Brussels Break-In Shines Light on Putin’s European Mischief

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Jeremy Hodges – August 23, 2015) It was an unusual delivery at the European Parliament by a pair of native Russians. They broke into the third-floor mailroom and deposited for the 751 legislators English-language copies of “Red Dalia,” a scathing biography of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, according to a parliamentary probe. The book, published […]

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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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Shopping Spray: Loutish Russian’s Beer-Biting Patriotism

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Anna Shamanska – August 22, 2015) Stas Baretsky is foaming at the mouth about banned Western goods in Russia. As the food-destruction craze over banned Western goods continues in Russia, the St. Petersburg Orthodox Union of Cossacks and a very large former band member have joined in. The group went to a local store of the […]

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NEWSWATCH The Daily Caller: “McCain On Putin: ‘He Wants To Restore The Russian Empire'”

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

The Daily Caller covers recent remarks by U.S. Senator John McCain suggesting imperialistic ambitions are evidenced by Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. … McCain said Wednesday during his trip to Sweden that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to “restore the Russian Empire.” The purpose of the trip, made along with Sens. John Barrasso and Sheldon Whitehouse, is to […]

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Interfax: Embargoed food destruction backed by 42% of Russians, 38% against

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Aug 21 (Interfax) – Most Russians (83%) are aware of the destruction of embargoed food smuggled into Russia from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway, the Public Opinion Foundation has said. Russians have mixed feelings about the decision made by the authorities: 42% say the embargoed food needs to be destroyed, and 38% claim the […]

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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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Interfax: Netherlands: Investigators so far don’t confirm finding Buk parts on MH17 crash site in Donbass

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) The international group of investigators conducting the criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Malaysian Boeing crash in Donbas does not confirm finding fragments of a surface-to-air missile Buk on the crash site in Donbass, the Dutch National Public Prosecutor’s Office reported. It is now too early to draw conclusions that the found fragments are […]

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Russians Named Europe’s Least Productive Workers

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 11, 2015) The productivity of the Russian workforce is the lowest among European countries, according to a report issued Monday by the France-based international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. In Russia, labor productivity – measured by the gross domestic product valued in U.S. dollars divided by the total number of hours […]

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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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Russia Takes On Louvre, Guggenheim as Putin Fights Pariah Status

Hermitage Museum

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – August 9, 2015) Since it opened in March, the Russian Museum in Malaga, the southern Spanish coastal resort, has been thronged by visitors who line up to see centuries-old icons and works by 20th century avant-garde artists Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Marc Chagall. The St. Petersburg landmark’s only foreign branch is part […]

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Abandoned Mistral Deal Still Divides Russian Officials, Analysts

Mistral Class Ship

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 5, 2015) France has agreed to reimburse Russia for the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers purchased under a 2011 contract, ending a months-long dispute over the fate of Russia’s largest foreign arms purchase in the post-Soviet era. But the question of whether Russia really needs such expensive ships other than for mere […]

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Russian Official Lauds Condom Restrictions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Anna Dolgov – August 6, 2015) A senior Russian official has praised plans to restrict condom imports as part of a drive to reduce reliance on foreign-made goods, suggesting Wednesday that a dearth of the rubber contraceptives will make people more “disciplined” and boost birth rates. Fewer condoms will make people “more strict […]

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Russians cheesed off as authorities destroy ‘EU’ food

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews- August 6, 2015) Nine tons of presumed EU-made cheese seized after entering Russia from Ukraine were bulldozed into the ground on August 6 as officials enforced Kremlin orders to destroy prohibited Western products, despite protests from citizens struggling with rising food prices. The first batch of hundreds of tons of food earmarked […]

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Idiots ‘Useful’ and Otherwise on the Rise in Russia and the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 31, 2015) Idiotism is on the rise in both Russia and the West, with its spread in Russia having transformed that country from “a land of liars to one of idiots,” according to Vitaly Portnikov, and in the West having become the latest iteration of the “useful idiots” Lenin and the Bolsheviks always viewed as […]

