Study: U.S. Sanctions Hurting Russians’ Support for U.S., not Kremlin

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Henry Hale, George Washington University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs – November 14, 2017) Are American sanctions hurting support for Putin? New political science research suggests the answer is no. This study was presented at the 2017 convention of the main association for specialists on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia (ASEEES) in Chicago, […]

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Interfax: Russia’s defense spending tops 5.3% of GDP, near $70 bln – PwC

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade

MOSCOW. Nov 15 (Interfax) – Russia ranks seventh among the world’s major defense-industry players, with defense expenditures totaling $69.2 billion, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in a statement regarding its second Global Defense Perspectives report. In the current rating, Russia occupies seventh place; its defense expenditures amount to 5.32% of GDP and total $69.2 billion. It has moved up one position since […]

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NEWSLINK: “Independent Journalists in Russia Will Have to Live Without Their Western Role Models; The Western media’s controversial reporting is affecting independent journalism in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Oleg Kashin

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“The Western press has discovered that structures close to the Kremlin bought shares in Facebook and Twitter – obviously with far-reaching political designs. * * * At some point, quantity becomes quality, and the Western press has already published so many inaccurate, exaggerated, and knowingly untrue things about this country that the only Russians who seriously consider Milner a Kremlin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GDP growth in Russia disappointingly slows” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s GDP growth disappointed on the down side as the July-September numbers came in well below the government expectation at 1.2%, making the annual GDP growth of 1.8%. The government had been expecting 2.2%. * * * … [and] Russia’s GDP growth has been achieved against the backdrop of rather shaky industrial output. …” Click here for: “GDP growth in Russia […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting wrapped up in Vietnam; [Putin meeting with Russian and foreign journalists]” – KremlinRu

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(kremlin.ru – Nov. 11, 2017) The 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting ended in Danang. On the second day of the Meeting, the APEC leaders reviewed the prospects for the global economy with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. During the business breakfast, a discussion was held on establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade zone and a possible expansion […]

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Russia Unfazed By U.S. Oil Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – November 9, 2017) Western energy sanctions vis-à-vis Russia have become a steady phenomenon of the global oil and gas market. Most Russian oil companies don’t expect sanctions to be scrapped anytime soon-an assessment espoused by the political elites of the country, too. The sides even seem to have resigned their minds to the current frosty […]

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Interfax: Russia’s GDP growth to exceed 2% in 2017 – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MANILA. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian government is expecting 2017’s GDP growth to exceed 2%, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a session of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 (ABIS 2017). “We saw positive changes both last and this year, and our recovery growth has been rather good. We are expecting the Russian GDP to increase […]

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Russia’s Regions Ask Moscow for Financial Help

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Kozlov – November 7, 2017) Against a backdrop of the Russian economy gradually coming out of recession and oil prices on the rise, the country’s far-flung regions have been feeling financial strain and are now asking the center for help. Udmurtia, a small republic east of Moscow, and its newly appointed governor Alexander Brechalov […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia, Trump, and the 2016 U.S. Election; Charges of foreign power interference in the U.S. presidential election have raised grave national security concerns and touched off multiple federal inquiries that could drag on for months” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Jonathan Masters

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NEWSLINK: “Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments” – New York Times/ Jesse Drucker

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

Russian LNG Unfazed By U.S. Sanctions

Asia Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – November 2, 2017) Russia’s energy industry faces a new round of U.S. sanctions – including on oil projects in any location if a designated entity holds more than 33 percent. And in Europe, where Russia’s gas giant Gazprom currently holds a large share of the gas supplies, Poland and Lithuania are buying U.S. LNG in […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANCRIPT: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia Moscow, October 31, 2017” – Russian Foreign Ministry

Sergei Lavrov file photo » Read more

Welcome to Gdov, where Russia comes to an end; Russia’s westernmost district is dying out – and with it, hopes for the country’s rebirth.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Damberg – November 1, 2017) Sergey Damberg is a sociologist and graduate of St Petersburg and Bielefeld universities. He directs the Expertise sociological bureau, and is a researcher at Centre for Independent Social Research. In 2014-2015, Damberg was the general manager of Pskov Drama theatre. Together with Russian sociologist Sergey Damberg, we start a new column series […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia moves up to 35th place in the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business’ index” – bne Intellinews

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

“… Russia is ranked 35th in the 2018 issue of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report published on October 31, moving up five places …. Another international rating, the 2017 Economic Freedom Index compiled by the Heritage Foundation in February, placed Russia in the 114th position in the ‘Mostly Unfree’ category … with a score of 57.1 of 100. … the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Uses Its Oil Giant, Rosneft, as a Foreign Policy Tool” – New York Times/ Clifford Krauss

