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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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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NEWSWATCH: “Putin launches another term as Russia’s president. It might even be his last.” – Washington Post/Anton Troianovski, Amie Ferris-Rotman

Putin Descending a Staircase

“… Putin, already the longest serving leader of Russia since Stalin, launched a fourth presidential term on Monday in which he has promised to improve Russian lives at home while showing no sign of backing down in his confrontation with the West ….” Click here for: “Putin launches another term as Russia’s president. It might even be his last.” – […]

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Russia Tells Its Study-Abroad Students: It’s Time To Come Home

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 17, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-tells-its-study-abroad-students-it-s-time-to-come-home/29173184.html) A Russian government agency is calling on Russians studying at universities abroad to come home to continue their studies, a campaign that appears tied to the sharp downward spiral in relations between Moscow and the West. Rossotrudnichestvo, which is tasked with overseeing […]

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Russia haunts the western imagination; The dividing line between authoritarian Russia and liberal democracies is growing ever thinner.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Ivan Krastev – April 16, 2018) Ivan Krastev is Visiting Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Programmes at The Graduate Institute and Geneva Permanent Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna. He is also Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia. He is author of After Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). If a Martian were sent to earth with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

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

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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Interfax: Russian foreign policy expert says relations with West at new low [Fyodor Lukyanov]

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

(Interfax – March 26, 2018) Relations between Russia and the West have reached an unprecedented crisis, according to the head of an influential Russian foreign affairs think-tank. Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, was commenting on the expulsion of diplomats from EU countries and the USA in response to the Skripal poisoning. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s been waging war on the West for years. We just haven’t noticed. It’s way past time for the United States and its allies to get serious about Putin’s aggression.” – Washington Post/Max Boot

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

“… The war arguably began in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, a pro-Western country that sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and was anxious to join NATO. Rather than punishing Vladimir Putin for his aggression, the Obama administration later responded with a “reset” of relations. …”

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NEWSLINK: “COPENHAGEN CONFERENCE” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

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

“… I participated in a conference in Copenhagen to launch a book entitled ‘The New Cold War’, edited by Danish MP Marie Krarup and consisting of interviews she conducted with 17 experts about Russian-Western relations. … I spoke straight after the defence minister. I made three main points … “

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NEWSLINK: “Expansion, Sanctions, and Opposition-Promotion: the West’s Failed Russian Transformation Strategy” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/ Gordon M. Hahn

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

“… The West’s post-Ukraine crisis sanction meanwhile are intended to undermine the regime from above. The hope in Washington and Brussels is that by pressuring state and private oligarchs close to Putin or the Kremlin, some may withdraw their support and seek either to remove Putin in a coup or join the opposition and remove him in a revolution or […]

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NEWSLINK: “Richard Sakwa: The Key Challenge for Russia is to Avoid Inflicting Damage on Itself” – Rethinking Russia/Richard Sakwa Interviewed by Pavel Koshkin

“Rethinking Russia sat down with University of Kent’s Professor Richard Sakwa to discuss his new book Russia Against The Rest, its relations with the West, its role in a new world order as well as its greatest challenges in 2018. … On Jan. 30, The U.S. Treasury released the Kremlin Report, which contains a list of 220 Russian officials and […]

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Surkov’s ‘Crisis of Hypocrisy’ Not Just in the West but in Russia Too, Inozemtsev Says

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 8, 2017) In an essay posted on the RT portal yesterday, Vladislav Surkov argues that the West is suffering from “a crisis of hypocrisy” in which people are no longer prepared to accept the shibboleths of the past and are demanding a clearing away of the existing political and social system […]

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Mark Galeotti on Russia (facebook page)

Europe Map

(Mark Galeotti on Russia – facebook page – facebook.com/markgaleottionrussia/ – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of facebook post should load below, or click here to go to post on facebook, with accompanying comments]  

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Fred Weir (facebook profile)

Europe Map

(Fred Weir – facebook profile – https://www.facebook.com/fred.weir – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of abbreviated facebook post should load below; or click here for direct link to full post on facebook, with accompanying comments]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy boss: sanctions no longer bite” – AP

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Maxim Oreshkin … [said that] the Russian economy is on track to grow at least 2 percent this year. That would be a first after 2014, when the economy sank into recession driven by sinking oil prices and sanctions over Russian actions in Ukraine. … he said, ‘we see more willingness on the Asian side to work with us.’ He wouldn’t […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Contact averts conflict. Why Russia is foolish not to invite NATO observers to its war games. Instead, the biggest exercises in Europe since the cold war will be conducted amid secrecy and mistrust.” – The Economist editorial

