Putin vs. Erdogan – This Time It’s Personal

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2016) On Feb. 2, Turkish President Recep Erdogan urgently sought an audience with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Turkish ambassador in Moscow relayed the message, but has, it seems, yet to receive a response. It was the second time Erdogan has been rebuffed by Putin following Turkey’s downing of […]

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Fukuyama: ‘Putinism,’ Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy

Putin Descending a Staircase

(RFE/RL – January 29, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and the extremist Islamic State group are sworn enemies that might seem to have little in common. But both are engaged in efforts at state building that U.S. political scientist Francis Fukuyama says share two qualities: each seeks to create a political alternative to a modern liberal democracy, and each is […]

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U.S., Russia Start Syria Negotiations Amid Threat to Peace Talks

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – January 20, 2016) The top U.S. and Russian diplomats began talks in Zurich Wednesday to try to bridge divisions over which belligerents in Syria’s five-year civil war should be labeled “terrorist,” an issue that threatens to hold up the start of peace talks. John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov need to strike a deal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Backed by Russian air power, Syria’s army builds on gains.” – Los Angeles Times

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The Los Angeles Times covers unfolding evens in the Syrian civil war, including Russian involvement. … Moscow’s air onslaught appears to be gaining effectiveness as Russian commanders grow more familiar with the conflict and with the capabilities of allied Syrian ground forces, observers say. … Russia’s involvement has also led to a new calculation by Syria’s neighbors …. Click here […]

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Who is happy to see Russian pilots in Syria?

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The arrival of the Russian Air Force in Syria has upset the figures on the board of the “Great Chess Game” in the Middle East and has given hope to supporters of al-Assad for personal survival, although perhaps not a quick conclusion to the war. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – DMITRY VINOGRADOV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 12, […]

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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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Russian bombing of Syria “defensive” and just, top cleric says

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, January 7, 2016) Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has expressed support for the Russian military operation in Syria. “What is happening today in Syria, which appears to be far away but is in actual fact literally our neighbour [as received], is what the defence of the Fatherland is about,” the patriarch said in the interview […]

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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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Putin’s Pivot: Out of Ukraine, Into Syria

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – December 24, 2015) “How great is it that our nation is ruled by a man that we can be so proud of?” To be honest, this is a first in my life.” This was the praise given to President Vladimir Putin in the wake of his speech before the United Nations General […]

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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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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “Kerry in Moscow as pressure grows for US-Russia compromise on Syria. If the United States and Russia can overcome their two main sticking points – on ‘moderate’ rebels and Assad’s role in future talks – Syrian diplomacy can move forward, analysts say”

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “Kremlin’s beef with Turkey hits Russians at home – and on holiday”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

The acrimony between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of a Russian bomber in Syria has cut Russians off from Turkish produce, and reduced their vacation options to boot.

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

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(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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Russia welcomes intent of U.S., coalition to help seal Syria-Turkey border

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(Interfax – December 7, 2015) Moscow welcomes the intentions of the United States and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition that it leads to help seal the Syrian-Turkish border with the purpose of stopping oil trafficking and other illegal businesses. “What the Syrian-Turkish border is like has been known for a long time, the same as the Turkish-Iraqi border. It […]

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Russians Find New Holiday Spots After Egypt, Turkey Bans

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Joanna Kozlowska – December 4, 2015) Russian tour operators have seen increasing demand for tours to India, Thailand, and the UAE following restrictions on travel to Egypt and Turkey – Russians’ two preferred destinations in the first half of 2015, Russian media reported on Friday. At the same time, officials’ attempts to revive interest in […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Mark Galeotti: “Moscow Must Avoid Shadow War With Ankara”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

Writing in The Moscow Times, Mark Galeotti considers Russia’s potential reactions to Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. Moscow is sanctioning Turkish goods and holidays, something that will have a distinct impact on an economy which earns $6.5 billion a year from Russian tourists, but is this enough to assuage President Vladimir Putin’s evident fury at the shooting down […]

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New York Times/Anatol Lieven: “The Key to Crushing ISIS”

