Zelenskyy’s High-Stakes Russia Game

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vitaliy Syzov – October 9, 2019 – wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/zelenskyys-high-stakes-russia-game) Vitaliy Syzov is chair of the Donetsk Institute of Information, an NGO working in the media field in Ukraine. He worked for ten years a journalist in regional and national media and graduated from the Political Science Department, History Faculty, at Donetsk National University in 2012. The […]

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Putin Personally Responsible for All Repression in Russia, Krasheninnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 8, 2019) Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for all the repressive acts his system carries out because over the last two decades he not only appointed all those officials who are carrying them out but also has clearly signaled the direction they follow and could change things overnight if only he […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Justice Ministry blacklists Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation as a ‘foreign agent'” – Meduza

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Russia’s Justice Ministry has added Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) to its list of so-called ‘foreign agents.’ … [stating] that an audit in Moscow has determined that Navalny’s nonprofit organization ‘performs the functions of a foreign agent.’ [https://minjust.ru/ru/novosti/nekommercheskaya-organizaciya-fond-borby-s-korrupciey-vklyuchena-v-reestr-nekommercheskih] In a tweet, FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov said the organization is ‘funded exclusively by citizens of the Russian Federation,’ and maintained that […]

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Kremlin Sees Role For U.S. In Helping Resolve Conflict With Ukraine

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Oct. 8, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/kremlin-sees-role-for-u-s-in-helping-resolve-conflict-with-ukraine/30205596.html) The Kremlin says the United States could play a role in helping resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict given Washington’s influence in Kyiv. “The U.S. can undeniably use the influence it has over Kyiv to make Ukraine fulfill its Minsk […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Want to Insult Putin? It Will Cost You $462; Russia’s new lèse majesté law helps turn the president into a laughingstock” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

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

“Six months ago, Russia adopted a law making it an administrative offense to insult the government on the internet. … and in a majority of the cases where a court imposed a fine[] Russians have been punished for insulting … Putin. Instead of sheltering Putin and other top officials from harsh and vulgar criticism, however, the use of the Russian […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Census begins in self-proclaimed Donbas republics” – Interfax

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

DONETSK/LUHANSK. Oct 1 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR/LPR), or, as Kyiv calls them, certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, have begun taking a census. “Today, the DPR has begun the population census that will last through October 14 by means of traditional polling of citizens, with census takers visiting households. Stationary […]

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Shaman Story Overwhelms Russian Media, Highlighting Deep Problems among Russians and in the Kremlin

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 19, 2019) Sometimes the real story is the story, the fact that some event has so captured the attention of the media and the public that it has overwhelmed coverage of almost everything else. That is what has happened in Russia in the case of the shaman who promised to exorcize […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Domestic Violence Affects 1 in 3 Russians, Poll Says” – Moscow Times

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 13, 2019) Nearly one-third of Russia’s population has come face-to-face with domestic violence in their own families or among acquaintances, according to an independent survey published Friday. Russia decriminalized certain forms of domestic violence in 2017, a decision that top lawmakers have said was a mistake two years later. Activists say the absence of […]

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VIDEO & ARTICLE: A Blow To Fair Elections: Russian Police Stand Idly By As Election Observer Is Sucker Punched

Screenshot of Video at https://twitter.com/CurrentTimeTv/status/1171888101989539842 showing man punching another man in the stomach at Russian polling place while second man was looking down at mobile device

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – Sept. 12, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-police-stand-idly-by-as-election-observer-sucker-punched/30160427.html) [click here to jump down to video] Based on the reaction of police and election officials inside St. Petersburg polling station 1619, the event that unfolded before them on election day last week was nothing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap: Necessary, Not Sufficient” – International Crisis Group

