NEW BOOK NEWSLINK: “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age” – Wilson Center

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Please join us for an exclusive look at The Perfect Weapon … In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee …    

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NEWSLINK: “Mattis slams Russia, says Putin ‘attempts to undermine America’s moral authority'” – CNN/Ryan Browne

James Mattis file photo

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis slammed Russia on Friday, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘attempts to undermine America’s moral authority’ and ‘seeks to shatter NATO.’… ‘For the first time since World War II, Russia has been the nation that has redrawn international borders by force in Georgia and Ukraine while pursuing veto authority over their neighbors’ diplomatic, economic and security […]

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NEWSLINK: “After forging new ties with North Korea, Trump administration turns to Russia” – Washington Post/John Hudson, Greg Jaffe, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey

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

“Days after a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Trump administration is forging ahead with new engagements with another longtime adversary: Russia. … Trump is expected to meet with … Putin next month while he is in Europe for a NATO summit, according to a senior administration official and two diplomats familiar with his schedule. In […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Aging and Inexperienced: Why Russia’s World Cup Squad Is Doomed to Fail; Critics say the team is drawn from the worst generation in the history of Russian football” – Moscow Times/Evan Gershkovich

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… When the final whistle sounded, jeers and whistles rang out from the stands … filled almost entirely with home supporters.  Going into its first domestic World Cup, Russia has now gone without a win in its last seven matches. … drawing against Turkey … losing to Austria — both of which failed to qualify — in its final two […]

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NEWSLINK: “THE EARLY CHAPTERS; Books on the Russia scandal focus on the news. What they need is more history” – Washington Post/Carlos Lozada

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

“… None of the works on Trump and Russia is comprehensive; the appeal of one or another depends on the angles you obsess over and the blind spots you ignore. …” * * * THE FUTURE IS HISTORY How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia By Masha Gessen. Riverhead. 515 pp. $28 COLLUSION Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Bullying the Big Cities: The Kremlin’s New Approach” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrey Pertsev

Russia Regions Map

“The regional unification of record-high presidential election results has closed the Kremlin bureaucrats’ eyes to the diversity of different parts of the country, their elites, and the preferences of their electorates. In this model, regional masters of balance and public politics are extraneous. But the expulsion of old regional barons is risky: the banner of public pushback and local patriotism […]

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked” – Reuters

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

“The top U.S. counterintelligence official is advising Americans traveling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. … William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travelers ….”   […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller asks to secure evidence in ‘Putin chef’ case, citing Russian intelligence and ongoing interference operations” – Washington Post/Spencer S. Hsu

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Federal prosecutors say they believe operations to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing and want a court to tightly control how evidence gathered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Internet trolling in 2016 is shared with a Russian company accused of helping to mislead American voters. … The filing seeking a protective order for documents came in proceedings […]

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NEWSLINK: “The World Cup Is Coming To Russia, Which Means Stray Dogs Are Being Slaughtered” – Deadspin/Karim Zidan

File Photo of Dog at Animal Shelter Jumping Up on Person in Winter Clothing, With Beseeching Look

“… The culling of stray animals has even caused a schism within the Russian population. 1.8 million people signed a petition against the killing of stray animals, while protests are being held in several cities. Even notable Russian actors have spoken out against the campaigns. However, while the brutal slaughter of stray animals has been met with significant domestic and […]

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NEWSLINK: “David Dimbleby on a Russia in crisis and the holes in President Putin’s defence” – The Times (UK)

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

“With coercion and cunning propaganda, the president has kept Russians in line. But on a pre-World Cup visit David Dimbleby finds money is running out and the Kremlin’s cultivation of a siege mentality is starting to backfire”

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NEWSLINK: “Are Russia’s soccer fans dangerous? In the West, many people are wondering if mass brawls among fans will mark the World Cup in Russia” – Deutsche Welle

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Russian fans have a negative image in Europe, with many remembering the riots in Marseille during the 2016 European Cup.”  

