Russia Rises To Second In Global Arms Sales, With U.S. Still At No. 1

File Photo of T-72 Tanks in Bulgaria, adapted from image at defense.gov, with photo credit to Cpl. Immanuel Johnson

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dec. 10, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-calls-us-senator-mccain-old-world-but-admires-his-patriotism/28537171.html) The United States remains the global leader in arms sales, while Russia has surpassed Britain to take the No. 2 spot as it attempts to modernize its military, a leading research group says. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Cold War Arms Treaty Is Unraveling. But the Problem Is Much Bigger.” – New York Times/David E. Sanger, William J. Broad

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

“… The United States and Russia no longer have a monopoly on the missiles that … Reagan and … Gorbachev agreed in 1987 to ban with the … I.N.F.[] agreement. … China relies on similar missiles for 95 percent of its ground-based fleet, and Iran, India, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Taiwan are among the 10 states with similar, fast-growing […]

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Any U.S.-Russia Military Clash ‘Highly Likely’ to Escalate into Nuclear War, Arbatov Says

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 4, 2018) Aleksey Arbatov, a foreign policy specialist at the Institute of World Economics and International affairs, says that “any armed clash between Russia and the US with a high degree of probability will escalate into nuclear war,” a warning reflecting an all too real possibility but also one intended to […]

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Standoff Over INF Treaty Enters New Phase As U.S. Reveals Details Of Russian Missile

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – Dec. 3, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/standoff-over-inf-treaty-enters-new-phase-as-u-s-reveals-details-of-russian-missile/29634906.html) The United States’ top intelligence official has quietly revealed key new details about Russia’s alleged violations of a bedrock Cold War nuclear treaty, an unexpected move that comes as U.S. officials push to build new support from European allies. […]

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Trump-Putin G20 Summit: High Stakes and Strained Dialogue

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Matthew Rojansky – November 28, 2018) Matthew Rojansky is the director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute. [russiamatters.org/analysis/trump-putin-g20-summit-high-stakes-and-strained-dialogue] NB: Since this piece was published, U.S. President Donald Trump canceled his previously scheduled Dec. 1 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit, citing the tensions over the Kerch Strait as the reason.  […]

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Russia Outmaneuvers U.S. LNG

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – November 28, 2018) For years, boosters of U.S. LNG have trumpeted the fact that gas exports from the Gulf of Mexico could break Russia’s grip on the European energy market. That has yet to be the case, and in fact, Russia has managed to respond with various strategies to maintain its market share on the […]

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Russia and the West Soon Will Be Moving Leftward, Pastukhov Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 28, 2018) Many commentators now talk about the ways in which Russia and the West are moving to the right, with the former seeking to recover the Soviet past and the latter the unreconstructed capitalism of the past, but that “rightist wave” in both cases will soon be overwhelmed by a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Plans to Leave Russian Nuclear Deal, but Is Still Consulting Allies, Official Says; Coats to brief NATO colleagues at Brussels meeting this week on ‘threat’ from Moscow and how to respond” – Wall Street Journal/ Courtney McBride

“The U.S. remains on a path to withdraw from the [INF Treaty] … citing alleged [Russian] violations … but continues to consult with its allies ….  [DNI Dan Coats] …. said he will brief European allies at a [NATO] meeting … [T]he Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty … bars … ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 […]

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Nick Magliato: “Re: New book Stephen F. Cohen, War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate”

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

From: Nick Magliato <nmagliato@skyhorsepublishing.com> Subject: New book Stephen F. Cohen, War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate Date : November 15, 2018 War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate By Stephen F. Cohen Hot Books paperback, also available as an ebook On Sale: November 27, 2018 / $18.99 ISBN: 9781510745810 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2P4KsZr […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Threat of new Russia sanctions forces foreign investor rethink” – Reuters/ Karin Strohecker, Marc Jones

VTB Bank File Photo

“The Kremlin’s latest standoff with Ukraine in the Azov Sea is forcing foreign investors to reconsider Russia, which faces the possibility of even more stringent Western sanctions.  European Union leaders are expected to soon extend existing sanctions on Russia, although some senior politicians have also called for imposing fresh ones.  But the bigger risk is that Washington could opt to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump’s weakness begets Russian aggression” – Washington Post/ Jennifer Rubin

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

     

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RUSSIALINK: “What Drives the Russian State; To understand what makes Putin and his allies act the way they do, you need to look beyond the myths” – New York Times/ Alexander Baunov/ Carnegie Moscow

