NEWSWATCH Chatham House/James Sherr: To Support Ukraine, West Must Go Beyond Sanctions. Providing critical military assistance to Ukraine would devalue Russia’s advantage in negotiations.

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

Writing for Chatham House, James Sherr addresses Western support for Ukraine admidst the Russo-Ukrainian War. … the West has acted on the premise that economic sanctions would induce Russia to modify its actions. But while sanctions do constrain capacity, they do not constrain behaviour. Their immediate impact is bearable … they do nothing to diminish Russia’s most usable and effective form of power: military force. […]

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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Living on Prussia’s ruins, Kaliningraders embrace Germanic past

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Christian Science Monitor covers some of the interplay in Kaliningrad between Germanic cultural history and more recent Russian control, amidst Russia’s tensions with the West over Ukraine. … a growing movement of mainly younger Kaliningraders – supported by local government – … are working to roll back the Soviet-imposed amnesia that convinced generations of people who grew up on this ancient territory […]

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Power to the people; As Electric Yerevan showed, governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia will face the risk of social and political unrest when they move to compel their citizens to pay market rates for electricity.

Electrical Yard file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow and Nick Allen in Berlin – July 27, 2015) The Electric Yerevan protests in Armenia burned brightly before police finally quashed them in early July. But the issue of electricity tariffs that sparked the protests will not go away: nearly half the countries in Emerging Europe also face a similarly […]

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U.S. may keep sanctions for years, Russia to run economy, trade accordingly – PM

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russia will be developing its economic and trade policies assuming that the United States may keep the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis for many more years, Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said. Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying in an interview to the Slovenian newspaper DELO ahead of a visit […]

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A Moscow Education, in More Ways Than One

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Haddad – July 27, 2015) A recent article published in British weekly Times Higher Education revealed that one in seven Russian undergraduates admits to cheating on exams. The figure is probably much higher. Any expat in Moscow teaching English will confirm that. Cheating in the Russian educational system is rampant, even acceptable. I experienced […]

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Most Russians Oppose Renaming Bridge After Nemtsov, Poll Shows

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 25, 2015) [Chart here themoscowtimes.com/news/article/most-russians-oppose-renaming-bridge-after-nemtsov-poll-shows/526170.html] The majority of respondents in a survey conducted by Russian independent pollster Levada Center opposed the proposal to rename Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge after murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. After the murder, an unofficial memorial was set up on the bridge, which was where Nemtsov was shot last February, with […]

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Ex-Ukrainian Spy Chief: Russian Camps Spreading Chaos

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

(Voice of America – Mark Snowiss – July 24, 2015) Ukraine’s former intelligence chief says Russia is financing and organizing training camps from within Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern provinces in order to destabilize the country. “Up to 30 camps in Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea are training subversive groups, providing them with weapons and sending them on missions throughout Ukraine,” said Valentyn […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry calls for resumption of Russian-U.S. bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov has called for the resumption of bilateral cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on counterterrorism, saying he intends to discuss it with his American colleagues. In an interview published in the July 27 edition of Kommersant, Syromolotov said it is important to “think about resuming direct bilateral cooperation on […]

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PARNAS supporters holding rally in Novosibirsk over election committee meeting on registering party lists

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

NOVOSIBIRSK. July 27 (Interfax) – The rally permitted by the Novosibirsk mayor’s office of the supporters of the People’s Freedom Party For Russia Without Lawlessness and Corruption (PARNAS) is taking place in front of the Novosibirsk region’s government building on Monday, an Interfax correspondent reported. Five people are declared to participate in the rally, event organizer Vadim Sukhonenko said. “One […]

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Flurry Of Moscow Activism Hints That Mood For Protest Is Very Much Alive

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – MOSCOW, July 26, 2015) Three years into President Vladimir Putin’s third term and a renewed effort to banish conspicuous political dissent in Russia, local protests are bubbling up all over the capital. From weekslong sit-ins to save neighborhood parks to pushback against development plans with ties to the political elite, Muscovites are taking their frustrations to […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#142 :: Monday 27 July 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#142 Monday 27 July 2015 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: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by a […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Bypassing Ukraine Will Be Costly for Russia’s Gazprom – Analysts

Gas Flame file photo

Russia’s plans to drop Ukraine as a route for pumping natural gas to Europe will still leave state-run Gazprom facing about $1 billion in annual transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria for years to come, analysts and industry sources say.

