JRL NEWSWATCH: “FBI in possession of Hunter Biden’s purported laptop, sources say” – Fox/ Jake Gibson, Brooke Singman

File Photo of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in front of U.S. Flag and Russian Flag, adapted from image from RIA Novosti

“The FBI and Justice Department concur with DNI Ratcliffe that the laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign.” “The FBI … possess[es] … [Hunter Biden’s purported] laptop … contain[ing] emails revealing … foreign business dealings, including … in Ukraine and China [according to senior administration officials] …. emails … first obtained by the New York Post … reveal[ing] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin: Russia-China military alliance can’t be ruled out” – AP

File Photo of Beijing Temple, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“… Putin said … there is no need for a Russia-China military alliance now, but noted it could be forged in the future. … signal[ing] deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing amid growing tensions … with the United States. … [Putin] also made a strong call for extending … [the New START Treaty]. … The U.S. recently … proposed a […]

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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: “Kyrgyzstan Sets New Polls as New PM Reassures Russia” – AFP

Bishkek file image, adapted from image at state.gov

“Kyrgyzstan’s electoral authorities said … parliamentary polls … would be repeated [Dec. 20] …. [A]cting leader Sadyr Japarov moved to assure Russia of the two countries’ strategic partnership. … [The] previous [Kyrgyzstan] vote was annulled over political chaos that unseated a president and rattled Russia. … Allegations of vote-buying … raised by international monitors and losing parties sparked a protest […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Call Putin’s Bluff on Election Interference; The United States Should Take Russia Up on Its Offer to Sign a Pledge” – Foreign Affairs/ Anna Arutunyan

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

“The Kremlin has … pushed proposals for the United States and Russia to work together to protect elections against hacking …. Putin expanded the proposal into a package deal: the two countries would pledge not to interfere in each other’s internal political processes, and they would also restore dialogue, devise a mechanism to prevent cyberattacks, and share information on cybersecurity. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Is a Bad Omen” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Paul Stronski

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

“With the United States shrugging off its erstwhile role as the world’s policeman, can anyone stop the fierce fighting now raging between Armenia and Azerbaijan?” “… The long-running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, … dat[ing] to the waning days of the Soviet Union, is not going to trigger a global war[] [n]or … affect … [great power] vital interests […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With unrest on all sides, Russia’s regional muscle is being tested” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… As Russia’s interests abroad have focused on building the country’s standing as a player on the global stage – including malicious operations such as trying to influence U.S. presidential elections – the Kremlin’s grip has weakened closer to home. Competition from Turkey, China and the West is increasingly challenging Moscow’s onetime dominance in the former Soviet space. … [and] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Dismisses Trump Hope of Nuclear Deal Before U.S. Vote” – Bloomberg/ Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer, Vladimir Kuznetsov

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia dashed hopes of a [nuclear weapons] deal … before next month’s [U.S.] presidential election …. The U.S. proposal for a nuclear freeze … also cover[ing] tactical weapons ‘has long been known to us’ and is rejected by Russia because ‘we need to deal with their new strategic-range’ conventional arms too, including in space and missile defense, said [Russian Deputy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Approves Second Covid-19 Vaccine Before Phase 3 Trials” – Bloomberg/ Jake Rudnitsky

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

“Russian health authorities approved a Covid-19 vaccine created by a former biological weapons research laboratory for public use, marking the second time the Kremlin has bypassed accepted scientific protocol as it tries to field a defense against the pandemic. A vaccine developed by the Vector State Virology and Biotechnology Center in Siberia has been registered, … Putin said …. registered […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Reported death toll in Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes about 600” – AP

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

“The reported death toll in clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over … Nagorno-Karabakh has reached about 600 … [F]ighting continues despite a cease-fire …. More than two weeks of deadly clashes marked the biggest escalation of a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh … in Azerbaijan but … under control of ethnic Armenian[s] … backed by Armenia since the end of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Nobody wants to kill business’; Moscow is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, but there’s no lockdown in sight” – Meduza

