NEWSWATCH: “Mikhail Lesin’s Strange Death in U.S. Follows a Fall From Russia’s Elite” – New York Times

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

It took more than four months for the city’s medical examiner to announce the cause of death … not a heart attack … but rather ‘blunt force injuries.’ But the autopsy left the manner of death undetermined. … fuel[ing] speculation … Lesin might have been murdered, presumably by a financial or political rival …. *** police … continue to treat […]

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Russian Karjakin to Compete in Chess World Championship Title Match

Chess Pieces File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 30, 2016) Grandmaster Sergei Karjakin will become the first Russian since 2008 to compete in a title match of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) championship, after he defeated Fabiano Caruana of the United States in Moscow on Monday, according to an announcement on the FIDE website. Karjakin, playing the white pieces, […]

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The U.S. Election’s Echoes of 1996 Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 7, 2016) The very strange U.S. presidential election bears some surprising similarities to the 1996 campaign in Russia — a momentous event that undermined a fragile democracy and led to the emergence of Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial regime. This precedent could be especially telling if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump end up their […]

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Russia Missed Its Chance to Be Like America

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 4, 2016) Many Russians feel the U.S. and their country are much alike. Both are vast, they share a sense of adventure, along with underlying lawlessness and violence, and in both, the infrastructure often is an afterthought. So what is keeping Russia from turning into another America — a democratic nation and […]

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Nancy Reagan played important role in improving U.S-USSR relations – Gorbachev

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

MOSCOW. March 7 (Interfax) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has expressed grief over the death of former U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan. “It was with deep sorrow that I learnt the sad news and I can rightfully say: well done, Nancy! She said to Ronald Reagan: when you quit the post of U.S. president, you need to go as […]

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Why Russia sympathizes with Trump: Super Tuesday in the Russian press

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Following big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the contests for the Republican and Democratic nominations for the U.S. presidency on Super Tuesday, Russian media offered their interpretations of the leading candidates’ credentials. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA SOROKINA, RBTH – March 3, 2016) Super Tuesday, the day on which 11 U.S. states hold their […]

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It’s official: Native Americans and Siberians are cousins

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

After more than a century of speculation, an international group of geneticists has conclusively proven that the Aztecs, Incas, and Iroquois are closely related to the peoples of Altai, the Siberian region that borders China and Mongolia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – ARAM TER-GHAZARYAN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – rbth.ru – February 23, 2016) Scientists have suspected for a long time […]

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Second Anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(US Department of State – February 20, 2016) US Department of State Press Statement Mark C. Toner Deputy Department Spokesperson Washington, DC February 20, 2016 Today, we join the people of Ukraine in honoring the memory of their Revolution of Dignity and those who gave their lives to build a more just, democratic, and European Ukraine. They braved sniper fire […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Countering Putin begins with knowing what his regime is saying” [Bring back FBIS] – The Hill/Stephen Blank, Glen Howard, Enders S. Wimbush, Paul Goble

Recent media accounts have argued that the U.S. government suffers from an absence of high-quality expertise on Russia. * * * One such solution that does not require legislation is directing the intelligence community to resume the daily electronic Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) now supervised by the Open Source Center. … a daily electronic feed of worldwide media, press, […]

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U.S. Beats Russia in ‘Most Powerful’ Ranking

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 22, 2016) Russia is second only to its former Cold War foe the United States in terms of its power to influence the global agenda but lags behind many other countries in most categories, a new ranking presented at the Davos World Economic Forum said. Moscow scored a 9.4 in the “Power” category, which […]

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U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Toward Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Heritage Foundation – heritage.org – James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis, Helle C. Dale, Michaela Dodge, David Inserra, Bruce Klingner, Daniel Kochis, Ryan Olson, James Phillips, Ana Quintana, Bryan Riley, Brian Slattery and William T. Wilson, Ph.D. – December 9, 2015) Introduction Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has […]

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RBTH: Syrian rebels ask U.S. for arms to defend against Russian strikes

