Russia Prepares to Blacklist Five ‘Undesirable’ U.S. Media Outlets

Satellite Dishes

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2017) Russian senators have drawn up a list of five U.S.-based media outlets, including CNN, whose activities in Russia could be restricted in response to a requirement to have the American branch of Russia’s state-funded RT television channel register as a foreign agent. The U.S. Justice Department has asked that the Kremlin-backed RT […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-197 :: Wednesday, 18 October 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#197 Wednesday, 18 October 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott […]

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NEWSLINK: “If Russia can create fake ‘Black Lives Matter’ accounts, who will next?” – Washington Post/ Anne Applebaum

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

NEWSLINK: “CARIBBEAN CRISIS 2.0: ILLUSION OF PERMISSIVENESS” – Valdai/ Maxim Starchak

Map of Cuba and Environs

“… The international security system is collapsing, there is no dialogue. The parties do not consider negotiations, options, but prefer options for developing their military activities. Sooner or later, this may lead to a full-scale crisis similar to Cuba 1962. However, this may not be a bad thing. The Caribbean crisis has taught us to understand that the value of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Soccer Defeat Is a Loss for Russia. In place of a flood of U.S. travelers for next year’s World Cup, a trickle of Panamanians.” – Wall Street Journal

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… a fresh setback for U.S.-Russia relations: The U.S. men’s soccer team fell to Trinidad and Tobago … and … failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in three decades. For Russia, hosting the quadrennial event in 2018 … missing out on an influx of rich American tourists …. [A past study by two economists suggests] the tourism boost from […]

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U.S. Diplomatic Staff in Russia Could See Another Major Cut

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 11, 2017) The Russian Foreign Ministry has not eliminated the possibility of reducing U.S. diplomatic staff by another 150 or more personnel, the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday. In an interview with Georgy Borisenko, head of the ministry’s North America Department, reporter Maria Kiseleva asked whether Russia is ready to respond to […]

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Interfax: Russia shouldn’t sever relations with U.S. even if Washington pushes for it – Slutsky

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 10 (Interfax) – The way the United States has treated Russia’s diplomatic facilities looks like Russia is being pushed to break up bilateral diplomatic relations, State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda published on the newspaper’s website on Tuesday. “We will not yield to provocations,” Slutsky said. Komsomolskaya Pravda cited […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Visit to Russia: Can Relations Be Improved? If the administration wants to work with Moscow, it will find a willing though admittedly difficult partner” – The National Interest/ Paul J. Saunders

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

“… Beyond Russia’s interference, of course, U.S. and Russian officials would have to develop workable and sustainable solutions to at least some of the issues that now divide them. Setting aside the 2016 presidential election, the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine is probably the most difficult of these. U.S.-Russian differences in Syria – while significant – are simpler. In both […]

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Washington Post coverage of Russiagate

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

October 8, 2017 The notorious Kremlin-linked ‘troll farm’ and the Russians trying to take it down https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/the-notorious-kremlin-linked-troll-farm-and-the-russians-trying-to-take-it-down/2017/10/06/c8c4b160-a919-11e7-9a98-07140d2eed02_story.html?utm_term=.d27065c3abb0 October 9, 2017 Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/google-uncovers-russian-bought-ads-on-youtube-gmail-and-other-platforms/?utm_term=.1314cf8ad2f0 October 9, 2017 Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/russian-operatives-used-twitter-and-facebook-to-target-veterans-and-military-personnel-study-says/?utm_term=.313a59a7b68d  

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Moscow and Washington: Stopping the Slide

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Jill Dougherty – October 4, 2017) Jill Dougherty is an expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union. In her three-decade career with CNN she served as Foreign Affairs Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C.,where she covered the State Department and provided analysis on international issues. A question is haunting the ever-worsening relationship between Russian and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Studies is Thriving, not Dying; At least in Political Science, Russian studies is alive and well” – The National Interest/ Timothy Frye

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

“As U.S.-Russian relations continue to spiral downwards, popular commentators decry the lack of expertise on Russia in the United States. … The only problem is that Russian studies is thriving, at least in Political Science, the field I know best. … There are many reasons for the all too simplistic treatments found in much popular discourse about Russia from the […]

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Re: Russia’s Americans

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Subject: “Russia’s Americans” Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2017 From: Deena Stryker <deenstryk@gmail.com> Recently Johnson’s Russia List ran a story about the dearth of Russian experts available to participate in serious projects seeking to mend US-Soviet relations. The fact that fewer college students are studying Russian than in former periods caught my attention because last May I travelled to Russia for […]

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Enter Huntsman, Trump’s New Man in Moscow; Even as relations spiral, Washington’s new ambassador is talking tough

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – September 29, 2017) Jon Huntsman, confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador in Russia on Friday, has made little secret of what sort of diplomat he intends to be. He will meet dissidents, end human rights abuses and help solve the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, all while cultivating a “necessary” relationship with […]

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NEWSLINK: “How to tame Putin. A transatlantic working group report” – Politico

