ruble. … More than anything else the ruble is very much like the single bolt which holds a hang-glider together. If it breaks then the glider will fall to earth and the pilot very likely killed. * * * The reason why the ruble has that critical role is because, […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Russians Seek to Soften Impact of Ruble Depreciation. Businesses look for new ways to hedge against further currency volatility.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal covers Russian vulnerability to currency volatility. Under Russian President Vladimir Putin, currency volatility once seemed consigned to the past. Before Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year, the ruble had kept an average range of between 25 and 35 to the dollar for several years. Now the exchange rate hovers around 66 to the dollar. * * […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: “Russian Roulette. The regime has replaced institutions with one-man rule and treats criticism as treason. But it could get even worse.”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lucas reviews two books, Putinism by Walter Laqueur and Putin’s Russia edited by Leon Aron. Lucas assesses Putinism, unfolding under the extensive reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a negative light: Making sense of Putinism is rather like trying to analyze a Russian salad. Unappetizing cubes of meat and vegetables lurk in […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Ukraine bid to shut out Russia with border ‘wall’ falters.

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

AFP covers Ukraine’s unfolding efforts to fortify its border with Russia with defensive structures. … the ambitious project to seal up Ukraine’s porous 2,000-kilometre (1,200-mile) frontier with its ex-Soviet neighbour was announced in March 2014 after Moscow seized … Crimea …. … over a year later, only a small fraction of the $250-million (225-million-euro) project that Kiev hopes could help […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-Ukraine: Ukrainian shadow economy reaches 47% of GDP in Q1, 2015 – Economy Ministry.

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

Interfax-Ukraine covers a report indicating a rise in Ukraine’s “shadow economy,” corresponding an overall drop in Ukrainian economic output. … the shadow economy in Ukraine in the first quarter … 2015 increased … 5 percentage points compared to the corresponding period in 2014, to 47% of official GDP, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry has reported …. * * * […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post/Jim Hoagland: Vladimir Putin, failed spy

Putin Descending a Staircase

The Washington Post examines reports that Putin was actually not a successful KGB operative, but rather someone who used connections to boost his professional life with a move into politics.  Moreover, Putin reportedly has been said to have presented traits of recklessness out of step with a risk-averse KGB. They … traced a portrait of Putin as a failed spy […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: Kazan, a Russian Cultural Hub, Finds It’s Good at Sports

Kazan file photo

The New York Times covers Russian efforts to turn Kazan into a center for sporting events. A cultural hub for 1,000 years, the city has spent the decade since its 2005 millennium celebration reinventing itself as the cynosure of Russian sports. Since 2007, the city has hosted world and European competitions in field hockey, ice hockey, fencing, boxing, bandy and […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: As the Arctic Thaws, New Temptations

Arctic Map

The New York Times comments on Russia’s attempt to use the United Nations to expand Russian territory in the Arctic, accompanied by expanded Russian military activity in the region. As the Arctic rapidly thaws and surrenders access to its awesome wealth of energy and precious minerals, it is inevitable that nations in the far north will stake claims over huge […]

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NEWSWATCH London Times: Ukraine rebels ‘building dirty bomb’ with Russian scientists

Radioactivity Symbol

The Times reports on Ukrainian intelligence findings about Russia-bombed rebels working with Russian scientists to develop conventional bombs laced with radioactive material to maximize their impact. Rebels in Ukraine are working to develop a radioactive dirty bomb with the help of Russian nuclear scientists, according to a Ukrainian security service dossier obtained by The Times.   The report draws on hacked emails […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: The changing face of Russia’s emblematic matryoshka dolls

AFP reports on Russia’s evolving matryoshka nesting dolls. From cheery peasant girls in Tsarist times to Soviet-era cosmonauts to today’s Pussy Riots, the changing face of Russia’s matryoshka nesting dolls reflects the country’s tumultuous history. Click here for AFP: “The changing face of Russia’s emblematic matryoshka dolls”

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Georgia Dials Down Conflict With Russia. Shift comes as fighting in Ukraine draws the West and Moscow into a contest for spheres of influence.

