JRL NEWSWATCH: “A dark state; Vladimir Putin is in thrall to a distinctive brand of Russian fascism; That is why his country is such a threat to Ukraine, the West and his own people” – The Economist

Vladimir Putin file photo, adapted from screenshot of video at shareamerica.gov

“… A decade ago [when][] Putin’s popularity began to wane[] [h]e … [started] drawing on … fascist thinking … caught up in a cycle of grievance and resentment that has left reason far behind. … culminat[ing] in a ruinous war that … defied the weighing of risks and rewards. … Without the rhetoric of victimhood and the use of violence, […]

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JRL NEWSBLOG: “The U.S. has admitted 100,000 Ukrainian migrants. It must keep going.” – Washington Post

Statue of Liberty Head and U.S. Flag, adapted from image at uscis.gov

“The United States has now met … [a] goal … to legally admit ‘up to’ 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing … Putin’s blood-soaked invasion. That … shouldn’t mark the end of … [a] commitment to shar[e] the burden of the … humanitarian nightmare …. The administration … should prepare for another 100,000. … [M]any … allies have shouldered a greater refugee burden […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Putin Fights For” – Andrew Doris, Thomas Graham/ Survival (IISS)

Vladimir Putin file photo, adapted from screenshot of video at shareamerica.gov

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reignited debate over the role of NATO expansion …. Robert Person and Michael McFaul dismiss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s NATO concerns as a ‘fiction,’ arguing that it was actually the expansion of democracy that threatened his autocratic regime. … Democracy and NATO expansion were not separate issues for Putin and the Russian elite, but mutually […]

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Breaking the Impasse Between Russia and the West Over European Security

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Thomas Graham – Jan. 20, 2022) Thomas Graham, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as the senior director for Russia on the National Security Council staff during the George W. Bush administration. Last week’s intense talks between Russia and the West over European security seemed to end in failure. Moscow heard […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Biden’s Sanctions Threats ‘Destabilizing,’ Kremlin Says” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 20, 2022) The Kremlin warned Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s threats of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine destabilize European security. “All these statements can contribute to the destabilization of the situation,” Interfax quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters. “We believe that they don’t contribute in any way to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Says Still Waiting on Western Response to Security Demands” – Moscow Times

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 18, 2022) Russia is still awaiting the U.S. and NATO’s response to its sweeping demands for a new security settlement in Europe, Russia’s top diplomat said Tuesday as tensions between Moscow and the West over Ukraine continue to mount. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a series of high-level talks last week that the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Suggests Military Deployment to Venezuela, Cuba if Tensions With U.S. Remain High” – WSJ

File Photo of Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov Standing In Front of U.S. and Russian Flags, adapted from image at state.gov

“Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said Moscow couldn’t exclude sending ‘military infrastructure’ to the two countries as tensions with U.S. soar and says talks have stalled.” “… Ryabkov said Thursday that Moscow couldn’t exclude dispatching ‘military infrastructure’ to Venezuela or Cuba if tensions with Washington — which have soared in recent weeks over a huge buildup of Russian troops on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Where Does NATO Enlargement End?” – Creators.com/ Patrick Buchanan

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… NATO … Article 5 war guarantees … oblige the United States to wage war against Russia to restore … [the] sovereignty and territorial integrity [of NATO allies] if [they are] attacked. … Why would we commit to risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia on behalf of nations no one has ever regarded as vital interests of the United States  […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Rebuilt NATO to Face Down Russia. Putin Scrambled Those Plans” – WSJ

NATO Meeting File Photo

“Kremlin tests the alliance by undermining former Soviet republics, sowing disinformation and exploiting divisions.” “The U.S. and other NATO members have deployed thousands of troops and invested heavily in weaponry to rebuild the alliance’s front line facing Russia. Moscow has parried that strategy by opening up new fronts just beyond NATO’s reach. … Rather than confront NATO head-on … Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to Get What We Want From Putin” – Politico.com

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

Talks on European security underway between the U.S. and Russia will be difficult because the two countries don’t trust one another, not even a little […]

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Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official on Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(The White House – whitehouse.gov – Via Teleconference – 1:11 P.M. EST – Jan. 8, 2022) MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone.  Good afternoon.  And thanks for joining us on a Saturday. Today’s call will be on background, attributed to a “senior administration official,” and the contents will be embargoed upon [until] conclusion. For your information only, the speaker today is going to […]

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For Russia and U.S., National Security Must Be Embedded in Mutual Security

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Robert Legvold – Jan. 6, 2022) Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the department of political science at Columbia University. As senior Russian officials prepare for talks on European security with Western counterparts, three aspects of the latest crisis around Ukraine point to its seeming intractability, but also lay bare an elemental […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and NATO: How to talk to Mr. Putin; Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine has created a chance to enhance the security of Europe” – The Economist

