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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JRL NEWSBLOG: “Russian Orthodox Church to stop blessing missiles” – The Times (UK)/ Tom Parfitt

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… a church commission has concluded that one category of blessings is beyond the pale and should not continue: weapons of mass destruction. … at odds with recent practice. … In November, a priest … blessed an S-400 missile unit as it was deployed to the Crimea. The previous year, a priest could … be seen having just completed the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The new musketeers; The improbable careers of Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards; Proximity is power” – The Economist

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

“… Putin has become closer than most to the men of Russia’s Federal Protective Service (fso). Since 2016, four fso officers from his personal guard have been appointed regional governors …. A fifth became head of the newly formed National Guard. … [Alexey] Dyumin was elevated in 2013 to a post in the defence ministry … command[ing] special forces … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Warns of Repeat of 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis” – Reuters

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

“… [regarding] U.S. deployment of land-based missile systems near Russia’s borders …. ‘If things get as far as an actual deployment on the ground of these sorts of systems, then the situation won’t just get more complicated, it will escalate right to the limit,’ RIA news agency quoted [Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei] Ryabkov as saying. ‘We could find ourselves […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s 2019 ‘Direct Line,’ in a nutshell; Russia’s president spoke on national TV for four hours, but you can read this summary in five minutes” – Meduza/ Summary by Mikhail Zelensky, Translation by Kevin Rothrock

File Photo of Putin Sitting at Desk, Looking Down, Writing, During Call-In Show, adapted from screenshot of video at kremlin.ru

“National projects: The country needs to revitalize the economy, but first we need to figure out where to find the money for this development work. That’s why we raised the VAT [value added tax), and as expected it increased inflation, but only temporarily. The cabinet ministers are personally responsible for seeing their work through. Income and wages …. Healthcare …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian internet giant Yandex takes rare stand against state snooping” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

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

“The primacy of Russia’s security state is beginning to crimp the global growth of the country’s information technology sector. That could foretell hard choices for the government over what it will prioritize.” “Russia has always been some version of a national security state, in which individuals, companies, and other group interests are expected to unquestioningly submit to the needs and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “White House’s Top Russia Adviser Fiona Hill to Leave Position; National Security Council’s non-proliferation director to succeed her” – Wall Street Journal/ Vivian Salama

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… top [Trump] Russia adviser [Fiona Hill] is leaving … in August … [to] be succeeded by … current … National Security Council … nonproliferation [head] Tim Morrison …. Hill, a … staunch [Putin] critic has held the position since March 2017 …. Hill had just assumed [the role] … when … Trump invited Russia[n] foreign minister … Lavrov[] and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin touts Russia as a great power. But he’s made it a weak one.” – Washington Post/ Timothy Frye

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

“… Moscow is playing an assertive role [globally] … despite … weakness. … If anyone has made Russia’s hand weak, it’s [Putin, in power for two decades with a] … failure to create a more dynamic economy …. Thanks to high energy prices and fiscal caution … [there are] large reserve funds, but the economy has stagnated …. in 2012, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Siberia Could Be The Tourist Hotspot Of The Future, Literally” – Forbes/ Eric Mack

File Photo of People Working on Car in Siberian Woodlands

“The massive Asian side of Russia is often forgotten, as much of it consists often frigid and uninhabitable Siberian wilderness. … A team of Russian and American researchers looked at a number of computer models … [U]nder the most extreme scenario … [regarding] greenhouse gases … parts of Siberia where average January temperatures dip below minus 30 will be warmer […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian technology: can the Kremlin control the internet? Moscow is developing a ‘sovereign’ web that critics say will enhance official power to silence dissent” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, Henry Foy

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

“… Activists fear Ingushetia’s blackouts could be repeated across Russia thanks to a law signed by … Putin in May. * * * … Half of Russia’s internet traffic passes through an unassuming 19-storey high rise in southwestern Moscow … hous[ing] MSK-IX [data center], the largest of the country’s internet exchange points. … the physical point of contact for over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Generation Putin; Russia’s youth flex their political power” – PRI/ Indra Ekmanis/ Producer Daniel Ofman

