By Blocking Wikipedia, Russian Government Shows its Power Over Web

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 26, 2015) After blocking a Wikipedia article for less than than 18 hours, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor removed it from a list of banned webpages on Tuesday in a move that reflects the power the Russian state wields over the Internet, pundits told The Moscow Times. At the end of […]

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RBTH: Why Russians support Internet censorship

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According to a joint report by American researchers and Russian sociologists, 49 percent of Russians are not opposed to Internet censorship. They do not perceive attempts to control the Internet as an infringement on the freedom of speech, experts explain. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 22, 2015) Nearly half of Russians (49 percent) […]

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Russian media watchdog lifts ban on Wikipedia drug article

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Roskomnadzor has removed a ban on a Wikipedia article about the drug charas. The online encyclopedia complied with the media watchdog’s demands after Russian telecom providers were told to block access to the material. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 25, 2015) A Wikipedia article about the narcotic substance charas that violated Russian laws […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Peter Pomerantsev: West Needs to Up the Ante in Infowar

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Writing in The Moscow Times, Peter Pomerantsev addresses the heft of the Kremlin media machine and the U.S. response. The West is finally coming to a belated comprehension of the power of the Kremlin media machine. The Soviet Union is no more, but the Kremlin holds a media hegemony over 142 million citizens of Russia and 93 million residents of […]

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Russian Press Digest (19 August 2015)

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(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Wednesday, the Russian press focuses on the departure of Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russian Railways and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. According to business daily Kommersant, Yakunin called his decision to leave ‘a personal one’ during a conversation with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Kaliningrad’s election commission is processing Yakunin’s candidacy to become the […]

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Response to Gordon Hahn’s post [JRL#159; Re: Pew Poll on Russia, Putin, Global Image]

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Subject: Response to Gordon Hahn’s post [JRL#159] Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:07:07 -0400 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@verizon.net> I find Gordon Hahn’s criticism of the WaPo report on the Pew poll about Russia and Vladimir Putin, while technically correct on some points, erroneous in its thrust and misguided. He makes a series of highly objectionable points, and misses the forest […]

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Russian Press Digest (17 August 2015)

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(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Monday, the Russian press reports on the import ban on foreign medicines, Rosneft’s taxes, and an attack by Orthodox activists on a Moscow sculpture exhibition. Kommersant opens with an article on new plans to ban imports of a range of medical products. Several large NGOs, including Vera and Podari zhizn, involved in medical […]

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Russian Press Digest 12 August 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Wednesday, the Russian press reports on import substitution, copyright news and the emergence of a new, Cossack currency in St Petersburg. This morning, business daily Kommersant leads with an article on import substitution-a commission devoted to the issue has just been set up, with Dmitry Medvedev its head. The commission’s first meeting took […]

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Why Putin Is Losing

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 10, 2015) Are little green men about to appear on the North Pole? Russia’s claim last week, using an extremely creative interpretation of international law, to exclusive economic rights to nearly half a million square miles of the Arctic Sea, was certainly a head scratcher. Sure the territory is valuable due to […]

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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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New journal: Russian Politics

Russia Regions Map

Subject: New journal: Russian Politics Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 From: Richard Sakwa <R.Sakwa@kent.ac.uk> I am on the Editorial Board of the new journal Russian Politics, which promises to be an important new venue for research devoted exclusively to Russia, covering politics, history, economy, international affairs and social matters. I would be most grateful if you could post the information […]

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re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII

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

Subject: re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 15:51:31 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his D.Phil. (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His essays on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms — The headline of Beevor’s article in The Guardian (1) is “By banning my […]

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Moscow Times/VTsIOM/Penn: Six in Ten Russians Would Support Internet Censorship During a Crisis

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 4, 2015) Nearly six in 10 Russians would support the government if it decided to pull the plug on Internet access inside the country in a crisis situation, a recent poll indicates. Support for online censorship or cutting off Internet access altogether was the highest among Russians who never or rarely […]

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Russian Poll Shows Strong Support For Internet Censorship

