NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

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

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mutual Assured Deterrence” – Project-Syndicate/Sergei Karaganov

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Relations between Russia and the European Union, and with the EU’s close ally the United States, are increasingly fragile. There has been an effort to cope with shifting power dynamics in Europe by restoring the military-political divide between NATO and Russia – this time, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of where it was during the Cold War. But […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: SHOULD WE FEAR RUSSIA? [re: Dmitri Trenin]” – Paul Robinson/Irrussianality

Kremlin and River

“… Trenin’s answer to the question posed by his book is a bit of a ‘no’ and a bit of a ‘yes’. Russia isn’t a ‘threat’, he says, but its policies do pose a ‘challenge’ to the West, and are likely to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. ‘While most fears need to be put to rest’, he concludes, […]

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RUSSIALINK: TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address and answers to questions at the 53rd Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 18, 2017”

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… Question: I have a concrete question about military exercises. Why are Russian military exercises held without prior announcement, and why are they so non-transparent? This year you will hold the largest Zapad (West) exercises in 20 years, which have alarmed your neighbours. What should be done to build up confidence regarding this issue? …” [featured image is file photo]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A way to get real news to Russia; A U.S. attempt to counter disinformation takes shape in Current Time” – Washington Post

Satellite Dishes

… Current Time television, a product of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, is a 24/7 Russian-language television network based in Prague … aimed at audiences inside Russia as well as the borderlands of the former Soviet Union. … intended to provide ‘fair and accurate reporting, serving as a reality check on disinformation that is driving conflict […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Vzglyad: “Food import substitution turns out to be extremely profitable”

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“Russia has saved $4 billion since it began substituting imported products in response to the imposition of food embargoes by the U.S. and EU, the Agriculture Ministry says. But is this enough to encourage the future growth of production?”

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NEWSLINK: “German intelligence finds no evidence of Russian meddling; But authorities warned Russia has been on a ‘confrontational path’ since 2014 and its media is ‘hostile.'” – PoliticoEU/ESTHER KING

Map of Germany

“A year-long investigation into potential Russian interference with German politics has failed to uncover evidence of Kremlin-backed meddling, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Monday. German intelligence authorities found no concrete proof of disinformation campaigns targeting the government and have decided against publishing the 50-page report to avoid further straining relations with Moscow, according to SZ. …”

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NEWSLINK: “TODAY’S FEAR-MONGERING” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail newspaper writes some good op-eds. But like a lot of commentators he seems to go completely off the rails when the subject of Russia comes up. His latest piece entitled ‘Is Putin scoring political goals on an empty net?’ had me spluttering over my breakfast cereal this morning, and merits a detailed response.”

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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The sanctions on Russia are working, Mr. President: Don’t lift them prematurely” – The Hill/Alexander Vershbow

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… I have seen many U.S. presidents seek to engage … Russia. While it has never been easy, it was possible to find areas of common ground that increased the security of both sides — as long as the U.S. set clear objectives and stuck with them. … The sanctions are working. … Russia is interested in having sanctions removed. […]

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Russia, the Catalyst of Change

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

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – January 30, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti Regardless of what one can prove in the complicated story of Russian hackers meddling in the institutions of the United States, there is still a story to tell about Russian influence on the West. It has […]

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Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That’s Not Going to Be Easy

Donald Trump

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – January 27, 2017) No actor on the world stage was as publicly energized by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as Russia. At first glance, the support seemed entirely emotional. But there was also a rational interest: Trump was open to lifting sanctions, after all. Sanctions have had a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘VLAD WILL SMASH BRITAIN IN ONE DAY!’; Russians plot to turn UK into Siberian-style labour camp over claims Putin could defeat British Army ‘in a single afternoon’; Report slating the state of the army was met with glee in Moscow and by Russian internet users” – The Sun (UK)/WILL STEWART

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“A report claiming Russia could wipe out the British Army in one day was met with glee in Moscow – with some Russians admitting they want to turn Britain into a giant gulag. … * * * A paper by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) … at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, warned that severe […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Will Russia cut its nuclear arsenal in exchange for lifting sanctions?”

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

The U.S. may reconsider sanctions against Russia if the latter agrees to reduce its nuclear arsenals, said U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in an interview with the British newspaper, The Times. According to military experts, if the reduction is reciprocal then such an agreement will be to Russia’s advantage. Russia, however, will first want a change in NATO policy. (Russia Beyond […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the U.S. troop buildup in Europe”

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance? …”  

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RUSSIALINK: “What kind of Russia should the West fear? RD Interview: Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center explains how current misguided perceptions in both the United States and Russia could lead to a dangerous new geopolitical reality.” – Russia Direct

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

“… Russia should not be afraid of the West. A country like Russia can only be defeated by itself. Thus, it should be focused on dealing with its own weaknesses. In my view, NATO’s enlargement doesn’t create an existential threat for Russia and should be dealt with seriously, but calmly. The fear [of the West] is a very bad thing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Thousands of U.S. Troops En Route to Eastern Europe; Hundreds of tanks, fighting vehicles, and attack helicopters to be deployed in unprecedented operation” – Transitions Online

