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: “Kyrgyzstan Sets New Polls as New PM Reassures Russia” – AFP

Bishkek file image, adapted from image at state.gov

“Kyrgyzstan’s electoral authorities said … parliamentary polls … would be repeated [Dec. 20] …. [A]cting leader Sadyr Japarov moved to assure Russia of the two countries’ strategic partnership. … [The] previous [Kyrgyzstan] vote was annulled over political chaos that unseated a president and rattled Russia. … Allegations of vote-buying … raised by international monitors and losing parties sparked a protest […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Battle for borshch: Ukraine lays claim to soup dish amid identity war with Russia” – Atlantic Council/ Mark Raczkiewycz

Borscht file photo adapted from image featured by peacecorps.gov

“Borshch has long been a staple of Ukrainian cuisine and Kyiv officials now hope to … secur[e] UNESCO recognition of the soup’s Ukrainian roots. … In early October, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture moved to add the hearty soup to its list of intangible elements of Ukrainian cultural heritage. Ultimately, Ukraine hopes to secure international recognition as the historic home […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia – and Putin – might be worried about a Biden presidency” – CNBC/ Holly Ellyatt

File Photo of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in front of U.S. Flag and Russian Flag, adapted from image from RIA Novosti

“At the very least, analysts expect that a victory for Biden would increase tensions between Washington and Moscow, and would raise the probability of new sanctions on Russia. The country is already operating under international sanctions on some key sectors and Russian officials close to Putin, for actions including its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, interference in the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Call Putin’s Bluff on Election Interference; The United States Should Take Russia Up on Its Offer to Sign a Pledge” – Foreign Affairs/ Anna Arutunyan

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“The Kremlin has … pushed proposals for the United States and Russia to work together to protect elections against hacking …. Putin expanded the proposal into a package deal: the two countries would pledge not to interfere in each other’s internal political processes, and they would also restore dialogue, devise a mechanism to prevent cyberattacks, and share information on cybersecurity. […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s population will decline by 352,500 people this year – 11 times more than in 2019” – Meduza

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

“Russia’s population is expected to decline by 325,500 people this year – 11 times more than in 2019 (when the number of Russians fell by just 32,100 people) – according to the latest government projections, first leaked by the Telegram channel Maisky Ukaz and later confirmed by sources who spoke to the news outlet RBC. The estimated population loss in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Alexander Lukashenko changes tack in Belarus stand-off” – Financial Times/ James Shotter, Max Seddon

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

“Meeting imprisoned opposition leaders is departure from previous hardline approach” “After … weeks in the Belarusian KGB prison, tech executive Dmitry Rabtsevich and a dozen opposition activists … [were visited by] embattled strongman … Lukashenko … [in] an unannounced roundtable with his jailed opponents. The jail then quickly released … Rabtsevich …. The bizarre four-and-a-half-hour jail meeting … was … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Dismisses Trump Hope of Nuclear Deal Before U.S. Vote” – Bloomberg/ Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer, Vladimir Kuznetsov

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia dashed hopes of a [nuclear weapons] deal … before next month’s [U.S.] presidential election …. The U.S. proposal for a nuclear freeze … also cover[ing] tactical weapons ‘has long been known to us’ and is rejected by Russia because ‘we need to deal with their new strategic-range’ conventional arms too, including in space and missile defense, said [Russian Deputy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Reported death toll in Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes about 600” – AP

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

“The reported death toll in clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over … Nagorno-Karabakh has reached about 600 … [F]ighting continues despite a cease-fire …. More than two weeks of deadly clashes marked the biggest escalation of a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh … in Azerbaijan but … under control of ethnic Armenian[s] … backed by Armenia since the end of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Knives come out in the battle of borscht” – The Times (UK)/ Marc Bennetts

Borscht file photo adapted from image featured by peacecorps.gov

“A simmering dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the origins of bortsch could … boil over as Kiev prepares to apply for international recognition of its bragging rights to the warming beetroot soup. The Ukrainian culture ministry wants Unesco cultural heritage status for the dish in an attempt to settle the ‘bortsch war,’ started last year …  with some Ukrainians […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Nobody wants to kill business’; Moscow is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, but there’s no lockdown in sight” – Meduza

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Moscow is experiencing a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases[,] [a]s of Friday, September 25, …record[ing] 1,560 new cases in the last day – 510 more than the day before … nearly twice as many as last week. … the highest daily increase … since June 12. … Also on September 25, Russia recorded more than 7,000 new coronavirus cases […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tricky data; ‘Sputnik V’ developers respond to Western critics, but the debate might overlook the vaccine’s biggest problem” – Meduza

