A sheltered existence: Life in Russia’s closed cities

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

Dating back to the Soviet era, closed cities, where important strategic facilities were hidden and secured, continue to exist in today’s Russia. These cities cannot be entered without a special pass, but tourists occasionally manage to make it inside. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 2, 2016) In the late 1940s, a […]

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Atomic energy and political power in Russia

Nuclear Plant File Photo

In Russia, the space for environmental activism and advocacy is changing under increasing state pressure. An interview with one of Russia’s leading ecological organisations about the prospects for anti-nuclear activism today. (opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA, VLADIMIR SLIVYAK, NAILYA IBRAGIMOVA – April 25, 2016) In the coming days, much of the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia is […]

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Three-quarters of Russians believe modern NPPs safe

Russian Nuclear Plant

(Interfax – April 26, 2016) The attitude of Russians to the atomic energy industry has drastically changed over the past quarter of a century: 56 percent opposed its development (14 percent voiced their support) in 1990, and now atomic energy is welcomed by 58 percent (and opposed by 28 percent), the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) has said. Seventy-three […]

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Why Ukraine is at risk of forgetting the lessons of Chernobyl

Chernobyl File Photo

Thirty years after the explosion at the nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, one Russian expert argues that, by using American fuel in Soviet-built reactors and pushing the power-producing capabilities of its nuclear plants, Ukraine is putting itself at potential risk of another disaster. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANDREI RETINGER, SPECIAL TO RBTH – […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Russia might be the first casualty if nuclear terrorism becomes reality. RD Interview: Alexey Arbatov, the head of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program, discusses nuclear security challenges and the risk of terrorist groups getting access to nuclear weapons.”

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Putin: Obama ‘Personally’ Invited Russian President to Nuclear Summit

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 8, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S. President Barack Obama had “personally” invited him to attend the nuclear summit held in Washington last week, but he declined over insufficient prominence offered to Russia at the event, and Moscow’s complaints about implementation of a disarmament deal. “Yes, I was invited, and […]

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Nuclear cooperation still key for Russia, despite boycott of U.S. summit

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Despite refusing to attend the final Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., Moscow remains committed to nuclear nonproliferation and securing radioactive waste. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 30, 2016) Russia will not be in attendance at the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit, taking place March 31-April 1 in Washington, D.C. […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Risk of nuclear war in Europe growing, warns Russian ex-minister [Igor Ivanov]”

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

The East-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis has brought the threat of nuclear war in Europe closer than at any time since the 1980s…. said Igor Ivanov, Russia’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2004 and now head of a Moscow-based think-tank founded by the Russian government. … Russia and the United States have cut their nuclear arsenals [but] the pace […]

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Hawks See Obama’s NATO Pick as Soft on Russia

File Photo of Rose Gottemoeller Gesturing, Sitting Behind Placard Reading United States of America

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 11, 2016) At a crucial moment in the U.S. relationship with Europe, President Barack Obama has chosen a No. 2 for NATO whom some Republican lawmakers see as the face of a wrongheaded approach to Russia. On Tuesday, the Obama administration informed NATO allies that it will recommend the undersecretary of state […]

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NEWSLINK: “Europe’s Extremists Are Not Putin’s Fault. Europeans should look to Brussels – not Moscow – for the source of their extremism problem” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Scott Radnitz

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Time magazine

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 15, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev has given an interview to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster following the Munich Security Conference. Question: Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview with Time magazine. I would also like to thank you for your remarks today at the conference. This was a very interesting and eloquent speech. You made a […]

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How realistic is BBC film about Russia-NATO nuclear war?

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

In a recent British pseudo-documentary film, a confrontation between NATO and Russia because of a pro-Russian uprising in Latvia leads to a nuclear war. Russian experts interviewed by RBTH are skeptical about the premise of the film: In their opinion, such uprisings are impossible in the Baltic countries and Russia would never engage in a direct armed conflict with NATO. […]

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Why Russia is steaming back into the Pacific

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

Russia’s power projection in the Pacific is in sync with its growing assertiveness globally, but it doesn’t necessarily threaten the U.S. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – February 4, 2016) Russia is expanding its military presence in the Pacific in a manner not seen since the Cold War. From California to Guam […]

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Rose Gottemoeller: Washington, Moscow could settle INF problem in 2016

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

(Interfax – February 5, 2016) U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security State Rose Gottemoeller has given an interview to Interfax in which she speaks about U.S.-Russian issues over the INF Treaty and states that the United States is not going to return to the IV stage of its missile shield in Europe and not going […]

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NEWSWATCH: “EU, Russia may nuke asteroids. Blowing up comets and asteroids with nuclear bombs is just one way to save the planet from an Armageddon-style impact, say scientists.” – The Daily Telegraph (UK)

File Image of Earth Orbit and Asteroids

The Daily Telegraph covers the prospect of the EU and Russia launching nuclear missiles against asteroids or comets that threaten the earth. The European Commission funded Russian scientists to develop plans to save the world from rogue asteroids by blowing them up with nuclear weapons.  … Russia’s top space research institute teamed up with missile and rocket engineers to look […]

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Russia to take no part in Nuclear Security Summit in Washington – Foreign Ministry

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MOSCOW. Jan 13 (Interfax) – Nuclear Security Summits “have played their role” and their political agenda has been exhausted; Russia has stopped preparing for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. “Our country has taken part in three Nuclear Security Summits, those held in Washington (2010), Seoul (2012) and the Hague (2014). […]

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Interfax: West unfoundedly accuses Russia of INF breach to deflect similar accusations against itself – Naryshkin

