Russian Studies is Thriving at ASEEES

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

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Sarah Wilson Sokhey, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Boulder – November 20, 2017) [Article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/article/russian-studies-thriving-aseees] Timothy Frye’s assertion last month in The National Interest that Russian studies are thriving, not dying was soundly confirmed at the annual ASEEES conference this past weekend. More than 3,000 area studies specialists-many of them experts on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware the Russian Elephant” – The American Interest/ Peter Pomerantsev

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

“As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail. The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ the cognitive linguist George […]

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Tips from the Experts: Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide

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

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Regina Smyth, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Law, Indiana University – November 16, 2017) How can scholars make significant contributions to policy making? Reflecting on a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to strengthen regional studies training at U.S. universities, Indiana University’s Russian Studies Workshop organized a roundtable at last week’s ASEEES […]

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VIDEO: US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscow’s Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets

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

(Voice of America – VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2017) [Video and article also appeared at voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-to-russia-attacks-on-us-funded-agencies/4125489.html] The U.S. ambassador to Russia has attacked Moscow’s move toward forcing nine United States government-funded news operations to register as “foreign agents” as “a reach beyond” what the U.S. government did in requiring the Kremlin-funded RT television network […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Most Prefer Russia As A Friend, Not An Enemy” – Rasmussen Reports

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Voters by a two-to-one margin agree with … Trump that it’s better for the United States – and the world – to have Russia on our side. … [a] Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds … 52% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the president’s statement … that ‘… having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, […]

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  NEWSLINK: “It’s not just anecdotal: the U.S. is rejecting more and more visa requests from Russians” – Meduza

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

“The U.S. State Department published data revealing that American officials have increasingly been denying B1/B2 tourist visas to Russian citizens. The adjusted refusal rate for Russians in fiscal year 2017 was 11.61 percent – 1.25 percent higher than a year before. In 2009, the State Department denied just 4.9 percent of Russians’ tourist visa applications. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Bonfire of the Prosecutors; Political animosities are pushing the U.S. toward a significant political crisis” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Henninger

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to … House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte … asked the Justice Department’s career lawyers to look into the possibility of … a second special prosecutor, to investigate Hillary Clinton. * * * The people who brought us the Trump-Russia collusion narrative are now weeping crocodile tears that the appointment of a second prosecutor would mean […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Latest U.S.-Russian Effort on Syria: Good for Preventing Accidents, So-So for Everything Else” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Syria Map

“The one concrete result to emerge from … Trump and … Putin’s informal meetings on the sidelines of … APEC … has been the Nov. 11 U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Syria. … [which] has elicited some official optimism, but what does it amount to really? … a promising step forward to end the strife in that war-torn land and ‘save tremendous numbers of lives,’ as Trump […]

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Russia’s New Law Against Foreign Media ‘Won’t Even Work’; New amendments targeting U.S. media could implicate news organizations from other countries too

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – November 15, 2017) After the Kremlin-backed RT news outlet begrudgingly registered as a foreign agent on Monday, Russia promised to retaliate. Earlier on Wednesday, its lawmakers did just that. New legislation, which will allow authorities to brand any international media organization a “foreign agent,” passed swiftly through three readings in the State […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘You can always expect retaliatory measures from Moscow’ Deputy Duma Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy explains Russia’s new legislation against ‘foreign agents’ in the news media” – Meduza

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“On November 15, lawmakers in the lower house of Russia’s parliament unanimously passed all three readings of amendments to federal laws on the mass media. If adopted by the Federation Council and President Putin, the reforms will empower the Justice Ministry to add certain media outlets to Russia’s registry of foreign agents. State Duma deputies say the legislation is being […]

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Russian Duma Approves Restrictions On Foreign Media

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 15, 2017- also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-amnesty-foreign-media-bill-repressive/28854885.html) The lower house of Russia’s parliament has unanimously approved legislation that would authorize the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents.” The State Duma approved the amendments — which Amnesty International said would deal a “serious blow” to […]

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Study: U.S. Sanctions Hurting Russians’ Support for U.S., not Kremlin

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Henry Hale, George Washington University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs – November 14, 2017) Are American sanctions hurting support for Putin? New political science research suggests the answer is no. This study was presented at the 2017 convention of the main association for specialists on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia (ASEEES) in Chicago, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Independent Journalists in Russia Will Have to Live Without Their Western Role Models; The Western media’s controversial reporting is affecting independent journalism in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Oleg Kashin

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“The Western press has discovered that structures close to the Kremlin bought shares in Facebook and Twitter – obviously with far-reaching political designs. * * * At some point, quantity becomes quality, and the Western press has already published so many inaccurate, exaggerated, and knowingly untrue things about this country that the only Russians who seriously consider Milner a Kremlin […]

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U.S., Russia Envoys Differ On Peace And Peacekeepers In Eastern Ukraine

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 14, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/volker-surkov-meeting-ukraine-u-s-russia/28853193.html) After talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, U.S. and Russian envoys say their countries have “different concepts for how to make peace” but will continue to work to achieve that goal. “Both sides agreed to reflect on the discussions … and […]

