U.S. Congressman Alleges Snowden May Have Worked With FSB

Edward Snowden file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 20, 2014) The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees will investigate suspicions that intelligence leaker Edward Snowden might have already been in touch with Russian security services while working as a defense contractor on U.S. soil, the committees’ leaders said. Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan and head […]

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Hue and cry as US journalist barred from Russia – or was he?

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Business New Europe MOSCOW BLOG – bne.eu – Ben Aris – January 15, 2014) The international press threw up a hue and cry on January 14 after it emerged a US journalist David Satter had been barred from re-entering Russia. Superficially, it appears the Kremlin has banned a western journalist because he was critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. […]

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RIA Novosti: US Condemns Ukraine’s Anti-Protest Laws as ‘Undemocratic’

Maidan Square file photo

MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) ­ The United States on Thursday condemned the parliament of Ukraine’s decision to pass wide-ranging laws severely restricting the right to protest as undemocratic. The measures were stiffly resisted by outraged opposition deputies in a testy, and sometimes violent, session in the Rada, but were nonetheless pushed through by the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions. […]

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Journalist’s Expulsion Reveals Visa Quagmire

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 16, 2014) As pundits speculated about possible political repercussions of Russia’s decision to bar U.S. journalist David Satter, the country’s often cumbersome and conflicting visa application process came into the spotlight on Wednesday. While for some observers the visa bureaucracy was seen as a tool to cushion the state’s political decisions, […]

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McFaul: Happy New Year: Looking Back, Looking Forward [excerpt]

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul – http://m-mcfaul.livejournal.com/ – January 15, 2014) [excerpt; complete text here http://m-mcfaul.livejournal.com/17235.html] January is always a good month to assess the accomplishments of the previous year and look forward to progress in the new year. This month marks not only the end of my second year as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation but also the […]

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Expulsion of U.S. Journalist Sparks Controversy Before Olympics

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 14, 2014) Russia has barred a U.S. journalist for five years in a move that has triggered a frenzy between Russian authorities and Western media on Tuesday, signaling possible heightened tensions ahead of upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. It was not clear whether David Satter, 66, was banned entry into […]

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Record Number of U.S. Visas Issued to Russians in 2013

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2014) A record total of about 250,000 U.S. nonimmigrant visas were issued to Russians last year, a jump of 15 percent compared to the previous record year, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Monday. In 2013, more than 30 percent of Russians obtained U.S. visas without going through an interview due to […]

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U.S. Cautions Sochi Travelers Amid Threats

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – January 13, 2014) The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans traveling to Sochi for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics as security threats continue to emerge in southern Russia, which is set to host the Games next month. Over the weekend, police defused two handmade bombs in the North […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian TV Presenter Claims Strip-Searched at Miami Airport

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian TV celebrity and socialite Ksenia Sobchak has said she was strip-searched at Miami Airport after a security check wrongly detected explosives on her fingers, a claim the US authorities have denied. Sobchak, 32, formerly the host of a long-running reality show and now an anchor at an independent TV channel, claimed on Twitter […]

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CIA Cuts Off Public Access to Its Translated News Reports

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

(Secrecy News – blogs.fas.org/secrecy – Steven Aftergood – January 8, 2014) Beginning in 1974, the U.S. intelligence community provided the public with a broad selection of foreign news reports, updated daily.  These were collected and translated by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which was reconstituted in 2004 as the Open Source Center (OSC). But the CIA […]

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Orgs Ask DNI to Preserve Access to World News Connection

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

(Secrecy News – blogs.fas.org/secrecy – Steven Aftergood – December 23, 2013) More than a dozen professional societies and public interest groups wrote to the Director of National Intelligence last week to ask him to preserve public access to foreign news reports gathered, translated and published by the Open Source Center and marketed to subscribers through the NTIS World News Connection. […]

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RIA Novosti: U.S. Senate Backs Sanctions Over Ukraine Violence

Maidan Square file photo

WASHINGTON, January 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ The US Senate has called for possible sanctions against individuals responsible for state violence against Ukrainian demonstrators protesting Kiev’s decision to abandon long-awaited trade and political deals with the European Union. “In the event of further state violence against peaceful protestors, the President and Congress should consider whether to apply targeted sanctions, including visa […]

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U.S. Private Security Firm On Standby in Case of Emergency During Olympics

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 9, 2014) A U.S. crisis-response firm will have five aircraft on standby during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in the event that an emergency requires an evacuation. The private Global Rescue firm, which had announced in November that it would assist the U.S. ski and snowboard teams during the Olympics, will stand by […]

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In Praise of the Transactional – the Case Against a Strategic Russian-Western Partnership

