NEWSLINK: “Washington added every Russian billionaire to its ‘list of oligarchs.’ Does that make sense? Who are these ‘oligarchs’?” – Meduza

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

“1. What Happened? … 2. Who does Washington consider an “oligarch” in Russia? … 3. But who are “oligarchs” really? It is just very rich business people? … 4. Who are Russia’s oligarchs? Where’d they come from? … 5. Is this the only definition of “oligarchy”? … 6. Does Russia have “oligarchs” today? …”

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Interfax: Putin warns against further politicization of global sports

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

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Jan 31 (Interfax) – Russia hopes that international sports organizations will not turn into government departments in certain countries however powerful these might seem sometimes, President Vladimir Putin said. “Of course, we very much feel for our athletes who could not go to the Olympic Games. We will do everything to support them,” Putin said at a meeting with […]

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Russia’s presidential elections: predictable results with an unpredictable aftermath; This March, Russia goes through the motions of yet another (re)election. Here are the contenders, and a few reasons why their contest may just be worth watching.

Kremlin and River

(opendemocracy.net – Ilya Budraitskis – January 29, 2018) Ilya Budraitskis is Moscow-based historian and political writer. He is current member of editorial board of Moscow Art Magazine, Openleft.ru and LeftEast. [“A strong president for a great country”. Campaign office for Vladimir Putin’s (re)election, Kazan, January 2018. Photo (c): Maksim Bogodvid / RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.] This article originally appeared […]

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Few Russians Think ‘Era of Oligarchs’ is Over

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 28, 2018) At Davos, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that there aren’t any oligarchs left in Russia, a declaration that has attracted a great deal of attention both in Russia and abroad but very little support among Russians who continue to see oligarchs as an evil force in their […]

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NEWSLINK: “Project Inertia: The Outlook for Putin’s Fourth Term” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrei Kolesnikov

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Do not expect modernization after Putin’s 2018 reelection. Instead, the system he built will function on autopilot as the Russian leader continues to lose direct control over events, ideas, and actions. But that doesn’t imply democratization. In essence, the head of state finds himself chained to the galley that he built himself”

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NEWSLINK: “Putin to deploy ‘canine KGB death squads’ to butcher thousands of stray dogs in football World Cup host cities, claim campaigners” – The Mirror (UK)/ Will Stewart

File Photo of Dog at Animal Shelter Jumping Up on Person in Winter Clothing, With Beseeching Look

“WARNING – DISTRESSING IMAGES: The mass slaughter of stray dogs will take place despite assurances to the contrary, say animal rights campaigners”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Won’t Tell Voters How He’ll Pay for Domestic Spending” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… offering Russians the biggest increase in domestic spending in years … what [Putin] won’t be talking much about is the package of tax hikes, benefit cuts and other changes … to help pay for [it] … possible increases to the pension age and the income tax … cuts in tax breaks for staples like food … [and] co-pays for […]

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Russians So Overwhelmingly Apolitical that Poll Numbers are Meaningless, Kagarlitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 20, 2018) Given that 90 percent of Russian society is “apolitical,” Moscow commentator Boris Kagarlitsky says, “it is impossible” to say how much support Vladimir Putin or anyone else has. Indeed, asking that question under Russian conditions now is completely inappropriate. This comment from the director of the Institute of Globalization […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin spoke at meeting for Supreme Court 95th anniversary” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – January 23, 2018) The meeting was held at the Supreme Court building in Moscow and was attended by members of the judiciary, the Government and the Federal Assembly. The history of Russia’s supreme legislative authority for civil, criminal and administrative cases and economic disputes began with the establishment of the Supreme Court of the RSFSR in 1923. In […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia faces 6 more years of stagnation under Putin” – CNN/ Alanna Petroff

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russian President Vladimir Putin looks set to win re-election in March, extending his stay in the Kremlin to 2024. For Russia’s economy, that likely means six more years of anemic growth. …”

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Explaining Russia’s Schizophrenic Policy toward the United States

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

(PONARS Policy Memo – PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Kimberly Marten – January 19, 2018) Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the Director of the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at Columbia’s Harriman Institute. The weaknesses and inconsistencies of Russia’s recent actions toward the United States need to be explained. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Contrary to Expectations, US-Russian Relations Deteriorate Under President Trump” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham

