TRANSCRIPT: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin interviewed by the German ARD TV channel

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Government.ru – August 29, 2008) “We are not going to play by some special rules of our own. We want everyone to follow the same rules that are also referred to as international law.” Thomas Roth: Mr Prime Minister, After the escalation of tensions in Georgia, the Western public and politicians, as well as the press and other people, believe […]

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Putin has Degraded Russian Political Discourse to Level of ‘Pathological Ravings,’ Piontkovky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 25, 2016) One of the most dangerous things Vladimir Putin has done is to degrade the level of political discourse across the board in Moscow to the level of “pathological ravings,” a development that some in the West appear not to understand and thus continue to be affected in the ways […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Businessman takes hostages in Moscow bank in desperate plea to Putin”

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

On Aug. 24, a bankrupt businessman took the staff and customers of a bank in downtown Moscow hostage in a bid to attract the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the plight of those in his position.

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Putin’s Election Grip Is So Tight Even His Nemesis Can Take Part

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – August 24, 2016) The last time Vladimir Putin’s political party won national elections, ballot-stuffing allegations sparked the biggest protests of his rule. Five years on, Putin appears to be so confident in his hold on power that even his most dogged adversary is welcome to challenge United Russia in next month’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Chance to Change History” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Twenty-five years ago, an unsuccessful coup attempt, known as the August Coup, was launched by a group of hawkish Communist Party members and security elites against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in what was widely seen as one of the key moments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. * * * A keen student of history, Vladimir Putin […]

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In Putin’s ‘Corporate Fascist State,’ Ideological Labels like ‘Liberal’ are Irrelevant, Inozemtsev Says

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22) It is a profound mistake to discuss Kremlin politics in terms of liberal, conservative or any of the other ideological labels, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, because in “the corporate state of a fascist type” that Putin has established, individuals even just below the supreme leader are “cogs” in a machine who […]

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NEWSWATCH: “More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead. A Pattern That Suggests State Involvement” – New York Times

Kremlin and River

In a series of public meetings on Capitol Hill … [Vladimir] Kara-Murza, a leader in the Russian opposition, urged American lawmakers to expand economic sanctions against the Russian government under a law known as the Magnitsky Act. That would hasten political change in Russia, he argued. … in Moscow a month later, in May 2015, the changes Mr. Kara-Murza detected […]

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Putin Unbound

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 22, 2016) We’re about to learn where Vladimir Putin really wants to take Russia. We’re about to see what one-man rule really looks like. We’re about to witness Putin unbound and unchained. And this is because, until recently, Putin was basically the front man for a ruling oligarchy — one comprised mostly […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why We Need Kremlinology Again. How a careful study of behind-the-scenes power struggles can open a window into a closed society” – The American Interest/ Anders Aslund

Kremlin and River

The increasing opacity of Russian politics has opened a window of opportunity for Kremlinology to make a comeback. … I see Kremlinology as the formalized study of hard facts in a closed society, observing appointments, organization, decrees, and formal speeches. Kremlinology has no role in an open society, but Russia today is no open society, though it is far from […]

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The Weird Science and New Kremlin Chief of Staff

Kremlin and River

A bizarre article about “spacial scanners” and “registering the unseen” has been linked to the newly appointed top bureaucrat Anton Vaino. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 16, 2016) “The market is a manifestation of life. The brightest manifestations of life occur in its condensation: in certain points, certain lines, certain spatial-temporal formations.” For some, this might […]

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Putin’s Regime Stalinist in Form but Not in Content, Shelin Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 14, 2016) Last week, Moscow political analyst Nikolay Petrov argued that Vladimir Putin’s regime had shifted from a Brezhnevite to a Stalinist approach in the way it uses the bureaucracy to run the country (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/08/putins-neo-nomenklatura-system-shifts.html). Now, Sergey Shelin, a commentator for the Rosbalt agency, argues that while “the current Russian regime […]

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It’s Security, Stupid: How Putin Manipulates National Emergencies

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times/Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – August 15, 2016) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti. Vladimir Putin is both feared and admired for his signature move of creating suspense to keep everybody on their toes. He knows how to make sure his next move is unpredictable. And yet, he […]

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Russia’s Solitary Man; [Putin is firing powerful allies and is setting himself up as tsar]

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 15, 2016) Vladimir Putin is throwing his old pals under the bus. He’s replacing them with loyal and docile servants. And he’s building a security apparatus that answers to him alone. A year ago, Putin fired longtime associate Vladimir Yakunin as head of Russian Railways. A few months back, he effectively dismissed […]