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2014 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> Subject: In Praise of the Transactional ­ — the Case Against a Strategic Russian-Western Partnership In Praise of the Transactional ­ — the Case Against a Strategic Russian-Western Partnership By Kirk Bennett, U.S. Department of State, retired. The opinions expressed are his own and do not reflect the views of the […]

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Russia Nears Record Highs as North America Shivers

Snowy Scene with Trees and Hills file photo, adapted from NWS image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 8, 2014) Moscow’s unseasonably warm weather is expected to continue over the next few days, creating the potential for setting temperature records that are a far cry from those being caused by the polar vortex in the United States and Canada. Fobos weather center said that temperatures in Moscow were expected to reach three […]

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Interfax: Conditions for improving Russia-US relations have yet to be created – Russian expert

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Interfax – January 2, 2014) It is possible to make progress on Russia-U.S. relations in 2014 only if there is a will of both leaderships, a Russian policy expert said. “For now I do not see any serious prerequisites for improving the relations in the upcoming year. On the other hand, everything depends on the presidents; if Barack Obama and/or […]

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Russian-American program to retrieve spent nuclear fuel prolonged to 2024

Radioactivity Symbol

MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) – The Russian-American program to retrieve spent nuclear fuel of Russian production from other countries has been prolonged until 2024. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom told Interfax that Russia and the United States exchanged their notes on this agreement. Rosatom was previously planning to round off the program in 2016. The Russian-American program is being carried […]

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Reports of Imminent Resignation False, U.S. Ambassador McFaul Says

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 26, 2013) U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul plans to ring in the New Year in Moscow for the first time in his life, combining Russian and U.S. traditions, he said in an interview published Wednesday. McFaul, who’s been in Russia since early 2012, also said that the reports of his resignation were greatly […]

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Interfax: Lavrov mentions Magnitsky List, missile defense, adoptions among irritants in Russian-U.S. relations

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – Washington’s attempts to expand the so-called Magnitsky List are an extra irritant in relations between Russia and the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said referring to the list of Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and subject to U.S. financial and visa sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act […]

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New AmCham chief still feels Russia’s pull

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – December 18, 2013) It was more than business that pulled banker Alexis Rodzianko to Russia in 1995. Eight decades earlier, his great-grandfather had chaired two sessions of the pre-Revolutionary Duma and conducted abdication negotiations with Tsar Nicholas II. Now Rodzianko had competing job offers between New York, London and Moscow. “The call […]

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VIDEO: U.S. Ambassador McFaul Says No Boycott Of Sochi Olympics, Addresses U.S.-Russian Relations, Ukraine, Adoptions, other issues

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

Ambassador Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, addresses U.S.-Russian Relations, Ukraine, the Sochi Olympics, adoptions and other matters, in this video by RFE/RL’s Russian Service. McFaul is interviewed in Russian, with English subtitles. The video was dated December 17, 2013.

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U.S. Ambassador Says No Boycott Of Sochi

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – December 17, 2013) U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has spoken of the current state of bilateral relations, the upcoming Sochi Olympics, and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service. McFaul, speaking at RFE/RL’s Moscow Bureau, quashed rumors of a possible U.S. boycott of the Winter Olympics. He confirmed […]

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RIA Novosti: Obama to Skip Sochi Games in Apparent Snub Over Anti-Gay Law

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ US President Barack Obama dealt a sharp reprimand to Russia over its anti-gay laws on Tuesday by including two openly homosexual athletes in the official delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and declining to attend the Games himself. The White House announced that Billie Jean King, a gay former tennis champion, and Caitlin […]

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Ukraine, Russia deal is a bandage not a remedy

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Lilit Gevorgyan, IHS Global – December 18, 2013) Any form of aid is probably going to be a bandage on Ukraine’s economic troubles rather than a serious remedy. These troubles are a result of a toxic combination of domestic macroeconomic policy failures and unfavorable external demand for Ukrainian undiversified exports, which are heavily dependent […]

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Interview: U.S. Senator McCain Discusses Pro-EU Demonstrations In Ukraine

John McCain file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – December 18, 2013) U.S. Senator John McCain has accused Russia of trying to block Ukraine’s efforts to join the European Union. Fresh upon his return from witnessing the pro-European Union demonstrations taking place in Kyiv, McCain spoke to RFE/RL’s Golnaz Esfandiari about what may lie ahead for the country. RFE/RL: Senator McCain, You just returned from […]

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Interfax: Moscow to respond proportionally in case Washington expands Magnitsky List – official [Matviyenko]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Interfax – December 18, 2013) The so-called Magnitsky List is an utterly unfriendly step regarding Russia and Moscow will take proportionate measures if it is expanded, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said. “I think that this law is an unfriendly step regarding us and does not contribute to improving the climate in our bilateral relations with the United States. […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines/RIA Novosti : Should Russia fear the U.S. ‘Prompt Global Strike’?

