JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economy enters recession with 4% contraction” – Financial Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Western sanctions after invasion of Ukraine contribute to sharpest downturn since pandemic.” “… The contraction follows sweeping restrictions from the U.S. and Europe on Russia’s energy and financial sectors, including a block on half of the central bank’s $640bn in foreign exchange reserves. About 1,000 western companies followed suit, curtailing … Russian operations, while hundreds of thousands of people left […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and Ukraine close in on grain deal extension” – Financial Times

Wheat in Field, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Negotiators are confident agreement will be reached before programme expires on Saturday” “Russia and Ukraine are close to agreeing to extend a deal securing Kyiv’s grain exports via its Black Sea ports … a crucial step to alleviating a global food crisis triggered by the conflict. … In exchange … Russia will be able to use a pipeline that transports […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As Europe falls into recession, Russia climbs out; Real-time data show a subdued but strengthening economy” – The Economist

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Western sanctions … have wounded Russia’s long-term economic prospects. … cut[ting] its growth potential by as much as half …. Output of oil and gas … is about 3% lower than … before the invasion and may fall further once European embargoes come into effect …. In the first six months of the war somewhere in the region of 250,000 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Oil Exports Helping Cushion Russian Economy – IMF” – Moscow Times

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Moscow Times – Oct. 11, 2022) Russia’s recession will be less severe than expected due to oil exports and relatively stable domestic demand, according to the latest International Monetary Fund forecasts released on Tuesday. While the IMF estimates Russia’s economy to have contracted by 21.8% during the second quarter at a quarterly annualized rate, for the year as a whole […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Punishing Russians Won’t End the Ukraine War” -Washington Post

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Economic boycotts … are one way for democratic governments to demonstrate … opposition to tyranny and military aggression without … having to go to war. They also represent an effort to turn people against their autocratic leaders. Some European politicians have claimed that stopping Russians from travel[]ing to Europe will encourage them to demand an end to the war. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin’s total defeat is now within reach; Liz Truss and her Foreign Secretary will have to work hard to maintain Western unity in coming months” – The Telegraph (UK)

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

“… [With] Russian forces … in a desperate battle to hold … the meagre gains … made … since … Putin launched the invasion, the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is continuing its attempt to indoctrinate the Russian people … [into believing that] Moscow is vanquishing its foes. … [S]tate-controlled news channels … pump out a Panglossian view of the Ukrainian conflict […]

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Summer of Sanctions 2022

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

Subject: Summer of Sanctions 2022 Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2022 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Summer of Sanctions 2022 By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova Sarah Lindemann-Komarova has lived in Siberia since 1992. Was a community development activist for 20 years. Currently, focuses on research and writing. [With pictures: echosiberia.medium.com/siberian-summer-of-sanctions-2022-878f00f1e28b] Thanks to Fred Weir for the inspiration The summer of sanctions in Siberia has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the Russian economy keeps beating expectations; Few thought it would be holding up six months into the war” – The Economist

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… [T]he Central Bank of Russia (cbr) and Rosstat … have stopped publishing data on everything from trade to investment; many question the reliability of those numbers that are still emerging. Investment banks … have pared back … research …. Multilateral organisations have pulled economists out …. A recent paper … [from] Yale … says … a retreat of Western […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Confounds the West by Recapturing Its Oil Riches” – WSJ

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Moscow is raking in more revenue than ever with the help of new buyers, new traders and the world’s seemingly insatiable demand for crude.” “Russia pumps almost as much oil into the global market as … before its invasion of Ukraine. With oil prices up, Moscow is also making more money. Demand from some of the world’s largest economies has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Steps Up Enforcement of Its Long List of Russia Sanctions” – WSJ

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

“Biden administration pushes to close loopholes and lobbies countries like China and India to curb trade with Russia.” “The U.S. has imposed … powerful sanctions against Russia[] … to punish it for the invasion of Ukraine. Now, U.S. officials are pushing to ensure they are effective, closing loopholes, lobbying other nations for support, and cracking down on people abetting Russia’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s Black Sea deal also helps Russian farmers, economy” – AP

Wheat in Field, adapted from image at usda.gov

“… [S]hip after ship loaded with grain has sailed from Ukraine after being stuck … for nearly six months. More quietly, a parallel wartime deal met Moscow’s demands to clear the way for its wheat to get to the world, too …. While the U.S. and its European allies work to crush Russia’s finances with a web of penalties for […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Economy Contracts Sharply as War and Sanctions Take Hold” – New York Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The country’s gross domestic product from April through June declined 4 percent from a year earlier, new government data shows.” “The Russian economy contracted steeply in the second quarter as the country felt … economic consequences [from] … its war in Ukraine … believe[ed] to be the start of a yearslong downturn. … Western sanctions, which cut off Russia from […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Sanctions are working – whatever Putin says” – The Spectator