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

“… [In response to concerns about their Lancet-published data, Russian vaccine] developers say … the methods … give only rough values …. [a] problem [that] would not have arisen … if their sample size had been larger. … [But they] do not explain … why they limited their trials to so few people. … [S]pecialists say … Gamaleya Center[] research […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A dozen countries refuse to recognise Lukashenko’s inauguration; Spontaneous protests broke out in the evening following Alexander Lukashenko’s secret inauguration for a sixth term” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“A dozen countries refused to recognise … Lukashenko as … legitimate president of Belarus after he secretly inaugurated himself … September 23. Tensions were high in Minsk after the news broke, with protesters in Minsk flooding the streets and clashing with police trying to disperse them. The only leader that sent a message to congratulate Lukashenko was Turkmen President Gurbanguly […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Four Myths about Russian Grand Strategy” – Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)/ Robert Person

Satellite

“Myth #1: Russia’s grand strategy is driven by ideology …. Myth #2: Russia seeks to reconstruct the Soviet Union or Russian Empire. … Instead of a formal territorial empire … Russia endeavors to establish a privileged and exclusive sphere of influence across former Soviet territory. … [with] a seat at the table in the capital of every post-Soviet country. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko inaugurates himself in secret” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“Fearing mass protests, Belarus’ self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko held an inauguration for himself in secret to complete the legal process of winning the disputed August 9 presidential election. … [T]he entire perimeter surrounding the presidential palace … was closed to traffic. Some companies told their employees not to come in, as … roads were closed. Police trucks and army vehicles […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia’s alliance with China is improbable, but not impossible” – Fondation pour la recherche stratégique/ Simon Saradzhyan

File Photo of Beijing Temple, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“Abstract: [A]re Russia and China already in a de facto military alliance (against the U.S.), or may they soon enter one? … [This article] reviews … academic literature on alignments … and alliances … infers criteria … [and] sets out to … [assess that] relationship …. Introduction[:]  The [Russia-China] relationship … is getting stronger …. Xi Jinping[] and … Putin[] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Spinning good news on arms control” – The Hill/ Steven Pifer

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… A speedy conclusion could be possible on extending New START, which would be in the U.S. interest. Putin has said Moscow would extend without conditions. … [C]hief [U.S.] arms control envoy[] Marshall Billingslea[] has called New START ‘deeply flawed.’ … Billingslea backed away from the demand that China [get involved] … [yet] continued to insist … Russia agree to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says Belarus leader plans to change constitution; President Lukashenko began raising the question of changing Belarus’s constitution several years ago.” – Al Jazeera

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

“Russia said … Lukashenko … confirmed … plans to change the constitution as the two leaders held talks in Sochi …. Lukashenko faces mass protests at home …. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years … previously changed the constitution to increase his presidential powers. The opposition wants to change the constitution back to its original form … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Crumbling Power Vertical: Decreasing Disposable Income Drives Discontentment” – PONARS Eurasia

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Accumulating evidence points at prospects of growing destabilization at the regional level in Russia. In 2019, five consecutive years of economic stagnation ignited a wave of protests across the country. In 2020, as Russia’s economic situation worsened dramatically due to a pandemic-driven halt to economic activity combined with a fall in oil prices, support for Kremlin appointees might start crumbling […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “After Weeks of Pressure in Belarus, Protesters and Lukashenko Locked in Dangerous Stalemate” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

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

“More than 100,000 people protest; country’s longtime leader set to meet Putin on Monday.” “More than 100,000 … poured into the streets of … Minsk [Sunday], sparking a show of force and mass detentions by riot police[,] … one of the largest in a string of demonstrations aimed at keeping pressure on … Lukashenko[] [i]n the month since [an election] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Backs Lukashenko as Belarus Leader Vows Closer Ties” – AFP

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

“… Putin on Monday backed embattled … Lukashenko[,] …. [who] thanked Putin for his support and vowed to stick closer to ‘elder brother’ Moscow during … talks at … [Putin’s Sochi] residence …. [Lukashenko’s] first foreign trip since his disputed [election] win … prompted mass protests against [Lukashenko’s] rule …. Putin appeared to endorse Lukashenko’s political future, praising … plans […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarusian leader set to visit Russia as protests continue” – AP

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

“… Protesters in Belarus have spent a month denouncing the results of the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election as rigged and demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko from the sixth term he won. Facing criticism from the West, Lukashenko has worked to cement ties with his main ally and sponsor, Russia. … set to head to Russia … Monday […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Faces Test of Voters With Poisoned Critic in Hospital” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer

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

“With his most prominent critic hit by a near-fatal poisoning that opponents and the West blame on the Kremlin … Putin faces a key test of support in regional elections ahead of a national vote next year. About a third of the electorate is eligible to vote … over three days … to choose representatives at different levels … in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian schools open with classroom, cafeteria precautions” – AP