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – August 3, 2015) A new poll shows that nearly three-fifths of Russians would support “shutting off the Internet” in the event of a national emergency. According to the poll by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), 58 percent of Russians would support such a move, while 49 percent support the idea of […]

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Re: Restrictions on Foreign Orgs in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

Subject: Re restrictions on foreign orgs in the U.S. Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:09:46 -0400 From: Thomas M. Callahan <tom.callahan@yandex.com> There has long been an American statute in place regulating the work of organizations working “in the interests” of foreign powers on American soil. However, it is quite short and, anyway, is a single provision compared to Russia’s extensive […]

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To Save Their Own Country, Russians Must ‘Forget Ukraine,’ Inozemtsev Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 23, 2015) Vladimir Putin has successfully counted on the war he launched in Ukraine to distract the attention of Russians from their problems at home, but if Russians are to emerge from the current crisis and save their own country, they will have to “forget about Ukraine” and focus on Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: In Bleak Ukraine City, a Duo’s Odd Experiments Win a Niche Online. In Luhansk, two men leverage YouTube fame to shed light on and report about the realities of life in Ukraine’s conflict-torn East

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The New York Times covers online local coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War in eastern Ukraine. As Luhansk’s prospects looked ever bleaker, Mr. Pavlov and Mr. Kryukov emerged as quirky but candid guides to an unfamiliar war zone, an Internet voice for locals who drop their Russian g’s in homegrown accents and were stunned by the sudden outbreak of violence in […]

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Novaya Gazeta Could Face Closure After Second Government Warning

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 21, 2015) One of Russia’s last independent newspapers, the Novaya Gazeta weekly, plans to appeal in court the second government warning it has received within a year – which crosses the threshold that allows the authorities to shut it down. Media watchdog Roskomnadzor issued the latest warning for an expletive that […]

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RBTH: Controversial new law on ‘right to be forgotten’ stirs debate in Russia

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Russia has adopted a law on the so-called “right to be forgotten,” which will require internet search engines to remove links to personal information at the request of citizens. Although State Duma deputies claim the legislation mirrors that of the European Union, industry players strongly oppose the law, predicting a series of lawsuits, while lawyers say that such a right […]

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Seven New Laws That Will Change the Face of Russia

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 8, 2015) Russian lawmakers have kept themselves very busy this year. Over the course of its spring session, which ended Friday, Russia’s State Duma passed a total of 278 new laws. The majority of these were unremarkable – ratifications to international agreements, minor budgetary adjustments and a busload of measures aimed […]

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Journalist Kara-Murza Jr. suffering from poisoning flies abroad for rehabilitation

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

(Interfax – July 5, 2015) Journalist and opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. who suffered from strong poisoning and remained in coma in a Moscow hospital for several days has flown aboard for rehabilitation. “Kara-Murza Sr. called me and on behalf of Vladimir’s family asked to thank for the words of support and for assistance. The plane carrying Vladimir has already […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Dismissal of American vice rector in Nizhny Novgorod causes controversy

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – July 3, 2015) The dismissal of an American lecturer from a leading position at a Russian university following an “incriminating” report on television sparked talk of an increase in the harassment of foreigners. Russian lawmakers are planning to introduce a “patriotic stop list” – a list of foreign funds […]

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Interfax: Nearly half of Russians have social network accounts – poll

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(Interfax – Moscow, June 30, 2015) Almost half of Russians have a social network account. As many as 23 per cent use it on a regular basis, 25 per cent use it from time to time and 7 per cent said they have it but do not use it, Levada Centre [pollster] has told Interfax. According to a poll carried […]

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From Burning Hearts To Civil Unions: The Unlikely Evolution Of Dmitry Kiselyov

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – June 30, 2015) Somewhere around the 98th minute of his weekly news roundup and commentary for Russia’s Rossiya television channel this week, Dmitry Kiselyov got around to saying something truly unexpected. In his coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages, the head of Rossia Segodnya, Russia’s massive state-controlled media conglomerate, came out in […]

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Taking Exception To Sergeant Joe Friday’s Admonition – Give Me The Facts, Just The Facts

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Subject: Taking Exception To Sergeant Joe Friday’s Admonition – Give Me The Facts, Just The Facts Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 From: Robert Teets <TeetsR@gorodissky.ru> [Robert Teets is Counsel at Gorodissky & Partners in Moscow] A baby-boomer from Ohio, I was nurtured on an empiricism that runs deep in American character and our television’s archetype of law and order definitively […]

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‘Putin is not Auric Goldfinger.’ Is sentiment towards Russia turning?

