NEWSWATCH: “Russia: The Kremlin Moves to Keep Putin in Power” – Stratfor

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

“The #Kremlin is taking steps to ensure … #Putin’s continued control of #Russia. Of the measures it is considering, a plan to hold local referendums ahead of and alongside the 2018 presidential election is perhaps the most important. … to encourage voters to come out and support the government at the polls and … legitimize Russia’s political system. … Putin […]

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It’s Time to Make Nuclear Arms Control Great Again; Donald Trump has been sending alarming signals to Moscow on the nuclear issue

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Frolov – March 2, 2017) An odd structural problem stands in the way of the Trump administration’s proposed “reset” with Russia: nuclear arms control. Few could have predicted this stumbling block. Every recent rapprochement between Moscow and Washington has begun with negotiated reductions in nuclear weapons, nuclear testing and missile defense. Managing the nuclear […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The fate of Russian stocks hinges on politics and oil” – CNBC/Rebecca Ungarino

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“… The Moscow composite index is down nearly 8 percent year to date, underperforming the U.S. by nearly 15 percent as optimism around the possibility of the removal of trade sanctions against Russia fades. And crude oil, which weighs heavily on the Russian economy, has traded in a narrow range so far this year, offering no help to Russian stocks. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Stealth Wars: US-Russian Cyber Wars and the Future of International Security” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/Gordon M. Hahn

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“It increasingly appears that we have an unraveling of the hasty view put forward by the waning Washington consensus in media, academia and pre-Trump government circles regarding the exceptionalism of Russian cyber warfare and its alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hilllary Clinton’s and John Podesta’s email servers. First, the U.S. intelligence reports on these alleged Russian […]

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NBU head says Donbas blockade, if prolonged, to result in Ukrainian GDP growth limited to 1.5%

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

KYIV. March 2 (Interfax) – The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) predicts that the Donbas blockade, if lifted shortly, will have only a minor negative impact on the country’s gross domestic product and balance of payments, NBU governor Valeriya Hontareva said. However, any continued existence of today’s situation during a long time will lead to a complete collapse in production […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-44 :: Thursday, 2 March 2017

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 2017-#44 Thursday, 2 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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VIDEO: “Russia: Rival or Partner, or Both?” – Council on Foreign Relations event featuring Charles A. Kupchan, Stephen Sestanovich, Angela E. Stent, Evelyn N. Farkas

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

[The Council on Foreign Relations, on Feb. 27, 2017, hosted an event, “Russia: Rival or Partner, or Both?”, featuring Charles A. Kupchan, Stephen Sestanovich, Angela E. Stent and Evelyn N. Farkas in a mock government meeting, followed by a question-and-answer session. click here for event page: http://www.cfr.org/russian-federation/russia-rival-partner-both/p38860] “… Experts discuss U.S. policy options toward Russia including continued sanctions, possible cooperation […]

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Putin’s Russia Seen Dominating European Gas for Two Decades

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Anna Shiryaevskaya – March 1, 2017) Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent. Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-43 :: Wednesday, 1 March 2017

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 2017-#43 Wednesday, 1 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Interfax: Trump continues to follow pragmatic rather than ideological path – Kosachyov

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement before Congress about the need to search for new allies displays his pragmatic attitude, but a pledged growth of military spending and his position on Iran cause concerns, Federation Council international affairs committee’s head Konstantin Kosachyov said. “America is ready to look for new allies in tackling new threats, so, […]

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The Kremlin Reportedly Commissioned a Report on Russian State TV, and the Results Were Oof

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Kevin Rothrock – February 28, 2017) The Putin administration commissioned an independent expert analysis of Russian network television, according to the news site Znak.com. The study was reportedly prepared in particular for Sergei Kiriyenko, the president’s first deputy chief of staff. Znak.com says a private company was hired to “make sense of the reality depicted […]

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Russia Tries to Salvage Syria Peace Bid as Iran Dispute Flares