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

“1. Keep Ukraine — at least most of it — out of Putin’s hands. … 2. Give Ukraine some kind of junior status in the European Union. … 3. Keep up economic pressure on Russia through sanctions. … 4. March 2018 is a key moment for Putin. … 5. Governments need to share more secrets with the private sector. … 6. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Facebook can’t protect elections on its own” – Washington Post editorial

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… Existing federal regulations place stricter requirements on political ads on radio and television than those on the Internet. There’s a reason for that: The use of online advertising in political campaigns has spiked in prominence in only the past few years, before most rules governing election spending were written. As a result, Facebook had no legal responsibility to let […]

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NEWSLINK: “Latest Fake News Panic Appears to Be Fake News. A Republican Senator and much of the mainstream media punks itself, proving we should all spend more time outside.” – Rolling Stone/ Matt Taibbi

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

“The headline on the Washington Post story was scary enough: ‘Lawmaker: Russian trolls trying to sow discord in NFL kneeling debate”‘ …”

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NEWSLINK: “U.S.-Russian exchange provides optimism in ‘Cold War’ freeze; Relations between Russia and the US are on a downward spiral of sanctions and accusations. But on the 50th anniversary of the first US exchange program to the Soviet Union, its alumni have a different take on ties.” – Deutsche Welle/ Emily Sherwin

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

“… For decades, until the collapse of the Soviet Union, CIEE’s center was the only way for Americans students to study at a Soviet university and get a glimpse of Soviet reality. Today, the CIEE program still provides language courses, as well as electives on subjects like literature, history and politics at St. Petersburg State University. There is also a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “White House Must Extend New START Arms Control Treaty with Russia; Statement by Lisbeth Gronlund, Global Security Program” – Union of Concerned Scientists

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… New START – gives the United States and Russia until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550. It is set to expire in early 2021, but can be extended for another five years …. Trump suggested he would scrap it because he believed it favored Moscow. But … administration officials said last week that the White House […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Senate Confirms Huntsman as US Ambassador to Russia” – AP

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

“Jon Huntsman … former Utah governor … won easy confirmation Thursday as U.S. ambassador to Russia …. by voice vote. He breezed through his confirmation hearing last week as Republicans and Democrats praised his qualifications …. Huntsman has twice served before as a U.S. ambassador. … to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush and … to China under President Barack Obama before returning […]

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Two Years on, the Stakes of Russia’s War in Syria Are Piling; Russia may have helped Assad win the war, but crucial decisions lie ahead

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Frolov – September 29, 2017) Two years ago, on Sept. 30, 2015, Russian warplanes launched their first airstrikes in Syria, plunging Russia into a civil war that had already been festering for four years. Moscow intervened in Syria vowing to fight Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, terrorist groups banned in Russia. Its objective was […]

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[John F. Tefft:] On the Day of My Departure; We need to rebuild trust between our two countries.

John Tefft file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John F. Tefft – September 28, 2017) John F. Tefft is former U.S. Ambassador to Russia. When I first joined the diplomatic service, working on the Soviet desk in the 1980s, our relationship with Russia was at a low point. The Soviet Union had just shot down a Korean Airliner, with almost 100 Americans including […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian trolls tried to organize anti-immigrant rallies, and more;   Are Russia’s ‘Friends’ Hiding in Your Facebook Feed?” – The Nation/ Bob Dreyfuss

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“All of a sudden, Facebook—and perhaps Twitter and Google, too—find themselves at the center of the Russiagate investigation. You can’t say you didn’t see this coming. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram” – TheDailyBeast

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

“Kremlin trolls stole the identity of an authentic U.S. Muslim organization-first to smear John McCain and Hillary Clinton, then to sing her praises. …”  

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American Focus on Russian Interference in Elections Working to Moscow’s Benefit, Alksnis Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 2017) Many assume that the exposure of Moscow’s intervention in the US elections represents a failure in that Kremlin operation, but in fact, Irina Alksnis points out, the continuing US focus on this works to Russia’s benefit in many ways – and, although she doesn’t say so, may even have been […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. And Russia Quietly End Diplomatic Tailspin; A behind-the-scenes effort by US and Russian diplomats may have preempted a new wave of tit-for-tat retaliations” – Buzzfeed/ John Hudson

Rex Tillerson file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

“After months of angry statements, diplomatic expulsions, and shuttered consulates, US and Russian officials have quietly put an end to the tit-for-tat retaliations between the two sides, and U.S. officials are now considering reviving parts of a Russian proposal from March to strengthen military-to-military contacts. The improvement in relations follows talks between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign […]

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NEWSLINK: “Engagement leavened with realism; To explain U.S.-Russia discord, start with NATO expansion and Ukraine” – Economic Principals/ David Warsh

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

“The abrupt deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations that began in February 2014, when Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev on the last day of the Sochi Olympics, just as Russia sought to show its best face to the world in an elaborate closing ceremony, is the most serious crossroads in the relationship of the rival nations since the Cuban missile crisis. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Understanding Russia’s War Stories; Putin’s foreign policy is rooted in an epic myth of betrayal and redemption” – The New Republic/ Sophie Pinkham