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Writing in The New York Times, Anatol Lieven addresses the fight against ISIL. Since the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama and a range of other Western leaders have agreed that ISIS must be crushed, Syria and Iraq stabilized, and the flow of refugees reversed. If ISIS, Al Qaeda and their supporters are the greatest enemies of the West, […]

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Interfax: Putin regrets deterioration of relations with Turkey

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Interfax – December 1, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has regretted the exacerbation of relations between Russia and Turkey and said that Moscow has repeatedly raised the question of terrorists coming from that country in its contacts with Turkey. “I think all of us regret this, and I personally regret this because I personally have been doing a lot for […]

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Combating ISIS from within; Officials look for ways to stop the influence of Islamic State along Russia’s southern borders.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – December 1, 2015) On the eve of the Paris attacks, ISIS extremists published a video in Russian: “Soon, very soon,” it said, “there will be a sea of blood.” Experts believe ISIS is indeed a real threat for Russia. On Oct. 31, a Russian plane exploded, killing all 224 […]

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‘Russia’s Future Not Connected with Ukraine or Syria,’ Inozemtsev Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 1, 2015) Russians have been so focused on events in Ukraine and now Syria that they have forgotten the most important thing: their future and that of their country is not connected with what is going on in those countries but what is taking place or not taking place in their […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: “Discord Between Turkey and Russia Is Fueled by Leaders’ Similarities”

St. Basil's Domes

The New York Times considers Turkish-Russian relations in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft, in the light of the two nation’s leaders, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both men are often described as combative, uncompromising, nationalistic and authoritarian. Mr. Putin changed jobs to keep running his country, switching between the post of prime minister and […]

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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”

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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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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Kevin Ryan: “Turkish Shootdown Shows Importance of NATO-Russia Dialogue”

NATO Meeting file photo

In the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft, Retired Brigadier General Kevin Ryan addresses the need for greater dialogue between NATO and Russia. It is important to recognize how serious the situation has become between Russia and NATO over the last two years. In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its activities in Ukraine, almost all operational communications between the militaries of NATO and Russia have been suspended. […]

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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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Moscow and Ankara facing test of political nerve

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Bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia have been seriously damaged by the shooting down of a Russian bomber near the Syrian border by the Turkish air force. However, despite a history of uneasy partnership, both sides will realize that it is not in their interests to allow tensions to spiral over the incident. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Russia Takes Aim at Turkish Economy Amid Fighter-Jet Spat. Turkish officials reject Vladimir Putin’s call for an apology.”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal covers Russia’s response to Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet. Russia has reacted with fury to the incident and vowed to retaliate by clamping down on trade and business ties. … Turkish President … Erdogan dismissed Mr. Putin’s demands that Ankara apologize or offer compensation …. Turkey has provided evidence that it gave repeated warnings […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “How Turkey confounded Putin’s favorite narratives”

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

The Washington Post covers Russian rhetoric in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet. On Monday, two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian plane which Turkey said had crossed into its airspace. Various interpretations could in theory be placed upon this event. Depending on one’s point of view, it could be described as an act of self-defense […]

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NEWSWATCH The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev: “Russian Jet Down in Turkey: Misstep or Game-Changer?”

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Writing for The National Interest, Nikolas K. Gvosdev comments upon possible repercussions from Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russia military jet. In the immediate aftermath, whatever progress Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan achieved on the sidelines of the Antalya G-20 summit is now completely lost. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s trip to Turkey, which was designed to get the Turkish-Russian […]

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Russia-Turkey crisis: What do ordinary citizens think?

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The shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey’s air force has left many Russians indignant and confused, while in Turkey the crisis in relations between Moscow and Ankara has also become the hottest talking point. RBTH looks at social trends and speaks to ordinary citizens to gauge opinion in the two countries. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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Downing of Russian Sukhoi Bomber Was Predictable

File Photo of Russian SU-24 Harassing U.S. Navy Vessel in Black Sea, Adapted from U.S. Military Video

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – November 26, 2015) The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syrian border by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday marks the first serious clash between Russian forces and an external coalition involved in Syria’s civil war – but it was a predictable event. Turkey has been supporting rebel forces […]

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Russian Tour Agencies Cancel Turkey Trips Amid Fury Over Downed Warplane

