Putin’s Dominance Risks Destabilization: Fiona Hill’s Insights On Russia, the U.S., And Their ‘Unfortunate Parallels’

Redacted File Photo of Fiona Hill, adapted form image at seanmaloney.house.gov

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – Oct. 18, 2021 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/31517780.html) A native of the United Kingdom who later became a U.S. citizen, Hill, who has described herself as “a nonpartisan foreign-policy expert,” is a scholar and historian who has written several books on Russia, including […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Catherine Belton’s “Putin’s People” is Essential Reading: ‘How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West.'” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Emily Couch – Oct. 17, 2021) The path taken by Catherine Belton’s “Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West” is a well-trodden one. For those who have read Masha Gessen’s “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin,” Ben Judah’s “Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell […]

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Arrest Of Russian University Rector Sparks Fears Of Further Clampdown On Liberal Arts

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

His supporters have rallied to his cause, alleging that he fell victim to a criminal case that was opportunistically used to target a plucky school that some officials see as an incubator of dissent […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Talks with Kyiv pointless, necessary to wait for reasonable Ukrainian leaders ready for equal ties with Russia – Medvedev” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 11 (Interfax) – It is pointless to negotiate with the incumbent Ukrainian authorities, as they are not trustworthy; it is necessary to wait for the election of a reasonable leadership in Ukraine that would not aim at sweeping confrontation with Russia, verging on war, but would seek equal relations, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. “Another […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Massive Video Leak Shows Rampant Torture at Russian Prisons – NGO” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

A prominent NGO that tracks abuses in Russia’s prison system says it has received “thousands” of leaked video clips showing inmates being beaten and tortured […]

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KPRF Faces a Serious and Divisive Choice about Its Future, Skobov Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 27, 2021) The KPRF’s surprising success in the recent Duma elections does not presage any threat of a communist resurgence – Zyuganov’s party is as far from Lenin’s as Patriarch Kirill is from early Christianity – but it does mean that the party now is confronted by a serious choice, Aleksandr […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Police Search Communist Party Offices as Online Voting Controversy Continues” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Moscow authorities attempted to raid the Communist Party’s city headquarters … minutes before a group of party lawyers was preparing to file a lawsuit to challenge controversial online voting results from last week’s parliamentary elections […]

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Russian Political Elite Seeks to Retain Post-Stalin Consensus while ‘Correcting Mistakes’ of Soviet Regime, Luzin Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 24, 2021) The Russian elite does not have an explicit ideology but it does have a shared set of beliefs that guide its actions, an ideology that has “grown out of political practice rather than from any philosophy,” Pavel Luzin says. But that does not make it any less influential. Indeed, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Navalny, associates charged with extremist network establishment, participation – Russian Investigative Committee” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Sept 28 (Interfax) – The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who is serving time in a penitentiary in Russia, and his close associates on counts of establishing and participating in the activity of an extremist network. “The Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case under Part […]

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Expert Survey: Will the Outcome of Russia’s Elections Impact Its Foreign Policy? [With Andrei Kolesnikov, Tatyana Stanovaya, Angela Stent, Denis Volkov]

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Sept. 24, 2021) The ruling United Russia party retained a two-thirds majority in the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, following elections that have been criticized as neither free nor fair by Russia’s opposition and the West. United Russia came away with 50% of the vote that took place Sept. 17-19, winning 324 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Biggest Names Among Russia’s Election Winners: A first female mayor, a TV host and Chechnya’s strongman” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

Russia held controversial parliamentary elections last weekend that were marred by claims of mass fraud […]

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Russian Attitudes Toward West Improve Despite Feelings of Isolation

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Aleksandra Srdanovic – Sept. 21, 2021) Aleksandra Srdanovic is a graduate student at Harvard University and a student associate with Russia Matters. The Levada Center recently polled Russians on their attitudes toward Russia’s general standing in the international community, as well as their attitudes toward strategic competitors and countries within the post-Soviet neighborhood. Polling shows […]

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Fake About Fakes: Russian Election Commission Airs Apparently Falsified Video Sullying Its Critics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

In a separate development, tens of thousands of pro-government bloggers participated in a coordinated campaign to spread positive reports about the course of the parliamentary elections […]

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Seeing Red: Russia’s Communist Party Makes Gains In New Duma, But Does It Matter?

