JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia struggles to distribute its vaccine to the regions; Putin calls for ‘mass’ inoculation as data suggest government is delivering fewer jabs than promised” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

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

“… Russia’s government says 1.5m vaccines have been distributed … [with] hundreds of thousands more … ready … [but] doctors and officials … [indicate] a far bleaker reality of limited supplies and delayed shipments. … Moscow’s clinics have been busy vaccinating … [but] regions outside of the capital have struggled to secure adequate supplies, calling into question … [governmental] ability […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pivotal moment approaching in coronavirus crisis, situation to start improving – PM Mishustin” – Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is expecting the start of recovery from the socioeconomic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic […]

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Pandemic Pushing West to Cooperation and Reform But Russia to Reaction, Isolation, and Decay, Shevtsova Says

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

Because of the pandemic, 2020 was “the year of the Apocalypse” for both Russia and the West, but the two responded in opposite ways[…]

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RUSSIALINK: “There are still chances of reaching agreement before New START expires – Russian ambassador to U.S.” – Interfax

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Chances still remain for Russia and the United States to reach an understanding before the New START expires in early February, Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov said […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Armenia, Azerbaijan Agree to Develop War-Ravaged Nagorno-Karabakh” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

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

“A Russian-brokered peace deal appears to be holding but challenges over POWs and displaced people have yet to be resolved.” “… Deep-seated hostilities [reportedly] will make it tough for Armenians and Azeris to live side by side, at least in the short term …. [T]he region[] [has a] history of ethnic animosity between … largely Christian Armenians and mostly Muslim, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Political appointees, career analysts clashed over assessments of Russian, Chinese interference in 2020 election” – Washington Post/ Ellen Nakashima

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

“… [P]olitical appointees clashed with career intelligence analysts over the extent to which Russia and China interfered or sought to interfere in the 2020 election, … each side accusing the other of politicization, according to a report by … Barry A. Zulauf, … [ODNI] ‘analytic ombudsman’ …, describ[ing] an intelligence community afflicted by a ‘widespread perception in the workforce about […]

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Most Russians See Coronavirus as Top Event of 2020, Worry 2021 Will Be Tense

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – RM Staff – Jan. 6, 2021) The Levada Center has just released the results of its latest annual poll on the most significant events of the past year, and, predictably, the global coronavirus outbreak tops the list. As many as 39 percent of Russians believe the pandemic was the most significant event of 2020, while […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putting Putin in his place: U.S. Navy eyes ‘freedom of navigation’ patrols off Russia’s Arctic coast” – Washington Times/ Ben Wolfgang

“The Navy is eyeing a tougher posture in the Arctic to push back against Moscow … [T]op Pentagon officials said … the U.S. could launch ‘freedom of navigation’ operations near Russia’s Arctic coastline. Such operations would resemble Navy exercises in the South China Sea, an area in which American ships regularly contest growing Chinese territorial claims. Officials believe similar movements […]

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RUSSIALINK: “2020: The People Russia Lost” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Dec. 31, 2020) In 2020 the number of deaths in Russia of prominent and beloved public figures was devastatingly high, many from the coronavirus, but some from other causes as well. The performing arts were particularly hard hit by Covid-19, since by the nature of the professions, people at work cannot be masked or socially […]

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Baku’s Success in Using Turkish Drones Raises Question: Could Ukraine Use Them Against Russia in Crimea?

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

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 17, Issue 179 – Paul Goble – Dec. 16, 2020) The Azerbaijani military’s use of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), purchased from Turkey, played such a prominent role in Baku’s victory over Armenian forces during the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020) that defense analysts around the world are […]

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Putin: Russia Reduces Its Dependence On Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – Dec. 17, 2020) Russia is successfully weaning itself off oil revenues, President Vladimir Putin said today during an annual end-of-the-year news conference, as quoted by RT. “This means that, while we’re not completely there, we are nonetheless starting to get off the so-called oil and gas needle,” Putin said, adding, “If someone still wants to […]

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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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Those Russians Angry at Putin Not Necessarily Pro-Western and His Successor May Not Be Either, Kirillova Warns

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

Those … angry at … Putin and his failures at home and abroad are not necessarily pro-Western, Kseniya Kirillova says […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “UN urges Russia to immediately withdraw forces from Crimea” – AP

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

“The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution … urging Russia to immediately withdraw all its military forces from Crimea ‘and end its temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine without delay.’ The vote in the 193-member world body was 63-17 with 62 abstentions …. Russia sent troops into Crimea and annexed the peninsula in 2014. It has supported separatist rebels […]