Syria Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – February 28, 2017) Russia is struggling to salvage its bid to secure a deal to end six years of civil war in Syria as deepening differences with Iran risk a repeat of previous failed peace efforts led by the U.S. “Things aren’t going as smoothly as we would want” in the Geneva talks, […]

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Navalny’s Support Base Grows as Recognition Spreads Across Russia

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 28, 2017) [DJ: An earlier version of this story is titled “Support Plummets for Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny. “Support for opposition politician Alexei Navalny has more than halved over the past six years, a report by independent pollster the Levada Center…”] The number of Russians supporting opposition politician Alexei Navalny has grown as […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-42 :: Tuesday, 28 February 2017

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 2017-#42 Tuesday, 28 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-41 :: Monday, 27 February 2017

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 Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#41 Monday, 27 February 2017 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 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Advice to Trump: Beware of Russian Trolls; The recent stray spy ship and the fly-bys in the Black Sea are signs that the Kremlin is engaging in its favorite pastime: pushing America’s buttons” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Mark Galeotti

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

“Last week, a Russian spy ship … spent a few days loitering approximately 30 miles off the East Coast …. up to Connecticut … down to Virginia, generating … consternation …. in the wake … of a few other incidents that set off alarm bells … [it was] reported that #Russia had secretly deployed cruise missiles … in likely defiance […]

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Why Everybody Suddenly Has a Ukraine Plan

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 27, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Andrii Artemenko, a little-known Ukrainian populist lawmaker, became a name in the U.S. after The New York Times reported he’s worked with Donald Trump confidantes on a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Our democracy and Trump, as seen through Russian eyes” – Arizona Daily Star/Rachel Wilson

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

“The Russian law professors were excited to meet me. The vice-chair plied me with chocolates while pouring healthy glugs of cognac into the two glasses on his desk. ‘Welcome! We look forward to learning about the American legal system,’ ….”

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Everyone Seems To Have A Peace Plan For Ukraine

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – February 23, 2017) KYIV — It seems that peace plans for Ukraine are everywhere these days. Amid a recent surge in violence in eastern Ukraine and yet another failed cease-fire in the nearly 3-year-old conflict are a wave of new proposals to bring peace to the crisis-stricken nation — and from some unexpected […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-40 :: Friday, 24 February 2017

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 2017-#40 Friday, 24 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Attacks FBI on Leakers of Russia Reports: ‘FIND NOW'” – Reuters

FBI Headquarters File Photo

… Trump criticized the FBI … for failing to stop leaks of national security information to the media and directed the agency to find those who pass on classified information. … amid media reports that the FBI has refused a White House request that it refutes recent stories …. The Federal Bureau of Investigation … did not answer a request […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Northern Fleet service members

File Photo of Deck of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

(Kremlin.ru – February 23, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with Northern Fleet officers who distinguished themselves in service and combat missions in the Mediterranean, off the coast of the Syrian Arab Republic. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, First of all, today, February 23, I would like to congratulate you on the Defender of the Fatherland Day. I want to […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-39 :: Thursday, 23 February 2017

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 2017-#39 Thursday, 23 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Ukraine Is Dying A Slow Death (Literally)” – The National Interest/Nolan Peterson/Daily Signal

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

“Ukraine’s population decreased by about 170,000 people in 2016, the government reported … underscoring a demographic trend that began after the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and which threatens to derail the country’s political and economic development. ‘This is a serious problem for the country,’ Alex Ryabchyn, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, told The Daily […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Four Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia” – Forbes.com/George Friedman

Russia Regions Map

“Russia has four areas of instability: the distribution and prevalence of wage arrears, pressure on its banking system, low-level social and economic unrest, and government purges. … Russia’s economy is highly regionalized. More than a fifth of Russia’s wealth comes from Moscow and its surrounding areas. The central government keeps the Russian Federation together by redistributing wealth to the interior. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Estrangement from history: 100 years since Russia’s February Revolution; In February 1917, the reign of the Romanov czars came to an end. This event was a precursor to the October Revolution later that year. In Russia, what went on in February is not widely known.” – Deutsche Welle/Volker Wagener

