RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-181 :: Friday, 30 September 2016

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#181 Friday, 30 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Russian Officials Dig In On MH17, As Critics Decry ‘Politics Of Denial’

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – September 29, 2016) MOSCOW — A series of denials by Russian officials and state-media allegations of bias and foul play present a view that is starkly discrepant with international criminal investigators’ findings, announced this week, over the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) interim […]

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Russia’s Abortion Debate Is Back

Ultrasound and Photo of Prenatal Child file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – September 29, 2016) Abortion rights are on the minds of citizens and officials across Europe this week. In Ireland, protesters marched through the streets of Dublin in the thousands demanding their government hold a referendum to repeal restrictive abortion laws. The same week, the Polish parliament shocked Europe by voting through a […]

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MUSIC EVENT: October Tchaikovsky concert in Washington [Oct. 20 at French Embassy]

Tchaikovsky Sheet Music

Subject: October Tchaikovsky concert in Washington Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 From: Mary Kruger <mary.kruger.network@gmail.com> Concert: “Tchaikovsky Meets Pushkin: Eugene Onegin Highlights” Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Russian Chamber Art Society at La Maison Francaise Embassy of France 4101 Reservoir Road, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007 Ample street parking nearby The Russian Chamber Art Society opens […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-180 :: Thursday, 29 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#180 Thursday, 29 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Khodorkovsky’s Group To Support Media Startups

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – September 29, 2016) A pro-democracy group founded by exiled Kremlin critic and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has launched a project to fund online media startups. Open Russia said on September 29 that the goal of the project was “to create communication channels within the part of the Russian society that considers itself independent from the government’s […]

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Former Prime Minister to Become Putin’s Right-Hand Man

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – September 29, 2016) Boris Yeltsin reportedly first spotted Sergei Kiriyenko, then a young businessman from Nizhny Novgorod, during a boat trip on the Volga River in July 1994. Nearly four years later, Yeltsin would shock the political establishment by appointing him prime minister. Plucked from relative obscurity at the age of just […]

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Eastern Europe Arming Itself because ‘No One Wants to Be the Next Ukraine’

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 28, 2016) In what many are calling “the Putin effect,” countries across Eastern Europe, including even #Belarus, nominally Russia’s closest ally, are now arming themselves even when they have to cut social welfare spending because, in the words of one commentator, “no one wants to be the next Ukraine.” This sacrifice […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Implicated in Shooting Down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Over Ukraine” – New York Times

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

A Dutch-led investigation has concluded that the powerful surface-to-air missile system … used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine two years ago, killing all 298 on board, was trucked in from Russia at the request of Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. … largely confirm[ing] the already widely documented Russian government role not only […]

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Russia Smashes Post-Soviet Oil Supply Record as OPEC Weighs Curb

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Julian Lee, and Dina Khrennikova – September 28, 2016) Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, is on course to pump a post-Soviet record amount of oil in September, adding as much as 400,000 barrels a day to the country’s production. The output surge comes as OPEC nations meet in Algeria, with discussions to curb […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow: “Looking to 2018: The Kremlin Plans Its Next Election”

Kremlin and River

The Russian authorities delivered a resounding victory for the ruling party in the 2016 parliamentary election after reaching the conclusion that they showed weakness in 2011 and the Russian opposition exploited that. This will shape their strategy for the next presidential election in 2018.

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Russia takes 119th place in global health ranking. Lower-than-expected score attributed to high rate of alcoholism and suicide.”

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

Russia was rated in the bottom third of a global ranking of population health in a report released last week by British medical journal The Lancet; the country ranked 119 out of 188 nations. The report, based on analysis by 1,800 scientists, graded nations on 33 health indicators approved by the UN in September 2015 as part of the Millennium […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-179 :: Wednesday, 28 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#179 Wednesday, 28 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Russia’s domestic policy architect is now managing the Duma. Vyacheslav Volodin, now that he has won Kremlin support to become the next speaker of the State Duma, has emerged as a potential Putin successor in 2018.”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… Russian President Vladimir Putin recommended all four Duma parties to support the candidacy of the first deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Administration, Vyacheslav Volodin. As usual, the parliamentary parties did not oppose the president and expressed their approval. …

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev

Field of Grain file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev. The Minister briefed the President on the planned grain harvest and the Russian agricultural industry’s export potential. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, harvesting is gradually moving towards completion. What result will you report this year? Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev: The outlook is better than ever. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on budget planning

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Kremlin.ru – September 28, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on federal budget planning. Participants discussed the budget policy priorities for the upcoming period. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, Government efforts to draft the federal budget are entering the final stage. By November 1, the draft is to be submitted to the 7th State Duma. I am confident that […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-178 :: Tuesday, 27 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#178 Tuesday, 27 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Ya Heart Vladimir: A Visit to the Regions