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EVENT VIDEO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “Politics, Tragedy, Sovereignty: A Panel Discussion on the Meaning of Today’s Russia” – Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy/ Anatol Lieven, Marlene Laruelle, James Carden, Boris Mezhuev, Paul Robinson, Richard Sakwa

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“The Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy recently hosted a panel discussion on U.S.–Russia relations and Russia’s place in the world. … The discussion was moderated by Anatol Lieven, the distinguished journalist and scholar. The panel was comprised of George Washington University’s Marlene Laurelle, the philosopher and editor Boris Mezhuev, the University of Kent’s Richard Sakwa, the University of Ottawa’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. officials suspect Russia in mystery ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Cuba, China” – CNBC/ Josh Lederman, Courtney Kube, Abigail Williams, Ken Dilanian

Artist's Rendition of Head and Brain, adapted from .gov image at lbl.gov

“Intelligence agencies investigating mysterious ‘attacks’ … [leading] to brain injuries in U.S. personnel in Cuba and China consider Russia … the main suspect, three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation [said] …. backed up by evidence from communications intercepts, known in the spy world as signals intelligence, amassed during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Mixed Censorship Model Is a Boon for Online Activism” – Moscow Times

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

New research shows the growth of mobile internet leads to falling trust in governments, with Navalny as the prime example. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Dec. 4, 2020) The rapid spread of mobile internet around the world over the last decade has directly contributed to falling levels of trust in government and a surge in populism, according […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin explains why AI cannot yet run country” – Interfax

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

While the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in public administration is bound to grow, a machine cannot yet be the leader of a state, … Putin […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Blame Climate Change for Historically Warm Fall in Russia’s Biggest Cities, Experts Say” – Moscow Times

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

… Russia’s two largest cities experienced the warmest autumn temperatures of their recorded histories in 2020 …. And it’s only the beginning, experts say […]

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EVENT: “Russia’s Meaning Post-Election: Panel Discussion, Wed., Dec. 2, 2020” – [Virtual/Zoom] – Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy

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

Subject: Russia’s Meaning Post-Election: Panel Discussion, Wed., Dec. 2, 2020 Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2020 From: Paul Grenier <psgrenier@gmail.com> Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 12 Noon – 1:15 PM (EST) Panelists: Marlene Laruelle, James Carden, Anatol Lieven, Boris Mezhuev, Paul Robinson, Richard Sakwa Topic: What does the election mean for US-Russia relations? Aside from how Russia might influence the U.S., for […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style Tracking System – Open Media” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Moscow plans to track its residents’ “loyalty” with detailed digital profiles […]

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AUDIO: Katrina vanden Heuvel: “Steve Cohen’s Anecdote Lecture — December 6, 1983/ via John/ JohnBatchelorShow.com podcast”

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Subject: Steve Cohen’s Anecdote Lecture — December 6, 1983/ via John/ JohnBatchelorShow.com podcast Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2020 From: Katrina vanden Heuvel <kat@thenation.com> Steve Cohen gave an annual anecdote lecture in his Soviet Politics class, first at Princeton starting in 1980, and running through his ten years at NYU — until about 2012 — Here is the 12/6/83 Lecture broken […]

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RUSSIALINK: “IMF projects below-target inflation in Russia, recommends policy easing in coming months” – Interfax

File Photo of IMF Acronym on Wall Below Row of Circular Lights, adapted from image at state.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

… acceleration of inflation in Russia in recent months was a temporary occurrence brought about mainly by a weakening ruble; consumer price growth will be below target from now on and the Central Bank should lower its key rate in the coming months, the … IMF[] said […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

“The Kolyma Highway in the Russian Far East once delivered tens of thousands of prisoners to the work camps of Stalin’s gulag. The ruins of that cruel era are still visible today.” “… [P]risoners, hacking … through insect-infested summer swamps and winter ice fields, brought the road … [which] then brought yet more prisoners … a torrent of slave labor […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty, Moves to Discard Observation Planes” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

File Photo of OC-135B Plane Painted For Open Skies Treaty Use, adapted from image at arnold.af.mil

“Without specialized aircraft and equipment, Biden administration would have difficult time re-entering post-Cold War pact.” “The Trump administration formally shut the door on the Open Skies treaty Sunday, exiting the agreement while moving to get rid of … U.S. Air Force planes … used to carry out the … accord[, had had dated to the closing of the Cold War […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Talk of an early retirement for Vladimir Putin is premature; Speculation rose after parliament passed a law granting immunity from prosecution to former presidents and their families” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