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

“… Moscow released 35 Ukrainian citizens. … includ[ing] four Crimeans arrested shortly after Russia’s … takeover of the peninsula, along with 24 sailors … Russian security forces apprehended [on] the Black Sea …. Russian courts had charged them with crimes including terrorism, espionage, conspiracy to violate state borders, and, most bizarrely, killing Russian troops in Chechnya in the mid-1990s. Human […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Turns Trampled Grass Into Weapon Against Opponents” – Bloomberg/ Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“A state-owned organization responsible for maintaining Moscow’s roads is seeking compensation from protest leaders for grass trampled during a recent unsanctioned protest, part of a multi-pronged assault on the opposition …. [A]uthorities raided at least 39 offices in Navalny’s political network [across the country], seeking evidence for a money laundering investigation … against his Anti-Corruption Foundation, his ally Leonid Volkov […]

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RUSSIALINK NEWSWATCH: “Hand It Over: Court Awards Moscow City Transport 1.2 Million Rubles in Suit Against Opposition Politicians” – Kommersant/ Maria Litvinova

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“Alexei Navalny, Lyubov Sobol, Ivan Zhdanov, Yulia Galyamina, Ilya Yashin, Alexander Solovyov, Oleg Stepanov, and Vladimir Milov must jointly pay Moscow City Transport (Mosgortrans) 1.2 million rubles [approx. $18,000] for … traffic stoppages during the ‘unauthorized’ protest rally on July 27 in Moscow. … [according to a] ruling … by the Koptevo District Court on [a] lawsuit brought by Moscow […]

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A New Hope? Five Takeaways From The Elections In Moscow And Elsewhere

Russia Regions Map

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – Sept. 9, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/five-takeaways-moscow-elections-russia/30155264.html) The opposition is up. The ruling party is down. Incumbent governors are in. The Kremlin is worried. Aleksei Navalny’s Smart Voting strategy is … smart? Despite Russian elections still being largely a stage-managed process, the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian PM questions dominant party’s election strategy” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – September 9, 2019) Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has suggested reconsidering the practice of United Russia-backed candidates running as independents in city council elections. “We can see how events are developing, there is much talk right now on the topic of so-called independent candidates – is this good or not good. Some were running as a representative of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Opposition Puts Putin Under Pressure in Moscow Election; The opposition alliance didn’t fare well elsewhere in Russia, but its leaders hail Moscow showing as a success” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“Candidates backed by Russia’s opposition won nearly half the seats up for grabs in Moscow’s city elections … building on a wave of protests … that exposed some of the frailties … in Putin ‘s closely controlled political machine, but failed to make significant inroads in local races elsewhere …. Sunday’s vote came after a tumultuous summer that saw a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The unraveling of Vladimir Putin” – Joseph Dresen/ The Hill

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

“… as tens of thousands of protesters once again took to the streets in Moscow to protest upcoming municipal elections, Russian state television showed a smiling … Putin riding with … [a] motorcycle club in Crimea. … a typical scene … the president doing tough guy stuff at the location of his most popular act of [the] annexation of Crimea. […]

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After Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap, Can Zelenskiy Capitalize On Momentum?

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller- KYIV, Sept. 7, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/after-ukraine-russia-prisoner-swap-can-zelenskiy-capitalize-on-momentum-/30151851.html) “Our guys are home.” As those words were shared by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on September 7, the Ukrainian nation simultaneously celebrated and breathed a collective sigh of relief upon learning that 35 of their compatriots […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Summer of Unprecedented Brutality in Moscow” – The New Yorker/ Masha Gessen

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Moscow [recently] has seen an unprecedented number of large, confrontational protests … met with unprecedented brutality …. [While] the Kremlin has been cracking down on dissent for seven years … arrests continue to multiply, prison terms grow longer … brutality becomes more brutal. Once in a while, the cruelty … comes into sharper focus. … prosecutors tried to strip […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians go to polls after summer of protests” – AFP

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“[… A] hugely controversial campaign in Moscow that degenerated into the biggest police crackdown on protesters in nearly a decade. … [Local election] results … will be keenly watched ahead of [2021] parliamentary elections … and help shape Russia’s political future as … Putin’s regime enters [its] third decade …. [T]ens of thousands have taken part in Moscow protests demanding […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump slow-walks Ukraine military aid meant to contain Russia” – Politico/ Caitlin Emma, Connor O’Brien

