Khodorkovsky Calls for Civil Disobedience against Unjust Laws and Putin’s Unjust System

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 27, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that Russian citizens are fully entitled not to observe unjust laws imposed not to promote justice but to protect the power of Vladimir Putin, a potentially dramatic development in the relationship between the Russian opposition, the Russian people, and the Kremlin. In a blog post on […]

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Interfax: Putin’s job approval rating exceeds 80% – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) – The job approval rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin stands at 83% in August, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax on Wednesday following this month’s survey. Seventeen percent of respondents of the center’s latest poll were dissatisfied with Putin’s work as Russian president. In June the approval rate was 89%, in April-May – 86% and in […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

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

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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‘Mass Murder:’ Russian Patients Brace For Ban On Medical Imports

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – August 23, 2015) When Yulia Koptseva heard about a Russian government plan to ban a range of foreign-made medical goods, she had a single, urgent thought: “I want my daughter to live.” That was also the poignant comment she left on an online petition that has gathered almost 10,000 signatures against the proposal, […]

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Brussels Break-In Shines Light on Putin’s European Mischief

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Jeremy Hodges – August 23, 2015) It was an unusual delivery at the European Parliament by a pair of native Russians. They broke into the third-floor mailroom and deposited for the 751 legislators English-language copies of “Red Dalia,” a scathing biography of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, according to a parliamentary probe. The book, published […]

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Shopping Spray: Loutish Russian’s Beer-Biting Patriotism

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Anna Shamanska – August 22, 2015) Stas Baretsky is foaming at the mouth about banned Western goods in Russia. As the food-destruction craze over banned Western goods continues in Russia, the St. Petersburg Orthodox Union of Cossacks and a very large former band member have joined in. The group went to a local store of the […]

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

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

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

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Half of Russians Believe Putin is Poorly Informed of Situation in the Country, Poll Shows

Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 20, 2015) Over half of Russians think President Vladimir Putin does not receive a complete picture of what is going on in Russia or is being deliberately misled by his entourage, according to a poll released Wednesday by an independent Russian polling center. Fifty-six percent of respondents in the poll conducted by the Levada […]

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UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#163 :: Wednesday Afternoon 19 August 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#163 Wednesday Afternoon – 19 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Russians Seek to Soften Impact of Ruble Depreciation. Businesses look for new ways to hedge against further currency volatility.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal covers Russian vulnerability to currency volatility. Under Russian President Vladimir Putin, currency volatility once seemed consigned to the past. Before Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year, the ruble had kept an average range of between 25 and 35 to the dollar for several years. Now the exchange rate hovers around 66 to the dollar. * * […]

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Simon Saradzhyan: Response to to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy (JRL#152. August 7)

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Subject: Response to to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy (JRL#152. August 7) Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:14:07 +0000 From: Simon Saradzhyan <Simon_Saradzhyan@hks.harvard.edu> Simon Saradzhyan’s Response to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy in Foreign Affairs. [Simon Saradzhyan is assistant director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism and a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer […]

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Putin Aide Who Called Shock Rate Cut Sees Pause as Oil Nears $40

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Evgenia Pismennaya – August 18, 2015) Andrey Belousov went largely unheeded the last time he forecast a shift in monetary policy. Now President Vladimir Putin’s top economic aide is lending weight to a growing consensus that Russia’s easing cycle is wearing out. The central bank may pause its interest-rate cuts after five decreases this […]

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Russian Press Digest (19 August 2015)

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Wednesday, the Russian press focuses on the departure of Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russian Railways and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. According to business daily Kommersant, Yakunin called his decision to leave ‘a personal one’ during a conversation with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Kaliningrad’s election commission is processing Yakunin’s candidacy to become the […]

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Putin Said Ready to Revamp Inner Circle as Ally Yakunin Goes

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Irina Reznik, Ilya Arkhipov, Olga Tanas – August 18, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ready to start replacing long-serving allies in his inner circle after the sudden departure of OAO Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin as head of the country’s largest employer. Putin intends to bring in trusted younger people to shake up his team ahead […]

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Putin May Be Tiring of His Cronies

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 18, 2015) Vladimir Yakunin seemed eternal: Nothing he could do appeared to undermine his standing in the system President Vladimir Putin has built to run Russia. Yet now he is leaving the top job at the national railroad monopoly, after 10 years of mismanaging it. Putin may be realizing that tough economic […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin says no need to worry about Russian economy