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Since … Putin came to power … analysis of Russia … has largely focused on two interpretations …. The first argues that Russia is a mafia state in which the main aim of the ruling elite is to steal money at home to conceal and spend abroad. The second states that Mr. Putin is a hostage of his own popularity […]

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RUSSIALIST: “Russia Says It Is Planning for New U.S. Nuclear Missiles in Europe” – Moscow Times

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2018) Russia said on Monday it was planning for a U.S. deployment of new nuclear missiles in Europe following Washington’s planned withdrawal from a landmark Cold war-era arms control treaty despite the United States denying it has such plans. Russia is keen to dissuade U.S. President Donald Trump from carrying out a threat […]

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NEWSLINK: “James H. Billington, 89, Dies; Led Library of Congress Into Digital Age” – New York Times/Robert D. McFadden

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress for nearly three decades, who led the nation’s treasure house of knowledge into the digital age and added millions of books, films and cultural artifacts to its historic collections, including a trove of tweets, died on Tuesday in Washington. He was 89. His daughter Susan Harper Billington said the cause was complications of […]

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NEWSLINK: “James H. Billington, long-reigning librarian of Congress, dies at 89” – Washington Post

Library of Congress Aerial View adapted from image at usembassy.gov with credit LOC, Photographer: Carol M. Highsmith, adapted by Steven C. Welsh www.stevencwelsh.info :: www.stevencwelsh.com

“James H. Billington, an eminent American scholar of Russian culture who reigned for three decades as librarian of Congress, propelling the expansion of the world’s largest library but struggling to lead it through the challenges of the digital age, died Nov. 20 at a hospital in Washington. He was 89. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia rewrites nuclear rule book to fire first” – The Times (UK)/ Marc Bennetts

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… Senators in [Russia’s] Federation Council … have recommended … allow[ing] … [P]resident [Putin] to order nuclear strikes in response to enemy use of conventional weapons, a significant departure from the military doctrine that prohibits first use unless Russia is threatened by [WMD] or if its ‘very existence is in jeopardy.’ The council proposes that Russia be allowed to retaliate […]

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RUSSIALINK: “No rapid de-dollarization, national currency settlements pose certain risks – Kudrin” – Interfax

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – There will be no rapid de-dollarization in settlements which, when conducted in other national currencies, including those of Eurasian Economic Union countries, pose certain currency risks, said Alexei Kudrin, head of the Russian Accounts Chamber. “I’m in favor of a company being able to choose [the currency of settlements], which would be in keeping with […]

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NEWSLINK: “Robert Legvold on Russia: Insights and Recommendations” – Russia Matters

Kremlin and River

“This evolving compilation of observations and policy ideas about Russia by Robert Legvold is part of Russia Matters’ ‘Competing Views’ rubric, where we share prominent American thinkers’ takes on Russia, U.S.-Russian relations and Washington’s policies toward its Cold War-era foe. Robert Legvold is one of America’s most authoritative experts on Russia and the international relations of the post-Soviet states. He […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian, US Officials Say Space Cooperation Remains Strong” – AP/ Washington Post

International Space Station file photo

“Russian and U.S. space officials hailed the joint work of their programs Monday and said cooperation remains strong despite political tensions …. Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin and Bill Gerstenmaier, head of NASA’s human explorations and operations, said after a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station that their agencies plan to collaborate on developing a moon orbiting […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S.-Russian Relations and the ‘New Cold War’ Metaphor [Excerpt]” – PONARS Eurasia

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – Mark Kramer – November 2018) Mark Kramer is Director of the Cold War Studies Program and Senior Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. [Full text ponarseurasia.org/memo/us-russian-relations-and-new-cold-war-metaphor] Over the past twenty years, observers such as Stephen F. Cohen have argued that relations between the United States and Russia have been plunged […]

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NEWSLINK: “European diplomats mount last-ditch effort to stop US scrapping INF treaty” – The Guardian

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“European officials are seeking to act as intermediaries between Russia and the U.S. in the hope of salvaging a cold war-era arms control treaty that Donald Trump has threatened to scrap.  However, the diplomats involved are not confident of success in the effort to save the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Although they have the support of senior officials […]

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After U.S. Midterms, Dialogue With Russia May Become Easier, Not Harder

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Paul J. Saunders – Nov. 14, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/after-us-midterms-dialogue-russia-may-become-easier-not-harder) Paul J. Saunders is executive director of the Center for the National Interest and directs its U.S.-Russian Relations Program. While conventional wisdom has suggested that America’s 2018 midterm elections are likely to further harden U.S. policy toward Russia-and to further undermine prospects for a more functional […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “China and Russia’s awkward romance” – Washington Post/Jonathan Hillman

