NEWSWATCH: “Four Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia” – Forbes.com/George Friedman

Russia Regions Map

“Russia has four areas of instability: the distribution and prevalence of wage arrears, pressure on its banking system, low-level social and economic unrest, and government purges. … Russia’s economy is highly regionalized. More than a fifth of Russia’s wealth comes from Moscow and its surrounding areas. The central government keeps the Russian Federation together by redistributing wealth to the interior. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Secret U.S. Army Study That Targets Moscow. A quarter century after the Cold War, the Pentagon is worried about Russia’s military prowess again. [Re: Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster]” – Politico/Bryan Bender

H.R. McMaster file photo, adapted from image at army.mil

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster has a shaved head and gung-ho manner that only add to his reputation as the U.S. Army’s leading warrior-intellectual, one who often quotes famed Prussian general and military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz. A decade ago, McMaster fought a pitched battle inside the Pentagon for a new concept of warfare to address the threat from Islamist terrorists […]

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Interfax: Over 80% of Russians sure army can deter military threat – poll

File Photo of Tanks on Parade

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Over half of Russians (58%) believe in the existence of a military threat posed by other countries, Levada Center told Interfax, adding that the indicator had notably declined in the past two years from 68% in 2015. Some 34% of 1,600 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on January 20-23 maintained the […]

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RUSSIALINK: TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address and answers to questions at the 53rd Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 18, 2017”

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… Question: I have a concrete question about military exercises. Why are Russian military exercises held without prior announcement, and why are they so non-transparent? This year you will hold the largest Zapad (West) exercises in 20 years, which have alarmed your neighbours. What should be done to build up confidence regarding this issue? …” [featured image is file photo]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bad Equilibrium” – project-syndicate/Anders Åslund

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

After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Looks at Driving Wedge Between Russia and Iran” – Wall Street Journal

Iran Map and Flag

“… Trump … is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State …. The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile … Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with … Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran – one […]

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New U.S. administration not going to review plans to upgrade nuclear triad – Ryabkov

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 6 (Interfax) – Moscow is not expecting the new United States administration to review its plans to modernize the nuclear triad, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The U.S. is standing at the threshold of the beginning of significant efforts of modernizing its nuclear triad. These plans were announced closer towards the end of Obama’s second term. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Losing everything in Avdiivka; As violence escalates in Eastern Ukraine front, one family copes with losing their livelihood in the shelling.” – Al Jazeera/Christian Borys

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

“… Somewhere in that direction is the heavy gun that fired the shell which destroyed everything for which he had worked. The sounds of the intense fighting in that direction are still audible …. ‘That poor old man,’ says his 71-year-old wife …. ‘He worked his whole life for his family, and now it’s all gone.’ …. * * * […]

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NEWSLINK: “TODAY’S FEAR-MONGERING” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail newspaper writes some good op-eds. But like a lot of commentators he seems to go completely off the rails when the subject of Russia comes up. His latest piece entitled ‘Is Putin scoring political goals on an empty net?’ had me spluttering over my breakfast cereal this morning, and merits a detailed response.”

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Attacks cut water supply to Donetsk

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

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) – Water supply has been cut to Donetsk and, partially, to Makiivka as a result of an attack on a water filtering station, the Donetsk news agency said with reference to the Voda Donbasa company. “The hostilities caused a power outage at the Verkhnekalmiusskaya water filtering station at 9:30 a.m. The fourth grid connection (35 kV […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The sanctions on Russia are working, Mr. President: Don’t lift them prematurely” – The Hill/Alexander Vershbow

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… I have seen many U.S. presidents seek to engage … Russia. While it has never been easy, it was possible to find areas of common ground that increased the security of both sides — as long as the U.S. set clear objectives and stuck with them. … The sanctions are working. … Russia is interested in having sanctions removed. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kiev and Kremlin trade blame over surge in east Ukraine fighting” – Reuters

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

“Ukraine and Russia blamed each other on Tuesday for a surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine … that has led to the highest casualty toll in weeks and cut off power and water to thousands of civilians …. The Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists accuse each other of launching offensives in the government-held industrial town of Avdiyivka and firing heavy […]

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Meeting between Putin, Russian Security Council members involved exchange of opinions on current state of Russian-U.S. relations – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday held an operative meeting with permanent members of the Russian Security Council, presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov told Interfax. “The meeting addressed current issues relating to the internal Russian socio-economic agenda,” Peskov said. “It also addressed the outcome of the Astana negotiations, and also the prospects of further efforts […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S., Russia: A History of Containment” – Stratfor

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“One of the United States’ greatest geopolitical imperatives is to prevent the rise of regional hegemons with the ability to challenge it. Russia’s historical dominance of Eurasia, the Soviet Union’s rise as a superpower after World War II and its resulting political, economic and military rivalry with the United States have long made Russia a target of Washington’s actions abroad. […]

