Poll finds 45% of Russians Dissatisfied With The Country’s Situation

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 19, 2017) A recent poll by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) found that 45 percent of Russians are dissatisfied with the general situation in the country, the RBC newspaper reports. Nearly half the population expressed dissatisfaction with the authorities in the realm of healthcare, the economy and the social safety net. The results of […]

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Russia Fears That Trump Won’t Be Such a Great Deal After All

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer , Ilya Arkhipov, Irina Reznik – January 19, 2017) Russia is giving Donald Trump the kind of fawning television coverage usually reserved for Vladimir Putin, with its most popular propagandist hailing the president-elect this week as “a man of his word.” But inside the Kremlin, the initial euphoria over having a Putin admirer in […]

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Remarks by the President in Final Press Conference. (excerpt re: Russia)

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – January 18, 2017) Q Mr. President, thank you. The President-elect has said that he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia if they substantially reduced their nuclear stockpile. Given your own efforts at arms control, do you think that’s an effective strategy? Knowing this office and Mr. Trump, how would you […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: World Bank urges Russia to invest in education and health care

World Bank Building

A new World Bank report shifts from the usual criticism of Russian dependence on raw materials toward the nation’s need to invest more in the population in order for them to be best prepared for the challenges of modernity. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – KIRA KALININA, RBTH – January 18, 2017) In a break from past reports, the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-16 :: Thursday, 19 January 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-#16 Thursday, 19 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Inside the belly of Russia’s ‘propaganda machine’: A visit to RT news channel; US security services have fingered the channel as a key player in the Kremlin’s efforts to sway Western politics. But inside its offices, RT seems a far cry from what the US says it is – and what it aspires to be.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Satellite Dishes

… The network appears to have changed focus about five years ago to become more about promoting the Russian point of view on international affairs, and much less about covering Russia per se. It also became a platform for coverage of social problems in Western societies, government malfeasance, corporate non-accountability, and the dysfunctions of democracy that often contrasts in tone, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia, U.S. Mulling Joint Mission to Venus” – Space.com/Mike Wall

Planet Venus file photo, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Russia’s space program and NASA are working together on a mission to Venus that would investigate some of the scorching-hot planet’s biggest mysteries, including, perhaps, whether it harbors life. An international team of scientists tasked with fleshing out the main goals of the mission, which is known as Venera-D, is wrapping up its work and will deliver its final report […]

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And Then Putin Came For The West

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 17, 2016) First he went after the domestic opposition. When Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin five years ago, he launched a massive crackdown on dissent, jailing opposition leaders, staging a series of show trials, and cracking down on social media. He called them fifth columnists and tools of the West. Outside […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Will Russia cut its nuclear arsenal in exchange for lifting sanctions?”

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

The U.S. may reconsider sanctions against Russia if the latter agrees to reduce its nuclear arsenals, said U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in an interview with the British newspaper, The Times. According to military experts, if the reduction is reciprocal then such an agreement will be to Russia’s advantage. Russia, however, will first want a change in NATO policy. (Russia Beyond […]

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State Duma speaker deems CoE pressure over family violence decriminalization by Russia to be inadmissible

File Photo of Council of Europe Headquarters Building with Flags in Front

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin deems the pressure of Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland on Russia in connection with the law decriminalizing family violence to be inadmissible. “This is pressure, and it is inadmissible,” Volodin told the press on Wednesday. The State Duma adopted the amendments in first reading in January, and the […]

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Over half of Russians approve of arrests of government officials suspected of corruption – poll

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – Most Russians know about and approve of the arrests of high-ranking officials suspected of bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of office, the VTsIOM public opinion service reported based on findings of a public opinion poll of 1,600 respondents conducted in 130 populated areas in 46 regions of Russia on December 17-18. As many as 55% of […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-15 :: Wednesday, 18 January 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-#15 Wednesday, 18 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] [j]oint news conference with President of Moldova Igor Dodon

