RBTH: Can Moscow bet on ‘Trump card’ in U.S.?; Obama takes Africa for a tango; Kyrgyzstan casts its lot in with Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev, special to RBTH – July 30, 2015) RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs 1. Engaging the West U.S. presidential race: Can Moscow bet on ‘Trump card’? The meteoric rise of eccentric billionaire Donald […]

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US expands sanctions day after Russia vetoes MH17 UN tribunal

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 31, 2015) [DJ: US Department of Treasury press release here http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0133.aspx] The US Department of Treasury announced on July 30 it would expand the sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian companies, officials and individuals, which “underscores US commitment to maintain the strength of existing sanctions and the unity of the international […]

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Interfax: Russia will respond to sanctions imposed against it using principle of mutuality, but asymmetrical actions are also possible

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

(Interfax – July 31, 2015) Russia will proceed from the principles of mutuality regarding the countries imposing sanctions against it, but it does not rule out an asymmetrical response as well, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said on July 31. “In general, the principle of mutuality, no doubt, is a basic principle in this sanctions exchange. At the same […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Russia greater threat to US than IS terrorism – Breedlove

Philip Breedlove file photo

Ukraine Today covered remarks on threat assessment by both the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told PBS news that he agrees with the new US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who said Russia is a bigger threat to US state security […]

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Re: Restrictions on Foreign Orgs in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

Subject: Re restrictions on foreign orgs in the U.S. Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:09:46 -0400 From: Thomas M. Callahan <tom.callahan@yandex.com> There has long been an American statute in place regulating the work of organizations working “in the interests” of foreign powers on American soil. However, it is quite short and, anyway, is a single provision compared to Russia’s extensive […]

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Putin Hurts a Think Tank by Not Banning It

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is nothing if not cunning when it comes to dealing with his adversaries. When he signed a law allowing the government to ban any nongovernmental organization deemed “undesirable,” it was clear some foreign NGOs would suffer. What was less obvious — though, in hindsight, inevitable — […]

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Chart – Just 1 in 10 Russians favour cooperation with Nato

NATO Meeting file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Francesca Moll in London – July 28, 2015) [Chart here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-just-1-10-russians-favour-cooperation-nato] Just one in ten Russians believe their country should cooperate with Nato, according to a recent survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (WCIOM). A preference for Eastern-led organisations emerged from the study, in which a majority of Russians (54%) believe that […]

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U.S. embassy in Moscow concerned about NED’s designation as ‘undesirable organization’ in Russia

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

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is concerned about the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s decision to designate the U.S. nonprofit organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED) an undesirable foreign organization in Russian territory. “We are deeply concerned about the effect of the so-called law on undesirable organizations,” U.S. embassy spokesperson Will Stevens told Interfax when asked […]

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Interfax: Putin hopes Russia will be able to promote dialogue with Europe and U.S. on Ukraine issue

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is hopeful that his country will be able to further promote dialogue with Europe and the United States concerning the fight against radical Islamism and other problems, including the Ukrainian issue. “I see today that the situation has changed. Europe and the U.S. have realized the real threat coming from the […]

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New Russian Naval Doctrine Enshrines Confrontation With NATO

Russian Naval Vessel file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 28, 2015) President Vladimir Putin on Sunday approved amendments to Russia’s naval doctrine that prioritize the development of Russian positions in strategic seas around the world, according to the Kremlin website. The updated doctrine takes advantage of a huge injection of funds into Russia’s naval strength to shift the emphasis of […]

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U.S. National Endowment for Democracy declared unwelcome foreign organization in Russia

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

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The United States’ National Endowment for Democracy has been declared an unwelcome foreign organization on Russian territory, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced on July 28. “Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Malinovsky signed a resolution declaring the National Endowment for Democracy an unwelcome foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) on Russian territory,” the agency said. The activity […]

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NEWSWATCH Chatham House/James Sherr: To Support Ukraine, West Must Go Beyond Sanctions. Providing critical military assistance to Ukraine would devalue Russia’s advantage in negotiations.