Putin at Desk

(RIA Novosti – August 18, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Russians not to worry about the country’s economy, because the government is monitoring the situation around the clock, RIA Novosti reported on 18 August. “Everyone is on the job; the government is managing the economy, on a daily and hourly basis. We don’t let anything out of […]

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Response to Gordon Hahn’s post [JRL#159; Re: Pew Poll on Russia, Putin, Global Image]

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Subject: Response to Gordon Hahn’s post [JRL#159] Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:07:07 -0400 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@verizon.net> I find Gordon Hahn’s criticism of the WaPo report on the Pew poll about Russia and Vladimir Putin, while technically correct on some points, erroneous in its thrust and misguided. He makes a series of highly objectionable points, and misses the forest […]

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Interfax: “Putin: ‘Crimeans voted for reunion with Russia. Done. Full stop'”

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

(Interfax – August 18, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has declined to comment on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s reaction to the Russian leader’s trip to Crimea. Speaking to journalists on Aug. 18, Putin stressed that the Crimeans have put a full stop on the issue of the peninsula’s future. “No, I am not commenting on it, because the future of […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: “Russian Roulette. The regime has replaced institutions with one-man rule and treats criticism as treason. But it could get even worse.”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lucas reviews two books, Putinism by Walter Laqueur and Putin’s Russia edited by Leon Aron. Lucas assesses Putinism, unfolding under the extensive reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a negative light: Making sense of Putinism is rather like trying to analyze a Russian salad. Unappetizing cubes of meat and vegetables lurk in […]

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NEWSLINK Kiev Post/Alexei Bayer: “Even if the Russian economy crumbles – as it is likely to do in the near-to-medium term, just as the Russian economy collapsed under Bolshevism – it will not result in any kind of a new beginning. There may be changes, but probably not for the better.”

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

Even if the Russian economy crumbles – as it is likely to do in the near-to-medium term, just as the Russian economy collapsed under Bolshevism – it will not result in any kind of a new beginning. There may be changes, but probably not for the better.

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Panic In The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 13, 2015) You know things are getting really bad when Sergei Lavrov blows his cool. The Russian foreign minister is usually smooth as silk in public, shamelessly and effortlessly twisting, spinning, distorting, and lying on behalf of Vladimir Putin’s regime. But this week, Lavrov was caught on camera — and on mic […]

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Putin’s Other War? Russians’ Binge Drinking

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Peter R. Orszag – August 11, 2015) Peter R. Orszag is a Bloomberg View columnist. Now vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group at Citigroup, he was previously director of the Office of Management and Budget. Russian President Vladimir Putin may be undermining global peace and civic […]

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BOOK REVIEW: “We are in power; that is democracy”

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer in Moscow – August 11, 2015) “Boris Yeltsin was able to have a constitution adopted in a referendum that guaranteed him broad powers and an almost complete lack of checks and balances – the first major step toward the poisoning of Russia’s political institutions and guaranteeing the transition to Vladimir Putin”. That […]

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‘Virtual Civil War’ Going on in Russia Today Moscow Sociologist Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 12, 2015) Only 25 to 30 percent of Russians actively profess[] Putin’s national-patriotic ideology, but far fewer, ten to 15 percent are “convinced liberals, Leonty Byzov says. This division, far deeper than in the past, means that “a virtual civil war” is going on in Russia, one that could in a […]

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VIDEO: Conversation: Russia’s Perfect Economic Storm

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Stratfor.com – August 11, 2015) Video Transcript: Ben Sheen: Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Ben Sheen, I’m a managing editor here at Stratfor, and with me today is Stratfor’s senior Eurasia analyst, Lauren Goodrich, who will be talking to me about the state of the Russian economy. So Lauren, Russia is struggling at the moment. […]

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Why Putin Is Losing

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 10, 2015) Are little green men about to appear on the North Pole? Russia’s claim last week, using an extremely creative interpretation of international law, to exclusive economic rights to nearly half a million square miles of the Arctic Sea, was certainly a head scratcher. Sure the territory is valuable due to […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post/Jim Hoagland: Vladimir Putin, failed spy

Putin Descending a Staircase

The Washington Post examines reports that Putin was actually not a successful KGB operative, but rather someone who used connections to boost his professional life with a move into politics.  Moreover, Putin reportedly has been said to have presented traits of recklessness out of step with a risk-averse KGB. They … traced a portrait of Putin as a failed spy […]

