NEWSWATCH: “NATO’s Breedlove Calls for Sharper Focus on Russia Ahead of Departure. Gen. Philip Breedlove says U.S. needs more reconnaissance satellites amid Russian threat.” – Wall Street Journal

Philip Breedlove file photo

The U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia and should concentrate its technical capabilities on Moscow’s growing military might, NATO’s departing supreme allied commander said. The U.S. has begun to build up the number of intelligence analysts examining Russia, which stood at 13,000 at the height of the Cold War before dipping to a low […]

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A sheltered existence: Life in Russia’s closed cities

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

Dating back to the Soviet era, closed cities, where important strategic facilities were hidden and secured, continue to exist in today’s Russia. These cities cannot be entered without a special pass, but tourists occasionally manage to make it inside. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 2, 2016) In the late 1940s, a […]

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Interfax: Putin views fair competition during parliamentary election as basis for building confidence in authorities among citizens

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST PETERSBURG. April 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that the State Duma election to be held this autumn must be characterized by a fair and competitive campaign. “You understand perfectly that it is of the utmost importance for this campaign to be spared violations and proceed in an absolutely competitive and fair contest,” Putin said at […]

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Higher School of Economics shrugs off reports on its involvement in new Russian constitution drafting allegedly contracted by Khodorkovsky

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. April 30 (Interfax) – Russia’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) said that it has nothing to do with any drafting of the new Russian constitution allegedly ordered by former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “The National Research University Higher School of Economics is out of politics and does not engage in personal projects of any participants in the political process,” […]

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Russians, Their Guns And the State

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 29, 2016) U.S. gun enthusiasts live in constant fear of the federal government confiscating their weapons. For Russian gun owners, such a fear may be about to become a reality. On April 14, President Vladimir Putin, announced the formation of a new National Guard, and declared one of its key fuctions […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Legislators’ Council

Tauride Palace file photo - adapted from image © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

(Kremlin.ru – April 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Legislators timed for the Day of Russian Parliamentarianism and the 110th anniversary of Russia’s first State Duma. The meeting at the Tauride Palace is attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and speakers of regional parliaments. President […]

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Ex-minister joins Putin’s economic policy advisors

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 30, 2016) Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been appointed deputy head of President Vladimir Putin’s Economic Council, Interfax news agency reported. The decree to this effect has been published on the Russian presidential website, Interfax noted. Earlier, Kudrin became head of the Centre for Strategic Research think-tank, Interfax added. He told reporters at the time […]

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Russian Consumer Confidence Falls to Historic Lows

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 30, 2016) Consumer confidence in Russia fell to 63 points in the first quarter of this year on Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence Index, the lowest level since records began in 2005, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. In the same period last year, the index stood at 72 points, the newspaper reported. According to Nielsen, a […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-81 :: Monday, 2 May 2016

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#81 Monday, 2 May 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 on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist – JRL on Twitter: @JohnsonRussiaLi Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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Nearly Half of All Russians Now Say They Can Live without Relying on the State, Sociologists Find

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 27, 2016) Given everything that has occurred in Russia over the past five years, few have noticed what can only be described as “a quiet revolution”: the percentage of Russians who say they don’t need to rely on the state has increased from 34 to 44 percent, with an ever rising […]

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Putin’s Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eduard Gismatullin – April 27, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia. The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude […]

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RBTH: Polls: Corporate corruption in Russia falls to U.S. level

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

Russian companies have recorded a drop in the number of kickbacks and bribes in their sectors, a study by Ernst & Young has revealed. According to the survey, corporate corruption in Russia has dropped so much that it is now on a par with the U.S. A similar conclusion has been reached by experts from PwC. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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Can Putin and Poroshenko agree on sending peacekeepers to the Donbass?