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2015) Turkey is a hugely popular vacation spot for Russians, almost 3.3 million of whom holidayed there in 2014, according to official figures. Russian tour agencies have canceled flights to Turkey and suspended sales of new tours a day after the downing of a Russian fighter-bomber by the Turkish military, Russian media reported […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “Russian provocations led to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey”

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The Washington Post comments on Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet, laying the blame squarely upon the Kremlin. Following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet Tuesday, Western leaders rightly addressed themselves to heading off an escalation between Moscow and a NATO member. In the process, they were not as clear as they could have been about where responsibility […]

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Downing of Russian Plane has Serious Consequences for Putin at Home, in Central Asia, and in Ukraine

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 25, 2015) The shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkish forces after Kremlin ignored repeated warnings from Ankara not to violate Turkey’s airspace not only increases the risks of a clash between Russia and the West but has serious consequences for Putin at home, in Central Asia and the […]

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Andrei Liakhov: “Turkey”

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Subject: Turkey Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2015 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> Erdogan has chosen to support ISIS and is using his security service and party apparatus to facilitate his business with ISIS. ISIS was originally financed by Al Qadi, a known AL Qaeda financier who financed attacks on twin towers. Until 2010 Al Qadi was on every sanctions list possible […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Surviving Crew Member of Russian Jet Says No Warning From Turkey”

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Reuters covers Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military plane. Turkey shot down the Russian plane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying it had violated its air space, in one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century. Turkey and Russia are disputing details of the incident. Ankara has said […]

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Hagel: Russia, U.S. Must Fight Islamic State Together

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 23, 2015) Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for including Russia in a consolidated global battle against Islamic State, and suggested putting aside the inevitable disputes between Washington and Moscow for the sake of the fight against terrorism. Hagel dismissed the disagreements between the West and Russia about Syria’s President […]

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Why is Russia now bombing ISIS with long-range missiles?

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Russia has launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria using strategic long-distance bombers for the first time. Russian experts see the use of long-range missiles as a testing ground for new types of weapons, as well as a good way of intensifying the airstrikes in Syria, since other accessible resources have now been exhausted. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru […]

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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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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Russian parliament gives blessing to security overhaul after plane bombing”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Reuters covers the Russian government’s reaction to the Russian air crash in Egypt. Russia’s parliament backed a sweeping overhaul of national security, including possibly expanding the powers of the country’s intelligence services, after the Kremlin concluded a bomb downed a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month. There also is talk of using the death penalty for terrorism. Sergei Mironov, […]

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Possible Russia-West Rapprochement Over Syria Stokes Fears In Europe’s East

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(RFE/RL – Pete Baumgartner – November 19, 2015) France’s surprise embrace of Russia in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris has raised concerns across the former Soviet bloc that Moscow wants to leverage the fight against Islamic extremists in Syria to secure Western concessions over Ukraine. Just days after the massacres in the French capital killed 129 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Victoria Nuland Remarks at the Berlin Security Conference

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(US Department of State – November 17, 2015) Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Berlin, Germany (As Prepared) Thank you, Reimer for that introduction. Thank you to: Mr. Uwe Proll; BSC Congress President, Ambassador Jiri Sedivy; Behorden Spiegel; and of course, Ambassador Emerson and the U.S. Embassy staff in Berlin for hosting us today. Ambassador Philippe […]

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Parsing Putin: Russia Sends Signals To The West In Statement On Jet Attack

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – November 18, 2015) A few hours after French President Francois Hollande called for Moscow and the West to fight Islamic State (IS) militants together in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris, Russia abruptly announced it was now certain a terrorist bomb blew a passenger jet to pieces over Egypt on October 31. […]

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Russia Increases Pressure on Islamic State in Syria

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 18, 2015) Strategic bombers belonging to the Russian air force have conducted bombings and rocket strikes on Islamic State positions, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry reported on its website Tuesday. “The number of flights has been doubled, which allows [us] […]

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Putin Goes From G-20 Pariah to Player at Obama Turkey Talk

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – November 15, 2015) The sidelines of summits are full of talks between leaders, their ministers and aides, but the huddle between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 in Turkey Sunday was heavy with significance. The meeting on Syria lasting more than 30 minutes was the first since the Russian […]

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