Ukraine expects IMF to agree up to $11 billion cash disbursal

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – March 11, 2015) The International Monetary Fund is ready to disburse to Ukraine the first tranche of an agreed extended funding facility (EFF), confirming on its website that the sole subject of discussion at an IMF board meeting on March 11 will be the loan. At the same time, Ukrainian President […]

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The New Face of Appeasement

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 10, 2015) It is time to give Nevil Chamberlain a rest as the sole poster child for appeasement. Yes, he appeased Hitler in a hopeless quest to avoid war. He even was honest enough to say that was what he was doing. But when Hitler violated Munich and seized all of Czechoslovakia, […]

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Has the Russian equity market turned the corner?

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 6, 2015) So far in 2015 Russia has been one of the best performing equity markets, up 15% year-to-date, following three straight weeks of inflows following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement signed in February. So far in 2015 Russia has been one of the best performing equity markets, […]

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Ukraine’s Economy Is Worse Than It Looks

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 6, 2015) [Chart here bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-06/ukraine-s-economy-is-worse-than-it-looks] The world’s worst-performing currency this year, the Ukrainian hryvnia, has bounced back 47 percent since last week’s precipitous plunge. It’s tempting to conclude Ukraine has pulled back from the brink of financial disaster. In reality, the Ukrainian central bank and government are just sweeping their problems under […]

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Fallen heroes replaced by unlikely new ones in turbulent post-revolution Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – March 6, 2015) One year after the Ukrainian revolution, a Soviet-era prosecutor is becoming a hero of the post-revolutionary camp, while Maidan heroes fall by the wayside. As post-Yanukovych Ukraine enters its second year, the impressive unity initially shown by its supporters is fragmenting amid a new sobriety, as former heroes […]

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Interfax: Comintern’s archive goes online

File Photo of Joseph Stalin and Sergei Kirov as Part of Group of Five, Next to Bust of Lenin, with Faces of Other Attendees Partially Blurred

MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) – The electronic archive of the Communist International (Comintern), with a database containing 1.5 million pages, has become available for free use on the Internet, says Andrei Artizov, the head of the Federal Archive Agency. “In accordance with the agency’s decision, the new electronic archive resource was converted on a new electronic platform and is now […]

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Antony Penaud: Are we like the frog? The responsibility of Western media

Satellite Dishes

Subject: Are we like the frog? The responsibility of Western media Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2015 11:32:16 +0000 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud received his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His essays on the Ukrainian crisis can be found on https://www.scribd.com/AntonyKharms. Are we like the frog? The responsibility of Western […]

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Interfax: Russian defence officials deny US claims of Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – March 5, 2015) Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has criticized statements by American officials that thousands of Russian military personnel are operating in Ukraine. “Then what about the statement of the chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Gen [Viktor] Muzhenko, that there are no armed forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine?” Antonov said at […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Nemtsov killing exposes cracks in Kremlin unity

Boris Nemtsov file photo

The killing of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov within sight of the Kremlin has exposed rarely seen tensions between different camps inside President Vladimir Putin’s system of rule. No outsiders can know with any certainty what is happening behind the red-brick walls of the Kremlin, but some of Nemtsov’s associates say his shooting is being used by one faction to […]

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NEWSLINK The Economist: Russia and Chechnya. The Caucasian connection. A pact between Vladimir Putin and his Chechen ally suddenly looks fragile

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

THE people who killed Boris Nemtsov, a liberal politician, on February 27th, did not expect to be arrested. That was clear from their impudence. Having shot Mr Nemtsov in the back, in the heart of Moscow, they did not cross the river to leave the city centre. Instead, they circled the Kremlin, passed the Duma, Russia’s parliament, and turned into […]

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NEWSLINK International New York Times: Ending Ukraine’s Other War

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Twenty-five years after the Cold War’s end, the struggle for Ukraine’s survival as an independent nation has become a test of the character of our time. Since the protests last year on the Maidan, Kiev’s main square, the country has faced two crippling wars: a hot one over its eastern provinces, and another one over efforts to prevent its political […]

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DPR lists 2,000 captives for POW swap deal

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

DONETSK. March 10 (Interfax) – The Donbas militia has presented three lists of approximately 2,000 captives planned to be exchanged with Ukraine. “The first list is comprised of the names of about 220 soldiers, the second of another 800, and the third list contains the names of civilians, 900 people, ombudsman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morozova […]

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Kiev considering Donbass republics’ proposals

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

(Interfax – March 9, 2015) Ukraine is considering the political proposals made by the unrecognized Donbass republics, according to the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic envoy Vladislav Deinego. “Progress is visible. We have had our position heard and received information that our proposals are being considered,” Deinego said at a press conference on Monday, broadcast by the Rossiya 24 television station. […]

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Russian ruble seen appreciating by third this year

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 9, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/russian-ruble-seen-appreciating-third-year] After crashing in December, Russia’s ruble has made a remarkable comeback since February by rising about 15% against the dollar, making it the best performing currency amongst the 14 in Emerging Europe so far this year, according to Bloomberg. And the appreciation of the ruble […]

