NEWSWATCH: “Russia Updates Plan to Counter Cyberattacks and Foreign Influence” – New York Times

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The Kremlin published a new plan … against what it described as stepped-up cyberattacks and ‘information-psychological’ methods by foreign intelligence agencies …. updat[ing] a similar information security doctrine put in place by … Putin in 2000. … American officials have mulled retaliating against Russia for … hacking before the presidential election …. The 16-page document sketches out … threats … […]

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NEWSLINK The New Yorker: “THE PROPAGANDA ABOUT RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA”

Satellite Dishes

“In late October, I received an e-mail from ‘The PropOrNot Team,’ which described itself as a ‘newly-formed independent team of computer scientists, statisticians, national security professionals, journalists and political activists, dedicated to identifying propaganda— particularly Russian propaganda targeting a U.S. audience.’ PropOrNot said that it had identified two hundred Web sites that ‘qualify as Russian propaganda outlets.’ The sites’ reach […]

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Russia Weaponized Social Media in U.S. Election, FireEye Says

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Chris Strohm – December 1, 2016) Russia’s government didn’t just hack and leak documents from U.S. political groups during the presidential campaign: It used social media as a weapon to influence perceptions about the election, according to cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. Material stolen by Russia’s intelligence services was feverishly promoted by online personas and numerous fake […]

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How Russian Propaganda Really Works in the West

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – November 28, 2016) Until recently, the phenomenon of Russian government propaganda was only interesting to a small group of Russia experts, news junkies and counter-propaganda fundraisers. It was mainly seen as a tool for keeping Russians supportive of Vladimir Putin. No longer. Thanks to post-U.S. election blame games, and the upcoming election season […]

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Streaming Wars: The Real Fight Behind Russia’s False YouTube ‘Ban’

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 30, 2016) Internet video giant YouTube will not be forced out of Russia under a new bill regulating online streaming services, the Russian government has confirmed. “We can officially say that all talk of YouTube facing legal restrictions is simply not true,” Deputy Communications Minister Alexei Volin told the Rambler News Service on Wednesday. […]

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Ukraine blacklists over 500 films and TV series

File Photo of Reel of Film

KYIV. Nov 30 (Interfax) – The National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine has published a list of films and television series which have been banned by the Ukrainian State Film Agency from screening in 2014-2016. The list, which includes 544 audiovisual works, was published on the Council’s website on Wednesday. “In 2014-2016 the State Film Agency denied […]

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Kremlin Media Doesn’t have Long-Term or Profound Impact on Young, Surveys Show

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 28, 2016) Surveys of university-age Russians over the last decade show that these young people quickly accept the regime’s list of enemies but almost as quickly shift when the regime’s outlets do and that these shifts have little impact on the way in which young Russians view their country’s place in […]

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In Russia’s media, censorship is silent; A new survey of 100 Russian journalists reveals their perceptions of professional challenges, objectivity and freedom.

Satellite Dishes

(opendemocracy.net – Nataliya Rostova – November 23, 2016) Nataliya Rostova is a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute and author of the GorbyMedia project. The idea of conducting a survey of Russian journalists came to me after seeing something similar in New York magazine, which earlier this year polled 113 people working in the US media on the problems and […]

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NEWSLINK DailyBeast: “Sorry, Hillary Clinton Fans. There’s ‘Zero Evidence’ of Election Hacking.”

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

“Democrats cried hallelujah when computer scientists reportedly pressed Hillary Clinton ask for recounts. But even those experts say an election hack is beyond unlikely.”

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NEWSWATCH: “Warning Russia on Hacking Isn’t Enough” – New York Times Editorial

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… A stronger White House response would begin with … Obama revealing more information about how the hacking was done and by whom. He could also … disclose Russian computer codes, embarrass wealthy Kremlin officials by exposing their overseas bank accounts and even disable Russian networks. … impose sanctions on Russians … responsible for the hacking or on military leaders […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: “U.S. Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears”

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

“The Obama administration said … that despite Russian attempts to undermine the presidential election, it has concluded that the results ‘accurately reflect the will of the American people.’”