Georgia Map

The Wall Street Journal covers Georgia’s shifting policies towards Russia Georgia has toned down its confrontational stance toward Moscow, even as Russia has supported separatists in Georgia and Ukraine. The two countries severed diplomatic relations after the 2008 war and still don’t have embassies. Joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is still Georgia’s declared ambition, [Zurab] Abashidze[, Georgia’s special representative […]

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NEWSWATCH Kyiv Post: Violence erupts after rival Kharkiv rallies

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

The Kviy Post covers political violence erupting in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Special forces were deployed along with police negotiators on Aug. 3 when a rally in Kharkiv erupted into violent clashes, with pro-Ukrainian activists driving supporters of the Opposition Bloc into a building in a scene frighteningly reminiscent of the May 2 Odesa massacre. Kharkiv has been […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Sarah Lain: Russia Faces Facts on China

Eurasia Map

Writing in The Moscow Times, Sarah Lain, of the Royal United Services Institute, examines evolving Sino-Russian relations. Russia … cannot, and will not try to, compete with China’s growing economic influence … Russia’s leading multilateral economic foreign policy project … the Eurasian Economic Union … has … suffered from a variety of tensions …. Chinese investment via the Silk Road Economic Belt … could help […]

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NEWSWATCH The Economist: Russia’s prisons. Putin v Punk Pussy. A brave, brassy singer highlights the plight of Russia’s other inmates.

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

The Economist magazine covers prisoners rights activism by Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova. At the last count there were 657,000 Russians behind bars, one of the world’s highest ratios of prisoners to population. … The frequency of deaths in custody amounts to a ‘Russian Ebola’. Tuberculosis is the commonest killer, she says, followed by HIV-AIDS, which may affect 75,000 prisoners. … … prisoners routinely […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Russia greater threat to US than IS terrorism – Breedlove

Philip Breedlove file photo

Ukraine Today covered remarks on threat assessment by both the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told PBS news that he agrees with the new US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who said Russia is a bigger threat to US state security […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: IMF: Ukraine economic picture ‘incredibly encouraging’

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

AFP reports on the IMF’s ongoing assessment of Ukrainian political and economic trends. Ukraine’s government is determined to undertake long-needed reforms, making the economic picture in the country very encouraging, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday. * * * ‘Ukraine has been an incredibly encouraging situation,’ she said  * * * Lagarde emphasized the gains that are being made, […]

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NEWSWATCH BBC: Russian debtors despair as boom turns to bust

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The BBC covers the Russian economic crisis and the plight of Russians who took on debt during boom times only to face misery and potential disaster now. Millions of Russians took out loans during the economic boom years, but now they face crippling debts and the law is not on their side …. * * * … the Russian United Credit Bureau […]

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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Living on Prussia’s ruins, Kaliningraders embrace Germanic past

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Christian Science Monitor covers some of the interplay in Kaliningrad between Germanic cultural history and more recent Russian control, amidst Russia’s tensions with the West over Ukraine. … a growing movement of mainly younger Kaliningraders – supported by local government – … are working to roll back the Soviet-imposed amnesia that convinced generations of people who grew up on this ancient territory […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-AVN: U.S. global missile shield continues to expand – consultant to RVSN commander

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

Interfax-AVN covers comments on U.S. missile defense by the Russian military. The circle of participants of the United States global missile shield is expanding, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a consultant to the Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), told a press conference …. ‘… At present, parts of the U.S. global missile defense system are deployed on the Danish island […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Controversial Russian politician named deputy in Ukraine (Maria Gaidar)

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

AFP reports on involvement in the Ukrainian political scene by Maria Gaidar, daughter of former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar.  She is nominated to work with former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. The nomination of a Russian politician to a top post in Odessa has caused a flurry of controversy in the tense political atmosphere of the violent Ukraine conflict. Maria Gaidar, daughter […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Eyeing Russia, US leads fresh military drills in Ukraine

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

AFP covers U.S.-Ukrainian relations and recent military drills near Ukraine’s border with Poland. Ukrainian and US troops launched fresh drills Monday near the war-torn country’s Polish border in a bid to show unity and resolve in the face of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin. The annual Rapid Trident exercises involve 1,800 soldiers from 18 countries and last for just under two […]

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Facebook/Ivan Katchanovski: Unreported Revelations from the Maidan Massacre Trial in Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Ivan Katchanovski – Facebook – July 22, 2015 – also appeared at facebook.com/ivan.katchanovski/posts/1064562830240269) [entire facebook post set to appear below … click “See More” to open up full post … loading might take longer for some users] [fb_embed_post href=”https://www.facebook.com/ivan.katchanovski/posts/1064562830240269″ width=”100%”/] [featured image is file photo, not directly related to timing of events described in article]

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NEWSWATCH CNN/Matthew Rojansky, Michael Kofman: Isolated Russia has little left to lose

