RUSSIALINK Russia Direct/Ivan Tsvetkov: “After Flynn’s dismissal, Russia starts to doubt Trump. After National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s scandalous resignation and Donald Trump’s tough new rhetoric toward the Kremlin, Russia has started to back away from the U.S. president. That could be dangerous.”

Kremlin and River

“This week has not been easy for U.S.-Russia relations, especially with the scandalous resignation of President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Russia is now back on the agenda of the U.S. media after a brief period in which U.S. President Donald Trump’s early presidential moves overshadowed any talk of foreign policy. The image of Flynn is controversial in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSLINK: “Survey: U.S. Vital Interests Vis-à-Vis #Russia” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham, Stephen Kinzer, Jack Matlock, Matthew Rojansky, Paul Saunders

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Every new U.S. president assumes office with a firm intention to pursue polices based on national interests, but not every one of them publicly formulates what exactly these interests are. We have asked a handful of top experts on #Russia three related questions: (a) What are America’s top five vital national interests; (b) which of them can Russia significantly impact […]

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NEWSLINK: “It’s the Russians! … or Is it? Cold War Rhetoric in the Digital Age” – ICIT/James Scott

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“…. Western systems lack the security and resiliency to withstand foreign compromise. Moreover, Incident Response techniques and processes are not comprehensive or holistic enough to definitively attribute an incident to a specific threat actor from the multitude of script kiddies, hacktivists, lone-wolf threat actors, cyber-criminals, cyber-jihadists, hail-mary threats, and nation-state sponsored advanced persistent threats (APTs), who all possess the means, […]

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RCAS concert in Washington: “Famous Contemporaries: Glière, Medtner and Rachmaninov”

Sergei Rachmaninoff file photo

Subject: RCAS concert in Washington: “Famous Contemporaries: Glière, Medtner and Rachmaninov” Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2017 From: Mary Kruger <mary.kruger.network@gmail.com> Concert: “Famous Contemporaries: Glière, Medtner and Rachmaninov” Friday, February 24, 2017, 7:30 PM Presented by the Russian Chamber Art Society at La Maison Française Embassy of France 4101 Reservoir Road NW Washington, DC 20007 Street parking available nearby The Russian […]

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President Trump’s Boris Yeltsin Moment

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 15, 2017) 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. President Donald Trump is irritated about the media furor surrounding the departure of his national security adviser. “The real scandal here is that classified information is […]

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End of Kremlin’s Dream of ‘Big Deal’ with Trump Makes Putin More Dangerous Not Less

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 16, 2017) Andrey Piontkovsky is undoubtedly correct that “‘a big deal’” between Moscow and Washington has become “impossible” given the fallout from the Flynn scandal because “any step by Trump in this direction would mean for him political death” (nv.ua/opinion/piontkovskiy/novaja-realnost-kremlja-647586.html). But while the Russian commentator doesn’t say so in his latest […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Two explosive reports on Trump and Russia. Zero on-the-record sources.” – Washington Post/Callum Borchers

Satellite Dishes

“… Which is it? Is the media making up fake nonsense? Or is the intelligence community leaking real information? …. anonymity invariably promotes skepticism about sources’ motives. The Times wrote that ‘all of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.’ That makes sense; it also makes sense to wonder whether […]

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Interfax: Claims of Snowden’s possible extradition to U.S. absurd – Russian Foreign Ministry

Edward Snowden file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 15 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed reports by several media organizations on the possibility that Russia could extradite former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States as a ‘gift’ to new U.S. President Donald Trump as absurd. “The Russian side has already commented at various levels on the absurdity of such a claim,” Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A way to get real news to Russia; A U.S. attempt to counter disinformation takes shape in Current Time” – Washington Post

Satellite Dishes

… Current Time television, a product of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, is a 24/7 Russian-language television network based in Prague … aimed at audiences inside Russia as well as the borderlands of the former Soviet Union. … intended to provide ‘fair and accurate reporting, serving as a reality check on disinformation that is driving conflict […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Trump Is Right on Russia” – New York Times/ANATOL LIEVEN

