NEWSLINK: “Taking on Russia’s ‘oligarchs’; Meduza looks at the businessmen, state officials, and companies targeted in the latest U.S. sanctions” – Meduza

“On Friday, the world got a look at the latest U.S. sanctions against Russia. The U.S. Treasury Department’s new “designations” target seven Russian ‘oligarchs’ and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank. Washington says the measures are a response to “a range of […]

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New Sanctions Won’t Spark Conspiracy Against Putin or Reverse His Policies, Shevtsova Says

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 7, 2018) The new sanctions the US has announced will hurt the Russian oligarchs but they will not lead to a conspiracy against Putin because “the main source of their incomes is in Russia and they are completely dependent on the orders of the president,” Liliya Shevtsova says. And they haven’t […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Putin’s Next Act” – Brookings/ Julia Ioffe, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Angela Stent, Strobe Talbott, Alina Polyakova

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

(Brookings event – April 4, 2018) “… Putin’s third term as Russia’s president was defined by a return to aggressive foreign policy … military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, interference in elections in the United States and Europe … a crackdown on domestic dissent. … as Russia’s economic model and political system seem[] increasingly stagnant …. What might Putin’s fourth […]

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In Current Illiberal Cycle, Being an Autocrat like Putin is Fashionable, Albats Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 5, 2018) During the 1970s and 1980s, much of the world was in a liberal cycle with ever more countries being democratic and free; but now, it is in an illiberal one with ever more countries become less democratic and less free, according to Yevgeniya Albats, the editor of The New […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting of the State Council on promoting competition” – KremlinRu

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – April 5, 2018) In the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council meeting on priority areas of activity of the Russian regions to promote competition in the country. Head of the Republic of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov, Head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin and Governor of the Ulyanovsk Region Sergei Morozov […]

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Kremlin’s Political Clans Start Competing Ahead of Possible Reshuffle

Kremlin and River

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jamie Dettmer – MOSCOW, April 3, 2018) Reelected to a new term, Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to announce his ministerial lineup next month, but there are already signs that his long-time prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, is being reined in amid maneuvering by Moscow’s political clans, say analysts. One of Medvedev’s oligarch allies, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Turkey visit brings S-400 missile and nuclear plant headway” – bne Intellinews

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“… Erdogan received … Putin in Ankara … with a crowded agenda … including … Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system and progress with the TurkStream natural gas pipeline …. even more challenging … with the scheduled arrival of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and … the complicated task of finding an end-game […]

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NEWSLINK: “Is Putin a C.I.A. Agent?” – Thomas L. Friedman/New York Times

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“… Because Putin has undertaken so many actions in recent years that contributed to the weakening of Russia’s economy and human capital base that you have to wonder whether he’s secretly on the C.I.A.’s payroll. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova” – KremlinRu

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

(kremlin.ru – April 3, 2018) Vladimir Putin met with Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova. Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova: Mr President, I would like to congratulate you on your convincing victory at the election and to present your certificate. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Ms Pamfilova. I would like to express gratitude to all […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Professor Warns of Putin Hit list: ‘It’s Very Cold Warrish'” – Nina Khrushcheva

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

“Russian-American professor Nina Khrushcheva talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s retaliatory strategy against state enemies and warned that his hit list and weapons development program is reminiscent of Cold War tensions. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s Grim Reality: Public Fury Over Children’s Deaths in Mall” – New York Times

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

“… Putin traveled to the town of Kemerovo to lay flowers next to a memorial for the at least 64 people, many of them children, who died in the fire on Sunday. Some of them died as they banged on locked exit doors and screamed into cellphones for help from their parents. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian President Putin promises justice after Siberian shopping mall blaze tragedy” – bne Intellinews

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

“… details emerge of the fire that has killed 64 people, according to the latest official report, including 41 children, making this the worst tragedy of its type in Russia’s history. Twenty people were rescued … about 100 were evacuated. 15 people remain in hospital …. [O]ne of the owners of the mall has been arrested [for] criminal negligence …. […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Will Trump Punish Russia Next? When it comes to sending messages to bad actors, presidents have a standard bag of tricks to choose from.” – Politico/Samantha Vinograd

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

“… I spent a lot of time in the situation room debating how to respond to naughty global players ….”