Moldova Map and Flag

(Kremlin.ru – January 17, 2017) Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon gave a joint news conference following the Russia-Moldova talks. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, Our talks with the Moldovan President were held in a constructive and I would also say friendly atmosphere. They were concrete and covered issues of mutual interest. We have discussed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “China Goes Food Shopping-to Russia; ‘Everything that can be consumed by a human being in China is something they’re interested in,’ Russian official says” – Wall Street Journal/AMIE FERRIS-ROTMAN/Liyan Qi

Asia Map

China bought more than $1 billion in food products from Russia last year, replacing Turkey as the top importer of Russian foodstuffs. … central to Russia’s economic and political pivot toward Asia, as the Russian economy continues to suffer under Western sanctions and the low price of oil, and U.S.-Russian relations deteriorate …. Russia and China … describe current relations […]

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Ukraine’s Survival Strategy for the Trump Era

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – January 17, 2017) For Ukraine, Jan. 20 is a scarier date than perhaps for any other country: It may be about to lose the U.S. support that has allowed it to stay afloat in the face of #Russian hostility and economic disaster. The Ukrainian elite is divided between two competing strategies in response. […]

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Share of Russians Willing to Protest. Never Large, has Fallen Since 2014, Levada Expert Says

Moscow Protest File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 17, 2017) The share of Russians willing to protest or take part in any political activity at all, never large in the best of times, has fallen significantly since Vladimir Putin began tightening the screws in 2014. Instead, ever more Russians are showing their willingness and ability to adapt to the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-14 :: Tuesday, 17 January 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-#14 Tuesday, 17 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “He dared to speak the truth: Alexey Yablokov, scientific hero of Chernobyl” – The Ecologist (UK)/Chris Busby

Chernobyl File Photo

“Alexey V. Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. ….”

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-13 :: Monday, 16 January 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-#13 Monday, 16 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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The Impossible Grand Bargain

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 16, 2017) There’s a very simple reason why a new reset won’t work. There’s a very simple reason why any grand bargain with Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin regime is doomed to failure. There’s a very simple reason why a new detente with Moscow would probably make matters much worse. And that’s the simple […]

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Russian business ombudsman to attend Trump inauguration ceremony

Boris Titov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 16 (Interfax) – Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov has gone to Washington to attend the inauguration ceremony of U.S. President Donald Trump on January 20, the ombudsman’s office told Interfax. “Yes. Titov has left for Washington. He is expected to attend the Trump inauguration. The business ombudsman is also scheduled to have a number of meetings in the […]

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Another Fatal Flaw in Russia’s Company Towns: Business More Powerful than the State

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 14, 2016) Russia’s 300-plus urban centers known as “monogorods” or “company towns” where the vast majority of the population have been the subject of episodic discussions typically triggered when the chief firm closes down, the population is impoverished, and protests arise. Then, these places where more than ten percent of the […]

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NBC VIDEO: Watch Full Interview With Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(NBC News –  Jan. 12, 2016 – nbcnews.com/video/watch-full-interview-with-kremlin-spokesman-dmitry-peskov-853603395519) Watch Full Interview With Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov NBC News’ Bill Neely talks to Dmitry Peskov about hacking, President Putin and Donald Trump. [featured image is file photo]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-12 :: Sunday, 15 January 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-#12 Sunday, 15 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him” – McClatchy/KEVIN G. HALL, TIM JOHNSON

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A #Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company are mentioned in the now-notorious document alleging connections between the Donald #Trump campaign and Russian #hackers says no #intelligence officers have ever contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false. * * * #XBT, owner of Dallas-based enterprise-hosting company #Webzilla, is run by a successful Russian tech […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Intelligence panel chair asks why Democrats denied FBI access after Russian hacking (excerpt)” – McClatchy/ANNA DOUGLAS

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

… [Senator Richard] Burr wanted to know why the Democratic National Committee didn’t give the FBI direct access to servers and devices that had been compromised in a cyberattack. FBI Director James Comey told Burr the agency and its investigators had made ‘multiple requests at different levels’ for access to DNC infrastructure and John Podesta’s devices for the purposes of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Soviet dissident had thousands of child abuse images, UK court told; Vladimir Bukovsky downloaded indecent images and films over 15-year period, Cambridge crown court hears” – The Guardian (UK)/Luke Harding

