Kremlin Spokesman Still Uses Telegram Despite Ban

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 26, 2018) Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he still uses the Telegram messaging service despite the state regulator’s efforts to block it from being accessible in the country. Regulator Roskomnadzor began enforcing a court ordered ban on Telegram on April 16 after the messaging app refused to grant the Russian security services access to […]

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Generation P: A Lifetime Under Putin

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 25, 2018) In 2000, when Vladimir Putin first became president, 1.3 million children were born in Russia. This year, as that generation turns 18 and gains the right to vote, Putin was reelected to another six years in power. His victory in March extends his rule over the country until 2024. By then, Generation […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin cool on U.S. cooperation overtures” – Interfax

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

(Interfax – April 24, 2018) The Kremlin has responded coolly to US statements about President Donald Trump’s reported readiness to cooperate with Russia. Commenting on US ambassador to Russia John Huntsman’s recent statement that Trump is “aiming to lessen tensions” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “As of now, the reality, the real state of affairs, real steps which we see […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Midwestern Democrats Want The National Party To Stop The Trump-Russia Talk; ‘The only ones who want to do this are Democratic activists who are already voting Democratic.'” – BuzzFeed/Molly Hensley-Clancy

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

“In battleground states in the middle of the country, some Democrats watched with frustration … a splashy new lawsuit alleging a vast conspiracy between … Trump and Russia.  The Democratic National Committee’s drumbeat … is wearing thin with some Democrats … particularly in the Midwest, where people on the ground say voters are uninterested and even turned off by the […]

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NEWSWATCH: Five Reasons Democrats Are Suing Over Their Russia Collusion Narrative; The Democratic National Committee just filed a civil suit in the Southern District of New York against the Russian government, members of the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks” – The Federalist/Willis L. Krumholz

U.S. Courthouse for Southern District of New York in Manhattan

“The … DNC[], still trying to cope with Hillary Clinton’s defeat, just filed a civil suit … [against] the Russian government, members of the Trump campaign … and WikiLeaks. The [66-page] complaint … contains nothing you haven’t heard from the media …. The lawsuit … extensively recount[s] Democrats’ conspiracy-theorist and still-unproven version of the 2016 election. … the mainstream press […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Soviet roots of invoking fears about World War III” – Brookings/James Kirchick

“Editor’s Note: Dire predictions about foreign intervention leading to ‘World War III’ aren’t merely the most predictable and laziest form of anti-interventionist ‘logic,’ argues Jamie Kirchick. They’re also an insidious echo of Soviet propaganda, routinely deployed to undercut the West’s defense of democracy and important international norms. …” Click here for: “The Soviet roots of invoking fears about World War […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Armenia: Why Has Vladimir Putin Not Intervened So Far and Will He?” – Russia Matters/Simon Saradzhyan

Armenia Map and Flag

“The resignation of Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan after more than a week of mass protests in Russia’s backyard begs the question: Why has Moscow not intervened …? … fist-pumping demonstrators bring to mind ‘color revolutions” in the post-Soviet neighborhood that the Kremlin seems to abhor, like the ones in Georgia and Ukraine. But even genuine color revolutions (which Armenia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Will Russia’s involvement in Syria end up burning its ties with Israel?” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Middle East Map

“… despite … mutual determination [by Russia and Israel] to steer clear of the global storm [between Russia and the West], things may be reaching a breaking point in Syria. While Russia and Israel have hitherto been able to manage their differences there so far, Israel is becoming increasingly concerned as Iran, Russia’s ally in Syria and Israel’s main enemy, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Rusal Case Is a Failure of U.S. Sanctions; There are ways to hit Putin’s shadowy cronies without hurting top Russian firms” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

“… Most of the $1 trillion that has fled Russia to the West since the Soviet Union’s collapse isn’t owned by the old-school ‘oligarchs.’ It was the corrupt officials and the little-known regime clients who moved it overseas. The West is still doing little to track that wealth and its owners; it’s looking under the lamp, not in the shadows where […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia likely targeted all 50 states in 2016, but has yet to try again, DHS cyber chief says” – ABC News/Mike Levine

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… even with the campaign season underway the U.S. government has yet to detect any new cyber activity from Russia targeting election systems … Nevertheless … it’s likely every single U.S. state was targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election – far more states potentially impacted than the public may have realized. …”

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[SATIRE] NEWSLINK: “Bezos Says That When Pee Tape Is Released It Will Be Free for All Amazon Prime Members” – The New Yorker/Andy Borowitz

