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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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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Literature and Language Society

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Russian Literature and Language Society’s Congress. The Russian Literature and Language Society was established in 2016 to consolidate the efforts of scholars, teachers, cultural figures and the global public to preserve the leading role of Russian language and literature in educating young people, strengthening the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with French business community representatives

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with French business community representatives. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, Let me welcome you all to Moscow. It is a great pleasure to meet the members of the Economic Council of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. France is without a doubt one of our longstanding […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Economic Council Presidium

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Economic Council Presidium to examine growth sources for the Russian economy through to 2025. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, The Economic Council Presidium is at work once again, this time with the task of discussing and outlining key guidelines and objectives for our economic policy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Anti-travelogue’ on Putin’s Russia wins £10,000 Ondaatje prize. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev takes prize honouring writers who best ‘evoke the spirit of a place” – The Guardian

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… Pomerantsev said he had been struck by the ‘state-reinforced psychology of the new Russia, the insistence that all identities are mutable, that nothing is true and everything is possible.’ Born in Ukraine and now living in London, Pomerantsev has worked as a journalist, film-maker and as a consultant for the EU and World Bank. * * * Judge and […]

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Putin’s Advisors to Outline Russian Economic Reform

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 23, 2016) Russia’s latest economic reform package is set to cut state spending and raise the retirement age, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Monday. The reforms, which are due to be discussed Wednesday May 25 by President Vladimir Putin’s economic council, will focus heavily on stimulating domestic investment. It is the first time the council […]

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The Monster Under The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 19, 2016) At first glance, the massive shoot-out at Moscow’s Khovanskoye Cemetery this past weekend seemed pretty retro. What, after all, reminds us more of the 1990s than rival Russian gangs staging a deadly brawl in a turf war over control of the lucrative burial business? What is more reminiscent of the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Commission for Monitoring Targeted Socioeconomic Development Indicators

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – May 16, 2016) The meeting discussed the state of progress in implementing the instructions set out in the presidential executive orders of May 2012. The agenda included, in particular, issues pertaining to staffing the healthcare system with qualified personnel, development of supplementary education for children, and raising the quality of public services, including in the housing and utilities […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] State Council meeting on construction sector and urban planning development

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the State Council in the Kremlin on developing the construction sector and improving urban planning. The meeting agenda included measures to develop the construction sector, including by implementing investment projects, introducing new technology, harmonising construction legislation and applying public-private partnership mechanisms. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on defence industry development

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 13, 2016) Vladimir Putin held this week’s final meeting with Defence Ministry leadership and defence industry representatives. The meeting covered the current tasks of the defence industry, specifically, mobilisation readiness of defence industry companies. Another issue on the agenda was the deployment of the US missile defence system in Eastern Europe. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good […]

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RBTH: What problems has the Syrian operation revealed in the Russian army?

Syria Map

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Russian campaign in Syria has highlighted a number of problems with the armed forces that need to be addressed. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – May 13, 2016) At a meeting with military officials and heads of the military-industrial complex on May 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin […]

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Putinism won’t end with a bang, but a warrant; New charges concerning several leading Russian officials reveal the greatest threat to the Kremlin’s hold on power – elite corruption.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – May 10, 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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview with the French Newspaper Le Figaro

Paris, France, View from Eiffel Tower

(Kremlin.ru – October 26, 2000) Question: Thank you for finding the time to meet with us. Vladimir Putin: Thank you. I think it is important that on the eve of our visit to Paris your readers find out the answers to the wide range of questions you are going to ask me. Question: French readers have long been interested in […]

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Putin: We will break any blockade

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

(Interfax – May 11, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said the power blockade of Crimea was broken within a short period of time and any other blockade against Russia will be broken in the same way. “The newest technologies were used here, the work, intensive work was done. As a result, the power blockade of Crimea was broken within a […]

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Putin walks fiscal tightrope; deficits seen to 2020

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – ANDRE TARTAR AND OTT UMMELAS – May 7, 2016) If the Russian government’s in-house forecaster is right that muted oil prices are here to stay, budget deficits will stretch to the end of this decade, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Under the Economy Ministry’s projection that oil will average $40 a barrel through 2019, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No, Putin did not call Donald Trump ‘a genius'” – Washington Post/Glenn Kessler

Donald Trump

“‘I think he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] said some really nice things. He called me a genius. He said Trump’s a genius. Okay. So, you know, that’s nice.’” Click here for Washington Post/Glenn Kessler: “No, Putin did not call Donald Trump ‘a genius’”

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Interfax: Putin views fair competition during parliamentary election as basis for building confidence in authorities among citizens

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST PETERSBURG. April 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that the State Duma election to be held this autumn must be characterized by a fair and competitive campaign. “You understand perfectly that it is of the utmost importance for this campaign to be spared violations and proceed in an absolutely competitive and fair contest,” Putin said at […]

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Russians, Their Guns And the State

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 29, 2016) U.S. gun enthusiasts live in constant fear of the federal government confiscating their weapons. For Russian gun owners, such a fear may be about to become a reality. On April 14, President Vladimir Putin, announced the formation of a new National Guard, and declared one of its key fuctions […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Legislators’ Council

Tauride Palace file photo - adapted from image © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