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Russia Beyond the Headlines/RIA Novosti – rbth.ru – Konstantin Bogdanov, RIA Novosti – December 16, 2013) Russian officials have expressed their sharp criticism towards the U.S. plans for the so-called “Prompt Global Strike” initiative. Are they justified? What does this “Prompt Global Strike” represent, how can it interfere with the Russian plans and how can it be opposed? Around the […]

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Interfax: Russia will pay U.S. “in its own coin” for expanding Magnitsky List – Russian diplomat

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Dec 16 (Interfax) – Russia will answer symmetrically if the United States expands the so-called Magnitsky List, i.e. the list of Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and subject to U.S. financial and visa sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “Decisions on putting more Russian […]

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Russian diplomats accused of Medicaid fraud in U.S. to be subjected to disciplinary action at home – Lavrov

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

MOSCOW. Dec 16 (Interfax) – Moscow is already taking disciplinary measures in relation to the Russian diplomats accused in the U.S. of unlawfully receiving Medicaid benefits to cover the pregnancy and childbirth costs, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “This is a disciplinary offence, because, by being insincere in filing applications and citing inaccurate figures to receive some benefits, they […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian experts doubt US will impose sanctions on Ukraine

Maidan Square file photo

(RIA Novosti – December 12, 2013) Russian experts interviewed by the RIA Novosti news agency believe that by speaking about possible sanctions against Ukraine, the USA is trying to make Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych more compliant, the agency reported on 12 December. Spokesperson for the US Department of State Jen Psaki has said that the US authorities are considering possible […]

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Interfax: Joint Poll Highlights Russians’, Americans’ Stereotypical Views of One Another

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

MOSCOW. Dec 11 (Interfax) – Americans continue to conceive of Russia in the context of the Cold War and communism, and Russians mostly associate the United States with aggression and the dollar, specialists from the Romir Holding, which held a joint poll with the U.S. Leger Market Research in the fall, told Interfax on Wednesday. A thousand city residents older […]

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RIA Novosti: New Battle Looms in US-Russian ‘War of Blacklists’

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

WASHINGTON, December 9 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) ­ The United States and Russia face a potential renewed blacklist war as a deadline looms this week for Washington to report on controversial sanctions against alleged Russian rights abusers. The US administration has until Saturday to submit to Congress its inaugural annual report on any additions to the so-called “Magnitsky […]

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Russian Diplomats Accused of Healthcare Fraud to Leave U.S. in Near Future, Report Says

Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – December 9, 2013) The Russian diplomats and their spouses charged with fraudulently claiming a total of $1.5 million from a U.S. government health care program are all to return to Russia, a news report said Monday. Only 11 of the 49 defendants are still on American soil, and they too will soon […]

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RIA Novosti: US White House to Consider Sanctions Against Yanukovych

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, November 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ The US government will have to consider sanctions against Ukraine’s leadership after a petition to the cause gathered 100,000 signatures on White House’s website. The petition asks to ban US and EU entry for and freeze assets of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and members of the his government, as well as their families. The […]

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Interfax: Missile defence is main problem in Russian-NATO relations – deputy minister

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

(Interfax – November 29, 2013) Missile defence is the main irritant in relations between the defence ministries of Russia and NATO member states, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said, privately-owned Russian military news agency Interfax-AVN reported on 29 November. “The prospects for cooperation between Russia and NATO are very great. If there was the political will from the […]

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The U.S. and Russia – A Relationship of Continual Growth

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Ambassador Michael McFaul – November 29, 2013 – Valdai Discussion Club/Izvestia) Michael McFaul is U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. November 17, 2013, marked the 80th anniversary of the U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union, when then-Soviet Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov traveled to the U.S. to sign an agreement establishing diplomatic relations.  While this is a milestone in our relationship […]

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Interfax: Most orphans who did not go to U.S. were adopted by Russian families – diplomat

Russian Orphanage file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Most Russian orphans whose adoption by American families was prohibited by the Dima Yakovlev law have already been adopted by Russian citizens or have been returned to their biological mothers, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights envoy, told Interfax on Tuesday. “Most of these children have already been transferred to their new Russian […]

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Turkey and toasts: Russian-Americans celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Artist's Rendition of Turkey, Autumn Leaves