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – Sept. 22, 2021 – article text also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-communist-party-duma/31473164.html) Moscow polling station No. 151 was set up on the premises of the state Gulag History Museum, just a short stroll away from blood-curdling testimony of the crimes of Communist Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Yet, according […]

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Next Generation of Russians Will Be More Anti-Western than Current One, Chesnokov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 20, 2021) “If present trends continue,” Edvard Chesnokov says, “the next generation of Russian rulers will be even more anti-Western than the present one,” the result of the West’s double standards when it comes to Russia and recognition by Russia’s rulers that they must stand up to such pressure. The Komsomolskaya […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Online Vote Recount Shows No Sign of Election Fraud, Russian Officials Find”

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

Nationwide statisticians have estimated that half of the official votes received by United Russia in the election could have been falsified [. ..]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow To Check Electronic Votes for State Duma in Recount” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Independent data scientists and analysts said that half of all the votes attributed to United Russia in the official results were probably fake — a level of falsification previously unseen in Russian parliamentary elections [. ..]

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Russia’s Foreign Military Basing Strategy

File Photo of Deck of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo – DMITRY GORENBURG, Senior Research Scientist, CNA – Sept. 20, 2021) In December 2020, news broke that Russia had signed an agreement with Sudan to build a naval base on the Red Sea. Given the refurbishment of its existing base in Syria and rumors of other potential bases abroad being negotiated, on the surface, Russia appears […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Opposition Calls Foul After Ruling Party Landslide in Parliamentary Elections” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Controversial online voting cut the early leads of candidates supported by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Russia’s opposition called for protests on Monday after accusing the authorities of rigging highly anticipated elections to the country’s parliament […]

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A Win For United Russia? A Loss For Navalny’s Smart Voting? Five Takeaways From Russia’s Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Here’s the first thing you need to know about the now-concluded election campaign for Russia’s State Duma: It’s been carefully managed from the start, with the opposition largely barred from running and a crackdown on government opponents that shows no sign of abating […]

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Kremlin Says a New Lockdown Not Being Discussed

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 15, 2021) The announcement that Vladimir Putin has gone into self-isolation has sparked speculation that Russia may face a new lockdown after the elections to fight the pandemic and that the Kremlin has not been fully open about what is going on with the Russian president’s health. That has forced Putin’s […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “A Change Candidate Runs for the Russian State Duma”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Despite nerves and head winds, Natalia Pinus’s biggest challenge is defeating her and all change supporters biggest opponent: low voter turnout from an apathetic, cynical, and distracted population […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Crushes Last of Opposition Ahead of Parliament Elections” – Bloomberg

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

“… Putin has sidelined the last of his independent political opponents, jailing some and driving others into exile, as his ruling party seeks to extend … control in parliamentary elections despite simmering discontent. … United Russia … recorded some of the lowest ratings in nearly a decade earlier this year, scorned by voters angry over stagnant living standards and unpopular […]

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Navalny’s ‘Smart Voting’ Backs Communist Candidates In Bid To Loosen Grip Of Ruling United Russia

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

Smart Voting, an idea that Navalny came up with in 2018, is an online strategy designed to promote candidates that have the best chance to defeat those from United Russia, the Kremlin-linked ruling party […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin is isolating after possible exposure to the coronavirus” – New York Times

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

“… Putin … said he is isolating because several members of his inner circle tested positive …. that one of the people who tested positive was a vaccinated staff member with whom he had recently interacted ‘very closely in the course of the whole day.’ … Putin has said he was vaccinated with the two-dose regimen of Russia’s Sputnik V […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia’s defence chief emerging as Putin’s possible successor? Putin is still pondering the idea of another term, but as he approaches 70, bets are being placed on Sergey Shoigu” – Al Jazeera