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

“The Trump administration is slow-walking $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay. … Trump asked his national security team to review … the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative … to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior […]

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Proposed Law Would Help Russians Hold Siloviki Accountable

File Photo of Moscow Protest with Riot Police

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 24, 2019) Many Russians believe that the anonymity policemen and Russian Guards feel in the uniforms they wear when moving against protesters gives the siloviki the feeling that no one will be able to identify the individual officers responsible and hold them accountable. Indeed, they suspect that is one of the […]

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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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Mission: Impossible? Ukraine’s New President Ventures To Reform Powerful State Spy Agency [Excerpt]

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – KYIV, Aug. 17, 2019 – full article text appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-zelenskiy-reform-state-spy-agency-sbu-/30114589.html) When Ukraine’s domestic security service revealed last year that it had faked the death of a dissident Russian journalist to expose a team of hit men allegedly hired by Moscow to destabilize the country […]

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U.S. Special Envoy To Ukraine Says Russian Propaganda Hindering Peace Efforts

File Photo of Kurt Volker and W. Bruce Weinrod, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to Senior Airman Nathan Lipscomb

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/u-s-special-envoy-to-ukraine-says-russian-propaganda-hindering-peace-efforts/30112993.html) The U.S. special peace envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, says Russian propaganda is making it a challenge to solve the conflict in the east of the country. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in Washington, Volker said Moscow’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s East-German scenario; Oppositionist Leonid Volkov explains how a daring new voting strategy is supposed to destroy Russia’s political monopoly” – Meduza

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“Moscow’s political crisis continues, as demonstrators gear up for more protests against election officials’ refusal to register dozens of independent candidates for September 8’s City Duma race. … [S]upporters of … Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) proposed a voting strategy for the opposition, coordinated through the organization’s ‘Smart Vote’ project. If the city’s independent candidates are not allowed onto the ballot, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “For Russia’s detained protesters, rights group is first on scene [Re: OVD-Indo]” – AFP

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“What started as a Facebook post during a wave of mass protests in Russia eight years ago has turned into a rights group that helps arrested demonstrators … in increasing demand as police crack down hard on opposition rallies. OVD-Info, which has around 27 staff, more than 300 volunteers and a small office in Moscow, is the first port of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A Student Arrest Puts Elite Moscow University to the Test” – Moscow Times

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

The Higher School of Economics, a bastion of free thinking since the 1990s, has become caught up in the opposition protest movement. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Pjotr Sauer – August 16, 2019) A chill ran down Artyom Tyurin’s spine when he heard the news that his friend and fellow student Yegor Zhukov had been hauled from his bed in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “New technique shows Putin lying about MH17” – Kyiv Post/ Askold Krushelnycky

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

“A scientific technique … to spot deception … studying minute changes in facial expressions has been used to demonstrate that Kremlin dictator … Putin was lying when denying Russian responsibility for shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine … July 17, 2014, killing all 298 … aboard. The technique and analysis of Putin’s speech were described at a public meeting […]

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‘Bums, Freaks, And Gypsies’: How Pro-Kremlin Media Depict The Moscow Protesters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – Aug. 14, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/how-pro-kremlin-media-depicts-the-moscow-protesters/30109908.html) More than 50,000 people joined a rally for fair elections in Moscow on August 10, biting back concerns about arrests and police beatings to show up for what turned out to be the largest anti-government […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Bolotnaya riot case defendant arrested for 13 days for profane language from stage at Aug. 10 rally” – Interfax

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Aug 12 (Interfax) – Moscow’s Meschansky District Court on Monday found activist Alexei Polikhovich guilty of petty hooliganism at the August 10 opposition rally on Sakharov Avenue in Moscow. “The court found Polikhovich guilty of committing an administrative offense defined in Article 20.1 of the Russian Administrative Offense Code and penalized him with 13 days of administrative arrest,” the […]