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

“The future prospects of any strongman leader often boil down to two choices: guaranteed safe passage to civilian life with legal protection, or life-long rule. … Putin, … [soon] mark[ing]  21 years in charge[,] … has engineered a situation [with] a shot of achieving either. … [T]his week … the country’s parliament rubber-stamped a law granting immunity from investigation or […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s authorities increase pressure on NGOs with plans to strengthen ‘foreign agent’ laws” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Russia’s Government Cabinet … submitted a bill to the State Duma … strengthening the Justice Ministry’s control over NGOs … [designated as] foreign agents[.] [The bill would] empower[] … authorities to dissolve these organizations or … hinder their work. … requir[ing them] to inform Russia’s Justice Ministry of all of … [planned] programs and events … [T]he Justice Ministry […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal, Russia’s Putin claims a strategic win. But risks are attached” – Washington Post / Robyn Dixon

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

“… Under the cease-fire, nearly 2,000 [Russian] peacekeepers have been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist enclave controlled by an ethnic Armenian government within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. … reinforc[ing] the Kremlin’s view that its sphere of influence includes Azerbaijan and Armenia …. [and providing] another counterweight to geopolitical rival[] Turkey, a close Azerbaijan ally and key customer for […]

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Obama Targets Putin In New Memoir, Says Russia ‘To Be Feared, Perhaps, But Not Emulated’

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

… Obama has targeted … Putin for criticism … suggesting … the Russian president has put … thirst for power over scruples and calling him the leader of a government that resembled a “criminal syndicate” […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moldova Vote Winner Promises ‘Balanced’ Ties With West, Russia” – AFP/ France 24

Moldova Map and Flag

“Moldova’s pro-European election winner Maia Sandu … vowed balanced ties with the West and Russia as Moscow-backed incumbent Igor Dodon conceded … and asked … supporters to refrain from violence. Sandu’s election is … as a major blow to the Kremlin[,] …. [that] wanted polarized Moldova to remain in its sphere of influence …[P]olitics in Moldova[,] … [located between Ukraine […]

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By Hook Or By Crook: For The Opposition In St. Petersburg, Winning An Election Is Only The Beginning Of The Battle

File Photo of Statue of Peter the Great on Horse Atop Rock in St. Petersburg, Russia, adapted from image at cia.gov

… St. Petersburg conducted controversial gubernatorial and local legislative elections. Observers … reported unjustified delays in the vote count, voter intimidation, suspicious recounts, and other alleged violations. … Nonetheless … [o]pposition and independent deputies nearly doubled their representation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Peace, for now; A peace deal ends a bloody war over Nagorno-Karabakh; Azerbaijan wins some land, while Turkey and Russia carve out spheres of influence” – The Economist

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

“Brokered by Russia and Turkey …. [t]he peace deal marks one of the biggest shake-ups in a turbulent region at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East since the collapse of the Soviet empire, which also began in Nagorno-Karabakh. … [A]fter 25 years of waiting for the return of its territory, Azerbaijan went back to war. … aided […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Caucasus ceasefire cements Turkey as a power in Russia’s backyard; Azerbaijan-Armenia truce underlines new regional balance between Moscow and Ankara” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy, Laura Pitel

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

“… a six-week-long conflict with Armenia over … Nagorno-Karabakh … resulted in major gains for Azerbaijan and its Turkish-backed military …. A truce … freezes the conflict … includ[ing] agreements that [Russian ally] Armenia … must hand over additional land …. While the truce was brokered by Moscow — which has deployed [nearly 2,000] peacekeepers — … Azerbaijan’s success with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Reshuffle: Political Analysis” – BMB Russia

Kremlin and River

“The Russian government underwent a mini-reshuffle … [with] new leaders for five of its 21 ministries. … [The reshuffle] test[ed] the new procedure for appointing cabinet officials. According to … constitutional changes, cabinet officials nominated by the PM are now … approved or rejected by the Duma before going to the president. … Mishustin is solidifying his position within the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pandemic to cease seriously affecting Russia’s economy at start of 2021, budget to be key issue – Belousov”- Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) – The coronavirus will very likely cease substantially affecting Russia’s economy by the end of 2020 or early 2021, while the main issue next year will be the budget as well as the necessity to replace budget expenditures with investments, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said on Wednesday during the “Strong Ideas for a New […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian PM Mishustin Tightens Grip on Domestic Policy in Mini Reshuffle; Putin’s divide-and-conquer approach is also on display.” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

The Russian government is pushing ahead with a long-rumored mini-reshuffle … in what analysts see as a mark of both newly installed prime minister Mikhail Mishustin’s growing influence and … Putin’s divide-and-conquer approach to keeping his underlings in check […]

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