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Few of the Trump administration’s priorities have received as much criticism from the American foreign policy establishment as the president’s desire to improve relations with Russia. … This makes little sense. There are many good reasons for the United States to reach conciliation with Moscow on issues from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. … Unlike China, Russia is not […]

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Re: The Gathering Storm

Eurasia Map

Subject: The Gathering Storm Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> The Gathering Storm By David Law Senior Associate, Security Governance Group; former Head of NATO Policy Planning and Speechwriting Unit With Donald Trump now sworn in as the American President and Commander-in-Chief, here are some thoughts on where the world may be headed. In 1948, Winston Churchill […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Vzglyad: “Food import substitution turns out to be extremely profitable”

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“Russia has saved $4 billion since it began substituting imported products in response to the imposition of food embargoes by the U.S. and EU, the Agriculture Ministry says. But is this enough to encourage the future growth of production?”

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NEWSLINK: “What Russians think when they hear ‘Putin’s a killer'” – Washington Post/Andrew Roth

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

“… Change may be coming under the Trump administration. The State Department and the White House have been silent this week on two events: the latest sentencing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny for embezzlement, likely ending his 2018 bid for president, and the mysterious, life-threatening illness of Vladimir Kara-Murza, another opposition figure, who, his family believes, has been poisoned twice since 2015. …”

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Re: Findings of Bipartisan Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Subject: Findings of Bipartisan Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2017 From: Andrew S. Weiss <RussiaEurasiaProgram@carnegieendowment.org> http://carnegieendowment.org/specialprojects/TaskForceonUSPolicyToward RussiaUkraineandEurasia/ Dear Colleague, The breakdown in U.S.-Russia relations in the wake of the Ukraine crisis threatens the entire post-Cold War transatlantic security order. As the new administration prepares to reengage with Moscow, what principles should […]

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Interfax: Lifting of some restrictions from FSB confirms Trump’s intention to normalize relations with Russia – former FSB Director Kovalyov

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

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision to drop some restrictions imposed earlier on the issuance of licenses and permits to export computer technologies to Russia shows that the Donald Trump administration is consistent in its efforts to normalize cooperation with Russia, Nikolai Kovalyov, a State Duma deputy and former head of the Federal Security […]

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Putin’s Tough Choice: China Or The West

Eurasia Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – February 3, 2017) To many observers, the appointment of Tillerson to the helm the State Dept signaled the Administration’s priority of supporting the oil industry, which in recent years has been under severe pressure from OPEC’s campaign of over-production that forced prices down to a post-recession low. Seen from a different angle, the move also […]

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NEWSLINK: “Kiev Is Fueling the War in Eastern Ukraine, Too; A muted White House isn’t just emboldening the Kremlin — it’s inciting the politics of war throughout Ukraine.” – Foreign Policy Magazine/ISAAC WEBB

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

“… Beginning Jan. 29, rockets rained down on residential and military positions along the front line, killing civilians and soldiers alike. One 60-year-old woman was killed in separatist shelling as she walked from her home to a nearby market; a 24-year-old medic was killed when a shell exploded next to the ambulance she was driving. The fighting decimated local water […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bad Equilibrium” – project-syndicate/Anders Åslund

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

After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Looks at Driving Wedge Between Russia and Iran” – Wall Street Journal

Iran Map and Flag

“… Trump … is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State …. The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile … Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with … Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran – one […]

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Moscow Doesn’t Expect Trump to End Sanctions All at Once but ‘Cleverly’ Over Time, Markov Says

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 3, 2017) “Russophobia is so deeply rooted in European-American ideology,” Sergey Markov says, that Moscow doesn’t expect new US President Donald Trump to end all sanctions all at once but rather “in a clever fashion” that avoids problems for him and over a significant period of time. The words of Markov, […]

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Russians Will Pay a High Price for Obsession with US and Trump, Shevtsova Says

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 6, 2017) Russians are obsessed with Donald Trump because he allows them to imagine that they are once again a world power, Liliya Shevtsova says; but that is a dangerous misreading of the new American president and one for which Russians are going to pay a far higher price than they […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump-Putin ties now seen as key to peace in eastern Ukraine” – CNBC/Silvia Amaro