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-AVN: U.S. global missile shield continues to expand – consultant to RVSN commander

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

Interfax-AVN covers comments on U.S. missile defense by the Russian military. The circle of participants of the United States global missile shield is expanding, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a consultant to the Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), told a press conference …. ‘… At present, parts of the U.S. global missile defense system are deployed on the Danish island […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Controversial Russian politician named deputy in Ukraine (Maria Gaidar)

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

AFP reports on involvement in the Ukrainian political scene by Maria Gaidar, daughter of former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar.  She is nominated to work with former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. The nomination of a Russian politician to a top post in Odessa has caused a flurry of controversy in the tense political atmosphere of the violent Ukraine conflict. Maria Gaidar, daughter […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Eyeing Russia, US leads fresh military drills in Ukraine

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

AFP covers U.S.-Ukrainian relations and recent military drills near Ukraine’s border with Poland. Ukrainian and US troops launched fresh drills Monday near the war-torn country’s Polish border in a bid to show unity and resolve in the face of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin. The annual Rapid Trident exercises involve 1,800 soldiers from 18 countries and last for just under two […]

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Russia’s ‘derby grrls’ are upending gender politics

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

As the Russian state continues its conservative turn, could this fringe sport push back against the country’s gender politics? (opendemocracy.net – Ulrike Ziemer – July 23, 2015) Dr Ulrike Ziemer is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Winchester. Her research focuses on gender inequalities and young people from ethnic minorities in Russia. Recent publications include a monograph Ethnic […]

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Medvedev Upbeat About Russian Economy, Ties With Europe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he expects Russia’s recession-hit economy to start growing again at the end of the year, while he hopes for improving economic ties with friendly countries in southeastern Europe. “I think that the economy will return to the path of growth in late 2015, early 2016. It won’t […]

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Moscow-Washington contact useful; U.S. can help Ukrainian peace process, says Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that the United States can help the peace process in Ukraine, and that he welcomes contact between Moscow and Washington on the issue. “I believe that several countries currently play an important role. The United States can also help promote this process, because the US is a major […]

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Facebook/Ivan Katchanovski: Unreported Revelations from the Maidan Massacre Trial in Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Ivan Katchanovski – Facebook – July 22, 2015 – also appeared at facebook.com/ivan.katchanovski/posts/1064562830240269) [entire facebook post set to appear below … click “See More” to open up full post … loading might take longer for some users] [featured image is file photo, not directly related to timing of events described in article]

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Ukrainian President’s Russian Candy Factory Wins Case Against Russian Taxman

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) A local court has sided with a Russian chocolate factory owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a dispute with the tax authorities, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday citing a court statement. The decision is a rare victory for the Roshen Confectionary Factory in Lipetsk, about 440 kilometers south of Moscow, […]

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To Save Their Own Country, Russians Must ‘Forget Ukraine,’ Inozemtsev Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 23, 2015) Vladimir Putin has successfully counted on the war he launched in Ukraine to distract the attention of Russians from their problems at home, but if Russians are to emerge from the current crisis and save their own country, they will have to “forget about Ukraine” and focus on Russia […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#141 :: Friday 24 July 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#141 Friday 24 July 2015 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: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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NEWSWATCH CNN/Matthew Rojansky, Michael Kofman: Isolated Russia has little left to lose

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing for CNN.com, Matthew Rojansky and Michael Kofman address historic shifts in relations between Russia and the West, amidst Western reactions to the Russo-Ukrainian War, the downing of civilian airliner MH-17 and other developments. … MH17 was a turning point, after which many European leaders abandoned their previously held view that Russia could be successfully integrated into Western-led economic, political, or […]

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Interfax: Moscow supports bringing closer stances with Kuala-Lumpur on MH17 issue – diplomat

