Half of Russians Now Blame Putin for Russia’s Problems — But Most Support Him Anyway

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 11, 2017) Forty-nine percent of Russians say that Vladimir Putin is responsible for the problems Russia faces, up by nine percent over the last year, a Levada Center poll finds (politsovet.ru/57449-polovina-rossiyan-schitaet-putina-prichinoy-problem-v-strane.html https://www.levada.ru/2017/12/11/17232/). Slightly fewer – 45 percent – blame the government, and fewer still blame Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an indication […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “How Putin’s emotional reactions drive Russian strategy” – PBS Newshour

Putin at Desk

(PBS Newshour –  December 13, 2017) “What motivates President Vladimir Putin, the man accused of ordering Russian interference in the 2016 American election? Special correspondent Nick Schifrin talks with Julia Ioffe, who has written a new cover story for The Atlantic about what he really wants. …” [Click here for transcript and original posting of video: pbs.org/newshour/show/how-putins-emotional-reactions-drive-russian-strategy] 

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NEWSLINK: “Putinomics Loses Its Power in Russia” – Bloomberg/ Anna Andrianova, Evgenia Pismennaya

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s traditionally boom-and-bust economy risks something it hasn’t yet endured during President Vladimir Putin’s rule — stagnation. The economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter is stalling without enough investment after draining Putin’s old growth model, based on channeling income from sales of oil and gas into domestic demand and riding a consumption boom that followed. After almost two decades […]

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A Question Of War: Ukrainian Journalist Gears Up (Again) For Putin’s Big Presser

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, December 13, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-annual-press-conference-ukrainian-journalist-war-questions/28914154.html) In a sea of more than a thousand journalists jostling for attention, Roman Tsymbalyuk will be holding a black-and-white “Ukraine” placard. His aim is to catch Vladimir Putin’s eye during the Russian president’s marathon annual press conference on […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin visited Khmeimim Air Base in Syria” – KremlinRu

Syria Map

(Kremlin.ru – December 11, 2017) At the air base, Vladimir Putin was met by President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad, Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu and Commander of the Russian military group Sergei Surovikin. The Commander-in-Chief ordered the withdrawal of the Russian military group from Syria back to their permanent bases. Vladimir Putin thanked the Russian service […]

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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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Putin Grants Alekseyeva State Award For Human Rights

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 11, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-putin-alekseyeva-state-award-human-rights/28909427.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin has bestowed a state award on Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a veteran human rights activist and vocal critic of his actions over 18 years in power. Putin’s decree, published on December 11, granted Alekseyeva a “state award for outstanding achievements […]

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NEWSLINK: “Reactions To Putin’s Announcement That He Is Running For A Fourth Term” – Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“On December 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his 2018 presidential bid …. The Russian news agency Tass explained that Putin did not yet disclose whether he would run as the United Russia party nominee or as an independent self-nominated candidate. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era; The president has made Russia a geopolitical disruptor without a coherent domestic policy. That’s not sustainable” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

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

“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he would run for a fourth term as president was long predicted, though it seemed to some Russian observers (incorrectly) that he waited unusually long to make it. Less predictable is how the system Putin built will plan its perpetuation after his term ends in 2024, when he’s constitutionally barred from running again. …”

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Neither Russians nor the West Understand the Full Dimensions of What’s Happening in Moscow, Gudkov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 29, 2017) Neither in Russia nor in the West is there a good understanding of the full dimensions of what is now taking place in Russia, Levada Center director Lev Gudkov say, with people in both places living with illusions that reflect more what they want to believe than the disturbing […]

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NEWSLINK: “Before Election, Putin Offers $8.6 Billion to Russians to Have More Babies” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Olga Tanas

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

“… The government will spend 500 billion rubles ($8.6 billion) over three years on measures to encourage Russians to have more babies, including mortgage subsidies and payments to new and growing families …. The money will come from government reserves and won’t require changes in the budget, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the upper house of parliament. …”

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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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Kudrin says govt studying his proposals at Putin’s instructions

