RBTH: U.S. to spend $4.3 billion on ‘countering Russian aggression’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House has announced that a special sum allocated to fighting Russian influence in Europe and the former Soviet space will be included in the country’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA KARPOVA, RBTH – February 11, 2016) The U.S. fiscal year 2017 budget will include $4.3 billion allocated “for political, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Intervention in Syrian War Has Sharply Reduced U.S. Options.” – New York Times

Syria Map

The New York Times covers the impact of Russian military intervention on U.S. policymaking on Syria. … the United States has insisted there can be no military solution to the Syrian civil war, only a political accord between … al-Assad and the fractured, divided opposition groups that have been trying to topple him. … days of intense bombing that could […]

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U.S., Russia Make Syria Diplomacy Push as Assad Gains Ground

Syria Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jonathan Tirone, Henry Meyer – February 10, 2016) The U.S. and Russia are seeking to revive Syrian peace talks as President Bashar al-Assad’s advance against rebels shifts the focus to the battlefield. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet with foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: DIA Statement for the Record – Worldwide Threat Assessment [excerpt re Russia]

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Armed Services Committee, United States Senate – Vincent R. Stewart, Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency – February 9, 2016) RUSSIA Moscow continues to devote major resources to modernizing its military forces, viewing military power as critical to achieving key strategic objectives: acknowledged great power status, dominating smaller regional states and deterring NATO from military action in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: DNI – Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community [excerpt re: Russia] – Statement for the Record

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Senate Armed Services Committee – James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence – February 9, 2016) Leading Threat Actors Russia. Russia is assuming a more assertive cyber posture based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure systems and conduct espionage operations even when detected and under increased public scrutiny. Russian cyber operations are likely to target US interests to support […]

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U.S. National Intelligence Director Says Russia Is Paranoid, Aggressive

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 10, 2016) Russia is “paranoid” about NATO and is likely to continue “aggressive” actions this year to support its claim to great power status, U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in Senate testimony Tuesday. In a report on “Worldwide Threat Assessment” that Clapper presented to the Senate, Russia topped a […]

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Moscow’s Steamship Bolshoi Keeps Rolling

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Raymond Stults – February 9, 2016) [DJ: Bolshoi Babylon available on HBO in the US] In the summer of 2013, a British film production team was given unprecedented access to the Bolshoi Theater for purposes of making a documentary about the theater’s inner workings. Titled “Bolshoi Babylon,” the film made its debut on cable television […]

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Why Russia is steaming back into the Pacific

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

Russia’s power projection in the Pacific is in sync with its growing assertiveness globally, but it doesn’t necessarily threaten the U.S. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – February 4, 2016) Russia is expanding its military presence in the Pacific in a manner not seen since the Cold War. From California to Guam […]

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Rose Gottemoeller: Washington, Moscow could settle INF problem in 2016

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

(Interfax – February 5, 2016) U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security State Rose Gottemoeller has given an interview to Interfax in which she speaks about U.S.-Russian issues over the INF Treaty and states that the United States is not going to return to the IV stage of its missile shield in Europe and not going […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin must be stopped. And sometimes only guns can stop guns. The time for diplomacy will come again, but it is not now: Ukraine urgently needs military support, and a counter to Russian propaganda.” – The Guardian/Timothy Garton Ash

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What do the U.S. presidential candidates think about Russia?

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On Feb. 1 the first important stage of the selection of presidential candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties – the Iowa Caucus – was held in Iowa. The subject of relations with Moscow is a key geopolitical trump for participants in the U.S. election race, with even those who are not too savvy in international politics making their position […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Keith Darden – January 28, 2016 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/non-west-for-russia-to-lead) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia […]

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Transcript of Ambassador Tefft’s Interview with Russian Wire Services

John Tefft file photo

(US Embassy Moscow – January 28, 2016) Ambassador John F. Tefft: I thought I’d start and say a couple of words, and then I’d take your questions to focus on what you want to talk about. I was back in Washington for a few weeks to see my children and my grandchildren. Like a good grandfather, I should be going […]

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Russia Sanctions Can Be Lifted If Minsk Implemented – U.S. Ambassador

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2016) Sanctions against Moscow can be lifted after it implements the Minsk peace agreement with Ukraine, including restoration of Kiev control over separatist eastern regions, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow John Tefft said in an interview published on the U.S. Embassy’s website Thursday. Washington has the full backing of its European allies in […]

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Russian Entente Nears as Allies Give Ukraine Sanctions Hint

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – January 26, 2016) After almost two years on the outside, signs are growing that Russia may soon be invited in from the cold. The worsening of crises from Syria to Libya are forcing the international community to reconsider sanctions slapped on President Vladimir Putin’s government over Ukraine as a way of getting a key diplomatic power […]

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Schooling in Moscow: A Mixed Bag

