‘Black Monday’ inflicts further damage on Russian markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Amid turmoil on global financial markets, the Russian ruble fell to a historic low against the U.S. dollar on Aug. 24, while the key stock market index, the RTS, dropped 6 percent. Russian analysts say that there is little room for optimism while oil prices remain low. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan – August 25, 2015) […]

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NEWSWATCH TASS Interview: Victoria Nuland: We do want to be able to communicate clearly with Russia

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

In an interview with TASS, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland reportedly focused upon U.S.-Russia relations, Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear program and visa problems for Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. I would argue that since the breakup of the Warsaw pact, since the breakup of the Soviet Union the entire orientation of US policy, […]

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Celeste A. Wallander: “U.S. Policy on Russia”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House June 26, 2015 Remarks by Celeste Wallander, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia on U.S. Policy on Russia U.S. Policy on Russia CNAS Annual Conference June 26 2015 Celeste A. Wallander Special Assistant to the President And Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia National Security Council I am especially […]

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NEWSWATCH Ottawa Citizen: “The coming war with Russia”

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

The Ottawa Citizen reports on concerns over the prospects for open military conflict between NATO and Russia. A couple of months before he retired in July, the head of Canada’s air force provided a blunt assessment of what might emerge from the current military mission to Ukraine. “We pray that our ongoing NATO mission isn’t accompanied by the escalation of […]

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U.S. Told Ukraine to Stand Down as Putin Invaded

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin, Eli Lake – August 21, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces took over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in early 2014, the interim Ukrainian government was debating whether or not to fight back against the “little green men” Russia had deployed. But the message from the Barack Obama administration was clear: avoid military confrontation with […]

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Washington ups the ante with sanctions on Gazprom

Gas Facility file photo

RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TROIKA REPORT: Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev – August 20, 2015) 1. Engaging the West U.S. sanctions on Gazprom: Washington ups the ante The recent move by the U.S. administration to restrict […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Peter Pomerantsev: West Needs to Up the Ante in Infowar

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Writing in The Moscow Times, Peter Pomerantsev addresses the heft of the Kremlin media machine and the U.S. response. The West is finally coming to a belated comprehension of the power of the Kremlin media machine. The Soviet Union is no more, but the Kremlin holds a media hegemony over 142 million citizens of Russia and 93 million residents of […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: Russia used to have a powerful weapon in its energy sector. Not anymore.

Gas Flame file photo

The Washington Post assesses shifts in Russia’s position within the energy sector, and the impact upon Russian coercive pressure on the West. For years, Russia’s ability to choke off energy shipments any time tensions spiked with the West was a potent threat, one that could force much of Europe to shiver during the wintertime. But with energy prices swooning, the […]

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Russia ready to discuss new CFE treaty with NATO – Foreign Ministry

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, August 18, 2015) Russia is ready for dialogue with NATO on new parameters of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) if the alliance’s proposal answer present-day realities, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, has said. “In principle, we are ready to discuss the parameters of a […]

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Russia continues to increase investments in U.S. Treasuries

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

(Interfax – August 18, 2015) Russia increased its investments in U.S. Treasury bonds in June by $1.4 billion, just as it did in May, according to data from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System, published on Aug. 18. At the end of June, the volume of Russian-owned U.S. Treasury bonds stood at $72 billion. Russia is currently 19th […]

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Re: Think Tanks and U.S.-Russian Confrontation

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 1 From: Robert Legvold <rhl1@columbia.edu> Subject: re think tanks and US-Russian confrontation [Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, where he specialized in the international relations of the post-Soviet states. He was Director of The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, from 1986 to 1992. Prior to […]

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U.S.-Russian Paper Startup Sees Massive Success Despite Political Tensions

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 18, 2015) One of the largest office supply retailers in the United States has offered a group of young Russian and American entrepreneurs an exclusive distribution deal for a new sticky note developed by the team after raising almost $250,000 on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Founded in January by two Russian cousins […]

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NEWSLINK Columbia University: Save the Date: CATHARINE THEIMER NEPOMNYASHCHY’s Memorial Service (October 2)

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

Friday, October 2, 2015 2:00 – 4:00 pm James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st St) A memorial service will be held for Professor Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy on Friday, October 2, 2015 in the James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st St). The service will be followed by a reception at the Diana Center, […]

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Assessment of the state of Russian studies in the US on behalf of ASEEES

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(August 14, 2015) Current tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and other issues have prompted discussions in the media and in policymaking circles about the state of expertise on Russia in the United States. Some observers argue that since the collapse of the Soviet Union the quantity and quality of Russia-related research and graduate training at US-based […]

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Kyiv Must Work to Isolate Moscow Rather than Negotiate with It, Yeremenko Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 11, 2015) Up to now, Ukraine has made “a serious error” by trying to negotiate with Russia about the Donbas, Bogdan Yeremenko says. What it should be doing is devoting all its efforts to isolating Russia internationally.  That will have far more impact on Moscow’s behavior than any talks Ukraine might […]

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Eight Facts to Celebrate 100 Starbucks in Russia