Asia Map

“… China still towers above Russia in economic and demographic terms. With a long history of invasions, Russia’s paranoia about foreign powers approaching its borders will not vanish overnight. … Russian policymakers must be persuaded to take China’s economic power as seriously as the West’s military power. China’s grand ambitions run through Russia and its neighbors, but its investments and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. military might ‘struggle to win, or perhaps lose’ war with China or Russia, report says” – CBS

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

“Absent renewed investment … and … strategic realignment of its … capabilities, the U.S. military could lose the next state-versus-state war it fights, according to … the National Defense Strategy Commission. ‘America’s ability to defend its allies, its partners and its own vital interests is increasingly in doubt’ … ‘It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Politician Details Future of Russian Opposition Party” – Cornell Daily Sun/ Vale Lewis

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

“After spending twenty years in the technology industry, Leonid Volkov had a rude wake-up call to the reality of Russian politics when he was elected to city council as the only independent member – the other 34 officials were members of the United Russia Party – the party of President Vladimir Putin. … Volkov – chief of staff for Alexei […]

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The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – November 12, 2018) Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources. While it may have come as a surprise to the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Fred Weir on New York Times’ ‘Operation Infection'” – facebook.com/fred.weir

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

(Fred Weir (Christian Science Monitor) – Facebook – facebook.com/fred.weir – November 13, 2018) “This is pretty lurid stuff, very much a prime specimen of the information genre it is denouncing. Odd to find it in the New York Times; even during the Cold War it was left to less reputable platforms to hawk this kind of hyperventilating, conspiracy-laden polemic. For […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. midterms make Putin’s rocky road to Trump even rockier” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

“Americans weren’t the only ones closely watching U.S. midterm results. Much of the world was too, including Russia. A Democratic House will complicate Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cut deals with President Trump.” “A lot has changed since [Trump and Putin] last met in Helsinki in July – and not in Russia’s favor, according to much of Russia’s foreign policy community. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia clashes with Western oil buyers over new deals as sanctions loom” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

“Russian energy majors are putting pressure on Western oil buyers to use euros instead of dollars for payments and introducing penalty clauses in contracts as Moscow seeks protection against possible new U.S. sanctions. … Western oil majors and trading houses have clashed with Russia’s third and fourth biggest producers, Gazprom Neft and Surgutneftegaz, over 2019 oil sales contract terms during […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Challenges U.S. in Hosting Taliban at Afghan Talks” – Bloomberg/Henry Meyer, Eltaf Najafizada

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Russia is challenging the U.S. by hosting the Taliban at a Moscow peace conference in the latest source of friction …. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who pressed Russia to cancel a similar meeting in September, sent four senior members of his nation’s High Peace Council … * * * Russia, which backs Taliban demands for a pullout of American forces, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sanctions undermine international system, time bomb planted under WTO – Medvedev” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

BEIJING. Nov 7 (Interfax) – International sanctions have planted a time bomb under World Trade Organization (WTO) procedures, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “In fact, a time bomb has been planted under the WTO regimes now, which the WTO, World Bank, and IMF managers have talked about. So this is very bad,” Medvedev told journalists on Wednesday. The restrictive […]

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NEWSLINK: “No Significant Foreign Interference Seen on Midterm Vote” – Wall Street Journal

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“U.S. security officials and social media firms said Tuesday they spotted a limited amount of deliberate disinformation targeting the midterm election, but that they hadn’t observed any significant efforts to directly breach election infrastructure with cyberattacks. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “Peskov sees no prospects Russian-U.S. relations to improve after U.S. elections” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said following the midterm elections in the United States that relations between the two countries are unlikely to improve but that Russia still wants a dialogue with the U.S. “It can be assumed with a high degree of certainty that, of course, there are no rosy prospects of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mystery of the Midterm Elections: Where Are the Russians?” – New York Times/ David E. Sanger

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… From the cyberwar room that the Department of Homeland Security runs round the clock in a bland office building in Arlington, Va., to Microsoft’s threat-assessment center at the other end of the country, in Redmond, Wash., every form of digital radar is being focused on America’s election infrastructure — and particularly on the Russian military intelligence agency once known […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Still in Russia’s Interest to Mess With US Politics” – AP

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

PARIS – Sweeping accusations that the Kremlin tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election haven’t chastened Russian trolls, hackers and spies – and might even have emboldened them. U.S. officials and tech companies say Russians have continued online activity targeted at American voters during the campaign for Tuesday’s election, masquerading as U.S. institutions and creating faux-American social media posts to […]