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Putin Won Because His People Support Him and Would Have Even If Vote had Been Free and Fair, Pastukhov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 25, 2018) On March 18, Vladimir Putin “won something more than elections: he won the battle for ‘the collective unconsciousness’ of the Russian people; and because he did so, Vladimir Pastukhov argues, the Kremlin leader would have won even if the vote had been fully free and fair And that constitutes […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Meeting with local activists in Kemerovo” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 27, 2018) Vladimir Putin met with local activists who expressed low confidence in the shopping mall fire investigation. The group of activists includes family members of those killed and injured in the fire who do not trust the official data regarding the number of victims. The meeting took place in a forensic medical office where the activists […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian expulsions are a good first step. But only a first step.” – Washington Post Editorial

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

“The United States joined with 19 other countries Monday in what was described as the largest-ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers. … the biggest: Sixty officials with diplomatic status … ordered out of the [United States] and the Russian consulate in Seattle was closed. … a needed response to the nerve-agent attack on a former spy and his daughter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin thanks nation for re-election, promises ‘breakthrough'” – AP

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

“… the Central Election Commission officially declared [Putin] the winner … with nearly 77 percent of the vote … on track to become the nation’s longest-serving leader since … Stalin. … Putin’s most serious rival … Navalny, was barred from the race because of a criminal conviction widely seen as politically motivated. Observers reported numerous incidents of ballot stuffing and […]

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Interfax: Dvorkovich: president to decide income tax rate; difference between 13% and 15% not critical

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – The difference between the current individual income tax rate, 13%, and the rate now under discussion, 15%, is not dramatic, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said, emphasizing that the president would make a final decision on the rate. “The 13% income tax rate is not a fetish. I don’t think that the difference between 13% […]

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Kremlin Officials Split Over Putin’s Economic Promises

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 23, 2018) Russian fiscal policymakers are wrangling over how to fulfil newly re-elected President Vladimir Putin’s spending promises, with one senior Kremlin figure advocating a quick but painful revenue grab and another a more radical overhaul of taxation. During his campaign Putin promised higher healthcare and infrastructure spending, but did not say how this […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A Mandate for Stagnation: After Russia’s Presidential Election” – Carnegie Moscow

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

“… Putin is beginning his fourth term as president of Russia. Andrei Kolesnikov, the head of the Domestic Politics and Political Institutions program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, discusses the elections results, some surprises in the presidential race and what comes next ….”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Address to Russia citizens” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 23, 2018) Vladimir Putin addressed the citizens of Russia following the announcement of the presidential election official results by the Central Election Commission. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends, Today the Central Election Commission announced the final results of the Russian presidential election. Over 67 percent of voters, which is over 73 million citizens, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s Hawks Got the Confirmation They Wanted; The Russian president defeated his strongest opponent — voter apathy” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

Kremlin and River

“… The election was fake because Putin’s most vocal and most politically talented rival, Alexei Navalny, wasn’t allowed to run because of a trumped-up criminal conviction. It was fake because the “opposing candidates” were hand-picked by the Kremlin and because the majority of Russian media are under direct or indirect Kremlin control. It was also fake because of a fierce […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why did Russia poison one of its ex-spies in Britain?” – Washington Post.Maria Snegovaya

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“With Putin returning to office after this election, Moscow appears poised to continue disrupting world politics for years to come.”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with candidates for post of Russian Federation President” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 19, 2018) Vladimir Putin met with candidates who ran in the presidential election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. The election campaign is over, and I wanted to meet with you. I hope that today we will talk, first of all, about the campaign, and most importantly, about what needs to be done to ensure […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What to Expect From Putin and a Resurgent Russia” – AP

