NEWSWATCH: “An Unfinished Bridge, and Partnership, Between Russia and China” – New York Times

Asia Map

The New York Times covers Russo-Chinese relations and delays in Russia fulfilling its part of a joint arrangement to build an international bridge across the Amur River. … The bridge abruptly stops, hanging in the air high above the river just short of the Russian shore at Nizhneleninskoye …. The gap … left by Russia’s failure to build its own, […]

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NATO Can Reduce the Threat of Escalation With Russia

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 7, 2016) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit starting in Warsaw on Friday will probably lead to increased — and unnecessary — tension between NATO and Russia. Yet it may also yield good results: Acknowledging the increased hostility might make it possible for the two sides to ensure there are fewer dangerous […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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No, Russia is not preparing for all-out war; Russia’s snap military mobilisation drills are an internal exercise. But troublesome relations with the west could still have unintended (and unpleasant) consequences.

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – June 21, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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Putin Understands West but West Doesn’t Understand Putin, Moscow Hybrid War Specialist Says

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Russia’s power does “not even come close” to that of the US, Andrey Manoylo says; but Moscow has an advantage “right now” because it understands the value of “asymmetric action” and because “the US clearly has difficulties with predicting Russia’s activities,” because of Washington’s overly simplistic models of Russian […]

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Putin’s New Friendship Offensive Won’t Work Abroad or at Home, Shevtsova Says

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s “main message” at the St. Petersburg economics conference that Moscow “again wants to be friends” with the West will not work either in the West, which has been transformed by the Kremlin leader’s aggressiveness, or at home among Russians because he depends on continued anti-Western mobilization, Liliya […]

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Interfax: Russia trying to avoid confrontation with West – Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. June 15 (Interfax) – Moscow is seeking to avoid confrontation with the United States, NATO, and the European Union, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We are not going to be drawn into confrontation with the U.S., NATO, or the European Union, which is being imposed on us. It’s obvious that confrontational attitudes and geopolitical zero-sum games hinder efforts […]

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Getting Each Other Wrong

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – June 14, 2016) Politicians have to walk the walk in order to be credible. This is even more true in today’s world, given the rise of populist demagoguery and the sorry state of trust between the most important players. The dialogue taking place between Russia, the U.S., […]

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Pravda.ru: West shocked to discover revival of Russian economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Pravda.ru – Lyuba Lulko – May 26, 2016) Western media have started to notice positive changes in the Russian economy. Russia is an attractive country for foreign investors. Domestic investors have been showing signs of life as well – they were ready to buy the stock of Russian Eurobonds. Sanctions no longer frighten people, because there are long-term attractive projects […]

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The Futility of Dialogue With Putin

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

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 100 – Pavel K. Baev – May 23, 2016) The need to keep the channels of dialogue open with an unpredictable Russia is taken as an absolute imperative by many Western politicians. But they are often surprised when this tactic backfires. The foreign ministers of the member states of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia Resents Us” – Patrick Buchanan

Europe Map

… a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. … the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes. … Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it. […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy/DAVID FRANCIS, LARA JAKESA: “‘Sanctions Are a Failue…Let’s Admit That.’ With Europe debating re-opening economic ties to Russia, have U.S. sanctions on Moscow lost their teeth?”

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

NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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Interfax: Russia lost faith in Western leadership due to abuse of its trust – Pushkov

Alexei Pushkov file photo

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – Russia has stopped seeing the West as a leader because the West has abused Russia’s readiness for partnership, Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma committee on international affairs, said. “Russia was not ready to see the West as a leader by the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, specifically, because the West […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How does the Internet fit into Russia’s security strategy? Against the background of continuing confrontation with the West and growing domestic authoritarianism, the Kremlin is continuing on a path of increased state control of the Russian Internet and a significantly expanded view of information security.”

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code » Read more

Russians Adjust to Increasing Poverty like Frogs to Gradually Warming Water, Kirillova Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 23, 2016) It has long been claimed that a frog who might jump out of a port of boiling water will stay quietly in a gradually warming pot, even though as a result, he will end up dead. In a new commentary, Kseniya Kirillova suggests that Russians are adapting to gradually […]

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RBTH: NATO vs. Russia: Why all the recent talk of World War III?