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NATO’s Trident Juncture Exercise as a Deterrence Signal to Russia

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 1, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/natos-trident-juncture-exercise-deterrence-signal-russia) Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Virginia. He is also an associate of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the editor of Problems of Post-Communism. This week, NATO […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Pentagon Has Prepared a Cyberattack Against Russia; U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.” – Center for Public Integrity/ Zachary Fryer-Biggs/ The Daily Beast

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“The U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have quietly agreed on the outlines of an offensive cyberattack … if Russia electronically interferes with the 2018 midterm election [according to unnamed officials] …. U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems … needed to let the plan unfold quickly …. one of the first major […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. overtakes Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer” – bne Intellinews

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

“The U.S. overtook Russia to become the world’s biggest producer of oil in August …. Russia has been the biggest single producer of oil in terms of barrels produced a day for several years, but the shale oil revolution in the U.S. has seen production there skyrocket …. As average oil prices rose to over $65 in the first quarter […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Americans Are Easy Marks for Russian Trolls, According to New Data; A Daily Beast analysis of Twitter data shows the Kremlin troll farm’s English-language propaganda is nine times more effective than its disinformation in Russian.” – Daily Beast/Kevin Poulsen

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… Best estimates trace the founding of the Internet Research Agency to August 2013, and for eight months of its existence the Saint Petersburg troll farm was focused on influencing citizens in Russia and Russia’s near abroad. Then in April 2014 the Kremlin-linked organization launched ‘Project Lakhta,’ according to federal prosecutors, aimed squarely at the United States. The IRA’s first […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump’s plans to scrap a nuclear pact with Russia could heighten tensions in Asia” – CNBC/Nyshka Chandran

File Photo of Nuclear Weapon, B61 Gravity Bomb

“If the U.S. exits the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, Washington will be free to develop and install weapons on its military bases around Asia. That’s unlikely to sit well with China, who may look to compete with the U.S. Any reaction from China to U.S. provocation, however, could spill over into India and Pakistan.” “Washington’s plans to withdraw […]

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Putin Deepens Confusion About Russian Nuclear Policy

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Abigail Stowe-Thurston, Matt Korda and Hans M. Kristensen – October 25, 2018) Abigail Stowe-Thurston is a research assistant for the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists. Previously, she was a fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), where she lobbied on nuclear weapons policy and Pentagon spending. Matt Korda is […]

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Valdai Highlights: Putin’s Hard Questions on U.S. Global Role

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Andrew C. Kuchins – October 26, 2018 – russiamatters.org/blog/valdai-highlights-putins-hard-questions-us-global-role) Andrew C. Kuchins is a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies. In contrast to some recent Valdai meetings, Russian President Vladimir Putin evinced no visible anger toward the United States or the West at this year’s gathering of academics […]

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S. ‘Love’ of Sanctions Won’t Stop Moody’s Upgrading Russia” – Moscow Times

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 29, 2018) Moody’s Investors Service thinks it’s likely that the U.S. will sanction Russia’s sovereign debt. But it might just upgrade the country to investment grade anyway. “Those sanctions are likely to come because they would target what the administration has in mind: trying to impose pain on Russia,” Moody’s analyst Kristin Lindow said […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin, Trump to compare notes on many issues – Peskov” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Oct 29 (Interfax) – The primary objective of the upcoming meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, is to “compare notes” on issues related to strategic stability, especially in the context of the United States’ intention to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “The […]

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Withdrawing From the INF Treaty: Consequences and Costs

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – RM Staff – October 23, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/withdrawing-inf-treaty-consequences-and-costs) The opinions of Belfer Center experts, as reprinted below, were originally published by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. We have supplemented these with opinions from three highly regarded Moscow-based experts, translated from various Russian-language sources (last three entries). Nobuyasu Abe Senior Fellow, Belfer Center’s […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A New Nuclear Arms Race Has Begun; President Trump says he plans to withdraw from a nonproliferation treaty that I signed with Ronald Reagan. It’s just the latest victim in the militarization of world affairs” – Mikhail Gorbachev/ New York Times

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“Over 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan and I signed in Washington the United States-Soviet Treaty on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. For the first time in history, two classes of nuclear weapons were to be eliminated and destroyed. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S. decision to quit INF treaty already made, to be finalized in a month – Lavrov” – Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 25 (Interfax) – The Russian assessment is that the United States will officially announce its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in a month or so, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Regarding the withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which has not yet been officially announced, but the intention was, and regarding talks in Moscow, including […]

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