RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-158 :: Friday, 26 August 2016

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

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#158 Friday, 26 August 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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NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Discuss Syria Cooperation Plan. Officials see hope of reducing violence and creating atmosphere for political transition”

Syria Map

… Kerry and … Lavrov are meeting … in a bid to complete a deal on increased cooperation in Syria that officials hope could help create the calm necessary for talks on a political transition. … The Pentagon is concerned about more closely cooperating with Russia, which backs … al-Assad’s regime. * * * Kerry’s efforts are opposed by some […]

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Putin has Degraded Russian Political Discourse to Level of ‘Pathological Ravings,’ Piontkovky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 25, 2016) One of the most dangerous things Vladimir Putin has done is to degrade the level of political discourse across the board in Moscow to the level of “pathological ravings,” a development that some in the West appear not to understand and thus continue to be affected in the ways […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Businessman takes hostages in Moscow bank in desperate plea to Putin”

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

On Aug. 24, a bankrupt businessman took the staff and customers of a bank in downtown Moscow hostage in a bid to attract the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the plight of those in his position.

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NEWSLINK The Nation/Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “How A Siberian Mom Took on Politics as Usual in Russia and Won.”

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

In Siberia, Natalia Pinus is taking on established political forces and challenging the idea that Russian democracy is no more than a puppet show

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NEWSLINK Valdai Discussion Club/ Paul Saunders: “TECTONIC SHIFTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, OR ARE THEY REALLY?”

Middle East Map

Russia’s military operation in Syria – and America’s restraint there-has catalyzed discussion and debate about possible strategic realignments in the Middle East, generating excitement in Moscow about Russia’s “great power” role and parallel concern in Washington and some allied capitals about future U.S. influence.

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NEWSWATCH: “The Sources of Russian Conduct. Kennan’s Long Telegram needs an update for Putin’s Russia.” – The National Interest/Thomas Graham

Eurasia Map

Writing a lengthy piece for The National Interest, Thomas E. Graham of Kissinger Associates comments upon U.S.-Russian relations. … we need to see Russia in a global context. Today, we largely see it through a European prism, which inevitably magnifies the discord between us as we fall back on memories of the Cold War…. But, if Russia is not a […]

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Third of Russians deem potential Trump victory in U.S. presidential race to be advantageous for Russia – poll

Donald Trump

MOSCOW. Aug 25 (Interfax) – Some 12% of Russians are closely monitoring the progress of the U.S. presidential election campaign, and another 73% have heard something about it, the Levada Center told Interfax. Fifteen percent learned about the upcoming U.S. elections during the poll of 1,600 respondents in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on August 5-8. Fifty-two percent of […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-157 :: Thursday, 25 August 2016

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

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#157 Thursday, 25 August 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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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-156 :: Wednesday, 24 August 2016

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

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#156 Wednesday, 24 August 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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Putin’s Election Grip Is So Tight Even His Nemesis Can Take Part

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – August 24, 2016) The last time Vladimir Putin’s political party won national elections, ballot-stuffing allegations sparked the biggest protests of his rule. Five years on, Putin appears to be so confident in his hold on power that even his most dogged adversary is welcome to challenge United Russia in next month’s […]

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Why Arctic Oil Is Crucial For Russia’s Future

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – August 23, 2016) The Arctic – a cold wasteland that has shattered the expansion dreams of many an oil company by proving to be too difficult and too expensive to tackle. And, of course, Arctic exploration is the target of major environmentalist opposition to any intervention in this wasteland that is in fact home to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Chance to Change History” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Twenty-five years ago, an unsuccessful coup attempt, known as the August Coup, was launched by a group of hawkish Communist Party members and security elites against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in what was widely seen as one of the key moments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. * * * A keen student of history, Vladimir Putin […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-155 :: Tuesday, 23 August 2016

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

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#155 Tuesday, 23 August 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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In Putin’s ‘Corporate Fascist State,’ Ideological Labels like ‘Liberal’ are Irrelevant, Inozemtsev Says