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Putin’s War On The ’90s

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 25, 2017) Vladimir Putin wants to relitigate the 1990s. He seems determined to erase an entire decade. He wants a do-over. He wants backsies. And this, I believe, is one of the keys to understanding the Kremlin leader’s behavior. It explains Putin’s memorable comments that Ukraine, which like the rest of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘VLAD WILL SMASH BRITAIN IN ONE DAY!’; Russians plot to turn UK into Siberian-style labour camp over claims Putin could defeat British Army ‘in a single afternoon’; Report slating the state of the army was met with glee in Moscow and by Russian internet users” – The Sun (UK)/WILL STEWART

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“A report claiming Russia could wipe out the British Army in one day was met with glee in Moscow – with some Russians admitting they want to turn Britain into a giant gulag. … * * * A paper by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) … at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, warned that severe […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: Russia to build full-fledged naval base in Syria

File Photo of Deck of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

#Russia and #Syria signed an agreement to transform the naval repair and docking facility in #Tartus into a full-fledged naval base. Up to 11 Russian warships will be deployed in the eastern Mediterranean within the next few years. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – January 23, 2017) On Jan. 20 Moscow and Damascus signed a […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the U.S. troop buildup in Europe”

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance? …”  

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Moscow Times: Russia Says It Plans to Pivot From Nuclear Deterrence, Avoiding Trump’s Arms Race

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 12, 2017) When it comes to strategic deterrence, Russia might replace its nuclear weapons with precision bombs, in order to help reduce international tensions and strengthen world peace, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a public lecture on Thursday, the news agency RIA Novosti reported. According to Shoigu, Moscow plans to rely on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For 1st time since Cold War, U.S. tanks roll into Russia’s backyard” – CBS

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… All the massive hardware of a U.S. combat brigade arrived in Germany over the weekend, and started rolling east toward Poland, where 4,000 American soldiers will be waiting for it. … the first build-up of American troops and weapons in Europe in almost 30 years … meant, in large part, to reassure America’s nervous allies in Europe that the […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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Lift Russian Sanctions for ‘Positive Developments’ in Ukraine – OSCE Chair

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 9, 2017) Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has called on European leaders to begin lifting sanctions against Russia in exchange for “any positive development” in the Ukrainian crisis. Kurz, a politician for the Austrian People’s Party, claimed that the change in policy would “send a clear signal to Russia.” “My concept is clear. I […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry Appeals for NATO Reset

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The Russian Foreign Ministry has unexpectedly spoken out in favor of a reset with NATO. A representative of the Ministry said it denied seeing the NATO alliance as an anachronism, and expressed a desire to restore relations with the military bloc. “We need to build normal relations with NATO and renew what […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Syria Map

(Kremlin.ru – December 29, 2016) Mr Shoigu and Mr Lavrov briefed the President on work to resolve the Syrian crisis, in particular, agreements reached between the Syrian government and the opposition on a ceasefire and readiness to begin peace talks. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, The news has just come in that this morning, a few hours ago, an […]

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Interfax: DPR reports nearly 1,700 Ukrainian army attacks in past 24 hours

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

DONETSK. Dec 19 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) recorded 1,684 attacks by the Ukrainian military, nine houses were damaged in the past 24 hours, senior officer of the DPR Defense Ministry Eduard Basurin said. “At the same time, the adversary fired 54 122mm caliber artillery shells, 310 120mm and 82mm caliber mines, three tank projectiles, as well […]

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Debates in the West about Putin Now Recall Those in Europe about Hitler in Mid-1930s, Ikhlov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 15, 2016) There has been a dramatic increase in the influence of pro-#Putin forces in the West in recent months, Yevgeny Ikhlov says; but at the same time, there has also emerged in Western societies a real horror about what the #Kremlin leader is doing in #Syria in general and in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Nuclear War Is No Longer ‘Unthinkable’ for Russia; Putin is warning the United States to back off” – The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The newly-released ‘Foreign Policy Concept’ of the #Russian Federation contains some interesting changes and updates. … this document reflects the #Kremlin’s strategic mindset and how it views international relations …. The first is a slight but significant shift in assessing the possibility of the use of #nuclear weapons from ‘unthinkable’ to ‘unlikely.’ While the concept does not anticipate a high […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin made a working trip to Chelyabinsk Region

File Photo of Russian MI-26 Helicopter in Afghanistan with MI-17 Helicopter In Background

(Kremlin.ru – December 5, 2016) The President toured the Makeyev State Rocket Centre in Miass, where he held a meeting on the centre’s activity. Vladimir Putin took part in the launch of a new production line at the Eterno Plant in Chelyabinsk, which produces advanced components for pipe systems using nanotechnology. The Eterno Plant is a joint project of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. reshaping budget to account for Russian military threat” – Reuters

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

Russia’s increasing military activities around the world have unsettled top U.S. military officials … reshaping … budget plans to better address what they now consider to be the most pressing threat …. ‘Russia is the No. 1 threat to the United States. … because of the nuclear aspect, an existential threat …’ Air Force Secretary Deborah James told Reuters …. […]

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russia sets out its policy on terrorism, nuclear war & global ties in new Foreign Policy Concept”

