RBTH: Why Erdogan apologized to Putin

Turkey map

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 bomber in the skies over Syria, the president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. According to experts, Erdogan took such a step due to the deterioration in relations with the EU over refugees and the economic consequences of the breakdown in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to media questions [Putin on Brexit)

Eurasia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 24, 2016) Vladimir Putin responded to media questions at the end of his working visit to Uzbekistan to attend the SCO Heads of State Council, timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the SCO. Question: I would like to ask you about Brexit. Well before the vote, it was alleged that Russia would be happy if […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] United Russia party congress

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin is taking part in political party United Russia’s 15th congress. The congress will approve the party’s election campaign programme and present party lists of candidates for the upcoming State Duma election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, I welcome the delegates and guests at this United Russia congress. This congress is an […]

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New Anti-Terrorist Acts Means Kremlin is Preparing for War at Home and Abroad, Ponomarev Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2016) Today, the Russian Duma passed on second and third reading the so-called “Yarova-Ozerov law on terrorism,” a draconian measure that means not only that Vladimir Putin’s recent call for improved relations with the West was nothing more than “a special operation” but also and more seriously that he is […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to the Xinhua News Agency of China

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 23, 2016) In the run-up to his visit to the People’s Republic of China, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Chinese news agency Xinhua. The interview was recorded on June 17 on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Interview with Xinhua news agency. With Xinhua General Director Cai Mingzhao. President of Xinhua News Agency […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Heads to China to Cement Ties, but Obstacles Remain” – AP

Asia Map

With … Putin heading to China this weekend, officials in both countries extoll a blossoming ‘strategic partnership’ …. But despite Moscow’s push to strengthen ties with Beijing amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, Russia-China trade has shrunk sharply and a slew of ambitious projects have remained largely on paper. Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing’s hard-nosed […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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All Russians Are Tainted by Putin’s Regime

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 21, 2016) The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athletes compete in the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they haven’t used performance-enhancing drugs won’t be popular with other countries. Nonetheless, it was the right call. But it also carries some unpleasant undertones: It formally requires Russians to prove that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin addressed the State Duma’s plenary session

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2016) The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session. Speech at the State Duma’s plenary session. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. […]

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RBTH: The 3 key areas of disagreement between Moscow and Damascus

Syria Map

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Russia has been seen as a loyal ally to Bashar Assad, giving unwavering support to the Syrian president. Yet, the positions of Moscow and the Syrian regime are far from identical. Russia advocates a political solution to the crisis, whereas Assad sees war as the answer. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with students taking part in International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Kremlin.ru – June 20, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with students participating in the International Collegiate Programming Contest. The President congratulated the contest participants. One Russian team won the competition and four others were among the top ten. Mr Putin thanked the students and their teachers for their work and wished them success in future competitions and in their future work. […]

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No, Russia is not preparing for all-out war; Russia’s snap military mobilisation drills are an internal exercise. But troublesome relations with the west could still have unintended (and unpleasant) consequences.

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – June 21, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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Putin Understands West but West Doesn’t Understand Putin, Moscow Hybrid War Specialist Says

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Russia’s power does “not even come close” to that of the US, Andrey Manoylo says; but Moscow has an advantage “right now” because it understands the value of “asymmetric action” and because “the US clearly has difficulties with predicting Russia’s activities,” because of Washington’s overly simplistic models of Russian […]

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Putin’s New Friendship Offensive Won’t Work Abroad or at Home, Shevtsova Says

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s “main message” at the St. Petersburg economics conference that Moscow “again wants to be friends” with the West will not work either in the West, which has been transformed by the Kremlin leader’s aggressiveness, or at home among Russians because he depends on continued anti-Western mobilization, Liliya […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Olympic Ban Adds to Russia’s Culture of Grievances” – New York Times

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

When a global governing body for sports barred Russia’s track and field team from the 2016 Summer Olympics on Friday over a wide-ranging doping scandal, it was greeted in Russia, as is so often the case here these days, with a deep sense of victimhood. …Putin …called the decision ‘unjust, of course.’ …. Click here for New York Times: Olympic […]

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Investments in Russia’s economy declining both because of structural problems, oil price drop – Putin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

ST. PETERSBURG. June 18 (Interfax) – A decline in investments in Russia’s economy can be explained by both the lower oil prices and investors’ worries about problems in Russia’s economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s both this and that,” Putin said while meeting with top managers of international news agencies in St. Petersburg on Friday, when asked whether the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) [Video in Russian http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52178] [Video with English interpretation http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52178] Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Excerpts from transcript of the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, I am very glad to welcome all of you […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Russian Direct Investment Fund International Expert Council and representatives of international investment community