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Alexei Kudrin, head of the Center of Strategic Research and Committee of Civic Initiatives and former Russian finance minister, says President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to analyze his proposals on Russia’s development strategy. “I reported the key provisions of our proposals on the country’s development strategy to him. That primarily concerns the budget […]

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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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Putin’s press conference due to take place on Dec. 14 – Kremlin

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press conference is due to take place on December 14, with press accreditation already announced, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday. Russian journalists registered with Roskomnadzor and foreign journalists accredited with the Russian Foreign Ministry can submit their applications. Accreditation ends at 5 p.m. on December 1, 2017. Journalists […]

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Most Russians Hold Putin Responsible for Country’s Problems – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2017) A majority of Russians hold President Vladimir Putin responsible for Russia’s problems, according to the results of a Levada Center poll published Monday. Putin is widely expected to announce his candidacy for elections next March which would give the president a fourth term. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose anti-corruption protests this year […]

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Putin’s Meddling in US Elections Backfiring on His Own Allies at Home and on Americans Who Helped Them, Shevtsova Says

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 16, 2017) The Kremlin’s effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections has provoked one consequence Moscow has long wanted – the demoralization of the American elite – but it is having other less welcome ones on both that elite and the Russian one, something only becoming clear, Liliya […]

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It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. “It is not yet unclear whether Putin will run for the re-election. As you know, he did not say anything about it,” Peskov told reporters, replying to a question as to whether the possibility of involving […]

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NEWSLINK: “AP Interview: Russia must be more tolerant, candidate [Ksenia Sobchak] says” – AP

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“A celebrity Russian TV host who intends to run for president in next March’s election said Friday that she hopes to make the nations’ tightly-controlled political system more inclusive and democratic. The 36-year-old Ksenia Sobchak has cast herself as a ‘candidate against all’ in the March 18 vote. She’s seeking to reach out to those who have grown tired of […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Trump and Putin: What Comes Next? Will a future, formal Trump-Putin summit be a game changer?” – The National Interest/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

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

“… Keeping the tenor of the encounters between the two presidents at Da Nang informal precluded the chance of any intense bargaining sessions on the sidelines. But for the Russian side, it also raises questions – of whether Trump is in fact inclined to bargain with the Kremlin, or whether he has the clout to carry through any agreement in […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky” – KremlinRu

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Kremlin.ru – November 13, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky to discuss the ministry’s performance over the past nine months. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medinsky, three quarters have passed, and the year is drawing to a close. Any good news? Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky: With your permission, I would like […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting wrapped up in Vietnam; [Putin meeting with Russian and foreign journalists]” – KremlinRu

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(kremlin.ru – Nov. 11, 2017) The 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting ended in Danang. On the second day of the Meeting, the APEC leaders reviewed the prospects for the global economy with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. During the business breakfast, a discussion was held on establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade zone and a possible expansion […]

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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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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Reception to mark National Unity Day”

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 4, 2017) At the reception in the Grand Kremlin Palace, Vladimir Putin greeted all Russians on National Unity Day and presented the Presidential Prize for contributions to strengthening the Russian nation’s unity and the Order of Friendship to foreign nationals for their efforts in strengthening peace and mutual understanding between peoples. The Presidential Prize for contributions to […]

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Moscow Times: Putin, Jesus And Elon Musk Are Young Russians’ Top Role Models

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2017) Young Russians have named President Vladimir Putin, business magnate Elon Musk and Jesus Christ as their main role models – after their parents. Russia’s most popular social networking site VK in July asked 10,000 14-25 year-olds who had the most positive influence in their life. The majority said their parents were their […]

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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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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: [Vladimir Putin and Igor Borisov at] Meeting of Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (transcript concluded)” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) [Full transcript here en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55947] Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin …. Igor Borisov: Mr President, thank you for giving me the floor. I have just a few words about the elections. I understand we have a very compressed schedule; Mr Fedotov is ready to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin: Russia Ending Conscription” – Russian Defense Policy Blog

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

“… Putin significantly changed the script for Russian military reform on October 24 by indicating intent to end the draft in favor of volunteer contract service. … Putin told his young audience: ‘While I don’t have a ready-made answer, in the same vein if we try to develop this practice further, then maybe we’ll come up with something, but in general […]