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Russian Communications Expert Says Kremlin Is Hacker-Proof

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 21, 2016) The Kremlin’s vital information systems are impervious to hacking, according to Sergei Plugotarenko, director of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications. In an interview with the state-run TASS news agency, Plugotarenko explained that the Kremlin’s systems are divided into separate tiers, external and internal, with the latter housing critical information which might […]

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The Hacking Must Go On

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 16, 2016) The U.S. election may be over, but Russia is still hacking the United States. But the goal appears to have shifted from sowing chaos to gathering intelligence — at least for the time being. According to cybersecurity experts, the November 9 attacks was carried out by the hacking group known […]

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Putin Weaponizes Democracy

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 14, 2016) [RFE/RL budget: $108.414 million (FY2016)] Don’t look now but Russia just picked up two more allies in Europe. Don’t look now, but pro-Moscow candidates just won the presidencies of Moldova and Bulgaria. Don’t look now, but Vladimir Putin appears to be on a roll. The Kremlin leader is no democrat. […]

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Russian Supreme Court Wants Fewer Extremism Prosecutions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Kornya – November 10, 2016) The Russian authorities have stepped up their fight against extremism, convicting approximately three times as many people on such charges in recent years. The greatest increase concerns convictions on Article 282 of the Criminal Code – “incitement of hatred or enmity” – with that number rising from 149 in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Government Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election” – NBC

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“U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia’s electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents …. U.S. officials continue to express concern that Russia will use its cyber capabilities to try to disrupt next week’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Aims to Disrupt Other Western Elections, U.S. Officials Say; Electoral chaos in West being sowed to safeguard Putin’s hold on power, Kremlin watchers say” – Wall Street Journal/Alan Cullison

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

… Russian-backed hacking … that has rocked the presidential campaign may peak on Election Day, but is likely to continue next year and into 2018 as Moscow seeks to influence U.S. politics and key elections in Europe … administration officials warn. Russian meddling … may become more potent in Europe than in the U.S., White House officials and other experts […]

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Top Kremlin Official Threatens Russia’s So-Called ‘Chief Propagandist’

Sergei Kirienko file photo, adapted from State Department photo at voa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 2, 2016) Sergey Kirienko, the new first deputy head of Russia’s Presidential Administration, met with political analysts on Tuesday, stating that the Kremlin will not welcome radical political rhetoric in the national news media, according to the Dozhd television station. Kirienko reportedly spent most of the meeting listening to the eight experts in attendance, […]

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Re: Russia Matters website and news digest

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

Subject: Russia Matters website and news digest Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2016 From: Russia Matters <RussiaMatters@hks.harvard.edu> Russia Matters is live! www.russiamatters.org Dear Friends and Colleagues: We are pleased to introduce Russia Matters-a new website that provides top-notch analysis, user-friendly data and curated news digests on U.S. policy toward Russia, U.S.-Russian relations and Russian policies that impact vital U.S. national interests. […]

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Leonid Bershidsky: Clinton Should Stop Whining About Russian Hackers

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – October 25, 2016) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Hillary Clinton and her team hold that “the Russians” were responsible for almost any disruptive or embarrassing hack in the U.S. Many articles about the recent […]

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NEWSLINK The Hill: “Former US ambassador to Russia goes after WikiLeaks in tweetstorm”

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul on Monday slammed WikiLeaks in a series of tweets in which he called for people to stop referring to WikiLeaks as a “news organization.” “They are a foreign agent, supported by Russia, publishing stolen data,” McFaul tweeted on Monday.

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin-Backed Broadcaster RT Says Loses UK Banking Services” – Reuters

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

Russia accused Britain of political censorship … after a British state-owned bank withdrew its services from Kremlin-backed Russian broadcaster RT. … A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May distanced the British government from the row, saying it was up to NatWest who it offered services to based on its own appetite for risk. … British broadcast regulator Ofcom has ruled […]

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NEWSLINK Newsweek: “U.S. MULLING RETALIATORY CYBER ATTACK AGAINST RUSSIA: REPORT”

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The Obama administration has asked the CIA to deliver options on possible retaliatory cyber attacks on Russia designed to “embarrass” the country’s leadership, NBC News reports. Unnamed sources who NBC says have direct knowledge of the conversations say no decisions have been made on the style and scope of any attack, but the CIA has “reams of documents that could […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Russia Calling! Investment Forum (excerpt re Putin on hacking) [Or do they?]

