JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Broadens Sanctions to Thwart Completion of Russian Gas Pipeline” – Wall Street Journal/ Brett Forrest

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“New measures target companies that would provide services or funding for vessels working on Nord Stream 2” “… [2019] U.S. Sanctions … focused on pipe-laying vessels for Nord Stream 2 and halted the $10.5 billion [natural gas] pipeline[,] … designed to transmit Russian gas to Germany, 100 miles short … beneath the Baltic Sea. … [A] State Department [web announcement] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Is a Bad Omen” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Paul Stronski

Map of Azerbaijan and Environs, adapted from image at cia.gov

“With the United States shrugging off its erstwhile role as the world’s policeman, can anyone stop the fierce fighting now raging between Armenia and Azerbaijan?” “… The long-running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, … dat[ing] to the waning days of the Soviet Union, is not going to trigger a global war[] [n]or … affect … [great power] vital interests […]

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Evolving Global Order Makes a P5 Summit Ineffective

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Paul Saunders – Sept. 17, 2020) Paul Saunders is a senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy at the Center for the National Interest. With military tension among great powers increasing in east Asia, central Europe and the Middle East, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and others have proposed a summit of the U.N. Security Council’s five […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The West Is Outraged By Navalny’s Novichok Poisoning. That’s No Guarantee of Tough Sanctions.” – Moscow Times

File Photo of G7 Leaders at Summit, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

Looming U.S. elections and disparate EU interests could translate into a symbolic response. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Sept. 4, 2020) Lawmakers across Europe and the U.S. are scrambling to respond to the revelation that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok – a lethal Soviet-era military nerve agent – with the possibility of fresh sanctions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin bets on Lukashenko keeping power in Belarus for now: sources” – Reuters

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Putin believes … Lukashenko will probably cling to power for now despite protests … and is content to let him sweat it out, two sources close to the Kremlin said. … [T]he two countries usually have no border controls, … culturally, linguistically and economically intertwined. Putin has pushed hard to make [their] union state [concept] more of a political […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Merkel and Putin discuss political crisis in Belarus” – Financial Times/ Guy Chazan, Henry Foy, James Shotter, Max Seddon

Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, file photo adapted from image at state.gov

“German leader’s talks with counterpart acknowledge Russia’s crucial role in deciding fate of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.” “… Merkel called … Putin … Tuesday to discuss Belarus[,] … tacit acknowledgment of his pivotal role …. Moscow has propped up … Lukashenko financially and militarily throughout [Lukashenko’s] 26 years in power … the Kremlin has remained on the sidelines since his […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Doesn’t Want to Intervene in Belarus. That’s an Opportunity for the West.” – Moscow Times/ Anna Arutunyan

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

“It’s certainly not too soon for Moscow and Brussels to learn from past mistakes.” “… Now, the time has come, largely through Lukashenko’s own undoing, but also, in part, thanks to a perfect storm of the pandemic, a stagnating economy, and Moscow’s growing weariness with subsidizing Belarus and playing cat and mouse with an ally turned frenemy. Lukashenko may well […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. Is Close to Killing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline; But it’s a race between slow construction and slower sanctions” – Foreign Policy/ Amy Mackinnon

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is close to the finish line – but might be closer to finished as a viable project, after one of the companies involved in laying the pipe on the Baltic seafloor said … it would withdraw …. For years, the United States has tried to kill off Russia’s latest effort to strengthen its […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Which Countries Are Open to Russians – and Vice Versa?” – Moscow Times

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

… Russia also closed its borders to most foreign citizens, with exceptions for diplomats, relatives of deceased people, high-demand workers and other categories […]

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Pompeo Says U.S. Will ‘Do Everything’ To Stop Nord Stream 2 Project

Gas Flame file photo

… The United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would run under the Baltic Sea and double Russia’s direct natural gas exports to Germany while bypassing Ukraine […]

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Mark Galeotti: “Re: Subject: A comment on Galeotti” [re: UK-Russian Relations, U.S.-Russian Relations, Nicolai Petro]

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

It’s always great when something you write receives a thoughtful response, but I did feel I needed make a couple of responses to Nicolai Petro’s open reply to my short commentary in The Spectator […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Folly; Pompeo may be in an uproar over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but it is hardly the geopolitical masterstroke he imagines.” – Foreign Policy/ Chris Miller

Gas Flame file photo

“As the United States [adds] … pressure … against Nord Stream 2, friction with Germany, which would receive much of the pipeline’s gas, will intensify. …. Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe see the pipeline as a glaring example of German hypocrisy … Berlin lectures them about carbon neutrality and human rights while guzzling fossil fuels from one of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Denmark Gives Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline a Path to Completion” – Wall Street Journal/ Brett Forrest

