Putin vs. Erdogan – This Time It’s Personal

Turkey map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2016) On Feb. 2, Turkish President Recep Erdogan urgently sought an audience with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Turkish ambassador in Moscow relayed the message, but has, it seems, yet to receive a response. It was the second time Erdogan has been rebuffed by Putin following Turkey’s downing of […]

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Putin Using Specter of Russia’s Disintegration to Avoid Reform, Rogov Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin is talking about the disintegration of the Soviet Union in order to promote among Russians that their country is at risk of the same fate, an idea that as it gains currency will drive off the political agenda all other issues, including the failures of the current […]

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U.S. Senator Predicts Revelations Of Putin’s Wealth Will Destabilize His Rule

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – February 1, 2016) A senior U.S. lawmaker says revelations about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth will be “destabilizing” to his rule as the Russian population becomes increasingly aware of them. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Voice Of America on February 1 that the Russian people “are beginning […]

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Why Germans Supported Hitler to the End and Why Russians May Do the Same with Putin

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 3, 2016) In a recent book review essay in the New York Review of Books, military historian Max Hastings cites a passage from Nicholas Stargardt’s “The German War” (Basic Books, 2015) to explain why Germans continued to “close ranks around Hitler” even after it became obvious that their country was going […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with the core group of the Leaders Club

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the core group of the Leaders Club, an informal association of small and medium business owners from various economic sectors. The Leaders Club was established in February 2012 and is engaged primarily in having businesspeople provide independent evaluations of conditions for doing business in Russia’s regions and the quality of state […]

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Putin Opens Asset Sales to Foreigners as Budget Gap Widens

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Andrey Biryukov – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin will allow foreign investors to bid for stakes in some of Russia’s largest companies as the government prepares its most ambitious asset-sale program in years to close a widening budget gap. “Russia was and remains open for foreign investment and Russia is interested in […]

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Virtual Stalinism

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 2, 2016) Russian officials seem to have developed an execution fetish of late. One example, of course, is the disturbing video Ramzan Kadyrov posted on Instagram showing opposition figures Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle. Another is the bizarre series of animated clips Vladimir Putin’s All-Russian […]

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Kremlin: Privatization of Russian companies open for foreign investors

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – February 2, 2016) Privatization of Russian companies is open for foreign investors, and Russia is interested in attracting new foreign partners, the Kremlin has said. “Russia has always been interested in foreign investors; we value cooperation with those who continue to operate on the Russian market and we are interested in an inflow of fresh investments,” Kremlin press […]

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Just How Bad is Putin? Ever More People Are Counting the Ways

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 31, 2016) As the number of Vladimir Putin’s violations of international law and normal morality grows, ever more people are offering lists of the actions for which he must be held accountable. Three particularly interesting examples of that trend have been offered over the last several days. Russian journalist Oleg Kashin […]

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Half of Russians don’t trust conclusions made by British in Litvinenko case

Radioactivity Symbol

(Interfax – January 31, 2016) Over half of Russians (53%) believe the London court had no real grounds to accuse Russian officials of involvement in the death of former Federal Security Service official Alexander Litvinenko, Levada Center has reported. The poll, which surveys 1,600 respondents, was conducted in 137 populated areas of 48 regions of Russia on Jan. 22-25. The […]

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Has the crisis driven back corruption in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The British television channel BBC One has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal fortune totals $40 billion. At the same time, Putin himself has ordered officials to act “tough” in returning everything stolen and taken out of Russia. Could the economic crisis lead to a reduction in corruption in the country? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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Ever more Russians are at risk of repression as Putin’s Russia heads toward totalitarianism

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – January 27, 2016) There is an old observation that in a democracy, anything that isn’t prohibited is permitted; in an authoritarian system, anything that isn’t permitted is prohibited; and in a totalitarian one, anything that is permitted is compulsory and any failure to go along can result in arrest or worse. Judging from […]

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Fukuyama: ‘Putinism,’ Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy

Putin Descending a Staircase

(RFE/RL – January 29, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and the extremist Islamic State group are sworn enemies that might seem to have little in common. But both are engaged in efforts at state building that U.S. political scientist Francis Fukuyama says share two qualities: each seeks to create a political alternative to a modern liberal democracy, and each is […]

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The Upside of a Down Ruble

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 29, 2016) President Vladimir Putin chose an unfortunate time to trumpet the “additional opportunities” for Russian companies arising from a weaker ruble. As he spoke to delegates at a business forum on Jan. 20, the Russian currency was gyrating wildly. The next day it plummeted to its lowest level in recent […]

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Russia’s Great Shift Downward; Putin has shown little interest in changing the economic model.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – January 28, 2016) For Russia’s battered economy, 2016 already looks miserable. The ruble has slumped to record lows as oil prices have fallen 11 percent since Jan. 1, to around $30 a barrel. The government, which gets nearly half its revenue from oil and gas, is scrambling to plug a 1.5 trillion-ruble ($19.2 […]

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Interfax: Putin has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2018 – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has not decided yet whether he will run for president in 2018, his press officer Dmitry Peskov said. The question as to whether Putin will nominate his candidacy in the upcoming elections arose in connection with the statements about the Russian president made by a White House official, who accused the […]

