RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-116 :: Thursday, 23 June 2016

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#116 Thursday, 23 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to the Xinhua News Agency of China

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 23, 2016) In the run-up to his visit to the People’s Republic of China, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Chinese news agency Xinhua. The interview was recorded on June 17 on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Interview with Xinhua news agency. With Xinhua General Director Cai Mingzhao. President of Xinhua News Agency […]

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RBTH: How would Russia have voted in Brexit referendum?

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

As Britain prepares to decide whether to leave the EU, experts weigh in on what Russia has to gain and lose from Brexit. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – June 22, 2016) As the British people prepare to cast their votes in the most fateful vote in a generation – a ballot that has the […]

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The trap of “countering Russia”; Across eastern Europe, U.S. engagement against Russia is having an adverse effect on grassroots protesters – and no easy solution is forthcoming

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – June 23, 2016) Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist Poland: Generations […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-115 :: Wednesday, 22 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#115 Wednesday, 22 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Heads to China to Cement Ties, but Obstacles Remain” – AP

Asia Map

With … Putin heading to China this weekend, officials in both countries extoll a blossoming ‘strategic partnership’ …. But despite Moscow’s push to strengthen ties with Beijing amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, Russia-China trade has shrunk sharply and a slew of ambitious projects have remained largely on paper. Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing’s hard-nosed […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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All Russians Are Tainted by Putin’s Regime

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 21, 2016) The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athletes compete in the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they haven’t used performance-enhancing drugs won’t be popular with other countries. Nonetheless, it was the right call. But it also carries some unpleasant undertones: It formally requires Russians to prove that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin addressed the State Duma’s plenary session

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2016) The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session. Speech at the State Duma’s plenary session. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. […]

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RBTH: The 3 key areas of disagreement between Moscow and Damascus

Syria Map

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Russia has been seen as a loyal ally to Bashar Assad, giving unwavering support to the Syrian president. Yet, the positions of Moscow and the Syrian regime are far from identical. Russia advocates a political solution to the crisis, whereas Assad sees war as the answer. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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Sechin predicts oil price to reach $50-55 per barrel by end of 2016, $65 per barrel by end of 2017

Igor Sechin file photo

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) – Oil prices will reach the levels of $50-55 per barrel by the end of 2016 and $65 per barrel by the end of 2017, Rosneft (MOEX: ROSN) CEO Igor Sechin said during an interview with Rossiya-24 television. “The current volatility will continue. We think that by the end of the year we will stably reach […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Senate Committee Looks To Revive Cold-War Era Body To Catch Russian Spies; A new intelligence bill also proposes tightening how Russian diplomats can travel. ” – Buzzfeed

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

In its 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill, the Senate Intelligence Committee is asking the White House to reinstate a presidentially-appointed group to unmask Russian spies and uncover Russian-sponsored assassinations. The group, which would include personnel from the State Department, intelligence community and several other executive offices, would meet monthly. Along with spies and covert killings, the committee would also investigate the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with students taking part in International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Kremlin.ru – June 20, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with students participating in the International Collegiate Programming Contest. The President congratulated the contest participants. One Russian team won the competition and four others were among the top ten. Mr Putin thanked the students and their teachers for their work and wished them success in future competitions and in their future work. […]

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No, Russia is not preparing for all-out war; Russia’s snap military mobilisation drills are an internal exercise. But troublesome relations with the west could still have unintended (and unpleasant) consequences.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – June 21, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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Putin Understands West but West Doesn’t Understand Putin, Moscow Hybrid War Specialist Says

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Russia’s power does “not even come close” to that of the US, Andrey Manoylo says; but Moscow has an advantage “right now” because it understands the value of “asymmetric action” and because “the US clearly has difficulties with predicting Russia’s activities,” because of Washington’s overly simplistic models of Russian […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-114 :: Tuesday, 21 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#114 Tuesday, 21 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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What Russia will do if Ukraine joins the NATO mission in the Black Sea

Black Sea Satellite Photo file image

Kiev has expressed its desire to join the NATO mission in the Black Sea. The Russian Foreign Ministry says if it goes ahead Moscow will take “appropriate measures.” What exactly can Russia do? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – June 21, 2016) In the course of the two-day NATO summit on June 14 and 15 […]