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing for CNN.com, Matthew Rojansky and Michael Kofman address historic shifts in relations between Russia and the West, amidst Western reactions to the Russo-Ukrainian War, the downing of civilian airliner MH-17 and other developments. … MH17 was a turning point, after which many European leaders abandoned their previously held view that Russia could be successfully integrated into Western-led economic, political, or […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: In Bleak Ukraine City, a Duo’s Odd Experiments Win a Niche Online. In Luhansk, two men leverage YouTube fame to shed light on and report about the realities of life in Ukraine’s conflict-torn East

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

The New York Times covers online local coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War in eastern Ukraine. As Luhansk’s prospects looked ever bleaker, Mr. Pavlov and Mr. Kryukov emerged as quirky but candid guides to an unfamiliar war zone, an Internet voice for locals who drop their Russian g’s in homegrown accents and were stunned by the sudden outbreak of violence in […]

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NEWSWATCH The Independent (UK): Vladimir Putin wants to ‘eliminate Ukraine – I have no doubt’, claims Ukrainian PM

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

The Independent covers comments by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk about the Russo-Ukrainian War and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies towards Ukraine. The Prime Minister of Ukraine has claimed that Vladimir Putin is trying to ‘eliminate Ukraine’ as conflict continues between government troops and rebels.   Russia has persistently denied supporting separatist fighters … but Arseniy Yatsenyuk said there was irrefutable evidence of […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Poroshenko warns of imminent Russian invasion; Russia’s Donbas army consists of around 80,000 troops including 50,000 regular army soldiers

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

Ukraine Today reports on Ukrainian intelligence threat assessments regarding Russian or Russia-backed forces. … Poroshenko says military intelligence officials have confirmed … Russia could rapidly launch a fresh invasion … at any moment …. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has warned … Russia had completed … preperations to launch a massive new invasion in three different directions along the contact line … in the Donbas. … […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Ariel Cohen: How Russia Could Become a Food Superpower

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel Cohen addresses historical shifts in Russian agriculture, and what the future might hold. Russia could be a food superpower, given its vast soil and water resources. It still may become one, but the question is whether the food will be Western or Chinese. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian economy has […]

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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Amid Kremlin-NATO tensions, what mood in Russia’s European ‘spearhead’? The Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad is home to a major naval base that weighs heavily in both Russian and Western military thinking

Kaliningrad Map, adapted and cropped from army.mil image with credit to Jim Kistler, USAWC

The Christian Science Monitor reports on Russia’s Baltic enclave Kaliningrad in the midst of stepped-up Russian and NATO military activity. If the tensions between Russia and the West should escalate into full-fledged confrontation, it is this former Prussian town – home to a huge military base in the heart of NATO country – that is going to be right at […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times/Andrei Kozyrev: Russia’s Coming Regime Change

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Writing in The New York Times, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses the future of Russian governance in the face of multiple economic, political and international challenges. The firmness of the West in protecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and restoring its territorial integrity is a prerequisite not only to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive impulses, but also to engage […]

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NEWSWATCH The Times (UK): U.S. ready to switch off cash supply to Putin. The US proposals mark a dramatic escalation in financial sanctions against Moscow.

The London Times reports on U.S. efforts to bring greater financial pressure against the Putin regime over the conflict in Ukraine. The United States is ready to starve Russia of access to western credit if President Putin fails to meet demands for peace in Ukraine. The punitive measures against Mr Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs and their extensive business interests […]

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NEWSWATCH Kyiv Post: Soviet social guarantees for employees scare away investors, often backfire

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

The Kyiv Post and Olena Gordiienko comment on Ukrainian labor law and its impact on real world labor practices, business and investment. Ukrainian labor legislation is paternalistic and focuses excessively on employee rights, many lawyers and employers say … it also leads to unintended consequences.   Ukrainians earn less than any other nation in Europe, $180 per month on average. Unemployment rose from 7.3 […]

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NEWSWATCH Deseret News: This week in history: Napoleon invades Russia

Painting of Napoleon on Throne in Regal Attire with Scepter

Deseret News marks the anniversary of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia. On June 24, 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte made perhaps his greatest blunder by invading Russia. Though he recognized the dangers of invading such a huge country, political factors demanded that he move against Russia or risk losing French domination of Europe. * * * After the Battle of Borodino in […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: NATO Returns Its Attention to an Old Foe, Russia

