Dom Knigi: Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian

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

Subject: Dom Knigi: Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:24:33 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian Antony Penaud received his DPhil (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. A friendly pdf […]

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

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(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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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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Russia’s ‘Foreign Agents’ Risk Losing Right to Run Media

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 21, 2015) As the crackdown on Russian NGOs continues, the Communications Ministry has suggested forbidding those labeled as “foreign agents” from launching and registering media outlets. The proposal, part of a bill that the ministry published on a government website for draft laws, stipulates that non-governmental organizations registered as “foreign agents” […]

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Response to Gordon Hahn’s post [JRL#159; Re: Pew Poll on Russia, Putin, Global Image]

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Subject: Response to Gordon Hahn’s post [JRL#159] Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:07:07 -0400 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@verizon.net> I find Gordon Hahn’s criticism of the WaPo report on the Pew poll about Russia and Vladimir Putin, while technically correct on some points, erroneous in its thrust and misguided. He makes a series of highly objectionable points, and misses the forest […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: “Russian Roulette. The regime has replaced institutions with one-man rule and treats criticism as treason. But it could get even worse.”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lucas reviews two books, Putinism by Walter Laqueur and Putin’s Russia edited by Leon Aron. Lucas assesses Putinism, unfolding under the extensive reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a negative light: Making sense of Putinism is rather like trying to analyze a Russian salad. Unappetizing cubes of meat and vegetables lurk in […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest/Eugene Steinberg: “Revealed: Russia’s Mighty Pivot to Africa”

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Russia’s interests in Africa are manifold. As economic sanctions constrict its trade with the West, Africa is becoming an increasingly attractive investment opportunity. At the same time, Africa’s fifty-four countries represent a political opportunity to relieve Russia’s isolation and build support for its actions in the UN. Finally, Russia’s prominence in Africa lends credibility to its reassertion of world power […]

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Panic In The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 13, 2015) You know things are getting really bad when Sergei Lavrov blows his cool. The Russian foreign minister is usually smooth as silk in public, shamelessly and effortlessly twisting, spinning, distorting, and lying on behalf of Vladimir Putin’s regime. But this week, Lavrov was caught on camera — and on mic […]

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Toward a ”Reaganov” Russia: Russian Security Policy after Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Clifford Gaddy and Michael O’Hanlon – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/toward-%E2%80%98%E2%80%98reaganov%E2%80%99%E2%80%99-russia-russian-security-policy-after-putin] Clifford Gaddy is Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution. An economist specializing in Russia, Gaddy is the co-author of “Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernization” (Routledge, 2013). His earlier books include “Russia’s Virtual […]

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

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(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

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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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Putin Scheduled to Address UN General Assembly

UN Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend this year’s United Nations General Assembly in September, according to a provisional list of speakers released by the UN. Putin plans to address the gathering of the world’s heads of states and governments on its opening day, Sept. 28, according to the list […]

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Putin calls for BRICS to assert financial independence from West

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 10, 2015) With a total GDP of $32 trillion and uniting 43% of the world’s population, the BRICS grouping of emerging powers took an assertive global stance at its annual summit in the Russian city of Ufa, as it unrolled plans to rival Western-dominated financial institutions. Marking the organisation’s seventh […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Back-to-back Russia-hosted summits put Putin in coveted starring role.

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

Images of a Putin alongside leaders of other large countries, signing economic deals, will reinforce Russia’s argument that it doesn’t need the West. It’s a seductive view, but a superficial one, say analysts

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Russian Senators Propose Ban of 12 Foreign NGOs, Reining In Civil Society

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 9, 2015) In what experts see as Moscow’s latest bid to rein in civil society, Russian senators released a list Wednesday of 12 foreign NGOs whose work they believe poses a threat to national security, and who should thus be declared “undesirable” and prohibited from operating in the country. The Federation […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian officials express “regret” over closure of prominent “foreign agent” NGO

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

(RIA Novosti – July 8, 2015) Russian officials have reacted with “regret” to the closure of the Dynasty (Dinastiya) NGO, Russian news agencies reported on 8 July. The Dynasty Foundation, headed by telecommunications tycoon and philanthropist Dmitriy Zimin, is one of major donors of academic research in Russia. In a highly controversial move, the Russian Justice Ministry has put it […]

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Russia Can No Longer Afford to Be the Militarist and Expansionist Power It has Always Been, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2015) After a brief attempt to escape from its past in the 1990s, Russia under Vladimir Putin is “again returning to militarism … the model of existence in which Russia had existed for centuries” in order to prepare for war. No other such civilization exists in the world now, but Russia “cannot militarize as […]

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Russia Only Has Itself to Blame for Lost Influence in Post-Soviet Sphere