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“Russia is increasingly wielding oil as a geopolitical tool, spreading … influence … and challenging the interests of the United States. … Moscow risks running into trouble … lend[ing] money and mak[ing] deals in turbulent economies and shaky political climates. The strategy faces a crucial test this week in Venezuela, a Russian ally that must come up with a billion dollars to avert […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Putin Want? To Maintain His Power No Matter What; A big win for Putin in the March election would be a victory for the Russian autocratic state.” – NBC/ William Pomeranz

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

“In Russia … [elections] are acts of confirmation: The only real suspense … is whether … Putin will receive 70 percent or 80 percent …. Putin … surely understands that reform is the moment of greatest vulnerability for a Russian leader (just ask … Gorbachev). … Putin’s intent is always to maintain control, as recent prosecutions attest. * * * … At the top of […]

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Russia to increase salmon aquaculture

Spawning Salmon File Image, adapted from image at fws.gov

(The Fish Site – thefishsite.com – Jaroslaw Adamowski – October 30, 2017) Russia’s largest farmed fish producer, Russian Aquaculture, is developing its farm network across the country at a time when the country’s authorities are making increased efforts to develop the sector and reduce their dependency on fish imports. Russian Aquaculture currently owns cultivation rights for 30 salmon and trout sites […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economic recovery not enough for higher rating: Moody’s” – Reuters/ Andrey Ostroukh

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Economic recovery in Russia is not strong enough to convince Moody’s rating agency to upgrade its sovereign credit rating as the country still lacks sufficient structural reform …. Moody’s downgraded Russia’s rating to below investment grade in early 2015 as Russia’s economy slipped into recession amid a rapid drop in oil prices and Western sanctions … over [Russia’s] role in the Ukrainian […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin Disappoints Investors With Quick Exit From Moscow Forum” – Bloomberg/ Ksenia Galouchko, Jake Rudnitsky, Andrey Biryukov, Anna Baraulina

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

“… Putin left some guests at Moscow’s main investment forum surprised and disappointed after he broke with his tradition of taking questions from the audience and left after a brief speech. After comments that lasted about 12 minutes at a panel at the VTB Capital Forum on Tuesday, Putin left the stage, leaving behind the sanctioned lender’s Chief Executive Officer Andrey […]

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NEWSWATCH: “I’m ‘sick and tired’ of how U.S. views Russia, says CEO of Russia’s second-largest bank” –  CNBC/ Silvia Amaro

VTB Bank File Photo

“… The tense issue of Russian meddling in the election has dragged on. Putin warned last week that U.S. media companies could be restricted when operating in Russia after calls from American lawmakers to limit Russian outlets, namely RT and Sputnik, for their involvement in the 2016 presidential election. … Click here for: “I’m ‘sick and tired’ of how U.S. […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Russia Calling! Investment Forum” – KremlinRu

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

(kremlin.ru – Oct. 24, 2017) Vladimir Putin spoke at the annual Russia Calling! Investment Forum organized by VTB Capital. This year’s event is being held under the slogan Manage the Difficulties, Control the Risks. The forum is the leading event in attracting portfolio and strategic investment in the Russian economy and promotes effective cooperation between Russian businesses and international investors. […]

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Republic: The Diagnosis after Three Years of Crisis, or Why the Russian Economy Survived

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Oct. 20, 2017 [from “Russian media roundup, October 13-20, 2017”]) At the turn of 2014-2015, it was uncertain as to whether the Russian economy would emerge standing. Yakov Mirkin, the head of International Capital Markets Department Institute of World Economy and International Relations, lists seven reasons to explain what saved the Russian economy […]

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Russia Goes All In On Arctic Oil Development

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – October 19, 2017) Neither sanctions nor persistently low oil prices are hindering Russia’s ambitions or plans to develop oil resources in its sections of the Arctic. In April, state-controlled oil giant Rosneft started drilling the northernmost well on the Russian Arctic shelf in the Khatangsky license area in the Laptev Sea. In June, Rosneft struck […]

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Global Warming Threatens Moscow’s Arctic Development Plans and the Lives of People There

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 17, 2017) Some Russian officials, including Vladimir Putin, apparently believe that global warming will work to Russia’s ultimate benefit by allowing for crops over a larger portion of its territory; but in the shorter term, global warming is undermining Moscow’s plans to develop the Far North and even threatening the lives […]

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Interfax: Oreshkin sees positive foreign investor sentiment regarding Russian economy recovery

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – GORKY, Oct. 16) Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said he saw positive sentiment among foreign investors regarding a recovery in the Russian economy. “Today’s meeting was definitely characterized by overall positive sentiment regarding the fact that the Russian economy has begun to recover and that economic growth has taken off. Companies feel this in their financials,” Oreshkin […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Waking the Russian Spirit of Urbanism; Urban renewal could become a new doctrine of patriotism” – Moscow Times/ Sergei Kapkov