NATO Meeting file photo

The New York Times covers NATO exercises and policies towards Russia. After years of facing threats far beyond its borders, NATO is now reinvigorating plans to confront a much larger and more aggressive threat from its past: Moscow. This seismic shift has been apparent in military training exercises in this former Soviet republic [Latvia], which is now a NATO member […]

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NEWSWATCH: NATO and Russia Are Playing a Risky Game

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing in The Moscow Times, NYU professor Mark Galeotti comments on recent military exercises by NATO and Russia. Both Russia and the West continue to stage all kind of major military exercises and demonstrations, even while both accuse the other of provocation and aggressive intent. Are the drums of war beating? No, they’re not — but we need to understand […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: At G-7 meeting, Obama’s primary task is confronting his Putin problem

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

[“At G-7 meeting, Obama’s primary task is confronting his Putin problem” – Washington Post –  Steven Mufson – June 6, 2015] The Washington Post covers U.S. policies towards Russia and Ukraine amidst the latest meeting of the G-7: The G-7 meeting is a symbolic moment. After the Cold War, the annual gathering of the leaders of the world’s major industrial nations […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: With eye on U.S. election, Republicans assail Russia’s Putin

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

[“With eye on U.S. election, Republicans assail Russia’s Putin” – Reuters – STEVE HOLLAND – June 8, 2015] Reuters covers U.S. policies on Russia and Ukraine, and reactions by Republican presidential hopefuls. Something about Vladimir Putin makes Republicans in the U.S. presidential race see red.   The Russian president has emerged as a symbol for what they view as President Barack […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Defense Chief: Subversion, ‘Big Lie’ Are in Russia’s Arsenal. Ash Carter favors more military exercises, better intelligence sharing

Ashton Carter File Photo

[Wall Street Journal – Defense Chief: Subversion, ‘Big Lie’ Are in Russia’s Arsenal. Ash Carter favors more military exercises, better intelligence sharing – GORDON LUBOLD – June 6, 2015] The Wall Street Journal covers remarks by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter after a European trip to discuss Russia and the crisis in Ukraine. Mr. Carter made clear at the end of an […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: The Putin Recession; Russia’s economy keeps shrinking, but the West won’t take advantage

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal editors address Russia’s economic crisis and the West’s apparent unwillingness to step up economic pressure. The Russian recession is expected to continue unfolding. An oddity of recent weeks has been the attempt to argue that Russia’s economy isn’t as awful as it looks. Then along comes Friday’s report that GDP fell 1.9% year-on-year in the first […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: Russian Court Quashes Latest Bid to Jail Kremlin Critic Navalny.

Alexei Navalny file photo

Reuters covers the latest attempt to jail Russian lawyer, whistleblower and opposition figure Alexei Navalny. A Moscow court on Wednesday rejected a bid by law enforcement officials to have Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny jailed for violating the terms of his suspended five-year sentence on embezzlement charges. Navalny, who led mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in 2011-2012, denies any […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: EU’s top diplomat says destabilized Russia in nobody’s interest

EU Map

Reuters covers the views of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission. A destabilized and isolated Russia is in nobody’s interests, and sanctions are only being kept in place because a truce agreement in the conflict in Ukraine is not being fully implemented, the European Union’s foreign policy […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: A Parade Hailing Russia’s WWII Dead and Marching Further From the West

File Photo of Parade in Red Square from 2005

The New York Times covers Russia’s celebration of Victory Day amidst current international tensions. … Putin has recast what he calls the country’s most important holiday to celebrate the might of the Russian state, the days are over when … Western leaders joined Mr. Putin on the bleachers …. The nationalistic fervor surrounding the parade and the tensions over Ukraine mean that the […]

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NEWSWATCH: Rep. Ed Royce/Wall Street Journal: Countering Putin’s Information Weapons of War

Ed Royce file photo

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, addresses what he characterizes as a Russian information war, featuring anti-American propaganda and conspiracy theories. Of concern to Royce is that U.S. international broadcasting services that played a stronger role during the Cold War have “withered,” such that Russian propaganda will flourish unless the U.S. services […]

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NEWSWATCH Chatham House: Ukraine’s Oligarch Gambit

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Writing for Chatham House in the aftermath of Igor Kolomoisky’s dismissal as regional governor, Orysia Lutsevych considers the impact of Ukrainian oligarchs and efforts to address their role. The grip the oligarchs have on Ukraine’s economy could further undermine the country’s integrity. Attacking their vested interests is dangerous but preserving the current state of affairs is even riskier.   According to […]

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