Syria Map

Representatives of “moderate” rebel groups in Syria opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad have asked the U.S. to supply them with surface-to-air missiles to counter Russian air strikes, American media have reported. Russian observers say this is unlikely but caution that arms may be supplied by the key regional sponsors of Syria’s opposition, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. (Russia Beyond […]

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Putin Praises American Qualities in Interview with U.S. Television

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 25, 2015) In excerpts from an upcoming American television interview, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he admired American creativity and open-mindedness – a break from his usual anti-U.S. rhetoric ahead of a planned meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. CBS network’s “60 Minutes,” an American TV news program, posted an interview […]

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[Ashton] Carter Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Ukraine

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(US Department of Defense – defense.gov – Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News – WASHINGTON, September 24, 2015) The United States will continue to back the Ukrainian military’s right to defend itself when Russian-separatist forces attack its positions, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today. In a joint news conference with Ukrainian Defense Minister Col.-Gen. Stepan Poltorak following their meeting during Poltorak’s […]

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Russian Authorities Close Down American Center in Moscow

Artist's Rendition of U.S. Embassy, Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry in the Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 17, 2015) The Russian government has shut down the U.S. Embassy’s American Center in Moscow after 22 years in operation, Ambassador John Tefft said, warning the Kremlin is eroding ties that were preserved even during the Cold War. “The U.S. Embassy in Moscow deeply regrets the Russian government’s unilateral decision to […]

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Washington ups the ante with sanctions on Gazprom

Gas Facility file photo

RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TROIKA REPORT: Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev – August 20, 2015) 1. Engaging the West U.S. sanctions on Gazprom: Washington ups the ante The recent move by the U.S. administration to restrict […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: Russia used to have a powerful weapon in its energy sector. Not anymore.

Gas Flame file photo

The Washington Post assesses shifts in Russia’s position within the energy sector, and the impact upon Russian coercive pressure on the West. For years, Russia’s ability to choke off energy shipments any time tensions spiked with the West was a potent threat, one that could force much of Europe to shiver during the wintertime. But with energy prices swooning, the […]

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Russia continues to increase investments in U.S. Treasuries

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

(Interfax – August 18, 2015) Russia increased its investments in U.S. Treasury bonds in June by $1.4 billion, just as it did in May, according to data from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System, published on Aug. 18. At the end of June, the volume of Russian-owned U.S. Treasury bonds stood at $72 billion. Russia is currently 19th […]

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U.S.-Russian Paper Startup Sees Massive Success Despite Political Tensions

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 18, 2015) One of the largest office supply retailers in the United States has offered a group of young Russian and American entrepreneurs an exclusive distribution deal for a new sticky note developed by the team after raising almost $250,000 on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Founded in January by two Russian cousins […]

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NEWSLINK Columbia University: Save the Date: CATHARINE THEIMER NEPOMNYASHCHY’s Memorial Service (October 2)

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

Friday, October 2, 2015 2:00 – 4:00 pm James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st St) A memorial service will be held for Professor Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy on Friday, October 2, 2015 in the James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st St). The service will be followed by a reception at the Diana Center, […]

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Assessment of the state of Russian studies in the US on behalf of ASEEES

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

(August 14, 2015) Current tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and other issues have prompted discussions in the media and in policymaking circles about the state of expertise on Russia in the United States. Some observers argue that since the collapse of the Soviet Union the quantity and quality of Russia-related research and graduate training at US-based […]

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NEWSLINK Wilson Quarterly/Theodore Gerber, Jane Zavisca: WHAT 18 FOCUS GROUPS IN THE FORMER USSR TAUGHT US ABOUT AMERICA’S IMAGE PROBLEMS [excerpt]. After talking with dozens of people in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan, two contradictory, prevailing themes emerge about the United States.

