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

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(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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to German newspaper Bild [Part 1]

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 11, 2016) [As published in Bild: bild.de/politik/ausland/wladimir-putin/russian-president-vladimir-putin-the-interview-44092656.bild.html] The interview was recorded on January 5, in Sochi. Question: Mr President, We have just marked the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War. Last year, we witnessed a great number of wars and crises across the world, something that had not happened for many years. What did […]

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Interfax: Russia to defend its interests in non-confrontational manner, based on intl law – Putin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – Russia is ready to defend its interests in a non-confrontational manner, based on international law, which must be understood uniformly by all, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “You asked me if I was a friend or not. The relations between states are a little different from those between individuals. I am no friend, bride […]

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2015: The Year Putin Bounced Back

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

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – December 29, 2015) In December 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama fielded a question about Russia while addressing a group of American business leaders in Washington. President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine and “backward-looking” policies, Obama said, are “isolating Russia completely internationally.” If it was Russian expansionism last year that triggered this isolation, it was Putin’s […]

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Interax: Lavrov reveals the key Russian diplomacy task in 2015

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – December 28, 2015) The main objective of Russia’s foreign policy in 2015 was to secure the country’s leading role in the fight against terrorism; the actions of the Russian aviation group in Syria helped clear the situation in this regard, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “The key objective of Russian diplomatic efforts was to secure the leading […]

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Russians recall most important events of 2015

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Interfax – December 29, 2015) The terror attack perpetrated onboard the Russian Kogalymavia airline’s plane in Egypt (39 percent) and the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber downed by Turkey (34 percent) have been called by Russians the most important events of 2015, the Levada Center told Interfax. Respondents also mentioned the Russian military operation in Syria (28 percent) and terror attacks […]

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100 Million Fewer People Speak Russian Now than Did 25 Years Ago

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia Staunton, December 26, 2015) The number of people who speak Russian has declined by 100 million since 1989 or 27 percent, according to Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Duma committee on compatriots and Eurasian integration. (In 1989, 370 million said they spoke Russian; now, 270 million do.) But instead of seeing this as […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Statement for the press following Russian-Indian talks

India map

(Kremlin.ru – December 24, 2015) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, The first official visit to Moscow by India’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, is coming to an end. Our talks were very substantive and fruitful. I hope they would assist in promoting the privileged Russian-Indian strategic partnership. Yesterday Mr Modi and I had a […]

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Russia’s Moving Targets

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – December 15, 2015) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily Measuring the success of Russia’s largest and most recent “cross-border” projects-Ukraine and Syria-is extremely difficult. What could be considered Russia’s ultimate goals there? We often assume that Russia has fixed, clearly […]

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The world in 2015: A nostalgia for balance

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

The year 2015 has demonstrated a severe imbalance in the world order and the impossibility of returning to interaction governed by old principles. As global players strive for a return to their individual perception of a “golden age,” Fyodor Lukyanov considers which geopolitical model appears the most likely in the near future. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Fyodor […]

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The Year Of The Troll

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 10, 2015) For much of the year, Russian bombers, warships, and submarines played chicken with NATO with provocative incursions into member states’ sea and airspace. And as the year drew to a close, Moscow finally got burned when Turkey’s air force shot down a Su-24 warplane. The incident, which has led to […]

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RBTH: “Russia and the EU: United by the refugees’ tragedy; Similar approach to border controls is key to managing migration.”

Europe Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – DMITRY BABICH, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 8, 2015) Dmitry Babich is a political analyst at Sputnik International. In recent years, Russia and the European Union have developed a taste for stressing what divides them, particularly the “differences in values” which presumably make us two worlds apart. But there is at least one […]

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Putin talks tough on Turkey but holds back on anti-West rhetoric

Turkey map

Analyzing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual speech to the Federal Assembly, Russian observers interviewed by RBTH underlined the contrast between Putin’s harsh stance toward Turkey and his apparent readiness to cooperate with the West, though they said the address was lacking in groundbreaking ideas. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – December 4, 2015) Against the […]

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NEWSWATCH Intellinews/Ben Aris: “Terrorism, bread and babies in Russia’s sights for 2016, Putin tells nation”

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

Ben Aris comments upon Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2015 State of the Nation speech. In a tight one-hour speech to more than 1,200 state officials and dignitaries gathered in the Moscow Kremlin, the Russian leader urged the international community to unite in ‘one mighty fist’ against the terrorist scourge, while leaving no doubt as to whom he blamed for its […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 3, 2015) Vladimir Putin delivered the Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. The Address was traditionally delivered at the Kremlin’s St George Hall before an audience of more than 1,000 people. Those present for the Address included members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, […]

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COP21: a diary from Paris

Polar Bear on Ice, Looking Back at Camera

oDR correspondent Angelina Davydova is in Paris attending the UN climate conference COP21, where she’s keeping her eye on the Russian side of things… (opendemocracy.net – November 30, 2015) 30 November: Putin speaks Today was the first day of the UN climate conference in Paris (#COP21) and it began with 130 heads of state and government addressing the conference. This […]

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Climate Change And The View From Moscow

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – Explainer – MOSCOW, November 29, 2015) Russia’s size and broad range of environments, from the arid southern steppe to the frigid Arctic, expose the world’s largest country to many aspects of climate change. President Vladimir Putin is one of dozens of leaders expected to attend a UN conference on climate change that starts […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Russians Seeking Winter Retreat Are Stopped Cold. Moscow’s travel bans to Egypt, Turkey amid diplomatic crises force tens of thousands to adjust or cancel vacations”

mediterranean-200

The Wall Street Journal covers disruptions to Russian travel plans, amidst travel bans imposed by the Kremlin following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet and a suspected terrorist downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. Turkey and Egypt were popular destinations, offering hotels and services far better than Russian equivalents at a reasonable price. Six million Russians visited Turkey […]

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West Needs to End Its Illusions about Putin’s Power, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 30, 2015) Many in the West still view Vladimir Putin as a powerful miracle worker who never loses at home or abroad, a perspective increasingly at odds with the facts and one that only partially conceals their own unwillingness to respond forcefully to his hooligan-like actions, according to Liliya Shevtsova. In […]

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Two-Thirds of Russians Think Their Country Is Great Power

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 30, 2015) Russians are more convinced than at any time in recent history that their country is a great power, as enthusiasm over military campaigns in Ukraine and Syria seems to outweigh worries about a deep economic slump. Sixty-five percent of Russians surveyed by the independent Levada Center pollster said Russia was a great […]

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Russian Public Hawkish on Syria, Terrorism – Poll

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2015) Nearly half of Russians think that French authorities should respond to the terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, which left 130 people dead, by “stepping up its fight against IS and fostering international cooperation in combating terrorism,” according to a poll by independent Russian pollster the Levada Center, the Kommersant newspaper […]

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Truthiness in Russia; What we’re missing from the propaganda debate: how state propaganda feeds off and enhances public sentiment

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

(opendemocracy.net – Nelli Babayan – November 23, 2015) Nelli Babayan is Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy, German Marshall Fund US and Associate Fellow at the Center for Transnational, Foreign and Security Policy at Freie Universität Berlin. Her latest book is Democratic Transformation and Obstruction: EU, US, and Russia in the South Caucasus. Find her on Twitter @nellibabayan As opinion polls […]

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Russians Fear Clashes With Islamic State More Than With NATO – Poll

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 23, 2015) Nearly one in five Russians believe their country could become the site of “major clashes” with NATO forces within the next decade, a recent poll indicates. According to the poll, 19 percent of respondents said battles against NATO were possible on Russian territory. An even higher number, 28 percent, think that battles […]

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