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Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#50 :: Thursday 12 March 2015

St. Basil's Domes

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#50 :: Thursday 12 March 2015 A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Wall Street Journal: 5 Things About the […]

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FSB-Kadyrov Power Struggle Eclipsing Nemtsov Murder Probe, Media Says

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 11, 2015) Russian media has reported that the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov is suffering under a power struggle between President Vladimir Putin’s protege Ramzan Kadyrov and the FSB. The claim that Nemtsov was shot dead by a devout Muslim who reportedly felt insulted by the politician’s support for […]

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Interfax: Ukrainian army claims to have only heavy infantry arms left on frontline

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

KYIV. March 10 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian army is threatening to bring back all artillery guns withdrawn earlier if the militia mounts an offense on its positions. “Our frontline units still have heavy infantry weapons which can stop an offensive of heavy armaments so that they are not endangered. If the militia moves forward, all the artillery guns will be […]

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Decoding the Political Game Behind the Nemtsov Murder Arrests

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 10, 2015) As the man suspected of having gunned down opposition leader Boris Nemtsov steps from the Kremlin allegedly confessed on Sunday, citing devotion to Islam as his motive, pundits agreed that the truth is likely much more complex than it seems. Some reasoned that it would have been impossible for […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#49 table of contents with links :: Wednesday 11 March 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#49 :: Wednesday 11 March 2015 A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Novaya Gazeta: Analysts dissect Ukraine’s data on Russian military fighting in Donbass – paper. 2. BBC: Mark Urban, How many Russians are […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#48 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 10 March 2015

St. Basil's Domes

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#48 :: Tuesday 10 March 2015 A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. www.thedailybeast.com: Catherine Fitzpatrick, Putin’s Usual Suspects: The […]

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NEWSLINK: One Year Later, Obama Administration Still ‘Reviewing’ Lethal Aid to Ukraine.

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

For roughly a year, Obama officials have been weighing lethal aid to Ukraine. Some 6,000 Ukrainians have been killed since, but they’re no closer to a decision. …

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NEWSLINK: Obama Said to Resist Growing Pressure From All Sides to Arm Ukraine

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

As American intelligence agencies have detected new Russian tanks and artillery crossing the border into Ukraine in recent days, President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country. But he remains unconvinced that they would help. …

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NEWSLINK: Russia may ease Ukraine’s gas terms, but Kiev must settle its bills

Gas Flame file photo

Russia may ease the terms of its gas supplies to Ukraine, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Reuters, but he said that sooner or later Kiev would have to pay for the gas Moscow is supplying to rebel-held areas of east Ukraine. …

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TRANSCRIPT: A Military Assessment of the Russian War in Ukraine

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

A Military Assessment of the Russian War in Ukraine Stephen Blank Senior Fellow American Foreign Policy Council February 2015 Testimony Presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, March 4, 2015 Ukraine needs military help from abroad in terms of weapons, training, and finances to help sustain its government and economy in the face […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#46 table of contents with links :: Sunday 8 March 2015

St. Basil's Domes

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#46 :: Sunday 8 March 2015 A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. Russia Direct: Legvold and Trenin: How to fix […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Russian aggression against Ukraine and the West’s policy response. Steven Pifer Testimony to Senate Foreign Relations Committee

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Statement for the Record Russian Aggression against Ukraine and the West’s Policy Response Steven Pifer Senior Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe The Brookings Institution March 4, 2015 [Also appeared at foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/030415_Pifer_Testimony.pdf] Russian Aggression against Ukraine and the West’s Policy Response Introduction Mr. Chairman, Senator Shaheen, distinguished […]

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Interfax: Kharkiv mayor doesn’t expect fair trial on abduction, torture, threat of murder charges

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

KHARKIV, Ukraine. March 5 (Interfax) – Kharkiv’s mayor, who is charged with abduction confinement, torture and threats of murder, said on Thursday that he did not expect a fair trial but that he would fight to prove his innocence. “I don’t expect justice from my accusers, I don’t believe I will have a fair trial, but I stand ready to […]

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Where will Putin Strike Next?

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 5, 2015) The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, to suggest that old rules and old expectations no longer apply and thereby increase uncertainty and fear. That explains why someone like Kseniya Sochak has suggested that she is next on Putin’s list now that the Kremlin has killed Boris Nemtsov and […]

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Obama Administration Increasingly Divided Over Arms to Ukraine

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Patrick Donahue, David J Lynch – March 5, 2015) As the U.S. State Department’s No. 2 official warned against a military response to the Ukraine crisis, President Barack Obama is facing growing pressure from other top advisers to start arming Ukrainian government forces battling Russian-backed insurgents. “Anything we did as countries in terms of military support […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#45 table of contents with links :: Friday 6 March 2015

St. Basil's Domes

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#45 :: Friday 6 March 2015 A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. www.rt.com: Russia ranks highest for female top […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Victoria Nuland Testimony on Ukraine Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

US Department of State Testimony on Ukraine Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Testimony Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Statement Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Washington, DC March 4, 2015 As prepared Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel and members of this committee – thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today on […]