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

“… Perhaps [Putin] wants Ukraine to fail because, were it to become a thriving democracy, it would … rebuke … his claim that Western values are unworkable in Orthodox, Slavic Russia. He may also intend to divide and weaken NATO … [and] to create an enemy abroad … to justify repression at home …. But … Ukraine is as populous […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Is Only One Small Part of Putin’s Plans” – New York Times

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… The immediate aim, to be sure, is to return Ukraine to Russia’s orbit. But …. Putin’s design is grand: to refashion the post-Cold War settlement, in the process guaranteeing … Russia’s personalized power system. … Today, Ukraine is the jewel to fight for. But it won’t end there: Belarus, whose embattled leader relies on Russia’s support, could be the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. pushes unity on Ukraine ahead of key Russia meetings” – AP

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

Yet the severity of the response hinges largely on Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and a diplomatic heavyweight within the 27-nation EU […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Policy Experts Map Russia’s Plans for 2022” – Moscow Times

Satellite

The Moscow Times asked 10 commentators for their predictions for the coming year […]

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‘WINDOW ON EURASIA’ REOPENS

Eurasia Map

(Paul Goble – Dec. 12, 2021) I am happy to report that my health situation has stabilized sufficiently to allow me to prepare Windows on Eurasia again. I have managed to keep up my daily surveys of URLs since mid-October but only more recently have been able to prepare my own posts on them. Because I was not certain how […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. intelligence-sharing convinces allies of Russian threat to Ukraine” – Financial Times

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

Skeptical capitals including Berlin persuaded of the need to draw up threat of robust sanctions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin offers to start negotiations on a non-expansion of NATO to the east security deal” – bne Intellinews

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… Moscow has been calling for a new post-Cold War security deal with the West since 2008, when … Medvedev offer[ed] the EU a … deal during his first foreign trip. … [which was] was dismissed out of hand. Putin brought the issue up again during a … speech where he ordered Russian diplomats to get a new security deal […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Expels Some U.S. Diplomats in Latest Tit-for-Tat Action” – WSJ

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

“Russia indicates that the move was in retaliation for Washington’s expulsion of more than 50 Russian diplomats.” “Russia ordered U.S. Embassy staff … in Moscow for more than three years to leave the country by Jan. 31 … [even as] diplomats [will soon] hold talks to address the worsening [U.S.-Russian] relationship …. Foreign ministry officials … indicated that the decision […]

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NATO Chief Touts Alliance’s Forces In Baltics Ahead Of Foreign Ministers Meeting In Riga

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“For the first time in our history, we have combat-ready battle groups in the Baltic region … in Latvia and … Lithuania,” Stoltenberg said …. NATO also conducts air policing and has an increased naval presence … in the Baltic region […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Gazprom Reports Record Profits as Gas Prices Soar” – Moscow Times

Gas Facility file photo

Europe receives a third of its gas supplies from Russia and has seen energy prices surge to record highs in recent months. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 29, 2021) Russian gas giant Gazprom on Monday said its net income rose to a record 582 billion rubles ($7.8 billion) in the third quarter on the back of soaring gas prices […]

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The Real Reason Russia Isn’t Pumping More Gas

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Alex Kimani – Nov. 15, 2021) While plenty of traders have accused Russia of withholding natural gas from Europe, it is now looking like the natural gas giant simply cannot significantly increase exports Natural gas prices originally fell when Putin promised to open the taps, but prices are climbing again now that Russia is failing to book additional […]

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Kremlin Lashes Out At West, Defends Troop Movements, As It Boosts Role In Belarus-EU Border Crisis

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

The Kremlin has vowed to safeguard its borders in the face of actions by countries it accused of trying to “contain” Russia and sought to walk back a Belarusian threat of a cutoff of Russian natural gas to Western markets […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Aeroflot Denies Transporting Migrants to Belarus” – Moscow Times

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has denied helping migrants and refugees from the Middle East travel to Belarus as European leaders scramble to deal with a migrant crisis on the Polish border […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko threatens to cut gas supplies to Yamal-Europe gas pipeline if EU imposes new sanctions, promises to send refugees dry firewood” – bne Intellinews

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

“… Lukashenko has threatened to cut off [Belarusian] gas transit to Europe  … shutting down the Yamal-Europe pipeline if the EU imposes new sanctions …. The Yamal-Europe pipeline is part of the northern route that also includes … Nord Stream 1 and 2 … and transits gas from Russia’s Arctic Yamal fields via Belarus to Poland and on to Germany. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia increases gas flows to Europe, pushing down prices” – Reuters

Gas Flame file photo

“… On Tuesday, Russia[‘s] Gazprom … said it had started to refill its European gas storage. … push[ing] down spot prices in the region although analysts said Moscow would have to do more to ease concerns in Europe to lead to a more significant drop in prices. … Gas prices have risen this year because of factors including low gas […]