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Interfax: Russian Justice Ministry to recognize media outlets as foreign agents – Tolstoy

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) – The Justice Ministry will recognize media outlets as foreign agents consistent with proposed legislative amendments, State Duma Vice-Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, who supervises the working group preparing countermeasures against the U.S. restrictions on the activity of Russia media outlets, told reporters on Tuesday. “An executive agency will recognize [a media outlet as a foreign agent]. Of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump and Putin: What Comes Next? Will a future, formal Trump-Putin summit be a game changer?” – The National Interest/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Keeping the tenor of the encounters between the two presidents at Da Nang informal precluded the chance of any intense bargaining sessions on the sidelines. But for the Russian side, it also raises questions – of whether Trump is in fact inclined to bargain with the Kremlin, or whether he has the clout to carry through any agreement in […]

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Oscar Contender Andrei Zvyagintsev Feted in Hollywood

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ali Sar – HOLLYWOOD, November 13, 2017) Not many foreign film directors are easily recognized at public events here. But an exception is Russian moviemaker Andrei Zvyagintsev. At the American Film Institute’s annual festival fans approach him for his autograph, ask to take pictures with him and compliment him on his work. A newspaper reviewer […]

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NEWSLINK: “Leadership In Russia: Hacking, Trust And Where Do We Go From Here?” – Forbes/ Shellie Karabell

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“… election hacking is only part of the ‘trust’ problem: there’s the Ukraine invasion, Olympic doping scandals, the civil war in Syria. …”

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NEWSLINK: “When Russians stopped believing in the Western media; Journalist Oleg Kashin says American journalism has lost his compatriots’ faith (op-ed)” – Meduza

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“Earlier this month, leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers revealed new details about how the Russian investor Yuri Milner once poured millions of dollars into Facebook and Twitter ….”

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Kremlin to Target All Foreign Media Amid U.S. ‘Foreign Agent’ Spat

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2017) All international media outlets in Russia could be hit with new restrictions as part of an escalating media tit-for-tat between Moscow and the United States. The Kremlin’s RT news network agreed to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. by Monday following U.S. allegations it interfered in the 2016 presidential election. […]

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Russian Info War Against U.S., Far Broader than Last Year’s Elections, an Act of Terrorism, Latynina Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 12, 2017) Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil. In the case of what has come to […]

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NEWSLINK: “NATO is headed for a very messy break-up” – Boston Globe/ Stephen Kinzer

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“… Recently Turkey and the United States stopped issuing visas to each other’s citizens. This is more than just another travel ban. It is a geopolitical spectacle unique in modern history: two allied countries blocking normal back-and-forth travel. An old relationship has gone deeply sour. …”

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Interfax: Mirroring measures against international media meddling in Russia’s internal affairs may be applied to specific social media – State Duma Deputy Speaker Tolstoy

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia’s ‘mirroring’ measures against international mass media interfering with internal Russian affairs may also be applied to some social networking websites, State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy (United Russia) said. “Apart from formal participation in the capital – that is, equity holding – or in the functioning of a media in Russian territory, there is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Joint U.S.-Russia statement calls for U.N.-supervised elections in Syria” – Politico/ Nancy Cook

Syria Map

“… a new joint statement on Syria between the U.S. and Russia … [says] Syria must eventually hold U.N.-supervised elections to bring new leadership to the country as part of … ending its … civil war [say] two senior State Department officials. … follow[ing] … U.N. Security Council resolution … 2254. … [the election is to] include the ballots of the Syrian diaspora, displaced from the country […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting wrapped up in Vietnam; [Putin meeting with Russian and foreign journalists]” – KremlinRu

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(kremlin.ru – Nov. 11, 2017) The 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting ended in Danang. On the second day of the Meeting, the APEC leaders reviewed the prospects for the global economy with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. During the business breakfast, a discussion was held on establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade zone and a possible expansion […]

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Russia Unfazed By U.S. Oil Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – November 9, 2017) Western energy sanctions vis-à-vis Russia have become a steady phenomenon of the global oil and gas market. Most Russian oil companies don’t expect sanctions to be scrapped anytime soon-an assessment espoused by the political elites of the country, too. The sides even seem to have resigned their minds to the current frosty […]

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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited, Weak’ Response To Russia

Europe Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, November 9, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-threat-to-democracy-western-response-european-values-think-tank/28842909.html) A group of security and foreign-policy experts says Western governments have been “limited and weak” in their response to the Kremlin’s barrage of “hostile actions” toward democracies. In a declaration initiated by the Prague-based think tank European Values titled How The […]

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What You Need to Know About RT’s Pending Foreign Agent Registration; A law dating back to the 1930s could send U.S.-Russia relations spiraling

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – November 10, 2017) An obscure U.S. law, meant to guard against foreign propaganda, has been the driving force behind escalating U.S.-Russia tensions in recent weeks. Designed nearly a century ago, it could now force the Kremlin’s RT news outlet to register as a “foreign agent” – and push the precipitous U.S.-Russia relations […]