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

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said he would be willing to send a police mission to Ukraine’s war-torn Donbass region. Earlier, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had expressed his desire to deploy armed OSCE observers in the area. But are the leaders not speaking of different things even though their statements may sound similar? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru […]

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Poll: Russians now hope for God’s help more

Holy-Spirit-Bernini-St-Peters-Window

(Russia Beyond the Headlines/Interfax – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH, INTERFAX – April 28, 2016) Russians have begun to hope for God’s help, and/or have begun to speak about the predestination of people’s fate by God, twice as often in the past 25 years, sociologists said, citing a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM). The poll, […]

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Moscow’s Chief Architect Envisions the City’s Future

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Vanina – April 29, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/moscows-chief-architect-envisions-the-citys-future/567455.html] For many years, Triumfalnaya Ploshchad was a nondescript square across from Moscow’s beating heart. It was an occasional meeting point for anti-regime protesters, a space to get across to reach somewhere else. Today, however, it is an example of modern design, a beautifully lit Scandinavian oasis […]

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Public support for Putin’s job performance remains at 82%

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

(Interfax – April 27, 2016) Eighty-two percent of Russians are satisfied with the work of Vladimir Putin as Russian President; 17 percent are not, the Levada Center told Interfax after an April survey. The indicator remains virtually unchanged since the beginning of the year: in January and March, 82 percent were content with Putin’s performance, in February – 81 percent. […]

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Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

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

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

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Russia Braces Itself as Syrian Cease-fire Falters

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 28, 2016) Not two months have passed since President Vladimir Putin declared mission accomplished in Syria, and again the war-ravaged nation is on the brink. Russia’s partial withdrawal coincided with the launch of a new round of UN-mediated talks in Geneva. But with negotiations falling apart, the status quo of full-blown […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland at a Press Availability in Kyiv

Victoria Nuland file photo

Embassy of the United States-Kyiv Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland at a Press Availability April 27, 2016 Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv, Ukraine ASSISTANT SECRETARY NULAND: Good afternoon, everybody. Apologies for keeping you waiting. It is terrific to be back in Kyiv on this beautiful spring day, and on the eve of the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-80 :: Friday, 29 April 2016

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#80 Friday, 29 April 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 on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist – JRL on Twitter: @JohnsonRussiaLi Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir: “In Russia, young Communists see moment to vie for power. Under the impact of economic crisis and impatient with ‘mutant capitalism’ dominated by Kremlin cronies, younger members of the Communist Party say they could provide an alternative to ‘Putinism.'”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo » Read more

NEWSLINK Russia Direct/Marina Obrazkova: “Making sense of Russia’s strange new choice to defend human rights. The appointment of new human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova has provoked a mixed reaction within Russian society in part because she is a former law enforcement official and a conservative politician who supported a series of controversial laws”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Lawmakers look to get tough on Russia” – The Hill

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian aggression will be high on lawmakers’ minds when the House Armed Services Committee meets Wednesday to mark up its annual defense policy bill. … the Russians have buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer, barrel rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane and warned the United States to steer clear of its territory. … committee members say there will be plenty in […]

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“Johnson’s Russia List Want Ad” – The JRL Needs Your Support

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Dear JRL recipient, I want and need your support. It’s obvious. Johnson’s Russia List is needed more than ever these days. No further elaboration or exhortation is required. Please do also check out the fabulous and lively JRL archive at russialist.org $50 is the normal annual contribution. Business-users should contribute more. A minimum contribution of $25 is suggested. HOW TO […]

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AUDIO & NEWSWATCH Foreign Affairs: “Putin’s Russia: Down But Not Out, Part 2” – Gideon Rose, Stephen Kotkin, and Dmitri Trenin [“We’re looking at the history of Russian aggression”]

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

In part two of our Foreign Affairs Unedited series on Russia under Putin, we’re looking at the history of Russian aggression and the country’s recent military reform. Featuring Gideon Rose, Stephen Kotkin, and Demetri Trenin. * * * ROSE: Back in 1939, Winston Churchill said about Russia or at that point the Soviet Union, it is a riddle wrapped in […]

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NEWSWATCH Brookings/Steven Pifer, Will Ukraine dash its hopes for Western support?