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

“… For more than 33 million Russians under age 20, the leadership of Putin is the only type of government they’ve ever known. Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. Since then he’s bounced between the offices of president and prime minister, most recently barring Navalny from running against him in the 2018 presidential elections. … young Russians … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman – a sweeping tale of war and life; This immense prequel to ‘Life and Fate’ on the siege of Stalingrad finally gets its English translation” – Financial Times/ Tobias Grey

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

“… At nearly 1,000 pages Stalingrad is slightly longer than its sequel. … Grossman places an earlier focus on the Shaposhnikov family and friends … their lives … thrown into disarray by the impending Battle of Stalingrad. Hitler’s huge offensive on the Eastern Front has driven Soviet forces into a prolonged retreat. Stalingrad … on a clifftop by the Volga […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians’ trust in Putin has plummeted. But that’s not the Kremlin’s only problem. The real bad news is that, increasingly, Russians are refusing to answer the survey question at all.” – Washington Post/ Samuel A. Greene

Vladimir Putin

“According to … Russia[] … polling agenc[y] [WCIOM], trust in [Putin] has fallen to an all-time low … 31.7 percent. … [T]he economy struggles … real disposable incomes look set to decline for the sixth straight year[;] the bloom is very much off the Crimean rose. After some [Kremlin] consternation … the same agency released a new survey using a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Drowning in waste, Russians fume over lack of recycling” – AFP

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… rubbish towers above the Timokhovo dump outside Moscow, one of the biggest in Europe. Authorities plan to build an incinerator to burn some of the trash, but … activists are fighting for it to be recycled instead. Since 2013, residents have complained of foul sulphurous smells and worry that effluents are polluting ground water. … [A]uthorities acknowledged the smell […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There Are Still 10 Chernobyl-Style Reactors Operating Across Russia. How Do We Know They’re Safe?” – Live Science/ Stephanie Pappas

Montage of Radioactivity Symbol and Russian Map with Russian Flag, adapted from images at .gov sites

“… Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant … [had an explosion and] spewed radioactive material across northern Europe. That reactor, a design called the RBMK-1000, was discovered to be fundamentally flawed after the Chernobyl accident. And yet there are still 10 of the same type of reactor in operation in Russia. How do we know if they’re safe? […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In a Blow to Maduro, Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove,Alan Cullison, Maolis Castro

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

Russia has been one of Maduro’s major supporters in its standoff with the U.S. “Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for … Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against … U.S. pressure. Russian state defense contractor Rostec … trained Venezuelan troops and advised on … arms contracts, [but reportedly now] has cut […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Trickiest Task In Russian Politics? Reading President Putin’s Poll Numbers” – Forbes/ James Rodgers

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

“… [Putin] popularity ratings … have become the subject of … speculation — and … significant reinterpretation. … [m]uch of that popularity … built on rising living standards — especially in the last decade … on the back of soaring prices for … natural resources, especially oil …. Putin’s last … election victory … was judged by [OSCE] observers … […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top U.S. and Russian Diplomats Discussed Ways to End Syria War” – AP

Syria Map

“Top U.S. and Russian diplomats discussed step-by-step implementation of a 2012 roadmap to U.N.-supervised elections in Syria that could allow a Syrian government ‘to move back into the international community’ … [Ambassador James Jeffrey] said … indicat[ing] a new U.S.-Russian engagement on efforts to end the eight-year Syrian conflict that has killed over 400,000 people …. But Jeffrey cautioned that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Says Russia Likely Conducting Low-Yield Nuke Tests, Defying Test Ban Treaty” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

Montage of Radioactivity Symbol and Russian Map with Russian Flag, adapted from images at .gov sites