(Kremlin.ru – April 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Legislators timed for the Day of Russian Parliamentarianism and the 110th anniversary of Russia’s first State Duma. The meeting at the Tauride Palace is attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and speakers of regional parliaments. President […]

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Ex-minister joins Putin’s economic policy advisors

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 30, 2016) Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been appointed deputy head of President Vladimir Putin’s Economic Council, Interfax news agency reported. The decree to this effect has been published on the Russian presidential website, Interfax noted. Earlier, Kudrin became head of the Centre for Strategic Research think-tank, Interfax added. He told reporters at the time […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Economic Pain Reveals Limits to Putin’s Power” – New York Times

Vladimir Putin

Pikalevo, about three hours east of St. Petersburg, and the rest of Russia are now mired in the country’s longest recession since … Putin came to power at the end of 1999, with the World Bank warning … that the nation’s poverty rate would increase this year to 14.2 percent of the population, “undoing nearly a decade’s worth of gains.” […]

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Putin’s Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eduard Gismatullin – April 27, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia. The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude […]

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Can Putin and Poroshenko agree on sending peacekeepers to the Donbass?

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

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said he would be willing to send a police mission to Ukraine’s war-torn Donbass region. Earlier, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had expressed his desire to deploy armed OSCE observers in the area. But are the leaders not speaking of different things even though their statements may sound similar? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru […]

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Public support for Putin’s job performance remains at 82%

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

(Interfax – April 27, 2016) Eighty-two percent of Russians are satisfied with the work of Vladimir Putin as Russian President; 17 percent are not, the Levada Center told Interfax after an April survey. The indicator remains virtually unchanged since the beginning of the year: in January and March, 82 percent were content with Putin’s performance, in February – 81 percent. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “KPIs For The Public Service Sector: A Fig Leaf Of A Real Change.” – Moscow Times/Oleg Buklemishev

Kremlin and River

… It has been announced that … Putin would himself be heading a special commission on government reform …. his commission, initially the idea of … Medvedev, will be tasked with developing new work approaches and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the Russian public sector. … in 2004, the authorities also tried to eliminate inefficiencies in the work of state agencies, develop performance benchmarks, and redistribute powers between federal, state and local […]

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Interfax: Putin calls ‘media attacks’ a reaction to the consolidation of Russia

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

(Interfax – April 25, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that media attacks on Russia were the reaction to the country’s strengthening, its capability to protect own interest. “You are right, this is surely the reaction of our opponents (let’s call them this way) to the consolidation of the country. It’s just that such a player, who is independent, sovereign, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Russian Security Force Will Answer to Vladimir Putin. The Russian Guard is being formed ahead of coming parliamentary elections.” – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to … Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections. … the new force … the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. … Putin directed the creation of the force … through an executive order … under review by […]

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Putin Badly Needs a Domestic Plan

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 22, 2016) The Russian government has approved a sober, and sobering, economic forecast for the next three years. The country’s prospects look so joyless that President Vladimir Putin may finally start listening to the mainstream economists who have stuck with him despite his unconcealed preference for a huge public sector tempered with […]

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Russians Will Stop Supporting Putin Only When They See His Weakness, Yakovenko Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 24, 2016) Given the longstanding servility of the Russian people, Vladimir Putin can be deprived of popular support only by showing how weak he in fact is, according to commentator, something that requires the opposition within Russia to unite and the West to reduce to a minimum any contacts with him. […]

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NEWSLINK European Council on Foreign Relations/Nikolay Petrov: “Putin’s downfall: The coming crisis of the Russian regime.The current trajectory of the Russian regime is unstable and without dramatic change it will crumble within the next year, according to a leading Russia specialist”

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RBTH: Why are Russians so eager to talk to Putin in person?

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

A constant feature of Vladimir Putin’s reign as Russian leader, his “Direct Line” TV phone-in may appear to be inconsistent with his image as an inaccessible ruler. But the president’s annual Q&A session is merely a modern-day incarnation of an ancient tradition. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEORGY BOVT, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 19, 2016) The author […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Will the Putin Regime Crumble? Foreign Affairs’ Brain Trust Weighs In.”- Foreign Affairs

Putin Descending a Staircase

… the May/June 2016 issue of Foreign Affairs … deals with Russia’s future. … we approached dozens of authorities with deep specialized expertise relevant to the question at hand, together with a few leading generalists …. Participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with a proposition and to rate their confidence level …. : Vladimir Putin will […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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NEWSWATCH: “An Earful for Vladimir Putin in Latest ‘Direct Line’ Call-In Show” – Wall Street Journal/Stephen Sestanovich

Kremlin and River

The discussion had a darker undercurrent. The system is rigged, many said, and those who have power abuse it. … Putin was asked why more political parties aren’t permitted so that United Russia faces some meaningful competition, and why … Kadyrov, Chechnya’s strongman leader, whom … Putin supports, is allowed to threaten political opponents with assassination. … Putin heard how […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia. Down But Not Out. Part I.” – Foreign Affairs/Maria Lipman, Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, Katie Allawala

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

Over the past decade and a half, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been an economic dynamo and a basket case, an imperfect democracy and a tightening tyranny, a constructive diplomatic actor and a serial military aggressor—sometimes all at once. The only constant has been surprise, as the zigging and zagging has left outside observers, and even many Russians, scratching their heads. […]

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