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

(Kremlin.ru – October 12, 2016) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the eighth Russia Calling! Investment Forum organised by VTB Capital. This year’s theme is Maintaining Responsibility, Expanding Opportunities. * * * Question: Mr Kostin, thank you. President Putin, I’d just like to build on that question, if I might. Given the difficult week that Donald Trump has just experienced, […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: “Biden Hints at U.S. Response to Russia for Cyberattacks (excerpt) [Putin and Lavrov confess?]”

File Photo of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in front of U.S. Flag and Russian Flag

“… Biden was asked whether the United States was preparing to send a message to … Russian president … Putin. Days before, the American intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security declared that the Russian leadership was responsible for attacks on the Democratic National Committee and the leaking of stolen emails. ‘We’re sending a message,’ Mr. Biden told Chuck […]

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Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security [re: Russia and Hacking]

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(Department of Homeland Security – dhs.gov – Oct. 7, 2016) Release Date: October 7, 2016 For Immediate Release DHS Press Office Contact: 202-282-8010 The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Politkovskaya Ten Years On” – Sean’s Russia Blog/Sean Guillory

Anna Politkovskaya file photo

It’s been ten years since an assassin put four bullets in Anna Politkovskaya — three in her chest, one in her head, the hallmark of a contract hit. … We can recall her career and her drive to cover the horrors of #Chechnya in ways few would. … We can quote her many articles and books for their continued relevance. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “This Week Marks the 10th Anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s Murder; The legacy of the fearless Russian journalist’s muckraking reporting still lives on.” – The Nation

Anna Politkovskaya file photo

Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher and Editor of The Nation, memorializes slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the 10-year anniversary of Politkovskaya’s assassination, and considers some of the dangers and other challenges impacting Russian journalists. It is 10 years since Russia and the world lost a great and courageous journalist. The killing of Anna Politkovskaya on October 7, 2006, was horrifying […]

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NEWSLINK War on the Rocks/Joshua Foust: “CAN FANCY BEAR BE STOPPED? THE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER OF RUSSIAN INFO OPS”

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“Russia is engaged in an unprecedented, sophisticated attack on the American political system. Defeating it won’t be easy.”

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NEWSWATCH: “The murder that killed free media in Russia; A decade after the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, news organisations increasingly avoid topics that could anger the Kremlin” – The Guardian (UK)/Shaun Walker

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

 … In the decade since [Anna] Politkovskaya’s death, the space for independent journalism in Russia has narrowed …. Since 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded 20 journalists’ killings, while Freedom House has counted 63 violent attacks on reporters. But for the most part, the threat of closure keeps publications in line and encourages self-censorship. … news sources have […]

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Khodorkovsky’s Group To Support Media Startups

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – September 29, 2016) A pro-democracy group founded by exiled Kremlin critic and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has launched a project to fund online media startups. Open Russia said on September 29 that the goal of the project was “to create communication channels within the part of the Russian society that considers itself independent from the government’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Meddling in the U.S. Elections. How It Helps Him Back Home.” – Foreign Affairs/Gregory Feifer

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Every four years, whenever there is a U.S. presidential election, a melancholy settles over Russia. When global fascination mounts over the selection of the free world’s next leader, Russians feel ignored. … * * * … On top of its usual peddling of influence, disinformation campaigns, and, in some cases, war, Moscow tried discreetly hacking Ukraine’s elections in 2014. Ukrainian […]

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The terror against Ukraine’s journalists is fueled by political elites

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

The inaction of law-enforcement institutions and unrestricted hate speech by top officials is enabling further violence against Ukrainian journalists. (opendemocracy.net – Maxim Eristavi – September 6, 2016) Maxim Eristavi is a Ukrainian journalist, writer and civil rights advocate. He is a co-founder of Hromadske International, foreign news desk for the region’s biggest independent broadcaster. Watching a video of journalists running […]

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NEWSWATCH Fred Weir/facebook: “So, this is a ‘potential’ plot …” Re: Washington Post: “U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections”

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Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor comments on Russia and investigations into cyber incursions relating to the U.S. elections, while posting a link to an article from the Washington Post, “U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections.” So, this is a ‘potential’ plot, even according to the headline, and the story requires the insertion — well […]

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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”]

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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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NEWSWATCH: “Russians Hacked Two U.S. Voter Databases, Officials Say” – NBC