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“A massive movement of U.S. troops and materiel is underway, headed for Eastern Europe with one goal uppermost: ‘to deter Russian aggression.’ U.S. troops began offloading more than 2,000 pieces of equipment including Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles … [to] equip around 3,500 U.S. troops  … one of the largest movements of American forces in Europe since the end […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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Lift Russian Sanctions for ‘Positive Developments’ in Ukraine – OSCE Chair

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 9, 2017) Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has called on European leaders to begin lifting sanctions against Russia in exchange for “any positive development” in the Ukrainian crisis. Kurz, a politician for the Austrian People’s Party, claimed that the change in policy would “send a clear signal to Russia.” “My concept is clear. I […]

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Rosneft Privatization Deal Closed As Italian Financing Comes Through

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The tumultuous privatization saga of Russia’s largest oil company appears to be drawing to a close. Swiss-British commodities trading firm Glencore and the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund have closed a deal to purchase 19.5 percent of state-controlled Rosneft, according to a statement on Glencore’s website. The news was followed by an announcement […]

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Debates in the West about Putin Now Recall Those in Europe about Hitler in Mid-1930s, Ikhlov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 15, 2016) There has been a dramatic increase in the influence of pro-#Putin forces in the West in recent months, Yevgeny Ikhlov says; but at the same time, there has also emerged in Western societies a real horror about what the #Kremlin leader is doing in #Syria in general and in […]

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RBTH: Poles apart: Can the divisions between Russia and the West be bridged?

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

Russian and Western experts recently met in Moscow to discuss sensitive issues related to international politics in which Russia cannot find common ground with the U.S. and Europe: the expansion of NATO, the war in Syria and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – December 8, 2016) Russian and Western international […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘We’re OUTBREEDING you!’ Putin taunts West as he unveils drive to boost Russian birth rate” – The Daily Express (UK)

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

… Putin… issued an extraordinary putdown to the West as he boasted that Russia was outbreeding its rivals and unveiled new scientific measures to up the country’s birth rate further still. … plans to roll out 94 “hi-tech” perinatal centres across the country during his annual address to parliament. … Putin pledged a series of measures, from scientific to social, […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Direct: “Does Putin really intend to restore the Soviet Union? RD Interview: Professor Richard Sakwa from the University of Kent talks about Russia’s foreign policy and explains why Russia is creating alternative regional institutions such as the Eurasian Economic Union.”

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

“Despite the deteriorating state of relations between Russia and the West, experts and politicians continue to search for ways out of the crisis. Many blame Russia and President Vladimir Putin for the desire to restore the Soviet Union and pursue an authoritarian path of development. However, as other experts argue, such perceptions stem from a misunderstanding of Russia’s interests, goals […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “DON’T MENTION THE WAR”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin approved a new ‘Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation’. Documents like this are aspirational; they reflect what a government would like to do, not what it is able to do. They are also for public consumption; their purpose is to send certain signals to the policy community, both inside and outside of government. Nevertheless, they are up […]

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How Russian Propaganda Really Works in the West

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – November 28, 2016) Until recently, the phenomenon of Russian government propaganda was only interesting to a small group of Russia experts, news junkies and counter-propaganda fundraisers. It was mainly seen as a tool for keeping Russians supportive of Vladimir Putin. No longer. Thanks to post-U.S. election blame games, and the upcoming election season […]

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russians warm towards West & favor rapprochement, poll shows”

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

“The latest poll has shown that the proportion of Russians who favor warmer and closer relations with Western nations is growing fast and has almost reached the historical maximum registered in 2000. …”

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Russians Want West to Make Up with Them and Don’t See Why Ukraine Should Be an Obstacle, New Poll Suggests

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 29, 2016) In presenting the latest Levada Center poll on Russian attitudes toward the West, the center’s Aleksey Grazhdankin says that a majority of Russians think that the initiative for improving East-West ties should come from the West and “do not understand why the actions of their country in Ukraine” have […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Replies to media questions following APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(Kremlin.ru – November 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin answered media questions following the working sessions of the economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Or good evening. Or good night already in Moscow. Let us get straight to your questions, without any introductory remarks. Please. Question: There was fear on the meeting’s sidelines […]

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Putinism a Greater Threat to the West than Soviet Communism Was

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2016) Putinism, as ideology and practice, is now a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was, a reality few in Western countries now recognize precisely because the Kremlin leader is making use, in the best tradition of the judo master he is, values and methods that are […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Opposition Leader Navalny’s Case Sent for Retrial” – AP

Alexei Navalny file photo

Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday scrapped a criminal conviction and sent the case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for retrial, opening the door for his potential run for office.  … convicted in 2013 of embezzling timber …. Following unsuccessful appeals in Russia, Navalny, a trained lawyer, turned to the European Court of Human Rights which ruled in February that Russia […]

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Russia’s Strategic Calculus: Threat Perceptions and Military Doctrine

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Policy Memo – PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 11, 2016) Dmitry Gorenburg is Senior Research Scientist at CNA Corporation and Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Russian foreign policy is driven by the political elites’ search for a new basis for national self-esteem after the collapse of the […]