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

MOSCOW. July 24 (Interfax) – Moscow is ready to start work to bring closer the viewpoints of Malaysia and Russia in regard to the investigation of the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Malaysia Valery Yermolov said. The text of the ambassador’s speech on the Boeing 777 tragedy and situation concerning the attempts to form an international […]

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RIA Novosti: Supply of U.S. artillery-locator radars to Kiev will have major effect – pundit

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(RIA Novosti – July 23, 2015) The possible supply of artillery-locator radar systems by the United States to Ukraine could treble the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Army in artillery battles with the separatist militias, but will require direct involvement in the war by US troops, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, has said, RIA Novosti (part […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: In Bleak Ukraine City, a Duo’s Odd Experiments Win a Niche Online. In Luhansk, two men leverage YouTube fame to shed light on and report about the realities of life in Ukraine’s conflict-torn East

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

The New York Times covers online local coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War in eastern Ukraine. As Luhansk’s prospects looked ever bleaker, Mr. Pavlov and Mr. Kryukov emerged as quirky but candid guides to an unfamiliar war zone, an Internet voice for locals who drop their Russian g’s in homegrown accents and were stunned by the sudden outbreak of violence in […]

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NEWSWATCH The Independent (UK): Vladimir Putin wants to ‘eliminate Ukraine – I have no doubt’, claims Ukrainian PM

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

The Independent covers comments by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk about the Russo-Ukrainian War and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies towards Ukraine. The Prime Minister of Ukraine has claimed that Vladimir Putin is trying to ‘eliminate Ukraine’ as conflict continues between government troops and rebels.   Russia has persistently denied supporting separatist fighters … but Arseniy Yatsenyuk said there was irrefutable evidence of […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#140 :: Thursday 23 July 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#140 Thursday 23 July 2015 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: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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RBTH: Success in the U.S.: How Three young Soviet-born entrepreneurs made it; Strong family ties and work ethics were key for these young businessmen

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Aleksandra Efimova, special to RBTH – July 13, 2015) I recently spoke with three young entrepreneurs, each born in the Soviet Union. I wanted to discover if these sharp and accomplished young businesspeople shared common threads that could be followed back to their Soviet origins. Leon Oks, founder of iCanvas, is 34 years […]

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The Year in Theater: Murky Demons on the Loose

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

  (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – July 23, 2015) Words can be fashionable. They may be dangerous. The word of this year in Russian culture, I would argue, has shades of both. The lexical item of “obscurantism”-“mrakobesie” in Russian, suggesting demonic murk and gloom – is everywhere to be found in discussions of art these days. “In […]

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OBITUARY: Gennady Seleznyov, night rider of Russia’s rowdy parliament

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nick Allen in Berlin – July 23, 2015) With President Vladimir Putin’s executive fist dominating the ‘vertical of power’, while parliament toes the Kremlin line, it’s easy to forget Russia’s heyday of real rough-and-tumble oppositional party politics in the first years after the Soviet collapse. So defiant from the outset was the legislature, still […]

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Russian Single-Industry Towns Face Crisis

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) Most of Russia’s single-industry towns are at risk of economic collapse that would cause massive social dislocation and see millions of Russians lose their livelihoods, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying Wednesday. Some 14 million Russians live in the 319 Russian towns that, in a holdover from the Soviet era, […]

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Putin frees small business from inspections for three years

cash-register

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 14, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law giving small companies a three-year holiday from regular inspections, a measure lawmakers hope will spur the development of small business in the country, according to a document published Tuesday [14 July] on the government’s legal information website. Small business is relatively underdeveloped in Russia, […]

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Majority of Russians think it is impossible to make millions honestly

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Francesca Moll in London – July 23, 2015) Most Russians believe that the country’s millionaires earned their money dishonestly, according to a recent survey. In a survey by the independent pollster Levada Centre, an overwhelming 70% of respondents answered “no” when asked if they thought you can earn millions of rubles honestly now in […]

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Russian human rights activists lodge appeals against law on “foreign agent” NGOs

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) A number of Russian human rights advocacy organizations have lodged court appeals against their classification as “foreign agents”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Earlier the Russian Justice Ministry released a statement saying it had sent messages to a number of NGOs working in the human rights sector and included on the […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Poroshenko warns of imminent Russian invasion; Russia’s Donbas army consists of around 80,000 troops including 50,000 regular army soldiers

