RUSSIALINK: “Central Bank sees no risks in disconnecting Russia from international payment systems; it would be very unfavorable for them – CBR first deputy governor” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) does not see any risks in disconnecting Russia from the international payment systems, as this would be unfavorable for them, CBR first deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova said during a briefing on Wednesday. “If we are talking about the current situation, then I believe that it is rather calm and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Recalls Its Ambassador to the U.S. for Consultations” – Wall Street Journal

Cropped File Photo of Anatoly Antonov with U.S. Flag, adapted from image at state.gov

“Moscow’s move follows a critical U.S. intelligence report about Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.” “… [Russian Ambassador to the United States] Anatoly Antonov[‘s] … summon[ing] to Moscow came … after a U.S. intelligence report … accus[ing] … Putin of … a wide-ranging influence operation to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election …. Antonov was … previously […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Bars Ukrainian Banking Tycoon Over Corruption Allegations” – Wall Street Journal/ Ian Talley, Alan Cullison, Georgi Kantchev

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

“The action prevents Ihor Kolomoisky and family from entering the U.S. but is also likely to complicate his financial and business dealings” “… [U.S.] sanctions on a Ukrainian banking tycoon and former public official … for alleged corruption[] mark[] a renewed effort … to help Kyiv address a problem that finance officials say is at the heart of the country’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Navalny and the Kremlin: Politics and Protest in Russia” – NYU Jordan Center, Columbia University Harriman Institute

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

“On February 1st, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute co-hosted a panel on Alexei Navalny as part of the New York–Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Yana Gorokhovskaia, Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia; Pjotr Sauer, Journalist at the Moscow Times; Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Reader in Russian Politics at King’s College London; and Aleksandra Urman, Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Communication and […]

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U.S. Sanctions Against Russia May Be Recalibrated, But Overhaul Unlikely

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium in Front of U.S. and State Department Flags, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Ingrid Burke – Feb. 19, 2021) Ingrid Burke is a fellow at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. As President Joe Biden settles into the Oval Office, he has filled the upper echelons of his new administration with officials who have vocally supported sanctions against Russia. While it is difficult to predict specific […]

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Any Increase in Western Sanctions on Russia will Only Make It Easier for Kremlin to Repress Its People, Inozemtsev Says

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Feb. 13, 2021) One of the paradoxes of relations between Russia and the West is that when Russian actions at home or abroad prompt Western governments to react by seeking to impose penalties on Moscow, those penalties only make it easier for the Kremlin to repress its population at home, Vladislav Inozemtsev […]

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U.S. Lawmakers Call For New Sanctions If Russia Moves Forward With Fines On RFE/RL

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

… Republican and Democratic lawmakers called for new sanctions against Moscow if the Kremlin moves to enforce stringent restrictions and punishing fines that threaten RFE/RL’s news operations in Russia […]

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Is Crimea Now Costing Russia More Than It Is Worth?

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

… Not only did that aggressive breach of international law trigger Western sanctions … the authorities in Moscow also never gave the public an honest estimate of just how much money would need to be spent, nor for how long […]

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Western Sanctions Have Had ‘Outsized Impact’ On Russian Companies, Economist Says

File Photo of G7 Leaders at Summit, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

… Russian corporations have lost almost $100 billion since sanctions were imposed … following the annexation of Crimea … equivalent to about 4.2 percent of the country’s economy [then] […]

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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: “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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RUSSIALINK: “The West Is Outraged By Navalny’s Novichok Poisoning. That’s No Guarantee of Tough Sanctions.” – Moscow Times

File Photo of G7 Leaders at Summit, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

Looming U.S. elections and disparate EU interests could translate into a symbolic response. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Sept. 4, 2020) Lawmakers across Europe and the U.S. are scrambling to respond to the revelation that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok – a lethal Soviet-era military nerve agent – with the possibility of fresh sanctions […]

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Exposing Putin’s Hidden Riches Won’t Stop Russia’s Election Meddling

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Lincoln Pigman – Aug. 19, 2020) Lincoln Pigman is a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Center and an alumnus of King’s College London’s Department of War Studies and Oxford University’s School of Global and Area Studies. Four years have passed since the alarm was first raised about Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, from its […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. Is Close to Killing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline; But it’s a race between slow construction and slower sanctions” – Foreign Policy/ Amy Mackinnon

