New Anti-Terrorist Acts Means Kremlin is Preparing for War at Home and Abroad, Ponomarev Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2016) Today, the Russian Duma passed on second and third reading the so-called “Yarova-Ozerov law on terrorism,” a draconian measure that means not only that Vladimir Putin’s recent call for improved relations with the West was nothing more than “a special operation” but also and more seriously that he is […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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All Russians Are Tainted by Putin’s Regime

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 21, 2016) The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athletes compete in the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they haven’t used performance-enhancing drugs won’t be popular with other countries. Nonetheless, it was the right call. But it also carries some unpleasant undertones: It formally requires Russians to prove that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin addressed the State Duma’s plenary session

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2016) The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session. Speech at the State Duma’s plenary session. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with students taking part in International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Kremlin.ru – June 20, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with students participating in the International Collegiate Programming Contest. The President congratulated the contest participants. One Russian team won the competition and four others were among the top ten. Mr Putin thanked the students and their teachers for their work and wished them success in future competitions and in their future work. […]

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Russian State Duma Election Season Begins

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 20, 2016) Campaign season for the upcoming Russian State Duma elections kicks off this week, with the country’s main political parties preparing for their vital 2016 conventions and candidate nominations. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Friday that elections would be taking place on September 18. Russian law requires that between 90 to 110 days […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) [Video in Russian http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52178] [Video with English interpretation http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52178] Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Excerpts from transcript of the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, I am very glad to welcome all of you […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Russian Direct Investment Fund International Expert Council and representatives of international investment community

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – June 16, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with members of the International Expert Council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and representatives of the international investment community. . The President of Russia noted that during its existence the RDIF has achieved substantial results, among them, attracting over 760 billion rubles to the Russian economy. The President said the […]

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United Russia: Same Game, New Tactics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola CichowlasJ – June 16, 2016) By June 19, President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign a decree that will officially kick-start the campaign season. Within a few days, all the parties taking part in the election will host conventions and declare their list of candidates. These State Duma elections will be the first time […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

EU Map

(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Vladimir Fortov and Mikhail Kotyukov

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Kremlin.ru – June 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Vladimir Fortov and Director of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organisations (FASO) Mikhail Kotyukov. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Fortov, Mr Kotyukov. We have met to talk about the coordination of efforts between the Academy of Sciences and FASO, about your achievements […]

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Russia Might Not Be a Failed State But It is a Failed Country, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, June 14, 2016) The fact that Russians devote so little attention to their independence day even as they devote so much to Victory Day, Vadim Shtepa says, highlights a fundamental reality: Russia may not be a failed state according to the classic definitions, but it is a failed country, one that has not been able to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Speech at the official reception to mark the national holiday Russia Day

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 12, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues, I congratulate you on Russia Day. This is one of our major national holidays, as today we honour our country, our Russia, that we love and take pride in. The civic, labour and military valour of the Russian people is evidenced by the many victories and achievements throughout […]

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Day of Russia symbolizes unity of people – Putin

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

(Interfax – June 12, 2016) The Day of Russia, the country’s National Day, reflects the responsibility of Russians for the country’s present and future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 12. “This holiday marks such utmost important values as Motherland, patriotism, and the unity of the people, reflecting our warm and sincere feelings about Russia, our responsibility for its […]

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Putin’s Core Support Begins to Waver; Working-class Russians hurt by recession look for someone to blame-in an election year

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – June 9, 2016) Russia embarks on an almost two-year-long election season this summer that ends with a presidential contest in 2018. But unlike previous years, the country’s faltering economy has taken its toll on lower-income voters who blame the Duma and the cabinet for their plight. Five years ago, allegations of vote rigging […]

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Russia’s young people aren’t angry, they’re furious

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

Five years after Russia’s protest movement turned sour, young people are still frustrated with the status quo. (opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Ugarov – June 8, 2016) Mikhail Ugarov is a Moscow-based writer, art director and director born in 1956 in Arkhangelsk, Russia. He graduated from the department of dramatic arts at Moscow’s Gorky Literature Institute and went on to direct numerous […]

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Grant policy should counterbalance ‘foreign agents’ – Russian human rights ombudsman

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – Russian human rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova called for the streamlining of grant policies in Russia to support socially-oriented organizations. “[It is necessary] to change or improve grant policies, it is significantly important for counterbalancing these developments which resulted in so-called ‘foreign agents’,” she said at an Open Tribune meeting on issues of civil society development […]

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Jailed for a repost: The definition of extremism in Russia gets ever looser

