Kirk Bennett: “On Treating Ukraine Like Georgia – A Reply to Paul Saunders”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Subject: ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS Date: Sun, 30 Aug 201 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett was the Senior Georgia Desk Officer at the State Department from 2007-09. Kudos to Paul Saunders for his spot-on exposition of U.S. policy […]

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‘Black Monday’ inflicts further damage on Russian markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Amid turmoil on global financial markets, the Russian ruble fell to a historic low against the U.S. dollar on Aug. 24, while the key stock market index, the RTS, dropped 6 percent. Russian analysts say that there is little room for optimism while oil prices remain low. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan – August 25, 2015) […]

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NEWSWATCH TASS Interview: Victoria Nuland: We do want to be able to communicate clearly with Russia

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

In an interview with TASS, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland reportedly focused upon U.S.-Russia relations, Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear program and visa problems for Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. I would argue that since the breakup of the Warsaw pact, since the breakup of the Soviet Union the entire orientation of US policy, […]

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Celeste A. Wallander: “U.S. Policy on Russia”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House June 26, 2015 Remarks by Celeste Wallander, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia on U.S. Policy on Russia U.S. Policy on Russia CNAS Annual Conference June 26 2015 Celeste A. Wallander Special Assistant to the President And Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia National Security Council I am especially […]

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NEWSWATCH The Daily Caller: “McCain On Putin: ‘He Wants To Restore The Russian Empire'”

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

The Daily Caller covers recent remarks by U.S. Senator John McCain suggesting imperialistic ambitions are evidenced by Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. … McCain said Wednesday during his trip to Sweden that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to “restore the Russian Empire.” The purpose of the trip, made along with Sens. John Barrasso and Sheldon Whitehouse, is to […]

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NEWSWATCH Ottawa Citizen: “The coming war with Russia”

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

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

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U.S. Told Ukraine to Stand Down as Putin Invaded

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin, Eli Lake – August 21, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces took over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in early 2014, the interim Ukrainian government was debating whether or not to fight back against the “little green men” Russia had deployed. But the message from the Barack Obama administration was clear: avoid military confrontation with […]

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Washington ups the ante with sanctions on Gazprom

Gas Facility file photo

RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TROIKA REPORT: Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev – August 20, 2015) 1. Engaging the West U.S. sanctions on Gazprom: Washington ups the ante The recent move by the U.S. administration to restrict […]

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Simon Saradzhyan: Response to to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy (JRL#152. August 7)

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Subject: Response to to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy (JRL#152. August 7) Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:14:07 +0000 From: Simon Saradzhyan <Simon_Saradzhyan@hks.harvard.edu> Simon Saradzhyan’s Response to Dr. Mark Galeotti’s article on Russia Strategy in Foreign Affairs. [Simon Saradzhyan is assistant director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism and a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer […]

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Russia continues to increase investments in U.S. Treasuries

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Interfax – August 18, 2015) Russia increased its investments in U.S. Treasury bonds in June by $1.4 billion, just as it did in May, according to data from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System, published on Aug. 18. At the end of June, the volume of Russian-owned U.S. Treasury bonds stood at $72 billion. Russia is currently 19th […]

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Re: Think Tanks and U.S.-Russian Confrontation

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

Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 1 From: Robert Legvold <rhl1@columbia.edu> Subject: re think tanks and US-Russian confrontation [Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, where he specialized in the international relations of the post-Soviet states. He was Director of The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, from 1986 to 1992. Prior to […]

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U.S.-Russian Paper Startup Sees Massive Success Despite Political Tensions

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 18, 2015) One of the largest office supply retailers in the United States has offered a group of young Russian and American entrepreneurs an exclusive distribution deal for a new sticky note developed by the team after raising almost $250,000 on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Founded in January by two Russian cousins […]

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Assessment of the state of Russian studies in the US on behalf of ASEEES

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

(August 14, 2015) Current tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and other issues have prompted discussions in the media and in policymaking circles about the state of expertise on Russia in the United States. Some observers argue that since the collapse of the Soviet Union the quantity and quality of Russia-related research and graduate training at US-based […]

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Eight Facts to Celebrate 100 Starbucks in Russia

Starbucks Counter with U.S. Ambassador and Crew

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ilaria Parogni – August 12, 2015) American coffeehouse chain Starbucks Coffee celebrated the opening of his 100th Russian branch in Tuesday. The new venue is located inside the shopping center Galereya in St. Petersburg, the company announced on social media. Starbucks is currently holding celebrations at the new location and at the company’s flagship store […]