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Fewer Russians Think Country Is on the Right Track – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 27, 2016) The number of Russians who think their country is on the right track has shrunk to 45 percent of the population – the lowest in more than a year – and President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings have dipped for the first time in many months, a poll released Wednesday by the independent […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Flu Virus Microscopic Image (adpated from image at CDC.gov)

(Kremlin.ru -January 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on support measures for various sectors and other current issues. The meeting began with a report, at the President’s request, from Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova on the epidemiological situation in Russia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today, we will discuss support measures for several economic […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Popular Front’s (ONF) interregional forum

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Kremlin.ru – January 25, 2016) (transcript continued) Vladimir Putin took part in a plenary session of the Russian Popular Front public movement’s interregional forum. Vladimir Putin: With regard to inflation: we must watch carefully to ensure people’s living standards stay at a high enough level, because in modern conditions, in today’s economic conditions, this is probably the most important thing […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Kremlin.ru – January 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev to discuss current economic situation. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ulyukayev, we are summing up last year’s results. Though it may yet be early to speak of final results, the numbers at the disposal of your Ministry are very close to […]

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Interfax: Putin says he likes Communist ideas echoing Bible’s

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

(Interfax – January 26, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he still likes the ideas of Communism and that he has not ditched his party member ID card. “You know, just like millions of Soviet citizens – 20-odd million people – I was a member of the USSR Communist Party, and not just a Communist Party member, but […]

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Putin, Trapped Between War and Revolution, Will Choose War, Ikhlov Says

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 2, 2016) There are two possibilities in Russia today: either Vladimir Putin is in control of events or he is their prisoner, trapped between war and revolution. As bad as the first would be, the way the world has gone to war in the past suggests the second may be even […]

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NEWSLINK: “How a liberal bastion is persevering in an increasingly illiberal Moscow. The Andrei Sakharov Center, one of the last safe spaces for Russia’s liberal community, has been fined and fined again for its purported ‘political activity.’ But celebrity support and crowdsourcing have kept it alive.” – Christian Science Monitor

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Popular Front’s (ONF) interregional forum

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Kremlin.ru – Stavropol – January 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a plenary session of the Russian Popular Front public movement’s interregional forum. The Russian Popular Front’s first interregional forum addressed specific issues the regions face in their work to implement presidential executive orders of May 2012 and instructions issued following ONF meetings. More than 600 people took part […]

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U.S. Official Says Putin Is Secretly Wealthy, Corrupt

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 26, 2016) The BBC is reporting that the United States has long considered Russian President Vladimir Putin to be secretly wealthy, corrupt, and focused on enriching his friends and allies. Adam Szubin, the U.S. Treasury’s acting secretary for terrorism and financial crimes, said in an interview with BBC Panorama that the Russian president had been […]

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Antony Penaud: Reflections on the Litvinenko case

file photo

Subject: Reflections on the Litvinenko case Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2000. His essays on Russia and Ukraine are on www/scribd.com/antonykharms. He is French and lives in London. I returned last Thursday from a holiday in Moscow, and on the Gatwick train I picked up […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Kremlin.ru – January 22, 2016) The Russian Academy of Sciences’ achievements in 2015 and priority areas of work were the main subjects of discussion. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Fortov, I propose that we look at the results of the Academy’s work. How did the work process go, and what are your priorities? President of the Russian Academy of […]

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Fear Once Again Dominating Russian Society, Gudkov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 24, 2016) For first time since the late 1980s, fear has come to dominate the lives of Russians, although many are unwilling to acknowledge this directly preferring instead to say that they are not afraid but that others are, a typical case of projection of their own situation, according to Lev […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Oil: Output Grows as Prospects Shrink. Plummeting prices and U.S.-led sanctions raise questions about Russian oil’s capacity to continue underwriting Putin’s global ambitions.” – Wall Street Journal

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NEWSLINK The Independent (UK): “Alexander Litvinenko accused Vladimir Putin of being a paedophile four months before he was poisoned”

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VIDEO: What the Litvinenko assassination accusation means for the Kremlin

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PBS interviews former Ambassador Mike McFaul and Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times about a British investigative report into the assassination of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, including implications for the Russian government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Video below; click here for original post and transcript. MICHAEL MCFAUL…: … it’s very important, even if nothing more comes […]

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Khodorkovsky to Support Russian Opposition Candidates

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 22, 2016) Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia foundation will support opposition candidates at Russia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. Open Russia will aid candidates via its new Open Elections project, introduced last summer, according to Khodorkovsky’s website. “We will provide the resources. There aren’t any people who know to attract […]

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Interfax: Putin entitled to personal opinion about Lenin – spokesman

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – January 21, 2016) The Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said Putin is entitled to have a personal opinion about Russian Revolution leader Vladimir Lenin, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 21 January. Peskov was commenting on a statement made by President Putin, who compared Lenin to a nuclear bomb which had destroyed historical Russia. “The […]

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NEWSLINK: “So Putin Killed Litvinenko. Carry On. Britain has been cozying up to Russian money for years, and a dead spy isn’t going to change that.” – Foreign Policy magazine/Peter Pomersantsev

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