End of Kremlin’s Dream of ‘Big Deal’ with Trump Makes Putin More Dangerous Not Less

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 16, 2017) Andrey Piontkovsky is undoubtedly correct that “‘a big deal’” between Moscow and Washington has become “impossible” given the fallout from the Flynn scandal because “any step by Trump in this direction would mean for him political death” (nv.ua/opinion/piontkovskiy/novaja-realnost-kremlja-647586.html). But while the Russian commentator doesn’t say so in his latest […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin: Talks to Decide Future of Nuclear Pact With US” – AP

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The possibility of extending a pivotal Russia-U.S. arms control pact is to be discussed in prospective talks …. Peskov[] said the prospects of extending the New START Treaty … set to expire in 2021 will ‘depend on the position of our American partners’ and require negotiations. … the 2010 pact … limited Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to no more […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Russians think when they hear ‘Putin’s a killer'” – Washington Post/Andrew Roth

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

“… Change may be coming under the Trump administration. The State Department and the White House have been silent this week on two events: the latest sentencing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny for embezzlement, likely ending his 2018 bid for president, and the mysterious, life-threatening illness of Vladimir Kara-Murza, another opposition figure, who, his family believes, has been poisoned twice since 2015. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “With court ruling, Kremlin moves to block political biggest threat: Navalny. The ruling reinstating a guilty verdict for anticorruption blogger Alexei Navalny effectively rules him out of next year’s presidential race. But it may help him remain a viable Kremlin opponent.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Kremlin and River

“The legal odyssey of Russia’s best-known opposition leader, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, has been mindbogglingly complicated, full of twists and turns. … with a simple and totally predictable political result. … a regional court’s ruling … upheld … Navalny’s embezzlement conviction and handed him a five-year suspended sentence … [making it] almost impossible for him to run against … Putin […]

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Does Putin have a Trump Problem with the Media? Russians Say It is Failing to Report or Understand His Words

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 9, 2017) Since emerging on the public scene, Donald Trump has lashed out at what he calls “the lying media” for failing to report what he says and choosing instead to distort his message, a pattern that he says explains his preference for trying to reach the American people directly via […]

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Sentence in ‘Kirovles case’ deprives Navalny of possibility of running in presidential elections under law on presidential elections in Russia – lawyer

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. Feb 8 (Interfax) – Under the legislation on presidential elections, opposition politician Alexei Navalny cannot participate in the upcoming election campaign due to his conviction in the Kirovles case,” according to which he has been found guilty of embezzlement, his lawyer Olga Mikhailova told Interfax. “According to the law on [presidential] elections, a person convicted for a grave crime […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Presentation of the 2016 Presidential Prizes in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists

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

(Kremlin.ru – February 8, 2017) Vladimir Putin presented Presidential prizes in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists in the Kremlin on Russian Science Day. The prizes were established in 2008 and are awarded for research results that contribute to advancing natural and technical sciences and the humanities and for creating new equipment and progressive technologies that will boost the knowledge-based […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bad Equilibrium” – project-syndicate/Anders Åslund

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

After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. […]

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NEWSLINK: “We can’t let Trump go down Putin’s path; Russia’s experience shows why Americans must act now to safeguard democratic institutions.” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

“Michael McFaul is director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Hoover fellow at Stanford University, and a contributing columnist to The Post. He was previously special assistant to President Barack Obama at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2012 and U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Open to Pragmatic Relationship With U.S. Despite Differences; Russia and U.S. could benefit from ‘pragmatic mutual relations,’ says Moscow” – Wall Street Journal/JAMES MARSON

Kremlin and River

“… ‘It is no secret that on a whole range of questions of international and regional policy, the positions of Moscow and Washington are diametrically different,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday, Russian news agencies reported. But that can’t and shouldn’t be a hindrance for establishing normal communications and pragmatic mutual relations between Russia and the U.S.’ … Trump […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia ready to take its part of road towards restoration of relations with US”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“Moscow is ready to take its part of the road towards restoration of relations with Washington, which suffered major damage at the previous head of the U.S. administration Barack Obama, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Austria’s Profil weekly. Moscow is watching closely statements made by President Donald Trump about Russia, he said.”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Joint news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (excerpt re Ukraine)

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kremlin.ru – February 2, 2017) Question: I have a question about Ukraine. Mr President, your position on the conflict in Donbass is known. I would like you to clarify the following: why did this flare-up occur at this particular moment? Since we are in Hungary, I would like to ask Mr Orban the following question: What do you think about […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Five issues on which Putin and Trump might find common ground”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Now that Donald Trump is in the White House, Russians are discussing the expected détente with the U.S., and they’re speculating on which issues and under what conditions Moscow and Washington might find common ground. RBTH and various international affairs experts discussed the possible issues and how they might be solved. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, […]

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Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Subject: Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2017 From: Raymond Smith <ray.smith531@gmail.com> Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit By Raymond Smith Retired from the U.S. Foreign Service. Served six years in Moscow, including three as the embassy’s political affairs counselor. Participated in drafting numerous briefing memoranda for meetings between U.S. leaders and their counterparts. Author of Negotiating with […]

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What Vladimir Putin Could Explain to Donald Trump

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991 – jackmatlock.com – January 31, 2017) The telephone conversation last Saturday between the American and Russian presidents seems to have been amicable and constructive, at least in a general sense. They are reported to have discussed key world issues as potential partners, not as adversaries or enemies. That […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian International Affairs Council: “President Trump and US Policy Challenges. Flash interview of RIAC members and experts.”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“On 20 January 2017, Donald Trump took the office as 45th U.S. president. RIAC members and experts comment on the vital domestic and foreign policy issues the U.S.A. is going to face in the next four years.”