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) – The West, including the United States, is breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and is accusing Russia of doing so in order to deflect accusations against itself, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has said. “Political speculations aimed at deflecting lawful accusations and at misleading the global public on the subject of Russia have become […]

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Russia, U.S. slow down pace of strategic weapons reduction under START Treaty

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Interfax – October 7, 2015) The United States and Russia shared the data on the condition of strategic offensive weapons according to the 2010 START Treaty, ex-chief of the General Staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Col. Viktor Yesin told Interfax-AVN on Oct. 7. “The information published by the U.S. State Department, it’s a pity that it was not […]

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Interfax: Moscow concerned by plans to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany

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(Interfax – September 22, 2015) Moscow is troubled by plans to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said. “Such plans on the part of the U.S. cause our concern,” Zakharova said in an interview with Germany’s ZDF television station. The text of the interview was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on […]

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Impasse Over U.S.-Russia Nuclear Treaty Hardens As Washington Threatens ‘Countermeasures’

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – WASHINGTON, September 16, 2015) Russia risks provoking “military and economic countermeasures” if it continues to stonewall over a U.S. accusation that it violated a bedrock of nuclear arms control, the United States’ lead arms-control negotiator says. The comments by Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, highlight the seriousness […]

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Celeste A. Wallander: “U.S. Policy on Russia”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House June 26, 2015 Remarks by Celeste Wallander, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia on U.S. Policy on Russia U.S. Policy on Russia CNAS Annual Conference June 26 2015 Celeste A. Wallander Special Assistant to the President And Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia National Security Council I am especially […]

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Simon Saradzhyan: Response to to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy (JRL#152. August 7)

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Subject: Response to to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy (JRL#152. August 7) Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:14:07 +0000 From: Simon Saradzhyan <Simon_Saradzhyan@hks.harvard.edu> Simon Saradzhyan’s Response to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy in Foreign Affairs. [Simon Saradzhyan is assistant director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism and a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer […]

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Fifteen Years on, Russians Less Inclined to Cast Blame for Kursk Submarine Tragedy

Kursk Submarine File Photo, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 12, 2015) Fifteen years after one of the worst disasters in Russian naval history – the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in which all 118 crew members died – the number of Russians who blame the authorities for not doing enough to rescue the sailors has dropped. […]

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Moscow Mulling ‘Nuclear Provocation’ Against Ukraine, Kyiv Analyst Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 4, 2015) To overcome the stalemate on the ground and to get itself out of the diplomatic corner it has painted itself into by vetoing the UN Security Council resolution on the Malaysian airliner tribunal, Moscow appears to be planning an act of “nuclear provocation” against Ukraine so as to turn […]

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Russia, U.S. Bicker Over Missile Defense Shield After Iran Agreement

Mssile Defense Control Room

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 11, 2015) With an international resolution on Iran’s nuclear program in the bag, Russia is pushing the U.S. to honor an alleged 2009 promise by President Barack Obama to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe to shield against Iranian missiles. “President Obama in 2009 publicly said that […]

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Toward a ”Reaganov” Russia: Russian Security Policy after Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Clifford Gaddy and Michael O’Hanlon – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/toward-%E2%80%98%E2%80%98reaganov%E2%80%99%E2%80%99-russia-russian-security-policy-after-putin] Clifford Gaddy is Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution. An economist specializing in Russia, Gaddy is the co-author of “Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernization” (Routledge, 2013). His earlier books include “Russia’s Virtual […]

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

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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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RIA Novosti: East Ukraine separatist spokesman denies reported plans to create “dirty bomb”

Radioactivity Symbol

(RIA Novosti – August 1, 2015) Documents provided by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which have been mentioned by the foreign mass media and which allegedly contain information about development of a “dirty nuclear bomb” by members of the militia, are Kiev’s “yet another lie” and attempt to discredit the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), RIA Novosti (part of […]

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Interfax: Russia’s ambassador to London explains why Russia-NATO conflict over Ukraine is impossible

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Interfax – July 29, 2015) Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko rules out the possibility of a military conflict between Russia and NATO over the Ukraine crisis. An open letter of Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko was posted on July 29 on the website of the Russian Embassy. “There are, indeed, attempts to frighten the […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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Russia’s Satellite Nuclear Warning System Down Until November

Space in Low Earth Orbit with Partial Sun

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 1, 2015) Russia has delayed the launch of a new military satellite system by four months, news agency TASS reported Wednesday, leaving Moscow nearly blind in the event of a nuclear missile attack till at least November. Russia’s decaying constellation of Soviet-designed early warning satellites was left nearly blind last year, when one of […]

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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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DOD TRANSCRIPT: Media Availability with Secretary Carter En Route to Berlin, Germany

Ashton Carter File Photo

(US Department of Defense – June 21, 2015) Presenter: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASHTON CARTER: So the purpose of this trip, the focus of it, this particular trip to Europe, is NATO. And as to take it from the top again, we’ll be going now to Germany, and talking about — to the German defense minister […]

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NEWSLINK International New York Times/Fiona Hill, Steven Pifer: Putin’s Risky Game of Chicken

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

Russian SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in international waters in the Black Sea late in May, just days after the Royal Air Force scrambled to intercept nuclear-capable Bear bombers near British airspace. These dangerous Russian games of chicken are now regular occurrences and come hard upon a Russian threat in March to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships […]

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Moscow demands answers from USA on alleged plans to place missiles in Europe

Anatoly Antonov and Others Facing U.S. Official with U.S. and Russian Flags on Table

(Interfax – June 9, 2015) Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has demanded an explanation from the USA regarding alleged plans to deploy ballistic and cruise missiles in Europe, which he has said would mean a US “exit” from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, privately-owned Russian military news agency Interfax-AVN reported on 9 June. “The measures the American sources […]

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