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 11, 2015) Is sentiment on the Ukraine-Russia conflict turning amongst Western politicians and journalists? A series of events in the past month suggests so, and in just the last week a string of articles attempted to inject a note of pragmatic realism into the debate, where shrill warmongering […]

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Interfax: Medvedev calls on journalists to stay independent when making judgments

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – June 11, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes the mass media should not become a propaganda weapon. “It is obvious that the work of journalists is often very difficult. Journalism is not held in much regard on the media scene, propaganda is much more important. Objective and honest views often contradict ideologies,” Medvedev said at the World […]

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Medvedev Promises No Blacklist for Foreign Journalists Working in Russia

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Houssam Alissa – June 12, 2015) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev condemned foreign countries who blacklist Russian journalists Thursday and said Russia has no intention of setting up its own blacklist, RIA Novosti reported, despite a series of recent incidents in which Western journalists have been prevented from working in Russia. Medvedev said the barring of […]

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Rare Russian Bastion of Independent Media Suffers Identity Crisis

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 5, 2015) As several top commentators publicly severed ties with Ekho Moskvy, experts speculated that the editorial policies of Russia’s leading independent radio station have shifted to accommodate a changing society, not to do the Kremlin’s bidding. A number of prominent opposition-minded analysts, economists and literary figures have announced in recent […]

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Kremlin Critic Emerges From Coma

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

(RFE/RL – June 2, 2015) Friends and allies of prominent Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., who mysteriously fell ill with poisoning symptoms in Moscow, say he has regained consciousness after a weeklong coma. “Vladimir has come out of a coma,” former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in a June 2 tweet. Kara-Murza, 33, is a coordinator for Open […]

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Interfax: Documentary about 1968 events passes no judgments, features historians’, witnesses’ accounts – VGTRK

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(Interfax – June 2, 2015) The all-Russia state television and radio broadcasting company VGTRK said the film, titled “Warsaw Treaty, the Declassified Pages” accumulates accounts by witnesses and participants in events dating back to 1968, without passing any judgments. “The film conveys opinions by historians, witnesses and participants in those events. Nothing is said in the voice-over narration that this […]

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Russian ‘Troll Farm’ Lawsuit Postponed When Defendant Fails to Show

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 2, 2015) Russian court hearings into a lawsuit by a former Internet “troll” against her former employer have been postponed after the defendant failed to show up for the proceedings. A city court in St. Petersburg also ruled that the plaintiff, Lyudmila Savchuk – who said her suit was intended to […]

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Yoga Journal Celebrates Its First 10 Years in Russia

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtime.com – Lara McCoy – May 28, 2015) To celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring, the Russian edition of Yoga Journal didn’t make plans for a huge party, or even a special yoga retreat. Instead, the magazine marked the milestone by launching an extensive analytical survey of yoga in Russia and its practitioners, which appears in the […]

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U.S. Social Networks, Blogs Allowed Back Into Crimea

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 25, 2015) The United States on Friday announced that U.S. companies can still give users in Crimea access to a range of free online communications services, despite an earlier U.S. ban on providing any services to the region after it was annexed by Russia last year. The decision will allow U.S. Internet companies such […]

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Currency Crisis Leaves Russian Scientists With No Funds for Foreign Journal Subscriptions

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 13, 2015) After scientists across Russia lost access to thousands of academic journals on Tuesday due to the ruble’s sharp devaluation, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov vowed to restore access to academic publishing giant Springer, Russian media reported. Universities and research institutions across the country lost access to Springer due to a […]

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Russia’s Biggest Social Network VK Beats Television in Battle for Viewers