Sergei Shoigu file photo, adapted from image at defense.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.info :: www.stevencwelsh.com

… [M]any wonder who will succeed [Putin], and when. … [T]he Kremlin scrupulously weeds out all charismatic critics. … [P]otential successors from the halls of power have been demoted to irrelevant sinecures. … Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu[] [is] Russia’s longest-serving cabinet member and its second-most popular politician …. [H]e hails from Tuva, an impoverished province of Turkic-speaking Buddhists that borders […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘The Leftward Turn Is Inevitable’: In Lenin’s Hometown, Russian Communists Strive for Soviet Revival” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Despite Kremlin pressure, the party is hoping to use popular discontent over falling living standards to gain a strong showing in parliamentary elections this week. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light – ULYANOVSK, Sept. 14, 2021) When Airat Gibatdinov was born in 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika had already set the Soviet Union on its path to oblivion. But now, […]

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Good News and Bad about Upcoming Elections, Golos Leader Says

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

… he [indicates] there are several reasons to think … the upcoming Duma elections will be subject to more falsification than ever before and even more reason to think that the regime … may simply decide[] not to hold elections anymore [….]

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RUSSIALINK: “From Jail, Navalny Urges Russians to Vote Out Pro-Kremlin Candidates” – Moscow Times

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

With a number of independent and opposition candidates barred from running, Navalny’s team has in recent years switched tactics to promote a “Smart Voting” strategy that seeks to rally support behind the most promising challengers to United Russia […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Opposition Candidates Are Fighting Among Themselves. Again.” – Moscow Times

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s Smart Voting system has added a new dimension to an old problem. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light, Jake Cordell – Sept. 13, 2021) If there’s one district Russia’s beleaguered opposition should be able to win in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, it’s Moscow’s 197th, Kuntsevsky. Named for the suburb where Josef Stalin had his dacha, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Tame Opposition Admits No Chance of Change in Parliamentary Vote” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… It’s a dilemma common to many members of Russia’s “systemic opposition” — the patchwork of tame parties allowed to compete on the country’s uneven electoral playing field who are nevertheless coming under increasing pressure […]

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Russia’s E-Voting Getting Off The Ground, Literally

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Critics have warned that the system’s lack of transparency and voter-verification safeguards could open the way for vote manipulation […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Diaspora Aims to Inform and Influence Ahead of Duma Vote” – Moscow Times

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

The Vote Abroad initiative is a decentralized, grassroots movement organized online across more than 40 countries. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Brawley Benson – WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 9, 2021) Polina Sidelnikova has voted in every Russian election since she was 18. This year is no different, even though she now lives in the United States. The forty-year-old human rights lawyer […]

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As Elections Loom, Russia’s Opposition Banks On Little More Than A Chance To Air Its Grievances

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Through an unrelenting campaign of intimidation and criminal prosecutions the authorities have purged the electoral field of all but a select few government critics […]

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Putin’s Perestroika, One Driven Like Gorbachev’s by a Desire to Revive a Stagnating System, Path to Its Destruction, Inozemtsev Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 8, 2021) Vladislav Inozemtsev, who has long argued that the Putin system is likely to remain stable for at least another decade, now says that the Kremlin is acting in ways that point to an attempt to fundamentally restructure the Russian political system before the 2024 presidential vote. And such a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Econ Ministry ups 2021 Russian GDP growth forecast to 4.2% from 3.8%, lowers 2022 forecast to 3% from 3.2%” – Interfax

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Sept 8 (Interfax) – Russia’s Economic Development Ministry expects the country’s GDP to grow at least 4.2% in 2021 – these figures have been included in the new macroeconomic forecast, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said during a session at the Moscow Financial Forum. “The economy – 4.2% this year is the minimum growth estimate. This is what we […]

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