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

“… [Putin’s] domestic opponents are largely resigned to another six years in the shadows. …. Even widespread voting violations are unlikely to dent Putin’s armor. … accusations that he meddled in the U.S. election and sponsored a nerve agent attack in Britain have only bolstered his standing at home. Here’s a look at what to expect … NEW COLD WAR? … SYRIA […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Russia is attempting something that nobody but America has tried in 30 years’ Why is Moscow’s foreign policy what it is? Meduza asks the experts” – Meduza

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“In recent years – thanks to the annexation of Crimea, the intervention in eastern Ukraine, and the war in Syria – foreign policy has come to influence the everyday lives of ordinary Russians both directly and indirectly. At the same time, however, state officials have often failed to explain the full logic behind these momentous decisions. To learn more about […]

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NEWSLINK: “It’s the Series Finale for “That Putin Show;” Today’s election in Russia will bring another empty political spectacle to a close. But the contest over the country’s future will just be getting started.” – Jacobin/SEAN GUILLORY

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

“… Putinism is increasingly exhausting itself as its internal contradictions become more visible. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Answers to media questions; Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian and foreign journalists following the completion of the presidential election.” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 18, 2018) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening. Question: Good evening. What is your predominant emotion today? How do you feel, and what plans do you have for tomorrow? Vladimir Putin: The predominant emotion is gratitude to the voters for their choice, for the trust they have placed in me. Gratitude for their assessment of our […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia: Sham Elections for a Dictator” – Freedom House

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

“‘… ‘… Putin will win by an overwhelming margin thanks to regime-controlled media that glorifies the leader and demonizes his critics, the regime’s monopoly of all sources of economic power and wealth, and the removal of all serious opposition candidates through fraudulent legal maneuvers or by assassination.  Russia’s fake elections are now a model for autocrats in other countries, from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s been waging war on the West for years. We just haven’t noticed. It’s way past time for the United States and its allies to get serious about Putin’s aggression.” – Washington Post/Max Boot

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

“… The war arguably began in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, a pro-Western country that sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and was anxious to join NATO. Rather than punishing Vladimir Putin for his aggression, the Obama administration later responded with a “reset” of relations. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Presidential Address to the Nation” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2018) The incumbent President of the Russian Federation addressed the nation ahead of the March 18 presidential election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends, We will have a presidential election this Sunday, March 18. As the incumbent president, I believe it is important to address you ahead of the voting. Under the Constitution, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Real Drama in Russia’s Election: How Many Voters Will Show Up? Putin is poised to win another term as president, and efforts to boost turnout recall Soviet-era elections” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas Grove

Russia Regions Map

“… the challenge for the Kremlin [is] not how to assure [Putin’s] victory … but how to boost voter turnout and legitimize an uncompetitive election. … in the northern Yamal-Nenets region … residents of voting age will be able to take their pictures against an election banner at a voting booth and post it on VKontakte, one of Russia’s most […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Voters Left Guessing at Putin’s Economic Plan” – Reuters

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Putin will enter Sunday’s election with little agreement among his top policymakers on an economic strategy for his next term …. Many Russians … prospered … [when] high oil prices contribut[ed] to bumper growth rates before … 2008 …. But the economy sank into recession after Western … sanctions … [over] Ukraine. A collapse in oil prices and the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Does Putin’s Russia reject the West?” – BBC/Sarah Rainsford

File Photo of British Parliament Building Including Saint Stephen's Tower Containing Big Ben

“Amid the furor over a nerve agent spy attack in the UK, Russia is holding a presidential election. … Putin is expected to win yet another term in office. Do ordinary Russians share his outlook? …”  

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On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia: Part Two: Putin, Grudinin, Titov and the Meaning of Life

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

Subject: Part Two Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia Part Two: Putin, Grudinin, Titov and the Meaning of Life By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil society development support network in the former […]