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Don’t believe … Putin’s hype. The Russian economy is not OK. With western sanctions jeopardising up to 40 per cent of the country’s GDP, Putin’s assurances of an economic pivot to the East are a sham. And his weaponising of gas supplies to Europe is the financial equivalent of strapping on a suicide vest. That, roughly, is the message of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sanctions ‘Cripple’ Russian Economy, Study Says” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – Paul Handley – Aug. 2, 2022) The Russian economy has been deeply damaged by sanctions and the exit of international business since the country invaded Ukraine, according to a new report by Yale University business experts and economists. Even though Moscow has been able to pull in billions of dollars from continued energy sales at elevated prices, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Is Making Heaps of Money From Oil, but There Is a Way to Stop That” – New York Times

Oil Well file photo

“… Nations seeking to help Ukraine are aiming at the wrong target. … Russia’s energy exports instead of … Russia’s earnings from energy exports. Russia is exporting less oil but … [reportedly] earning more money …. [S]anctions have raised prices … offsetting … declin[ing] … exports. In May 2022, Russia earned 883 million euros per day from oil exports, up […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian central bank looks to spread risks across banking sector – Expert magazine” – Reuters

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“As Russian banks contend with foreign currency and payment headaches, the central bank [reportedly] is determined to redistribute funding and risks across the sector to safeguard those lenders [targeted by Western sanctions] …. The West imposed unprecedented measures against Russia’s banking sector after … [the] Feb. 24 [invasion of Ukraine], blocking major banks from … SWIFT … and limiting their […]

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AUDIO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “Are sanctions actually hurting Russia’s economy? Here’s what you need to know” – NPR

“Just over four months ago, the U.S. and several allied nations levied unprecedented sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. For weeks afterwards, the Russian ruble’s value tanked, foreign multinational companies pulled out of the country, and economic prospects began looking grim. But Russia responded aggressively. It shored up the ruble’s value and increased oil exports to […]

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China’s Long Game in Russia: Violating Sanctions? No. Ensuring Russia’s Survival? Yes.

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Lizzi C. Lee – June 30, 2022) Lizzi C. Lee is an economist-turned-journalist now working with Wall St TV, an independent, New York-based Chinese-language media outlet. She is the host of the ChinaEDGE Live show by SupChina. As some of the most extensive sanctions in modern history put enormous economic strain on Russia, China—Russia’s largest trading […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Official: Russia could see West’s sanctions as cause for war” – AP

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

“A senior Russian official warned Thursday that Moscow could see Western sanctions as a cause for war. Dmitry Medvedev, … deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by … Putin, denounced … Western [sanctions]  …. ‘Under certain circumstances, such hostile measures could be perceived as an act of international aggression, or even as a casus belli,’ Medvedev said … using […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “G-7 Summit Exposes West’s Challenges in Tackling Russia; Economic fallout is hampering further sanctions against Moscow as Ukraine demands more weapons to halt the Russian advance” – WSJ

File Photo of G7 Meeting, with Persons at Round Table and Long Table, with Flags and Windows Overlooking Green Space in Background

“[G7] rich democracies … agree[d] to discuss … new sanctions against Russia …. While weapons deliveries have made an immediate difference on the battlefield and Ukraine has been clamoring for more equipment to repel Moscow’s forces, sanctions have proven slow to take effect, some of them have backfired … and new ones have … been too complex to deploy quickly. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “From Russian Elites, No Sign of Broad Challenge to Putin” – New York Times

File Photo of Red Square, Kremlin, Environs, adapted from image at state.gov

“Many business owners and intellectuals fled Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, but others stayed behind, struggling to redefine their lives. Their diverging choices do not add up to a broad challenge to Vladimir Putin’s war.” “… Leading Russian business owners and intellectuals fled their country after the invasion [of Ukraine] on Feb. 24, settling in places like Dubai, Istanbul […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Sanctions Push Russia to First Foreign Default Since Bolshevik Revolution” – WSJ

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“A debt default has been long in coming since Western sanctions created payment obstacles Moscow couldn’t overcome.” “Russia defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since 1918, pushed into delinquency not for lack of money but because of punishing Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. Russia missed payments on two foreign-currency bonds as of late Sunday …. […]

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JRL NEWSBLOG: “Can Putin Survive? The Lessons of the Soviet Collapse” – Foreign Affairs/ Vladislav Zubok