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22) It is a profound mistake to discuss Kremlin politics in terms of liberal, conservative or any of the other ideological labels, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, because in “the corporate state of a fascist type” that Putin has established, individuals even just below the supreme leader are “cogs” in a machine who […]

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A Long Jump: Russia Claims Moral Victory From Rio Olympics

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, August 22, 2016) Russia’s medal haul at the Summer Olympics in Rio was the country’s smallest since the 1912 games in Stockholm, but that did not deter various officials and pundits from spinning the result as a victory for Moscow — or a moral one, at the least. With much of its […]

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Poroshenko hopes to raise Ukrainian flag over Donetsk, Luhansk, Simferopol and Sevastopol over time

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

KYIV. Aug 23 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reiterated the need to restore Ukrainian sovereignty in Donbas and Crimea. “An extremely difficult task for us is to ensure that our flag would once again appear over Donetsk, Luhansk, over Simferopol and over Sevastopol,” he said during a ceremony to raise Ukraine’s state flag in Kyiv on Tuesday. Ukraine […]

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Russian airplanes leave Iran, but for how long?”

Iran Map and Flag

Tu-22M3 and Su-34 combat aircraft are no longer performing sorties into Syria from Iranian territory. Experts attribute the decision to a number of diplomatic and technical miscalculations on Moscow’s part and say the possibility remains for Russian aircraft to return

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NEWSLINK Transitions Online: “Russia’s Donbas ‘Buildup’: Threat or Bargaining Chip?”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Ukrainian leader warns of possible Russian invasion, while the Pentagon tries to inject a note of realism into increasingly tense debate

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NEWSWATCH: “Playing With Fire in Ukraine” – New York Times

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

Two years after President Vladimir Putin of Russia annexed Crimea and began destabilizing eastern Ukraine, tensions are rising anew, with news reports suggesting that he may be preparing for yet another military confrontation with the pro-Western government in Kiev. … regardless of his intentions, the provocations, real or feigned, could spin out of control. It is essential for Europe and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead. A Pattern That Suggests State Involvement” – New York Times

Kremlin and River

In a series of public meetings on Capitol Hill … [Vladimir] Kara-Murza, a leader in the Russian opposition, urged American lawmakers to expand economic sanctions against the Russian government under a law known as the Magnitsky Act. That would hasten political change in Russia, he argued. … in Moscow a month later, in May 2015, the changes Mr. Kara-Murza detected […]

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How Bad are Things in Russia Today? Some People There are Now Pawning Their Teeth

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 21, 2015) The worsening economic situation in Russia is highlighted by many things but none more compelling than the fact that it is forcing ever more people there to pawn whatever items of value they have – including their teeth — and then not to be in a position to reclaim […]

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Putin Unbound

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 22, 2016) We’re about to learn where Vladimir Putin really wants to take Russia. We’re about to see what one-man rule really looks like. We’re about to witness Putin unbound and unchained. And this is because, until recently, Putin was basically the front man for a ruling oligarchy — one comprised mostly […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-154 :: Monday, 22 August 2016

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

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#154 Monday, 22 August 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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Russian Justice Ministry to consider Anti-Maidan leader’s request on checking several NGOs for foreign financing

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Aug 20 (Interfax) – The Russian Justice Ministry will consider an appeal by Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin, the founder of the Anti-Maidan movement, on checking a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) for receiving financing from abroad. “The Russian Justice Ministry has received an appeal from Russian Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin. The appeal will be considered within the […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Why is Russia postponing the privatization of its oil companies?”

Oil Well file photo

The Russian government has announced that it will postpone the privatization of state share packages in the Rosneft and Bashneft oil companies. Russian analysts believe that this is because the price being asked is not acceptable to buyers.