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

  “… Trump’s presidency began … with widespread expectations of improvement in U.S.-Russian relations [yet now they are] in worse shape than he found them. … the National Security Strategy … identified Russia (along with China) as a strategic adversary intent on undermining U.S. primacy … [Additionally, consider] Trump’s decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine to help deter Russian […]

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New Times: “In Anticipation of a Big Reshuffle”

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – January 15, 2018 – mrussia.org/en/the-rundown/media-must-reads/2896-big-reshuffle%2C-“kremlin-report%2C”-putin-and-2018-elections) While Putin has not announced any final decisions, journalist Denis Vardanyan discusses the reshuffling expected in the Kremlin and the government after the March 18 elections. The likely candidates comprise three groups: those whose work is marred by mistakes, those who want a reassignment, and those whose fate […]

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73% of Russians Plan To Vote for Putin – Survey

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 18, 2018) The majority of Russians say they will go to the polls to vote for Putin in the March 2018 presidential elections, according to a survey published by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) on Wednesday. Another polling agency, the independent Levada Center, announced last week that they would not be […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – January 16, 2018) Vladimir Putin held the first meeting with Government members this year. Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov reported to the meeting participants on passenger air and rail transportation volumes during the New Year holidays and over 2017. Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov reported on the growth of domestic, inbound and outbound tourist […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Future of Navalny’s Opposition Movement; Why It Will Continue to Challenge the Kremlin” – Foreign Affairs/Anton Barbashin

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org by Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“In March 2017 … Navalny released a shocking video investigation … reveal[ing] that Medvedev has been able to amass a tremendous fortune while in power … several mansions in Russia, a villa and property in Italy, and other assets worth roughly $1.2 billion. … spark[ing] a great deal of interest among Russians … receiv[ing] almost 26 million views on YouTube […]

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RUSSIALINK: [Putin at] Meeting with participants of the Forum of Small Towns and Historical Settlements – KremlinRu

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

Vladimir Putin met with participants of the Forum of Small Towns and Historical Settlements that opened in Kolomna. The forum is devoted to preserving and developing the cultural, tourism and economic potential of small towns. Before the meeting the President visited an exhibition of projects for a comfortable urban environment. Vladimir Putin looked over the stands of the Ministry of […]

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Andrei Liakhov: Re: “Cohen on Putin”

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

Subject: Cohen on Putin Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> [Andrei Liakhov has over 20 years of experience with leading international law firms, private companies and government institutions in the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Canada, and Ukraine.] Brilliant analysis, I can subscribe to every word. Pity the video is cut short and we do not […]

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Who’s On The List? Russia’s Elite Nervous About New U.S. Sanctions

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – WASHINGTON – January 15, 2018 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-sanctions-list-putin-circle-elite-nervous/28976991.html) There’s a chill settling in over Moscow, and it’s not just the arctic temperatures that typically smother the Russian capital in January. As U.S. officials put the finishing touches on new financial and travel sanctions against Russia, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Weighs Biggest Spending Spree Since Putin’s Re-Election” – Bloomberg/Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov, Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova, Olga Tanas

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Russia’s government is discussing a proposal to turn on the fiscal taps in what would be the biggest domestic spending spree since President Vladimir Putin last ran for re-election in 2012. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin tries to stir voters’ interest in Putin’s election campaign; Slick, US-style apparatus set up in effort to present Russian poll as a contest” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille

Russia Regions Map

“… With 18 years in power … far-reaching control over institutions from parliament to courts and the election watchdog, and no serious challenger, [Putin] can afford to skip wooing voters …. the Kremlin frets that too smooth a campaign is dangerous. … voters’ passivity [includes] resignation that they cannot effect political change anyway … [that] could metastasise into widespread disaffection […]

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VCIOM: 81% of respondents to vote for Putin in election

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

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – Of the 67% of respondents surveyed by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) who said they firmly intend to vote in the coming presidential election, over 80% said they are inclined to vote for Vladimir Putin, Valery Fyodorov, the head of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), said. “We are presenting another rating, […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with heads of Russian print media and news agencies” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 11, 2018) Ahead of Russian Press Day marked on January 13, Vladimir Putin met with heads of Russian print media and news agencies in the editorial office of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. The discussion focused on current professional issues. The President congratulated media representatives on their professional holiday. In December 2017, during Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference, […]