Gas Flame file photo

“U.S. officials fear the pipeline will give Moscow greater political leverage across Europe.” “Denmark granted unexpectedly swift approval for resuming construction of the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Danish waters, potentially clearing one of … [its] last hurdles …. The pipeline, once finished and certified, will deliver Russian natural gas to Germany …. U.S. lawmakers and officials fear … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the World Worries About Russia’s Natural Gas Pipeline” – Bloomberg/ Anna Shiryaevskaya, Dina Khrennikova

Gas Flame file photo

“A … natural gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea from Russia … to the German coast is shaking up geopolitics. Nord Stream 2 … worries … bypassed countries in Eastern Europe … fear[ing the loss of] transit fees … [while also] adding to friction with the U.S., which argues the link would give the Kremlin new leverage over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia cannot afford another 15 years at war with the west” – Financial Times/ Philip Stephens

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

“Vladimir Putin should brush off the cold war cobwebs in pursuit of a hard-headed look at national interests.” “… Putin is proposing … the option of another 15 years in office. He could … continu[e] to shake his fist at the west. Alternatively, he could brush away the cobwebs of the cold war and begin to recognise the challenge to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s New Nuclear Doctrine: Don’t Mess With Us – But Let’s Talk” – World Politics Review/ Richard Weitz

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

  “… Why did Russia decide to publish its deterrence policy now? In part, it could be to dispel alleged Western misperceptions about when Russia might use nuclear weapons, specifically the Pentagon’s assessment that Moscow would threaten to use nuclear weapons – or actually do so – to intimidate an adversary into yielding in a major crisis. Previously referred to […]

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Russia, George Floyd, and the end of the imaginary West; Why are Russians so angered by America’s latest protests?

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

From liberal columnists to pro-Kremlin pundits, Russia’s opinion formers take the same line on the protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Once poles apart, they have merged into a chorus chanting about the death of the West, exposing “political correctness,” and gleefully sharing racist jokes.

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senators to Announce Sanctions Bill on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline” – Reuters

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

“U.S. senators [reportedly] will announce a bill this week expanding sanctions on … [the] Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project … [that] Washington says will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act[, spearheaded by Republican Senator … Ted Cruz[ and Democratic Senator] Jeanne Shaheen … follows legislation signed by … Trump last year …. […]

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Poll: Majority of Young Russians Distrust NATO, Don’t Consider Russia a European Country

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Thomas Schaffner, Angelina Flood – May 5, 2020) A majority of young Russians distrust NATO more than any other organization and disagree that Russia is a European country, according to a recent poll conducted by Russia’s independent Levada Center and Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation. These organizations’ research on the opinions of Russia’s “Generation Z” (aged […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s coronavirus offensive; As the epidemic ravages Europe, the Kremlin has dialed up the disinformation and propaganda” – Politico.eu/ Hannah Roberts

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

“As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, Russia appears to be observing the adage that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. Seeking to capitalize on the chaos and promote its own soft power, the Kremlin has taken Beijing’s lead and started love-bombing struggling nations with medical aid, and stepping up its efforts to broadcast propaganda and sow disinformation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NATO enlargement: evaluating its consequences in Russia” – International Politics/ Kimberly Marten

NATO Meeting file photo

“… There is no question that Russia – its leaders, expert analysts, and public – reacted negatively to NATO enlargement right from the start. … But …. Russia’s unhappiness is overdetermined, and there is no evidence that if NATO enlargement had been avoided, delayed, or altered (while nothing else changed), that Russia could have been reconciled to the idea of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Long War Against American Science” – New York Times/ William J. Broad

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses. “… the pandemic has swept the globe … accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information – an ‘infodemic,’ according to the [WHO] …. Analysts say … Putin … has played a principal role […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s state-backed media uses the pandemic to spin anti-Western views. They are not alone.” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan

Satellite Dishes

“After a Russian military contingent with medical equipment arrived in Rome last month, the Kremlin’s English-language media outlets RT and Sputnik found video gold. They highlighted an Italian man replacing an E.U. flag with a Russian one — deriding how Italy’s European partners “failed” to provide assistance to the coronavirus-stricken country while Russia ‘filled in.’ But when questions were raised […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “EBRD drops a COVID-19 dambuster on Russian sanctions; The EBRD has started investing in Russia again after several years off” – bne Intellinews/ Jason Corcoran

