JRL NEWSWATCH: “Famous ex-defence reporter arrested, accused of treason” – bne Intellinews

FSB Building file photo

“In what appears to be an escalating crackdown on Russian journalists by the Federal Security Service (FSB), famous defence reporter Ivan Safronov was arrested … and charged with treason. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted. The arrest is only the latest of a series of arrests and cases brought against leading Russian journalists who have simply […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Putin Views the Iranian Role in Syria: Insights from Bolton’s Memoir” – Mark N. Katz

Syria Map

“[According to Bolton’s new book] … Putin … told Bolton to convey … to Trump [that –] … Moscow did not need Iranian forces … in Syria… [and gained] no advantage [from it] …. Iran’s policy agenda … regard[ing] … Lebanon and the Shi’a were not [Russia’s] … [and] Iranian policy was causing problems …. Russia [wanted] … an Iranian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why we need a little skepticism, and more evidence, on Russian bounties” – The Hill/ David B. Rivkin, Jr., George S. Beebe

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… [1][H]ow credible are the sources? … not very. … militants and criminals captured and interrogated by Afghanistan’s government. … Captured militants frequently tell … interrogators things they hope … [bring] lenient treatment. Others relate … little more than hearsay. … [2][W]hat other information might support or disconfirm the allegations? …. [I]f the Times report of large financial transfers … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Kremlin’s View of U.S.’s War in Afghanistan Has Shifted” – Wall Street Journal/ Alan Cullison

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Deteriorating U.S.-Russian ties adversely affect a once-shared goal, leading to a U.S. intelligence assessment of bounties paid to Taliban.” “For years … the U.S. and Russia shared a goal of deposing the Taliban government and hunting down its remnants …. [T]hat … crumbled … amid mutual suspicion and U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan with the Taliban undefeated. Today… [there is] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Return to Kabul? Russian Policy in Afghanistan” – David G. Lewis/ George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Soviet Era Afghan Soldiers with Flag

“… Moscow has publicly supported the current U.S.-Taliban peace talks … [yet] has a very different perspective from the U.S. … influenced by geography and history. Russia’s current strategic posture is informed by a long history of relations with Afghanistan and above all … the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, a strategic and military failure … still fresh in […]

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Russia and the West

Satellite

From: David C. Speedie <davidcspeedie@gmail.com> Date: Sun, Jun 28, 2020 Subject: Russia and the West To: <letters.editor@ft.com> (Financial Times) Philip Stephens [“Russia cannot afford a war with the west”, 26 June] contains some home truths about Russia under Vladimir Putin, but comes significantly short of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To focus on but a few illustrations: […]

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

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

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

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Kremlin Denies Eyeing Territorial Claims After Putin’s Comments In Documentary

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The Kremlin has denied it has any territorial claims on former Soviet republics after … Putin appeared to question the redrawn borders of Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pentagon announces $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine” – CNN/ Ryan Browne

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

“… ‘[DOD] announced … plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression,’ the Pentagon said in a statement …. the ‘funds — $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms — […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s new nuclear policy could be a path to arms control treaties” – Defense News/ Sarah Bidgood

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

… the U.S. and Russia have traditionally been able to work together to mitigate mutual threats even when their bilateral relationship is in crisis […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia to Start Nuclear Arms Control Talks This Month” – AP

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

“The U.S. and Russia have agreed to start arms control talks this month as the only remaining treaty between the two largest nuclear powers is poised to expire in less than a year … Russia has offered to extend the New [START] Treaty … expir[ing] in February, but Trump wants to see a three-way nuclear arms treaty that includes China. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Global Ambitions Are Upended by Coronavirus’s Heavy Toll in Russia” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Russian president’s efforts to showcase the country’s strength abroad backfired amid virus troubles at home […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Puts Defensive Face on Its Nuclear Doctrine Ahead of Arms-Control Negotiations” – Defense One/ Patrick Tucker

Russian Nuclear Submarine

… A country with such a strategy would consider using nuclear weapons – likely tactical ones – at the beginning of a conflict, aiming to press its adversary into quick negotiations. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian labs race to find a covid-19 vaccine by fall, but concerns raised about fast-track methods” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“… [Russia’s] researchers have tested formulas on themselves, members of the military have been selected for trials and some officials are claiming that a breakthrough could be just months away. But Russia’s rush to be first – and claim the global bragging rights for … Putin’s government – is prompting some in the country to raise warnings about possibly cutting […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A brazen foray into the Barents yields predictable Cold War-type friction” – Responsible Statecraft/ Lyle J. Goldstein