Romanov Family Photo

“It’s a date that cannot be ignored: February 23, according to the Julian calendar (March 8 in the Gregorian calendar). It is a date that forces Russian society to confront a part of its history that for many is difficult to reckon with. A 100-year anniversary usually involves state-organized events. But that’s not so for the February Revolution in Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Belarus Can’t Afford to Be the New Ukraine; Is it too late for Lukashenko to defy Russia?” – The National Interest/Nikolay Pakhomov

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

“On February 3 Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko launched the fiercest of his rhetorical attacks against Russia  …. moderate estimates show that Belarus has received approximately $100 billion of various Russian investments, preferences and support. … Politically, the Union State of Russia and Belarus that was formed in December 1999 never fully materialized. Furthermore, despite the geopolitical showdown between Russia and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Kremlin.ru – February 23, 2017) Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref briefed Vladimir Putin on the bank’s 2016 performance results and its current activities, including the prospects for developing mortgage lending, and new financial support mechanisms for the defence industry and agricultural sector businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, concerning the bank’s performance, we know […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian real disposable income up for first time since 2014 on pension payout” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Rosstat recorded the first rise in Russian real disposable income in January since October 2014. However, Rosstat went on to say that the bump was caused by a one-time payment to pensioners of RUB5000 (€81.69) in lieu of indexing their pensions at above the rate of inflation. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russian media release text of Yanukovych’s letter to Trump” – Kyiv Post/Euan MacDonald, Olga Rudenko

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

“Editor’s Note: Russian media on Feb. 22 released the text of a letter allegedly sent by the ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to U.S. President Donald Trump. Yanukovych claimed that he had sent letters to Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview published on Feb. 22 by German weekly […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump; The Russia-connected allegations have created an atmosphere of hysteria amounting to McCarthyism” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

Satellite Dishes

“The bipartisan, nearly full-political-spectrum tsunami of factually unverified allegations that President Trump has been seditiously ‘compromised’ by the Kremlin, with scarcely any nonpartisan pushback from influential political or media sources, is deeply alarming. Begun by the Clinton campaign in mid-2016, and exemplified now by New York Times columnists (who write of a ‘Trump-Putin regime’ in Washington), strident MSNBC hosts, and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Yanukovych Resurfaces; ‘Ukraine Has Become a Wild Country'” – Der Spiegel

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

“Three years after the Maidan insurgency, Viktor Yanukovych has re-emerged to express his views on the Ukraine conflict in a letter addressed to Trump, Putin, Merkel and others. DER SPIEGEL correspondent Christian Neef met with the former president.” [featured image is file photo]

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NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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Russia Eyes Reforms to 13 Percent Flat Income Tax; A new series of reform proposals could tie tax rates to income levels

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer – February 22, 2017) #Russia has long prided itself on its simple 13 percent flat income #tax rate. But a series of reform proposals could push the country towards a progressive alternative. The Finance Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry and the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) are actively developing reforms for the Russian […]

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Putin Moving to Depoliticize Entire Russian System, Stanovaya Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin’s installation of technocrats as governors in place of politicians is likely to have an impact on the country’s systemic parties, leading to their de-politicization as well by means of the replacement of the aging politicians who head them now by younger pragmatic functionaries, according to Tatyana Stanovaya. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 21, 2017) Sergei Sobyanin updated the President on Moscow’s socioeconomic development in 2016, the implementation of several large transport projects, including the launch of the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) railway line, and renovation of the housing stock. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sobyanin, let us talk about Moscow’s performance in 2016 and plans for 2017. Moscow […]