Russia Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – September 22, 2016 – Mary Elizabeth Malinkin) Giant, Cyrillic block letters spelling “Ya Heart Vladimir” (“I Love Vladimir”) now illuminate Cathedral Square in downtown Vladimir, Russia. The cheery, familiar slogan brought a smile to my face – da, ya lyublyu Vladimir. In early August I traveled back to the ancient city (just how ancient remains […]

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NEWSLINK Oxford University Press Blog/Andrew Monaghan: “Putin and beyond: a Q&A on Russian politics”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

When he came to power in 1999, Vladimir Putin was asked whom he trusted, and whose advice he took. He named Sergei Ivanov, Dmitri Medvedev, Nikolai Patrushev and Alexei Kudrin. Fifteen years later, these people still form Putin’s core group and dominate the strategic heights of Russian policy making, occupying respectively the key posts in the presidential administration, government and […]

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Interfax: Kremlin criticises media’s take of “Yarovaya laws”

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

(Interfax – September 26, 2016) The Kremlin has criticised media coverage of the so-called “Yarovaya package” of anti-terrorist laws, accusing journalists of being too emotional in their reporting and exaggerating the laws’ provisions, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 26 September. “All of these themes are being reflected in the media within a very lively discussion. Much of it […]

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Russians More Positive About Job Prospects as Unemployment Falls

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 27, 2016) Russians are more positive about their job prospects than one year ago, according to a report by a state Russian state pollster. In the survey run by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), less than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) claimed that someone close to them had lost their job […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Corporation of New York: “Russia Area Studies: As Relations Between The United States And Russia Continue To Fray, Carnegie Corporation Of New York Announces Three $1 Million Grants to Strengthen the Study Of Russia at U.S. Universities”

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

Carnegie Corporation of New York is announcing the recipients of three $1 million grants to strengthen the study of Russia at U.S. universities. Through a competitive process, a jury of independent experts selected the following institutions: Columbia University, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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Russia’s Blockbuster Museum: The Tretyakov Reborn

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

Director Zelfira Tregulova has breathed new life into the Tretyakov, toppling art’s ivory tower and attracting record-breaking crowds. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Mongayt – September 26, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/russias-blockbuster-museum-the-tretyakov-reborn-55436] People waited in line for up to four hours in temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius. There were ambulances and rescue workers on hand, just in case. Volunteers […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-177 :: Monday, 26 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#177 Monday, 26 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Soviet-Style Lines Reappearing in Moscow Stores

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 25, 2016) Most observers have focused on Vladimir Putin’s moves to restore the KGB, but they have not paid as much attention to the return under his rule of another feature of Soviet life that most Russians thought they had left behind: long lines at stores for even the most basic […]

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United Russia will not adopt unpopular decisions – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) – The United Russia party, which has won a constitutional majority in the new State Duma, will not adopt unpopular decisions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is the party’s chairman, said. “Some people think that the constitutional majority in the Duma and solid representation at the regional level gives the party a right to adopt […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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80% of Russians Feel Country’s Economic Decline

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 26, 2016) Some 82 percent of Russians can feel the effects of the country’s economic decline, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday, citing a report by independent pollster the Levada Center. The number has risen from the 61 percent who felt the pinch back in the fall of 2014. Almost one in five respondents (17 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova and commission members

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the chairperson of the Central Election Commission and the commission’s members to discuss the results of the recent elections. Elections for the State Duma and for various local jurisdictions were held in 60 Russian regions on Election Day, September 18, 2016. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Pamfilova, colleagues, I would […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-176 :: Friday, 23 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#176 Friday, 23 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian politics. The hollow election. The lowest-ever turnout for Duma elections suggests Vladimir Putin is losing touch with his political base.

Russia Regions Map

The Economist reports on low participation in Russia’s 2016 Duma elections. … The Kremlin made every effort to ensure the elections were as sterile and low-profile as possible. It banned and harassed genuine opposition parties and their leaders. … it persuaded many that nothing depended on voters. The official turnout was 48% – the lowest ever in the history of […]

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The Russian Opposition Should Do Its Homework

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vladislav L. Inozemtsev – September 22, 2016) Vladislav Inozemtsev is a Russian economist and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies in Moscow. A landslide United Russia victory and a remarkably poor showing of the opposition forces in Russia’s parliamentary elections earlier this week shouldn’t be attributed entirely to rigged electoral rules or fraud. There […]

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Pamfilova to stay in charge of Central Election Commission until last election complaint processed