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On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia; Part One: Ksenia Sobchak

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

Subject: The Siberian Campaign Trail Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia Part One: Ksenia Sobchak By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil society development support network in the former Soviet Union.] [Text with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia explained in 10 charts” – BBC/ Alex Murray, Tom Housden, Anastasia Napalkova, Sandra Rodriguez Chillida, Joy Roxas, Zoe Bartholomew

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

“1. Fewer people are poor … 2. But wage growth has stalled recently … 3. More people have a car, and there are more microwaves than households … 4. Russians fell in love with Ikea … 5. And champagne … There’s some dispute over how much Russians drink. … 6. … the internet took off … 7. But circuses are […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN ON U.S. ELECTION MEDDLING: ‘SO WHAT?’ AND OTHER KEY QUOTES FROM MEGYN KELLY’S INTERVIEW” – Newsweek

Kremlin and River

“… Putin said he ‘doesn’t care’ about the alleged meddling of Russian nationals and companies in the U.S. presidential election on 2016 that saw the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump over his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. Putin discussed the indictment filed by special counsel Robert Mueller last month as part of an exclusive interview to NBC’s Megyn Kelly aired […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less'” – NBC News

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

“… Putin has told NBC News that he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin. In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November […]

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NEWSLINK: “Vladimir Putin Blames U.S. Election Interference On ‘Jews,’ Ukrainians” – Huffington Post

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

“Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any accusations that he meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly. During the tense interview, Putin appeared defensive and even suggested Jewish people were to blame for the United States’ election breach. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Confronting Putin” – NBC

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

“In this NBC News Special, Megyn Kelly travels to Russia for a rare exclusive sit-down interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Megyn grills Putin on the Kremlin’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Interview to American TV channel NBC [Complete Transcript]” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 10, 2018 – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57027) Vladimir Putin answered questions from NBC anchor Megyn Kelly. The interview was recorded in the Kremlin on March 1, 2018, and in Kaliningrad on March 2, 2018. Part 1. The Kremlin, Moscow, March 1, 2018 Megyn Kelly: So, thank you very much for doing this, Mr President. I thought that we’d start with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Another Six Years of Putin Spells for Russia’s Economy; No level of debt-fueled spending can overcome the stagnation caused by the state’s continued domination of the economy” – Eurasianet/David Szakonyi

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Officials are taking no chances to ensure turnout isn’t embarrassingly low, however, mobilizing students and workers, plastering the regions with pro-Putin materials, and seemingly handpicking the other candidates allowed to run. There are many consequences to holding stage-managed elections. Clearly they are a violation of basic political rights. … [and] the Russian presidential campaign offers nearly zero discussions of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity in large cities tumbled by 12 points in February” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

“… Putin’s popularity in large cities tumbled by 12 percentage points in the last month to 57.1% … state owned … VTsIOM … reported ….  less than 10 days to go until [the presidential election] Putin’s popularity rating fell from 69.7% in January to 57.1% in February in the … millionki … 11 cities with more than 1mn residents …. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Vladimir Putin’s Re-Election Strategy: Nukes and Assassins” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

“Emboldened by Trump’s weak response, Putin and his cronies are saying: ‘You know we did it, and you know and we know you’re not going to do anything about it.’”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] ASI Supervisory Board meeting” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 7, 2018) In Samara, Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the supervisory board of the autonomous non-profit organisation Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects (ASI). The meeting participants summed up the Agency’s performance in the past six years and outlined prospects for 2018. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, First of all, I […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How realistic are Putin’s promises to massively increase social spending?” – bne Intellinews/Vadim Dumesh, Ben Aris

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The militarism of … Putin’s … state of the nation speech on March 1 has overshadowed the economic part … set[ting] out the Kremlin’s development strategy … remain[ing] merely declarative and if anything show[ing] the lack of consensus between the Kremlin, government and policy advisers … [with]the Kremlin … attempting to fudge policy to keep all the various factions – […]

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