NEWSLINK: “Teaching Activities for: ‘Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn'” – New York Times/The Learning Network/Caroline Crosson Gilpin

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

“… Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said. European elections are being targeted, too, and the attacks were not likely to end this year, they warned. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn” – New York Times/MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CHARLIE SAVAGE, MICHAEL WINES

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

“Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats: ‘We’re not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country.’”  

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NEWSLINK: “A Literary Road Trip Into the Heart of Russia; In the land of Tolstoy, Turgenev and now Putin, what are the stories Russians are telling themselves?” – New York Times Magazine/Karl Ove Knausgaard

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

  “… Russia is still an enigmatic country to me. Every day there is news from Russia – we hear about Putin, about his imprisoned dissidents, about his meddling in the elections of his rivals – all of it serving the notion that ‘Russia’ is a singular, comprehensible, clear-cut entity. But what do the people who live inside of that […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian network TV can show Oliver Stone’s ‘The Putin Interviews,’ but election officials wish they’d wait until after the March 18 vote” – Meduza

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

“Update: Pervyi Kanal has canceled the broadcast of the fourth and final installment of Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews.” The state-run TV network has already aired the miniseries’ first two episodes, and a third broadcast on February 14 will go ahead, given that it’s already aired in Russia’s Far East, said a spokesperson for Pervyi Kanal. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “What We’ve Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate; The relentless pursuit of this narrative above all else has had dangerous consequences” – The Nation/Aaron Maté

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“As high-level officials and investigators have repeatedly acknowledged, there is still no evidence so far of coordination between the Trump orbit and the Russian government over the release of stolen e-mails or any other campaign matter. There is only a curious cast of characters that makes for an unlikely conspiracy. …”

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NEWSLINK: “New Role for United Russia. United Russia’s new leader, Andrei Turchak, is asserting the independence of the pro-presidential party as a distinct force in domestic politics. As the ruling regime’s power vertical begins to fragment, United Russia will now seek to take credit for its own contribution to Vladimir Putin’s victory.” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrey Pertsev

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

“… An intriguing role is being played by Andrei Turchak, head of United Russia, who in just a few months has revamped the ruling party. Turchak is the son of Anatoly Turchak, an old acquaintance of Putin. He ascended to the top of the elite by serving as Russia’s youngest governor, of Pskov region. By becoming head of the General […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: THE LONG HANGOVER” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

“Shaun Walker, the Moscow correspondent on The Guardian, has a new book out, entitled The Long Hangover: Putin’s New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past. It advances the thesis that … and this is where I run into a problem because he never explicitly says what his thesis is. But it’s sort of something like this: in an effort […]

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NEWSLINK: “FEAR FOR ALL; Putin’s Opposition Stabbed, Bludgeoned, Burned, Even Attacked With Poison Gas; The police response to these attacks is predictable. Either assailants are never identified, or they are said to have had a personal, not a political, motive” – The Daily Beast

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

“Why did it take a full week for Russian authorities to reveal the brutal murder, on Jan. 26, of 53-year-old St. Petersburg political activist Konstantin Sinitsyn? To give it a little time before shock waves emerged? In fact, there were few shock waves, even among Russia’s community of democratic oppositionists, because Sinitsyn’s murder was just another in a growing list […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Zombie Election; The Russian election is a horrorshow put on by an undead political system” – The Baffler/Natalia Antonova

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

“Natalia Antonova is a Ukrainian-American writer, journalist, and co-founder of the Anti-Nihilist Institute. She recently came back to the United States after working for seven years as a reporter and playwright in Moscow.”

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. policy doc hints at ‘limited’ nuclear arms use, alarming Russians” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

“Russians read a new Pentagon policy document as allowing the use of nuclear weapons outside the bounds of ‘mutually assured destruction’ … The new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the Pentagon … has been received [in Moscow] with shock, and even a touch of fear, because for the first time in almost three decades it appears to talk about […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why Putin’s foreign policy adventures will backfire” – Aspen Institute (Italy)/Ivan Nechepurenko

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

“… Russia’s inflated presence on the world arena feeds the internal propaganda machine. … Putin is … now facing a dilemma: his bullish foreign policy coups made him even more popular among the Russians. However, these coups have created an appetite for more foreign adventures. This fixation on foreign policy will become increasingly difficult to afford ….”

