NEWSWATCH: “Countering Adversary Threats to Democratic Institutions: An Expert Report” – Center for Strategic and International Studies

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

“American democracy is under attack from Russia. This is a long-term campaign that did not begin or end with the 2016 election. Putin’s objective is to weaken us by sowing chaos and discord, and to undermine the appeal of democracy itself. If he can show that American-style democracy, both in the United States and in other liberal democracies, is incompetent, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Curious Case of the Television Star Running Against Vladimir Putin” – The New Yorker/Masha Gessen

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“… A wave of discomfort washed over the room when Sobchak said, ‘Russia is the biggest European nation ….  We are Europeans, we are not Asians.’ Another wave came after an audience member noted that Sobchak has risked alienating voters by voicing support for L.G.B.T. people and even same-sex marriage; Sobchak lamented that Russian television would surely now disregard all […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power; From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role.” – The National Interest/George Beebe

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Few questions have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government’s national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. … particularly … in the United States, where … the Intelligence Community (IC) ha[s] grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GOP Focuses on Russia Allegations That Reached Steele; Notes by freelance journalist Cody Shearer got to writer of dossier via Clinton associate” – Wall Street Journal/Byron Tau

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“Republicans on Capitol Hill are probing a collection of unverified and salacious allegations against … Trump … compiled in late 2016 by … freelance journalist and researcher … Cody Shearer, who … passed his work along to an associate of Hillary Clinton. … eight pages of raw and unverified notes … purportedly drawn from interviews with two prominent journalists and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Release the FISA Documents; The public deserves to see the full record on the FBI wiretap request” – Wall Street Journal editorial

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… Trump … refused to declassify the Democratic memo on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA)[sic; the court abbreviates itself as FISC, and deals with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)]… , sending it back for negotiation with the Justice Department over intelligence sources and methods. … Trump claimed … that Democrats laid a […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “The Long Hangover – Putin’s Russia and the Ghosts of the Past” – NYU Jordan Center/Ben Dalton

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

“In late 1999, as … Putin began his long rule over Russia, the new president faced a slew of economic and political problems, but also an existential one. While post-Soviet countries like Belarus and Estonia had apparently settled into new national narratives (continuity with the past for Belarus, rupture and independence for Estonia and the other Baltic states), Russia remained […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Democrats Are Obsessed with Russia” – The National Interest/Ted Galen Carpenter

“The issue of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has intensified an already deep and bitter partisan divide. Democrats and the broader progressive community argue that a hostile nation worked to defeat Hillary Clinton …. allegations have become increasingly shrill and over-the-top. … chill[ing] debate on U.S. policy toward Russia … creat[ing] an atmosphere of intolerance and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Urgent hearings needed to expose Russian midterm attack” – The Hill/BRENT BUDOWSKY

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“There is a clear and present danger that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has directed his intelligence services to attack the 2018 midterm elections for the purpose of destabilizing and, in my opinion, helping Republicans win those elections, as Russia worked to help Trump win the 2016 elections ….” Click here for: “Urgent hearings needed to expose Russian midterm attack” – […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s Top Spy Is Pleased With Trump; The president’s Putin-friendly noises don’t drown out the sounds of military aid and intelligence cooperation” – Bloomberg/Eli Lake

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

“… Trump reversed Obama[] … approving … sniper rifles [to Ukraine] [and] … Javelin anti-tank missiles. … part of the reason [Vasyl] Hrystak gives Trump high marks. … [Additionally] the Central Intelligence Agency and Hrystak’s service have been cooperating more closely than [under] Obama … [who] was reluctant to get directly involved in Russia’s proxy war with the Ukrainians. … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s federal election commissioner is peeved about all the non-binding referendums planned on March 18” – Meduza.io