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Teflon Putin? Over 20 Years In Power, Scandals Don’t Seem To Stick To The Russian President

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tony Wesolowsky and Robert Coalson – August 8, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-20-years-power-corruption-scandals/30100279.html) Vladimir Putin was not well known when President Boris Yeltsin picked him as prime minister on August 9, 1999, a key point in his meteoric rise to power. But years earlier, back […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What to Expect From Moscow Protests This Saturday” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2019) Moscow’s opposition plans to press ahead with more protests this Saturday even after election officials closed all avenues for several Kremlin critics to run for office in the Russian capital next month. The ongoing standoff between Russia’s opposition and its leadership that has taken place in recent weeks has drawn international attention […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What we know so far about Moscow’s custody challenge against two parents who were seen with their toddler at an election protest” – Meduza

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“Moscow prosecutors are pursuing a custody challenge against a couple who brought their one-year-old child to a … protest for fair elections. … [T]he city’s Prosecutorial Office claimed that ‘during the course of the protest, the parents gave their young child to a third party, which put the boy’s health and life in danger and caused him physical and emotional […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Levada and VTsIOM polls dramatically disagree on sentiment over the Moscow protests” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Kremlin and River

“… results of a poll by independent pollster the Levada Center violently disagreed with a poll by the state-owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), on the reaction to the weekend protests over the upcoming city council elections. Levada found that 37% of Muscovite supported the protests, 27% viewed them negatively and 30% were neutral. … a VTsIOM […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Violent Crackdowns on Russian Opposition Reveal Dangerous Policy Shift” – Moscow Times/ Sam Greene

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“The level of confrontation between the Kremlin and the Russian opposition has increased, and along with it the scale and severity of the law-enforcement response to protests.” “There has been a significant and sustained shift in the Kremlin’s relationship with the Russian opposition[] and … the Russian public [generally] …. Authorities across the country have issued ever fewer permits for […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Purpose of night searches of opposition activists’ residences was pressure – human rights council” – Interfax

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. July 25 (Interfax) – The recent searches of opposition activists’ residences were aimed at pressuring them, the chairman of the commission on civic control over law enforcement agencies of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council, Igor Kalyapin, said. “Very large doubts arise about whether these measures are actually founded. I have big doubts that the searches were conducted because […]

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As Soldiers Disengage, ‘Fragile Hope’ For Peace Appears In One Front-Line Ukrainian Town

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – STANYTSYA LUHANSKA, Ukraine, July 18, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/as-soldiers-disengage-fragile-hope-for-peace-appears-in-one-front-line-ukrainian-town/30062713.html) Beyond the series of checkpoints manned by armed guards with bomb-sniffing dogs in this battle-scarred town lies a mile-long stretch of no man’s land that’s one of most dangerous places in Ukraine. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky’s idea of multilateral Donbas summit has right to exist – Lavrov” – Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

HIGH TATRAS (Slovakia). July 9 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s idea of a summit involving Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States has a right to exist, but emphasis should be put on direct dialogue between the conflicting sides, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the press on Tuesday. “This format, both the Normandy and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin has nothing to add to Putin’s remark on Zelensky’s call for freeing Ukrainian sailors – Peskov” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. July 1 (Interfax) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has invited journalists to reread Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments on Ukrainian sailors detained following the Kerch Strait incident. “As regards replying to the emotional appeal of the Ukrainian president, I think I have nothing to add to what Putin has already said during the final press conference in Osaka. As […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Resilient Legal Powerhouse: The Procuracy Enters the 21st Century” – Kennan Institute/ William E. Pomeranz