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

Ukraine has gone through a lot the past 30 months. Despite formidable challenges, it has made important progress, both in containing Russian-backed separatism in the Donbas and in beginning needed reforms. Ukrainians deserve credit …. The United States and Europe should support Ukraine, whose success or failure will have major implications for the future of Europe and the European security […]

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Despite Claims, Ukraine Not Free Of Russian Energy Dependence

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – April 25, 2016) Now more than two years on since the revolutionary events on Maidan and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Ukraine is still largely without its footing. Political infighting is again on the rise and the specter of massive corruption persists, stymying what have been positive, albeit small, steps toward reform. The country’s energy […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Moscow Center/Kevin Rudd: “Asia’s Rise, Russia, and the Future of the Global Order”

Asia Map

The Asia-Pacific region contains dynamic twenty-first century global economies in the midst of a positively nineteenth-century set of security policy arrangements. Unresolved territorial disputes litter the region, including the Korean peninsula, the East China Sea, Taiwan, the South China Sea, the Sino-Indian border, and the continuing problem of Kashmir. … unresolved territorial disputes have given rise to multiple fractious security […]

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Atomic energy and political power in Russia

Nuclear Plant File Photo

In Russia, the space for environmental activism and advocacy is changing under increasing state pressure. An interview with one of Russia’s leading ecological organisations about the prospects for anti-nuclear activism today. (opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA, VLADIMIR SLIVYAK, NAILYA IBRAGIMOVA – April 25, 2016) In the coming days, much of the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia is […]

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Three-quarters of Russians believe modern NPPs safe

Russian Nuclear Plant

(Interfax – April 26, 2016) The attitude of Russians to the atomic energy industry has drastically changed over the past quarter of a century: 56 percent opposed its development (14 percent voiced their support) in 1990, and now atomic energy is welcomed by 58 percent (and opposed by 28 percent), the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) has said. Seventy-three […]

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Why Ukraine is at risk of forgetting the lessons of Chernobyl

Chernobyl File Photo

Thirty years after the explosion at the nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, one Russian expert argues that, by using American fuel in Soviet-built reactors and pushing the power-producing capabilities of its nuclear plants, Ukraine is putting itself at potential risk of another disaster. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANDREI RETINGER, SPECIAL TO RBTH – […]

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Interfax: Business confidence rises in Russian extractive, manufacturing sectors

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) – The business confidence index in the Russian extractive industry grew for the third straight month in April, while the index in the manufacturing sector also grew, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The business confidence index in the Russian extractive sector improved to minus (-) 2% in April, from -3% in March, -4% in […]

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Interfax: Putin calls ‘media attacks’ a reaction to the consolidation of Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Interfax – April 25, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that media attacks on Russia were the reaction to the country’s strengthening, its capability to protect own interest. “You are right, this is surely the reaction of our opponents (let’s call them this way) to the consolidation of the country. It’s just that such a player, who is independent, sovereign, […]

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BBC Accuses British, Russian Media Of Skewing MH17 Reporting

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

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – April 25, 2016) The BBC has issued a rare defense of an upcoming documentary about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, accusing British media of distorting its report about a tragedy that killed 298 passengers and crew in July 2014. A report by Britain’s Sunday Express tabloid “misrepresented” the BBC program, […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-79 :: Tuesday, 26 April 2016

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#79 Tuesday, 26 April 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 on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist – JRL on Twitter: @JohnsonRussiaLi Support for JRL is provided in part […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Reasons to be hopeful after the Russia-NATO Summit. Russia and NATO renewed their dialogue for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, but the talks failed to produce any results. However, the very fact that the summit took place means a lot and gives reason to hope that the two sides can eventually find a compromise.”

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage » Read more

NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How Ukraine’s new prime minister can put Kiev on a European path. Ukraine’s new government has a tough task ahead: It must deal with a controversial legacy of governance, improve its image abroad and fulfill plans for EU integration – all while reducing the nation’s dependence on Russian gas.”

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine » Read more
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