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Toward a ”Reaganov” Russia: Russian Security Policy after Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Clifford Gaddy and Michael O’Hanlon – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/toward-%E2%80%98%E2%80%98reaganov%E2%80%99%E2%80%99-russia-russian-security-policy-after-putin] Clifford Gaddy is Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution. An economist specializing in Russia, Gaddy is the co-author of “Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernization” (Routledge, 2013). His earlier books include “Russia’s Virtual […]

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Putin’s Choices: Explaining Russian Foreign Policy and Intervention in Ukraine

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Kimberly Marten – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at http://twq.elliott.gwu.edu/putin%E2%80%99s-choices-explaining-russian-foreign-policy-and-intervention-ukraine] Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and a faculty member of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. She is also Director of […]

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Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin

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

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

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: As the Arctic Thaws, New Temptations

Arctic Map

The New York Times comments on Russia’s attempt to use the United Nations to expand Russian territory in the Arctic, accompanied by expanded Russian military activity in the region. As the Arctic rapidly thaws and surrenders access to its awesome wealth of energy and precious minerals, it is inevitable that nations in the far north will stake claims over huge […]

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Putin Accused of ‘Terror’ Against Elite by Barred Opposition

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – August 4, 2015) Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of waging a campaign of “terror” to keep the country’s elite loyal and said the government is blocking anti-Kremlin candidates from elections. Navalny, an anti-corruption lawyer who challenged a Putin ally for Moscow mayor in 2013, said the authorities […]

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

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

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

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Ukraine As A Bargaining Chip?

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – July 28, 2015) f you believe all the talk out there lately, Vladimir Putin is not only duplicitous and hypocritical — he’s also been pretty damn busy lately. Busy cutting secret deals with the same Europeans and Americans he has been vilifying for years. And if you believe the rumors, the Europeans and Americans have […]

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Idiots ‘Useful’ and Otherwise on the Rise in Russia and the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 31, 2015) Idiotism is on the rise in both Russia and the West, with its spread in Russia having transformed that country from “a land of liars to one of idiots,” according to Vitaly Portnikov, and in the West having become the latest iteration of the “useful idiots” Lenin and the Bolsheviks always viewed as […]

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Moscow, Kiev Grapple With Historic Ties to Prince Vladimir

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 29, 2015) Tuesday marked the passage of a millennium since the death of Vladimir the Great. As both Kiev and Moscow honored the occasion with high-profile celebrations, leaders of each took advantage of the opportunity to emphasize the strength of their own countries’ ties to the medieval ruler. Prince Vladimir is […]

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Putin Hurts a Think Tank by Not Banning It

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is nothing if not cunning when it comes to dealing with his adversaries. When he signed a law allowing the government to ban any nongovernmental organization deemed “undesirable,” it was clear some foreign NGOs would suffer. What was less obvious — though, in hindsight, inevitable — […]

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To Escape Putinism, Russia Must Expunge Muscovy as Germany Did Prussia, Sklyarov Says

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 29, 2105) Many commentators suggest that the way to move beyond the Putin regime involves economic growth, de-militarization, and re-entering the international community, but “these are all second-order tasks” that pale in comparison with what is the most important one, according to Andrey Sklyarov. The historian says that the central task […]

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Crimea Is Now Putin’s Problem Child; Russian security services are cracking down on alleged corruption in the newly annexed peninsula

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – July 24, 2015) President Vladimir Putin likened Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea to a family welcoming home a long-lost relative. Now the family is showing signs of strain. Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, has opened criminal investigations of three high-ranking Crimean government officials, accusing them of graft and other misdeeds. Four regional […]

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Interfax : Russian patriarch appeals to Putin, Poroshenko over Ukraine conflict

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill has written letters to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine expressing deep concern over events in eastern Ukraine, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 27 July. “Reaching the peace agreements in Minsk put the escalation of the conflict on hold and inspired hope for a full ceasefire between the […]

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Interfax: Putin hopes Russia will be able to promote dialogue with Europe and U.S. on Ukraine issue

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is hopeful that his country will be able to further promote dialogue with Europe and the United States concerning the fight against radical Islamism and other problems, including the Ukrainian issue. “I see today that the situation has changed. Europe and the U.S. have realized the real threat coming from the […]

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