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is close to the finish line – but might be closer to finished as a viable project, after one of the companies involved in laying the pipe on the Baltic seafloor said … it would withdraw …. For years, the United States has tried to kill off Russia’s latest effort to strengthen its […]

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Pompeo Says U.S. Will ‘Do Everything’ To Stop Nord Stream 2 Project

Gas Flame file photo

… The United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would run under the Baltic Sea and double Russia’s direct natural gas exports to Germany while bypassing Ukraine […]

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YouTube Blocks Accounts Of Pro-Kremlin Analyst, Orthodox TV Channel In Russia

Youtube(TM) Logo, adapted from image at oakridge.doe.gov

YouTube has blocked accounts of the Tsargrad TV channel in Russia and its former chief editor, pro-Kremlin analyst Aleksandr Dugin. … Google, which owns YouTube, said … that the accounts were blocked due to the violation of laws on sanctions and trade regulations […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Folly; Pompeo may be in an uproar over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but it is hardly the geopolitical masterstroke he imagines.” – Foreign Policy/ Chris Miller

Gas Flame file photo

“As the United States [adds] … pressure … against Nord Stream 2, friction with Germany, which would receive much of the pipeline’s gas, will intensify. …. Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe see the pipeline as a glaring example of German hypocrisy … Berlin lectures them about carbon neutrality and human rights while guzzling fossil fuels from one of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Denmark Gives Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline a Path to Completion” – Wall Street Journal/ Brett Forrest

Gas Flame file photo

“U.S. officials fear the pipeline will give Moscow greater political leverage across Europe.” “Denmark granted unexpectedly swift approval for resuming construction of the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Danish waters, potentially clearing one of … [its] last hurdles …. The pipeline, once finished and certified, will deliver Russian natural gas to Germany …. U.S. lawmakers and officials fear … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the World Worries About Russia’s Natural Gas Pipeline” – Bloomberg/ Anna Shiryaevskaya, Dina Khrennikova

Gas Flame file photo

“A … natural gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea from Russia … to the German coast is shaking up geopolitics. Nord Stream 2 … worries … bypassed countries in Eastern Europe … fear[ing the loss of] transit fees … [while also] adding to friction with the U.S., which argues the link would give the Kremlin new leverage over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senators to Announce Sanctions Bill on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“U.S. senators [reportedly] will announce a bill this week expanding sanctions on … [the] Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project … [that] Washington says will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act[, spearheaded by Republican Senator … Ted Cruz[ and Democratic Senator] Jeanne Shaheen … follows legislation signed by … Trump last year …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “EBRD drops a COVID-19 dambuster on Russian sanctions; The EBRD has started investing in Russia again after several years off” – bne Intellinews/ Jason Corcoran

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“A modest investment by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a Russian travel company may prove to be the sanctions dambuster that the Kremlin has been longing for. The London-headquartered bank announced on April 7 it would provide finance to a Russian travel aggregator Travelata as part of its €1bn coronavirus (COVID-19) funding programme … designed to […]

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Putin Makes Plea For Sanctions Relief At G20 Summit

File Photo of Assorted U.S. Cash, adapted from image at tsa.gov

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 26, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/30511615.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed at a Group of 20 (G20) video conference that a freeze be placed on economic sanctions to allow countries to better combat the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 500,000 worldwide […]

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U.S. Senate Hearing Exposes Partisan Differences Over New Russia Sanctions

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/u-s-senate-hearing-exposes-partisan-differences-over-new-russia-sanctions/30306449.html) A hearing in the Senate to discuss U.S. foreign policy towards Russia exposed partisan disagreements over whether to impose new sanctions on a rival power accused of “malign” actions, including interference in foreign elections. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Ruble Least Volatile Since 2015; Macroeconomic stability and a lack of new U.S. sanctions have created a period of calm for the ruble” – Moscow Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 19, 2019) Ruble volatility has fallen to its lowest level in five years, amid a pause in sanctions pressure from the U.S. and more stable macroeconomic policies from the Russian government. The ruble’s implied volatility on the financial markets – a measure of how extreme traders expect swings in the value of the currency […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “America Needs Dialogue With Moscow; Sanctions have their place, but some of them are undermining trust without serving their purpose” – Wall Street Journal/ Jon Huntsman