Russia Regions Map

“… More than 100 local non-binding referendums are planned on March 18. Volgograd wants to poll voters on daylight savings time, and localities in the Kirov region have a whole array of questions for the public. In Moscow, City Hall pushed the idea of ‘school referendums.’ Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has insisted that the concept was not designed to boost voter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Who Is Christopher Steele? The man who revealed a vast international conspiracy but didn’t know his own client.” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… the former British spy’s credibility has been dismantled. … the FBI should have known better. … the bureau had every reason to be wary …. He was … a paid political operative, hired by Fusion, as a subcontractor for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Opposition researchers are not retained to present considered judgment … [but] to slime an opponent and benefit a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Directors of Russia’s Intelligence Agencies Visited Washington; Secret meetings between the U.S. and Russia are the best hope for restoring relations” – Moscow Times/Vladimir Frolov

File Photo of Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Adapted From Image at loc.gov

“Russia’s Foreign Intelligence (SVR) Director Sergei Naryshkin and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) head Igor Korobov – both of whom are personally targeted by U.S. sanctions – along with the Federal Security Service (FSB) chief all travelled at the same time in January to the United States. * * * The political implications of this visit likely extend far beyond the counter-terrorism […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Biased FBI and DOJ Officials Broke The Law And Tried To Decide The Election – an Annotated Timeline” [excerpt] – Forbes/Thomas Del Beccaro

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President. Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other. Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How to Monitor Russia’s Next Election” – Moscow Times/Grigory Melkonyants (Golos)

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

  “… The country, the composition of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) and electoral laws have all changed. … changing the rules ahead of every federal election has become something of a tradition in Russia. Golos has calculated that the authorities introduced 15 amendments to presidential election legislation between 2012 and 2017. In total, 59 out of the law’s 87 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Supporters’ Election Pitch: Remember Stalingrad; Video made at memorial to WWII victory is part of patriotic wave ahead of Russia’s March election” – Wall Street Journal/James Marson

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

“… the video has also been chided for taking things too far, including on state television, underscoring the tension around the Kremlin’s efforts to drum up support despite a stagnant economy and a fall in living standards in recent years. * * *  Putin has made commemoration of the World War II [Stalingrad] victory a centerpiece of his rule, portraying […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Surprising Success of Putinomics; Behind Putin’s Formula for Holding Onto Power” – Foreign Affairs/Chris Miller

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russia survived the twin challenges of the oil price crash and Western sanctions thanks to a three-pronged economic strategy. First, it focused on macroeconomic stability-keeping debt levels and inflation low-above all else. Second, it prevented popular discontent by guaranteeing low unemployment and steady pensions, even at the expense of higher wages or economic growth. Third, it let the private […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s media scene: not just a state affair; Despite Western preconceptions of a Soviet-like puppet media, the Russian news landscape is quite diverse, with outlets public and private, big and small. But government influence remains a critical concern” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Collage of Russian Newspapers

“… Today’s Russian media is a mixture of old Soviet products – which have evolved but often retain dependency on the support of the state or Kremlin-friendly oligarchs – and a few independent ones that answer to business or politically minded owners. … most information about national and foreign affairs comes from the three big Moscow-based TV networks and national-scale […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Starving Wolf No Longer: Can Russia Sustain Its Military? Russia is having to balance its demand for more advanced weapons with a slew of other priorities” – Moscow Times/Michael Kofman

Russian Soldiers Marching

“… the military … will probably continue operations [in Syria]. … [and] continue to fuel its other major conflict, Ukraine … supporting proxy forces in breakaway republics in the … east. But … Russia’s … Armed Forces are at a crossroads. Divergent spending priorities, resource constraints and myriad dilemmas loom …. * * * The Armed Forces may expand, but … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Say They Have Met Nuclear-Reduction Targets Under Treaty; Nations meet Monday deadline, but face task of renewing pact in three years amid dispute over another weapons agreement” – Wall Street Journal/Felicia Schwartz, Michael R. Gordon, James Marson

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The U.S. and Russia said they have fulfilled obligations under a 2010 treaty to reduce … strategic nuclear warheads … by a Monday deadline. … [they] still face the task of renewing the pact when it expires in three years amid a dispute over another weapons agreement. … the U.S. alleges Moscow is violating a separate 1987 accord banning American […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Outlines Plan on Nuclear-Weapons Use; Policy says arsenal might be option in response to major nonnuclear attack” – Wall Street Journal/Michael R. Gordon