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – June 16, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with members of the International Expert Council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and representatives of the international investment community. . The President of Russia noted that during its existence the RDIF has achieved substantial results, among them, attracting over 760 billion rubles to the Russian economy. The President said the […]

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Interfax: Putin promises fight against doping at state level

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

ST. PETERSBURG. June 17 (Interfax) – Russia will fight against doping in sports at the state level, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As for the official Russian authorities, I can say with full responsibility, that we are firmly against any doping,” Putin said at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). He said if it emerges […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

EU Map

(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Vladimir Fortov and Mikhail Kotyukov

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Vladimir Fortov and Director of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organisations (FASO) Mikhail Kotyukov. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Fortov, Mr Kotyukov. We have met to talk about the coordination of efforts between the Academy of Sciences and FASO, about your achievements […]

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CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY: “Drivers of Putin’s foreign policy” – Leon Aron at House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: “U.S. Policy Toward Putin’s Russia”

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

House Foreign Affairs Committee June 14, 2016 Testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Drivers of Putin’s foreign policy By Leon Aron American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies [Text with footnotes here http://www.aei.org/publication/drivers-of-putins-foreign-policy/] Mr. Chairman, the Ranking Members, Members of the Committee! It is an honor and a pleasure to be here-especially in the company […]

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CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY: “U.S. Policy Towards Putin’s Russia” – Michael McFaul at House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

Testimony of Michael McFaul Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: “U.S. Policy Towards Putin’s Russia.” June 14, 2016 Michael McFaul is the Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Professor of Political Science all at Stanford University. He served five […]

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CONGRESSIONAL REMARKS: “U.S. Policy Toward Putin’s Russia” – Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman, at House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing

Ed Royce file photo

House Foreign Affairs Committee June 14, 2016 Hearing: U.S. Policy Toward Putin’s Russia Opening Statement Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman (As prepared for delivery) Winston Churchill famously described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” But less well known is what he said next: “but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” […]

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Former U.S. Ambassadors Spar Over Russia, NATO, Ukraine

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – WASHINGTON – June 15, 2016) Two former U.S. ambassadors to Russia clashed over past and future assessments of relations between Washington and Moscow and which country bears the greater responsibility for deepening bilateral tensions. Michael McFaul and Jack Matlock delivered their remarks at a June 14 hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, […]

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The fallout from the conduct and conclusions of the Litvinenko Inquiry

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

Subject: The fallout from the conduct and conclusions of the Litvinenko Inquiry Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2016 21:43:05 +0100 From: Julia Svetlichnaja (svetlichnaja@gmail.com) Below is my Open letter to the Home Secretary and other parliamentarians regarding the findings of the Litvinenko Enquiry. It has not been published as I was awaiting, to no avail, some response so that it could […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Speech at the official reception to mark the national holiday Russia Day

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 12, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues, I congratulate you on Russia Day. This is one of our major national holidays, as today we honour our country, our Russia, that we love and take pride in. The civic, labour and military valour of the Russian people is evidenced by the many victories and achievements throughout […]

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Day of Russia symbolizes unity of people – Putin

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

(Interfax – June 12, 2016) The Day of Russia, the country’s National Day, reflects the responsibility of Russians for the country’s present and future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 12. “This holiday marks such utmost important values as Motherland, patriotism, and the unity of the people, reflecting our warm and sincere feelings about Russia, our responsibility for its […]

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Putin’s Core Support Begins to Waver; Working-class Russians hurt by recession look for someone to blame-in an election year

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – June 9, 2016) Russia embarks on an almost two-year-long election season this summer that ends with a presidential contest in 2018. But unlike previous years, the country’s faltering economy has taken its toll on lower-income voters who blame the Duma and the cabinet for their plight. Five years ago, allegations of vote rigging […]

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Jailed for a repost: The definition of extremism in Russia gets ever looser

Kremlin and River

Russia has seen a dramatic rise in criminal prosecutions on charges of internet extremism over the last few months. Yet most of these cases concern not the creation of extremist content but retweeting, liking or reposting it. RBTH found out more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 7, 2016) On Feb. 20, Yekaterina Vologzhenova, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Visit to Rossiya Segodnya

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin visited the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency to congratulate journalists on the agency’s 75th anniversary and speak at the New Era of Journalism: Farewell to Mainstream international media forum. The President also attended the presentation of German journalist Hubert Seipel’s book, Putin. Inside View of Power, at Rossiya Segodnya and spoke with the […]

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Moscow Times: Putin Urges Global Authorities to Ensure Freedom Of Information

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – June 8, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged governments around the world to protect the freedom of the press, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. “There can’t be a situation where some governments talk about freedom information when they like what they are hearing, yet immediately decry information they don’t like […]