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By Dividing Society, Putin has Unintentionally Opened Up Russia’s Politics, Pavlovsky Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 8, 2018) Vladimir Putin during his first two terms in office sought to unify Russians around him; but in his third, he divided them by attacking what he calls “the fifth column,” thus unwittingly creating two communities within Russia, opening up the country’s political space, and making competition for power possible, […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Visit to Tver Carriage Works” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 10, 2018) During his working trip to the Tver Region, Vladimir Putin visited Tver Carriage Works, where he was informed about the plant’s operation and shown its finished products. The plant’s General Director Andrei Solovei informed the President about its performance indicators and the efficiency of the government support measures. Vladimir Putin visited a number of shops […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin will elevate loyalty over all in his next presidency” – RaamopruslandNL/ Mark Galeotti

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Is Putin’s grip on power still as strong as ever? Some observers are … presenting him as some kind of a ‘lame duck president’, even as he prepares to be re-elected yet again. … Mark Galeotti suggests such talk misrepresents the nature of power in today’s Russia. ‘Power is the capacity to act and get away with it’ …. Putin […]

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Putin Hails ‘Eternal Christian Values’ Amid Orthodox Christmas Celebrations

Russian Orthodox Believers Holding Candles at Cathedral at Christmas

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – January 7, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-christmas-russia-belarus-georgia-kazakhstan-macedonia-moldova-serbia-ukraine-armenia/28959952.html) [Photos: http://www.mk.ru/photo/gallery/13772-232315.html] Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered greetings to Orthodox Christians and all Russians on Christmas celebrated according to the Julian calendar on January 7. A Kremlin press service statement quoted Putin as saying that Christmas “gives millions of believers joy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s Rival Can’t Run for President, But He’s Still a Threat; Did the Russian leader add to Alexey Navalny’s protest prowess by barring him from this year’s election?” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org by Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Now that he’s been officially barred from challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin in presidential elections next March, opposition leader Alexey Navalny is counting on becoming an even bigger nuisance for the Kremlin. The 41-year-old Navalny, who is banned from appearing on state television and whose name Putin never even mentions in public, is urging his supporters to protest nationwide on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Toughens Penalty for Bomb Threats Plaguing Russia” – AP

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

“… Putin has signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison. … Since September, authorities have received false bomb reports allegedly targeting more than 3000 structures in about 180 Russian cities. The subsequent building evacuations have sometimes caused severe traffic problems. A top Interior Ministry official said […]

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

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Kremlin.ru – December 31, 2017) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, We are on the threshold of a New Year, year 2018. Although we celebrate this every year, we are always happy to usher the year in as something new, hoping that the wishes we make at the stroke of midnight do come true. New Year’s Eve is above all […]

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Putin wishes change for better, success, wellbeing to Russians, peace, prosperity to ‘beloved, one and only Russia’

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

MOSCOW. Dec 31 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin said he believes since his childhood days that every wish made on the New Year’s Eve will come true. Residents of Kamchatka were the first to hear the New Year’s address of the president. Putin reminded Russians that this is a family holiday first and foremost. “We are celebrating it just as […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Declares St. Petersburg Blast Terrorism; Grocery store bombing injured 13; Russian president orders officials to act decisively to stop further attacks” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

St. Petersburg

“A bomb blast at a St. Petersburg grocery store [from a handmade explosive device] … injured 13 …. No one has claimed responsibility. … Until recently, Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus had seen almost daily violence from Islamic separatists …. Security measures and the departure of fighters to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cut violence …. many […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Barred From Running and Boycotting: Navalny’s Quandary in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

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

“… Navalny, a Russian anticorruption activist, would have no real chance of defeating … Putin in an election. … But on Monday the Kremlin barred him from running for president in March. Then on Tuesday, threatening legal action, it warned him against organizing a boycott of the election. In one surreal turn after another, the Russian authorities have dismissed Mr. […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Government Members” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Kremlin.ru – December 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held the last meeting with Government members this year at the Government House. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. As per our tradition, we have only one issue on the agenda of our meeting today. I would like to wish you a happy New Year and all the best, as well […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] United Russia Party Congress” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Kremlin.ru – December 23, 2017 Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the United Russia political party 17th Congress. Nearly 2,500 people are taking part in the congress, including 455 delegates from the party’s 85 regional branches, heads of ministries and agencies, State Duma deputies, representatives of the regional executive and legislative bodies, secretaries of United Russia regional political councils, […]

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Putin signs decree on state policy to develop competition

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Dec 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the main focus of state policy to develop competition, the Kremlin said in a press statement. “With the goals of strengthening the national economy, the future development of competition and not allowing monopoly activity, I hereby order that active assistance to develop competition in Russia be […]

