NEWSWATCH: “Lawmakers look to get tough on Russia” – The Hill

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian aggression will be high on lawmakers’ minds when the House Armed Services Committee meets Wednesday to mark up its annual defense policy bill. … the Russians have buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer, barrel rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane and warned the United States to steer clear of its territory. … committee members say there will be plenty in […]

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“Johnson’s Russia List Want Ad” – The JRL Needs Your Support

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Dear JRL recipient, I want and need your support. It’s obvious. Johnson’s Russia List is needed more than ever these days. No further elaboration or exhortation is required. Please do also check out the fabulous and lively JRL archive at russialist.org $50 is the normal annual contribution. Business-users should contribute more. A minimum contribution of $25 is suggested. HOW TO […]

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Despite Claims, Ukraine Not Free Of Russian Energy Dependence

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – April 25, 2016) Now more than two years on since the revolutionary events on Maidan and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Ukraine is still largely without its footing. Political infighting is again on the rise and the specter of massive corruption persists, stymying what have been positive, albeit small, steps toward reform. The country’s energy […]

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Atomic energy and political power in Russia

Nuclear Plant File Photo

In Russia, the space for environmental activism and advocacy is changing under increasing state pressure. An interview with one of Russia’s leading ecological organisations about the prospects for anti-nuclear activism today. (opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA, VLADIMIR SLIVYAK, NAILYA IBRAGIMOVA – April 25, 2016) In the coming days, much of the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia is […]

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Three-quarters of Russians believe modern NPPs safe

Russian Nuclear Plant

(Interfax – April 26, 2016) The attitude of Russians to the atomic energy industry has drastically changed over the past quarter of a century: 56 percent opposed its development (14 percent voiced their support) in 1990, and now atomic energy is welcomed by 58 percent (and opposed by 28 percent), the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) has said. Seventy-three […]

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Why Ukraine is at risk of forgetting the lessons of Chernobyl

Chernobyl File Photo

Thirty years after the explosion at the nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, one Russian expert argues that, by using American fuel in Soviet-built reactors and pushing the power-producing capabilities of its nuclear plants, Ukraine is putting itself at potential risk of another disaster. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANDREI RETINGER, SPECIAL TO RBTH – […]

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Interfax: Business confidence rises in Russian extractive, manufacturing sectors

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) – The business confidence index in the Russian extractive industry grew for the third straight month in April, while the index in the manufacturing sector also grew, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The business confidence index in the Russian extractive sector improved to minus (-) 2% in April, from -3% in March, -4% in […]

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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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BBC Accuses British, Russian Media Of Skewing MH17 Reporting

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – April 25, 2016) The BBC has issued a rare defense of an upcoming documentary about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, accusing British media of distorting its report about a tragedy that killed 298 passengers and crew in July 2014. A report by Britain’s Sunday Express tabloid “misrepresented” the BBC program, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-79 :: Tuesday, 26 April 2016

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#79 Tuesday, 26 April 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist – JRL on Twitter: @JohnsonRussiaLi Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Reasons to be hopeful after the Russia-NATO Summit. Russia and NATO renewed their dialogue for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, but the talks failed to produce any results. However, the very fact that the summit took place means a lot and gives reason to hope that the two sides can eventually find a compromise.”

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage » Read more

NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How Ukraine’s new prime minister can put Kiev on a European path. Ukraine’s new government has a tough task ahead: It must deal with a controversial legacy of governance, improve its image abroad and fulfill plans for EU integration – all while reducing the nation’s dependence on Russian gas.”

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine » Read more

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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VIDEO & NEWSWATCH PBS: “Two years into new regime, grim realities persist in Ukraine”

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine has faced many challenges in the two years since violent protests drove the country’s president from office. The Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in particular sparked a military conflict between pro-Russian secessionists and Ukraine’s government. Correspondent Kira Kay and Producer Jason Maloney from the Bureau for International Reporting take us inside Ukraine to asses the country’s struggle for […]

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Interfax: Donetsk republic attacked nearly 300 times by govt forces in 24 hours

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

(Interfax – April 23, 2016) The Ukrainian troops have opened fire against the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic (DPR) about 300 times in the past 24 hours, DPR defense representative Eduard Basurin said. “Over the past 24 hours the Ukrainian armed forces have shelled our republic 296 times. In all, the enemy fired 190 mortars of the 82- and 120-millimeter caliber. […]

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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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Kennan Cable No.16: Understanding the “Under Control” Donbas

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Brian Milakovsky, Humanitarian Activist, Ukraine – April 22, 2016) [Photos and figures here wilsoncenter.org/publication/kennan-cable-no16-understanding-the-under-control-donbas] After nearly two years of war, the contested Donbas region in eastern Ukraine is split in two between the Russian-backed “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk and the so-called podkontrolny (under control) Donbas. There is much analysis of how Ukraine might […]

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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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RBTH: Can two political émigrés foment a revolution in Russia from abroad?