Satellite Dishes

“On March 18, 2019, President Vladimir Putin signed into law two new restrictions on freedom of speech. One law levied administrative fines on so-called ‘fake news’ while the other imposed penalties for information deemed insulting to human dignity, public morality, or otherwise expressing disrespect to state symbols and institutions.[1] The above laws lacked precise standards, thereby requiring interpretation. What was […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Michael Calvey Case Revisited: A Corporate Hit, a Bargaining Chip” – Kennan Institute/ Pavel Koshkin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Pavel Koshkin – wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/michael-calvey-case-revisited-corporate-hit-bargaining-chip) Pavel Koshkin is a research fellow of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN) and a contributor to Forbes Russia The American investor Michael Calvey, who was detained in February in Moscow on fraud charges, is back in the news again. Calvey, who has […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Top Auditor Kudrin Blasts Corruption in Legal System” – Moscow Times

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2019) Russian economic growth is hampered by deep-seated corruption in the country’s legal system, the head of Russia’s auditing agency said Thursday. Audit Chamber head Alexei Kudrin told a St. Petersburg International Economic Forum panel that corruption in the Russian judiciary system goes back centuries, pointing to one of the classic Russian poet […]

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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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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky calls for tightening anti-Russian sanctions at meeting with U.S. delegation” – Interfax

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

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has received representatives of the Administration and Congress of the United States who came to Kyiv to attend an official presidential inauguration ceremony. Zelensky thanked the U.S. for its leading role in regaining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the assistance in promoting domestic reforms, according to the official presidential […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky prioritizes ceasefire in Donbas, says ready to make unpopular decisions” – Interfax

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

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described a ceasefire in Donbas as his primary objective and said he is ready to make unpopular decisions, including ones that might lead to his resignation as the Ukrainian president, for the ceasefire’s sake. “Our primary objective is to enact a ceasefire in Donbas,” Zelensky said in his address to […]

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Expectations for Kyiv-Moscow Relations After Ukraine’s Presidential Election

Mariyinsky Palace file photo, adapted from image at cia.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – Emmanuel Dreyfus – May 13, 2019 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/expectations-kyiv-moscow-relations-after-ukraines-presidential-election) Emmanuel Dreyfus is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) At first glance, Ukraine’s recent presidential election further confirmed the dramatic decrease of Russian influence in Ukraine. Not a single candidate based his or her […]

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Ukraine and NATO: Disconnect Between State Policy and Public Opinion Is Less Dangerous Than Russia

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… Zelenskiy has repeatedly reaffirmed his predecessor’s policy of bringing Ukraine ever closer to Europe and has said that, as a citizen, he supports … accession to NATO. However, unlike … Poroshenko, Zelenskiy insists the question of joining the Western military alliance should be decided by a popular referendum. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As Russia Celebrates Hitler’s Defeat, Stalin’s Ghost Is Haunting Putin” – The Daily Beast/ Anna Nemtsova

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

“Russians have been encouraged to see Hitler as a tyrant, but Stalin as their defender. Now some wish Stalin were still around.” “… most of Europe dates the beginning of the war to 1939, partly because of a nonaggression pact that … Stalin made with Hitler that opened the way for him to invade Poland. That was followed by the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “New Russian Documentary Brings the Horrors of the Gulag to the YouTube Generation; Yuri Dud’s documentary has garnered millions of views in days. From Global Voices.” – Transitions Online/ Alexey Kovalev

File Photo of Kolyma Mountains Satellite Image, adapted from image at noaa.gov

“… former sports reporter … [Yuri Dud] runs his own YouTube interview show …. generat[ing] millions of views … a serious competitor even to state-owned TV. … [T]he subject of Dud’s latest show shocked his … 5 million [subscribers] and the general public: a two-hour documentary about the Kolyma region, in Russia’s far northeast … almost synonymous with Stalin-era repressions. […]

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OPPORTUNITY: Kimberly O’Haver: “Human Rights Initiative (HRI) Seeking Consultant”

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

Subject: Human Rights Initiative (HRI) Seeking Consultant Date: Thu, 2 May 2019 From: Kimberly O’Haver <kimberly.ohaver@opensocietyfoundations.org> The Human Rights Initiative (HRI), a program of the Open Society Foundations, is seeking a consultant to evaluate its Youth Action Fund initiative, which has been implemented by HRI since 2014. The assessment is to be finalized by August 31st and its primary purpose […]

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