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

“… From the hacking of DNC servers during the presidential campaign to links between Russian officials and Trump’s team, Democrats have leapt at the idea that Trump’s victory resulted from Russian machinations, even though there remains little evidence that the hacks decisively affected the election. Rather than revising their platform to appeal to today’s working class, Democrats have pointed their fingers […]

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Interfax: Moscow dismisses Washington’s allegations of violating INF Treaty

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – Moscow views as groundless the United States’ allegations that Russia is breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday. “To us, the attempts to falsely accuse Russia of breaching a number of accords, including the INF Treaty, are unacceptable,” Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow. “In all the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Statement of Jon Huntsman, Nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

Statement of Jon Huntsman, Nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Senate Committee on Foreign Relations September 19, 2017 Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and Members of the Committee, It is an honor to appear before you today as President Trump’s nominee to be the United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation. I want to thank the President […]

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New U.S. Ambassador Huntsman Says ‘No Question’ Russia Meddled in Elections

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 19, 2017) In a nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Russia nominee Jon Huntsman said he was certain Moscow had interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. Earlier this year, U.S. intelligence unanimously concluded Moscow undermined the U.S. electoral system to sway the outcome of U.S. elections last November in […]

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Wanted: Russia Experts, No Expertise Required; Jingoism has replaced scholarship and a spirit of real inquiry when it comes to Russia. That’s a mistake.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 20, 2017) There’s a lot to unpack about the newly formed Committee to Investigate Russia, which aims to “help Americans recognize and understand the gravity of Russia’s continuing attacks on our democracy.” Perhaps its most striking feature is that no Russia experts are involved; that’s a sign of the times. The Committee’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “AP Interview: Lavrov hints U.S.-Russia ‘tit-for-tat’ could end” – ASSOCIATED PRESS/ JOHN DANISZEWSKI

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told The Associated Press in an interview that he heard positive news in President Donald Trump’s United Nations address: ‘that the U.S. would not impose its way of life on others.’ … Lavrov blamed the Obama administration for the collapse in relations between Moscow and Washington. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “What would a Russia-NATO war look like? Russia’s wargaming it right now” – Washington Post/ David Filipov, Michael Birnbaum, Andrew Roth

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“A revitalized Russian military on Monday sent tanks, paratroopers, artillery, antiaircraft weapons, jets and helicopters into frigid rains to engage the forces of a mock enemy called the ‘Western Coalition.’ The barrage of firepower , part of war games that began last week, was an explosive show of force that Baltic leaders said was a simulation of an attack against […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Senate approves $500 million military aid, lethal weapons for Ukraine”

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

“The … Senate passed … the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, authorizing the provision to Ukraine of $500 million worth of military aid, including lethal defensive weapons. … approved 89 to 8 votes, [the bill] will now go to the president’s desk … [it passed] the House … on July 14. * * * The executive summary … [says] that half of the $500 million … will be withheld until […]

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At Forum, Experts Slam Russian ‘Disinformation’ Campaigns Aimed at West

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

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Cindy Saine – WASHINGTON – September 15, 2017) The German Marshall Fund says it has documented Russian interference in the elections or political affairs of at least 27 countries since 2004, ranging from disinformation campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to cyber attacks. The Helsinki Commission held a hearing Thursday on Capitol […]

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How to Resist Russian Propaganda on a Tight Budget; Expensive U.S. and EU efforts are no match for a few simple techniques.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 13, 2017) The awkwardly named European External Action Service East Stratcom Task Force provides the latest exercise in futility. The agency, which is part of the European Union bureaucratic machinery, has gathered several thousand examples of disinformation in the first searchable database of its size, a culmination of its work since 2015. […]

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NEWSLINK: “RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War; How the Kremlin built one of the most powerful information weapons of the 21st century – and why it may be impossible to stop” – New York Times Magazine/ JIM RUTENBERG

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

“… Military officials in America and Europe have come to refer to this idea alternatively as the ‘Gerasimov doctrine’ and ‘hybrid war,’ which they accuse Russia of engaging in now. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Hand Is Visible Everywhere in the Middle East; Moscow has used its new-found influence in the Middle East to thwart the U.S. effort to use Saudi Arabia as a pressure point against the Russian economy.” – The National Interest/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Middle East Map

“… During the Cold War, the Soviet Union attempted to compete frontally against the United States-and found itself outclassed. Today, Russia is engaged in a more subtle strategy. So far, it appears to be paying dividends.”

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NEWSWATCH: “A Problem Much Bigger Than Putin” – New York Times/ Mikhail Khodorkovsky

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

“More than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the attempt to build a democracy in its place, Russia has once again become an authoritarian state. The same inability to build democratic institutions plagued the leaders of the February Revolution of 1917, which led to the Bolsheviks gaining power later that year. … Still burdened by a ‘besieged […]

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