Kremlin and River

Russia has seen a dramatic rise in criminal prosecutions on charges of internet extremism over the last few months. Yet most of these cases concern not the creation of extremist content but retweeting, liking or reposting it. RBTH found out more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 7, 2016) On Feb. 20, Yekaterina Vologzhenova, […]

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Five Foreign Organizations Declared ‘Undesirable’ in Russia This Year

Yury Chaika file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 9, 2016) Five foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been labelled “undesirable” by the Kremlin in the past year, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told the State Duma that investigations into the NGOs are continuing with the help of the Foreign Ministry. The investigations seek to establish if the NGOs […]

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Soviet Nostalgia: 5 Moscow Exhibitions That Hark Back to the USSR

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – June 9, 2016) Late Mashkov Ilya Mashkov became famous as a member of the “Jack of Diamonds” artists’ group, which included leading figures of Russian avant-garde such as Malevich, Goncharova and Kandinsky. However following the revolution Mashkov adopted socialist realism and painted scenes of farmworkers and life at a Soviet resorts in […]

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VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights – U.S. Senate Testimony by Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights Testimony, Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, June 7, 2016, As prepared [Video of hearing also appeared here http://www.c-span.org/video/?410738-1/federal-officials-testify-human-rights-violations-russia][Video includes all speakers and some lawmakers; Nuland testimony transcript follows below] Thank you Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and members […]

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Interfax: Russia won’t put up with unsubstantiated slander against it on issue of doping in sports – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. June 8 (Interfax) – Russia is against the use of doping in sports, but that does not mean that it is ready to put up with unsubstantiated slander against it on this issue, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said. “We all remember that the Russian president has given an absolutely clear signal that the use of any types […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Visit to the Bolshoi Theatre [with Benjamin Netanyahu]

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu with his spouse visited the Bolshoi Theatre to watch a gala concert by Bolshoi Theatre and Israeli Opera performers, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Russia and Israel. Address before the concert dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the resumption […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Visit to Rossiya Segodnya

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin visited the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency to congratulate journalists on the agency’s 75th anniversary and speak at the New Era of Journalism: Farewell to Mainstream international media forum. The President also attended the presentation of German journalist Hubert Seipel’s book, Putin. Inside View of Power, at Rossiya Segodnya and spoke with the […]

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Boycott Russia Today facebook page: “BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016”

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Facebook – Boycott Russia Today facebook page – reused with permission) Bullough, Oliver (2013) Inside Russia Today: counterweight to the mainstream media, or Putin’s mouthpiece?: http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/world-affairs/2013/05/inside-russia-today-counterweight-mainstream-media-or-putins-mou Fitzpatrick, Catherine (2010) More Moral Equivalency from Vadim Nikitin: http://3dblogger.typepad.com/minding_russia/2010/04/more-moral-equivalency-from-vadim-nikitin.html Gray, Rosie (2014) How The Truth Is Made At Russia Today: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/how-the-truth-is-made-at-russia-today Ioffe, Julia (2010) What Is Russia Today? http://www.cjr.org/feature/what_is_russia_today.php?page=all Kincaid, Cliff (2011) Russian […]

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Russian Election Commission Head Says ‘No One Is Untouchable’ on Violations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2016) The head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said that an interdepartmental working group is being set up to quickly react to election violations, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily reported Monday. The working group will include representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee, Pamfilova said […]

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Why does Russia want to ban officials from using WhatsApp and Skype?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Russian legislators are even worried about encrypted communication systems, since IT security experts believe they may contain backdoors to which secret services may have access. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 6, 2016) Russian deputies, ministers and members of the armed forces may soon find they are unable to use popular instant messaging services […]

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One Book Putin Could Have Written and Three That He Did

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 5, 2016) One Russian publishing house has just released a translation of a Norwegian book that Vladimir Putin could have written himself, and another Moscow publisher has put out a three volume collection of his public statements that he actually did and that bring him into line with his Soviet predecessors. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Chechnya: Russia’s Islamic State? Troubled republic in secular Russia has been thoroughly ‘Islamized’ by staunch Putin ally” – Wall Street Journal/YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

In theory, Chechnya – though overwhelmingly Muslim – is an integral part of the secular Russian Federation, governed by the same laws as Moscow. In practice, however, this North Caucasus republic of 1.4 million people, ravaged by two wars of secession, lives under very different rules. Under strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel who has become a fervent ally of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “United Russia Primaries Open Pandora’s Box” – Carnegie Moscow Center/Andrey Pertsev

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

The primaries have once again highlighted the Kremlin’s domestic policy tactics. First, the administration announces a large project, makes promises, and even begins to deliver on them. Then, fears of failure and loss of control set in, and all work grinds to a halt. * * * The primaries join a raft of domestic policy gimmicks the Kremlin has used […]

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Why is Russia’s biggest gas pipeline being built on an uncompetitive basis?