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… Russia will hold … the biggest military exercise in Europe since the end of the cold war. According to NATO estimates … involv[ing] at least 100,000 troops …. Revived from Soviet times by … Putin … the Zapad (West) drills … take place every four years. … the Kremlin insists that the scenarios … are purely defensive [but] that is not always how they have looked […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Front Line Drawn Across Russia’s Backyard” – Stratfor

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Globalization has changed how we think about time, space and distance, but geography is still the same where it counts: national security. … former Soviet states lining Russia’s border know this better than most … their proximity to the eastern giant renders them more vulnerable to Moscow’s hybrid warfare …. Nations like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova sit on the front line of […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Ministry statement in connection with anniversaries in Russia-NATO relations”

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

“These days we will mark 20 years of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which Russia and NATO signed in Paris on May 27, 1997, and 15 years of the declaration titled Russia-NATO Relations: A New Quality, which was adopted at the Russia-NATO summit meeting in Rome on May 28, 2002. We have to point out that […]

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Moscow’s Main Agent Is Hype

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – May 12, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapital. In an election seen by many in Europe […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Easter’s East-West divide: What are the differences?”

File Image of Resurrection of Christ by Raphael, adapted from image at loc.gov

This year, Western and Eastern Christians are celebrating Easter on the same day, on April 16, and it won’t happen again until 2025. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ROMAN LUNKIN, FOR RBTH – April 14, 2017) Nikolai Gogol, the famous 19th century Russian author who preferred living in Italy, wrote that Russia celebrates Easter unlike anywhere else. He […]

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NEWSLINK: “SELECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE AIM” – Irrussianality/ Paul Robinson

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

“… the first ‘principle of war’ as taught to British and Canadian military officers is ‘selection and maintenance of the aim’. Pick a bad aim, or fail to maintain a good aim and instead get sidetracked into pursuing something else, and failure will almost certainly ensue. …”

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NEWSLINK: “WEAPONIZING COMEDY” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Satellite Dishes

“… The basic conclusion of the report is that in Russia, ‘the entire “official humour industry” … is directly Kremlin-controlled’. Working for the Kremlin, Russian comedians use humour to reduce their compatriots’ stress and make them feel more comfortable and thus more accepting of the political system. They provide audiences with a positive sense of social identity, which is contrasted […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Will the U.S. and Russia dance or duel? Why Russia is playing a more muscular role in the world and how that may prevent closer ties between Trump and Putin.” – Christian Science Monitor/Peter Ford

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

“Twenty years ago, Russia was a member of the Group of Eight industrialized democracies, a NATO partner, and a fledgling but enthusiastic new recruit to a budding ‘new world order.’ Today, Russia has been kicked out of the G8, NATO has suspended all cooperation with Moscow, and … Putin says his nation is engaged in a ‘civilizational’ battle with the West […]

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NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

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

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: SHOULD WE FEAR RUSSIA? [re: Dmitri Trenin]” – Paul Robinson/Irrussianality

Kremlin and River

“… Trenin’s answer to the question posed by his book is a bit of a ‘no’ and a bit of a ‘yes’. Russia isn’t a ‘threat’, he says, but its policies do pose a ‘challenge’ to the West, and are likely to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. ‘While most fears need to be put to rest’, he concludes, […]

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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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What Vladimir Putin Could Explain to Donald Trump

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991 – jackmatlock.com – January 31, 2017) The telephone conversation last Saturday between the American and Russian presidents seems to have been amicable and constructive, at least in a general sense. They are reported to have discussed key world issues as potential partners, not as adversaries or enemies. That […]

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Russia, the Catalyst of Change

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

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – January 30, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti Regardless of what one can prove in the complicated story of Russian hackers meddling in the institutions of the United States, there is still a story to tell about Russian influence on the West. It has […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Inside the belly of Russia’s ‘propaganda machine’: A visit to RT news channel; US security services have fingered the channel as a key player in the Kremlin’s efforts to sway Western politics. But inside its offices, RT seems a far cry from what the US says it is – and what it aspires to be.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Satellite Dishes

… The network appears to have changed focus about five years ago to become more about promoting the Russian point of view on international affairs, and much less about covering Russia per se. It also became a platform for coverage of social problems in Western societies, government malfeasance, corporate non-accountability, and the dysfunctions of democracy that often contrasts in tone, […]

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And Then Putin Came For The West

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 17, 2016) First he went after the domestic opposition. When Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin five years ago, he launched a massive crackdown on dissent, jailing opposition leaders, staging a series of show trials, and cracking down on social media. He called them fifth columnists and tools of the West. Outside […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Direct: “Does Putin really intend to restore the Soviet Union? RD Interview: Professor Richard Sakwa from the University of Kent talks about Russia’s foreign policy and explains why Russia is creating alternative regional institutions such as the Eurasian Economic Union.”