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Satire from The Borowitz Report: … Bezos’s offer drew a mixed response from Prime members, with some begging Amazon not to offer the … tape to them. …”

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-74 :: Wednesday, 25 April 2018

St. Basil's Domes

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 2018-#74 Wednesday, 25 April 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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‘Ruins of Empire in Sands of Central Asia’ – Russians Leaving Turkmenistan and ISIS Coming In

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 23, 2018) Russians constitute only two or three percent of the population of the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, their departure having been accelerated by the economic crisis there and the Islamist threat from Afghanistan and Ashgabat’s closure of Russian-language schools and insistence that officials speak Turkmen. In an article on […]

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Kudrin sees budget maneuver adding 0.5%-1% to Russian GDP growth

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. April 24 (Interfax) – The so-called budget maneuver, which the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) sees as one of the main conditions for achieving sustainable economic growth and a tangible improvement in Russians’ living standards, will make it possible to achieve additional annual economic growth of 0.5% to 1%, CSR chairman and former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said in […]

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‘Everyone Lost the Russian Presidential Elections’ Except Putin’s Favored Few, Yavlinsky Says

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 21, 2018) In the March 18 elections, Vladimir Putin “received a mandate to change nothing … not in the struggle with corruption, not in health care, and not in education,” Grigory Yavinsky says. Therefore, everyone lost the elections: those who voted for Putin,” those who voted for his opponents left and […]

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Russians Primarily Concerned With Rising Prices – Poll

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 24, 2018) Rising prices remain the primary concern among Russians polled by the independent Levada Center, followed by poverty and unemployment. While Russia’s economy grew 1.5 percent last year after two years of recession, it fell short of a government target of 2 percent. In March, one month before U.S. sanctions were imposed, real […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin to Back $162 Billion Spending Spree for New Term” – Bloomberg

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Putin is planning a roughly 10 trillion-ruble ($162 billion) increase in spending on health care, education and infrastructure, hoping to kick-start sputtering economic growth in his new presidential term, according to people familiar with the plans. …. Some of the new spending will be offset with cuts … — the budget already calls for gradual reductions in military spending […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Beginning of the End of the Russia Hoax” – Rush Limbaugh

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… my answer was, ‘Before I get into that, Chris, I just want to tell you, this whole idea that the Russians had anything to do with the outcome of the presidential election is absurd. The idea that they colluded or tampered or worked with Donald Trump to do it is doubly absurd. There is nothing to it.’ …”

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-73 :: Tuesday, 24 April 2018

St. Basil's Domes

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 2018-#73 Tuesday, 24 April 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Influential economist says sanctions-hit Russian firms must not be compensated” – Interfax

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 21, 2018) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has said the Russian government should not compensate Russian companies which have been hit by US sanctions. “Companies should be helped so that they don’t stop, but you don’t have to…[ellipses in original] compensate billionaires for the loss in their value,” Interfax news agency quoted Kudrin as saying on 21 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How to Stop Vladimir Putin’s Mafia; The real enemy is a group of about 100 beneficiaries of the regime and several thousand accomplices” – Wall Street Journal/Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

“… The West’s real enemy – and the enemy of the Russian people too – is a group of about 100 key beneficiaries of the Putin regime, and several thousand of their accomplices, many of whom hold posts in the Federal Security Service and the presidential administration.  Most of these people began their careers in the criminal underworld of St. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Nobody is safe from Russia’s colossal hacking operation; Russia hackers have targetted ‘millions’ of connected devices in the UK and US. It’s all part of Putin’s grand plan to disrupt the west” – Wired (UK)/Nicole Kobie

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… this week U.S. and U.K. authorities teamed up to issue a joint warning about communications infrastructure, including home-office routers. The rare joint alert noted that routers, switches, firewalls and network intrusion detection systems at government and businesses were the main targets of Russian hackers, but it added that even “small-office/home-office customers” should take more protective action, as should Internet […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Softens Stance on Rusal Sanctions; Aluminum Prices Plunge” – Bloomberg

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

“The U.S. softened its position on sanctions against Russia’s United Co. Rusal, sparking a plunge in aluminum prices. The U.S. Treasury said it would provide sanctions relief to Rusal if Oleg Deripaska relinquished control, according to statement on Monday. It also extended the deadline for companies to wind down dealings with the Russian aluminum producer by almost five months. Aluminum […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Shvydkoi upset that Bolshoi actors fail to get U.S. visas, sees explanations as ‘weak'” – Interfax

