NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia. Down But Not Out. Part I.” – Foreign Affairs/Maria Lipman, Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, Katie Allawala

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

Over the past decade and a half, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been an economic dynamo and a basket case, an imperfect democracy and a tightening tyranny, a constructive diplomatic actor and a serial military aggressor—sometimes all at once. The only constant has been surprise, as the zigging and zagging has left outside observers, and even many Russians, scratching their heads. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia: Down But Not Out.” – Foreign Affairs [issue table of contents with links]

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

Foreign Affairs foreignaffairs.com May/June 2016 issue Putin’s Russia Down But Not Out https://www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2016/95/3 [There is limited access to free articles] Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern Stephen Kotkin Russian Politics Under Putin The System Will Outlast the Master Gleb Pavlovsky Russia’s Constrained Economy How the Kremlin Can Spur Growth Sergei Guriev The Revival of the Russian Military […]

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Five foolproof ways to identify Russians on holiday abroad

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

I will not waste your time describing boring images of Russians squandering money and wearing tawdry outfits on vacations abroad. You have probably already read such tropes a million times. Here I’d like to discuss the not so obvious, but no less true, signs that a tourist is from Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELENA POTAPOVA, RBTH […]

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Russians believe Belarus, China, Kazakhstan are the friendliest to them

Eurasia Map

(Interfax – April 9, 2016) As many as 68% of Russian respondents interviewed by the Public Opinion Foundation and asked to name three countries they believe are the closest and the friendliest ones to Russia mentioned Belarus, 56% China and 50% Kazakhstan. These very three countries have remained on top of the list since April 2014. The April poll of […]

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NEWSLINK Newsweek.com/Ben Nimmo: “PUTIN’S PARANOIA IS DRIVING HIS FOREIGN ADVENTURES”

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It Isn’t Time to Normalize With Russia Yet

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – March 22, 2016) Marc Champion writes editorials on international affairs. He was previously Istanbul bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal. He was also an editor at the Financial Times, the editor-in-chief of the Moscow Times and a correspondent for the Independent in Washington, the Balkans and Moscow. He is based in London. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How Putin Could Make Russia Great Again” – Newsweek.com/William Courtney, Donald Jensen

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

After Russia annexed Crimea … Obama dismissed it as a regional power that acts ‘out of weakness.’ [ ] Russia is more … but a penchant for zero-sum statecraft and coercing neighbors lessens its stature. By cooperating more in the international arena, Russia could become a greater power.  … Putin’s announcement of a military drawdown in Syria hints that Russia […]

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Two Faces of Russia’s Foreign Policy

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – March 9, 2016) Originally many in the West tended to view Russia’s Syrian adventure as yet another one of “Moscow’s gambits.” Commentators described Ukraine and Syria in the same breath. But Russia is eager to demonstrate that the two projects could hardly be more different and that Moscow can be two things […]

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Russians consider meeting between Pope, Patriarch useful, support their further contacts – poll

Saint Peter's Basilica

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) – Russians consider further meetings between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to be necessary, and support the idea of closer relations between the two churches without their unification, sociologists said, citing the results of a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research center (VTsIOM). In accordance with the poll results, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Thinks It Has Solved the Oil-Price Crisis; But it may just be more wishful thinking” – Fortune.com

Oil Well file photo

The world’s major oil exporting economies have been putting together an agreement to freeze oil production levels, and Russia’s energy minister is optimistic that it will be effective in finally stopping the slide in oil prices ….  * * * The news seemed to buoy the oil market…. But there’s plenty of reason to doubt that the action will bring […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How does the Internet fit into Russia’s security strategy? Against the background of continuing confrontation with the West and growing domestic authoritarianism, the Kremlin is continuing on a path of increased state control of the Russian Internet and a significantly expanded view of information security.”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Federal Security Service board

FSB Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) board to review the results of the Service’s work in 2015 and set its priority tasks for 2016. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, We are here today to review the results of the Federal Security Service’s work in 2015 and […]

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The Great Manipulator

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 24, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev recently played a telling little head game. When the Russian prime minister said at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow and the West had “slid into a new Cold War,” he essentially created a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. “If the West agrees that it is a new Cold War, then […]

