More On Russia’s Protests

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore, The Morning Vertical – March 28, 2017) … There is no shortage of commentary on nationwide protests in Russia on March 26. Here’s a sampling: In The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe explains the significance of this past weekend’s protest. Leonid Ragozin has a piece in Bloomberg looking at Navalny’s campaign operation in Siberia and what […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian regime’s critics are falling dead, but their discontent can’t be killed” – Washington Post

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

“… #Voronenkov … #Gorokhov … only the latest in the string of violence and death that has trailed those who criticize … #Putin and his regime. Boris #Nemtsov … was assassinated while walking home across a bridge within sight of the #Kremlin walls. Alexander #Litvinenko, a former KGB officer who had become a fierce critic of … Putin … killed in London with radioactive polonium placed […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-60 :: Tuesday, 28 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-#60 Tuesday, 28 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia-gate’s Unasked Questions; Comey’s testimony settles nothing” – The American Conservative/Philip Geraldi

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… If the #FBI began its investigation of team #Trump in late July – after the nomination process but before the election – and the Trump campaign office was located in Trump Tower, doesn’t that confirm that Donald Trump is right when he insists that his office was ‘wiretapped’ during the summer even if his word choice was not apt? […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-59 :: Monday, 27 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-#59 Monday, 27 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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David Filipov: “There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was hospitalized but for most of the day police in #Moscow were generally patient w crowds”

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

(David Filipov @davidfilipov (Washington Post) – Twitter – March 26, 2017) Washington Post correspondent David Filipov writes on twitter: “There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was hospitalized but for most of the day police in #Moscow were generally patient w crowds” [embedded tweet should also load below:] There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was […]

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Cyber Firm Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Oleksiy Kuzmenko and Pete Cobus – WASHINGTON, March 25, 2017) U.S. #cybersecurity firm #CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of #Russian #hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank. In December, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Oil is the cause of Russia’s outsized corruption problem” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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

“#Russia was wracked by protests over the weekend when an estimated 60,000 people took to the street in more than 80 cities large and small to decry rampant corruption. Russia does have an outsized corruption problem and its #oil wealth is to blame.  … the Russian government has identified corruption as probably the biggest drag on growth and has launched a […]

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The Russia-China Partnership Remains Strong, Despite America

Asia Map

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – STACY CLOSSON – March 8, 2017) Dr. Stacy Closson is a Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute. She was previously an Assistant Professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. She received her PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science in International Relations. [Text with […]

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Russia May Shrink Its ‘Foreign Agents’ Registry by Half

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 24, 2017) Russia may drastically shrink its registry of “foreign agents” – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and political activities, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports. The government will likely remove half of the organizations from the registry following an analysis of the law’s application by a presidential administration working group. More than 50 […]

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Interfax: March 26 rally organizers warned of illegality of staging rallies in city center – Moscow authorities

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. March 23 (Interfax) – Moscow authorities have considered all the applications filed by organizers for public events to be held in central Moscow on March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, head of the Moscow Department for Regional Security and Combating Corruption, told Interfax on Thursday. “The Department has received five applications from a group of people for public events to be […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-58 :: Friday, 24 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-#58 Friday, 24 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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Putin to Stress Superpower Status in Presidential Campaign; Restoring Moscow’s global influence will be a dominant theme of the 2018 election, experts say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Matthew Kupfer – March 23, 2017) In 2016, Donald Trump rode a wave of popular discontent to the White House on the promise that he would “make America great again.” As Russia’s presidential election, scheduled for March 2018 draws nearer, President Vladimir Putin may try a similar tactic – by contending that he […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Gazeta.ru: “Live longer! Putin calls for improving life expectancy. Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths.”

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

“Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths. …”

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russian-US experiment to simulate outer space mission named SIRIUS”

Space in Low Earth Orbit with Partial Sun

“A series of joint experiments by NASA and the Moscow-based Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (IMBP) to simulate a flight to the outer space was named SIRIUS, an acronym for Scientific International Research In Unique Terrestrial Station. …”

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Putin Nominates Bank of Russia Head Nabiullina for New Term

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Stepan Kravchenko – March 22, 2017) Russian President Vladimir #Putin told Bank of #Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina he plans to nominate her for a new 5-year term, praising her stewardship of the central bank as the country emerges from the longest recession this century. “The central bank under your leadership has done a #great […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN’S ECONOMY IS SO BAD, MANY RUSSIANS CAN’T AFFORD NEW SHOES” – Newsweek

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“To see the state of Vladimir Putin’s economy, look down at Russians’ feet. The weakening ruble is making Russians more cautious about their purchases, and annual shoe sales across the country have dropped in recent months as Russians wait for their footwear to completely wear out before buying new ones ….”