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

THE UNITED STATES has a major public relations problem in former Soviet countries. Not only in Russia, but in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and even Ukraine, ordinary people see the U.S. as an arrogant, hegemonic superpower that meddles in the affairs of other countries in a cynical pursuit of its own interests – perceptions that dovetail with the Russian government’s official critiques […]

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Re: Restrictions on Foreign Orgs in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

Subject: Re restrictions on foreign orgs in the U.S. Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:09:46 -0400 From: Thomas M. Callahan <tom.callahan@yandex.com> There has long been an American statute in place regulating the work of organizations working “in the interests” of foreign powers on American soil. However, it is quite short and, anyway, is a single provision compared to Russia’s extensive […]

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RBTH: Success in the U.S.: How Three young Soviet-born entrepreneurs made it; Strong family ties and work ethics were key for these young businessmen

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Aleksandra Efimova, special to RBTH – July 13, 2015) I recently spoke with three young entrepreneurs, each born in the Soviet Union. I wanted to discover if these sharp and accomplished young businesspeople shared common threads that could be followed back to their Soviet origins. Leon Oks, founder of iCanvas, is 34 years […]

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Angelina Jolie Buys Rights to Film About Catherine the Great and Her Lover

Catherine the Great

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ilaria Parogni – July 7, 2015) Hollywood actress, film director and producer Angelina Jolie has purchased the film rights to Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book about the love affair between Catherine the Great of Russia and Prince Grigory Potemkin, the British author’s literary agency said Monday. Jolie’s production company, Jolie Pas, has bought the option to […]

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Is Saudi Arabia Leaving The U.S. Behind For Russia?

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 1, 2015) The news from the recent St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which took place from June 18 to 20, inspired a torrent of speculation on the future direction of energy prices. But the real buzz at the conference was the unexpected but much publicized visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, as an emissary […]

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From Burning Hearts To Civil Unions: The Unlikely Evolution Of Dmitry Kiselyov

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – June 30, 2015) Somewhere around the 98th minute of his weekly news roundup and commentary for Russia’s Rossiya television channel this week, Dmitry Kiselyov got around to saying something truly unexpected. In his coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages, the head of Rossia Segodnya, Russia’s massive state-controlled media conglomerate, came out in […]

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Russian reaction to same-sex marriage ruling in the USA

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – June 29, 2015) On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal on the whole territory of the country. The ruling generated a strong reaction [in] Russia, with some conservative politicians slamming it, while some liberals voiced support for the U.S. and the global […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Affairs/Charles King: The Decline of International Studies; Why Flying Blind Is Dangerous

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

The end of the United States’ premier federal program for Russian studies saved taxpayers only $3.3 million—the cost of two Tomahawk cruise missiles or about half a day’s sea time for an aircraft carrier strike group. The development was part of a broader trend: the scaling back of a long-term national commitment to education and research focused on international affairs. […]

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British Explorers Aiming to Cross Bering Strait

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Stirling, Laura Ridpath – June 16, 2015) In February 2016, a team of three British men will attempt to travel across the Bering Strait by ski and kayak, traveling westward from the United States to Russia. If successful, the expedition, headed by Scotsman Mike Laird, will join eight others in completing this treacherous journey. […]

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World’s economic centre of gravity continues shift east

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 9, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-worlds-economic-centre-gravity-continues-shift-east] The leaders of the G7 industrialised nations met in Berlin on June 7, but their decisions are becoming less and less relevant to the rest of the world as the centre of global economic gravity moves relentlessly east. In 1990, the centre of […]

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US aim to “contain” Russia, China a concern – Russian security official

Eurasia Map

(Interfax – May 30, 2015) The US policy in the Asia-Pacific region is viewed by Russia with concern as it aims to “contain” both Russia and China, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said. Separately, Antonov did not rule out “open confrontation” in the region faced with “new challenges and threats”. His remarks were reported by the Russian news […]

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NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Map of U.S. Military Activities in Europe

[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015] Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. … All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says.

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

People in the United States feel under threat, both from beyond our borders and within them. In fact, when asked about both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was a pretty darn close call — 20 percent saw Putin as an imminent threat compared to 18 percent who said the same about Obama.     http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/03/30/americans-see-putin-as-only-slightly-more-imminent-threat-than-obama/

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NEWSWATCH: How the Ukrainian Diaspora Sees the Homeland

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

[“Ukrainian Politics Abroad: How the Ukrainian Diaspora Sees the Homeland” – Foreign Affairs – foreignaffairs.com – Olena Lennon – March 17, 2015] Professor Olena Lennon, from the University of New Haven, writes on the experiences and attitudes of those of Ukrainian origin or heritage in the United States. Points of interest include perspectives on history, Russia, Europe, and the Russian and Ukrainian languages. The diaspora is distinctive in several […]