“Intelligence assessment marks first time U.S. has said Kremlin failed to observe Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty commitments” “Russia has likely been secretly carrying out very low-yield nuclear tests to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment, challenging Moscow’s claims …. the first time the U.S. has said the Kremlin has failed to strictly observe its […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine oligarch urges Volodymyr Zelensky to default on debt; Concern grows over Igor Kolomoisky’s influence on the novice president” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… Zelensky should … reject[] the [IMF] austerity programme and default[] on … external debt, according to his contentious oligarch supporter[] Igor Kolomoisky … [a suggestion that] will ring alarm bells with … western backers even though … Zelensky … said he would stick to the terms of Ukraine’s $3.9bn bailout. Concern among Ukrainians and western officials about … Kolomoisky’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Economy Gives Putin Reasons Not to Extend OPEC+ Deal” – Bloomberg/ Olga Tanas

Oil Well file photo

“The OPEC+ pact is hurting the Russian economy, potentially giving … Putin a reason not to agree on an extension …. While higher crude prices can bring … additional revenue, production cuts are weighing on one of the country’s biggest industries. … [Putin] may have to weigh his desire for faster economic growth against the benefits of his alliance with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “American Hustle; What Mueller Found – and Didn’t Find – About Trump and Russia” – Foreign Affairs/ Stephen Kotkin

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Russian intelligence organizations … could manage entirely on their own to hack e-mail accounts, line up cutouts such as WikiLeaks to disseminate damaging material, impersonate Americans on social media, and study elementary research available in open sources about battleground states and swing voters. * * * … The sections of the report that treat what Russia intended and achieved […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why are Russian stocks so cheap?” – Intellinews/ Ben Aris

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“Investors into Russian stocks have almost given up on seeing any of the cash the country’s leading companies generate. The valuation of what should be some of the world’s richest companies are in the basement, as would-be minority investors don’t believe the management will share the billions of dollars in revenue these companies make every year. Russia’s stock market boomed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Suggests He Authorized Cyber Attack on Russia: ‘It Happened During My Administration'” – Mediaite/ Connor Mannion

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“[In an interview to air Sunday,] … Trump hinted to Fox[] … that he authorized a cyber attack against Russia …. ‘It’s been reported this year that you personally authorized a cyber attack on Russia around the time of the midterms last year in order to stop them meddling in the midterm election,’ [Steve] Hilton asked referring to a report […]

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JRL RUSSIAWATCH: “Who Russians Think Will Succeed Putin in 2024; Studies show that the Russian public doesn’t believe they will have a say in the future of their country.” – Moscow Times/ Denis Volkov

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

“Most Russians think little about the future, possess only a passing knowledge of the political calendar and would have difficulty naming the date of the next presidential election. … [Asking] focus groups consisting of Muscovites of differing ages as well as attitudes towards Putin …. [resulted in] pro- and anti-Putin participants mainly discuss[ing] two post-election scenarios: 1) [Putin] remains at […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “President Zelenskiy’s inauguration speech (Complete English Translation)” – Kyiv Post

Rada File Photo

“[note from JRL web editor: first full paragraph from source’s version of transcript follows:] Dear Ukrainians, After (my) victory at this election, my six-year-old son said, ‘Daddy, I was watching TV, they say Zelenskiy is the president. So it means I’m the president too, right?’ At the moment it sounded like a child’s joke. But later I understood that it […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trenin: Pompeo’s visit wasn’t about a reset or even detente” – Meduza

“… Carnegie Moscow Center director Dmitri Trenin says U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Sochi this week was about reducing misunderstandings and miscalculations in Russian-American relations, not developing full-fledged cooperation …. [carnegie.ru/commentary/79133] Trenin says Pompeo’s meetings with … Lavrov and … Putin were the latest steps in the White House’s push to reestablish high-level contacts. … “What each […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Banking on Politics: How Russia’s Banking Sector Clean-Up Affects Regime Stability” – PONARS Eurasia/ David Szakonyi