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Moscow is experiencing a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases[,] [a]s of Friday, September 25, …record[ing] 1,560 new cases in the last day – 510 more than the day before … nearly twice as many as last week. … the highest daily increase … since June 12. … Also on September 25, Russia recorded more than 7,000 new coronavirus cases […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tricky data; ‘Sputnik V’ developers respond to Western critics, but the debate might overlook the vaccine’s biggest problem” – Meduza

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

“… [In response to concerns about their Lancet-published data, Russian vaccine] developers say … the methods … give only rough values …. [a] problem [that] would not have arisen … if their sample size had been larger. … [But they] do not explain … why they limited their trials to so few people. … [S]pecialists say … Gamaleya Center[] research […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Alexei Navalny Supporters Probe How the Russian Opposition Leader Was Poisoned” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Ann M. Simmons

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

“Team scoured his hotel room and found a water bottle they say has traces of Novichok, a nerve agent” “… [A]fter … Navalny collapsed … on a plane over Siberia with signs of poisoning, his supporters rushed to [his] hotel room ….. bagg[ing] everything they could find … in the hopes of solving the mystery …. Days later, German doctors […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A dozen countries refuse to recognise Lukashenko’s inauguration; Spontaneous protests broke out in the evening following Alexander Lukashenko’s secret inauguration for a sixth term” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“A dozen countries refused to recognise … Lukashenko as … legitimate president of Belarus after he secretly inaugurated himself … September 23. Tensions were high in Minsk after the news broke, with protesters in Minsk flooding the streets and clashing with police trying to disperse them. The only leader that sent a message to congratulate Lukashenko was Turkmen President Gurbanguly […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Four Myths about Russian Grand Strategy” – Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)/ Robert Person

Satellite

“Myth #1: Russia’s grand strategy is driven by ideology …. Myth #2: Russia seeks to reconstruct the Soviet Union or Russian Empire. … Instead of a formal territorial empire … Russia endeavors to establish a privileged and exclusive sphere of influence across former Soviet territory. … [with] a seat at the table in the capital of every post-Soviet country. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko inaugurates himself in secret” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“Fearing mass protests, Belarus’ self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko held an inauguration for himself in secret to complete the legal process of winning the disputed August 9 presidential election. … [T]he entire perimeter surrounding the presidential palace … was closed to traffic. Some companies told their employees not to come in, as … roads were closed. Police trucks and army vehicles […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Post about Love” – Alexey Navalny/ Instagram

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

“Julia and I had our anniversary … 20 years of being wed … You, of course, have seen this a hundred times … one loving person lies in a coma … the other brings him back to life with her love and incessant care […]”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia’s alliance with China is improbable, but not impossible” – Fondation pour la recherche stratégique/ Simon Saradzhyan

File Photo of Beijing Temple, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“Abstract: [A]re Russia and China already in a de facto military alliance (against the U.S.), or may they soon enter one? … [This article] reviews … academic literature on alignments … and alliances … infers criteria … [and] sets out to … [assess that] relationship …. Introduction[:]  The [Russia-China] relationship … is getting stronger …. Xi Jinping[] and … Putin[] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to cut defence spending in bid to prop up ailing economy; Continued support for less well-off set to wipe out fiscal surplus of recent years” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade, adapted from image at georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov with credit to Eric Draper

“Russia will spend more on supporting its economy than funding its armed forces next year for the first time since 2014 … ahead of critical parliamentary elections. … [with economic] doldrums … amid low oil prices and western sanctions … [and with the economy] contract[ing] sharply … due to … coronavirus …. The Kremlin announced …  [higher] spending … to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Navalny Says He is Breathing on His Own in a Message From His Hospital Bed; The poisoned Russian opposition leader plans to return to Russia, his spokeswoman says.” – New York Times/ Katrin Bennhold, Michael Schwirtz