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Putin’s Latest Personnel Changes Make a Stable Long-Term Dictatorship More Likely, Pastukhov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 15, 2016) The retirement of Sergey Ivanov as head of the Presidential administration, whatever the proximate causes, “symbolizes a change in eras of the Putin administration,” from one of a kind of collective leadership to a one-man dictatorship that is likely to last a long time, according to Vladimir Pastukhov. Ivanov’s […]

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Putin’s incredible shrinking circle; Ivanov’s departure leaves few voices able to speak truth to Putin

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – August 16, 2016) Mark Galeotti is principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. True to the informal tradition that August brings surprises in #Russia, on the 12th it was announced that Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, was leaving his position as head […]

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NEWSWATCH: “THE VERY STRANGE WRITINGS OF PUTIN’S NEW CHIEF OF STAFF” – The New Yorker/Masha Gessen

Kremlin and River

… Putin changed his chief of staff, replacing an old K.G.B. colleague, Sergei Ivanov, with Anton #Vayno, a younger, little-known bureaucrat who has been serving as deputy chief of staff. … The possibilities are endless …. Vayno, who is forty-four, … not a surprising choice. … a member of the Putin clan for years, and, for at least the past […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Can government reshuffles bring any hope for #Russia?” – bne Intellinews/Mark Galeotti

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

The unexpected removal of Sergei Ivanov … has inevitably created a frenzy of kremlinological speculation. A reshuffle is certainly underway … there is clearly some longer-term political goal. However, one aspect which has largely been neglected has been how this will affect the governance of #Russia in the short term, and the perennially any-day-now prospects of meaningful economic reform. … […]

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The Putin Doctrine

Russian Soldiers Marching

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 17, 2016) Eight years ago, Georgia’s government apparently started a war with Russia — even though Georgian troops never left Georgian territory. Two and a half years ago, the Ukrainian people apparently started a war with Russia — by overthrowing a corrupt and autocratic ruler in a popular uprising. You really gotta […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on developing internal waterways

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – August 15, 2016) In Volgograd Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council Presidium meeting on developing internal waterways. Before the meeting, the President visited the exhibition Water Transport – Today’s Goals and Tomorrow’s Prospects, which displayed, among other things, models of river ships of various types, both currently in the design phase and already in production, and models of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s personnel moves. Dancing in the dark. Desk shuffles in the Kremlin signal something, but no one knows what.” – The Economist

Kremlin and River

The Kremlin’s political nature resembles its physical structure: a walled fortress whose interior is invisible to those on the outside. … when … Putin sacked Sergei Ivanov, his powerful chief of staff, the Kremlin released only a cryptic video in which … Putin thanked … Ivanov for his 17 years of service. The move’s real meaning was left to speculation. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “While the world is distracted, Putin escalates his war in Ukraine” – Washington Post

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

… The … FSB, claimed … one of its officers was killed … near the de facto border between Crimea and Ukraine. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014, then backed a violent uprising in … Donetsk and Luhansk. … According to the FSB … a second attempt occurred … with support from Ukrainian artillery, killing a Russian … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian reshuffle claims another big name: Putin’s chief of staff”

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

… Putin has abruptly sacked his longtime aide and confidant, Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov, amid what appears to be a major reshuffling within the ranks of Russia’s ruling elite. … the Kremlin website says … Ivanov asked to retire, and requested that his trusted deputy, Anton Vaino, replace him. Even if wholly accurate, it does little to explain […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Foreign Minister Says No Plan to Break Diplomatic Ties with Ukraine” – Wall Street Journal

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

… Lavrov said Russia had no intention of breaking diplomatic ties with Ukraine and was discussing the possibility of organizing joint talks with Ukrainian, Russian, French and German officials aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. … Lavrov’s comments … come after … Putin blamed Ukraine … for incidents in #Crimea that left two Russian service members dead and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s flirtation with fascism: Putinism is real, but fleeting” – The Daily Star (Lebanon)/Vladislav Inozemtsev

Kremlin and River

Assessing the Russian political system, Vladislav Inozemtsev writes in Lebanon’s The Daily Star that: … the Russian system should be characterized as proto-fascist – tamer than European fascist states during the 1920s and 1930s, but still featuring key elements …. the structure of Russia’s political economy; the idealization of the state as a source of moral authority; and … international […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Sergei Ivanov and Anton Vaino