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Putin Sounds the Alarm Over Budding ‘Color Revolutions’ in Russia

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 5, 2015) President Vladimir Putin urged Interior Ministry officials on Wednesday to focus on smothering budding color revolutions, thus bolstering the current political climate by reinforcing a widespread fear of domestic enemies, analysts told The Moscow Times. “We see attempts to use so-called ‘color revolution technology,’ ranging from organizing unlawful public […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#44 table of contents with links :: Thursday 5 March 2015

St. Basil's Domes

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2015-#44 :: Thursday 5 March 2015 A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  1. The Guardian (UK): Seumas Milne, The demonisation […]

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Interfax: Over half of Russians ready to vote for Putin – poll

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

(Interfax – March 5, 2015) The electoral rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin remains high, and 55 per cent of Russians would vote for him in a presidential election, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 5 March, quoting the Russian independent polling organization Levada Centre. According to the poll conducted on 20-23 February, among those who had decided their position […]

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Interfax: No “tightening of screws” after Nemtsov murder – Russian upper house speaker

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

(Interfax – March 4, 2015) The murder of prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was an attempt to destabilize and discredit Russia, but it will not lead to a clampdown on the opposition, Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has said, as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 4 March. “I am shocked by this murder… (ellipsis as published) […]

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Russians Less Likely to Protest as Their Situation Deteriorates, Urnov Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 4, 2015) It is an axiom in most countries that people will protest when their living conditions decline and that assumption underlies current Western policy toward Moscow, but Mark Urnov, one of Russia’s leading political analysts, argues that the situation in Russia is different and that Russians are less rather than […]

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Russia’s Vaguest Laws and Their Unexpected Consequences

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 4, 2015) Critics complain that the vague language and broad terminology used to draft some of Russia’s more controversial laws make them fodder for prosecutorial abuse. Prosecutors could take advantage of the loose definitions featured in the laws banning extremism, gay propaganda, blasphemy and offending the sentiments of religious believers to […]

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Screenwriter Alyona Barsukevich: ‘If I’m fired I’ll be in serious trouble’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 4, 2015) RBTH continues its Coping with the Crisis series, a collection of stories about how people of different social groups are surviving the economic crisis and how their lives have changed. This time we speak to a young specialist, screenwriter Alyona Barsukevich, who admits that it is […]

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Foreign Russia Investors Warn Over Nemtsov Killing

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – March 3, 2015) Businessmen and investors said Monday that the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov by the walls of the Kremlin last week will further worsen Russia’s battered investment climate and create more uncertainty in a market suffering from Western sanctions and an economic recession. “We are already in a period […]

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Interfax: Kostin calls Ukraine a bankrupt nation

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

MOSCOW. March 4 (Interfax) – Ukraine is already in a default, and the country’s financial sector cannot exist without foreign financing, VTB (MOEX: VTBR) CEO Andrei Kostin told reporters on Wednesday. “Ukraine’s financial and banking sector is in an extremely difficult state. Ukraine is actually already a bankrupt nation and in a default, and without foreign aid and external [financing] […]

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WHITE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE: Notice – Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Ukraine

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release March 03, 2015 Notice — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Ukraine On March 6, 2014, by Executive Order 13660, I declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national […]

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Sherlock Holmes, Pavel Kogan and The Theory of Everything – What to Do in Moscow on Wednesday

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 4, 2015) Sherlock Holmes: Contemporary dance detective show set to Irish folk music, compositions by Handel and Schubert. Choreography by Yelena Bogdanovich. Natalya Sats Children’s Musical Theater. 5 Prospekt Vernadskogo. Metro Universitet. 495-930-5177. At 5 p.m. Golden Mask: Aida: Verdi’s opera about the forbidden love between an Ethiopian slave girl and an Egyptian army […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New law will allow NGOs to lose ‘foreign agent’ tag – on certain conditions

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 3, 2015) Non-governmental organizations that were forced to register as “foreign agents” under controversial legislation will soon be able to lift that status – but only if they meet certain conditions that some NGOs say are unrealistic. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has taken action to free NGOs from […]

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Interfax: Russians think Donbass may follow in Transdniestria, Abkhazia footsteps – poll

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

(Interfax – March 4, 2015) The conflict in southeastern Ukraine may lead to the existence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics as independent states, such as Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, 38 percent of 1,600 Russians polled in 134 populated localities in 46 regions on February 20-23, reported sociologists. The percentage has grown since September of last year […]

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Moscow Times: Obama Extends Sanctions Against Russia, Citing Threat to ‘National Security’

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 4, 2015) U.S. President Barack Obama has issued an order to extend by one year a series of sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis, the White House said Tuesday. In a statement published on the White House website, Obama said he was extending U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia last March […]

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War in Ukraine is a struggle for new rules in the global game

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The world should not hold its breath for a simple resolution to the confrontation that has arisen between Russia and the West over Ukraine – beyond the struggle for influence over Ukraine’s destiny lies a deeper ideological conflict. Moscow has issued a challenge to the U.S.-led unipolar model that has dominated global geopolitics for the last 25 years, and there […]

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