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Putin Orders Demolition of Moscow’s Iconic Post-War Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – February 21, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the complete demolition of Moscow’s post-war Khrushchevkas: Soviet housing blocks which once offered hope to millions of families after World War II. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Tuesday that 1.6 million Muscovites were still living in the buildings, many of which were […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-38 :: Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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 2017-#38 Wednesday, 22 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Half of Russia Still in Crisis Prepares for Worse to Come

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – February 20, 2017) The half of Russia’s economy that hasn’t got wind of a recovery is already hunkering down for the crisis to come. Once indispensable for the country’s prospects, consumption flat-lined well below zero throughout last year even as the broader economy defied gloom. From the ruble to industrial output and wages, […]

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Putinism as Gaullism; There are limits of defining a regime by the name of its leader, but Putinism has the echoes of post-war France, and of its president.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Marlene Laruelle – February 21, 2017) Marlene Laruelle is assistant director at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. She is also co-director of PONARS Eurasia, and the author of several books on Russian and Central Asian politics and society. The Russian state under Vladimir Putin’s leadership […]

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Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as World’s Top Crude Oil Producer

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Claudia Carpenter – February 20, 2017) Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades. Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-37 :: Tuesday, 21 February 2017

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 2017-#37 Tuesday, 21 February 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Moscow Times: Read Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s Poem to Russia’s Late UN Ambassador

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 21, 2017) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has published a poem dedicated to his country’s late permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. Churkin died unexpectedly yesterday in New York, reportedly from heart problems, just a day shy of his 65th birthday. Since then, many politicians and diplomats have paid their respects to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mutual Assured Deterrence” – Project-Syndicate/Sergei Karaganov

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Relations between Russia and the European Union, and with the EU’s close ally the United States, are increasingly fragile. There has been an effort to cope with shifting power dynamics in Europe by restoring the military-political divide between NATO and Russia – this time, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of where it was during the Cold War. But […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Secret U.S. Army Study That Targets Moscow. A quarter century after the Cold War, the Pentagon is worried about Russia’s military prowess again. [Re: Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster]” – Politico/Bryan Bender

H.R. McMaster file photo, adapted from image at army.mil

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster has a shaved head and gung-ho manner that only add to his reputation as the U.S. Army’s leading warrior-intellectual, one who often quotes famed Prussian general and military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz. A decade ago, McMaster fought a pitched battle inside the Pentagon for a new concept of warfare to address the threat from Islamist terrorists […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Study looks at free-trade-with-Russia scenario. Free trade between the EU and Russia could bring enormous benefits for both sides, a study by the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute suggests. Only, the Ukraine conflict still stands in the way.” – Deutsche Welle

EU Map

A free trade area for the European Union, Russia and other states would have economic advantages for all sides involved, according to model-based calculations by the Ifo research institute. … The study admits that a free trade agreement of this kind is barely conceivable as long as the Ukraine conflict remains unsettled and Western sanctions against Russia are in place. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Could Russia have avoided revolution in 1917? A century on from Nicholas II’s abdication, Dominic Lieven asks whether democracy was ever likely to take root.” – Financial Times

Romanov Family Photo

“When I began my academic career in the 1970s, the shadow of the 1917 Revolution loomed over the whole of Russian history. Historians of late imperial and early Soviet Russia, in particular, worked at the epicentre of the ideological conflict between democratic capitalism and communism that raged in the cold war era. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russian IPO wave on the way” – bne/Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“A wave of Russian IPO could be gathering momentum out to sea after iconic toy store Detsky Mir placed its €333mn IPO earlier this month. Russia’s equity market has come back to life with about $1.9bn worth of securities issued in just the last three months. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Disillusioned With the West, Russia Too Is Pivoting to Asia” – The Wire (India)/ Fred Weir

Kremlin and River

“East-West conflict over Ukraine is likely to continue to loom large when it comes to Russian foreign relations, especially as there seems no way – short of a third world war – that it is ever likely to relent on the main issue, its annexation of Crimea.”

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