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

“Banking has increasingly become nationalized in Russia, raising concerns that all private banks may be forced from the market within 10 or 15 years. In the short run, this consolidation enables the government to continue funding its numerous and expensive commitments and thereby maintain social and political stability. David Szakonyi discusses the political consequences of this creeping nationalization of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition collapses, making snap elections impossible” – bne Intellinews

Rada File Photo

“The ruling coalition in the Ukrainian parliament … Verkhovna Rada[] collapsed … May 17 … [with] the withdrawal of the People’s Front faction, headed by former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. According to Ukrainian legislation, the Verkhovna Rada should now keep working until the next parliamentary election … October 27, meaning president-elect … Zelenskiy will not be able to call a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump, Russia seek to use end of Mueller investigation as pivot point in relationship; Putin calls Mueller investigation ‘objective'” – Washington Post/ Anne Gearan, Anton Troianovski

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… the special counsel investigation of Russian election interference now complete, the Trump administration cautiously offered a fresh start with Russia … as the two countries find their interests colliding on a range of international issues. … Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with … Putin, bearing a message that the United States is ready to renew […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “[Re: Council on Strategic Development and National Projects] Macro and Markets with Alex Nice” – Bear Market Brief, bmb Russia/ Foreign Policy Research Institute

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

“… Putin chaired a major meeting of the Council on Strategic Development and National Projects with the cabinet and regional officials. … First, although Putin is only a year into his fourth term, there is already a sense of frustration and anxiety about the progress of the National Projects … the strategic underpinning of the six-year presidential cycle. Putin opened […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A National Disappointment: What Went Wrong With the Sukhoi Superjet 100” – Carnegie Moscow/ Anastasia Dagaeva

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

“The Sukhoi Superjet 100 … has become a sociopolitical symbol of hope and disappointment. … launched almost 20 years ago as a dream of conquering the world … [but] turn[ing] into a thorn in everyone’s side. It seems that everyone, from government officials to airlines and passengers, is tired of the Superjet, which raises the question of whether the plane […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Can Russia halve its poverty level?” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris in Berlin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Among … ambitious … – some say unattainable [-] goals [Putin] called for a drastic reduction in poverty between now and 2024, when he is slated to step down …. Can Russia really halve its poverty rate to 6.6% in six years[?] … [F]ast [economic] growth is unlikely. Even the government’s own estimate predicts lacklustre growth of about 1.3% […]

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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 AUDIO: “Russia’s role in WWII isn’t ‘part of our collective memory'” – PRI/ Natalia Antonova

American Solider Meets Russian Soliders in Berlin in 1945, adapted from image at army.mil

“… the Soviet Union was … a complex actor, in spite of being an ally. The fact that it was at the time ruled by a mass murderer, Joseph Stalin, doesn’t help. … Americans … don’t know what to think about the USSR’s role in the worst conflict in human history … Russia’s revanchism on the world stage today doesn’t […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Comey says it’s possible the Russians have something compromising on Trump” – CNN/ Kate Sullivan

James Comey file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

[first portion of CNN post:] “Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that it is possible the Russians have leverage over President Donald Trump. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Comey at a town hall in Washington, ‘Do you think the Russians have leverage over President Trump?’ ‘I don’t know the answer to that,’ Comey responded. ‘Think it’s possible?’ Cooper asked. ‘Yes,’ […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH “Russia ramps up bond sales ahead of possible U.S. sanctions; Moscow’s $1.1bn issuance comes after April fundraising smashed records” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, Nikou Asgari

File Photo of Facade of Russian Finance Ministry

“… [Russia’s] finance ministry sold Rbs73bn ($1.1bn) in rouble-denominated bonds … Wednesday[,] … part of a plan to raise Rbs600bn in domestic debt this quarter. … [after] a record Rbs400bn in April – four times [Russia’s] monthly average – feeding strong investor appetite for high-yielding emerging market debt. … [Analysts regard the efforts] as a pre-emptive stockpiling … [against] the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s nuclear power exports are booming” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Russian Nuclear Power Plant file photo