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NEWSLINK: “Why does Trump hate Russia?” – The Hill/Frank R. Gunter

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… has Trump helped Russia? The economic, political and diplomatic evidence supports a negative view – Trump’s actions have severely damaged Putin’s Russia. The collapse of energy prices since 2014 devastated the Russian economy. It is generous to call Russia an industrial state. It is more like a developing country in that its exports are dominated by raw materials such […]

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NEWSLINK: “2018 election is no problem for Putin – but what about 2024? Vladimir Putin dominates Russian politics, but legally he can only serve two terms” – The Guardian/Shaun Walker

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

“… With nothing much at stake this time around, the Kremlin’s most pressing problem for the 2018 vote is ensuring enough people show up on polling day to make the turnout percentage respectable – which the opposition are trying to bring down through calls for a boycott. The problems on the 2024 horizon are far more serious. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Perils of Change: Russians’ Mixed Attitudes Toward Reform” – Carnegie Moscow/ANDREI KOLESNIKOV, DENIS VOLKOV

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

“Summary: Most Russian citizens do not express a strong desire for sweeping change and do not have in mind a specific road map for reforms. And yet most Russians understand that the country cannot move forward, or even stay in place, without reforms. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Lost in memo frenzy, White House passed on punishing Russia for 2016 meddling” – The Hill/STEPHEN BLANK

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Stephen Blank is a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College.”  

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NEWSLINK: “Bedroom hackers bigger threat than Russia, regulator says” – Daily Telegraph (UK)/Hayley Dixon

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

“Government departments should be more worried about teenage bedroom hackers than state-sponsored cyber terrorists, the Information Commissioner has warned. In a speech to the heads of the civil service and other public bodies, Elizabeth Denham said that most breaches are preventable and bosses should consider the reputational damage as well as financial losses. But rather than panicking about rogue states such as […]

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NEWSLINK: “How top U.S. diplomat pushed back against Russian hacking; Victoria Nuland recalls the moment ‘the hairs went up on the back of our necks.'” – Politico.eu/SUSAN B. GLASSER

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

“By the summer of 2016, Victoria Nuland’s ‘Spidey sense’ told her something was very wrong. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Low Energy Superpower: Russia’s Dim Growth Prospects” – Bear Market Blog/Joseph Webster

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Few Russians are nostalgic for the nightmarish 1990s, a time when GDP fell by approximately 40%, inflation skyrocketed, and life expectancies tumbled. While history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes: Russia won’t relive the nightmarish 1990s, but the pattern of declining living standards in contemporary Russia increasingly resembles the last decade of the 20th century. Russia will likely suffer a […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Twitter Bots and Trump Fans Made #ReleaseTheMemo Go Viral” – Politico/MOLLY K. MCKEW

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

“Russian bots and their American allies gamed social media to put a flawed intelligence document atop the political agenda. That should alarm us.”  

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IN MEMORIAM [Link]: “Donald Barry Obituary” – Legacy.com

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“Donald D. Barry, 83 of Bethlehem, died January 31, 2018 at home surround by his family. Born in East Cleveland, Ohio, he was the son of the late Ruth May Barry and John L. Barry. Don was educated at Ohio University and Syracuse University. During his time in graduate school he spent a year at Moscow University in the early […]

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NEWSLINK: “Pentagon Says Russia Is Building Nuclear Torpedo Described as “Doomsday” Weapon” – Slate/Daniel Politi

Russian Nuclear Submarine

“[A] Pentagon document * * * publicly acknowledge[s] for the first time that Russia is ‘developing … a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.’ Known as a ‘Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System’ many analysts have described it as a ‘doomsday’ weapon … theoretically … [with] the capacity to destroy an entire coastal city. … ‘essentially a drone-type device fired underwater […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Nunes memo shows the opposite of what Trump hoped it would prove” – Washington Post

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… The memo argues that the FBI may have abused special spying authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), obtaining a warrant to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page using information from the controversial Steele dossier, a collection of allegations about Mr. Trump and his circle assembled by a former British intelligence agent with funding from Democrats. The memo […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin: From Oligarch to Kleptocrat” – New York Review of Books/Ruth May

Vladimir Putin

“… Putin’s real intention—and not from the day he entered the Kremlin, but from the day he left Dresden—was to reassert the authority of the autocratic state. …”

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NEWSLINK: “DC Think Tanks Fail To Deliver Russian ‘Sanctions’ Smackdown, Market Up” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

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

“… The bulk of the names on the list, including Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, VTB Bank president Andrey Kostin, and metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska, were all names on ‘black’ and ‘gray’ lists circulating between the State Department and Washington think tanks for months. Treasury said that the appearance on the list does not mean they are banned from traveling to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Washington added every Russian billionaire to its ‘list of oligarchs.’ Does that make sense? Who are these ‘oligarchs’?” – Meduza

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

“1. What Happened? … 2. Who does Washington consider an “oligarch” in Russia? … 3. But who are “oligarchs” really? It is just very rich business people? … 4. Who are Russia’s oligarchs? Where’d they come from? … 5. Is this the only definition of “oligarchy”? … 6. Does Russia have “oligarchs” today? …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia ‘will target US mid-term elections’ says CIA chief” – BBC/Gordon Corera