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

British military exercises that may have been carried out with potential deployment in eastern Ukraine in mind, recent comments by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and a BBC film depicting a Russia-NATO nuclear conflict following a pro-Russian uprising in Latvia are all doing their part to further stoke tensions between Moscow and the Atlantic Alliance, when a more measured approach is […]

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The rules of the new ‘Cold War’: Empty words and no retreat

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent speech in Munich openly spoke of relations between Russia and the West in terms of a new “Cold War.” Dialogue between the two sides is now looking increasingly like a rhetorical war of attrition, with neither side on the offensive but neither willing to retreat either. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Keith Darden – January 28, 2016 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/non-west-for-russia-to-lead) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia […]

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Kudrin: Sanctions against Russia could start to ease late 2016-early 2017

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – January 22, 2016) Relations between Russia and the West are normalizing and sanctions will be lifted, Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister, said. “I’m sure the sanctions will start to soften at the end of this year or start of next year. Nobody in Russia wants to keep up confrontation. I think the Minsk accords will be […]

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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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How much are Western sanctions hurting Russia’s economy?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The difficult economic conditions have forced Russian businesses to reassess, which could be a good thing in the long run. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ben Aris – December 21, 2015) Sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis and absorption of Crimea have hurt the country’s economy, but not mortally wounded […]

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Interfax: Russian calls not to impose values on others ignored by West – Putin

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

(Interfax – December 20, 2015) Moscow, 20 December: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he has always warned Western partners against “automatically, mechanically” spreading their ideas about democracy to other countries and nations. “I have spoken to many leaders, both European and American, over many years. And when it came to various operations, in Afghanistan, or in Iraq, or […]

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Russians Want Better Ties With West, But No Change in Policy – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 3, 2015) Amid a standoff over the crisis in Ukraine and ongoing conflict in Syria, most Russians want their country to mend ties with its nemeses even while maintaining its political course, the independent Levada Center pollster said Wednesday. Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a new poll said Russia should […]

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Got a Diplomatic Dilemma? Send in the Clowns

Clown file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Justin Lifflander – December 2, 2015) While some potential visitors have crossed Russia off their list, a group of humanitarian clowns still regards the country as an ideal destination. The 22nd annual clown tour of Russia, which ended last week, brought more than 40 garishly dressed volunteers from 12 countries, including those with problematic relations […]

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Three-quarters of Russians stand for normalizing relations with West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – December 2, 2015) Most Russians (75 percent) think that Russia should normalize relations with the United States and other Western nations, and 16 percent argue the opposite, Levada Center has told Interfax. Ten percent of 1,600 respondents interviewed in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on November 20-23 were undecided. In the opinion of 51 percent of the […]

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Kyiv Must Seek Collapse of Putin Regime, Not ‘Restoration of Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity at Any Price,’ Portnikov Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 20, 2015) Ukrainian commentator Vitaly Portnikov argues that the goal of the Ukrainian government should not be “the restoration of territorial integrity at any price but rather the undermining of the economy of the aggressor country and the collapse of Putin’s political regime” (rus.newsru.ua/columnists/19nov2015/voprossroka.html). Western media say that the EU and […]

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The Beginning of the End of Russia’s Estrangement from the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – November 17, 2015) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of […]

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Russia to Cooperate With West and Syrian Opposition Groups – Putin

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 17, 2015) Following the G20 summit in Turkey, there has been a decline in tension between Russia and the West in the face of new international threats and challenges, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the final G20 press conference, Interfax agency reported Monday. “Life goes forward, things are changing, there are new challenges, […]

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Kremlin’s Campaign against Russophobia Threatens both Russia and the West, Polish Experts Say

Europe Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, November 11, 2015) The Kremlin’s revival of a campaign against what it calls “Russophobia” constitutes a threat not only to Western countries but to Russia’s future as well, according to two Polish experts. As such, they argue, it can properly be described as “a weapon of mass destruction.” In a new study, “Russophobia in the Kremlin’s […]