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NEWSLINK PR Week: Ketchum calls it quits on Russia work. Ketchum has ended its high-profile and controversial media relations work for the Kremlin

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

March 11, 2015 … Ketchum has ended the bulk of its work for the Russian Federation in the US and Europe amid continuing tensions between the country and Western governments. The Omnicom Group firm represented the Kremlin through its hosting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year but also as its relationship with the West strained over the country’s […]

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U.S. Poll Finds More Americans Support Arming Ukraine Government

File Photo of U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 24, 2015) U.S. public support for arming Ukraine has grown from 30 percent to 41 percent over the past 10 months, though the majority of Americans still oppose sending lethal military aid to Kiev, a poll has shown. Fifty-three percent of Americans oppose supplying the Ukrainian government with weapons to battle pro-Russian separatists in […]

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NEWSWATCH: Obama’s Pentagon nominee suggests support for arming Ukraine

Ashton Carter File Photo

[“Obama’s Pentagon nominee suggests support for arming Ukraine” – Reuters – Phil Stewart, Andrea Shalal- February 4, 2015] Reuters reports on remarks by U.S. Secretary of Defense nominee Ashton Carter regarding U.S. policy towards Ukraine and Russia, such as arms for Ukraine and continued economic pressure on Russia. President Barack Obama’s pick to become defense secretary told Congress on Wednesday he […]

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Oliver Stone Interviews Yanukovych for Documentary on U.S. ‘Coup’ in Ukraine

Oliver Stone

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 31, 2014) Hollywood film producer Oliver Stone has said he wants to make a four-hour documentary telling the “dirty story” of the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in what he believes was a “coup” organized with the help of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. “A dirty story through and through, but […]

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The US, Ukraine and Shale

Gas Flame file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Pat Davis Szymczak, special to RBTH – November 28, 2014) Pat Davis Szymczak is the founder and editorial director of Oil&Gas Eurasia, a monthly, bilingual trade publication devoted to the application of western technology to Russian and CIS oil and gas fields. If relations between Russia and the EU break down over Ukraine, […]

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Interfax: “Refusal of U.S. Senate to restrict NSA powers marks decline of democracy – Pushkov”

Alexei Pushkov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee is disappointed that the U.S. Senate decided against considering legislation restricting the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA). “The U.S. Senate turned down the bill limiting the spying activeness of NSA. In this way liberties are sacrificed to total control. The decline of democracy,” he twitted […]

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Re: from a Russian journalist Igor Rotar

Ukraine Map and Flag

From: Igor Rotar <igorotar@gmail.com> Date: Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM Subject: from a Russian journalist Igor Rotar My name is Igor Rotar.I am a veteran journalist and researcher who recently received a green card in the USA and currently lives in San Diego. I am the author of three books about the ethnic conflicts in the Soviet Union, […]

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U.S. Midterms Raise Fears of Decades-Long Russia Sanctions Law

File Photo of U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 1, 2014) Concerns are rising among U.S. businesses in Russia that Washington lawmakers could move to enshrine sanctions on Russia in new legislation, extending their impact and delaying their repeal. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed such a legislative proposal last month and analysts warn the measure is more likely […]

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Russians Burdened by Less Debt Compared With U.S.

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 30,, 2014) Despite concerns of a consumer lending bubble in Russia, relatively few Russians have any debt at all compared with residents of the U.S. and Europe, according to a survey released Wednesday. Russia’s consumer lending market grew at the blistering rate of 40 percent in 2012 and again in 2013, […]

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Moscow Times: Russia Beats U.S. and Japan as Best Place to Live for Expats, Survey Shows

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 24, 2014) Russia has ranked 17th on HSBC Bank’s annual list of the of the world’s best countries for expats, beating other destinations like Japan, France and the United Kingdom. Expats in 34 countries were asked in the HSBC Expat poll published Wednesday to judge their experiences on living abroad in three main categories […]

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