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – January 25, 2016) “Some of the boys called my son “Obama’s little spy,” says Jynks Burton. “But they’re at that age I suppose, always looking for something to tease other boys about …” Burton’s eight-year-old son, Alex, makes a scowling face. He says he doesn’t want to talk about the incident. The […]

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US Appears to Have Accepted ‘Donbas Model’ Not Only for Ukraine but for Other Conflicts, Russian Analyst Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 20, 2016) Petr Iskenderov, a researcher at the Moscow Institute of Slavic Studies and a commentator for Russia Today, says that it now appears the US has accepted what he calls “the Donbas Model” for the resolution not only of the conflict in Ukraine but for similar conflicts elsewhere. That model, […]

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NEWSLINK The Guardian/Shaun Walker: “Caught between Russia and the US? The curious case of Ukraine’s Dmytro Firtash. Critics say the oligarch now living in exile pushed Putin’s agenda during Maidan revolution while a US arrest warrant appeared politically motivated.”

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Kudrin: Sanctions against Russia could start to ease late 2016-early 2017

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – January 22, 2016) Relations between Russia and the West are normalizing and sanctions will be lifted, Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister, said. “I’m sure the sanctions will start to soften at the end of this year or start of next year. Nobody in Russia wants to keep up confrontation. I think the Minsk accords will be […]

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U.S. Beats Russia in ‘Most Powerful’ Ranking

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 22, 2016) Russia is second only to its former Cold War foe the United States in terms of its power to influence the global agenda but lags behind many other countries in most categories, a new ranking presented at the Davos World Economic Forum said. Moscow scored a 9.4 in the “Power” category, which […]

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Interfax: Revocation of accreditation from Russia’s honorary consuls in U.S. continues Washington’s line towards scaling down of relations with Russia – Russian Foreign Ministry

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MOSCOW. Jan 22 (Interfax) – Moscow is outraged by the revocation of accreditation from five of Russia’s honorary consuls in the United States, and sees it as a continuation of Washington’s line towards the scaling down of relations with Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. “We are outraged by Washington’s decision to recall accreditation from five of the […]

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Peskov: Surkov, Nuland hold expert dialogue on settlement in Ukraine

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

(Interfax – January 20, 2016) The negotiations held between Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov and Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, in Kaliningrad with regard to the settlement in Ukraine were an expert exchange of opinions between Moscow and Washington, which is not a member of the ‘Normandy […]

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U.S., Russia Start Syria Negotiations Amid Threat to Peace Talks

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – January 20, 2016) The top U.S. and Russian diplomats began talks in Zurich Wednesday to try to bridge divisions over which belligerents in Syria’s five-year civil war should be labeled “terrorist,” an issue that threatens to hold up the start of peace talks. John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov need to strike a deal […]

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Interfax: Mutko anticipating rivalry between Russian and US athletes at Olympic Games

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

(Interfax – January 19, 2016) The Summer Olympic Games cannot be imagined without a rivalry between Russian and American track and field athletes, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said. “Track and field athletics is the queen of sport. [Athletes] will compete for 47 medals [at the Olympic Games]. I will also say that I cannot imagine any tournament without a […]

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Netflix’s Desire for World Domination Reaches Russia

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – January 15, 2016) China, the world’s most populous country, might have slipped through its fingers, but with Russia Netflix in January pocketed the largest country by landmass and the promise of tapping into a booming online market. Netflix’s move into Russia, along with 129 other countries, was heralded by its CEO as […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Russia, China and the US need to work together in 2016. At the Gaidar Forum in Moscow, Russian and foreign experts discussed the role of the great powers in shaping the current system of international relations, as well as the potential ability for Russia and the U.S. to find common ground in 2016”

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Russian Ruble Crashes to 77 Per Dollar Amid Oil Price Slump

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2016) The Russian ruble fell to 77 against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday for the first time since December 2014 as global prices for oil continue to slide, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. As of Tuesday morning, the Russian currency had slipped to 77.01 against the U.S. dollar and 83.80 against the […]

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Seven powerful politicians from around the world that speak Russian

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn yet there are many influential politicians around the world that have taken it up. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALIA MASHINISTOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 12, 2016) [Videos with Michael McFaul and Condoleezza Rice here: rbth.com/arts/lifestyle/2016/01/12/7-powerful-politicians-from-around-the-world-that-speak-russian_558729] Most Russian-speaking politicians live in former Soviet republics and other […]

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Putin’s Crude and Desperate Propaganda

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

From: John Evans <EvansinAmerica@aol.com> Date: January 5, 2016 To: letters@washpost.com Subject: Putin’s Crude and Desperate Propaganda To the Editor: With all due respect to Paula Dobriansky and David Rivkin, and with prior apologies for engaging in “Whataboutism,” I question the authors’ one-sided excoriation of Russian media and officials (Op-Ed, Jan. 5) for some racist and decidedly off-color remarks and representations, […]

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