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Emerges as a Campaign Issue That Can’t Be Ignored” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Russian troops move to the Ukrainian border. Russian jets take off from a base in Iran to attack targets in Syria. Russian #hackers are accused of breaking into Democratic websites. Ukrainian investigators say they believe a top Republican campaign operative took millions in fees from a pro-Russian party. … Add it up and you get an inescapable reality: Russia and […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-153 :: Friday, 19 August 2016

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

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#153 Friday, 19 August 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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What Happened To The August 1991 Soviet Coup Plotters?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Ron Synovitz – August 19, 2016) Eleven hard-liners in the Soviet government, military, Communist Party, and #KGB were named in a Russian court as the organizers of the failed August 1991 coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. They included the so-called “Gang of Eight” that had placed Gorbachev under house arrest — a short-lived, self-declared provisional […]

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Stealing a Peek at Russian Economic Uptick Before It Happens

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – August 11, 2016) Prone to false starts since a crisis peaked last year, Russia’s economy is riding momentum that has it on the cusp of exiting the longest recession in two decades. As business sentiment perks up, leading indicators from demand for electricity to rail cargoes and container transport show the pulse of […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian envoy says NATO dialogue “gradually being restored”

NATO Logo, NATO, OTAN

(RIA Novosti – August 18, 2016) Russian permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko has said that dialogue with NATO is gradually improving. “Today our main attention is on political dialogue, which is gradually being restored. Two sessions of the Russia-NATO council have taken place,” Grushko told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti. “Furthermore, taking part in the last session were […]

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Experts Predict ‘Lost Decade’ For Russia’s Stagnating Economy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

A lack of dialogue on economic incentives could threaten future growth (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Prokopenko, Margarita Papchenkova – August 19, 2016) #Russia’s #economy needs powerful external stimuli or fundamental domestic reform in order to avoid further stagnation, a report from the Centre of Development at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) has claimed. The country’s gross domestic […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why We Need Kremlinology Again. How a careful study of behind-the-scenes power struggles can open a window into a closed society” – The American Interest/ Anders Aslund

Kremlin and River

The increasing opacity of Russian politics has opened a window of opportunity for Kremlinology to make a comeback. … I see Kremlinology as the formalized study of hard facts in a closed society, observing appointments, organization, decrees, and formal speeches. Kremlinology has no role in an open society, but Russia today is no open society, though it is far from […]

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The Weird Science and New Kremlin Chief of Staff

Kremlin and River

A bizarre article about “spacial scanners” and “registering the unseen” has been linked to the newly appointed top bureaucrat Anton Vaino. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 16, 2016) “The market is a manifestation of life. The brightest manifestations of life occur in its condensation: in certain points, certain lines, certain spatial-temporal formations.” For some, this might […]

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Putin’s Regime Stalinist in Form but Not in Content, Shelin Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 14, 2016) Last week, Moscow political analyst Nikolay Petrov argued that Vladimir Putin’s regime had shifted from a Brezhnevite to a Stalinist approach in the way it uses the bureaucracy to run the country (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/08/putins-neo-nomenklatura-system-shifts.html). Now, Sergey Shelin, a commentator for the Rosbalt agency, argues that while “the current Russian regime […]

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Russia Understanders” in Europe (excerpt)

Europe Map

(PONARS Eurasia – Andrey Makarychev, Stefano Braghirolil, University of Tartu (Estonia) – August 16, 2016) [Full text here http://www.ponarseurasia.org/sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/Pepm435_Makarychev-Braghiroli_August2016.pdf] The Ukraine conflict reinforced the desire of Kremlin policymakers to establish connections with a range of anti-status-quo groups in Europe. Moscow’s broad aim is to catalyze support for and legitimize Russian sovereignty (and hegemony) and, perhaps, even the dissolution of the […]

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It’s Security, Stupid: How Putin Manipulates National Emergencies

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times/Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – August 15, 2016) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti. Vladimir Putin is both feared and admired for his signature move of creating suspense to keep everybody on their toes. He knows how to make sure his next move is unpredictable. And yet, he […]

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Russia’s Solitary Man; [Putin is firing powerful allies and is setting himself up as tsar]

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 15, 2016) Vladimir Putin is throwing his old pals under the bus. He’s replacing them with loyal and docile servants. And he’s building a security apparatus that answers to him alone. A year ago, Putin fired longtime associate Vladimir Yakunin as head of Russian Railways. A few months back, he effectively dismissed […]

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