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

“Despite the deteriorating state of relations between Russia and the West, experts and politicians continue to search for ways out of the crisis. Many blame Russia and President Vladimir Putin for the desire to restore the Soviet Union and pursue an authoritarian path of development. However, as other experts argue, such perceptions stem from a misunderstanding of Russia’s interests, goals […]

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russians warm towards West & favor rapprochement, poll shows”

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

“The latest poll has shown that the proportion of Russians who favor warmer and closer relations with Western nations is growing fast and has almost reached the historical maximum registered in 2000. …”

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Russians Want West to Make Up with Them and Don’t See Why Ukraine Should Be an Obstacle, New Poll Suggests

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 29, 2016) In presenting the latest Levada Center poll on Russian attitudes toward the West, the center’s Aleksey Grazhdankin says that a majority of Russians think that the initiative for improving East-West ties should come from the West and “do not understand why the actions of their country in Ukraine” have […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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Putinism a Greater Threat to the West than Soviet Communism Was

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2016) Putinism, as ideology and practice, is now a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was, a reality few in Western countries now recognize precisely because the Kremlin leader is making use, in the best tradition of the judo master he is, values and methods that 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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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview for the Rossiya 1 television network documentary entitled ‘My mind is set: Yevgeny Primakov’

Sergei Lavrov file photo

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview for the Rossiya 1 television network documentary entitled “My mind is set: Yevgeny Primakov”, Moscow, October 31, 2016

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow/Fyodor Lukyanov, René Nyberg, Angela Stent: “Three Dimensions: Is the Break Between the Kremlin and the West Permanent?”

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

As the U.S. presidential election approaches on November 8, Carnegie.ru asked three experts, one in Russia, one in the United States, and one in Europe, to comment on the question: “Is the break between the Putin administration and the West permanent?”  

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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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Kasparov Says Confrontation With West Putin’s ‘No. 1 Goal’

Garry Kasparov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mikhail Sokolov, Antoine Blua – October 25, 2016) #Kremlin foe Garry Kasparov says President Vladimir Putin is resorting to “external aggression” and increased confrontation with the West to bolster his image as Russia’s leader and maintain a “dictatorship” in the country. Talking to RFE/RL’s Russian Service correspondent Mikhail Sokolov on the sidelines of a forum in […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “FOREIGN EDUCATION”

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

“According to the website Znak, a strong recommendation has been issued to Russian state officials to bring home any children who are studying abroad. Strictly speaking, this is not mandatory, but ‘One of the sources said that anyone who fails to act, will find such non-compliance to be a “complicating factor in the furtherance of their public sector career”.’ This […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The scary truth about what Putin really wants (and Obama’s willful ignorance)” – Fox News/Judith Miller

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

What is Vladimir Putin up to? Evidence of Russian ambition seems to mount by the day. Seizing its neighbor’s territory. Russian bomber overflights of NATO member states. Sophisticated cyberattacks aimed at influencing America’s presidential election. Missiles fired at civilian aircraft. Devastating air strikes on hospitals and relief convoys in Aleppo as the ink dries on a U.S.-Russian cease-fire agreement for […]

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Putin Making the Same Mistake Hitler Did, Piontkovsky Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4, 2016) After meeting with the leaders of Britain and France, Adolf Hitler concluded that he was dealing with non-entities and that he couldn’t possibly lose a war against them, forgetting not only that these countries could and would change leaders but also that the outcome of conflicts reflects not just […]

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NEWSWATCH: Andrew S. Weiss/@andrewsweiss: “Nicely done esp Assange’s little-noted parroting of Russian narrative on #Ukraine, proxy attacks on Moscow’s rivals” [re: New York Times: “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets”]

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Andrew S. Weiss [Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment, Russia and Eurasia Program], on twitter at @andrewsweiss, “retweets” the New York Times article “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets,” commenting: “Nicely done esp Assange’s little-noted parroting of Russian narrative on #Ukraine, proxy attacks on Moscow’s rivals” The “tweet” should appear below, although it might take […]

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Leon Aron: “Don’t Expect a New Détente Between Russia and the West”

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Olga Khvostunova – July 27, 2016) The Institute of Modern Russia continues its series of interviews with experts on the political situation in Russia, its relations with the West, and the future of the country’s political system. Olga Khvostunova, editor-in-chief of imrussia.org, spoke with Dr. Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at the […]

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The Westernization of Higher Education in Russia: Novosibirsk State University and its Students 1992-2016: Part 2: The Students

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

Subject: The Westernization of Higher Education in Russia: Novosibirsk State University and its Students 1992-2016: Part 2: The Students Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:59:20 +0700 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> The Westernization of Higher Education in Russia: Novosibirsk State University and its Students 1992-2016: Part 2: The Students By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. […]

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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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