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

“Escalating violence in eastern Ukraine … has underlined the importance … Trump now plays in the region … promising to restore peace after a phone call with … Poroshenko. Trump has signaled his intent to have a closer relationship with Russia and … Putin. And with an open line of communication with Poroshenko, Trump could well prove … instrumental. * […]

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New U.S. administration not going to review plans to upgrade nuclear triad – Ryabkov

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 6 (Interfax) – Moscow is not expecting the new United States administration to review its plans to modernize the nuclear triad, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The U.S. is standing at the threshold of the beginning of significant efforts of modernizing its nuclear triad. These plans were announced closer towards the end of Obama’s second term. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Open to Pragmatic Relationship With U.S. Despite Differences; Russia and U.S. could benefit from ‘pragmatic mutual relations,’ says Moscow” – Wall Street Journal/JAMES MARSON

Kremlin and River

“… ‘It is no secret that on a whole range of questions of international and regional policy, the positions of Moscow and Washington are diametrically different,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday, Russian news agencies reported. But that can’t and shouldn’t be a hindrance for establishing normal communications and pragmatic mutual relations between Russia and the U.S.’ … Trump […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. Preps for Infowar on Russia” – DailyBeast/Tim Mak

Satellite Dishes

“While President Trump is still defending Vladimir Putin in public, American policymakers have finally awoken to Russian intervention in the U.S. democratic process-and are pumping tens of millions into a counter-propaganda initiative”

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia ready to take its part of road towards restoration of relations with US”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“Moscow is ready to take its part of the road towards restoration of relations with Washington, which suffered major damage at the previous head of the U.S. administration Barack Obama, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Austria’s Profil weekly. Moscow is watching closely statements made by President Donald Trump about Russia, he said.”

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American Business Lobby In Moscow Sees Sympathetic Ally In President Trump; The American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow isn’t happy about sanctions. But don’t call it a policy position.

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 2, 2017) In mid-December, with Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency looming, former Republican congressman Jack Kingston flew to Moscow. Kingston, a senior Trump surrogate, was dispatched to liaise with American firms working in Russia. The topic on everyone’s minds was the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Five issues on which Putin and Trump might find common ground”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Now that Donald Trump is in the White House, Russians are discussing the expected détente with the U.S., and they’re speculating on which issues and under what conditions Moscow and Washington might find common ground. RBTH and various international affairs experts discussed the possible issues and how they might be solved. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Toward a New Equilibrium in U.S.-Russian Relations; The new administration must understand how Russia relates to American goals” – Thomas E. Graham/The National Interest

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

… Trump will face no more urgent foreign-policy task than developing a Russia policy. … The Russia We Face: The starting point for a new strategy is a clear understanding of how Russia relates to American goals. Its nuclear arsenal, vast natural resources and proximity to regions of undisputed strategic value …. Relations will focus on security matters …. The […]

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Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Subject: Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2017 From: Raymond Smith <ray.smith531@gmail.com> Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit By Raymond Smith Retired from the U.S. Foreign Service. Served six years in Moscow, including three as the embassy’s political affairs counselor. Participated in drafting numerous briefing memoranda for meetings between U.S. leaders and their counterparts. Author of Negotiating with […]

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Kosachyov sees ‘window of opportunity’ for building pragmatic relations with U.S. under Trump

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

MOSCOW. Feb 2 (Interfax) – Relations with the United States will not be ‘a bed of roses’ for Russia, yet there is a window of opportunity for pragmatic interaction now that a new team has moved into the White House, Federation Council International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov said. “I, personally, think that [U.S. President Donald] Trump is much more […]

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What Vladimir Putin Could Explain to Donald Trump

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

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

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NEWSLINK: “A Grand Bargain: What Russia wants from the West” – Matthew Dal Santon/Medium

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

“The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America has elicited thousands of lines of newsprint as academics, journalists and the wider public seek to make sense of its implications. It has occasioned no less speculation in Russia, much of it shot through with a strong sense of Russia’s unexpected good luck. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian International Affairs Council: “President Trump and US Policy Challenges. Flash interview of RIAC members and experts.”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“On 20 January 2017, Donald Trump took the office as 45th U.S. president. RIAC members and experts comment on the vital domestic and foreign policy issues the U.S.A. is going to face in the next four years.”