File Photo of U.S. Naval Ships in Joint Exercises with UK in Barents Sea, adapted from defense.gov image with photo credit to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Nichols

” … [M]ilitary escalations in the High North need more attention … [not] the [U.S.] media focus … on … Russian trolls, social media influence peddlers, spies, and various ‘useful idiots.’ … [W]hen the New York Times … seemingly … tr[ied] to investigate what might actually be going on under the … waters of the Barents and off the Norwegian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s New Nuclear Deterrent Policy Allows Nuclear Strikes Against Non-Nuclear Threats” – AP

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

“… Putin … endorsed Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy which allows him to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike targeting … critical government and military infrastructure. … including a non-nuclear attack as a possible trigger for Russian nuclear retaliation … The new expanded wording reflects Russian concerns about the development of prospective weapons that could give Washington the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia publishes list of key dangers due to which nuclear deterrence may be used” – Interfax

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

MOSCOW. June 2 (Interfax) – Russia may employ its nuclear deterrence capabilities in case of threats of aggression against it resulting from certain actions by potential adversaries, according to the fundamentals of Russia’s state nuclear deterrence policy, which were endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The presidential decree lists the key dangers which, depending on changes in the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Says Only ‘Coronavirus Immune’ Troops Will March at Victory Day Parade” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 2, 2020) The Russian military will march asymptomatic troops and those who have developed immunity to coronavirus at its landmark parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II later this month, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to hold the previously postponed Victory […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The United States Should Not Align With Russia Against China; Authoritarians make bad allies-and Washington already has the stable and democratic friends it needs” – Foreign Policy/ Matthew Kroenig

Asia Map

“… The growing Russian and Chinese strategic relationship is worrying. The two autocratic powers have cooperated on major energy deals, including a blockbuster $55 billion arrangement to pipe Siberian natural gas into China. … and Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping … [having] high-level summits … Xi … declared Putin ‘his best friend and colleague.’ Perhaps most troubling … have […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Is a ‘Distinct Civilization,’ Putin Says” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2020) Russia is a distinct civilization that must be protected through genetics and other advanced technologies, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that aired Sunday. Putin told state television that “it would be impossible to secure the future of our civilization” without artificial intelligence, genetics and unmanned vehicles, as well as hypersonic […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s War in Syria” – CSIS

Syria Map

“… Russia’s military and diplomatic campaign in Syria [has been] the largest and most significant Russian out-of-area operation since the end of the Cold War. … and will shape [Russia’s] military thinking, influence promotion and personnel decisions, impact research and development for its arms industry, and expand its influence …. [D]espite the importance of Russia’s involvement in Syria – especially […]

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

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

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

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “New evidence reinforces the suspicion that Russia was behind the downed MH17 plane” – Washington Post Editorial

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

…. The findings suggest … Putin’s regime was overseeing the separatists at the time the Russian missile was fired at the airliner. …

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U.S.-Russia Deconflicting 75 Years Ago: Flares and Friendly Fire at the Elbe

File Photo of American Soldier Meeting Soviet Soldiers in Berlin in 1945, adapted from image at army.mil

… 75 years ago, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River in Germany at the end of the European phase of World War II. The anniversary prompted current leaders of the U.S. and Russia to transcend … frosty relations … and issue a rare joint declaration ….

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Zelenskiy’s First Year: He Promised Sweeping Changes. How’s He Doing?

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

“… the first year since the 42-year-old comedic actor’s election has been chock full of ups and downs and twists and turns, with plenty of serious criticism … from constituents and international observers, not to mention an array of opponents. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin, Russia’s Man of Action, Is Passive, Even Bored, in the Coronavirus Era” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“The pandemic has derailed Vladimir V. Putin’s plans for a big military parade and a referendum extending his rule – and now knocked out his prime minister – as the Russian leader struggles to find his stride.” “This was supposed to be a moment of triumph for … Putin, a celebration of his grand successes … restoring the Russian state […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With the World Distracted by Coronavirus, Hopes for Peace in Ukraine Are Dimming” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

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

“Sound of gunfire and shelling has become part of everyday life in the city of Mariupol as hopes fade for an end to the war.” “… in eastern Ukraine … hopes for an end to the long-running war between Russian-backed separatists and Kyiv have faded since this winter’s tentative detente between … Putin and … Zelensky. … The conflict has […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Learn All About the Great Patriotic War; A marathon to remember the 75th anniversary of the victory begins April 25” – Moscow Times

File Photo of American Soldier Meeting Soviet Soldiers in Berlin in 1945, adapted from image at army.mil