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“A modest investment by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a Russian travel company may prove to be the sanctions dambuster that the Kremlin has been longing for. The London-headquartered bank announced on April 7 it would provide finance to a Russian travel aggregator Travelata as part of its €1bn coronavirus (COVID-19) funding programme … designed to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. should revive Lend-Lease to contain Russia” – Atlantic Council/ Stephen Blank

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

“… Moscow’s hybrid war against the Western world continues unabated. … There are many advantages to a modern-day revival of the Lend-Lease concept. Firstly, it materially strengthens Ukraine by demonstrating growing U.S. support …. Secondly, this plan would help increase allied security and capabilities in threatened areas such as Romania in the Black Sea region and Poland in the north. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With Friends Like These: The Kremlin’s Far-Right and Populist Connections in Italy and Austria” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Andrew S. Weiss

Europe Map

“… A blend of new threats and opportunities is causing Moscow to take greater risks and embrace more flamboyant policies in Europe. The Kremlin’s relationships with Italy and Austria shine a spotlight on how Europe’s domestic troubles have opened many doors for Moscow. … Europe … has always been too important for the Kremlin to ignore. … the historical benchmark […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s New Premier Reaches Out to West With Bid for OECD Ties” – Bloomberg/ Ilya Arkhipov, Evgenia Pismennaya

OECD Logo

“Russia’s new prime minister has ordered his government to revive Russia’s ties with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in what looks like a longshot bid to reopen links with western institutions severed after the Ukraine crisis began in 2014. Mikhail Mishustin [reportedly] asked subordinates to draft a plan … possibly even restarting Russia’s efforts to join …. The […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia, Europe need common dream about future – Russian human rights council head” – Interfax

Europe Map

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Russian presidential human rights council head Valery Fadeyev has said there is no vision of the future in Russia and suggested giving up “hysterical consumption” as part of a transition to “a new type of life” in the 21st century. “It is a big problem: we don’t have a dream, and that means we don’t […]

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RUSSIALINK: “4 in 5 Russians View West as a Friend – Poll” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 18, 2020) Almost 80% of Russians believe that Russia and the West should become friends and partners, according to the results of an independent Levada Center poll published Tuesday. Only 3% of Russian respondents said they see the West as Russia’s enemy, Levada said. Another 16% said they view the West as a rival. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Common interests should prevail in Russian-NATO relations – Putin” – Interfax

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

BOCHAROV RUCHEI, Sochi. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Russia stands ready for cooperation with NATO and expects that common security interests will prevail in its dialogue with the alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “London is hosting a NATO summit marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance’s foundation right now, on December 3-4,” Putin said, opening a regular conference on defense […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top Secret Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe, Security Officials Say” – New York Times/ Michael Schwirtz

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

“… a destabilization campaign in Moldova … the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria …. a thwarted coup in Montenegro. … an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in Britain using a nerve agent. … Western security officials have … concluded that these operations, and potentially many others, are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilize […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pipelines From Russia Cross Political Lines; Critics say the Nord Stream 2 project would make Germany too dependent on Russian natural gas and economically punish Ukraine” – New York Times/ Steven Erlanger

Gas Flame file photo

“… Radoslaw Sikorski … former Polish defense minister, compared it to the infamous 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that allied the Nazis with Stalin’s Soviet Union. … [A] pair of natural gas pipelines known as Nord Stream 2, … would double the capacity of an existing pair of pipelines, Nord Stream …. The pipelines run from Russia directly under the Baltic Sea […]

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European identity and the paradox of anti-communism

EU Map

The European Parliament’s conflation of Soviet Communism and Nazi-Fascism, says more about the present paranoia surrounding populism than it does about the past. This distortion of history should be of grave concern for democrats across the political spectrum. (Opendemocracy.net – Jamie Mackay – October 3, 2019) Jamie Mackay (@JacMackay) is a writer and journalist based in the UK and Italy. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s $150 Billion Bet on Arctic Warming; France’s Macron slams the northern shipping route as an ecological disaster in the making, but Asian and European companies are lining up for a share of its (potential) riches.” – Transitions Online/ Ky Krauthamer

Arctic Map

“… [Russian has high hopes for] the [Arctic’s] Northern Sea Route [NSR] … owing to the long-term thinning of the ice pack. … [Use of the route] could shorten the journey from East Asia to Europe by up to two weeks. Norway … is skeptical[,] … has concerns about the environmental dangers of increased shipping in the fragile northern environment, […]

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Will Europe Ever Shake Its Dependence On Russian Energy?