Starbucks Counter with U.S. Ambassador and Crew

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ilaria Parogni – August 12, 2015) American coffeehouse chain Starbucks Coffee celebrated the opening of his 100th Russian branch in Tuesday. The new venue is located inside the shopping center Galereya in St. Petersburg, the company announced on social media. Starbucks is currently holding celebrations at the new location and at the company’s flagship store […]

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Hillary Clinton’s Role in Losing Russia

clinton-bin-laden-killing-1000

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 10, 2015) Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, and the Russia expert Kathryn Stoner say U.S. foreign policy has had a relatively neutral effect in determining Russia’s course. In an article published last week, they argued that President Vladimir Putin’s virulent anti-Americanism was driven by domestic, tactical considerations, allowing us […]

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Russia, U.S. Bicker Over Missile Defense Shield After Iran Agreement

Mssile Defense Control Room

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 11, 2015) With an international resolution on Iran’s nuclear program in the bag, Russia is pushing the U.S. to honor an alleged 2009 promise by President Barack Obama to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe to shield against Iranian missiles. “President Obama in 2009 publicly said that […]

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Western Experts Cry Foul Over Russian Books Published in Their Names

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 10, 2015) Prominent Western experts and journalists accused a Russian publishing house Sunday of pirating their work and printing books using their names without their permission or prior knowledge. Journalists Luke Harding and Edward Lucas and U.S.-based Russia expert Donald Jensen confirmed to The Moscow Times that they did not know […]

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Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Kathryn Stoner and Michael McFaul – Summer 2015) [Article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/who-lost-russia-time-vladimir-putin] Kathryn Stoner is Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Director of the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies, Stanford University. Prior to coming to Stanford in 2004, she was on the faculty at Princeton University […]

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Ukraine Famine Monument Erected In Washington

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

(RFE/RL – Tony Wesolowsky – August 6, 2015) After years of work and some setbacks, a memorial to the millions who perished in the Ukraine famine of the 1930s, or Holodomor, has been erected in the U.S. capital. The monument — a bronze slab resting on a stone plinth and showing a field of wheat stalks — was winched off […]

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Russians split over destruction of banned food imports

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

Russian is to destroy confiscated Western food products that fall under the Russian embargo at the border starting from August 6. According to the presidential decree, embargoed foods will be destroyed both at the border and after being seized from stores. However, some observers are calling on the government not to destroy the products, but give them to the needy. […]

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McFaul: Russian Enmity Toward U.S. Fueled by Own Weakness

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(RFE/RL – August 5, 2015) Russia, and the Kremlin in particular, has an unhealthy and misguided obsession with U.S. power and intentions, and this means badly strained relations between Washington and Moscow won’t improve anytime soon, former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul told RFE/RL in an interview. McFaul, who was a chief architect of President Barack Obama’s first-term “reset” with Russia […]

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RBTH: Fresh U.S. sanctions will only boost import substitution – Russian experts

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

The extension of U.S. sanctions against Russia on July 30 will first and foremost lead to the strengthening of import substitution, say Russian analysts. However, with the blacklist now expanded to include branch companies of the country’s main development institute, Vnesheconombank, and Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, the realization of large infrastructure projects may seriously be affected. (Russia Beyond the […]

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Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization [The American Home in Vladimir]

American Home in Vladimir, Logo; Adapted from Image © Serendipity-Russia American Home

Subject: Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:15:13 -0500 From: Ron Pope <ron42.pope@gmail.com> THE ISSUE: The American Home in Vladimir has encountered an unusual obstacle. After years of cooperative relations with our organization, the current Vladimir City Administration has decided to invoke what we thought was an outdated clause in the 1992 contract governing the […]

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U.S. Sanctions Official: Russia ‘Will Probe With A Bayonet’

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – WASHINGTON, July 31, 2015) A top U.S. diplomat overseeing sanctions policy says punitive economic measures are curtailing Russian “aggression” and testing Western resolve amid Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists. “I think that in true Leninist fashion, the Russian government will probe with a bayonet, so to speak, until it encounters resistance,” Daniel Fried, […]

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Ukraine As A Bargaining Chip?

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – July 28, 2015) f you believe all the talk out there lately, Vladimir Putin is not only duplicitous and hypocritical — he’s also been pretty damn busy lately. Busy cutting secret deals with the same Europeans and Americans he has been vilifying for years. And if you believe the rumors, the Europeans and Americans have […]

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Interfax: U.S. should pressure Ukraine into fulfilling Minsk accords – French ambassador to Russia

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

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) – France and Russia have urged the United States to put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities in order to make them honor their commitments as part of the Minsk peace agreements for Ukraine, French Ambassador to Moscow Jean-Maurice Ripert has said. “Like us, Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov has been holding talks with U.S. Secretary […]

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NEWSLINK Wilson Quarterly/Theodore Gerber, Jane Zavisca: WHAT 18 FOCUS GROUPS IN THE FORMER USSR TAUGHT US ABOUT AMERICA’S IMAGE PROBLEMS [excerpt]. After talking with dozens of people in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan, two contradictory, prevailing themes emerge about the United States.

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

THE UNITED STATES has a major public relations problem in former Soviet countries. Not only in Russia, but in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and even Ukraine, ordinary people see the U.S. as an arrogant, hegemonic superpower that meddles in the affairs of other countries in a cynical pursuit of its own interests – perceptions that dovetail with the Russian government’s official critiques […]

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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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