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Putin notes big drop in number of “foreign agent” NGOs

Kremlin and River

(Interfax – October 30, 2017) The number of Russian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) registered as foreign agents has nearly halved over the past year, President Vladimir Putin has said. “Currently the number of such organisations in the register of foreign agents has almost halved. Their number dropped from 165 to 89. This is only 0.39 per cent of the total number […]

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Putin Calls Ekho Moskvy Journalist’s Attacker a ‘Sick Person’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 30, 2017) The man who stabbed a radio editor in Moscow last week was a “sick person” without political motives, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. Tatyana Felgenhauer, a deputy editor at the liberal-learning Ekho Moskvy radio station, was stabbed last week by a Russian-Israeli man believed to have mental health issues. Two state television […]

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Putin approves of initiative on Foreign Ministry commission monitoring compatriots’ rights abroad

foreign-ministry-200

MOSCOW. Oct 30 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported human rights defenders’ proposal on setting up a special commission in the Russian Foreign Ministry in order to monitor the situation with Russians citizens’ rights abroad and provide them with legal assistance, if necessary. “I believe, it’s a good idea. It can be even more efficient than just the […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Opening of Wall of Sorrow memorial to victims of political repression” – KremlinRu

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) Following the meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Vladimir Putin and the Council members attended the opening of the Wall of Sorrow memorial to victims of political repression on Akademika Sakharova Prospekt. The opening was also attended by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. President […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Fedotov at] Meeting of Council for Civil Society and Human Rights” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin. The focus of the meeting was on measures to implement the State Policy Concept on immortalising the memory of victims of political repression. The agenda also included issues related to the Council’s activities on ensuring citizens’ environmental rights, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Putin Want? To Maintain His Power No Matter What; A big win for Putin in the March election would be a victory for the Russian autocratic state.” – NBC/ William Pomeranz

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

“In Russia … [elections] are acts of confirmation: The only real suspense … is whether … Putin will receive 70 percent or 80 percent …. Putin … surely understands that reform is the moment of greatest vulnerability for a Russian leader (just ask … Gorbachev). … Putin’s intent is always to maintain control, as recent prosecutions attest. * * * … At the top of […]

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Russia To Unveil Monument To Victims Of Political Repression

File Photo of Soviet Gulag at Manzanar, adapted from image at nps.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – October 30, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-stalin-putin-soviet-repression-remembrance-day-moscow/28823208.html) Amid controversy over his own methods of maintaining control over Russia, President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to appear at the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to victims of state repression during the Soviet era. The Wall Of Sorrow will be unveiled on […]

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Moscow Times/ Levada Center: Majority of Russians Ready to Hand Putin Fourth Term

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 27, 2017) More than 50 percent of Russians surveyed in a recent independent poll are ready to give President Vladimir Putin a fourth term in office. Asked who they’d vote for if the elections were held this Sunday, 53 percent named Putin. One in five couldn’t name who they’d vote for, while one in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Sobchak and the presidential reality show; Why does the Kremlin allow socialite Ksenia Sobchak to take part in the presidential elections? Distraction? Theatricality? According to security expert Mark Galeotti it reflects the limitations of Putin’s hyper-presidential system. ‘Vote against all’ is a way out for the population” -RaamopRuslandNL/ Mark Galeotti

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“The news that Ksenia Sobchak, part-time opposition gadfly, erstwhile reality TV host, and full-time celebrity, plans to stand in the 2018 presidential elections has – rightly – been interpreted as a Kremlin bid to ‘sex up’ what otherwise seemed unbearably tedious elections and also to split Alexei Navalny’s opposition camp. That Sobchak presented herself as the ‘against everyone’ candidate, simply […]

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NEWSLINK: “THE FRONTLINE INTERVIEWS: THE PUTIN FILES” – PBS/ Frontline

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

56 video interviews and transcripts; Interviews include Yevgenia Albats, Masha Gessen, Julia Ioffe, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Michael McFaul, Molly McKew, Victoria Nuland; Transcript of interview with Thomas Graham #27 ….

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