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Russians Adjust to Increasing Poverty like Frogs to Gradually Warming Water, Kirillova Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 23, 2016) It has long been claimed that a frog who might jump out of a port of boiling water will stay quietly in a gradually warming pot, even though as a result, he will end up dead. In a new commentary, Kseniya Kirillova suggests that Russians are adapting to gradually […]

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Defender of Putin, Detained in Russia: American Activist Deemed U.S. ‘Agent’

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org –Carl Schreck – February 17, 2016) For a person who has dedicated her life to improving ties between Moscow and the West — and who has passionately denounced what she calls the “demonization” of President Vladimir Putin by Western media and officials — Sharon Tennison has gotten a strange reception in Russia. Tennison, an American activist whose […]

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The rules of the new ‘Cold War’: Empty words and no retreat

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent speech in Munich openly spoke of relations between Russia and the West in terms of a new “Cold War.” Dialogue between the two sides is now looking increasingly like a rhetorical war of attrition, with neither side on the offensive but neither willing to retreat either. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview for Handelsblatt, Germany

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 11, 2016) Ahead of the Munich Security Conference, the Prime Minister answered questions from Editor-in-Chief Sven Afhüppe and international correspondent Mathias Bruggmann. Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for finding the time to meet with us. You will come to Munich to attend the Conference on Security. Handelsblatt will cover the proceedings and primarily your participation in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Time magazine

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 15, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev has given an interview to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster following the Munich Security Conference. Question: Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview with Time magazine. I would also like to thank you for your remarks today at the conference. This was a very interesting and eloquent speech. You made a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Euronews TV channel

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 14, 2016) The Prime Minister spoke with Global Conversation presenter Isabelle Kumar on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for joining the Global Conversation. The Syrian issue is a priority; it dominates the international agenda. It is now believed that we are approaching a turning point, although it remains to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s speech at the panel discussion – Munich Security Conference

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 13, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished colleague Mr Valls, distinguished Mr Ischinger, my speech will be of a more general nature, but I hope it will be useful. The first cold war ended 25 years ago. This is not long in terms of history, but it is a considerable period for individual people and even […]

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Russian Women – They’re Just Not That Into You

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Peter Hobson – February 12, 2016) [Chart here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russian-women–theyre-just-not-that-into-you/559233.html] Tatyana, a good-looking blonde, leans across the table. “You fancy sticking around for a drink?” she asks with a naughty smile. The subject of her advances, a British Moscow Times business reporter, blushes with embarrassment. It is Saturday evening and we are nearing the […]

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Russia Sends Medvedev to Munich Seeking Sanctions Relief

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 12, 2016) At last year’s Munich Security Conference, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took to the stage to defend Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Scheduled between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the U.S. vice president, Lavrov faced a tough sell. He did his best to toe the government line, declaring Russia’s annexation of […]

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Putin Pulls Levers As Russian Patriarch, PM Head Abroad

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(RFE/RL News Analysis – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – February 11, 2016) With the Russian patriarch and prime minister both holding big meetings abroad, this weekend presents a chance for President Vladimir Putin to soothe a world still stunned by Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine and dismayed by its bombing campaign in Syria. Russian Orthodox Church chief Kirill holds historic talks […]

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RBTH: Through a diplomat’s eyes: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in 7 quotes

Sergei Lavrov file photo

Feb. 10 is Diplomatic Worker’s Day in Russia. To mark the occasion, RBTH has collected seven quotes that best represent the attitudes and values of the country’s principal “diplomatic worker” – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA SOROKINA, RBTH – February 10, 2016) 1. “The global financial and economic crisis has convincingly demonstrated […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Muslims in Russia See Putin’s Antiterrorism Efforts at Home as Backfiring. North Caucasus residents say crackdown often leads to new recruits for Islamic State.” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

The Wall Street Journal covers concerns that Russian government policies will fuel more terrorist recruits for the so-called Islamic State. President Vladimir Putin justifies his military action in Syria in part as a way to head off the terrorist threat at home, especially here in the mostly Muslim north Caucasus. But residents say the government’s often heavy-handed measures are instead […]

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

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

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

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A law beyond improvement; Defining “political activity” may seem like an academic exercise, but in Russia, it is an existential one.