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Interfax: Foreign Ministry: Russian sub rumors are part of information campaign

Russian Nuclear Submarine

(Interfax – October 27, 2015) Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has described a number of Western military officials’ latest remarks as elements of an information campaign being waged against Russia. “We have encountered a very large-scale, well-orchestrated and strategically structured information campaign aimed at shaping public opinions. The main goal of this campaign is to create an enemy image. […]

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Foreign Investors Complain About Russia’s Unpredictable Laws

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – October 20, 2015) Unpredictable lawmaking is undermining Russia’s ability to attract foreign investors, the Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) – a group of the biggest foreign companies working in Russia – told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. A report by financial services group and FIAC member EY (Ernst & Young) into […]

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75% of Russians see Western countries as adversaries

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – October 14, 2015) Russian citizens negatively assess the U.S. role in the world and feel critical about the level of Russian-U.S. relations, Levada Center told Interfax on Oct. 14. In the opinion of 71 percent of the respondents, the United States is generally playing a negative role in the contemporary world (50 percent in September 2013). Only 4 […]

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Putin looks back to West as China swing chokes

Eurasia Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Jason Corcoran in Moscow – October 14, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is abandoning his much-vaunted pivot to Asian sources of finance, judging by the prominence given to Anglo-American investors during his question & answer session at the VTB Capital conference in Moscow on October 13. A year ago, Western investors were largely absent […]

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It’s Time to Recall Kennan’s Long Telegram and Forget His Later Optimism about Change in Russia

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – August 6, 2015) Staunton, October 3 – George Kennan’s famous “long telegram” of February 1946 was written to explain to Western leaders something they found difficult to understand: how Moscow could turn from being a wartime ally into an implacable enemy, a problem that some Western leaders are again finding it difficult to […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “At UN, Putin talks tough against IS. Will the West work with him? The Russian president bluntly blamed the US for the chaos in the Middle East. But his plan for an alliance against IS may still find some listeners in the West.”

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Interfax: Russia ready to resume constructive dialogue with NATO – envoy Grushko

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Interfax – September 17, 2015) It is NATO that ought to take the first step towards resuming constructive dialogue between military officials of Russia and the alliance, Moscow’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko has said. “Signals have recently been heard from different ‘corners’ in NATO that it would be a good idea to revive Russia-NATO contacts at the military […]

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NEWSWATCH Ottawa Citizen: “The coming war with Russia”

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

The Ottawa Citizen reports on concerns over the prospects for open military conflict between NATO and Russia. A couple of months before he retired in July, the head of Canada’s air force provided a blunt assessment of what might emerge from the current military mission to Ukraine. “We pray that our ongoing NATO mission isn’t accompanied by the escalation of […]

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Kyiv Must Work to Isolate Moscow Rather than Negotiate with It, Yeremenko Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 11, 2015) Up to now, Ukraine has made “a serious error” by trying to negotiate with Russia about the Donbas, Bogdan Yeremenko says. What it should be doing is devoting all its efforts to isolating Russia internationally.  That will have far more impact on Moscow’s behavior than any talks Ukraine might […]

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Western Experts Cry Foul Over Russian Books Published in Their Names

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 10, 2015) Prominent Western experts and journalists accused a Russian publishing house Sunday of pirating their work and printing books using their names without their permission or prior knowledge. Journalists Luke Harding and Edward Lucas and U.S.-based Russia expert Donald Jensen confirmed to The Moscow Times that they did not know […]

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Russia Takes On Louvre, Guggenheim as Putin Fights Pariah Status

Hermitage Museum

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – August 9, 2015) Since it opened in March, the Russian Museum in Malaga, the southern Spanish coastal resort, has been thronged by visitors who line up to see centuries-old icons and works by 20th century avant-garde artists Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Marc Chagall. The St. Petersburg landmark’s only foreign branch is part […]

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Russians split over destruction of banned food imports

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

Russian is to destroy confiscated Western food products that fall under the Russian embargo at the border starting from August 6. According to the presidential decree, embargoed foods will be destroyed both at the border and after being seized from stores. However, some observers are calling on the government not to destroy the products, but give them to the needy. […]

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