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 1, 2015) As Russian officials scramble to heap blame on Western NGOs for anti-government protests that have swept the Armenian capital in recent days, analysts argued that Moscow only has itself to blame for its loss of influence in the former Soviet space. More specifically, Russia has lost its regional grip […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: After midnight in the library, Putin sets out his world view

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

It was two minutes before midnight when Russian President Vladimir Putin finally entered the meeting room in the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, more than three hours late, to be interviewed by a dozen exhausted journalists. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/20/us-russia-putin-idUSKBN0P00JG20150620

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NEWSLINK Foreign Affairs/Charles King: The Decline of International Studies; Why Flying Blind Is Dangerous

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The end of the United States’ premier federal program for Russian studies saved taxpayers only $3.3 million—the cost of two Tomahawk cruise missiles or about half a day’s sea time for an aircraft carrier strike group. The development was part of a broader trend: the scaling back of a long-term national commitment to education and research focused on international affairs. […]

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Putin’s unrealizable dream vs. his all too-real nightmare

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – June 15, 2015) That Vladimir Putin lives in a different reality than do other world leaders is now more or less common ground. Now, two commentators have described respectively what the Kremlin leader dreams about and what his worst nightmare might turn out to be. In a commentary of Kyiv’s “Novoye vremya,” Yury […]

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Interfax: West loses tool of pressure on Russia after its withdrawal from G7 – Pushkov

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

MOSCOW. June 11 (Interfax) – The value of the G7 has markedly depleted in the U.S.’ eyes without Russia, State Duma International Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov has said. “To my mind, the G7 is merely another incarnation of the Western alliance, a club for friends of the United States of America. So, I believe its value has markedly depleted even […]

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Russians think their country is most hospitable, foreigners disagree

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

(Interfax – May 15, 2015) Russians think their country is the world most hospitable, but foreigners maintain an opposite viewpoint, according to a survey conducted in 15 states by use of the Momondo meta-search engine. Thirty-eight percent of polled Russians said their country welcomed foreigners in a best possible way. They gave second place to Turkey (18 percent) and third […]

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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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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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RIA Novosti: Russia sets out what it wants from USA, NATO, EU in new foreign policy document

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(RIA Novosti – June 8, 2015) Russia reserves the right to respond to any unfriendly steps towards it taken by the USA, says the document containing a review of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s performance in 2014 and medium-term objectives, as reported by RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 8 June. “In constructing our engagement […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: At G-7 meeting, Obama’s primary task is confronting his Putin problem

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

[“At G-7 meeting, Obama’s primary task is confronting his Putin problem” – Washington Post –  Steven Mufson – June 6, 2015] The Washington Post covers U.S. policies towards Russia and Ukraine amidst the latest meeting of the G-7: The G-7 meeting is a symbolic moment. After the Cold War, the annual gathering of the leaders of the world’s major industrial nations […]

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Interfax: Russians like Belarus and China, have aversion to U.S., EU and Ukraine – poll

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(Interfax – June 8, 2015) Most Russians speak ill of the United States, the European Union and Ukraine and see Belarus, China and Kazakhstan as friends, the Levada Center has told Interfax. Seventy-three percent of 1,700 respondents polled in 134 populated localities on May 22-25 expressed negative feelings for the U.S., 15 percent said the opposite, and 12 percent were […]

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US aim to “contain” Russia, China a concern – Russian security official

Eurasia Map

(Interfax – May 30, 2015) The US policy in the Asia-Pacific region is viewed by Russia with concern as it aims to “contain” both Russia and China, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said. Separately, Antonov did not rule out “open confrontation” in the region faced with “new challenges and threats”. His remarks were reported by the Russian news […]

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Russian ‘Troll Farm’ Lawsuit Postponed When Defendant Fails to Show

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 2, 2015) Russian court hearings into a lawsuit by a former Internet “troll” against her former employer have been postponed after the defendant failed to show up for the proceedings. A city court in St. Petersburg also ruled that the plaintiff, Lyudmila Savchuk – who said her suit was intended to […]

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Rights Groups Condemn ‘Dangerous’ Russian Undesirables Law

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) Rights groups named as potential targets of a new law allowing the government to brand international organizations “undesirable” and shutter their Russia operations have criticized the legislation, calling it a “dangerous” new weapon in a Kremlin campaign to suppress civil society. Activists expressed concern on May 26 that the […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Legally silencing Russia’s undesirables

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Russia has just taken another step toward pernicious use of the law to buttress the authoritarian whims of its leader. Both houses of parliament recently passed legislation that would allow the government to label as “undesirable” — in effect, to outlaw — any foreign or international organizations deemed a threat to the “defensive capabilities or security of the state, to […]

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A Net Assessment of the World

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(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – May 19, 2015 – stratfor.com/weekly/net-assessment-world) A pretentious title requires a modest beginning. The world has increasingly destabilized and it is necessary to try to state, as clearly as possible, what has happened and why. This is not because the world is uniquely disorderly; it is that disorder takes a different form each time, though it […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Spurred by Western criticism, Russians experience something new: patriotism

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

In the past, Russia was an empire, then a communist colossus, then a ‘defeated’ power expected to adopt Western ways. But current tensions with the West are fostering what may be the birth of a distinct Russian nationalism.