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

“… Bukovsky, 73, is charged with 10 counts of making and possessing indecent photos and one count of possessing an indecent computer-generated graphic. He denies all charges. * * * Bukovsky has been a longstanding opponent of Soviet and Russian power. He began his struggle against the Soviet regime in the early 1960s. Soviet authorities eventually kicked him out of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lessons From Russia: Verify Everything, Don’t Publish Rumors” – New York Times/Masha Gessen

Satellite Dishes

“… I was the editor of a monthly magazine and wanted the journalist to expand his report for my publication. ‘I made it up,’ he said breezily when I called him. That could mean several things. He could indeed have made the story up. Alternatively, he could have been lying when he said he had made it up. Maybe he […]

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NEWSLINK: “Team Trump on Russia: Words and Actions” – Russia Matters

Donald Trump

“U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has picked his Cabinet members, Cabinet-level officials and advisors. Here is a snapshot of their positions on and ties with Russia. This is a work in progress that will evolve throughout the month of January. In our initial post on Jan. 9, we focused on Cabinet picks who have had direct dealings with Russia or a […]

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PBS VIDEO: What kind of threat does Russia pose to the U.S.?

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(PBS Newshour – pbs.org/newshour/bb/kind-threat-russia-pose-u-s/ – January 12, 2017) President-elect Trump has said he would like to improve relations with Russia. But his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, views Russia as America’s number one threat. What’s the reality of the White House-Kremlin dynamic? Steve Inskeep discusses with Evelyn Farkas, a former Defense Department official, and Michael McFaul, former U.S. […]

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Moscow Times: Russia Says It Plans to Pivot From Nuclear Deterrence, Avoiding Trump’s Arms Race

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 12, 2017) When it comes to strategic deterrence, Russia might replace its nuclear weapons with precision bombs, in order to help reduce international tensions and strengthen world peace, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a public lecture on Thursday, the news agency RIA Novosti reported. According to Shoigu, Moscow plans to rely on […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-11 :: Friday, 13 January 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-#11 Friday, 13 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Golden Skepticism; Wild allegations in unverified Trump dossier fail to impress Kremlin critics and supporters alike

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – January 12, 2017) In the past 24 hours, on both sides of the Atlantic, the Internet has exploded in incredulity, responding to an unverified dossier published by BuzzFeed News, describing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged relationship with the Kremlin. The 35-page report features several salacious and uncorroborated claims about Trump’s ties to […]

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TRANSCRIPT EXCERPTS: [Medvedev at] The 8th Gaidar Forum

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – January 12, 2017) The Gaidar Forum is an ongoing project for discussing topical problems of our time. The forum was first held in 2010 and is dedicated to the memory of Yegor Gaidar, researcher, economist and ideologist of Russian reforms of the early 1990s. The forum’s discussions center around topics concerning Russia’s status and strategic role in the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why Are the Trump Allegations Hanging Around When They Haven’t Been Substantiated?” – Lawfare/Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“What is one to make of the apparent inability of press and government alike to verify the allegations in the Trump dossier combined with the cache of documents’ apparent staying power? The unverified allegations against Donald Trump are not just salacious, they are specific. These are facts which should be verifiable as either true or false. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Twenty years ago, Russians loved the US. Where did it all go wrong? In the immediate post-Soviet era, Russians held the US in high esteem. But that started to change amid economic woes and Western adventurism in the Balkans and Middle East.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

“… Time magazine’s July 15, 1996, cover. … depicts Russian President Boris Yeltsin, recently reelected … grinning and clutching an American flag under the headline ‘Yanks to the Rescue!’ The story tells of a group of high-powered US political consultants who were secretly brought to Russia amid the hard-fought presidential elections of 1996, in which a beleaguered Mr. Yeltsin was […]