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup; Long before anyone had heard of Christopher Steele or a “p[**] tape,” there was an investigation into FIFA corruption” – New York Times/Ken Bensinger

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… In stark contrast to England, Russia appeared profoundly unqualified to host a monthlong tournament expected to draw well over three million spectators. For starters, Russia didn’t have a great soccer tradition; its team hadn’t even qualified to play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks to an embarrassing loss to Slovenia. More important, it didn’t have adequate stadiums […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tomorrow Putin answers Russians’ questions on live TV. Here’s what his performance will tell us” – Washington Post/Christine E. Evans/Susanne Wengle

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

“… Many observers describe these shows as entirely fake, and ‘Direct Line’ is indeed a highly staged and controlled event: Journalists have reported on this year’s preparations and the elaborate rehearsals that those selected to appear undergo. If we look closely at the interactions between Putin and citizens and compare this show with previous ones – this will be the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Top Russian pundit calls for Palestine talks in Moscow” – Asia Times/M.K. BHADRAKUMAR

Map of Israel, Palestine, Holy Land

“In an interview with the influential Russian daily Izvestiya, the well-known ‘Orientalist’ scholar and establishment figure, Vitaly Naumkin, has floated the startling idea that Moscow must play a role in resolving the Palestinian problem. He said, ‘Moscow has long urged for [organizing] a top-level meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Russia, on a Moscow platform. It is necessary to turn […]

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NEWSLINK: “Translating “The Americans,” and Seeing a Mirror of My Own American Experience” – The New Yorker/Masha Gessen

“… I immigrated to the United States with my parents in 1981, the year the show begins. … * * * In its quest for uncanny accuracy, ‘The Americans’ was full of lessons about Russia, spies, the Cold War, and life. The most important of these, surely, is that eternity will come crashing down when you least expect it to.”

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NEWSLINK: “Who Killed the Kiev Protesters? A 3-D Model Holds the Clues. A team of civilian investigators used cellphone videos, autopsy reports and surveillance footage to reconstruct a virtual crime scene.” – New York Times Magazine/Mattathias Schwartz

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… Most of the deaths occurred within half an hour along a few hundred feet of streetscape. The scene unfolded before dozens of cameramen, smartphones and security cameras. But these recorded fragments from the day were overshadowed by a fight over what they really showed: The claims of grief-stricken activists, who blamed the Ukrainian paramilitary for shooting the protesters, collided […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin’s Russia Became Mafia Heaven; Inside the long, strange story of organized crime taking over the former Soviet Union-and how Russia tamed it only to unleash it on the West. [re: Mark Galeotti]” – ViceCom/Seth Ferranti

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

“…  Putin is engaged in this kind of political war with the West—he’s effectively trying to weaponize Russian organized crime against the west. We have seen Russian-based organized crime groups being used to kill enemies of his, to gather intelligence, to move spies across boarders, and raise money for Putin by supporting particular groups or media outlets that he likes […]

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JRL NEWSLINK: “F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware” – New York Times/Louis Lucero II

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Hoping to thwart a sophisticated malware system linked to Russia that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, the F.B.I. has made an urgent request to anybody with one of the devices: Turn it off, and then turn it back on. The malware is capable of blocking web traffic, collecting information that passes through home and office routers, and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Ridiculous To Say FBI Spying Meant To Protect The Trump Campaign; The decision to use Stefan Halper as an informant instead of a messenger cannot possibly be considered a favor to the Trump campaign. It’s as insulting as it is ridiculous to assert.” – The Federalist/Jason Beale

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Jason Beale (a pseudonym) is a retired U.S. Army interrogator and strategic debriefer with 30 years experience in military and intelligence interrogation and human intelligence collection operations. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “The Battle Against Kremlin Propaganda Network RT” – Daily Beast/Jamie Ross

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

“The Kremlin-funded news channel RT is facing an existential threat in one of its most important target markets. An onslaught of 10 simultaneous investigations into alleged breaches of impartiality laws leave it in serious danger of losing its broadcasting license in the United Kingdom. After years of broadcasting a pro-Russian take on the day’s news to a small but loyal band […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin Hazed Me: How I Was Stalked, Harassed and Surveilled by Kremlin Stooges; In my first year in Moscow, I witnessed the unraveling of the U.S.-Russia Reset firsthand” – Politico/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… it became clear that my family and I were being followed. I had been in Moscow as ambassador then for less than a year. As I wrote to the head of our security team on October 7, ‘My guards informed me that I was followed today while attending my son’s soccer game. And they then kept with us as […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Definitive Story Of How Trump’s Team Worked The Trump Moscow Deal During The Campaign” – Buzzfeed