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RBTH: SPIEF 2016: Russia will attract only the best foreign technologies

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russia plans to set up a new presidential council to promote economic innovation, as business deals are unveiled. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 21, 2016) Participants in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) have signed agreements worth $15.8 billion, the executive secretary of its organizing committee, Anton Kobyakov, has announced. The official […]

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Putin’s New Friendship Offensive Won’t Work Abroad or at Home, Shevtsova Says

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s “main message” at the St. Petersburg economics conference that Moscow “again wants to be friends” with the West will not work either in the West, which has been transformed by the Kremlin leader’s aggressiveness, or at home among Russians because he depends on continued anti-Western mobilization, Liliya […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Olympic Ban Adds to Russia’s Culture of Grievances” – New York Times

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

When a global governing body for sports barred Russia’s track and field team from the 2016 Summer Olympics on Friday over a wide-ranging doping scandal, it was greeted in Russia, as is so often the case here these days, with a deep sense of victimhood. …Putin …called the decision ‘unjust, of course.’ …. Click here for New York Times: Olympic […]

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Putin Said to Weigh $11 Billion Rosneft Sale to China, India

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin is considering selling part of Russia’s corporate crown jewels to China and India as the president struggles to meet spending commitments before his possible re-election bid in less than two years. Russia has been seeking buyers for 19.5 percent of state oil champion Rosneft OJSC and […]

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Investments in Russia’s economy declining both because of structural problems, oil price drop – Putin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

ST. PETERSBURG. June 18 (Interfax) – A decline in investments in Russia’s economy can be explained by both the lower oil prices and investors’ worries about problems in Russia’s economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s both this and that,” Putin said while meeting with top managers of international news agencies in St. Petersburg on Friday, when asked whether the […]

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Russian State Duma Election Season Begins

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 20, 2016) Campaign season for the upcoming Russian State Duma elections kicks off this week, with the country’s main political parties preparing for their vital 2016 conventions and candidate nominations. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Friday that elections would be taking place on September 18. Russian law requires that between 90 to 110 days […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with heads of international news agencies

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a meeting with heads of leading international news agencies. The meeting was attended by representatives of news agencies from France, Spain, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, India and Italy. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I have delivered so many speeches today that I […]

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American experts on Russia

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags with Number 200, 1807-2007

American experts on Russia: Washington Post (June 17): The overwhelming consensus among American political and national security leaders has held that Putin is a pariah who disregards human rights and has violated international norms in seeking to regain influence and territory in the former Soviet bloc. Strobe Talbott (President, Brookings Institution) June 17: A metaphor for Putin’s Russia: it flouts […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) [Video in Russian http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52178] [Video with English interpretation http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52178] Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Excerpts from transcript of the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, I am very glad to welcome all of you […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-113 :: Monday, 20 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#113 Monday, 20 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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Antony Penaud: The Observer, the anonymous Twitter account, and the unnamed official

Rotating Soccer Ball

Subject: The Observer, the anonymous Twitter account, and the unnamed official Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud received his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His articles on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms Following three days of violent clashes in Marseille (the first […]

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Interfax: SPIEF organizers thank U.S. State Department urging businesses to skip forum for “informational support”

Cash, Calculator, Pen

ST. PETERSBURG. June 18 (Interfax) – The organizers of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) thank the U.S. Department of State for providing annual “informational support” to the event. “The U.S. Department of State has provided great promotion to SPIEF. They have been doing this for four years by calling on the business community to ignore the event. We […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-112 :: Sunday, 19 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#112 Sunday, 19 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Russian Direct Investment Fund International Expert Council and representatives of international investment community

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – June 16, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with members of the International Expert Council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and representatives of the international investment community. . The President of Russia noted that during its existence the RDIF has achieved substantial results, among them, attracting over 760 billion rubles to the Russian economy. The President said the […]

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Interfax: Putin promises fight against doping at state level

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

ST. PETERSBURG. June 17 (Interfax) – Russia will fight against doping in sports at the state level, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As for the official Russian authorities, I can say with full responsibility, that we are firmly against any doping,” Putin said at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). He said if it emerges […]

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Russian Oil Producers Care More About Rubles Than Barrels