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nora FitzGerald, Xenia Grubstein, RBTH – November 28, 2013) In their celebrations of America’s most traditional holiday, émigrés find a way to embrace an American identity while paying tribute to their roots. For many Russians who have emigrated to the United States, Thanksgiving is their favorite American holiday ­ a window to a […]

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The truth about Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Artist's Rendition of Turkey, Autumn Leaves

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Mark H. Teeter – November 28, 2013)  Sometimes Russians get American history so muddled (так путаются в американской истории) that it can only be un-muddled by authentic Yankee ingenuity (аутентичной хитростью америкоса типа меня). Last week, my grandson Valerka displayed lecture-worthy prejudice regarding the origins of Thanksgiving (День благодарения): “Isn’t that the holiday,” chided the […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Adding Russian voices to Carnegie Corp. US-Russia Relations site

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

From: Scott Bittle <SB@carnegie.org> Subject: Adding Russian voices to Carnegie Corp. US-Russia  relations site Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 I just wanted to follow up — we have added our Russian commentators to the site, in collaboration with the Carnegie Moscow Center, to provide a counterpoint to the American experts from the first round. These posts are available to you […]

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EVENT: Sixth Annual Conference on Doing Business with Russia [Wednesday, December 4 in Washington, D.C.; registration requested]

Empty Boardroom

Subject: 6th Annual Conference Doing Business with Russia From: eurasiamail@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 6th Annual Conference Doing Business with Russia The Eurasia Center & The Eurasian Business Coalition December 4, 2013 At The Russian Trade Representation & The Embassy of the Russian Federation Washington, DC To Register please visit www.eurasiacenter.org  and see Agenda. This event will allow participants […]

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Interfax: Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice agree on possible ways to resolve extradition issue

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed on ways to resolve extradition issues, which is a serious obstacle in the criminal justice cooperation of the two countries. “During the negotiations with substantial delegations of the U.S. Department of Justice held recently in Moscow, an agreement has been reached on […]

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“The far right, gangsters, and monopolists”: the Soviet interpretation of the Kennedy assassination

Map of Ranges of Soviet Missiles on Cuba

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ivan Tsvetkov – November 22, 2013) Dr. Ivan Tsvetkov is an associate professor at the School of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University and an expert in U.S. domestic policy. Thanks to John F. Kennedy’s actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which allowed the Soviets to save face, the reporting on his […]

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US asset management giant pulls $100M from Russia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(RIA Novosti – November 22, 2013) US asset management giant BlackRock pulled more than $100 million from its Russian investments over a seven-day period beginning last week, the Prime news agency reported Friday. The amount is about a third of the investment that BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, has in Russia, Prime said, citing figures from Emerging Portfolio Fund […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Concerned at US Plans for Bases in Afghanistan

Allied Troops on High Ground Overlooking Afghan Valley

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ A senior Russian diplomat has voiced concerns over US plans to retain nine military bases in Afghanistan after their planned withdrawal from the country. Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told RIA Novosti in an interview Wednesday that the bases would “exert a serious influence on the whole vast Asian region and become […]

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RIA Novosti: 90% of Russians Asking for US Visas Obtain Them – Ambassador

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Most Russians asking for US entry visas obtain them, the US ambassador in Moscow said Wednesday. Michael McFaul said at a meeting with students in Moscow’s Foreign Literature Library that more than 90 percent of those applying for visas were granted them. He noted that the figure is higher in Russia than in many […]

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Interfax: McFaul angry with Russian mass media reports on U.S. sponsoring opposition in Russia

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said he was angry with mass media reports on Washington supporting the Russian opposition. McFaul said at a public meeting in Moscow on Wednesday that nothing made him angrier about the Russian media than propaganda about the U.S. government sponsoring Russian opposition. According to the ambassador, he saw Russian […]

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Browder Expects Broader Magnitsky List Sanctions for Russian Officials in U.S., Europe

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2013) The United States may publish the extended version of the “Magnitsky list” as early as next month, while Europe is expected to pass a  similar measure, Hermitage Capital investment fund president and bill supporter William Browder said. The Magnitsky Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in December 2012 and named after late […]

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Descendant of Tsarist Duma Speaker to Head AmCham in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 19, 2013) U.S.-born banker Alexis Rodzianko has been elected president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, or AmCham, the chamber said Tuesday. The previous president, Andrew Somers, announced earlier this year he would be departing to launch a new strategic consulting firm. “We have the greatest confidence in Alex, who comes to […]

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Interfax: U.S. Ambassador McFaul sure that Russia, U.S. have more common interests than differences

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) – A positive agenda in Russian-U.S. relations outweighs the difficulties existing in them, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said. “Today, those interests and challenges which unite us outweigh those issues which divide us,” McFaul told Interfax on Saturday in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia. […]

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