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

“… The U.S., acting alone, won’t succeed in changing … [the behavior] of the Russian government. Only the Russian people are capable of this. … Putin runs the country with unrivaled strength[] [b]ut his time will pass. We need to do … more thinking about the institutions and generations that will outlast him. … [W]e need to cultivate constructive relationships […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia; Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options” – RAND/ James Dobbins, Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, Bryan Frederick, Edward Geist, Paul DeLuca, Forrest E. Morgan, Howard J. Shatz, Brent Williams

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

“This brief summarizes a report that comprehensively examines nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue across economic, political, and military areas to stress – overextend and unbalance – Russia’s economy and armed forces and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. Some of the options … are clearly more promising … any would need […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The U.S. Imposed New Sanctions Today on Russia. What Are They?” – Moscow Times

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 26, 2019) A new round of U.S. sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of a former spy in Britain last year has gone into effect on Monday. Washington imposed an initial batch of sanctions last year on Russia after determining that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Pipeline: Strategic Hit Or Miss?” – Forbes/ Anna Mikulska

Gas Flame file photo

“… the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bill that would impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline … currently under construction … [that] could bring up to 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas directly to Germany. … [T]he House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee approved a companion bill. The rationale for the sanctions (beyond […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Iconoclastic Economics Guru to Lose Kremlin Post [re: Sergei Glazyev]” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya and Stepan Kravchenko

Kremlin and River

“A[ Kremlin] economist [and top Putin advisor] known for challenging Russia’s tight-money policies … is leaving the Kremlin after seven years. Sergei Glazyev will switch to the Eurasian Economic Commission that oversees relations between … Eurasian Economic Union [member states] … Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan … Glazyev alarmed investors … with calls for massive state spending, abandoning the […]

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Impact of Sanctions on Russia’s GDP Less Severe Than Low Oil Prices – IMF

Oil Well file photo

The fall in oil prices cost the country on average $48.75 billion in lost economic growth per year. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 6, 2019) Sanctions have had a less severe impact on Russia’s GDP growth than low oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest report on the country. Between 2014 and 2018, sanctions slowed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Adds to Sanctions on Russia Over Skripals” – New York Times/ Michael Crowley, Julian E. Barnes

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump … signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Russia, responding to growing pressure from Congress to further punish Moscow after a nerve agent attack …. the second round of sanctions by the administration after a botched attempt in March 2018 to fatally poison a former Russian military intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, in …  Salisbury [in the UK]. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Review: The Struggle of Russia’s crony capitalists” [re: Anders Aslund new book]” – Reuters/ Dasha Afanasieva

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

“… Anders Aslund … in ‘Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy‘ … [casts Putin] as a patriarchal overlord … handsomely reward[ing] those loyal …. creat[ing] a new elite of friends, former co-workers and relatives. What’s less clear is what, if anything [can be done about it]. … [A]naly[zing] the last 15 or so years of Putin’s […]

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Russia’s FDI Outlook Grim, with No Chinese Rescue in Sight

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nicholas Trickett – July 11, 2019) Nicholas Trickett is editor in chief of BMB Russia and an associate scholar with the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He specializes in the domestic and international political economy of the Russian energy and infrastructure sectors and Russian foreign policy, and is currently finishing an MSc in international political economy […]

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Putin: Oil Price Volatility Is Hurting Russia’s Economy

Oil Wells File Photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – July 4, 2019) Economic realities including the fluctuating international oil prices are among factors interfering with the Russian government’s economic program, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Italian Corriere della Serra ahead of a state visit to Rome. Asked about why, despite his overwhelming victory in the latest elections and the virtual non-existence […]

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Russia’s National Projects: Economic Reboot or Mucky Bog?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Ben Aris – May 30, 2019) Ben Aris is editor in chief of bne Intellinews. He has been covering Russia as a journalist since 1993. While Moscow has been aggressively advancing its interests on the international stage, Russia’s stagnating economy means the country risks gradually falling behind the rest of the world and possibly facing […]