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NEWSWATCH: “General Frost to the Rescue: cold helps Russia comply with OPEC deal” – Reuters

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

“… Russia … in the past … accused of dragging its feet in implementing oil production and exports deals, reduced production by 100,000 barrels a day in the first few days of January … a third of the way towards the total cut Russia promised to deliver by mid-2017. … [at least partly] the result [of]  …unusually cold temperatures in […]

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Russian Ministry Airs Drastic Proposals To Snuff Out Smoking

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, January 10, 2017) Since 2013, Russia has banned smoking in restaurants and taken serious measures to reduce its huge number of smokers. Now, drastic proposals aired this week could put Russia on course to try and eradicate the habit altogether. The Russian Health Ministry on January 9 proposed a blanket ban on […]

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Prosecutors should continue paying more attention to protecting fair business from pressure, unjustified checks – Putin

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – Fair business must be reliably protected by the state, including from unjustified checks, prosecutors must continue work in this direction, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Fair, honest, transparent business must be reliably protected by the state, including from unjustified checks and other pressure,” he said at a meeting on the occasion of the 295th anniversary […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What kind of Russia should the West fear? RD Interview: Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center explains how current misguided perceptions in both the United States and Russia could lead to a dangerous new geopolitical reality.” – Russia Direct

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

“… Russia should not be afraid of the West. A country like Russia can only be defeated by itself. Thus, it should be focused on dealing with its own weaknesses. In my view, NATO’s enlargement doesn’t create an existential threat for Russia and should be dealt with seriously, but calmly. The fear [of the West] is a very bad thing […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-10 :: Wednesday, 11 January 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-#10 Wednesday, 11 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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Econ Ministry to prepare measures in Feb to improve Russia’s Doing Business rating

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – The Economic Development Ministry plans to prepare a list of measures in February to further improve Russia’s Doing Business rating. “The need to further improve the business climate has been spoken of. Here standard work for moving further ahead is underway. Russia made a very big step in the Doing Business rating, for instance, over […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to hacked servers” – The Hill

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“The FBI requested direct access to the … DNC … hacked computer servers but was denied, Director James Comey told lawmakers …. The bureau made ‘multiple requests at different levels’ … but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a ‘highly respected private company’ would get access and share what it found with investigators. ‘We’d always prefer to have […]

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World Bank Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth In Russia For 2017

World Bank Building

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 11, 2017) The World Bank is predicting 1.5 percent growth in Russia’s gross domestic product in 2017 and sees a gain of 1.7 percent in 2018 and 1.8 percent the following year, helped by increases in commodity prices. Russia’s projected GDP growth follows an estimated 0.6 percent contraction in 2016 and a 3.7 percent contraction […]

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NEWSLINK: “It was minus-22 in Moscow last weekend; So of course it was outdoor party time” – Washington Post/David Filipov

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

“… Russia takes off the week between New Year’s and Eastern Orthodox Christmas, which fell on Saturday. Temperatures began dropping Friday and on Saturday dipped past the 120-year-old record for the date to minus-22 degrees — during a weekend of outdoor events that mostly went off as scheduled. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “For 1st time since Cold War, U.S. tanks roll into Russia’s backyard” – CBS

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… All the massive hardware of a U.S. combat brigade arrived in Germany over the weekend, and started rolling east toward Poland, where 4,000 American soldiers will be waiting for it. … the first build-up of American troops and weapons in Europe in almost 30 years … meant, in large part, to reassure America’s nervous allies in Europe that the […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-9 :: Tuesday, 10 January 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-#9 Tuesday, 10 January 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s […]

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RBTH: A welcome cold war: Russia and the U.S. fight to protect polar bears

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

In late 2016, Russia and the U.S. jointly studied 180 polar bears living along the border of Alaska and Chukotka. Their findings will help develop a three-year plan to save the species. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAM TER-GHAZARYAN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 10, 2017) The Wrangel Island Reserve in the Chukchi Sea has one of the […]

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