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Europe Considers Tapping “Cushion Gas” As Market Continues To Tighten

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – Nov. 7, 2021) Europe is experiencing the lowest level of gas in storage in a decade just ahead of the winter sent natural gas prices spiking to record highs last month The very tight European gas market may find relief from the supply crunch if it taps part of the so-called cushion gas. Increased Russian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russian exports hold sway over European and British gas prices” – Reuters/ Susanna Twidale

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“Benchmark European gas prices jumped 15% … after a major pipeline … from Russia began sending flows eastwards. … Europe relies on Russia for around 35% of its natural gas[,] [t]he bulk … through pipelines including Yamal … through Belarus and Poland to Germany, Nord Stream … to Germany, and pipelines … through Ukraine. … Last year [Russian] gas exports […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Nord Stream 2 Is Still Months From Easing Europe’s Gas Woes” – Bloomberg

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“… Nord Stream 2 may need a few more months to clear remaining red tape … to help ease Europe’s energy crunch. The Baltic Sea project … has raised concerns over the Kremlin’s control of [European] energy supplies … [It] is complete [but is] … awaiting certification from national and [EU] authorities. … Putin has pledged to step up gas […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin: Russia must build up defenses in view of NATO moves” – AP/ Vladimir Isachenkov

File Photo of U.S. Navy warships in Black Sea exercise, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to MC1 Justin Stumberg

“… Russia has bristled at … U.S. and other NATO ships … [T]ensions between Moscow and the West have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, … [the] insurgency in eastern Ukraine and other irritants. … Russia suspended its [NATO] mission … and ordered the closure of [NATO’s] office in Moscow after NATO … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Natural Gas Prices Fall on Putin Order for More Russian Exports” – Wall Street Journal

Gas Flame file photo

“The Russian president told the state energy giant to pump more fuel to Germany and Austria to ease a supply crunch.” “… European gas prices are more than five times as high as they were a year ago even after Thursday’s slide, hurting consumers and holding back economies’ post-pandemic recoveries. The continent’s stores of gas [reportedly] are 15% below the […]

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U.S. Official Tells Europe Not To Waive Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Approval Process

Gas Flame file photo

A senior U.S. state department official has warned Europe against bowing to Russian pressure and waiving the lengthy process needed to approve Nord Stream 2, a controversial Baltic Sea natural gas pipeline to Germany […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Shows Its Growing Sway Over Global Energy Markets” – Wall Street Journal

Gas Flame file photo

Moscow’s huge oil and gas reserves have given it more influence over Western and Chinese economies grappling with rising prices […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin blames low wind power output for gas crisis” – bne Intellinews

Gas Facility file photo

Russia has been criticized for exacerbating the gas crisis by withholding some supply – whether to put pressure on the EU to allow Nord Stream 2’s launch, or simply to drive up prices […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Europe’s energy crisis highlights dangers of reliance on Russia” – Atlantic Council

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“Europe is currently in the grip of an unfolding energy crisis that is sparking questions over the role of … Putin’s Russia in exploiting rising demand, low supply, and geopolitical unpredictability. … Natural gas prices have soared by 600% …. [M]arket volatility is hitting key economic areas across Europe, from fertilizer plants to the food industry and health sector. The […]

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RUSSIA, Gas, WTO and other calamities

Gas Flame file photo

Subject: RUSSIA, Gas, WTO and other calamities Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2021 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> RUSSIA, Gas, WTO and other calamities By Andrei Liakhov This is the view of the prequel to the brewing problems in the European gas markets of someone who was a part of most of the events set out below or read the underlying documents […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Big Bounce: Russian gas amid market tightness” – Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Gas Flame file photo

“The big bounce in Russian gas production in 2021 has proven to be insufficient to meet the simultaneous spikes in demand at home and abroad. Russian gas output has risen robustly and has been close to its maximum productive capacities but the necessity to fill the depleted domestic gas storage facilities in Q3 2021 limited the availability of Russian gas […]

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Russian Attitudes Toward West Improve Despite Feelings of Isolation

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Aleksandra Srdanovic – Sept. 21, 2021) Aleksandra Srdanovic is a graduate student at Harvard University and a student associate with Russia Matters. The Levada Center recently polled Russians on their attitudes toward Russia’s general standing in the international community, as well as their attitudes toward strategic competitors and countries within the post-Soviet neighborhood. Polling shows […]

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Europe Needs Nord Stream 2 More Than It Likes To Admit

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

Europe resents Russian gas for the influence it gives a country that the EU considers unfriendly, …, but … is increasingly thirsty for gas because … [last year’s] winter… drained its reserves. … [and] summer … LNG cargoes [got] diverted from Europe to Asia […]

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