Bolshoi Theater file photo

MOSCOW. April 23 (Interfax) – Russian Special Presidential Representative on International and Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi said he was disappointed to learn that a number of Bolshoi Theater performers were unable to receive visas for a United States tour. “I was upset to learn that Bolshoi Theater actors did not receive visas for a U.S. tour,” Shvydkoi told Interfax. “The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Frustrated at visa holdup, Russians give up on American vacations” – Washington Post/Amie Ferris-Rotman

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

“… Escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington are putting a damper on Russians’ vacation plans, catching ordinary people in a diplomatic crossfire …. A year ago, obtaining a U.S. tourist visa could take less than a week. Now, it comes with an eight-month delay. * * * The Kremlin may be delighted that fewer of its citizens are being exposed to […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-72 :: Monday, 23 April 2018

St. Basil's Domes

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 2018-#72 Monday, 23 April 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Bolton, New U.S. National Security Adviser, Tells Russia Conditions For Better Ties

File Photo of John Bolton Raising Hand at United Nations, with United States Nameplate on Desktop in Front, adapted from image at state.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – WASHINGTON, April 20, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-calls-us-senator-mccain-old-world-but-admires-his-patriotism/28537171.html) The new U.S. national security adviser has told Russia’s U.S. ambassador that Moscow must address U.S. concerns on election meddling, the “reckless” nerve-agent attack in Britain, and the situations in Ukraine and Syria before relations can substantially improve. A White House […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia Sponsoring Terrorism?” – New York Times/Senator Cory Gardner

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… The State Department should consider adding [Russia] to its list of state sponsors of terrorism, alongside its close allies Iran and Syria. … Russia has invaded … Georgia and Ukraine … supports the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad and our enemies in Afghanistan … is engaged in active information warfare against Western democracies, including meddling in the 2016 United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Political Tensions Could Rob the U.S. of the Russian Rocket Engine It Desperately Needs; The United States has become increasingly reliant on the RD-180” – Popular Mechanics/David Grossman

File Photo of Atlas Rocket on Launch Pad

“The burgeoning private space industry might find itself caught in the middle of geopolitical tensions …. Russian lawmakers have drafted a law that would ban cooperation … on building rocket engines, including … the crucial RD-180. … [that] powers the Atlas V, the launch system maintained by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint company owned by both Lockheed Martin and […]

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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “Duma speaker warns of Russia’s dangerous dependency on U.S. pharmaceutical imports”

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

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – Russia must take efficient measures to swiftly make available in its market domestically produced medicinal drugs to secure itself from a possible halt of U.S. imports, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said. “The U.S. has around 50 billion rubles of annual net profit from supplying pharmaceuticals to our country,” Volodin told reporters on Friday after […]

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NEWSLINK: “Permanent Stagnation: Putin’s Invisible Fourth-Term Agenda; The symbolic and real dimensions of Russian politics are in radical contradiction of each other” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrei Kolesnikov

Putin Descending a Staircase

“… Putin’s hopes for a brief honeymoon after Russia’s utterly predictable and boring presidential election were quickly dispelled. While Western observers are captivated by the fallout from the lurid poisoning of a former Russian double agent in the UK, a sweeping wave of new U.S. sanctions, and the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, Russians have […]

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NEWSLINK: “Regaining by force or abandoning Donbas: Experts name four scenarios for east Ukraine developments” – UNIAN (Kyiv)

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

“According to experts, the current situation being preserved until 2020 would be the most sustainable scenario. Neither war nor peace; return by peaceful means; return by force; and the abandonment of the occupied territories – these are the key options for Donbas developments for the coming years. Experts of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) have been studying the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia is opposed to ‘sanction-swapping’ with the U.S. – but is prepared to defend itself, finance minister says” – CNBC

Anton Siluanov file photo

“Russia stands ready to retaliate against the latest round of U.S. sanctions … Finance Minister Anton Siluanov [said] …. The U.S. slapped sanctions on several Russian oligarchs, businesses and agencies thought to have ties to … Putin …. prompt[ing] a dramatic market sell-off in Moscow …. Siluanov told CNBC: ‘We are not in favor of sanction-swapping. Nevertheless, our MPs (members […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Where STEM girls at: Russian women in STEM” – Bear Market Brief/Kasey Stricklin