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Wenyuan Wu – August 24, 2019) Much of the current discourse over Europe’s economic “independence” has revolved around its increasingly-tense relationship with the Trump administration over foreign policy issues such as trade and Iran. This focus has sidelined another important development, however: portions of the European energy industry-a major pillar of the single market-are increasingly coming into Russian […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia to decide on Magnitsky family’s compensation within 3 months – Justice Ministry” – Interfax

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 27 (Interfax) – The Russian Justice Ministry is studying the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)’s judgment granting 34,000 euros in compensation to the family of Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky; a decision on appealing this judgement will be made within three months. “The judgment has yet to take effect, therefore, the Russian Justice Ministry will decide on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Pipeline: Strategic Hit Or Miss?” – Forbes/ Anna Mikulska

Gas Flame file photo

“… the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bill that would impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline … currently under construction … [that] could bring up to 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas directly to Germany. … [T]he House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee approved a companion bill. The rationale for the sanctions (beyond […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Could Re-Criminalize Domestic Violence After European Court Ruling, Senator Says” – Moscow Times

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2019) Russia could make domestic violence a crime two years after lawmakers decriminalized some forms of domestic abuse, a top senator has said after a ruling by Europe’s top human rights court put a spotlight on the issue. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) this month ruled for the first time that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Cuts Interest Rate Again Amid Global Push for Looser Policy” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s central bank lowers its main rate to 7.25%” “… With signs mounting that the world economy is slowing, the [Federal Reserve] is widely expected to lower interest rates for the first time in over a decade …. The European Central Bank signaled … it is preparing to cut short-term interest rates for the first time since early 2016 …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Allies’ Oil Feud Spills Into Public View” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

“The blame game over a [Russian oil industry] contamination scandal … has breached … Putin’s inner circle. Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft, the world’s biggest publicly-traded oil company, and Nikolai Tokarev, the boss of Transneft, the world’s largest pipeline network, are embroiled in an unusually public and rancorous dispute over their companies’ responses to the contamination of Russia’s Druzhba (“Friendship”) […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Review: The Struggle of Russia’s crony capitalists” [re: Anders Aslund new book]” – Reuters/ Dasha Afanasieva

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

“… Anders Aslund … in ‘Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy‘ … [casts Putin] as a patriarchal overlord … handsomely reward[ing] those loyal …. creat[ing] a new elite of friends, former co-workers and relatives. What’s less clear is what, if anything [can be done about it]. … [A]naly[zing] the last 15 or so years of Putin’s […]

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Russia’s FDI Outlook Grim, with No Chinese Rescue in Sight

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nicholas Trickett – July 11, 2019) Nicholas Trickett is editor in chief of BMB Russia and an associate scholar with the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He specializes in the domestic and international political economy of the Russian energy and infrastructure sectors and Russian foreign policy, and is currently finishing an MSc in international political economy […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s visit to Rome, meeting with Pope Francis being prepared – Peskov” – Interfax

View of St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican with River and Bridge in Foreground, adapted from image at cia.gov

MOSCOW. June 6 (Interfax) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed preparations for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Rome and the Vatican, where a meeting with Pope Francis is pending. “It is true that Putin’s trip and contacts in Rome are being prepared. He is due to have an audience with the pontiff as part of the visit. Technicalities […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Sovcomflot Says Arctic Sailings Will Become Routine; CEO of the state-owned shipping giant says melting polar ice will draw more ship operators to Siberian waters” – Wall Street Journal/Costas Paris

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“‘The Northern Sea Route shipments are growing …’ [Russian state-owned shipping Sovcomflot] Chief Executive Sergey Frank said … ‘It’s a question of time before all kinds of ships routinely cross it.’ Arctic routes are drawing greater attention as the global climate warms and polar ice recedes, potentially opening new paths between Asia and Europe. The mostly frozen NSR seaway … […]

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VIDEO: Ukraine’s President Promises NATO Referendum As Part Of Path To West

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, June 5, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-president-promises-nato-referendum-as-part-of-path-to-west/29982943.html) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has promised to hold a referendum on NATO membership — a move strongly opposed by Moscow — as the country embarks on a path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Speaking in an interview […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “The U.S. Department of Energy’s Rebranded ‘Freedom Gas’ Is a Not-So-Subtle Dig at Russia” – Fortune

Gas Flame file photo

[scroll down for video] “… the Department of Energy … [has] touted the expansion of [a] liquid natural gas … facility … by saying that it would spread ‘freedom gas’ to the world. … giv[ing] ‘America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy’ …. Not only has the U.S. become largely energy independent … the shale boom has […]

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