Russia, America, it’s time to talk face-to-face

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

During the late 1980s, superpower leaders demagnitised international confrontation by speaking directly to the other side. Why shouldn’t we do this again? (opendemocracy.net – Vasily Gatov – July 18, 2016) Vasily Gatov is visiting fellow at the Center of Communication Leadership and Policy at USC Annenberg, and is a Russian media researcher and author based in Boston. He has more […]

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RBTH: Moscow and Washington consider expanding cooperation in Syria

Syria Map

U.S. President Barack Obama made an offer to Russia to begin joint combat operations against the Al-Nusra Front militants. Some Russian experts believe that this overture has been made in order to strengthen the Democrat Party’s position in the presidential election race. Yet this step also could have positive implications for Moscow. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Former U.S. diplomat criticizes Canada’s ‘weakness’ on Russia” [Michael McFaul] – The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

… Obama’s former ambassador to Russia says Canada is showing a ‘sign of weakness’ by not pushing ahead with a promised U.S.-style Magnitsky Act that would punish Russians deemed to be human-rights violators with visa bans and asset freezes. … McFaul, who served as the U.S. envoy to Moscow from 2012 to 2014 and before that was … Obama’s special […]

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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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TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT: Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony [excerpt re: Putin]

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(White House – March 28, 2016) The White House Office of the Press Secretary March 28, 2016 Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony. (excerpt re Putin) THE PRESIDENT: I’ll tell you — I probably maybe shouldn’t do this, but what the heck, I’m in my last year. (Laughter.) I had an in-depth conversation with President Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How Putin Could Make Russia Great Again” – Newsweek.com/William Courtney, Donald Jensen

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

After Russia annexed Crimea … Obama dismissed it as a regional power that acts ‘out of weakness.’ [ ] Russia is more … but a penchant for zero-sum statecraft and coercing neighbors lessens its stature. By cooperating more in the international arena, Russia could become a greater power.  … Putin’s announcement of a military drawdown in Syria hints that Russia […]

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Obama: ‘Putin is Not Completely Stupid’

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 11, 2016) Vladimir Putin wants to be seen as the peer of U.S. leaders and remains businesslike during top-level meetings, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview published in the April issue of U.S. magazine The Atlantic. Despite the Kremlin’s official rhetoric, Obama said Putin “understands that Russia’s overall position […]

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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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Obama: Ukraine ‘Vulnerable’ To Russian ‘Military Domination’ No Matter What U.S. Does

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 10, 2016) U.S. President Barack Obama said that Ukraine “is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what” the United States does. In one of a series of interviews published on March 10 that formed the basis of an article in The Atlantic magazine, Obama said that Ukraine was clearly a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s address following adoption of a joint statement by Russia and US on Syria

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Kremlin.ru – February 22, 2016) The President made a special address following the adoption of a joint statement by the Russian Federation and the United States of America, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), on the cessation of hostilities in Syria. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, I just had a telephone conversation with President of the […]

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RBTH: U.S. to spend $4.3 billion on ‘countering Russian aggression’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House has announced that a special sum allocated to fighting Russian influence in Europe and the former Soviet space will be included in the country’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA KARPOVA, RBTH – February 11, 2016) The U.S. fiscal year 2017 budget will include $4.3 billion allocated “for political, […]

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Putin’s Crude and Desperate Propaganda

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

From: John Evans <EvansinAmerica@aol.com> Date: January 5, 2016 To: letters@washpost.com Subject: Putin’s Crude and Desperate Propaganda To the Editor: With all due respect to Paula Dobriansky and David Rivkin, and with prior apologies for engaging in “Whataboutism,” I question the authors’ one-sided excoriation of Russian media and officials (Op-Ed, Jan. 5) for some racist and decidedly off-color remarks and representations, […]

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After Minsk, Another Munich has Now Taken Place in Moscow, Illarionov Says

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 17, 2015) Russian commentators across the political spectrum, from the most liberal to the most nationalistic, agree that Vladimir Putin achieved a significant victory for his policies in Syria and Ukraine in the course and as a result of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Moscow. One Moscow analyst […]

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NEWSWATCH International New York Times/Maxim Trudolyubov: “Putin’s Emergency Politics”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Writing in The International New York Times, Maxim Trudolyubov comments upon Russia’s relationship with Europe and the United States, and policies towards Syria and Ukraine, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in France. Much has changed for Vladimir Putin since the terror attacks in Paris. The trope that aggressions in Crimea and Ukraine show that he is more of a […]

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Putin Goes From G-20 Pariah to Player at Obama Turkey Talk

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – November 15, 2015) The sidelines of summits are full of talks between leaders, their ministers and aides, but the huddle between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 in Turkey Sunday was heavy with significance. The meeting on Syria lasting more than 30 minutes was the first since the Russian […]

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G20 summit in Turkey: What were the 4 major events for Russia?