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

“… a new … [U.S.] Nuclear Posture Review [declares that t]he U.S. … would consider using nuclear weapons only in ‘extreme circumstances’ to defend itself and its allies, including against ‘significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. … includ[ing] but … not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure … nuclear forces, their command and control, or […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Nunes Memo is a Devastating Blow to the ‘Deep State’; The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has done its duty by releasing this memo” – The National Interest/Daniel McCarthy

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“In the midst of the 2016 election, bad actors at the Justice Department tried to turn the FBI into the police arm of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That’s the bottom line of the January 18 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence memo released today. … a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was led, or misled, into authorizing spying on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin to Push State-of-Nation Speech Closer to March Vote, Officials Say” – Bloomberg/Stepan Kravchenko, Ilya Arkhipov, Evgenia Pismennaya

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

“The Kremlin has decided to delay … Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation speech to [take place] closer to the March 18 vote [providing] a key platform … to lay out priorities for his next presidential term, according to three officials familiar with the plans. … Putin is expected to discuss proposals for higher spending on popular domestic programs like health and education, while […]

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NEWSLINK: “Grigory Yavlinsky’s Program Gives Russian Society a Chance to Preserve Its Dignity; The leader of the opposition Yabloko Party is a candidate in the Russian presidential election” – The Nation/Nadia Azhgikhina

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

“The leader of the opposition Yabloko Party, Grigory Yavlinsky, is a candidate in the March 18 Russian presidential election. … one of the rare truly democratic and professional politicians on the Russian political scene. His platform is consistent. This is his third run, twice against Putin. …. His program presents a realistic alternative agenda. He demands to end wars in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Nunes memo and Putin’s long game; As the president and other Republicans directly question the integrity of the FBI and DOJ, analysts and some in the GOP say it only furthers Russian objectives. [Excerpt]” – Politico/Matthew Nussbaum

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Putin might get tired of winning. Ever since the U.S. intelligence community discovered the Russian operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election … some Republicans have been laboring to undermine investigations into the attack and discredit the intelligence agencies that discovered it. … [O]n Friday … House Republicans released a partisan memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Did the Trump Administration Pass the Buck on Sanctioning Russia?” [excerpt] – Russia Matters/David Szakonyi

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

David Szakonyi is an assistant professor of political science at George Washington University This week’s highly anticipated news on additional Russia sanctions landed with a thud. For weeks, both Moscow and Washington had been astir about the impending steps the Trump administration would take against Russia based on legislation reluctantly signed by the president nearly six months ago” and overwhelmingly […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. will send antitank weaponry to Ukraine. Here are 4 big questions” – Washington Post/Andrew S. Bowen

File Photo of Soldier Firing Javelin Shoulder-Mounted Anti-Tank Missile

“The Trump administration last week announced updated sanctions on Russian individuals and companies …. Since 2015, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has continued to simmer, with no apparent political solution on the horizon. The seizure of territory has largely ended, leaving both sides vexed at their failure to achieve their objectives. The U.S. decision in late 2017 to provide the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia likely to meet nuclear treaty obligations by Feb. 5: State Department” – Reuters

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The United States fulfilled its obligations under the New Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia in August last year and expects Moscow also will be within the limits set by the accord by the Feb. 5 deadline, the State Department said …. Under the terms of the agreement, which went into force on Feb. 5, 2011, each side had seven […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Did The FBI Vouch For The Crazy Russian Deal From The Steele Dossier?” – Forbes/Paul Roderick Gregory

“The media’s promotion of an unverified dossier against … Trump[] failed to cement Hillary Clinton’s expected victory …. If that were the whole story, the dossier would have faded from public view … Trump would not have spent his first year fighting off charges of treason, and a much bigger story would not be getting ready to break. What we […]

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NEWSWATCH: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki