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

With half a year remaining before parliamentary elections in Russia, not only the Russian government but also its opponents have intensified their activities. In London two millionaires are open in their support for a revolution in Russia. But instead of undertaking concrete action they are waiting for the government to make mistakes. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-78 :: Monday, 25 April 2016

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#78 Monday, 25 April 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist – JRL on Twitter: @JohnsonRussiaLi Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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Same Level of Corruption Recorded in Russian, U.S. Businesses – Survey

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 23, 2016) Thirty-four percent of respondents in Russia and and the United States agree that bribery and corruption are widespread in their country, a survey by multinational financial services company EY reported. The survey results show business professionals in both countries agreed that corruption in business was widespread in their respective nations. EY – […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH/Gazeta.ru: “Why Russia hopes for realism from the next U.S. president. With the election picture gradually becoming clearer in the U.S., political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov asks whether the identity of the next American president really matters in Russia, and explores the crisis of realism in U.S. foreign policy.”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain » Read more

NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Inside Russian top investigator’s latest manifesto against extremism. It remains to be seen whether the Kremlin will listen to the ideas of one of the country’s top law enforcement officers to impose even greater censorship and control over Russian society as part of enhanced efforts to win the ‘information war’ with the West”

Alexandr Bastrykin file photo » Read more

NEWSWATCH Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:/ Balázs Jarábik, Mikhail Minakov: “Ukraine’s Hybrid State. Ukraine has new institutions and a vibrant civil society, but a culture of corruption erodes state legitimacy. The state has been captured by enemies within.”

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

With no end in sight to the slow-motion hybrid war in Donbas, the impetus to reform the Ukrainian state has moved in fits and starts. Attempts to carry out a series of fundamental reforms have fallen far short of expectations. These efforts have produced what some observers have described as a hybrid Ukrainian state. The country boasts new institutions and […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-77 :: Friday, 22 April 2016

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#77 Friday, 22 April 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist – JRL on Twitter: @JohnsonRussiaLi Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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Russia will watch for “adverse consequences” of Ukraine-EU deal – Kremlin

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

(Interfax – April 21, 2016) Russia will only be “too happy” if Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU brings it economic stability and prosperity, but will take “balancing measures” if the deal has a negative impact on Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This topic rather concerns the EU and Ukraine. As regards the economic aspect, to the extent that […]

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RBTH: Can Russia stomach Ukraine and Georgia becoming NATO ‘associates’?

NATO Meeting file photo

The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw (8-9 July 2016) will be hallmarked by Ukraine and Georgia’s elevation to a still-elusive status of “associate partners.” While the move could be interpreted as one step closer to full membership, Moscow military experts view it as lip service to keep the two countries, going through a turbulent transitional period, in the Western alliance’s […]

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Former Prime Minister Kasyanov Stifled by Both Kremlin and Allies

Mikhail Kasyanov File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Daria Litvinova – April 22, 2016) Sitting on a deep leather sofa in his office, Mikhail Kasyanov looks much like he always has. There’s the same no-nonsense demeanor, the expensive suit and his smooth, deep voice. He has an almost aristocratic style of talking, heavy and bureaucratic. He is a man who made […]

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Barred From Hundreds Of Occupations In Russia, A Few Women Fight Back

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, April 17, 2016) Svetlana Medvedeva cannot rise to the top of her chosen profession for a very simple reason — she is a woman. The ambition of the 30-year-old mother of two is to earn a much better wage as the captain of a boat on the Volga River, which runs through […]

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On My Mind [re: Kudrin and Pamfilova]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 21, 2016) You have to wonder what drives people like Aleksei Kudrin and Ella Pamfilova. Both were in the news this week. Kudrin accepted an offer to chair the Kremlin’s top economics think tank, the Center for Strategic Reform, and called for a fundamental restructuring of Russia’s economy and political system. And […]

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Russia’s regions: federalism and its discontents

Russia Regions Map

Creating the appearance of stability is the Russian political elite’s primary goal. Yet colonial-like rule over the country’s regions, combined with a lack of civic activity, harms the Kremlin’s legitimacy on the ground. (opendemocracy.net – Badma Byurchiev – April 21, 2016) Badma Byurchiev was born in Kalmykia in 1973, and has worked as a journalist since 2003. He currently works […]

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Hard Work vs. Magic

Kremlin and River

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Kennan Institute. Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – April 19, 2016) Russian officials still refer to “conditions for doing business” or “quality of governance” when discussing the country’s economic performance. But the lack of gravitas in these conversations is palpable. Russia’s official economic policymakers command an excellent understanding of the country’s economic problems, […]

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