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Five-part blog: THE WORLD WAR IV SERIES

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Subject: Five-part blog: THE WORLD WAR IV SERIES Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:39:46 -0400 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> I have recently written a five-part blog series on what I call World War IV. I think your readers may be interested in this material. At the very least, it should provoke some reflection. David Law — THE WORLD WAR IV […]

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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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Ukraine War Risks Reigniting as OSCE Warns of Troop Buildup

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kateryna Choursina, Aliaksandr Kudrytski – July 28, 2015) The battle readiness of Ukraine’s military and the rebels it’s fighting in the country’s east is at its highest level since a February truce, monitors warned, a situation that risks tipping the conflict back into war. After more than a year of fighting, sides are fortifying positions and […]

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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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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Living on Prussia’s ruins, Kaliningraders embrace Germanic past

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Christian Science Monitor covers some of the interplay in Kaliningrad between Germanic cultural history and more recent Russian control, amidst Russia’s tensions with the West over Ukraine. … a growing movement of mainly younger Kaliningraders – supported by local government – … are working to roll back the Soviet-imposed amnesia that convinced generations of people who grew up on this ancient territory […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Bypassing Ukraine Will Be Costly for Russia’s Gazprom – Analysts

Gas Flame file photo

Russia’s plans to drop Ukraine as a route for pumping natural gas to Europe will still leave state-run Gazprom facing about $1 billion in annual transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria for years to come, analysts and industry sources say.

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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Medvedev Upbeat About Russian Economy, Ties With Europe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he expects Russia’s recession-hit economy to start growing again at the end of the year, while he hopes for improving economic ties with friendly countries in southeastern Europe. “I think that the economy will return to the path of growth in late 2015, early 2016. It won’t […]

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NEWSWATCH CNN/Matthew Rojansky, Michael Kofman: Isolated Russia has little left to lose

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing for CNN.com, Matthew Rojansky and Michael Kofman address historic shifts in relations between Russia and the West, amidst Western reactions to the Russo-Ukrainian War, the downing of civilian airliner MH-17 and other developments. … MH17 was a turning point, after which many European leaders abandoned their previously held view that Russia could be successfully integrated into Western-led economic, political, or […]

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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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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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Interfax: MH17 investigators have yet to establish type of missile – Dutch prosecutors

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – July 17, 2015) An international group of investigators probing the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine have yet to find out whether the plane was shot down from the ground or from the air, according to the Dutch prosecutor general’s office. “We are investigating the scenario of the ground-to-air missile that downed MH17 and the other […]

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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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Interfax: Putin says Eurasia’s not a chessboard, it’s our home

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

(Interfax – July 9, 2015) Russia and its neighbours in the Eurasian landmass should not be treated as a “chessboard” or a “geopolitical playing field”, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 9 July in remarks reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax. “For us, this isn’t a chessboard, it’s not a geopolitical playing field – this is our home, and […]

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Are The E.U. And Asia Turning A Blind Eye To Russian Sanctions?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 8, 2015) In a previous article on Oilprice, I questioned whether western sanctions imposed on Russia were being regularly breached by E.U. and Asian companies, noting that sanctions only work if all countries unite behind them. In June, the Financial Times reported that only one year after being imposed, the sanctions are eroding. It […]

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What Does Greece’s ‘No’ Vote Mean for Russia?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova, Delphine d’Amora – July 7, 2015) As EU leaders gather Tuesday to seek an answer to Greece’s sweeping rejection of international bailout terms, Russia -the EU’s third-largest trading partner – is quietly waiting to see where the chips fall. Hailed as a victory for democracy by Greece’s new far-left leaders, the resounding “no” […]

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Ukraine cancels gas supplies from Russia in pricing row

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 2, 2015) Ukraine suspended Russian natural gas purchases on July 1, citing its inability to secure from Gazprom a heavily discounted price for the third quarter of the year. Henceforth, the country’s state-owned monopoly Naftogaz will rely on supplies from the European Union, and claims that volumes bought from EU […]