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Putin Offers Debt Relief to 42 Million Russians Before Elections

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin’s draft proposal to provide debt relief to a third of the Russian population before next year’s presidential elections is breezing its way through the Russian parliament. Kremlin officials are hoping for a 70 percent turnout with 70 percent of votes cast for Putin as president. A Levada poll published earlier […]

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Launching Campaign, Putin Says Russia’s ‘Stability’ Crucial

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 19, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-calls-us-senator-mccain-old-world-but-admires-his-patriotism/28537171.html) President Vladimir Putin has kicked off his reelection campaign by calling for the protection of Russia’s “freedom” and “stability,” suggesting the country needs to ward off influence from abroad and attempts by the domestic opposition to shake up politics. Putin’s remarks came […]

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Central Banker Named Putin Heir in Doomsday Prediction

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 19, 2017) President Vladimir Putin will continue to rule behind the scenes after installing the current Central Bank chairwoman as his proxy, the Bloomberg news agency predicted in its annual worst-case scenario guide on Monday. Putin, who announced plans to seek a fourth term this month, is widely expected to win the 2018 presidential […]

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NEWSWATCH: “They’re back! Must-read paper on ‘The Return of Global Russia,’ a new Carnegie project, is avail online and explains the Kremlin’s increasingly expansive foreign policy paradigm …” – Andrew S. Weis/ Carnegie Endowment/ Twitter

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

(Andrew S. Weiss, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment Russia and Eurasia Program – Twitter – @andrewsweiss) “They’re back! Must-read paper on ‘The Return of Global Russia,’ a new Carnegie project, is avail online and explains the Kremlin’s increasingly expansive foreign policy paradigm http://ceip.org/2C5ksHh via @pstronski and Richard Sokolsky …” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below; tweet also […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Relations With the West One Year After the U.S. Presidential Elections” – NYU Jordan Center/PONARS Eurasia

File Photo of Manhattan and Manhattan Bridge, adapted from image at loc.gov, from photo by Carol M. Highsmith

“On Wednesday November 8th, the NYU Jordan Center and PONARS Eurasia hosted a joint conference entitled, “Russia’s Relations with the West one Year after the US Presidential Elections.” Taking place on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president, the panel brought together scholars from a range of countries to consider the current state of U.S.-Russian/Eurasian relations and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Vladimir Putin addressed Russian Popular Front Action Forum” – KremlinRru

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

(Kremlin.ru – December 19, 2017) The President took part in a plenary session of the Russian Popular Front (ONF) Action Forum. The President was also updated on several ONF projects, listened to a report on the operations of the forum’s themed platforms and talked with presentation participants. Vladimir Putin was updated on the ONF Cleaning Project launched to get rid […]

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RUSSIALINK: “[Putin] Telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump” – KremlinRu

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information passed on by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Meeting with Constitutional Court Judges” – KremlinRu

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 12, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a traditional meeting with judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation timed for Constitution Day. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, colleagues, good afternoon. I would like to greet you, the judges of the Constitutional Court, your entire staff, and, of course, all Russian citizens on Constitution Day and […]

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RUSSIALINK VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – December 14, 2017) [transcript appears below video; video with English translation and transcript originally appeared at en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56378] The President’s news conference was broadcast live by Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24 and Channel One, as well as Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations.  President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. I have brought some notes with me, mostly the […]

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Half of Russians Now Blame Putin for Russia’s Problems — But Most Support Him Anyway

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 11, 2017) Forty-nine percent of Russians say that Vladimir Putin is responsible for the problems Russia faces, up by nine percent over the last year, a Levada Center poll finds (politsovet.ru/57449-polovina-rossiyan-schitaet-putina-prichinoy-problem-v-strane.html https://www.levada.ru/2017/12/11/17232/). Slightly fewer – 45 percent – blame the government, and fewer still blame Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an indication […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “How Putin’s emotional reactions drive Russian strategy” – PBS Newshour

Putin at Desk

(PBS Newshour –  December 13, 2017) “What motivates President Vladimir Putin, the man accused of ordering Russian interference in the 2016 American election? Special correspondent Nick Schifrin talks with Julia Ioffe, who has written a new cover story for The Atlantic about what he really wants. …” [Click here for transcript and original posting of video: pbs.org/newshour/show/how-putins-emotional-reactions-drive-russian-strategy] 

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