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This Recovery Isn’t for Everyone as Inequality Reshapes Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 22, 2017) A snapshot of Russia’s consumer welfare painted a picture of a country increasingly cleaved by inequality. A surprise deterioration of retail sales in February, alongside an unexpected plunge in real disposable incomes, is adding to evidence of what Morgan Stanley is calling an “uneven consumer recovery” driven by rising disparity […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-57 :: Thursday, 23 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-#57 Thursday, 23 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Leakgate Finds Its Joe McCarthy; On Trump-Russia links, Rep. Schiff tries to fool the public with randomness” – Wall Street Journal/HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.

Adam Schiff file photo, adapted from image at congress.gov

“… Schiff, a former prosecutor, … should know better than to treat ‘circumstantial evidence’ as a synonym for guilt by association. There isn’t room to detail the fantastically trivial basis for his portrayal of Trump pilot fish Roger Stone as an intimate of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and alleged hacker Guccifer 2.0, or the utter fatuity of his attempt to place pilot […]

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Why the Comey Hearing Was Frightening to a Russian

Gas Facility file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 21, 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. Monday’s hearing on Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election and the alleged contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin yielded inspiring news for […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-56 :: Wednesday, 22 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-#56 Wednesday, 22 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Oleksiy Kuzmenko, Pete Cobus – WASHINGTON – March 21, 2017) [Text with links here voanews.com/a/crowdstrike-comey-russia-hack-dnc-clinton-trump/3776067.html] An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election. The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that […]

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@McFaul: “This is important. Russia has a serious, sophisticated disinformation strategy. We ignore it at our peril. “

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

[Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, @McFaul at twitter.com/mcfaul, tweets about #Russia and disinformation: embedded tweet should load below; tweet also is available at twitter.com/McFaul/status/843706148733693953] This is important. Russia has a serious, sophisticated disinformation strategy. We ignore it at our peril. https://t.co/eq15A6f6HG — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 20, 2017

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects meeting

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Participants in the meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of priority projects in healthcare, as well as measures aimed at enhancing labour efficiency. Transcript of the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects President […]

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NEWSLINK: “Manafort had plan to benefit Putin government” – AP Exclusive/JEFF HORWITZ, CHAD DAY

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

“… Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of … Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – March 20, 2017) Mr Donskoy briefed the President on measures to enhance the efficiency of subsoil resource use, develop a system of protected natural zones, and support eco-tourism. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Donskoy, we discussed with you on many occasions the question of effective subsoil use. I know the Ministry has prepared a roilange of instruments, […]

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Interfax: Idea of appointing Russian Academy of Sciences president deserves attention – Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – The idea that a Russian Academy of Sciences head may be appointed by the president of Russia deserves attention, yet no decisions have so far been made to this effect, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “All of us have been watching the developments around the election of a [Russian Academy of Sciences] president. The […]

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“How did the intelligence community know that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee? CrowdStrike told them so. From the March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing …”

FBI Headquarters File Photo

How did the intelligence community know that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee?  CrowdStrike told them so. From the March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing: Congressman Will HURD: Have you been able to — when did the DNC provide access for — to the FBI for your technical folks to review what happened? FBI Director COMEY: Well we never […]

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NEWSLINK: “Notes From the House Select Intelligence Hearing on Russia; In one of the most anticipated congressional hearings in years, James Comey and Mike Rogers took turns saying nothing” – Rolling Stone/Matt Taibbi

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

[DJ: To be contrasted with Michael McFaul’s enthusiastic minute-by-minute Twitter feed at @McFaul] “The hearing on Russia’s involvement with the American electoral process began with an army of reporters swarming ’round the committee heads: Republican chair Devin Nunes of the Fresno area, and Democrat and ranking member Adam Schiff of Los Angeles. … The two witnesses were top dogs from […]

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NEWSLINK: “WEAPONIZING COMEDY” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Satellite Dishes

“… The basic conclusion of the report is that in Russia, ‘the entire “official humour industry” … is directly Kremlin-controlled’. Working for the Kremlin, Russian comedians use humour to reduce their compatriots’ stress and make them feel more comfortable and thus more accepting of the political system. They provide audiences with a positive sense of social identity, which is contrasted […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-55 :: Tuesday, 21 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-#55 Tuesday, 21 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia cannot live with the west – or without it; Technological backwardness increases its dependence on liberal democracies” – Financial Times/Lilia Shevtsova

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

“Great power status and the desire for external domination have long been central components of the Russian system of personalised power. … With diminishing resources, the Kremlin has increasingly resorted to intimidating … liberal democracies into accepting Russia’s grand ambitions. At the same time, the country has to wrestle with … how to preserve its role as a global power without […]

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Interfax: Moscow authorities believe their rejection of Navalny’s requested anti-corruption rally final

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow authorities do not plan on reconsidering their refusal to approve the anti-corruption march scheduled by opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his supporters in Moscow for March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, the head of the regional security and anti-corruption department for Moscow, said. “This decision is final,” Chernikov said, replying to a relevant question from […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Why Russia does not want to join OPEC; Russia sees oil club as a competitor, though they share tactical interests”