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One Book Putin Could Have Written and Three That He Did

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 5, 2016) One Russian publishing house has just released a translation of a Norwegian book that Vladimir Putin could have written himself, and another Moscow publisher has put out a three volume collection of his public statements that he actually did and that bring him into line with his Soviet predecessors. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “United Russia Primaries Open Pandora’s Box” – Carnegie Moscow Center/Andrey Pertsev

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

The primaries have once again highlighted the Kremlin’s domestic policy tactics. First, the administration announces a large project, makes promises, and even begins to deliver on them. Then, fears of failure and loss of control set in, and all work grinds to a halt. * * * The primaries join a raft of domestic policy gimmicks the Kremlin has used […]

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Russia Remains a Byzantine State and that May Doom It, ‘Gazeta’ Editors Say

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 1, 2016) The photographs of Vladimir Putin sitting on what many falsely supposed was the throne of Byzantine emperors have prompted many to laugh but others to note that “Russia even today in many ways remains an heir of the Byzantine empire,” according to the editors of Moscow’s “Gazeta.” Russians “borrowed […]

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‘Putin’s people’: The mysterious agency that guards the president’s life

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

The head of Russia’s Federal Protection Service (FSO), responsible for protecting the life of the president, has been replaced. RBTH looks into what this change means and what this most mysterious of all Russian special services does today. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 1, 2016) The Federal Protection Service (FSO) is a powerful, […]

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Interfax: Putin’s China visit to give powerful impetus to Russian-Chinese strategic partnership – Lavrov

China Map

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) – Russia is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China will help further bolster the two countries’ partnership, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We are convinced that President Putin’s upcoming visit to China in June will give a powerful impetus to the Russian-Chinese multifaceted strategic partnership and will help further realize its inexhaustible […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Surveys show Russian nationalism is on the rise. This explains a lot about the country’s foreign and domestic politics.” – Washington Post/Richard Arnold

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

… annexing Crimea, Putin managed to steal the thunder of … supremacist Russian nationalists. But as long as waves of migrants … perceived as culturally alien keep coming … storm clouds will still exist and influence Russian politics. The regime will have the unpalatable choice of allowing the growth of radical forces vehemently opposed to democracy, even its ‘managed’ variety, […]

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Putin Invaded Ukraine to Deflect Russian Nationalist Threat to Himself, Demushkin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin launched his “Russian world” project and invaded Ukraine in the hopes that radical Russian nationalists who represented a threat to his rule would go there and die, thus “killing two birds with one stone,” according to Dmitry Demushkin, the leader of the ethno-political movement “The Russians.” In […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Joint press conference with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras [excerpt re: Ukraine]

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Kremlin.ru – May 27, 2016) Following the Russian-Greek talks, Vladimir Putin and Alexis Tsipras made a joint statement for the press. [excerpt re: Ukraine] Question: The European Union is currently debating the issue of extending sanctions against Russia. How much was this topic discussed at your talks today? Do you think the exchange of Savchenko for our guys will have […]

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Putin’s Longstanding Plan for Long-Term Confrontation with the West Being Implemented Ever More Rapidly, Illarionov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 28, 2016) For the last decade, Vladimir Putin has pursued a plan to isolate his country from the outside world by pursuing rearmament and confrontation with the West, Andrey Illarionov says. Now, there is evidence that the Kremlin leader is stepping up his efforts I that direction even during the current […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Russian Media

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Kremlin.ru – May 28, 2016) Following the Russian-Greek talks, Vladimir Putin met with Russian media representatives. Question: Mr President, may I ask you a question about domestic policy rather than talks with Greece? Vladimir Putin: Are you having trouble sleeping? Remark: I am. The whole country is thinking about this issue. Vladimir Putin: Go ahead. Question: Mr Medvedev visited Crimea […]

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NEWSWATCH: Freed by Russia, Ukraine’s ‘Joan of Arc’ may be thorn in own leaders’ side – Reuters/Pavel Polityuk

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

Securing … Savchenko’s release from Russian captivity was a PR coup for … Poroshenko but the outspoken woman … may ultimately prove a thorn in his side. … in jail, Savchenko was named a lawmaker in … the main opposition party at a time of growing disillusion with the slow pace of reforms and … corruption. She … condemned a […]

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Many Fear Real Elections Will Bring Fascism to Russia But Their Absence Helps It Rise, Piontkovsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 21, 2016) Both before the 1917 revolution and since 1991, Russian liberals and their foreign backers have often feared that genuine elections, ones in which the outcome was not determined by those in power who supposedly were committed to reform might lead either to a return to communism or the rise […]

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