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

“… They’ve looked around and realized that Russian cities are not nearly as beautiful as they could be, and in addition to amusement park rides and shish kebab stands, they can build skate parks and dance floors. And the harsh Russian climate is no obstacle to developing urban cycling. …”  

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The Evolution of Homo Sovieticus to Putin’s Man; The tumultuous decades have left their mark on Russians’ inner life

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Lev Gudkov – October 13, 2017) [Text with charts themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-evolution-of-homo-sovieticus-to-putins-man-59189] Lev Gudkov remembers sitting in his Moscow office as a young sociologist, surrounded by stacks of letters. It was 1989, and for the first time after decades of hushed conversation around kitchen tables, Russians had been asked for their opinions on a range […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Soccer Defeat Is a Loss for Russia. In place of a flood of U.S. travelers for next year’s World Cup, a trickle of Panamanians.” – Wall Street Journal

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… a fresh setback for U.S.-Russia relations: The U.S. men’s soccer team fell to Trinidad and Tobago … and … failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in three decades. For Russia, hosting the quadrennial event in 2018 … missing out on an influx of rich American tourists …. [A past study by two economists suggests] the tourism boost from […]

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A Corruption Trial Splits the Kremlin; The former economy minister got caught in a sting, and no one knows where Putin stands.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – October 11, 2017) The first prosecution of a minister for graft under Russian President Vladimir Putin contains the kind of details you’d expect in a spy novel, from hidden microphones and coded hand signals to homemade sausages and a bag stuffed with cash. The case against former […]

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Navalny Fund Publishes Retractions in Usmanov Libel Suit

Alisher Usmanov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 11, 2017) The Anti-Corruption Foundation has complied with a court order to publish retractions related to a video critical of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Foundation founder and opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sued for libel in April by Uzbekistan-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov over allegations of bribery. Navalny is currently serving a 20-day jail […]

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NEWSLINK: “This is as good as it gets” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“This is as good as it gets. That was the conclusion of Fitch Ratings’ Global Economic Outlook for September 2017. The global economy is in a bit of a sweet spot as the bounce-back growth is strong and the last of the 2008 crash effects are fading away. Commodities prices are high and growth in both developed and emerging markets […]

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Is This The Geopolitical Shift Of The Century?

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Cyril Widdershoven – October 7, 2017) Dr. Cyril Widdershoven is a long-time observer of the global energy market. Presently, he holds several advisory positions with international think tanks in the Middle East and energy sectors in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically. The impact of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “OPEC Pushes Russia to Continue Helping on Oil Prices” – Wall Street Journal/ Benoit Faucon, Summer Said, Nathan Hodge

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

As King Salman becomes the first Saudi Monarch to visit Moscow, The Wall Street Journal reports on efforts by OPEC to keep Russia in an ad hoc coalition to suppress global oil production. “Saudi Arabia and OPEC are lobbying Russia to stay on board with their efforts to raise oil prices, amid signals that Moscow wants to end its participation in costly […]

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RUSSIALINK: “[Putin at] Russian Energy Week Forum plenary session” – KremlinRu

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

[This excerpt includes only the comments by Putin] [Click here for Q&A and video with English interpretation: en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55767] Vladimir Putin attended a plenary session of the first Russian Energy Week (REW) Energy Efficiency and Energy Development International Forum. Following the plenary session, Vladimir Putin had a brief meeting with foreign guests of the Russian Energy Week who arrived in Moscow to […]

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Putin Budget Points to Another Lost Decade for Russia, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4m 2017) The three-year budget the Russian government has proposed suggests that Russia will continue to stagnate, poverty will continue to grow, and the country will fall further and further behind the developed world and even its nearest neighbors, according to the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta. In a lead article today, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘No miracles’: labor shortage set to hit Russia’s GDP” – Reuters/Denis Pinchuk, Maria Kiselyova

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“A dearth of young people joining Russia’s workforce because of a low birth rate will shave several percent off potential economic growth in the next five to six years, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said. … the labour shortage made it hard for technology companies, among others, to recruit staff they need …. * * * ‘To a large extent economic growth […]

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Interfax: Russian authorities know how to address gap between rich, poor – Putin

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) – The widening gap between the rich and the poor is “a real problem” for Russia, but there is an understanding how to address it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “With regard to the ‘scissors’ between rich and low-income people. This is a real problem on which we definitely should be working,” Putin said at the […]

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Saudi Arabia to Plan Russia Deals, Deepening Energy Ties

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Wael Mahdi , Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – October 3, 2017) Saudi Arabia is looking at unprecedented deals to acquire #oil and #gas assets in Russia, deepening ties between the world’s largest energy exporters as the Saudi king prepares to visit Moscow later this week. OPEC’s biggest crude producer is considering investing in Russia’s largest oil […]