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Putin Weaponizes Democracy

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 14, 2016) [RFE/RL budget: $108.414 million (FY2016)] Don’t look now but Russia just picked up two more allies in Europe. Don’t look now, but pro-Moscow candidates just won the presidencies of Moldova and Bulgaria. Don’t look now, but Vladimir Putin appears to be on a roll. The Kremlin leader is no democrat. […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: “Pro-Russian Candidate Wins First Round of Bulgarian Election”

Bulgaria Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

“Socialist-backed candidate Rumen Radev, who has called for an end to European Union sanctions against Russia, has won the first round of Bulgaria’s presidential election, partial official results showed on Monday. Radev’s close-fought victory over ruling party candidate Tsetska Tsacheva makes the former air force commander favorite to win a run-off on Sunday, a result that could push the Black […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Aims to Disrupt Other Western Elections, U.S. Officials Say; Electoral chaos in West being sowed to safeguard Putin’s hold on power, Kremlin watchers say” – Wall Street Journal/Alan Cullison

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

… Russian-backed hacking … that has rocked the presidential campaign may peak on Election Day, but is likely to continue next year and into 2018 as Moscow seeks to influence U.S. politics and key elections in Europe … administration officials warn. Russian meddling … may become more potent in Europe than in the U.S., White House officials and other experts […]

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This is not a new Cold War

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Fresh talk of a new Cold War between Russia and the west relies on outdated thinking and ignores new realities. (opendemocracy.net – Anton Shekhovtsov – November 3, 2016) Anton Shekhovtsov is a visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, Austria and editor of the Explorations of the Far Right book series at ibidem-Verlag. Against the background of worsening relations […]

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Moldova’s Pro-Moscow Presidential Front-Runner Says Open To EU Partnership

Moldova Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – November 1, 2016) Igor Dodon, who won the first round of Moldova’s presidential election and is seen as having strong leanings toward Russia, says he will seek to maintain good relations with both Brussels and Moscow if elected. “I believe that we must and we will have good relations with the European Union,” the Socialist Party […]

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The Beginning Of The End For Europe’s Natural Gas War

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – October 27, 2016) Russia’s Gazprom is on the verge of striking a deal with EU regulators to settle a half-decade old dispute over natural gas pricing, and the resolution could change the way Gazprom does business and lead to lower gas prices for much of Eastern Europe. The conflict began back in 2011 when EU […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow/Fyodor Lukyanov, René Nyberg, Angela Stent: “Three Dimensions: Is the Break Between the Kremlin and the West Permanent?”

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

As the U.S. presidential election approaches on November 8, Carnegie.ru asked three experts, one in Russia, one in the United States, and one in Europe, to comment on the question: “Is the break between the Putin administration and the West permanent?”  

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Containment 2.0

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 31, 2016) And so, I’m back. And while I may not have been visible in this space over the past couple weeks, I have in fact been pretty busy thinking and talking about Russian affairs in various venues in the United States and in Europe. And now is as good a time […]

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Kasparov Says Confrontation With West Putin’s ‘No. 1 Goal’

Garry Kasparov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mikhail Sokolov, Antoine Blua – October 25, 2016) #Kremlin foe Garry Kasparov says President Vladimir Putin is resorting to “external aggression” and increased confrontation with the West to bolster his image as Russia’s leader and maintain a “dictatorship” in the country. Talking to RFE/RL’s Russian Service correspondent Mikhail Sokolov on the sidelines of a forum in […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “FOREIGN EDUCATION”

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

“According to the website Znak, a strong recommendation has been issued to Russian state officials to bring home any children who are studying abroad. Strictly speaking, this is not mandatory, but ‘One of the sources said that anyone who fails to act, will find such non-compliance to be a “complicating factor in the furtherance of their public sector career”.’ This […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “BOOK REVIEW: THE NEW POLITICS OF RUSSIA [re: Andrew Monaghan]”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… He analyzes the reasons why Western observers have continually been surprised by Russian actions and finishes by laying out his own model of how the Russian political system works. His book challenges Russian ‘experts’ to reconsider their assumptions. …”

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: “Please pass the Russian Parmesan: Cheesemakers celebrate sanctions, and hope they continue.”

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“… When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned most food imports from Europe in 2014 in response to Western sanctions, Russian dairy farmers rejoiced as deliveries of French and Italian cheeses ceased. Now, they believed, they could compete. Since then, they have tried to duplicate all sorts of famous varieties, from Camembert to Emmenthal. But one global delicacy remains largely beyond […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The scary truth about what Putin really wants (and Obama’s willful ignorance)” – Fox News/Judith Miller

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

What is Vladimir Putin up to? Evidence of Russian ambition seems to mount by the day. Seizing its neighbor’s territory. Russian bomber overflights of NATO member states. Sophisticated cyberattacks aimed at influencing America’s presidential election. Missiles fired at civilian aircraft. Devastating air strikes on hospitals and relief convoys in Aleppo as the ink dries on a U.S.-Russian cease-fire agreement for […]

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