Gas Flame file photo

Contracts for laying the Power of Siberia pipeline from Russia to China are being dished out mainly without tenders and are often handed to close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Russian analysts deny that anything is amiss and insist this is related to Gazprom being afraid of not finishing them on time for its Chinese partner. (Russia Beyond […]

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NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Stalin Resurgent, Again; Russia has long been deeply divided over Stalin’s role in history, with pro-Stalin sentiments surging in times of domestic hardships or perceptions of foreign threats.” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

Joseph Stalin file photo

[radio audio embedded below] … Cohen, who has studied and written about the Stalin era and its legacy for many decades (most recently in his book The Victims Return), points out that Russia has been deeply divided over Stalin’s historical role ever since his death 63 years ago. Looking back, Russians see two towering mountains, both informed by contested history: […]

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Russia Remains a Byzantine State and that May Doom It, ‘Gazeta’ Editors Say

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 1, 2016) The photographs of Vladimir Putin sitting on what many falsely supposed was the throne of Byzantine emperors have prompted many to laugh but others to note that “Russia even today in many ways remains an heir of the Byzantine empire,” according to the editors of Moscow’s “Gazeta.” Russians “borrowed […]

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‘Putin’s people’: The mysterious agency that guards the president’s life

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

The head of Russia’s Federal Protection Service (FSO), responsible for protecting the life of the president, has been replaced. RBTH looks into what this change means and what this most mysterious of all Russian special services does today. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 1, 2016) The Federal Protection Service (FSO) is a powerful, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Village Resists Privatization Effort Championed by Putin. Locals, activists and lawmakers rally to prevent sale of century-old state-owned dairy plant.” – Wall Street Journal

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

The Russian government’s privatization drive soured in a village called Milk. The dairy plant here that for more than a century has churned out Russia’s most-recognizable brand of butter was scheduled to be auctioned in mid-February, the latest target to raise cash for the budget. But after locals, activists and lawmakers held rallies and petitioned President Vladimir Putin and other […]

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RBTH: The Georgian on their mind: Why Russians still approve of Stalin

Joseph Stalin file photo

Public opinion surveys show that today support for Stalin in Russia is the highest it has been since the fall of the Soviet Union. More than half of Russians believe that he played a positive role in the history of the country and the Communist Party is even planning to use the image of the Soviet leader in the next […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Surveys show Russian nationalism is on the rise. This explains a lot about the country’s foreign and domestic politics.” – Washington Post/Richard Arnold

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

… annexing Crimea, Putin managed to steal the thunder of … supremacist Russian nationalists. But as long as waves of migrants … perceived as culturally alien keep coming … storm clouds will still exist and influence Russian politics. The regime will have the unpalatable choice of allowing the growth of radical forces vehemently opposed to democracy, even its ‘managed’ variety, […]

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Putin Invaded Ukraine to Deflect Russian Nationalist Threat to Himself, Demushkin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin launched his “Russian world” project and invaded Ukraine in the hopes that radical Russian nationalists who represented a threat to his rule would go there and die, thus “killing two birds with one stone,” according to Dmitry Demushkin, the leader of the ethno-political movement “The Russians.” In […]

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Putin’s Longstanding Plan for Long-Term Confrontation with the West Being Implemented Ever More Rapidly, Illarionov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 28, 2016) For the last decade, Vladimir Putin has pursued a plan to isolate his country from the outside world by pursuing rearmament and confrontation with the West, Andrey Illarionov says. Now, there is evidence that the Kremlin leader is stepping up his efforts I that direction even during the current […]

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Medvedev opens Moscow’s fourth airport Zhukovsky

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

Zhukovsky. May 30 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has opened the Moscow aviation hub’s fourth international airport, Zhukovsky, an Interfax correspondent reported. One of the first airlines to begin scheduled flights from Zhukovsky will be Kyrgyzstan’s Air Kyrgyzstan. The first flight is scheduled for June 20, a representative of the carrier told journalists on Monday. At the opening […]

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UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2016-98 :: Monday PM, 30 May 2016

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2016-#98 Monday PM, 30 May 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org – […]

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Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club

Kremlin and River

Subject: Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 From: Rachel Douglas <cmgusa@frontiernet.net> Glad to see some attention to the Russian Presidential Economic Council meeting of May 25, but, setting aside the evaluations, there were quite a few errors of fact in two of the items included in JRL 2016-#95/May 26. Stratfor – […]

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