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“Even though there has been co-operation in counter-terrorism (the CIA helped stop a plot in St Petersburg last year) … Pompeo says he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary, sharing the concerns in many European countries about its subversion. ‘I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their activity,’ … Asked if his concerns extended to the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections […]

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NEWSLINK: “The name of the game is cruelty. Why Russia’s State Duma wants to ban a ‘baiting stations’ in the training of hunting dogs, and why the Senate is opposed.” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“In mid-January, the State Duma created a mediation committee to review draft legislation that would ban ‘baiting stations,’ where hunting dogs are trained to attack leashed wild animals. Co-sponsored by Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, the bill passed the lower house of Russia’s parliament in December 2017, before running into rare opposition from the Federation Council, which soon voted down the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Project Inertia: The Outlook for Putin’s Fourth Term” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrei Kolesnikov

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Do not expect modernization after Putin’s 2018 reelection. Instead, the system he built will function on autopilot as the Russian leader continues to lose direct control over events, ideas, and actions. But that doesn’t imply democratization. In essence, the head of state finds himself chained to the galley that he built himself”

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NEWSLINK: “STALIN, PADDINGTON, AND THE PRESS” – irrussianality/Paul Robinson

File Photo of Reel of Film

“What do Josef Stalin and Paddington Bear have in common? Answer: The Russian Ministry of Culture has tried to ‘ban’ films about them – or at least that what recent headlines would have you believe. The truth is a bit more complex. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Was This Russian General Murdered Over the Steele Dossier? The notorious dossier on Trump that Republicans want to discredit may well have been credible enough in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes to get at least one person killed” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

NEWSLINK: “Russia faces 6 more years of stagnation under Putin” – CNN/ Alanna Petroff

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russian President Vladimir Putin looks set to win re-election in March, extending his stay in the Kremlin to 2024. For Russia’s economy, that likely means six more years of anemic growth. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Ksenia Sobchak has the signatures she needs to join Russia’s presidential race” – Meduza

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

  “… Currently, the only two presidential candidates formally registered to appear on the ballot in March are LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovskyand the Community Party’s candidate, Pavel Grudinin. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Containing Russia, Again; An Adversary Attacked the United States-It’s Time to Respond” – Foreign Affairs/ Robert D. Blackwill, Philip H. Gordon

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election – and in U.S. politics and society more generally – grows. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Do Russians Want Change?” – Carnegie Moscow/Andrei Kolesnikov, Denis Volkov

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

“Russians do not express an overwhelming desire for change. Few understand how it could occur in their country. But most recognize that Russia cannot move forward without reform. In Russia, hoping for change often appears to be a lost cause. The public’s social expectations are seldom high, and they often get what they expect: very little. But Russia’s upcoming March […]

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NEWSLINK: “From Siberia to Crimea: The Revenge of History in U.S.-Russian Relations; One is tempted to conclude that the Washington foreign-policy establishment has learned little over the past century” – The National Interest/ Lyle J. Goldstein

Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier, Crimea, Ukraine, 1855; adapted from image at loc.gov; Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer;

“… What were more than 7,000 ‘doughboys’ doing in Siberia at the end of the First World War? To make a long and complex story-explored in detail by such luminaries as George Kennan-a bit shorter, the intervention by a large group of allied powers was not simply anti-Bolshevik, but was premised at the outset as a wartime operation to prevent […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Break From a Recession Was Fleeting” – Bloomberg/ Anna Andrianova

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“After suffering its longest economic contraction this century, Russia may just have had the shortest recovery. JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the world’s biggest energy exporter probably capped last year with two consecutive quarters of contraction — or a technical recession — a surprise cooldown that ranged from struggling consumer spending to a flop in industrial output. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The DNC: Swimming In Malware But Never Once Targeted” – Medium/ Jeffrey Carr

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

  “… As I and other cybersecurity researchers have pointed out, malware is shared. The concept of ‘exclusive use’ is an unsubstantiated myth. The differences in how the DNC and Joint Staff networks were breached versus the White House and State Department suggest an alternative theory that makes more sense; i.e., that malware developed by Russian-speaking hackers for use by […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump’s Russia Ambassador: U.S.-Russia Relations ‘Done’ if Kremlin Meddles in 2018 Elections; Jon Huntsman tells a room full of lawmakers that Russia is very much on course to play a disruptive role again” – DailyBeast/ Andrew Desiderio

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil » Read more

NEWSLINK: “Now Shaking Up Russia: The Bernie Bro Taking on Putin on His Home Turf; The strategist for a socialite candidate running what’s seemed a quixotic campaign against Putin for the presidency already has handed the Kremlin some surprises” – DailyBeast/ Anna Nemtsova

Kremlin and River » Read more
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