United States Map

Hackers based in Russia were behind two recent attempts to breach state voter registration databases, fueling concerns the Russian government may be trying to interfere in the U.S. presidential election … the FBI [sent] a ‘flash alert’ earlier this month to election officials nationwide, asking them to be on the lookout …. * * * U.S. intelligence officials have previously […]

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NEWSWATCH Strobe Talbott/@strobetalbott: “Hitler invented “the big lie” that would be widely believed because no one “could distort the truth so infamously.” [Re: New York Times: A Powerful #Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories]

Satellite Dishes

Strobe Talbott of The Brookings Institution comments on twitter about Russia’s information war, forwarding a link from a New York Times article. His “tweet” should appear below, yet it might take some time to load for some users. You can also click here to go directly to the “tweet:” twitter.com/strobetalbott/status/770368906531901440 Hitler invented “the big lie” that would be widely believed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories” – New York Times

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The New York Times addresses concerns about Russian disinformation campaigns, including Russia’s reputed involvement with a rash of misleading material on social media disrupting NATO-related debate in Sweden. With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on […]

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NEWSWATCH Anne Applebaum/@anneapplebaum: “finally – finally! – Russia’s extraordinary disinformation campaign is creeping towards the front pages”

Satellite Dishes

[Anne Applebaum, on twitter at @anneapplebaum, comments upon Russian disinformation and links to a story from the New York Times, “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories;” her tweet should be embedded below, yet it might take some time to load for some users; her tweet also can be accessed through this link: twitter.com/anneapplebaum/status/769960717877383168] finally – finally! – […]

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A Long Jump: Russia Claims Moral Victory From Rio Olympics

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, August 22, 2016) Russia’s medal haul at the Summer Olympics in Rio was the country’s smallest since the 1912 games in Stockholm, but that did not deter various officials and pundits from spinning the result as a victory for Moscow — or a moral one, at the least. With much of its […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia Today/RT: “Communications Ministry mulls total control over Russian sector of the web – reports”

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

Kremlin-backed Russia Today/RT announced that the Rusian government is contemplating a takeover of Russian portions of the internet: The Communications Ministry has prepared a bill that formally defines critical digital infrastructure and allows only Russian companies to own the hardware and databases that control the .ru and .рф domains of the internet, mass media report. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported […]

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NEWSWATCH: “While the world is distracted, Putin escalates his war in Ukraine” – Washington Post

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

… The … FSB, claimed … one of its officers was killed … near the de facto border between Crimea and Ukraine. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014, then backed a violent uprising in … Donetsk and Luhansk. … According to the FSB … a second attempt occurred … with support from Ukrainian artillery, killing a Russian … […]

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Subject: Recommending JRL

Satellite Dishes

Subject: Recommending JRL Date:     Wed, 27 Jul 2016 From:     An American professor expert on Russia I’ve been a JRL fan for many years, and have recommended it to students and friends as the best way to follow commentary on Russia. At times, however, JRL seems to tilt toward non-substantive pro-Russian propaganda articles.  Today’s post (#139) led with articles claiming that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin might not be the fan of Trump that it’s said to be. Whether or not Trump truly was asking Russia to step into the US presidential campaign by releasing Hillary Clinton’s emails, Russia has reason to doubt whether he would be a friend.” – Christian Science Monitor

White House

When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump … made a public request to Russia that it publish missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal web server, it ignited rampant press speculation …. Was … Trump really proposing that Russia, already accused by US authorities of breaking into the Democratic Party’s servers, violate US law? Or was he merely being sarcastic, as Trump […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s suspected meddling in a U.S. election would be a disturbing first” – Washington Post

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Credit for the internecine furor that disrupted the Democratic Party on the eve of its convention should go to Vladimir Putin. … cybersecurity experts say Russian intelligence operatives were likely responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, as well as for leaking to the Moscow-friendly WikiLeaks website some 20,000 emails. The trove appeared online Friday, just in […]

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Putin Propaganda Based on Rejection of Possibility of Rational Thought, Shekhtman Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s propaganda is intended to destroy “all the rules of rational thought” just as those who support pseudo-science do, Pavel Shekhtman argues on the Kasparov portal today; but it does so in exactly the opposite way that the supporters of religious fundamentalism attack rationality. Religious fundamentalists reject doubt […]

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