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Interfax: Russia to react “immediately” if NATO increases strength in Europe – source

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – Moscow, June 26, 2015) By “slightly pushing” Russia by increasing the alliance’s military presence in Europe, the USA and NATO are waging a “game of nerves” for now, however should any practical steps be taken towards an escalation near Russia’s western border, Moscow will respond without delay, a source in the military and diplomatic circles has told Interfax-AVN. […]

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VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: Conversation: The Standoff Between Russia and the West Over Ukraine

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

(Stratfor.com – June 23, 2015) Conversation: The Standoff Between Russia and the West Over Ukraine is republished with permission of Stratfor; article also appeared at stratfor.com/video/conversation-standoff-between-russia-and-west-over-ukraine. Transcript follows below video. Video Transcript Lauren Goodrich: Hello, my name is Lauren Goodrich, and I’m the senior Eurasia analyst here at Stratfor. I’m joined by Sim Tack, our military analyst, and today we’re going to […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: Buttressing the Front Line Against Putin. The U.S. must compel Nordic and Baltic states to put aside old prejudices and link arms against the Russian threat.

Europe Map

  Russia is waging a new cold war in the Baltic region, breaching international law and the conventions that govern civilized behavior among nations. The Kremlin provokes and intimidates its neighbors with aggressive espionage, corruption of political elites, propaganda onslaughts, cyberattacks, economic sanctions, coercive energy policies, surprise military exercises, and violations of airspace, territorial waters and even national borders, as […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy/John Hudson: The Undiplomatic Diplomat.

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

Russia hawks on Capitol Hill love Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s point person for Ukraine. Many Europeans can’t stand her. http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/18/the-undiplomatic-diplomat/

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U.S. Readying Plan to Put Tanks on Putin’s Doorstep

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – David Lerman, Marta Waldoch – June 14, 2015) The U.S. may announce agreements later this month to station tanks and fighting vehicles in eastern European and Baltic countries, a U.S. defense official said. The Pentagon is trying to finalize plans to station equipment for as many as 5,000 soldiers in about a half-dozen countries as the […]

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Interfax: Russia urges U.S. not to destroy INF Treaty

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – June 11, 2015) The deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles near Russian borders by the U.S. would totally destroy the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We have taken note of statements by Pentagon representatives that the U.S. is studying options for military responses to Russian ‘violations’, up to the potential deployment of […]

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Poll: Russians Dislike West About as Much as Westerners Dislike Russia

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 11, 2015) A staggering majority of Russians view the West negatively, and the feeling is mutual, a poll conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center revealed Wednesday. According to the poll, 81% of Russians have unfavorable opinions of the United States, and 80% feel similarly about NATO. The European Union fared […]

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Putin Is No James Bond Villain

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 9, 2015) Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on foreign-language propaganda, all that President Vladimir Putin has achieved outside Russia is the status of a Bond movie villain. He may enjoy it, especially since there’s no 007 in sight to tackle him, but his variety of pop stardom is growing into […]

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Putin: Russia has no relations with G7 but ready to cooperate with its members bilaterally

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(Interfax – June 10, 2015) Russia currently does not maintain any relationship with the G7, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “We have no relations with the G7, what relations could there be?” Putin told journalists following negotiations with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on June 10. At the same time, “if our partners want it, we will be developing active […]

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Ukraine defending Europe, world order, says Yatsenyuk

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Interfax – June 9, 2015) Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called for unity of the European Union and the United States needed “to defeat the aggressor.” He made the statement at a forum of the American Jewish Committee during a working visit to Washington DC, the Ukrainian government press service has reported. “We are positive that we can regain […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by President Obama in Press Conference after G7 Summit (excerpts)

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – Elmau Briefing Center, Krün, Germany, June 8, 2015) PRESIDENT OBAMA: With respect to security, the G7 remains strongly united in support for Ukraine. We’ll continue to provide economic support and technical assistance that Ukraine needs as it moves ahead on critical reforms to transform its economy and strengthen its democracy. […]

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