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

“… The message came hours after a senior German security official … [said] Navalny was awake, alert and had told German prosecutors that he was refusing to cooperate with a Russian inquiry into his case. He also vowed … to return to Russia as soon as possible to continue his work. … German officials now say they have almost no […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. commander says evidence hasn’t corroborated intelligence of Russian bounties on U.S. troops” – The Hill/ John Bowden

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says … he has not seen evidence to corroborate claims that Russian officials placed bounties on U.S. troops … in the Middle East. … Gen. Frank McKenzie said … reports in The New York Times and other media … indicating that U.S. intelligence officials were investigating reports that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Spinning good news on arms control” – The Hill/ Steven Pifer

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… A speedy conclusion could be possible on extending New START, which would be in the U.S. interest. Putin has said Moscow would extend without conditions. … [C]hief [U.S.] arms control envoy[] Marshall Billingslea[] has called New START ‘deeply flawed.’ … Billingslea backed away from the demand that China [get involved] … [yet] continued to insist … Russia agree to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says Belarus leader plans to change constitution; President Lukashenko began raising the question of changing Belarus’s constitution several years ago.” – Al Jazeera

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“Russia said … Lukashenko … confirmed … plans to change the constitution as the two leaders held talks in Sochi …. Lukashenko faces mass protests at home …. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years … previously changed the constitution to increase his presidential powers. The opposition wants to change the constitution back to its original form … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian paramedics’ accounts challenge Moscow’s explanation for Navalny’s coma – sources” – Reuters

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

Newly emerging accounts of the sudden illness of Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny reportedly refute official claims that Navalny had other medical causes for his symptoms. “… [P]aramedics who treated … Navalny after he fell violently ill on a plane last month found no increase in his blood sugar in initial tests and saw no signs of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Navalny’s smart voting scores rare successes in Russia’s regional elections” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“… ‘Smart voting’ tactics promoted by anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Alexei Navalny[,] [promoting candidates most likely to oust United Russia, regardless of political allegiances,] delivered a few successes in … regional elections …. Opposition leader Sergei Boyko won … in … Novosibirsk, despite an energetic campaign by … ruling United Russia Party. … [L]ocal elections have been a test […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Crumbling Power Vertical: Decreasing Disposable Income Drives Discontentment” – PONARS Eurasia

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Accumulating evidence points at prospects of growing destabilization at the regional level in Russia. In 2019, five consecutive years of economic stagnation ignited a wave of protests across the country. In 2020, as Russia’s economic situation worsened dramatically due to a pandemic-driven halt to economic activity combined with a fall in oil prices, support for Kremlin appointees might start crumbling […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “After Weeks of Pressure in Belarus, Protesters and Lukashenko Locked in Dangerous Stalemate” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“More than 100,000 people protest; country’s longtime leader set to meet Putin on Monday.” “More than 100,000 … poured into the streets of … Minsk [Sunday], sparking a show of force and mass detentions by riot police[,] … one of the largest in a string of demonstrations aimed at keeping pressure on … Lukashenko[] [i]n the month since [an election] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarusian leader set to visit Russia as protests continue” – AP

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“… Protesters in Belarus have spent a month denouncing the results of the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election as rigged and demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko from the sixth term he won. Facing criticism from the West, Lukashenko has worked to cement ties with his main ally and sponsor, Russia. … set to head to Russia … Monday […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Faces Test of Voters With Poisoned Critic in Hospital” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer

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

“With his most prominent critic hit by a near-fatal poisoning that opponents and the West blame on the Kremlin … Putin faces a key test of support in regional elections ahead of a national vote next year. About a third of the electorate is eligible to vote … over three days … to choose representatives at different levels … in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian schools open with classroom, cafeteria precautions” – AP

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

“Russian children have returned to schools …. [T]eachers underwent mandatory virus tests …. Temperature checks are conducted each morning … [S]chool schedules were amended to reduce the number … attending at the same time. Authorities also limited … school cafeterias and recreation areas …. Masks in schools are not mandatory for all of Russia’s 85 regions ….” If a child […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s 2020 elections hotspots; A semblance of real political competition makes the upcoming vote worth following in several regions” – Meduza