Donald Trump

“… Talks to construct the 100-story building continued …. The tower — a sheer, glass-encased obelisk situated on a river — would have soared above every other building in Moscow …. the sharply angled skyscraper would have climaxed in a diamond-shaped pinnacle emblazoned with the word “Trump,” putting his name atop the continent’s tallest structure. …”    

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NEWSLINK: “Approval of Russia investigation slips as Trump’s ramped-up attacks solidify his base against it” – Los Angeles Times/Chris Megerian, Noah Bierman

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“One year into the Russia investigation … Mueller … works away, mostly silent. … Trump and his allies have been anything but, and they’ve had some success in undermining public confidence in the sprawling inquiry. Though the investigation has reached deeper into his inner circle, Trump’s approval ratings lately have ticked slightly higher, despite remaining at historic lows for a […]

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NEWSLINK 2007: “David Johnson in the Moscow News [11 years ago]” – Sean’s Russia Blog/Sean Guillory/Moscow News

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

“Since the merits of David Johnson and his, in my opinion, indispensable Johnson’s Russia List is such a hot topic of debate, I point readers to his interview in the Moscow News. It is rare that we actually hear what the man behind JRL actually thinks about Russia. Most of the time critics infer his views from the copious numbers […]

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NEWSLINK: “Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94” – New York Times/William Grimes

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“Richard Pipes, the author of a monumental, sharply polemical series of historical works on Russia, the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik regime, and a top adviser to the Reagan administration on Soviet and Eastern European policy, died on Thursday at a nursing home near his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 94. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Never-ending Russia probe could fuel GOP’s midterm message” – Fox News/Alex Pappas

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“As … Mueller’s probe hits the one-year mark … Republicans in midterm elections have started to see an opportunity to use the Trump controversy to their advantage … appealing to voters tired of the never-ending investigation.  Candidates in some GOP primaries this year already have worked to woo Trump supporters by arguing it’s time to end the Russia probe. Other […]

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NEWSLINK: “See Which Facebook Ads Russians Targeted to People Like You” – New York Times/Keith Collins

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Congress last week released thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russia that ran through the 2016 presidential election, the most comprehensive look to date at the misinformation campaign mounted on the social network. Choose from the options below to see which ads were targeted to people like you or those you know, down to age, location and interests. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s ‘Brain Drain’ and the Prospects for Regime Transformation” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/Gordon M. Hahn

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

“The U.S. government … is claiming a sharp spike in asylum claims from Russian citizens, hitting a 24-year high in 2017 …. One of the main drivers of revolutionary forms of democratic regime transformation, according to contemporary social science, is the lack of sufficient social mobility for middle class youth that often emerges in authoritarian countries with high or rising […]

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NEWSLINK: “England fans at World Cup ‘at risk of blackmail from Russian mafia hookers’; There are fears gangsters could threaten to send incriminating pictures to fans’ wives or post them on social media” – The Daily Mirror (UK)/Tom Davidson

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… ‘It’s not just the Russian government we have to be fearful of when it comes to England fans.  It is also the Russian mafia who we know exploit sex, and use the internet and dating, to offer women in order to blackmail customers.’ …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Michael McFaul: The smear that killed the ‘reset’; Putin needed an American enemy. He picked me.” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Michael McFaul, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Hoover fellow at Stanford University, was the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. He is the author, most recently, of ‘From Cold War to Hot Peace.’ …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Senators: Extent of Russian election intrusion still unknown” – Washington Post/AP, Mary Clare Jalonick, Christina A. Cassidy

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

“The United States still doesn’t know — and may never know — the extent of Russian interference in state election systems in 2016, according to bipartisan findings released Tuesday by the Senate intelligence committee. … The committee found that in at least six states ‘Russian-affiliated cyber actors’ conducted ‘malicious access attempts on voting-related websites’ that went beyond routine scanning previously […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. trains troops for front line in ‘hybrid war’ with Russia” – CBS

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

“… The U.S. is supporting its ally Ukraine in a war against Russian-backed militants. The rebels have seized swathes of territory in eastern Ukraine since 2014, in a conflict that’s killed 10,000 people by some counts. … Ukraine says thousands of Russians are fighting in the east, alongside the rebels. Moscow has repeatedly denied it’s involved in the conflict ….”