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UN Braces as Trump’s Detente With Russia Upsets Balance of Power

UN Building file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kambiz Foroohar – January 31, 2017) President Donald #Trump’s outreach to #Russia is reverberating through the United Nations, where U.S. allies worry that a partnership between Washington and Moscow could undermine a historic balance of power dating to the early days of the Cold War. For decades, the five veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council […]

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Solovey on the Shape of the Emerging Putin-Trump ‘Big Deal’ on Ukraine and Much Else

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 30, 2016) Valery Solovey, one of the best connected and most thoughtful of Moscow’s foreign policy commentators, says that the telephone call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was the “first step toward ‘a big deal’” between the two not only over bilateral ties but also over a re-division of the […]

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OPEN MESSAGE FOR PRESIDENTS TRUMP AND PUTIN: YOUR TELEPHONE CALL

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock – Jan. 27, 2017 – also appeared at jackmatlock.com/2017/01/open-message-for-presidents-trump-and-putin-your-telephone-call/) As one who advised President Reagan on how to end the Cold War, I welcome your plans to discuss US-Russian relations tomorrow, January 28. Relations have reached a state that is dangerous for both our countries and, in fact, the entire world. One brief conversation cannot resolve the contentions […]

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Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That’s Not Going to Be Easy

Donald Trump

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – January 27, 2017) No actor on the world stage was as publicly energized by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as Russia. At first glance, the support seemed entirely emotional. But there was also a rational interest: Trump was open to lifting sanctions, after all. Sanctions have had a […]

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Meeting between Putin, Russian Security Council members involved exchange of opinions on current state of Russian-U.S. relations – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday held an operative meeting with permanent members of the Russian Security Council, presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov told Interfax. “The meeting addressed current issues relating to the internal Russian socio-economic agenda,” Peskov said. “It also addressed the outcome of the Astana negotiations, and also the prospects of further efforts […]

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Easing Russia Sanctions ‘Under Consideration’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jennifer Epstein, Stepan Kravchenko – January 27, 2017) President Donald Trump is willing to consider removing U.S. sanctions against Russia when he has his first official discussion with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday, according to senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. “All of that is under consideration,” Conway said in a TV interview Friday on Fox News, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia investment and political stories go their separate ways” – bne/Intellinews/Ben Aris

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“There are two Russias at the moment. The first is the evil “Putin’s Russia” that kills journalists, bombs civilians and invades other countries. Then there is “bull Russia”, where investors have been making fat profits ….”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Moscow State University Board of Trustees meeting

Moscow State University file photo

(Kremlin.ru – January 25, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Moscow State University (MGU) Board of Trustees. On the agenda were the interim results of the programme for developing MGU through to 2020 and progress in developing the Vorobyovy Gory science and technology cluster. Other items on the agenda included developing fundamental science and the higher education system […]

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Putin’s War On The ’90s

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 25, 2017) Vladimir Putin wants to relitigate the 1990s. He seems determined to erase an entire decade. He wants a do-over. He wants backsies. And this, I believe, is one of the keys to understanding the Kremlin leader’s behavior. It explains Putin’s memorable comments that Ukraine, which like the rest of the […]

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How Tillerson Could Fuel A Russian Arctic Drilling Boom

Rex Tillerson file photo, adapted from image at readyagain.gov

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – January 23, 2017) Robert Berke is an energy financial analyst with experience as a government consultant to the State of Alaska. It’s now clear to nearly everyone that U.S. President Trump intends to seek warmer U.S. relations with Russia, while putting China and Iran relations in the deep freezer. Trump has made no secret of […]

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What Can Putin Really Offer Trump for a Deal?

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 23, 2017) The #Russian and #American #media are full of stories in which various experts discuss what a deal between Vladimir #Putin and Donald #Trump might look like, with almost all the attention going to the concessions Trump should make to Putin and much less to the issue of what Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Hopes for Rapport With US, but Differences Will Stay” – AP

Kremlin and River

“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman voiced hope for a constructive dialogue with President Donald Trump’s administration in comments broadcast Saturday, but warned that differences will remain. Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with state Rossiya television that it would be an ‘illusion’ to expect that U.S.-Russian relations would be completely free of disagreements. …” Click here for “Kremlin Hopes for […]