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

Ukraine Today reports on Ukrainian intelligence threat assessments regarding Russian or Russia-backed forces. … Poroshenko says military intelligence officials have confirmed … Russia could rapidly launch a fresh invasion … at any moment …. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has warned … Russia had completed … preperations to launch a massive new invasion in three different directions along the contact line … in the Donbas. … […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: Eighteen Months on: Post-Maidan Ukraine (interview with Nicolai Petro)

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Our guest today is Dr. Nicolai Petro. Dr. Petro is a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island, specializing in Russia and its neighboring states. He has previously served in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs in the U.S. Department of State and at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and has held fellowships at the Council on […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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Gorbachev Urges Renewed Ties With West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 22, 2015) Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that problems inherited from previous eras are holding Russia back and urged Western leaders to restore ties with Moscow instead of trying to “provoke” it during a book presentation Tuesday, Russian media reports said. “Many are trying to provoke Russia now,” Gorbachev said […]

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Will the patriotic stop list kill Russia’s NGOs? Since 2012, Russian NGOs receiving funding from abroad have had to register as ‘foreign agents’. A new patriotic ‘stop list’ might shut this funding off forever.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Kozlov – July 22, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems facing Russia’s NGOs. He has at various times worked for Vremya Novostei, Moskovskiye Novosti and the online publication Gazeta.ru. His work has also appeared in Novaya Gazeta and Lenta.ru. […]

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How Do You Solve A Problem Like The Donbas?

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – July 21, 2015) Just one sentence, inserted into a complex piece of legislation, caused some to wonder whether Kyiv has been sold out by its Western allies. One sentence that was too much for many Ukrainians. One sentence that was not enough for the Kremlin. One sentence that the United States reportedly lobbied […]

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Interfax: LNR, DNR regard Poroshenko’s latest comments on Donbass as imitation of fulfillment of Minsk accords

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

(Interfax – July 19, 2015) The special status of Donbass should lie at the core of the peaceful dialogue. By renouncing it Kiev once again imitates the negotiating process on its own part, envoy of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) to the Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego told Interfax on Sunday. “In compliance with the Complex of Measures the special […]

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Human rights NGOs hope to prove they are not foreign agents after Justice Ministry warning

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) Leading Russian human rights organizations that have received warnings from the Justice Ministry intend to go to court to seek their removal from the register of NGOS classed as foreign agents. “We disagree with being entered on this register. We will go to court,” Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the committee Civil Assistance, told Interfax […]

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Russians Can’t Decide Between Economic Development and Military Power

Russian Soldiers Marching

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 22, 2015) Russians are divided between focusing the nation’s efforts on rejuvenating its military power and developing a strong economy, according to a survey published Tuesday by the Levada Center, an independent polling center. Russia is halfway through a decade-long 20 trillion ruble ($350 billion) military rearmament and modernization campaign that critics say is […]

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Russia Braces for Longest Recession in Decades With $50 Oil

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 22, 2015) For an economy that lives and dies by crude prices, the latest downturn in the world oil market means Russia’s recession may stretch into next year for the longest slump in two decades. Russia’s first economic slump since 2009 looked like it would plateau as oil gained 40 percent from […]

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Ukrainians Suspect Obama-Putin Cooperation

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 20, 2015) It’s rare that official representatives of the U.S. visit foreign parliaments to persuade lawmakers to vote a certain way on some piece of legislation. Yet last week, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland traveled to Kiev and did just that, as the Ukrainian parliament prepared to vote on amendments to […]

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Mukacheve puts Ukraine to the test; After a deadly fight between a volunteer battalion and local police over smuggling in the country’s western borderlands, Ukraine finds itself at another critical juncture

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

(opendemocracy.net – Valery Kalnysh – July 20, 2015) Valery Kalnysh is deputy editor of Ukraine’s Radio Vesti. Last week’s shoot-out in the sleepy Transcarpathian town of Mukacheve in western Ukraine has had a serious impact on the country’s politics. In just one week, both the governor of Transcarpathia and top officials in the local security ministries have lost their jobs. […]

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