Turkey map

Following the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey on Nov. 15-16, RBTH presents an overview of the four most interesting events and statements concerning Russia made at the meeting of world leaders. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – November 17, 2015) 1. Unplanned meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents Russian President Vladimir Putin and his […]

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Putin informed Obama of plans to strike ISIL in Syria at meeting in New York – Lavrov

Syria Map

MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin informed U.S. President Barack Obama of plans to strike Islamic State targets in Syria during their recent meeting on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly session in New York, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday. “When we were ready, after the Federation Council’s decision, to start striking ISIL […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest/Zalmay Khalilzad: “Face-to-Face: Obama Meets Putin. ‘The likelihood of negotiating settlements in Ukraine and Syria could be increased if President Obama uses the meeting with Putin to underscore a reality to Putin: Russia is exposed.'”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

[featured image is file photo]

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Putin looking limber for his UN Syria leap

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – September 25, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a UN general assembly to be held in New York on September 28, their first meeting since 2013. The White House said Russian sanctions will be high on the […]

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U.S. Told Ukraine to Stand Down as Putin Invaded

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin, Eli Lake – August 21, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces took over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in early 2014, the interim Ukrainian government was debating whether or not to fight back against the “little green men” Russia had deployed. But the message from the Barack Obama administration was clear: avoid military confrontation with […]

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Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Kathryn Stoner and Michael McFaul – Summer 2015) [Article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/who-lost-russia-time-vladimir-putin] Kathryn Stoner is Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Director of the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies, Stanford University. Prior to coming to Stanford in 2004, she was on the faculty at Princeton University […]

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McFaul: Russian Enmity Toward U.S. Fueled by Own Weakness

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(RFE/RL – August 5, 2015) Russia, and the Kremlin in particular, has an unhealthy and misguided obsession with U.S. power and intentions, and this means badly strained relations between Washington and Moscow won’t improve anytime soon, former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul told RFE/RL in an interview. McFaul, who was a chief architect of President Barack Obama’s first-term “reset” with Russia […]

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RBTH: Can Moscow bet on ‘Trump card’ in U.S.?; Obama takes Africa for a tango; Kyrgyzstan casts its lot in with Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev, special to RBTH – July 30, 2015) RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs 1. Engaging the West U.S. presidential race: Can Moscow bet on ‘Trump card’? The meteoric rise of eccentric billionaire Donald […]

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Ukrainians Suspect Obama-Putin Cooperation

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 20, 2015) It’s rare that official representatives of the U.S. visit foreign parliaments to persuade lawmakers to vote a certain way on some piece of legislation. Yet last week, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland traveled to Kiev and did just that, as the Ukrainian parliament prepared to vote on amendments to […]

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Putin’s Peace Offensive on Ukraine Means Situation is ‘Really Dangerous,’ Piontkovsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 29, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “peace offensive,” marked by his call to US President Barack Obama, means that the situation is becoming “really dangerous,” Andrey Piontkovsky says, because the Kremlin leader has not changed his goal of destroying Ukraine as a state but only the means he is prepared to use to […]

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RUSSIA AND AMERICA: A FALSE START TOWARD A NEW DÉTENTE (response to Leslie Gelb)

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Subject: RUSSIA AND AMERICA: A FALSE START TOWARD A NEW DÉTENTE (response to Leslie Gelb) Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:55:45 +0000 (UTC) From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> RUSSIA AND AMERICA: A FALSE START TOWARD A NEW DÉTENTE By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett is a former Foreign Service Officer who served in both Moscow and Kyiv. The opinions in this article […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Defying Obama, Many in Congress Press to Arm Ukraine

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

With the peace process stalled and violence escalating in Ukraine, a bipartisan coalition in Congress is defying President Obama and European allies by pressing the administration to provide weapons to the embattled nation http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/world/europe/defying-obama-many-in-congress-press-to-arm-ukraine.html

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TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by President Obama in Press Conference after G7 Summit (excerpts)

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

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – Elmau Briefing Center, Krün, Germany, June 8, 2015) PRESIDENT OBAMA: With respect to security, the G7 remains strongly united in support for Ukraine. We’ll continue to provide economic support and technical assistance that Ukraine needs as it moves ahead on critical reforms to transform its economy and strengthen its democracy. […]

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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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Tefft Says Obama Would Be ‘Happy’ to Get Involved in Ukraine Peace Talks

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 22, 2015) Moscow would welcome the involvement of any country that could pressure Kiev into observing a cease-fire with separatists, the Kremlin said, after the U.S. ambassador to Russia suggested President Barack Obama would readily participate in the Ukrainian peace talks if he were invited. Ambassador John Tefft said U.S. officials […]

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