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

“It may not look like war, but perhaps it should. Russia’s interference in American democracy proves that popular conception of the term needs to be updated – and failure to do could increase U.S. susceptibility.” Click here for: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki  

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia global top oil producer in November” – bne Intellinews

Oil Well file photo

“Russia produced an average of 10.12mn barrels of oil daily in November 2017, down from 10.86 a month earlier[,] but … is still the world’s top oil producer in the reporting month … Rosstat [says]. … followed by Saudi Arabia with 9.9mn barrels of average daily oil output. The combined output of the Opec states amounted to 32mn barrels in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia and Ukraine: More similar than either wants to admit” – bne Intellinews/Anders Åslund

“… Russians see themselves as economically superior while Ukrainians cherish their freedom. Yet … economically the similarities are greater than the differences. Their current fundamental problem is their absence of real property rights. … Russia experienced an attempt at serious market economic reform from 1991-94 … avoid[ing] Ukraine’s … hyperinflation in 1993. While Russia’s situation was bad, Ukraine’s was far […]

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NEWSWATCH: “We’re as close to Doomsday today as we were during the Cold War” – Washington Post/Lawrence Krauss, Robert Rosner

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

“… To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger – and its immediacy. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress … increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region and the United States. * * * Global nuclear risks were compounded by U.S.-Russia relations that now feature more conflict than cooperation. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Bell: meet the Russian media start-up fighting for the precarious future of independent media”

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“After she was fired as editor-in-chief of Russia’s highly respected media outlet RBC for critical reporting, Elizaveta Osetinskaya left her country and headed to the US. Now she’s founded The Bell, a six-person media start-up fighting for space in Russia’s troubled world of independent media. * * * The Bell launched a weekly English-language website and newsletter in December, which is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Would Be ‘Economic War’ to Head of Russia’s VTB; Personal sanctions would be preferable to institutional ones, Kostin says” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Francine Lacqua

VTB Bank File Photo

“As Moscow braces for a possible expansion of U.S. sanctions, the head of Russia’s second-biggest bank said any further restrictions on the nation’s lenders would be tantamount to ‘economic war.’  * * * While VTB has been subject to restrictions on raising financing since 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, new sanctions could go as far as cutting off […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Won’t Tell Voters How He’ll Pay for Domestic Spending” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… offering Russians the biggest increase in domestic spending in years … what [Putin] won’t be talking much about is the package of tax hikes, benefit cuts and other changes … to help pay for [it] … possible increases to the pension age and the income tax … cuts in tax breaks for staples like food … [and] co-pays for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Pentagon: China, Russia Outpace Terrorism Threat” – AP

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“Countering China’s rapidly expanding military and an increasingly aggressive Russia are now the U.S. military’s top national security priorities, outpacing the threat of terrorism, the Pentagon said …. A new national defense strategy says that competition with China and Russia has threatened America’s military advantage around the world. … require[ing] increased investment to make U.S. forces more lethal, agile and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Contrary to Expectations, US-Russian Relations Deteriorate Under President Trump” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

  “… Trump’s presidency began … with widespread expectations of improvement in U.S.-Russian relations [yet now they are] in worse shape than he found them. … the National Security Strategy … identified Russia (along with China) as a strategic adversary intent on undermining U.S. primacy … [Additionally, consider] Trump’s decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine to help deter Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Intel Committee Releases Glenn Simpson Testimony Transcripts” – House Intelligence Committee

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today voted to publish the transcripts of testimony provided to the committee by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. The November 8 transcript is available here: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD001.pdf and the November 14 transcript is available here: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD002.pdf

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine passes bill to get occupied regions back from Russia” – AP

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

“Ukraine’s parliament … passed a bill to reintegrate the country’s eastern territories … currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists … supporting taking them back by military force if necessary.  The bill describes the areas in Ukraine’s … Donetsk and Luhansk regions as ‘temporarily occupied’ by ‘aggressor country’ Russia. … Poroshenko welcomed the new bill, saying it would help restore control of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Future of Navalny’s Opposition Movement; Why It Will Continue to Challenge the Kremlin” – Foreign Affairs/Anton Barbashin