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Will The U.S. Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – May 23, 2019) There is a growing push in the U.S. Congress to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline under construction would carry Russian natural gas to Germany, and has been a lightning rod of controversy both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Many governments and officials from Eastern Europe fear […]

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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: “Foreign Direct Investment Into Russia Is Falling; Russia is at the bottom of the Institute of International Finance’s list of emerging markets.” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 22, 2019) Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Russia accounted for only 0.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2015-2018, putting it at the bottom of the list of emerging markets, the RBC news website reported, citing the Institute of International Finance (IIF). The IIF figures exclude reinvested earnings to focus on “real” GDP. […]

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Have Sanctions on Russia Changed Putin’s Calculus?

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

Since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, Western powers have hit Moscow with economic sanctions, hoping to put a stop to President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. Have they worked? (Council on Foreign Relations – Andrew Chatzky – May 2, 2019 – cfr.org/article/have-sanctions-russia-changed-putins-calculus – Andrew Chatzky covers economics, energy, and geopolitics, and helps edit the Daily News Brief.) The United States and the […]

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Trump and Russia: ‘Quid Pro Quo’ or Quid Pro Talk?

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – RM Staff – April 18, 2019 – russiamatters.org/blog/trump-and-russia-quid-pro-quo-or-quid-pro-talk) A few weeks before today’s release of the voluminous Mueller report, a former New York Times executive editor, Max Frankel, argued in an op-ed that the Trump campaign and “Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy” had reached an “obvious bargain” in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election: The “overarching […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sanctions against Russian state banks likely to be more of a deterrent measure- Kudrin” – Interfax

Alexei Kudrin file photo

WASHINGTON. April 14 (Interfax) – If the currently discussed U.S. legislation on new anti-Russian sanctions is enacted, its implementation is going to be either delayed or unlikely to affect those banks whose problems could actually change the general economic situation in Russia, Accounts Chamber head Alexei Kudrin said. “I suppose that the framework provisions are going to be adopted, but […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “All About the U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Putin’s Russia” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer, Laurence Arnold, Olga Tanas, Tony Halpin

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“… Since 2014, the U.S. has imposed travel bans, asset freezes and finance and trade restrictions against hundreds of Russian individuals and companies … a multinational effort …. 1. What U.S. sanctions are in place against Russia? More than 700 Russian people and companies have been targeted …. 2. Why were the sanctions imposed? … starting in 2014 after Russia […]

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Gallup Poll Shows One In Five Russians Would Migrate West If Possible

Satellite Image of Earth in Style of Mercator Map, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 4, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-migrate-west-gallup-poll-one-in-five/29861985.html) One in five Russians say they would leave their country if they could, according to a new poll by Gallup. The Washington-based pollster said on April 4 that since 2014, the percentage of working-age Russians who say they […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians in Heartland Sour on Vladimir Putin Over Money Woes; Stagnant wages, rising costs fuel grumbling among working-class residents who once lauded president” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

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

“… Working-class Russians … have increasingly shouldered the burden of an economy beset by Western sanctions and a government more committed to military spending than overhauling the civilian economy. … after years of paying for Moscow’s military adventures abroad, the economic malaise in Nizhniy Tagil, once considered a bastion of Kremlin loyalty, highlights growing discontent and an erosion of support […]

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Putin Tells Prosecutors To Protect Rights Of Business Owners

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 19, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-tells-prosecutors-to-protect-rights-of-business-owners/29830693.html) President Vladimir Putin has urged Russian prosecutors to protect the rights of businesspeople “with a view to improving the business climate.” Speaking to a gathering of prosecutors in Moscow on March 19, Putin said that a “more effective […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia backs global use of its alternative SWIFT system” – Reuters

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

“Russian lawmakers on Tuesday backed the international use of a Russian alternative system for the global financial messaging network SWIFT designed by Moscow to eliminate the risk of Western sanctions. Russia has held talks with China, India, Iran and Turkey about joint use of Russia’s financial messaging system …. Russia started developing an alternative to the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging […]

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