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

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Russian Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova said she would not leave her post until the last complaint regarding the State Duma elections was processed. “Not a single complaint will be disregarded. No one leaves until this Central Election Commission processes the last claim against this election campaign,” she said. “I have been urged to […]

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Putinism like Communism in the Past an Even Graver Threat than Kremlin Leader Himself

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 23, 2016) That Vladimir Putin represents a threat to the countries around Russia’s periphery and to the principles on which the international order has been based no one disputes, but some both in Russia and the West are beginning to recognize that Putinism as a manner of rule is an even […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Meddling in the U.S. Elections. How It Helps Him Back Home.” – Foreign Affairs/Gregory Feifer

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Every four years, whenever there is a U.S. presidential election, a melancholy settles over Russia. When global fascination mounts over the selection of the free world’s next leader, Russians feel ignored. … * * * … On top of its usual peddling of influence, disinformation campaigns, and, in some cases, war, Moscow tried discreetly hacking Ukraine’s elections in 2014. Ukrainian […]

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[Medvedev:] New dynamics in Russia’s socioeconomic development

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru/Rossiyskaya Gazeta – September 22, 2016) Article by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for the academic journal Voprosy Ekonomiki (Economic Issues) vopreco.ru/rus/redaction.files/10-16.pdf Abridged version (published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta): The Russian economy is undergoing a period of profound transformation. In the next few years Russia will have to fundamentally restructure its economic system in response to the challenges and changes of the […]

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Medvedev Warns Russia of Economic Reform’s ‘High Social Cost’

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 22, 2016) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the reforms needed to save Russia’s economy will have “a high social cost” for the Russian people. Writing in an article for Russian economic journal “Questions of Economics,” Medvedev pledged that Russian authorities would not revert to Soviet-style planning, but maintained that deregulation was […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-175 :: Thursday, 22 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#175 Thursday, 22 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russian PM says economy should be overhauled”

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

Russia’s economy should over the next few years undergo an overhaul to remain competitive in the world, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an article entitled “Russia’s social and economic development: acquisition of new dynamics” for the Voprosy Ekonomiki (Economic Issues) magazine. …

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NEWSLINK Newsweek.com: “UKRAINE REPORTS RUSSIA IS PRACTICING ITS READINESS FOR NUCLEAR CONFLICT”

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

Ukraine’s military intelligence claims Russia’s nuclear forces have begun training, simulating the conditions of a large-scale conflict. Kiev’s military intelligence posted a statement on Facebook Wednesday, reporting that Russia’s 33 Guards Rocket Army, based in the western Siberian city of Omsk, had kicked off a nuclear combat practice drill. [featured image is file photo]

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NEWSWATCH: “The United States Must Be the World’s Policeman; Only America has the material and moral greatness to stop the slide into chaos and foster peace.” – The Wall Street Journal/Anders Fogh Rasmussen

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Barely had I been seated before Vladimir Putin told me that NATO – the organization that I then headed – no longer had any purpose and should be disbanded. … in December 2009, I sensed … Putin was challenging the world order that the U.S. created so successfully after World War II. Beginning in 2014, he invaded Ukraine and launched […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-174 :: Wednesday, 21 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#174 Wednesday, 21 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Will Russia’s Opposition Draw the Right Lessons From Electoral Defeat?

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – September 20, 2016) The Russian opposition on Monday awoke to an electoral hangover – in some cases quite literally – after suffering a crushing defeat in the polls that has relegated it to the fringes of political life. “The opposition has lost again. Who’s to blame?” the cover of the opposition-minded New […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin’s big win in Russian elections may not be a victory” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… United Russia … may have won a crushing victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections … undoubtedly … a huge boost for … Putin. But the most common remark about the now-concluded election campaign is that it was “very boring.” … an odd moment for Russia …. buffeted by two years of economic recession and still-escalating political tensions with the West. […]

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Russia: the tinderbox in the struggle for a safe climate

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

Russia is at the forefront of the global climate change struggle. We ignore it at our peril. (opendemocracy.net – Daniel Voskoboynik – September 20, 2016) Daniel Voskoboynik is a journalist and campaigner covering human rights, ecology and migration. The Russian region of Yamal rarely makes global headlines. Despite being larger than France, its remote location bordering the Arctic Circle holds […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-173 :: Tuesday, 20 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#173 Tuesday, 20 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Putin] Visiting United Russia party’s campaign headquarters

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 18, 2016) After the polling stations closed, Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the election campaign headquarters of the United Russia party. The United Russia party candidates who took part in the election in Moscow and the Moscow Region, along with volunteers and United Russia party activists took part in the meeting. Prime Minister Dmitry […]

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