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Russian children have returned to schools …. [T]eachers underwent mandatory virus tests …. Temperature checks are conducted each morning … [S]chool schedules were amended to reduce the number … attending at the same time. Authorities also limited … school cafeterias and recreation areas …. Masks in schools are not mandatory for all of Russia’s 85 regions ….” If a child […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s 2020 elections hotspots; A semblance of real political competition makes the upcoming vote worth following in several regions” – Meduza

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

“… [On Sunday,] residents of 18 regions … elect governors, another 11 regions … vote for local parliamentary deputies, and 22 regional capitals … hold city council elections. In several regions … results may not be in favor of … [ruling powers] in spite of … three-day voting rules, which can create increased opportunities for manipulating … election results. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Germany hands over its Novichok investigation data to OPCW” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Nerve Agent Effects Body Chart, adapted from image at shareamerica.gov with credit to CDC

“Germany has handed over all … data related to its investigation into … [the] agent … used to poison … Navalny to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). … Merkel … announced that a top German military lab … [confirmed] ‘unequivocal proof of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group’ …. ‘… shocking information about the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus Leader Proposes Vote on Constitution Reforms” – AFP

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

“… Lukashenko on Monday discussed plans for a referendum on constitutional reforms …. The 66-year-old … fac[es] his greatest challenge yet [in his 26-year rule,] following three weekends of giant protests in Minsk over a disputed August 9 [election] where he claimed victory over … popular opposition candidate[] Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Lukashenko has twice before held such referendums, pushing through changes […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office says no need to open criminal case into Navalny’s poisoning” – bne Intellinews

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 General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) [said, in a Aug. 27 press release, that it] doesn’t see any grounds for opening a criminal case into the poisoning of anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Alexei Navalny …. However, the press release was almost immediately deleted …. No explanation was given for the decision. The GPO’s statement said … no information “evidencing a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Russia Declassifies Video From 1961 of Largest Hydrogen Bomb Ever Detonated” – Smithsonian Magazine/ Theresa Machemer

File Photo of Tsar Bomba Nuclear Detonation, adapted from image at osd.mil

“The blast was over 3,000 times bigger than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” “… [D]eclassified Russian footage [features] the 1961 Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb test …  [of] the largest bomb … detonated on Earth …. a 50-million-ton hydrogen bomb, officially named RDS-220[,] … [set off] late October 1961 … during the height of the Cold War[,] …. 26 feet long […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus protests stoke sea change at state media outlets” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, James Shotter

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

“Hundreds of journalists have gone on strike demanding fair coverage of demonstrations.” “… [In] a sea change at … [Belarus’s] normally pliant state media[,] [h]undreds of journalists have gone on strike demanding fair coverage of the [anti-Lukashenko] protests and … brutal police crackdown …. Several have resigned …. [S]tate media … remains a crucial tool in … Lukashenko’s attempt to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Security strongmen take on key role in Russian Arctic policy” – The Barents Observer (Norway)/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“The Russian Security Council is given an expanded position in the management of national interests in the Arctic.” “According to a[n] [Aug. 25] decree signed by … Putin … the [Russian] Security Council is to establish a special commission … promot[ing] Russian national interests in the far northern region[,] [a]mong its responsibilities … ‘analysis of the international and social-economic situation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Seeks Pre-Election Win on Nuclear Arms Deal with Russia” – Time/ John Walcott

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea met with [Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov] … in Vienna to discuss extending the … New START agreement … [currently limiting] long-range weapons ….  [with the U.S. seeking to make New START extension] a first step toward limiting … entire nuclear arsenals … backed by rare bipartisan consensus on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Thousands gather on Belarus’ Independence Square in the rain to maintain protest momentum” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“Thousands of Belarusians … gather[ed] once again on [I]ndependence [S]quare in central Minsk … [T]he police … [have again] started to randomly arrest protestors …. The protests have become as large as those in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union. … [After] fears that the protest movement was losing … momentum as Lukashenko launched an increasingly effective counter […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In a Shift, Belarus Leader Seeks to Stem Protests Gradually” – AP

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

“When Belarusians filled the streets to protest what they called a fraudulent election that kept authoritarian … Lukashenko in power … blunt repressions came first. … emboldening more protesters, triggering strikes at state-run factories and forcing authorities to back off. With the protests now in their third week – including rallies that brought out an estimated 200,000 people in Minsk […]

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As Lukashenka Turns To Geopolitics, The West Faces Learning Curve In Belarus

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

… The embattled strongman has been back-footed by the massive, unprecedented demonstrations demanding he resign in the wake of the August 9 presidential election the protesters view as fixed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia should rethink its role in new energy economy” – The National (UAE)/ Robin Mills