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Hillary Clinton’s Role in Losing Russia

clinton-bin-laden-killing-1000

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 10, 2015) Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, and the Russia expert Kathryn Stoner say U.S. foreign policy has had a relatively neutral effect in determining Russia’s course. In an article published last week, they argued that President Vladimir Putin’s virulent anti-Americanism was driven by domestic, tactical considerations, allowing us […]

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Russia, U.S. Bicker Over Missile Defense Shield After Iran Agreement

Mssile Defense Control Room

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 11, 2015) With an international resolution on Iran’s nuclear program in the bag, Russia is pushing the U.S. to honor an alleged 2009 promise by President Barack Obama to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe to shield against Iranian missiles. “President Obama in 2009 publicly said that […]

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Ambassador Pyatt: Odesa: Cosmopolitan Crossroads with Extraordinary Potential

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

(U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt – U.S. Embassy Kyiv Blog – usembassykyiv.wordpress.com – July 10, 2016) On Sunday and Monday, I had the chance to return to Odesa – a cool, multicultural city on Ukraine’s coast with extraordinary potential.  It was my first trip back since the fire at the Trade Unions Building, and I was eager to learn about the […]

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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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Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Kathryn Stoner and Michael McFaul – Summer 2015) [Article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/who-lost-russia-time-vladimir-putin] Kathryn Stoner is Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Director of the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies, Stanford University. Prior to coming to Stanford in 2004, she was on the faculty at Princeton University […]

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Ukraine Famine Monument Erected In Washington

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

(RFE/RL – Tony Wesolowsky – August 6, 2015) After years of work and some setbacks, a memorial to the millions who perished in the Ukraine famine of the 1930s, or Holodomor, has been erected in the U.S. capital. The monument — a bronze slab resting on a stone plinth and showing a field of wheat stalks — was winched off […]

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McFaul: Russian Enmity Toward U.S. Fueled by Own Weakness

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(RFE/RL – August 5, 2015) Russia, and the Kremlin in particular, has an unhealthy and misguided obsession with U.S. power and intentions, and this means badly strained relations between Washington and Moscow won’t improve anytime soon, former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul told RFE/RL in an interview. McFaul, who was a chief architect of President Barack Obama’s first-term “reset” with Russia […]

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Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization [The American Home in Vladimir]

American Home in Vladimir, Logo; Adapted from Image © Serendipity-Russia American Home

Subject: Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:15:13 -0500 From: Ron Pope <ron42.pope@gmail.com> THE ISSUE: The American Home in Vladimir has encountered an unusual obstacle. After years of cooperative relations with our organization, the current Vladimir City Administration has decided to invoke what we thought was an outdated clause in the 1992 contract governing the […]

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U.S. Sanctions Official: Russia ‘Will Probe With A Bayonet’

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – WASHINGTON, July 31, 2015) A top U.S. diplomat overseeing sanctions policy says punitive economic measures are curtailing Russian “aggression” and testing Western resolve amid Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists. “I think that in true Leninist fashion, the Russian government will probe with a bayonet, so to speak, until it encounters resistance,” Daniel Fried, […]

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NEWSLINK Wilson Quarterly/Theodore Gerber, Jane Zavisca: WHAT 18 FOCUS GROUPS IN THE FORMER USSR TAUGHT US ABOUT AMERICA’S IMAGE PROBLEMS [excerpt]. After talking with dozens of people in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan, two contradictory, prevailing themes emerge about the United States.

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

THE UNITED STATES has a major public relations problem in former Soviet countries. Not only in Russia, but in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and even Ukraine, ordinary people see the U.S. as an arrogant, hegemonic superpower that meddles in the affairs of other countries in a cynical pursuit of its own interests – perceptions that dovetail with the Russian government’s official critiques […]

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Idiots ‘Useful’ and Otherwise on the Rise in Russia and the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 31, 2015) Idiotism is on the rise in both Russia and the West, with its spread in Russia having transformed that country from “a land of liars to one of idiots,” according to Vitaly Portnikov, and in the West having become the latest iteration of the “useful idiots” Lenin and the Bolsheviks always viewed as […]

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RBTH: Can Moscow bet on ‘Trump card’ in U.S.?; Obama takes Africa for a tango; Kyrgyzstan casts its lot in with Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev, special to RBTH – July 30, 2015) RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs 1. Engaging the West U.S. presidential race: Can Moscow bet on ‘Trump card’? The meteoric rise of eccentric billionaire Donald […]

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US expands sanctions day after Russia vetoes MH17 UN tribunal

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 31, 2015) [DJ: US Department of Treasury press release here http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0133.aspx] The US Department of Treasury announced on July 30 it would expand the sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian companies, officials and individuals, which “underscores US commitment to maintain the strength of existing sanctions and the unity of the international […]

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Interfax: Russia will respond to sanctions imposed against it using principle of mutuality, but asymmetrical actions are also possible