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – May 8, 2015) Russia’s leading social network VK has beaten the country’s biggest television channel in the battle for viewers’ attention, data from media research firm TNS Russia showed. VK, previously known as VKontakte, had 13.2 million daily users in March this year, while state-owned giant Channel One had an audience of […]

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Moscow Times: More Than 80% of Russians Favor State Censorship of Literature, Film, Art

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 8, 2015) Fourteen percent of Russians do not support state intervention when it comes to the content and dissemination of artistic creations, the survey also showed. A vast majority of Russians think the state should censor artistic creations believed to be vulgar, immoral or harmful to society, according to a survey […]

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Media serfdom in Ukraine

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Maidan was meant to set Ukrainian media free, but the press remains dependent on the oligarchs. (opendemocracy.net – Otar Dovzhenko – May 6, 2015) Otar Dovzhenko lectures at the School of Journalism at Ukrainian Catholic University, L’viv and is the former editor of Telekritika, Ukraine’s leading platform for media commentary. He has been involved in monitoring Ukrainian media since 2005. On 25 […]

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Sanoma sells Vedomosti to comply with Russian media law

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 30, 2015) Finnish publishing company Sanoma has sold its 33.3% share in the Russian business daily Vedomosti to publishing executive Demyan Kudryavtsev, in the latest shake-up to Russia’s media landscape caused by new legislation limiting foreign ownership. The stake in Delovoi Standard, the publisher of the daily, was sold to […]

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Russian Businessman Buys Moscow Times and Vedomosti Newspapers

Moscow Times Sample Covers and Mobile Device Display

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 30, 2015) Finnish media group Sanoma said Thursday it would sell The Moscow Times newspaper to a Russian businessman. Sanoma has agreed to sell United Press, which publishes newspapers and magazines in Russia including The Moscow Times, and signed a deal to sell its minority stake in business daily Vedomosti, the company said in […]

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Russia’s Media Offensive Seen by the West as Real Threat

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 30, 2015) Western governments and institutions are scrambling to devise a commensurate response to Russia’s state-run media offensive, analysts told The Moscow Times on Wednesday amid a wave of reports of Western governments seeking to beef up their own media capabilities. When the Russian authorities moved to establish in 2005 the international […]

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Putin gives the world his geography lesson: ‘All the former USSR is Russia’

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – April 28, 2015) The 150-minute film “The President” about Vladimir Putin is mostly boring and predictable in that it insists that “without Vladimir Vladimirovich nothing in the country will work,” Kseniya Kirillova notes. But she points out that there are three “lessons” contained in the film that must not be ignored. First, she argues, […]

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Support the JRL

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

HOW TO SUPPORT JOHNSON’S RUSSIA LIST Donate online directly by going to The George Washington University’s JRL Donation Page. Recent message from David Johnson to JRL subscribers: Dear JRL recipient, If you receive Johnson’s Russia List you should support it. $50 is the normal annual contribution. Business-users should pay more. A minimum contribution of $25 is suggested. HOW TO SUPPORT […]

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NEWSLINK Deutsche Welle: High-profile killings in Ukraine sow hatred

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

The murder of a pro-Russian opposition politician and a journalist in Kyiv threaten to further divide Ukraine. While many are pointing the finger at Moscow, others are blaming the government for not doing enough.

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NEWSWATCH: Rep. Ed Royce/Wall Street Journal: Countering Putin’s Information Weapons of War

Ed Royce file photo

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, addresses what he characterizes as a Russian information war, featuring anti-American propaganda and conspiracy theories. Of concern to Royce is that U.S. international broadcasting services that played a stronger role during the Cold War have “withered,” such that Russian propaganda will flourish unless the U.S. services […]

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CONGRESSIONAL HEARING: ‘Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information’ Peter Pomeranzev prepared remarks

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Peter Pomeranzev Senior Fellow, Legatum Institute House Committee on Foreign Affairs April 15 2014, ‘Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information’ During the Russian invasion of Crimea last year, most of the world’s journalists seemed confused. Most of the West’s leaders were taken aback. But when it was over, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip M. Breedlove, defined what had happened […]

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