Gas Flame file photo

“Global gas market remains oversupplied and renewables only makes up a small part of the country’s energy mix.” “Russia’s energy sector has so far come through the pandemic better than some might have expected. … Opec+ … has shored up oil revenue and the rouble. But [Russia’s] longer-term outlook is cloudy, both in petroleum and its unstrategic approach to new […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biegun Says U.S. Sees No Indication of Russian Military Plans in Belarus” – Reuters

Cropped File Photo of Stephen Biegun, adapted from image featured at state.gov

“Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun [was in Lithuania,] signal[ing] a greater U.S. role … trying to settle … strife … erupt[ing] when Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko cracked down on peaceful protesters … reject[ing] his claim of a landslide election victory [claiming it was rigged]. … Asked about possible Russian military intervention … [Biegun] said: ‘Of course that would be […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Navalny’s Poisoning Really Says About the Current State of Putin’s Russia” – The New Yorker/ Joshua Yaffa

Kremlin and River

“… This guessing game, though tempting, is not only unsolvable; it misses the insight that attacks like Nemtsov’s murder and Navalny’s poisoning really offer about Putin’s Russia — the most pernicious and terrifying fact is not whether Putin did or did not issue orders to his underlings to off perceived enemies but that anyone from the ruling circle can use […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus’ defence minister tells military elite: ‘It is necessary to fight. And if necessary with weapons’ as Lukashenko’s counteroffensive gathers momentum” – bne Intellinews

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

“Belarus’ Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin told the country’s military elite that there may be a military conflict and they may be called on to use their weapons …. ‘Yes, we may have a civil war …. There’s a chance we’ll have a military conflict … Criminal order, not criminal – we are soldiers, we execute orders!’ Khrenin said …. Lukashenko […]

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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: “Trump Administration Shifts Course on Russian Arms Talks, Easing Insistence China Join Now” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“New strategy aims at a framework agreement with Russia, possible pre-election meeting with Putin.” “… the Trump administration signaled … that it will seek to negotiate a separate framework agreement with Moscow and move to bring Beijing on board later. … [which] could open the door for an election-year arms control understanding with Moscow — and possibly a meeting between […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus Opposition Seeks to Reassure Russia as Strikes Go On” – Bloomberg/ Aliaksandr Kudrytski

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Opposition leaders in Belarus are seeking to reassure Russia about future relations as the biggest challenge to … Lukashenko’s 26-year rule continues with nationwide strikes. Russia is an important partner for Belarus and ‘we recognize and accept that,’ Maria Kalesnikava … top ally of opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya[] wrote in a message published … on Telegram by … [Ekho Moskvy] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tikhanovskaya to hold first transition council meeting, EU opens talks with opposition” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Belarus city file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

“The focus of the opposition is shifting from street protests to a legal assault on Lukashenko’s administration and the creation of a transition government.” “… nominal president-elect of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s Transfer of Power Coordination Council … [seeks a] process of bringing in a new government ahead of fresh elections. ‘We’re starting to form the Coordination Council. … an extended […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko Says He Is Ready to Share Power in Belarus as Protests Mount” – Reuters

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

“[Belarus’ leader] … Lukashenko … [says] he would be ready to hold new elections and hand over power after a constitutional referendum, an attempt to pacify mass protests and strikes … pos[ing] the biggest challenge … to his rule. … He faces the threat of [EU] sanctions after a bloody crackdown on protests following what demonstrators say was his rigged […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Surreal scenes inside Russia’s battle against the pandemic” – National Geographic/ Nanna Heitmann

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Patients continue to fill hospitals as rumours and cynicism spread about a vaccine.” “… [A]ll these [Moscow] hospitals [are now COVID-19 centres,] devoted to one disease that didn’t exist … months ago[] … shocking inside the hospitals. From the moment you’re in the elevator you’re in a ‘red zone’ … considered contaminated[,] [e]verywhere … a red zone[,] … nurses prepar[ing] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Vladimir Putin is unlikely to invade Belarus” – Atlantic Council/ Anders Åslund

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

“… Lukashenka seems to be on his way out. … he could only gather a few thousand press-ganged ‘supporters’ for a regime rally … [C]olossal crowds gathered [in Minsk] … hours later to demand his departure. Lukashenka’s blatant theft of the … presidential election has united the Belarusian people against him. Presumably, the only support he can now count on […]

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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: “Will Russia invade Belarus?” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Russia has a lot more to lose than to gain from an annexation of Belarus. But it will be hard to lose anything in a post-Lukashenko Belarus” “… Lukashenko … [said] he would ask … Putin to help Belarus ‘restore order[,]’ … [that] protests ‘threaten the whole former Soviet space’ …. [Social media] [v]ideo … show[s] Russian army trucks … […]

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