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Kremlin.ru – August 12, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Sergei Ivanov and Anton Vaino. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ivanov, we have been working together for many years, and working successfully. I am pleased with your performance in the areas you have supervised. I remember very well our agreement when you asked me to not extend your […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin, Shuvalov, Livanov, Galushka at] Meeting with Government members

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – August 10, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss measures to develop Russia’s Far East and a number of routine matters, in particular, the results of this year’s national final school exam and support measures for single-employer towns. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues, We agreed to discuss matters regarding the development of the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin/ Erdogan] News conference following talks with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Kremlin.ru – August 9, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, We have just completed the main part of the talks with President Erdogan. Naturally, this meeting is very important for the future of Russian-Turkish relations. We had a meaningful and, I would like to emphasise, constructive conversation on the entire range of bilateral issues and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia’s Olympic scandals could benefit Vladimir Putin” – Yahoo

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

If you think the Russian doping scandal has brought shame and humiliation to Vladimir Putin’s nation, perhaps you need to think again. Experts on Putin and Russia tell Yahoo Sports it may be the opposite: that the doping allegations and the Paralympic ban actually has confirmed suspicions widely held – the rest of the world is unfairly biased against Russia. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – August 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref to discuss the bank’s results for the last year, the situation on the housing mortgage market, and financial support measures for small businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, I know that the bank’s work has been not […]

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Vladimir Putin Is His Economy’s Worst Enemy

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – July 27, 2016 – Editorial) Russian President Vladimir Putin urgently needs to revive his country’s economy. His greatest obstacle will be himself. While Americans argue about the extent of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election, Putin is battling a recession at home. To that end, he has recently focused on the ruble’s exchange rate: A […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of ASI Expert Council

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) Expert Council, which is marking its 5th anniversary. The President also visited an exhibition presenting projects that have received ASI support over various years, in particular, new developments in medicine, communications, transport, housing and utilities, agriculture, continued and vocational education, and […]

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Hybrid Business — The Risks In The Kremlin’s Weaponization Of The Economy

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Commentary: Mark Galeotti, Anna Arutunyan – July 20, 2016) Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based journalist and writer, author of The Putin Mystique. “How many divisions does the pope have?” Josef Stalin was meant to have […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Talent and Success Foundation

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Talent and Success Foundation. Participants in the meeting summed up the results of the first year of the foundation’s work and the performance of the Sirius educational centre, which opened on its basis. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues, […]

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Putin Propaganda Based on Rejection of Possibility of Rational Thought, Shekhtman Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s propaganda is intended to destroy “all the rules of rational thought” just as those who support pseudo-science do, Pavel Shekhtman argues on the Kasparov portal today; but it does so in exactly the opposite way that the supporters of religious fundamentalism attack rationality. Religious fundamentalists reject doubt […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) Boris Titov presented to the President the Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights annual report. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon Mr Titov. Have you prepared your report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. I am ready to present what will be my third report since my appointment as Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Statement in response to the report by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Recent events and the tense atmosphere that has formed around international sport and the Olympic movement involuntarily recall the situation in the early 1980s. Back then, many Western countries, citing the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Four years later, the Soviet Union retaliated by boycotting […]

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Oil Must Go to $40 and Stay There to Buy Russia Some Reforms

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 18, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/oil-must-go-to-40-and-stay-there-to-buy-russia-reforms-at-last] At an oil price of $40 or below, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a flat income tax, built a sovereign wealth fund and delivered speeches to the Bundestag in German. When it was over $100, he fought two wars with neighbors and splashed over $40 […]

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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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of parties represented in the State Duma. The agenda included the work of the parliament over the past five years, and progress of the election campaign. Excerpts from transcript of meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Not long ago, I met […]

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NEWSWATCH: “An Unfinished Bridge, and Partnership, Between Russia and China” – New York Times

Asia Map

The New York Times covers Russo-Chinese relations and delays in Russia fulfilling its part of a joint arrangement to build an international bridge across the Amur River. … The bridge abruptly stops, hanging in the air high above the river just short of the Russian shore at Nizhneleninskoye …. The gap … left by Russia’s failure to build its own, […]

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Reluctantly, Russia Starts Sell-Off of Major State Companies

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobso – July 14, 2016) Back in April, President Vladimir Putin was asked at a press conference why he planned to sell state companies just when the market was at bottom. Putin’s reply was blunt: “We need the money.” Russia was, after all, in a bind. A deep recession and plunging oil prices meant […]

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