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries. … the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s ‘views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy’ are […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “DON’T MENTION THE WAR”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin approved a new ‘Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation’. Documents like this are aspirational; they reflect what a government would like to do, not what it is able to do. They are also for public consumption; their purpose is to send certain signals to the policy community, both inside and outside of government. Nevertheless, they are up […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Turchynov hopes Trump’s administration approves lethal weapon provision to Ukraine” – Interfax-Ukraine

“National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said he hopes that the new U.S. administration will make a decision on granting lethal weapons to Ukraine. ‘I do think that Ukraine has a chance to get lethal weapons. … The position of the Republican Party towards Ukraine is sufficiently clear and consistent. All their votes in the Congress and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine turns to Tampa group for help setting up new commando HQ” – Tampa Bay Times

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

Commando forces in … Ukraine were decimated … against pro-Russian insurgents and … “little green men” — masked Russian commandos in unmarked army uniforms. … when it came time to rebuild and adjust … Ukrainian officials turned … to the non-profit Global SOF Foundation, a Tampa-based special operations advocacy group. … credited with helping put Ukraine on the right footing […]

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NEWSLINK Harper’s Magazine/Andrew Cockburn: “The New Red Scare; Reviving the art of threat inflation”

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… There would seem to be one major difference between the fine art of threat inflation as practiced during the Cold War and the current approach. In the old days, taxpayers at least got quite a lot for their money, albeit at inflated prices: the 900 ships, the 15,000 planes, and so forth. Things are different today. The so-called global […]

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Russia’s Strategic Calculus: Threat Perceptions and Military Doctrine

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Policy Memo – PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 11, 2016) Dmitry Gorenburg is Senior Research Scientist at CNA Corporation and Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Russian foreign policy is driven by the political elites’ search for a new basis for national self-esteem after the collapse of the […]

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Russia Today Far More Dangerous than USSR Was and West Far Less Ready to Counter It, Analysts Say

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 4, 2016) Russia under Vladimir Putin is far more dangerous to the West than the Soviet Union ever was, two Russian analysts argue; and the West for the moment at least is far less capable of dealing with the challenges and threats the Kremlin leader now poses, according to a third. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Makes U-Turn After Evicting Amnesty From Moscow Office” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

… Amnesty International can return to the Moscow office it was evicted from this week, a Kremlin human rights adviser said on Thursday …. Amnesty has been a vocal critic of Russia over its bombing campaign in Syria and had said it believed the eviction might be part of an official crackdown on civil society groups. … Kremlin officials have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia may be wounded, but it can still bite; The country is in decline, but Vladimir Putin is willing to take bold risks” – Washington Post

Kremlin and River

Whoever wins Tuesday’s presidential election will face an assertive, aggrieved Russia whose risk-taking behavior under … Putin is increasingly worrisome …. pushy, headstrong Russia presents a paradox … most measures … a country in decline, with a sagging economy, an underdeveloped technology base and a shrinking population. Corruption pervades nearly every sector. The collapse of the Soviet Union is still […]

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Russians Are Growing Uneasy About the Kremlin’s War in Syria, New Poll Shows

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – November 3, 2016) Despite Russia’s lack of independent news coverage on Syria and the heavily controlled nature of television, a new poll by the Levada Center suggests that the public is beginning to worry about Moscow’s conflict with the West in Aleppo spinning out of control. “On the whole, most people are […]

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This is not a new Cold War

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Fresh talk of a new Cold War between Russia and the west relies on outdated thinking and ignores new realities. (opendemocracy.net – Anton Shekhovtsov – November 3, 2016) Anton Shekhovtsov is a visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, Austria and editor of the Explorations of the Far Right book series at ibidem-Verlag. Against the background of worsening relations […]

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Containment 2.0

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 31, 2016) And so, I’m back. And while I may not have been visible in this space over the past couple weeks, I have in fact been pretty busy thinking and talking about Russian affairs in various venues in the United States and in Europe. And now is as good a time […]

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Russia’s Use of Military Force as a Foreign Policy Tool: Is There a Logic?

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Samuel Charap – October 19, 2016) Samuel Charap is Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. [PONARS Policy Memo; article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/Pepm443_Charap_Oct2016_4.pdf] Russia has used its military beyond its borders with unprecedented frequency in the period since the invasion of Crimea in February 2014. Depending on how […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Press Conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of the Republic of Italy [excerpt re Russia]

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House Office of the Press Secretary October 18, 2016 Press Conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of the Republic of Italy (excerpt re Russia) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I’m going to be a little more subdued in my discussions of the Republican nominee in this context than I might be on the campaign trail. But let me […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Why the U.S. thinks it could vanquish Russia in Syria without a fight”

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

“Despite the signs that the U.S. and Russia are on the verge of a military confrontation in Syria, Washington is counting on Moscow to back down in the event that it decides to intervene. However, this betrays a lack of understanding both of the significance of Syria for the Kremlin and of the way public opinion is formed in Russia. […]

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