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Building a fragile EM coalition

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – May 11, 2015) The May 9 victory parade on Red Square was a show of strength by Russia, which is locked in conflict with Ukraine and the West. But it was also a show of solidarity by some emerging markets that have sided, to a greater or lesser degree and with […]

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Victory Day network session

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – May 8, 2015) The crowds in Moscow will be out in force on May 9 to watch what is expected to be the largest ever Victory Day celebration, with the traditional parade of military hardware through Moscow’s Red Square. But in terms of geopolitics the real event […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tried to help Russians.

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

Mr. Putin’s remarks reflect a deep-seated paranoia. It would be easy to dismiss this kind of rhetoric as intended for domestic consumption, an attempt to whip up support for his war adventure in Ukraine. In part, it is that. But Mr. Putin’s assertion that the West has been acting out of a desire to sunder Russia’s power and influence is a […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Affairs: Paper Tiger Putin; The Failure of Russia’s Anachronistic Antagonism

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not as strong as he might seem, or, more important, as he might hope. Although Russia supports fighters in Ukraine, invaded Georgia in 2008, sold missile systems to Iran, and recently threatened Denmark and Lithuania with nuclear war, it is, in reality, a muted and restrained power operating in a system that no longer supports […]

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A Vicious Circle: The More Aggressive Putin Is, the More Russians Love Him

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 29, 2015) Russian polls, admittedly not the most reliable source, suggest that the more aggressive Vladimir Putin is, the more Russians love and support him regardless of the immediate impact of his policies on their lives, a vicious circle that history suggests could lead to a disaster especially given Moscow’s possession […]

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Putin gives the world his geography lesson: ‘All the former USSR is Russia’

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – April 28, 2015) The 150-minute film “The President” about Vladimir Putin is mostly boring and predictable in that it insists that “without Vladimir Vladimirovich nothing in the country will work,” Kseniya Kirillova notes. But she points out that there are three “lessons” contained in the film that must not be ignored. First, she argues, […]

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NEWSLINK Gallup: Russia Receives Lowest Approval in World; U.S. Highest

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Russia in 2014 earned the lowest approval ratings globally for the eighth consecutive year and posted the highest disapproval ratings it has received to date. U.S. leadership received the highest approval rating in the world, with the median 45% approval topping ratings of the leadership of the European Union, Germany, Russia and China — as it has most years since […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia must review participation in international funds – finance minister

Anton Siluanov file photo

Russia must review its participation in international financial organisations because the country is paying too much in fees, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/15/russia-crisis-internationalfunds-idUSR4N0X602D20150415

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Putin’s Mideast Gains Trump $27 Billion Loss From Iran Agreement

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Stephen Bierman – April 14, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he’s willing to take an economic hit to expand his political influence. He’s taking the same approach with Iran. Lifting sanctions and allowing Iranian oil onto global markets would threaten to deepen the plunge in crude […]

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NEWSLINK Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies: On Russian Visas for Researchers

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

For non-Russian passport holders required to obtain a visa to conduct research in Russia, the safest visa choice appears to be the Common Humanitarian visa type, backed by an invitation from a Russian academic organization, and specifying “scientific-technical” purposes of the visit, rather than a tourist or business visa. You can obtain a multi-entry humanitarian visa as well, at least […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH Legatum Insitute: The Menace of Unreality: Combating Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century.

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The Legatum Institute, on Oct. 14, 2014, hosted a panel discussion on “The Menace of Unreality: Combatting Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century.”  The event featured Anne Applebaum, Director of the Legatum Institute’s Transitions Forum, Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, Oleksander Scherba, Ambassador at Large at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Weiss, Editor-in-Chief of The Interpreter, Peter Pomerantsev, journalist […]

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The Trolls Who Came In From The Cold

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Viktor Rezunkov – ST. PETERSBURG, March 16, 2015) Last May, Tatiana N decided she wanted a higher salary than the average journalist can expect. After responding to an advertisement in the popular HeadHunter job-search website, she became a Kremlin-paid Internet troll. Tatiana — who, like others interviewed for this story, asked that her last name not […]

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Sanctions-Strapped Russia Outguns the U.S. in Information War; Moscow drowns out Voice of America, and facts are a casualty

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nicole Gaouette – April 2, 2015) The troubled U.S. agency responsible for delivering news around the world is being outgunned in Eastern Europe by Russian outlets unrestrained by notions of fact-based journalism. The unequal competition raises fears among U.S. officials that Moscow is winning the information war about events in Ukraine, even as the Russian economy […]

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