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

“Women in Russia are entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields at a higher rate than many of their Western counterparts, but there are still far less Russian women that men in the majority of these fields. … While interest in STEM drops precipitously at an early age in most other countries, often due to gender stereotypes, Russian girls […]

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NEWSLINK: Doctors ordered at gunpoint to deny Syria chemical attack or else their children will be killed; ‘Unless you give a testimony, doctor, that there wasn’t a gas attack, we’ll be killing your children'” – The Mirror (UK)/Andrew Gregory

Syria Map

“Unless you give a testimony, doctor, that there wasn’t a gas attack, we’ll be killing your children”

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NEWSLINK: “When did Trump and Putin talk about ‘hookers’?” – Washington Post/Philip Bump

James Comey file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“By the top of the second page of the first memo former FBI director James B. Comey wrote to memorialize his conversations with President Trump, prostitutes are mentioned. Sex workers are a running theme in the seven memos released on Thursday evening, a function of their prominent role in the dossier of unproven allegations involving the president’s 2016 campaign and […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-71 :: Friday, 20 April 2018

St. Basil's Domes

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 2018-#71 Friday, 20 April 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Silicon Valley Giants Face a Test in Russia; Russian censors are going after Telegram, but the pressure is on Amazon, Google and Facebook too” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Russian authorities’ first experiment with blocking a popular messenger application — Telegram — is not working out so far. The web censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has blocked millions of internet addresses to beat Telegram into submission, but it’s still widely available even without any bypass mechanisms, while numerous legitimate sites have experienced downtime. … Russian social networks have exploded with […]

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Moody’s says Russian economy resilient to latest U.S. sanctions

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 19, 2018) Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said on Wednesday Russia’s strong public and external finances would shield its economy from the impact of the latest U.S. sanctions. However, the sanctions will be credit negative for some Russian debt issuers, especially Russian aluminum giant United Company Rusal Plc, Moody’s said in a report. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia wants U.S. military out of Syria. But it still needs U.S. to help bring peace.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Syria Map

“… Analysts say that Moscow was serious when it hinted that it would strike back against U.S. warships in the Mediterranean or other launch platforms if any Russian lives were endangered by U.S. missiles. But … they say that the exchange of explosive declarations last week turned out to be mostly theater. Kremlin-connected analysts say that US and Russian military […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Trump trying to walk back Syria strike and sanctions tensions” – bne Intellinews

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

“The U.S. surprised (and relieved) the market by not following through on a threat to impose even more sanctions … the day after western allies carried out limited missile strikes on suspected chemical weapons industrial targets in Syria. The U.S. administration is split over how to react to Russia’s increasing aggression … both … Trump and … Putin were actively […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Acclaimed Russian ballerinas denied entry into U.S.” – Page Six/Oli Coleman

Bolshoi Theater file photo

“Amid roiling relations between the U.S. and Russia, two members of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet – including one of its prima ballerinas – have been refused visas to perform in New York City …. Organizers of a Lincoln Center gala where Olga Smirnova and Jacopo Tissi were due to dance on Monday believe the Department of Homeland Security’s decision may be […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-70 :: Thursday, 19 April 2018

St. Basil's Domes

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 2018-#70 Thursday, 19 April 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Russia Tells Its Study-Abroad Students: It’s Time To Come Home

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 17, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-tells-its-study-abroad-students-it-s-time-to-come-home/29173184.html) A Russian government agency is calling on Russians studying at universities abroad to come home to continue their studies, a campaign that appears tied to the sharp downward spiral in relations between Moscow and the West. Rossotrudnichestvo, which is tasked with overseeing […]

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Western Attack Hasn’t Changed Situation in Syria or Harmed Moscow Despite Russian Public Reaction, Akopov Says

Syria Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 15, 2018) The Western attack on Syria hasn’t changed the likely outcome of the conflict there, Bashar Asad’s alliances with Russia and Iran, or Vladimir Putin’s view of Donald Trump, Petr Akopov says; but it has already led to a transformation of Russian public opinion in adequate ways that could have […]

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RUSSIALINK: “State TV Still Biggest and Most Trusted News Source for Russians – Poll” – Moscow Times

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 18, 2018) A new survey has shown that state-run television maintains its hold on the Russian public’s news consumption habits despite a trend in which young Russians are increasingly getting their news online. Among Russians polled by the independent Levada Center, 85 percent said they watch television for news about Russia and the world. […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2018-69 :: Wednesday, 18 April 2018

St. Basil's Domes

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 2018-#69 Wednesday, 18 April 2018 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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