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

“… [On Sunday,] residents of 18 regions … elect governors, another 11 regions … vote for local parliamentary deputies, and 22 regional capitals … hold city council elections. In several regions … results may not be in favor of … [ruling powers] in spite of … three-day voting rules, which can create increased opportunities for manipulating … election results. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Germany hands over its Novichok investigation data to OPCW” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Nerve Agent Effects Body Chart, adapted from image at shareamerica.gov with credit to CDC

“Germany has handed over all … data related to its investigation into … [the] agent … used to poison … Navalny to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). … Merkel … announced that a top German military lab … [confirmed] ‘unequivocal proof of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group’ …. ‘… shocking information about the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Navalny and Nord Stream 2; The poisoned Russian dissident opens a door for a Trump priority” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

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

“[G7] [f]oreign ministers … issued a joint statement … condemning … ‘the confirmed poisoning’ of … Navalny. … sa[ying] Germany … has concluded … he was ‘the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve-agent of the “Novichok” group, a substance developed by Russia.’ It called on Russia to investigate who is responsible, ‘bearing in mind Russia’s commitments under the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Former CIA Chief Of Russia Operations On Poisoning Of Putin’s Rival With Novichok” – NPR

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

“… HALL: … it’s really not surprising at all that we’ve had this assassination attempt on a guy like Navalny. These are intelligence operations. It’s the Russian intelligence services that are responsible for doing this. … “

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Publishes Virus Vaccine Results, Weeks After Approval” – AP

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Russian scientists have belatedly published first results from early trials into the experimental Sputnik V vaccine, which received government approval last month but drew considerable criticism from experts, as the shots had only been tested on several dozen people before being more widely administered. In a [Lancet] report … [vaccine] developers … said it appeared to be safe and to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus Leader Proposes Vote on Constitution Reforms” – AFP

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Lukashenko on Monday discussed plans for a referendum on constitutional reforms …. The 66-year-old … fac[es] his greatest challenge yet [in his 26-year rule,] following three weekends of giant protests in Minsk over a disputed August 9 [election] where he claimed victory over … popular opposition candidate[] Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Lukashenko has twice before held such referendums, pushing through changes […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office says no need to open criminal case into Navalny’s poisoning” – bne Intellinews

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

“Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) [said, in a Aug. 27 press release, that it] doesn’t see any grounds for opening a criminal case into the poisoning of anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Alexei Navalny …. However, the press release was almost immediately deleted …. No explanation was given for the decision. The GPO’s statement said … no information “evidencing a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Russia Declassifies Video From 1961 of Largest Hydrogen Bomb Ever Detonated” – Smithsonian Magazine/ Theresa Machemer

File Photo of Tsar Bomba Nuclear Detonation, adapted from image at osd.mil

“The blast was over 3,000 times bigger than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” “… [D]eclassified Russian footage [features] the 1961 Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb test …  [of] the largest bomb … detonated on Earth …. a 50-million-ton hydrogen bomb, officially named RDS-220[,] … [set off] late October 1961 … during the height of the Cold War[,] …. 26 feet long […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Security strongmen take on key role in Russian Arctic policy” – The Barents Observer (Norway)/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“The Russian Security Council is given an expanded position in the management of national interests in the Arctic.” “According to a[n] [Aug. 25] decree signed by … Putin … the [Russian] Security Council is to establish a special commission … promot[ing] Russian national interests in the far northern region[,] [a]mong its responsibilities … ‘analysis of the international and social-economic situation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus’ Soviet-era economy still propped up by Moscow” – Deutsche Welle/ Nik Martin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Belarus has one of the lowest poverty rates in Europe, but economic growth is anemic due to archaic state-run industries and the ending of Russian energy subsidies. Its biggest political crisis is even more of a threat.” “… Belarus’ dependence on energy-rich Russia is ever more evident …. Moscow has already offered to help bolster security [amidst the current crisis] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Seeks Pre-Election Win on Nuclear Arms Deal with Russia” – Time/ John Walcott