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARIA KUTUZOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH) Russia is not considering joining OPEC, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak has told a U.S. conference. Speaking during the CERAWeek Oil Conference in Houston, Texas early March Novak added: “But our cooperation with the oil exporting countries has proven to be necessary and useful.” He has often spoken […]

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Russian Civic Nation ‘Already Exists,’ Doesn’t Need to be Declared or Defined, Kremlin Official Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – March 18, 2017) Staunton, March 18 – Two weeks ago, efforts by the working group Vladimir Putin set up to define the meaning of a civic Russian nation (rossiiskaya natsiya) collapsed when the leaders of that group announced that they were refocusing a draft law on nationality policy more generally (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/putin-tishkov-push-to-define-civic.html). But yesterday, […]

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Russians Happier Than They Look, UN Study Shows

UN Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 20, 2017) Don’t be misled by those grumpy faces on the Moscow metro: Russia is the 49th happiest place on Earth and it is becoming happier, a new study has found. The United Nation’s yearly World Happiness Report measures “subjective well-being” in 155 countries along criteria such as GDP per capita and life expectancy, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “What do Russians dream about when they sleep?”

File Photo of Dogs Dressed as Batman and Robin, adapted from photo at whitehouse.gov

Most Russians dream about people, fish, children and snakes, claims a Yandex study based on the analysis of search queries. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – March 20, 2017) A study conducted by the leading Russian search engine, Yandex, shows what Russians most frequently see in their dreams. The results are based on search queries […]

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NEWSLINK: “Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion” – The Intercept/Glenn Greenwald

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies … there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they […]

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NEWSLINK: “The paranoid attempts to tie Trump to Russia are distracting US liberals from their real problems” – Quartz: James Carden

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

“… Rather than being driven by a wave of popular sentiment, today’s hysteria is a product of elite resentment, suspicion, and anger over Clinton’s loss to the populist Trump. Then, of course, there is the added element of blame shifting. Democrats are clearly seeking to blame Clinton’s loss on Russia, and the Kremlin offers a convenient foreign target. But is […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-54 :: Monday, 20 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-#54 Monday, 20 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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NEWSLINK “Russia Quality Of Life Indicators Worse Than China’s” – Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza

Moscow Roads

“… According to the big data cost of living number crunchers at Numbeo, Russia’s biggest problems are weather; Moscow traffic that makes the 405 in Los Angeles and the Marginal in Sao Paulo seem tame; outrageous real estate prices in city centers, and pollution. Russia may be known for great culture, world-class great museums and home to one of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For the Kremlin, Boosting Turnout Is Key Task for 2018 Vote” – AP

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

“With a year to go before #Russia’s presidential election …. #Putin is set to glide easily to another term against a familiar pack of torpid rivals – leftovers from past races. But the Kremlin must figure out how to overcome one major problem in Russia’s political environment: public apathy. Putin’s strategists are searching for ways to draw more people to […]

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Regional Elites Now Excluded from Politics Seek a Bigger Role, Kudrin Center Study Finds

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 16, 2017) Russia’s regional elites say that they do not have any influence on the political process but that they would like to, especially concerning policies that affect their particular regions, according to a new study prepared by Aleksey Kudrin’s Center for Strategic Development. The study itself, “Russian Elites in 2016: […]

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NEWSLINK: “Was Yahoo a sanctioned FSB operation or a rogue operation?” – Jeffrey Carr/Medium

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… In 2014, Chinese cyber attacks were in the political spotlight in Washington leading up to a summit between Obama and Xi. Cybersecurity firms like Crowdstrike published attribution reports blaming the Chinese government and the Dept of Justice charged five PLA officers/hackers with acts of cyber espionage. In 2016 and 2017, Russian cyber attacks took the spotlight, with Crowdstrike and […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-53 :: Friday, 17 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-#53 Friday, 17 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Does Vladimir Putin Want? [interview with Alexander Vershbow]” – New York Magazine

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… Q: Assuming all the intelligence agencies are right that Russia meddled in the election, why do you think they would do so? It reflects a broader kind of hostility on the Russians’ part towards the West. It was brewing for some time, and I think it burst into full flower after Putin came back into the presidency in 2012. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Unquiet American; Putin is unlikely to be brought in from the cold, says former U.S. envoy to Moscow Michael McFaul” – Politico.eu

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“… How does the #Putin era end? ‘When Putin is no longer in power,’ responds #McFaul. ‘And I think he’ll stay in power for as long as he can.’ A natural end to Putin’s presidency is ‘unlikely,’ he says, ‘given the kind of system he’s built around himself, that really relies on one charismatic individual at its core.’ The #Russians […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of Congress of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin addressed a plenary session of the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The congress is being held as part of the X Russian Business Week (RBW) on March 13-17, hosted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The RBW participants coordinate proposals on key areas of interaction between the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-52 :: Thursday, 16 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-#52 Thursday, 16 March 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, #Russian and #Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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