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – July 31, 2015) Russia will proceed from the principles of mutuality regarding the countries imposing sanctions against it, but it does not rule out an asymmetrical response as well, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said on July 31. “In general, the principle of mutuality, no doubt, is a basic principle in this sanctions exchange. At the same […]

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Five-part blog: THE WORLD WAR IV SERIES

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Subject: Five-part blog: THE WORLD WAR IV SERIES Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:39:46 -0400 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> I have recently written a five-part blog series on what I call World War IV. I think your readers may be interested in this material. At the very least, it should provoke some reflection. David Law — THE WORLD WAR IV […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Russia greater threat to US than IS terrorism – Breedlove

Philip Breedlove file photo

Ukraine Today covered remarks on threat assessment by both the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told PBS news that he agrees with the new US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who said Russia is a bigger threat to US state security […]

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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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Putin Hurts a Think Tank by Not Banning It

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is nothing if not cunning when it comes to dealing with his adversaries. When he signed a law allowing the government to ban any nongovernmental organization deemed “undesirable,” it was clear some foreign NGOs would suffer. What was less obvious — though, in hindsight, inevitable — […]

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U.S. embassy in Moscow concerned about NED’s designation as ‘undesirable organization’ in Russia

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

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is concerned about the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s decision to designate the U.S. nonprofit organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED) an undesirable foreign organization in Russian territory. “We are deeply concerned about the effect of the so-called law on undesirable organizations,” U.S. embassy spokesperson Will Stevens told Interfax when asked […]

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Interfax: Putin hopes Russia will be able to promote dialogue with Europe and U.S. on Ukraine issue

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is hopeful that his country will be able to further promote dialogue with Europe and the United States concerning the fight against radical Islamism and other problems, including the Ukrainian issue. “I see today that the situation has changed. Europe and the U.S. have realized the real threat coming from the […]

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U.S. National Endowment for Democracy declared unwelcome foreign organization in Russia

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

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The United States’ National Endowment for Democracy has been declared an unwelcome foreign organization on Russian territory, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced on July 28. “Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Malinovsky signed a resolution declaring the National Endowment for Democracy an unwelcome foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) on Russian territory,” the agency said. The activity […]

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NEWSWATCH Chatham House/James Sherr: To Support Ukraine, West Must Go Beyond Sanctions. Providing critical military assistance to Ukraine would devalue Russia’s advantage in negotiations.

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

Writing for Chatham House, James Sherr addresses Western support for Ukraine admidst the Russo-Ukrainian War. … the West has acted on the premise that economic sanctions would induce Russia to modify its actions. But while sanctions do constrain capacity, they do not constrain behaviour. Their immediate impact is bearable … they do nothing to diminish Russia’s most usable and effective form of power: military force. […]

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U.S. may keep sanctions for years, Russia to run economy, trade accordingly – PM

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russia will be developing its economic and trade policies assuming that the United States may keep the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis for many more years, Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said. Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying in an interview to the Slovenian newspaper DELO ahead of a visit […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry calls for resumption of Russian-U.S. bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov has called for the resumption of bilateral cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on counterterrorism, saying he intends to discuss it with his American colleagues. In an interview published in the July 27 edition of Kommersant, Syromolotov said it is important to “think about resuming direct bilateral cooperation on […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-AVN: U.S. global missile shield continues to expand – consultant to RVSN commander

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

Interfax-AVN covers comments on U.S. missile defense by the Russian military. The circle of participants of the United States global missile shield is expanding, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a consultant to the Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), told a press conference …. ‘… At present, parts of the U.S. global missile defense system are deployed on the Danish island […]

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Moscow-Washington contact useful; U.S. can help Ukrainian peace process, says Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that the United States can help the peace process in Ukraine, and that he welcomes contact between Moscow and Washington on the issue. “I believe that several countries currently play an important role. The United States can also help promote this process, because the US is a major […]

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RIA Novosti: Supply of U.S. artillery-locator radars to Kiev will have major effect – pundit

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(RIA Novosti – July 23, 2015) The possible supply of artillery-locator radar systems by the United States to Ukraine could treble the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Army in artillery battles with the separatist militias, but will require direct involvement in the war by US troops, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, has said, RIA Novosti (part […]

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RBTH: Success in the U.S.: How Three young Soviet-born entrepreneurs made it; Strong family ties and work ethics were key for these young businessmen

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Aleksandra Efimova, special to RBTH – July 13, 2015) I recently spoke with three young entrepreneurs, each born in the Soviet Union. I wanted to discover if these sharp and accomplished young businesspeople shared common threads that could be followed back to their Soviet origins. Leon Oks, founder of iCanvas, is 34 years […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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