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NEWSLINK: “The Quiet Americans Behind the U.S.-Russia Imbroglio; Can Washington’s ‘Russia hands’ help explain why the post-Cold War relationship has gone off the rails?” – New York Times Magazine/Keith Gessen

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“The strangest Russian political scandal so far this year – a year that hasn’t lacked for them – revolves around a Belarusian escort named Anastasia Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka. Rybka, whose pseudonym means “little fish,” is a prolific Instagrammer, a teacher of “sex workshops” and the author of a how-to book, “Who Wants to Seduce a […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Navy is resurrecting a fleet to protect the East Coast and North Atlantic from Russia” – Washington Post/Alex Horton

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“The U.S. Navy has reactivated a fleet responsible for overseeing the East Coast and North Atlantic — an escalation of the Pentagon’s focus on a resurgent Russia and its expanding military presence. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Vladimir Putin starts new term with call to modernise Russia; President says Moscow will address domestic reforms while upholding global interests” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

Kremlin and River

“… Putin said that while Russia would continue to uphold its interests on the international stage, his priority now lay in internal development. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “How Western Sanctions Will Alter Ties Between Russian Big Business and the Kremlin” – Carnegie Moscow/Tatyana Stanovaya

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

“The United States’ latest round of sanctions has hit Russia hard. In the future, the Russian state will have to share the emerging risks and minimize socioeconomic consequences for the impacted regions and industries. This will lead to a new wave of property redistribution based upon state – not economic – interests. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Popular Putin prepares for Cold War 2.0; As US-led Western hostility against Moscow mounts, Vladimir Putin’s new government is bound to be a war cabinet” – Asia Times/Pepe Escobar

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

“… Putin is expected to announce a new government. And a bombshell is in the making. The new cabinet is bound to be a Stavka: that is, a war cabinet. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Revealed: UK’s push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance; Exclusive: ministers will use series of summits to pursue containment strategy and urge rethink of diplomatic dialogue” – The Guardian (UK)/Patrick Wintour

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

“The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin’s aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria. British diplomats plan to use four major summits this year – […]

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NEWSLINK: “NATO Prepares for War With Russia With Simulated Naval and Cyberattacks” – Newsweek/Cristina Maza

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… As tensions ratchet up between Moscow and the West, NATO countries, especially those like Estonia that border Russia, are increasingly preparing for the worst. The Locked Shields live-fire cyber exercise is a key part of that preparation. …”

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NEWSLINK: “From Cold War to Hot Peace” – Medium/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… What happened? How did we go from toasting the Reset in Prague in 2010 to lamenting its end in Moscow just two years later? Nothing fundamental had changed in our policy toward Russia. Nor had Russia done anything abroad that might trigger new animosity — that would come later. The one obvious change between these two meetings was Russia’s leadership. Medvedev […]

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UKRAINELINK: “With influence activities exposed, Kremlin acts even more boldly – Estonian intel chief” – UNIAN

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

“The fact that Russian influence operations were thrust into the public limelight with revelations of Moscow’s interference with U.S. elections did not deter the Kremlin; on the contrary – it takes pride in it, according to Mikk Marran, Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. From the Kremlin’s perspective, influence operations are ‘cheap, reliable and essential,’ Marran wrote ….” […]

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NEWSLINK: “Eurasia torn between war and peace; Iran’s top trading partner is China, while Tehran and Moscow have been improving ties as the three countries move closer to cementing a solid alliance” – Asia Times/Pepe Escobar

Asia Map

“… China is Iran’s top trading partner – especially because of its energy imports. Iran for its part is a major food importer. Russia aims to cover this front. Chinese companies are developing massive oil fields in Yadavaran and North Azadegan. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) took a significant 30% stake in a project to develop South Pars – the largest […]

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NEWSLINK: “Q&A: Ukraine’s Got Javelins Now. So What?” – Atlantic Council/Melinda Haring

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

“On April 30, the U.S. Department of State confirmed … the delivery of Javelin antitank missile systems to Ukraine. This issue has been long-standing: the Obama administration refused to send the weapons to Kyiv, while President Donald Trump changed course. Some experts warn that giving Ukraine lethal defensive weapons will only enrage the Russians and escalate the war, while others, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Meet The Russians Behind Your Blockchain (And Cryptocurrency, Too)” – Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… Russian tech companies are not sanctioned. So far there is no Iron Curtain. Russians are behind some of the most successful blockchain platforms in the world. The Russians also dominate the cryptocurrency mining space. Go to a blockchain conference, and there are sure to be Russian miners dominating the exhibition hall. …”

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