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

Defining “political activity” may seem like an academic exercise, but in Russia, it is an existential one. (opendemocracy.net – Tanya Lokshina – February 8, 2016) Tanya Lokshina is Russia program director at Human Rights Watch. In May 2013, as Russia was craving positive international publicity before the Sochi Olympic Games, the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, […]

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52% of Russians favor open borders with Ukraine, without visas or customs

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – February 3, 2016) Half of Russians (52 percent) believe that Russia and Ukraine should be independent countries but friends, with open borders and without visas or customs, Levada Center told Interfax. The opinion was held by 52 percent of respondents in 2015, and 59 percent in 2014, the sociologists said. A third argue that Russia-Ukraine relations should be […]

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Putin Opens Asset Sales to Foreigners as Budget Gap Widens

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Andrey Biryukov – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin will allow foreign investors to bid for stakes in some of Russia’s largest companies as the government prepares its most ambitious asset-sale program in years to close a widening budget gap. “Russia was and remains open for foreign investment and Russia is interested in […]

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Just How Bad is Putin? Ever More People Are Counting the Ways

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 31, 2016) As the number of Vladimir Putin’s violations of international law and normal morality grows, ever more people are offering lists of the actions for which he must be held accountable. Three particularly interesting examples of that trend have been offered over the last several days. Russian journalist Oleg Kashin […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

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

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Oil: Output Grows as Prospects Shrink. Plummeting prices and U.S.-led sanctions raise questions about Russian oil’s capacity to continue underwriting Putin’s global ambitions.” – Wall Street Journal

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

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

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

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Review of the week: Putin’s Bild interview and US-Russia relations. The most important Russian foreign policy events of the past week centered on Ukraine, including a discussion of the Minsk agreements and the potential for increased Russia-U.S. coordination in bringing the confrontation to an end.”

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International Conflicts Are Russians’ Biggest Fear – Poll

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 18, 2016) The escalation of international conflicts is currently the issue that most frightens Russian citizens, the results of a poll by the state-run VTsIOM pollster published Monday revealed. Seventy percent of Russians currently believe that international conflicts and hostilities pose a real threat, according to the poll. The second issue that most worries […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev at] The 7th Gaidar Forum [excerpts]

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – January 13, 2016) The theme of the 2016 Gaidar Forum is “Russia and the World: Looking to the Future.” The Gaidar Forum is an annual international academic and practical conference in the field of economic policy. It was first held in 2010 in memory of Yegor Gaidar, an outstanding academic and economist and the architect of Russian reforms […]

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Russian Culture Minister Says Burning Books ‘Completely Unacceptable’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2016) Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has denounced an incident in which 53 publications funded by the George Soros Foundation were reportedly incinerated in northern Russia’s Komi region. Medinsky told the Meduza news portal on Thursday that the burning of books and the destruction of monuments, is “completely unacceptable” because it “looks terrible […]

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Why Vladimir Putin won’t go to Davos

World Economic Forum Signage file photo

The Russian delegation at the Davos Forum will be headed by Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far East. According to experts, this means that Russia will primarily focus on the presentation of Asian projects at the forum. Neither the president nor the prime minister will travel to Switzerland. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to German newspaper Bild. Part 2

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 12, 2016) The final part of Vladimir Putin’s interview to the German newspaper Bild is being published. The interview was recorded on January 5, 2016, in Sochi. Question: Mr President, will you take any steps to re-establish the G7 format as the G8? And another question: what did you think when the US President said that Russia […]

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Seven powerful politicians from around the world that speak Russian

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

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

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Putin talks about possibility of granting asylum to Assad in Russia

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – January 12, 2016) It is premature to discuss if Russia should grant asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “I think it is quite premature to discuss this. We granted asylum to Mr. Snowden, which was far more difficult than to do the same for Mr al-Assad,” he said in an interview with […]

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