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 24, 2020) Starting at 4 p.m. on Sat., April 25 until May 9 – Victory Day in Russia – the Russian Ministry of Culture and several other organizations are launching an online marathon to mark the 75 anniversary of the end of the war. On the special site, you can find a tremendous amount […]

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

NATO Meeting file photo

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

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s moment of truth” – Kyiv Post/ Kurt Volker

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… As the novel coronavirus increasingly impacts the country, the Verkhovna Rada must finally pass the banking legislation necessary to free up $8 billion in International Monetary Fund lending, and a further $1.5 billion from other sources. … Achieving peace and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty in eastern Ukraine and Crimea will never come as the result of a military victory. Peace […]

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Donbas Development: Will ‘Advisory Council’ Unlock Door To Direct Talks Between Kyiv And Russia-Backed Separatists?

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

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tony Wesolowsky – March 30, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-peace-advisory-council-direct-talks-kyiv-separatists-russia-backed/30518279.html) No talks with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine: That has been a mantra for leaders in Kyiv throughout the six-year war that has killed more than 13,000 people in the Donbas and displaced more than […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Priests, Cossacks Negotiated Ukraine’s Surrender During Crimean Annexation – Meduza” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 16, 2020) Priests from the Russian Orthodox Church and Cossacks followed Defense Ministry orders to negotiate the Ukrainian army’s surrender during Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, the independent Meduza news website has reported ahead of the sixth anniversary of the land grab. On Feb. 27, 2014, masked troops in unmarked uniforms seized the Crimean parliament […]

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Trade or Blockade? Economic Relations with Uncontrolled Territories in Moldova and Ukraine

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Kennan Cable No. 48 – Brian Milakovsky – March 9, 2020) Brian Milakovsky works in the development sector in Luhansk Oblast and has written about the Donbas economy since 2015. He has lived in Ukraine and Russia since 2009, working on both ecological and humanitarian issues. It is still too early to gauge the chances […]

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

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

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

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin wants to ‘understand’ Ukrainian leader’s approach to conflict settlement” – Interfax

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

(Interfax – Dec. 1, 2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said that the expected meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris would be “very useful” for understanding the Ukrainian leader’s vision for the implementation of the east Ukraine conflict settlement plan known as the Minsk accords. The meeting will “certainly be very useful because we […]

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Oil, Military And Nuclear Tech: Russia’s Influence In Africa

Africa Map

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Oct. 17, 2019) Virtually all great powers have set their eyes on Africa as the continent’s global importance grows. Its population is set to double by 2050 and its economy is expected to expand significantly alongside its energy consumption. It is these projections that have driven Russia to invest heavily in strong relations in the […]

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Forget U.S.-Russian Friendship: Let’s Foster ‘Predictable Competition’ [re: George Beebe]

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Thomas Schaffner – Oct. 16, 2019) The U.S. and Russia have reduced their nuclear arsenals by about 70 and 80 percent, respectively, since the peak of the Cold War, according to the Federation of American Scientists, and the two countries remain committed to bilateral and multilateral documents meant to prevent either intentional or accidental war […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia Winning the Ukraine Scandal?” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Stephen Sestanovich

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

“U.S. military and economic support for Ukraine has so far weathered the widening impeachment inquiry into … Trump’s contacts with Kyiv. This backing could strengthen Ukraine in the next round of diplomacy with Russia. … Trump’s suspension of military aid to Kyiv was opposed both within his own administration and by Congress, and the move was reversed even before details […]

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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: “Kremlin Rejects Idea of U.S. Role in Ukraine Conflict Talks” – Reuters

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

“Russia … rejected the idea of involving the United States in talks to help resolve the conflict between the Kiev government and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east. Kremlin spokesman … Peskov said there was no support for the idea of Washington joining the Normandy Format talks … involv[ing] Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. … Peskov did say … that the […]

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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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RUSSIALINK: “Guns, Butter, and Russia’s Enduring Power” – Kennan Institute/ Maxim Trudolyubov

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – September 20, 2019) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. In response to sanctions and attempts to isolate Russia, the Kremlin has built up a budget with […]

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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 Will Likely Collapse from the Inside” – Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (Israel)/ Emil Avdaliani (Tbilisi State University, Ilia State University)

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

“Russia is historically prone to internal collapse … shown by numerous examples from both the imperial and Soviet periods. … usually tak[ing] place as Russia rests on the laurels of recent military victories while internal economic and social troubles grow. … the best way to deal with Russia is to keep intervention to a minimum and wait for its internal […]

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

Arctic Map

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

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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: “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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