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NEWSWATCH: “McDonald’s to Open at Least 50 New Restaurants in Russia in 2017” – Reuters

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

McDonald’s plans to open more than 50 restaurants in Russia this year and hopes to sign more franchising deals to expand in existing and new regions, the local unit’s chief executive said on Tuesday. The fast-food chain opened 73 restaurants in Russia last year, exceeding its forecast. Of the newly-opened restaurants, 65 are company-owned, Khamzat Khasbulatov, head of McDonald’s Russia, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The sanctions on Russia are working, Mr. President: Don’t lift them prematurely” – The Hill/Alexander Vershbow

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… I have seen many U.S. presidents seek to engage … Russia. While it has never been easy, it was possible to find areas of common ground that increased the security of both sides — as long as the U.S. set clear objectives and stuck with them. … The sanctions are working. … Russia is interested in having sanctions removed. […]

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VIDEO NEWSLINK: “Center For The National Interest (CFTNI) panel discussion on U.S.-Russian relations” – C-SPAN

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

VIDEO: Center For The National Interest (CFTNI) panel discussion on U.S.-#Russian relations.  Panelists talked about Russian #hacking and the 2016 presidential election. Panelists included Dmitri Simes and former George W. Bush administration officials George Beebe and Paul Saunders. They spoke about the conclusions of the intelligence community report on Russian hacking and called for a more comprehensive investigation into the […]

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UN Braces as Trump’s Detente With Russia Upsets Balance of Power

UN Building file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kambiz Foroohar – January 31, 2017) President Donald #Trump’s outreach to #Russia is reverberating through the United Nations, where U.S. allies worry that a partnership between Washington and Moscow could undermine a historic balance of power dating to the early days of the Cold War. For decades, the five veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council […]

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Russia, the Catalyst of Change

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

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

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Solovey on the Shape of the Emerging Putin-Trump ‘Big Deal’ on Ukraine and Much Else

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 30, 2016) Valery Solovey, one of the best connected and most thoughtful of Moscow’s foreign policy commentators, says that the telephone call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was the “first step toward ‘a big deal’” between the two not only over bilateral ties but also over a re-division of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Evangelicals Living Under Putin Think of Trump. Protestants and #Orthodox alike are mostly hopeful about America’s new president.” -Christianity Today/Kate Shellnutt

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“‘The hope for a new understanding between Russia and the USA is very strong, especially for evangelicals,’ said Wiliam Yoder, spokesman for the Russia Evangelical Alliance. Russia’s evangelical minority, roughly 1 percent of its population of 143 million, finds itself living and serving in the East-West tension between its nationalistic government and the outside evangelical groups that support its gospel […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: #Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre to perform in Washington for 15th time.

File Photo of Kennedy Center Across Potomac River, adapted from image at nps.gov

“#Russia’s two theater companies from St. Petersburg are beginning a series of performances in Washington, DC. While the local audience is familiar with the former, the latter will visit the United States” capital city for the first time. The world-famous Mariinsky Theatre will begin its traditional winter performances in Washington later this week coming there for the 15th time, and the […]

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OPEN MESSAGE FOR PRESIDENTS TRUMP AND PUTIN: YOUR TELEPHONE CALL

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock – Jan. 27, 2017 – also appeared at jackmatlock.com/2017/01/open-message-for-presidents-trump-and-putin-your-telephone-call/) As one who advised President Reagan on how to end the Cold War, I welcome your plans to discuss US-Russian relations tomorrow, January 28. Relations have reached a state that is dangerous for both our countries and, in fact, the entire world. One brief conversation cannot resolve the contentions […]

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Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That’s Not Going to Be Easy

Donald Trump

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – January 27, 2017) No actor on the world stage was as publicly energized by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as Russia. At first glance, the support seemed entirely emotional. But there was also a rational interest: Trump was open to lifting sanctions, after all. Sanctions have had a […]

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