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

Writing for Chatham House, James Sherr addresses Western support for Ukraine admidst the Russo-Ukrainian War. … the West has acted on the premise that economic sanctions would induce Russia to modify its actions. But while sanctions do constrain capacity, they do not constrain behaviour. Their immediate impact is bearable … they do nothing to diminish Russia’s most usable and effective form of power: military force. […]

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U.S. may keep sanctions for years, Russia to run economy, trade accordingly – PM

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russia will be developing its economic and trade policies assuming that the United States may keep the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis for many more years, Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said. Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying in an interview to the Slovenian newspaper DELO ahead of a visit […]

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A Moscow Education, in More Ways Than One

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Haddad – July 27, 2015) A recent article published in British weekly Times Higher Education revealed that one in seven Russian undergraduates admits to cheating on exams. The figure is probably much higher. Any expat in Moscow teaching English will confirm that. Cheating in the Russian educational system is rampant, even acceptable. I experienced […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry calls for resumption of Russian-U.S. bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism

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(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov has called for the resumption of bilateral cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on counterterrorism, saying he intends to discuss it with his American colleagues. In an interview published in the July 27 edition of Kommersant, Syromolotov said it is important to “think about resuming direct bilateral cooperation on […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-AVN: U.S. global missile shield continues to expand – consultant to RVSN commander

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

Interfax-AVN covers comments on U.S. missile defense by the Russian military. The circle of participants of the United States global missile shield is expanding, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a consultant to the Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), told a press conference …. ‘… At present, parts of the U.S. global missile defense system are deployed on the Danish island […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Eyeing Russia, US leads fresh military drills in Ukraine

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

AFP covers U.S.-Ukrainian relations and recent military drills near Ukraine’s border with Poland. Ukrainian and US troops launched fresh drills Monday near the war-torn country’s Polish border in a bid to show unity and resolve in the face of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin. The annual Rapid Trident exercises involve 1,800 soldiers from 18 countries and last for just under two […]

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Moscow-Washington contact useful; U.S. can help Ukrainian peace process, says Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that the United States can help the peace process in Ukraine, and that he welcomes contact between Moscow and Washington on the issue. “I believe that several countries currently play an important role. The United States can also help promote this process, because the US is a major […]

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RIA Novosti: Supply of U.S. artillery-locator radars to Kiev will have major effect – pundit

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(RIA Novosti – July 23, 2015) The possible supply of artillery-locator radar systems by the United States to Ukraine could treble the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Army in artillery battles with the separatist militias, but will require direct involvement in the war by US troops, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, has said, RIA Novosti (part […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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Gorbachev Urges Renewed Ties With West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 22, 2015) Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that problems inherited from previous eras are holding Russia back and urged Western leaders to restore ties with Moscow instead of trying to “provoke” it during a book presentation Tuesday, Russian media reports said. “Many are trying to provoke Russia now,” Gorbachev said […]

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Russia Braces for Longest Recession in Decades With $50 Oil

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 22, 2015) For an economy that lives and dies by crude prices, the latest downturn in the world oil market means Russia’s recession may stretch into next year for the longest slump in two decades. Russia’s first economic slump since 2009 looked like it would plateau as oil gained 40 percent from […]

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Ukrainians Suspect Obama-Putin Cooperation

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 20, 2015) It’s rare that official representatives of the U.S. visit foreign parliaments to persuade lawmakers to vote a certain way on some piece of legislation. Yet last week, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland traveled to Kiev and did just that, as the Ukrainian parliament prepared to vote on amendments to […]

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Economic Crisis Driving Foreigners Out of Russia – Experts

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 21, 2015) Foreigners that used to live and work in Russia are now fleeing en masse, the Federal Migration Service has revealed. Since January 2014, 41 percent of Spanish nationals, 38 percent of British nationals, 36 percent of U.S. nationals and 31 percent of German nationals have left Russia, the Noviye […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Ariel Cohen: How Russia Could Become a Food Superpower

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel Cohen addresses historical shifts in Russian agriculture, and what the future might hold. Russia could be a food superpower, given its vast soil and water resources. It still may become one, but the question is whether the food will be Western or Chinese. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian economy has […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times/Andrei Kozyrev: Russia’s Coming Regime Change