“… state-owned … Rosatom … operates 35 nuclear power stations in Russia … produc[ing] 28GW of power, and … is actively exporting … nuclear technology …. [to help] cement[] ties with … emerging markets with no nuclear power tradition and the BRICS countries …. [including i]n recent years … construction of six nuclear power reactors in India, Iran and China […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Venezuela motives: It’s about the U.S., not Maduro.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

“Historically, when Washington and Moscow have butted heads over a power struggle in a third-party nation, it’s been in a Cold War context. But the core issue over their divide on Venezuela today is simpler: staking out turf.” “… Russian affinity for former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez’ Bolivarian Socialism has no part in it. … The U.S. demands that Russia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Inside the West’s Plans for Arctic War Against Russia” – DailyBeast/ Nico Hines

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

“Moscow is growing belligerent in its quest to pry open the icy route to the Atlantic. The U.S. and Britain are racing to catch up, but is it too late?” “… deep in the Arctic Circle, some of the world’s best-trained commandos … struggl[e] to complete an ambush exercise knee-deep in … snow. Britain’s Royal Marines make painfully slow progress […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Health-Care Cuts Spark Protests in Russian Heartland” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer, Ilya Arkhipov

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“The country has 100 billionaires, and yet more than a third of Russians can’t afford to buy two pairs of shoes a year.” “… Concern … that traditionally loyal sections of the population are turning against the authorities [have] raised an alarm in the government [sources say] …. Protests used to be confined to the big cities. Now they’re in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How the US could push Russia’s defense spending to the brink” – Stars and Stripes/ William Howard

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

“The United States should … drive Russia to spend money in a tit-for-tat power game that its smaller economy can’t support [a RAND study] said …. The West can exploit factors … making Russia more vulnerable, such as economic sanctions, fuel prices falling below peak levels, an aging population and increasing authoritarianism under … Putin … [but the study] also […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hegemony of state in Russian economy deepens, warns watchdog” – bne Intellinews

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… the state is no longer simply setting the rules of engagement, but attempts to regulate the whole economic system of the country, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) watchdog warns …. [as is] evident on both federal and regional levels, where authorities are interfering in local business relations and engage in regional protectionism. … Before the 1998 crisis the state’s share […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Investigation Will Continue; Counterintelligence agencies must find it hard to believe the cupboard is already bare” – The Atlantic/ John Sipher

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Mueller’s Russia probe is over, and … Trump on Friday again described the probe as a ‘Witch Hunt,’ [yet] the FBI is almost certain to continue its counterintelligence investigation into Russian espionage efforts related to the 2016 election. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “A Russian ‘spy whale’ is having too much fun to leave Norway” – NBC/ Tony Brown, David K. Li

Map of Norway and Region, with Norway Highlighted, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“‘The whale was really friendly and came up to us and started opening its mouth, and just checking us out,’ a Norwegian official said.” “… A beluga whale – found in Arctic Norway with a camera harness strapped to its head – has been joyously seeking out human contact and is in no hurry to swim back …. The whale […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Suddenly Sacks Russian Envoy to Belarus Amid Oil Row” – Reuters

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… Putin … sacked Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich … amid a row over contaminated oil and a wider political discord between the ex-Soviet countries. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has generally been more closely aligned with Moscow than any other ex-Soviet leader, while the lack of tolerance for dissent at home has made him largely a pariah in the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Where Does the Russia-North Korea Relationship Stand?” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Scott A. Snyder

North Korea Map and Flag, adapted from .gov image

“… Kim desperately needed to replace the narrative of weakness after failing to make a widely expected deal with the United States at the Hanoi summit with a narrative of strength, both domestically and internationally. Last week’s summit with Putin allowed Kim to show stature internationally and discuss alternatives to the U.S.-proposed big deal on denuclearization. But he failed to […]

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