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Interfax: Poll shows quarter of Russians say political, economic protests possible

Moscow Protest File Photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW – September 28, 2017) An overwhelming majority of Russians, 69 percent, believe that mass protests against deteriorating living standards or in defense of people’s rights are unlikely in Russia, the Levada Analytical Center told Interfax, down from 74 percent in February. Twenty-six percent of the 1,600 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on Sept. […]

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Another Worrying Sign For Russia’s Dire Demographics

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – September 27, 2017 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-population-decline-labor-oreshkin/28760413.html) Many advanced economies are wondering how breakthroughs in technology could leave whole swaths of the population unemployed, but in Russia the government is pondering how to fill jobs with a dramatically shrinking work force. Economy Minister […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Yandex, a Russian Success Story and Putin’s High-Tech Tiger” – Moscow Times/ Elizaveta Osetinskaya

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Last week, Yandex, the giant search engine and a symbol of Russian tech prowess, celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Its founder Arkady Volozh played host to … Putin, who praised Yandex at its stylish glass headquarters in downtown Moscow. … Bloggers sarcastically pointed out that the Russian leader famously doesn’t use the internet and once described it as the brainchild of the […]

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The caring state: how Russia’s new babushkas are filling in the welfare gaps; Expectations of babushki taking care of their grandchildren, shaped by the Soviet history of family and economic policies, are hard to implement in a radically different post-socialist context.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Inna Leykin – September 25, 2017) Inna Leykin is an assistant professor of anthropology at the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University of Israel. Little Alesha is pushing his stroller down the boulevard. While he practices his new walking skills, Nadia, Alesha’s mom, laments the insufficiency of daycare in the city: “I’ve heard […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Meeting with Maxim Oreshkin and Denis Manturov” – KrmelinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin and Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov. The current economic situation and measures to support the Russian economy and industry were discussed. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I had agreed with each of you on separate occasions to meet and talk on the […]

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NEWSWATCH: World Bank 2016 ranking of global economies in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) (i.e. real – volume) – terms

World Bank Building

“Ranking – Economy – millions of international dollars) 1 China 21,417,150 2 United States 18,569,100 3 India 8,702,900 4 Japan 5,266,444 5 Germany 4,028,362 6 Russian Fed. 3,397,368 7 Brazil 8 Indonesia 9 United Kingdom 10 France … [* * * ]” Click here for NEWSWATCH: World Bank 2016 ranking of global economies in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) (i.e. real […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with business community representatives” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – September 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with representatives of the Russian business circles and associations. The meeting was attended by over 50 business leaders, CEOs of leading private companies and companies with government participation, banks and public organisations. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Before we start working and take our seats let us […]

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In Russia, It’s a Woman’s Job to Challenge Soviet-Era Labor Laws; It took Svetlana Medvedeva five years to fight for her right to become a captain

Two Babushkas file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Francesca Visser – September 20, 2017) In Soviet propaganda posters, women feature alongside men as powerful and resolute workers. Forward-looking and muscular, they are portrayed as heroines of the proletariat. It was women workers who in February 1917 started a protest that would evolve into the Russian Revolution. Today, Russia’s labor legislation is among the […]

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NEWSLINK: “What about Pensions? An underlying issue at next year’s presidential elections is how to bring certainty and stability to Russia’s cash-strapped pension system. So far, the authorities have tiptoed around the matter.” – Intersection/ Artem Filatov

Two Babushkas file photo

“… Putin does not plan to retire any time soon. Yet many of his potential voters are worried about their own retirement prospects. Will their pensions be sizeable and reliable? At what age can Russians count on receiving them? During a televised call-in show held in mid-June, the president left this issue hanging. … By not giving any direct answers, the […]

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Russia’s wild decade: how memories of the 1990s are changing; A time of freedom and survival, memories of Russia’s first post-Soviet decade have come to divide people. The editors of a new collection on the 1990s share their thoughts.

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(opendemocracy.net – Thomas Rowley – September 15, 2017) Tom Rowley is Lead Editor at oDR. He is currently finishing a PhD on Soviet dissent at the University of Cambridge. Check out the latest in our Unlikely Media series, which profiles independent (and independently-minded) publications from across the post-Soviet space. As part of this series, we interview editors who are trying […]

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Siluanov names three structural areas for state budget spending in 2018-2020

Anton Siluanov file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 18 (Interfax) – The social sphere, defense and support for the national economy are the main areas of Russian federal budget spending in 2018-2020, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. “The bulk of spending is stipulated for allocation to the social sphere – this is 36.4% – and defense – 29%. We are fulfilling the plan for arms and […]

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