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Putin Country; As authoritarian control and renewed superpower tension dominate headlines, telling stories of Russia’s everyday heroes can reveal lost alternatives.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Susan Richards – January 19, 2017) Susan Richards is a non-executive director and founder of openDemocracy. She has produced a number of feature films and written a prize-winning book, Epics of Everyday Life, about the lives of ordinary Russians in the transition from communism. Lost & Found in Russia, Encounters in the Deep Heartland, which covers the period […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Listen, liberal. Alexei Kudrin wants to liberalise Russia’s economy to save it. But with Donald Trump’s election, many Russians think Putin’s model is winning.” – The Economist

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“… Kudrin’s verdict was grim. Russia, he said, is at a low pace of economic growth even compared with the period of stagnation in the 1970s and 1980s that led to the Soviet collapse. The reasons go well beyond low #oil prices and Western sanctions: The main problems lie within Russia and they are structural and institutional.’ Russia lags far […]

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And Then Putin Came For The West

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 17, 2016) First he went after the domestic opposition. When Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin five years ago, he launched a massive crackdown on dissent, jailing opposition leaders, staging a series of show trials, and cracking down on social media. He called them fifth columnists and tools of the West. Outside […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] [j]oint news conference with President of Moldova Igor Dodon

Moldova Map and Flag

(Kremlin.ru – January 17, 2017) Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon gave a joint news conference following the Russia-Moldova talks. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, Our talks with the Moldovan President were held in a constructive and I would also say friendly atmosphere. They were concrete and covered issues of mutual interest. We have discussed […]

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The Impossible Grand Bargain

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 16, 2017) There’s a very simple reason why a new reset won’t work. There’s a very simple reason why any grand bargain with Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin regime is doomed to failure. There’s a very simple reason why a new detente with Moscow would probably make matters much worse. And that’s the simple […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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Prosecutors should continue paying more attention to protecting fair business from pressure, unjustified checks – Putin

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – Fair business must be reliably protected by the state, including from unjustified checks, prosecutors must continue work in this direction, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Fair, honest, transparent business must be reliably protected by the state, including from unjustified checks and other pressure,” he said at a meeting on the occasion of the 295th anniversary […]

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Peskov on next U.S. State Secretary Tillerson: we aren’t wearing rose-tinted glasses

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – The Kremlin is counting on the ability of the next U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to be receptive to arguments pertaining to Moscow-Washington cooperation. Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov commented on abstracts from the speech Rex Tillerson would deliver at the confirmation hearing in Senate, which had been published by the Western media. Peskov […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Higher School of Economics Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – January 9, 2017) Yaroslav Kuzminov updated the President on the implementation of the Academic Excellence Project 5-100. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Kuzminov, the Higher School of Economics will mark its 25th anniversary this year. How will you celebrate this notable event? Rector of the Higher School of Economics Yaroslav Kuzminov: We will celebrate it with new […]

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VIDEO: Russia’s election intervention is ‘new reality, new weapon’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(PBS Newshour – January 7, 2017) [Click here for transcript] On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold a meeting about the intelligence report released this week that concludes the Russian government tried to influence the U.S. election. To break down what is in the report and what to expect, senior national security reporter at The Wall […]

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Kremlin Propaganda Effort Ever Less Effective on Russians, Surveys Show

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 8, 2016) The messages Kremlin propaganda is disseminating and the actual beliefs of Russians are increasingly diverging, except on the “sacred” issue of approval for Vladimir Putin, surveys show, an indication that his regime’s media efforts are ever less successful in shaping public attitudes, according to Igor Yakovenko. The Russian commentator […]

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Putin Will Never Agree to Deal Thomas Graham Suggests He Wants, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin has no interest in the deal Thomas Graham suggests he now wants, Vitaly Portnikov says; and consequently, if Washington pursues the course the former US diplomat and current Kissinger associate proposes, it will only embarrass itself but not achieve any of the goals he says the West […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin orders check on prison conditions

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(RIA Novosti – January 3, 2017) President Vladimir Putin has ordered the nation’s prosecutor-general to investigate the observance of the law inside Russia’s prison system, state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported on 3 January, citing a statement on the Kremlin website. “The prosecutor-general is to conduct a check on the conformity by the Federal Penal Service of implementation of legislation […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post/Colbert I. King: “Is a Trump-Putin Pact on the horizon?”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump has declared his desire: ‘I want to get along with Russia.’ He also wants to cooperate with the Kremlin along a broad front, from joint operations against terrorism, especially targeting the Islamic State, to halting nuclear proliferation and advances by Iran and North Korea. …”

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/TASS: “Putin orders to submit NGO ‘foreign agents’ report until late March”

Kremlin and River

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the presidential staff, Justice Ministry and the presidential envoy for environmental protection to analyze regulatory enforcement of the non-governmental organizations operating as foreign agents and financed by state. The list of Putin’s instructions made following the meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights held on December 8, 2016 was […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin won 2016, but Russia has its limits as a superpower” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“… Putin heads into 2017 … having brokered a cease-fire in Syria that sidelined the United States … having won the praise of … Trump by declining to retaliate in response to the Obama administration’s decision to punish Moscow over its alleged interference in the U.S. election. … Putin is as popular as ever at home …. But Russia is […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Statement by the President of Russia

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Kremlin.ru – December 30, 2016) We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as […]

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