“In March 2017 … Navalny released a shocking video investigation … reveal[ing] that Medvedev has been able to amass a tremendous fortune while in power … several mansions in Russia, a villa and property in Italy, and other assets worth roughly $1.2 billion. … spark[ing] a great deal of interest among Russians … receiv[ing] almost 26 million views on YouTube […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin tries to stir voters’ interest in Putin’s election campaign; Slick, US-style apparatus set up in effort to present Russian poll as a contest” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille

Russia Regions Map

“… With 18 years in power … far-reaching control over institutions from parliament to courts and the election watchdog, and no serious challenger, [Putin] can afford to skip wooing voters …. the Kremlin frets that too smooth a campaign is dangerous. … voters’ passivity [includes] resignation that they cannot effect political change anyway … [that] could metastasise into widespread disaffection […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy suddenly shrinks in November” – Reuters

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s economy unexpectedly contracted in November, hit by a drop in industrial production, the economy ministry said …. Gross domestic product shrank 0.3 percent year on year in November, the economy ministry said, contrasting with analysts’ consensus call for a 1.5 percent growth. Russia’s oil-dependent economy was on the mend in 2017 after two years of recession, triggered by a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin will elevate loyalty over all in his next presidency” – RaamopruslandNL/ Mark Galeotti

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Is Putin’s grip on power still as strong as ever? Some observers are … presenting him as some kind of a ‘lame duck president’, even as he prepares to be re-elected yet again. … Mark Galeotti suggests such talk misrepresents the nature of power in today’s Russia. ‘Power is the capacity to act and get away with it’ …. Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s invisible, ubiquitous lobbyists; How armies of fixers and specialists negotiate the nation’s dicey relationship between businesses and the state” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“Technically speaking, lobbying doesn’t exist in Russia. The concept, at least, isn’t established anywhere in the country’s laws, and the activity itself isn’t formally regulated in any way. On December 18, just the latest business association encouraged the parliament to rectify this situation, though previous efforts like this one have always come to nothing. There are, nevertheless, many people in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia has been meddling in foreign elections for decades. Has it made a difference?” – Washington Post/ Lucan Ahmad Way, Adam Casey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Russia has been intervening in foreign elections for decades. Has it been effective? …. we put together and examined a data set of all 27 Russian electoral interventions since 1991. …  First wave: In the former Soviet states, 1991 to 2014 … Second wave: in Western democracies, 2014 to now …. It’s true that Russia has been increasingly trying to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Steele boasted to friends of his ‘professional’ work on Russia-Trump dossier” – Washington Times/ Rowan Scarborough

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… On Friday, two Republican senators made a criminal referral to the Justice Department. An investigation revealed that … Steele misled the FBI, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The FBI told lawmakers that the bureau had not confirmed the dossier’s core collusion charges since … Steele’s first briefing in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Gazprom gas exports to Europe rise 8% to new record” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s gas exports to Europe rose 8.1 per cent last year to a record level of 193.9bn cubic metres (bcm), the company’s head said … as the world’s largest gas producer continued to increase sales despite rising competition from LNG and other sources. Gazprom … has a monopoly over Russia’s gas pipelines to Europe [and] has been forced to reduce […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Toughens Penalty for Bomb Threats Plaguing Russia” – AP

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

“… Putin has signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison. … Since September, authorities have received false bomb reports allegedly targeting more than 3000 structures in about 180 Russian cities. The subsequent building evacuations have sometimes caused severe traffic problems. A top Interior Ministry official said […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Declares St. Petersburg Blast Terrorism; Grocery store bombing injured 13; Russian president orders officials to act decisively to stop further attacks” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

St. Petersburg

“A bomb blast at a St. Petersburg grocery store [from a handmade explosive device] … injured 13 …. No one has claimed responsibility. … Until recently, Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus had seen almost daily violence from Islamic separatists …. Security measures and the departure of fighters to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cut violence …. many […]

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