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – June 16, 2016) For Russian oil companies, the value of the ruble matters more than the price of a barrel. While OPEC celebrates the rebound in crude, Rosneft OJSC and Lukoil PJSC must keep one eye on the stronger Russian currency. That’s because the ruble’s 12 percent gain this year against the dollar […]

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Ukraine’s struggle with the past is ours too

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

What happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine – uncritical glorification of Ukrainian nationalism is the west’s problem too. (opendemocracy.net – PER RUDLING, TARIK AMAR, and JARED MCBRIDE – June 15, 2016) Per Anders Rudling is associate professor at the department of history, Lund University and senior visiting fellow at department of history, National University of Singapore. Tarik Cyril […]

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RBTH: Is Nadia Savchenko Putin’s secret weapon?

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

Savchenko, who recently returned to Kiev after two years in a Russian prison, has been accused of promoting Kremlin interests in Ukraine. According to Russian experts, these accusations are related to the fact that part of the Ukrainian establishment sees the pilot as a potential rival and seeks to discredit her. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-110 :: Friday, 17 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#110 Friday, 17 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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International Economic Forum opens in St. Petersburg

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian observers expect dialogue and possible progress on the softening of EU sanctions against Russia from the forum, as well as Gazprom and Shell’s joint launch of an enormous LNG plant in Russia’s northwest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 16, 2016) Leading world economists have gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum […]

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United Russia: Same Game, New Tactics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola CichowlasJ – June 16, 2016) By June 19, President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign a decree that will officially kick-start the campaign season. Within a few days, all the parties taking part in the election will host conventions and declare their list of candidates. These State Duma elections will be the first time […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Report: U.S., Russia Slowly Reducing Nuclear Arsenals” – RFE/RL/AP/DPA

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

A Sweden-based nonproliferation think tank says the world’s biggest nuclear powers, the United States and Russia, are slowly reducing their nuclear arsenals but are modernizing their capacities. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says … there were 455 fewer nuclear warheads at the start of 2016 among nine nuclear states than a year earlier. … the United States, Russia, […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

EU Map

(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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Economy ministry expects rate cut to have moderate impact, sees room for further cut

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s decision on Friday to lower its key interest rate to 10.5% from 11% will have a positive, but “fairly moderate” impact on the economy, and there is still room for a further rate cut, a spokesman for the Economic Development Ministry told Interfax. “This decision will have a positive impact, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Vladimir Fortov and Mikhail Kotyukov

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Vladimir Fortov and Director of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organisations (FASO) Mikhail Kotyukov. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Fortov, Mr Kotyukov. We have met to talk about the coordination of efforts between the Academy of Sciences and FASO, about your achievements […]

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RBTH: U.S. elections: Would Trump isolationism be music to Moscow’s ears?

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has turned out to be a true heretic by openly challenging the U.S. foreign policy paradigm. Strangely, Moscow, at least publicly, has failed to notice it. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – June 16, 2016) Amid the noisy clamor around the Republican Party’s presidential candidate Donald Trump’s often embarrassing slips of […]

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Interfax: Attitude to Ukraine improves in Russia over past year although 36% still want closed border, visa regime – poll

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

MOSCOW. June 16 (Interfax) – More than a third of Russians (36%) want closed borders, visas and customs for Ukraine (30% a year ago), the Levada Center told Interfax, adding that was the highest indicator since March 2008. The share of respondents who see Russia and Ukraine as two independent, friendly nations with open borders and without visas or customs […]

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Russia ranks among top 30 countries worldwide in terms of soft power

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

A British agency has given Russia high marks for its engagement in the resolution of global problems, its culture and influence in the media. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – June 15, 2016) Russia has made its debut on the ranking of the world’s 30 most influential countries in terms of soft power, as compiled […]

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Interfax: Russia trying to avoid confrontation with West – Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. June 15 (Interfax) – Moscow is seeking to avoid confrontation with the United States, NATO, and the European Union, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We are not going to be drawn into confrontation with the U.S., NATO, or the European Union, which is being imposed on us. It’s obvious that confrontational attitudes and geopolitical zero-sum games hinder efforts […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-109 :: Thursday, 16 June 2016

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

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#109 Thursday, 16 June 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – JRL […]

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