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Writing in The New York Times, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses the future of Russian governance in the face of multiple economic, political and international challenges. The firmness of the West in protecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and restoring its territorial integrity is a prerequisite not only to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive impulses, but also to engage […]

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NEWSWATCH The Times (UK): U.S. ready to switch off cash supply to Putin. The US proposals mark a dramatic escalation in financial sanctions against Moscow.

treasury-bldg-631

The London Times reports on U.S. efforts to bring greater financial pressure against the Putin regime over the conflict in Ukraine. The United States is ready to starve Russia of access to western credit if President Putin fails to meet demands for peace in Ukraine. The punitive measures against Mr Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs and their extensive business interests […]

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RBTH: Seventy percent of Russians opposed to compromise on sanctions – report

russia-economy

According to a new Levada Center opinion poll, 70 percent of Russian citizens believe that Russia should not make any sanctions-related concessions, even though a third of the population has admitted that sanctions are a problem. However, despite these difficulties, Russians continue to back President Vladimir Putin, whose popularity rating has never been higher. Experts have several theories for why […]

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Russian Senators Propose Ban of 12 Foreign NGOs, Reining In Civil Society

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 9, 2015) In what experts see as Moscow’s latest bid to rein in civil society, Russian senators released a list Wednesday of 12 foreign NGOs whose work they believe poses a threat to national security, and who should thus be declared “undesirable” and prohibited from operating in the country. The Federation […]

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Angelina Jolie Buys Rights to Film About Catherine the Great and Her Lover

Catherine the Great

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ilaria Parogni – July 7, 2015) Hollywood actress, film director and producer Angelina Jolie has purchased the film rights to Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book about the love affair between Catherine the Great of Russia and Prince Grigory Potemkin, the British author’s literary agency said Monday. Jolie’s production company, Jolie Pas, has bought the option to […]

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How culture continues to bring Russians and Americans together

Tchaikovsky Sheet Music

In an RBTH exclusive, Mary Ellen Koenig, Cultural Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in the Russian Federation, writes about the special unifying bond that culture can provide between Russia and the United States even in times when official relations between the two countries are tense. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Mary Ellen Koenig, special to RBTH – July […]

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Overwhelming Support for Putin among Russian Intelligentsia has Three Sources, Kirillova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 6, 2015) There are three reasons why support for Vladimir Putin is so high even among educated Russians: fear that their country might descend into chaos without him, their lack of a positive image about the future, and a traditional Russian deference to the state on foreign policy issues, according to Kseniya Kirillova. One of […]

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Ruble’s Top Forecaster Sees Deeper Rout as Companies Repay Debt

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 2, 2015) Sanctions are once again catching up on the ruble. While still the best performer in the world this year, no emerging-market currency has fallen more in the past month as the effect of rebounding oil prices faded. Approaching foreign-debt payments and a shrinking economy probably mean it has a further […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Dismissal of American vice rector in Nizhny Novgorod causes controversy

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – July 3, 2015) The dismissal of an American lecturer from a leading position at a Russian university following an “incriminating” report on television sparked talk of an increase in the harassment of foreigners. Russian lawmakers are planning to introduce a “patriotic stop list” – a list of foreign funds […]

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Is Saudi Arabia Leaving The U.S. Behind For Russia?

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 1, 2015) The news from the recent St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which took place from June 18 to 20, inspired a torrent of speculation on the future direction of energy prices. But the real buzz at the conference was the unexpected but much publicized visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, as an emissary […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Anti-Americanism provides big boost to Russia’s small IT businesses

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Russia’s economic conditions seem like they couldn’t be less hospitable to starting a new company. But small software firms are starting to thrive, in part because of Western sanctions

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Russians See Western Sanctions as Plot to Weaken Them, Poll Shows

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 30, 2015) Two out of three Russians believe that Western governments want to “weaken and humiliate” Russia with their sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, and only 5 percent think the measures are aimed at ending the bloodshed in Ukraine, a new poll indicates. Nearly half of Russians – 46 percent – […]

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