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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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Interfax: “NATO command’s restructuring focused on Russia standoff – Ambassador Grushko”

Alexander Grushko file photo, adapted from image at eucom.mil

BRUSSELS. Nov 10 (Interfax) – The proposals discussed by the NATO defense ministers at the conference in Brussels on November 8-9 in regard to the adaptation of the alliance’s command structure came as no surprise to anyone, the Russian Permanent Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, said. “They were made in furtherance of the Warsaw summit’s decisions, which included a review […]

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NEWSLINK: “WikiLeaks Publishes CIA Hacking Tool Designed To ‘Impersonate’ Russia’s Kaspersky Lab” – ZeroHedge/ Tyler Durden

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“On September 18th, the U.S. Senate voted to ban the use of products from the Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab by the federal government, citing national security risk. The vote was included as an amendment to an annual defense policy spending bill approved by the Senate on the same day and was written to bar the use of Kaspersky […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. to Seek Russian Approval for Peacekeepers in Eastern Ukraine; U.S., Western officials hope Putin is seeking a way out of separatist conflict” – Wall Street Journal/ Laurence Norman, Julian E. Barnes

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

“U.S. officials are preparing to test Moscow’s willingness to end the Ukraine conflict by seeking Russia’s approval for 20,000 peacekeepers across Ukraine’s embattled east, U.S. and Western officials said. … driven by hopes in some Western capitals, including Paris and Berlin, that … Putin is seeking a way out of Moscow’s military support to Ukrainian separatists. * * * … U.S. officials […]

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NEWSLINK: “Let Trump be Trump; Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan” – Washington Times/ Edward Lozansky

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“It is common knowledge that the reason Ronald Reagan fired his first 1980 campaign manager, John Sears, was his loss to George H.W. Bush in the Iowa caucuses straw poll. Mr. Sears was replaced by William Casey, with Edwin Meese and Michael Deaver getting more involved in the campaign, and all of them urging to let ‘Reagan be Reagan.’ This […]

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NEWSLINK: “The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda” – The Hill/ Lev Golinkin

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

“… The most infamous neo-Nazi group in Ukraine is the 3,000-strong Azov Battalion, founded in 2014. Prior to creating Azov, its commander, Andriy Biletsky, headed the neo-Nazi group Patriot of Ukraine, members of which went on to form the core of Azov. Biletsky had stated that the mission of Ukraine is to ‘lead the White Races of the world in […]

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Interfax: North Atlantic Alliance inflating “threat from the East” – Russian envoy to NATO Grushko

Alexander Grushko file photo, adapted from image at eucom.mil

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – The North Atlantic Alliance is taking an endless series of measures to the sole end of mastering the theater of operations in the Baltic region and Central and Southeastern Europe, as well as creating a force-projection potential, Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Wednesday. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia, Trump, and the 2016 U.S. Election; Charges of foreign power interference in the U.S. presidential election have raised grave national security concerns and touched off multiple federal inquiries that could drag on for months” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Jonathan Masters

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NEWSLINK: “Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments” – New York Times/ Jesse Drucker

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

Russian LNG Unfazed By U.S. Sanctions

Asia Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – November 2, 2017) Russia’s energy industry faces a new round of U.S. sanctions – including on oil projects in any location if a designated entity holds more than 33 percent. And in Europe, where Russia’s gas giant Gazprom currently holds a large share of the gas supplies, Poland and Lithuania are buying U.S. LNG in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia hackers had targets worldwide, beyond U.S. election” – Washington Post/AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… [H]ackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election …[also] target[ed] the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list …. the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between the hackers and the Russian government … an operation that stretched back years […]

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NEWSLINK: “Anton Troianovski named The Washington Post’s Moscow Bureau Chief” – Washington Post

Historic Washington Post Masthead, adapted from image at nlrb.gov

“… Anton Troianovski of the Wall Street Journal will become The Post’s Moscow bureau chief.  Anton has distinguished himself over a nine-year career at the Journal that has included assignments in New York and Berlin. He has covered commercial real estate, telecoms, and, since 2013, has led the Journal’s coverage of German politics and society, delivering insightful and revelatory work […]

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Roskomnadzor not preparing coercive measures against U.S. media, social networks – head of agency

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

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – The Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor is currently not preparing any coercive measures against the U.S. media, including CNN and social networks, Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov said. “Speaking about now, we are working within the legal framework and we are not preparing any specific actions on the U.S. media and U.S. social networks,” he told reporters […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Containing Our Intelligence War with Russia; We should be wary of conflating Moscow’s desire to change our international behavior with an intent to destroy our nation” – The National Interest/ George Beebe

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

“… We must not rely solely on mutual pledges of restraint, however. We must take urgent steps to improve our defenses against cyber sabotage and influence operations. Within the cyber realm, we should make a concerted effort to patch vulnerabilities, update software and employ malware detection systems. This would make cyberattacks more difficult, even if it would not preclude intrusions […]

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