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea met with [Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov] … in Vienna to discuss extending the … New START agreement … [currently limiting] long-range weapons ….  [with the U.S. seeking to make New START extension] a first step toward limiting … entire nuclear arsenals … backed by rare bipartisan consensus on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Don’t Drink the Tea: Poison Is a Favored Weapon in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew E. Kramer

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“Poison has been a preferred tool of the Russian security service for more than a century, and critics of the Kremlin say it remains in the arsenal today.” “… [O]ther countries … have targeted killing programs … limited to counterterrorism …. [yet] Russia … has been accused of targeting a wide variety of opponents both at home and abroad. The […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biegun Says U.S. Sees No Indication of Russian Military Plans in Belarus” – Reuters

Cropped File Photo of Stephen Biegun, adapted from image featured at state.gov

“Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun [was in Lithuania,] signal[ing] a greater U.S. role … trying to settle … strife … erupt[ing] when Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko cracked down on peaceful protesters … reject[ing] his claim of a landslide election victory [claiming it was rigged]. … Asked about possible Russian military intervention … [Biegun] said: ‘Of course that would be […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Navalny’s Poisoning Really Says About the Current State of Putin’s Russia” – The New Yorker/ Joshua Yaffa

Kremlin and River

“… This guessing game, though tempting, is not only unsolvable; it misses the insight that attacks like Nemtsov’s murder and Navalny’s poisoning really offer about Putin’s Russia — the most pernicious and terrifying fact is not whether Putin did or did not issue orders to his underlings to off perceived enemies but that anyone from the ruling circle can use […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus’ defence minister tells military elite: ‘It is necessary to fight. And if necessary with weapons’ as Lukashenko’s counteroffensive gathers momentum” – bne Intellinews

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Belarus’ Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin told the country’s military elite that there may be a military conflict and they may be called on to use their weapons …. ‘Yes, we may have a civil war …. There’s a chance we’ll have a military conflict … Criminal order, not criminal – we are soldiers, we execute orders!’ Khrenin said …. Lukashenko […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Would Vladimir Putin Want to Get Rid of Aleksei Navalny Now? The unchanging leader of the regime is Mr. Putin; the unchanging leader of the opposition is Mr. Navalny. But everything changes.” – New York Times/ Oleg Kashin

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

“… [In] [a] heart-rending video … one of the [plane’s] passengers … capture[d] … Navalny’s groans and cries of pain. They sounded like the screams of a dying man. … If the Russian government has now decided to get rid of … Navalny, that suggests … some new political configuration in which there is no longer a need for any […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Suspected Poisoning of Alexey Navalny, Putin’s Most Prominent Adversary” – The New Yorker/ Masha Gessen

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

“Alexey Navalny … creator of Russia’s leading alternative-media outlet and its only real political organization, is now in a coma in the Siberian city of Omsk. [An] anti-corruption blogger[,] … for years [Navalny] has been … Putin’s only formidable opponent[,] … [i.e., Putin’s] only adversary who has remained in Russia, stayed active, and maintained prominence despite repeated attacks from the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin bets on Lukashenko keeping power in Belarus for now: sources” – Reuters

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Putin believes … Lukashenko will probably cling to power for now despite protests … and is content to let him sweat it out, two sources close to the Kremlin said. … [T]he two countries usually have no border controls, … culturally, linguistically and economically intertwined. Putin has pushed hard to make [their] union state [concept] more of a political […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Shifts Course on Russian Arms Talks, Easing Insistence China Join Now” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“New strategy aims at a framework agreement with Russia, possible pre-election meeting with Putin.” “… the Trump administration signaled … that it will seek to negotiate a separate framework agreement with Moscow and move to bring Beijing on board later. … [which] could open the door for an election-year arms control understanding with Moscow — and possibly a meeting between […]

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