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

“… Putin grossly miscalculated by invading Ukraine, and … has exposed the regime’s vulnerabilities — an economy … much more interdependent with Western economies than its Soviet predecessor … and a highly concentrated political system that lacks the tools for political and military mobilization …. If the war grinds on, Russia will become a less powerful international actor. A prolonged […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin denounces the U.S. as a fading world power.” – New York Times

Vladimir Putin file photo, adapted from screenshot of video at shareamerica.gov

” … Putin … on Friday reprised his critique of the United States as a declining power that treats its allies as colonies, while declaring itself exceptional and ‘the messenger of the Lord on Earth.’ … Putin, whose remarks were delayed by over an hour after the Kremlin cited ‘large-scale’ distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems, spoke for […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia needs economic ‘perestroika’ to end reliance on energy exports – cenbank chief” – Reuters

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Russia must reduce its decades-old reliance on exports of raw materials and stimulate private enterprise to avoid slipping back towards a Soviet-style technological lag with the West, … [Russian] central bank [governor Nabiullina] said …. After the West imposed the most crippling sanctions in modern history to punish … Putin for the war in Ukraine, Russia’s economy is facing its […]

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Western Sanctions Unlikely To Threaten Putin’s Government, Russian Economist Says

(Article text Copyright © 2022 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036. – rferl.org – Sergei Medvedev – June 8, 2022 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/western-sanctions-unlikely-to-threaten-putins-government-interview/31889297.html) Russia’s economy will be hit hard by Western sanctions, but President Vladimir Putin faces no immediate political risk and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s Zelensky says stalemate with Russia ‘not an option'” – Financial Times

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

“President tells FT conference western sanctions ‘have not really influenced’ Moscow’s position.” “… Zelensky said a stalemate in the war with Russia was ‘not an option for us’ as he once more appealed for western military support to restore his country’s territorial integrity. ‘We are inferior in terms of equipment and therefore we are not capable of advancing,’ … ‘We […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How the EU’s ban on Russian oil will rock global markets” – Financial Times

Oil Wells File Photo

“Refiners will face fierce competition to secure supplies as Brussels imposes sanctions on seaborne exports.” “… [T]he EU’s 27 member states agreed to ban seaborne Russian oil imports. To placate landlocked countries such as Hungary, pipeline shipments will continue for now. … Germany’s and Poland’s willingness to taper … pipeline purchases by 2022’s close should, combined with the seaborne ban, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russian Orthodox Leader at the Core of Putin’s Ambitions” – New York Times

Patriarch Kirill file photo

“Patriarch Kirill I has provided spiritual cover for the invasion of Ukraine, reaping vast resources for his church in return. Now, in an extraordinary step, the E.U. is threatening him with sanctions.” “… Kirill … has staked the fortunes of his branch of Orthodox Christianity on a close and mutually beneficial alliance with [] Putin ….  To his critics, the […]

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Why Russia’s Economy Hasn’t Collapsed Under The Weight Of Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Josh Owens – May 18, 2022) Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies implemented a set of unprecedented sanctions designed to destroy the Russian economy. The ruble crashed by nearly 50% against the dollar when the sanctions were first implemented but it has since bounced back to pre-war levels. A combination of energy exports, sanctions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia plans to sue over frozen currency reserves, central bank says” – Financial Times

File Photo of Assorted U.S. Cash, adapted from image at tsa.gov

“Western sanctions have cut off Moscow from nearly half of its foreign exchange holdings.” “… Two days after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine … G7 countries and the European Commission announced … sanctions on Russia’s central bank to block it from accessing its foreign exchange holdings. The central bank is unable to access nearly half of its $609.4bn in […]

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Who’s to Blame? Sanctions, Economic Hardship, and Putin’s Fear of Color Revolutions

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(PONARS Eurasia Eurasia Policy Memo No. 767 – Stephen Crowley – April 18, 2022 – click here for PDF) Stephen Crowley is Professor of Politics at Oberlin College. He is the author of, Putin’s Labor Dilemma: Russian Politics between Stability and Stagnation (Cornell University Press, 2021), from which this memo is drawn. The sanctions now imposed on Russia—as severe as they are—are unlikely by […]

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RUSSIALINK: “200,000 Risk Losing Jobs in Moscow Over Sanctions – Mayor” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and Red Square file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – April 18, 2022) Around 200,000 employees of foreign companies in Moscow could lose their jobs due to sanctions over Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the city’s mayor said on Monday. “According to our estimates, about 200,000 people are at risk of losing their jobs,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a blog post. He said authorities had […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin, Ukraine and the revival of the west” – Financial Times

File Photo of G7 Meeting, with Persons at Round Table and Long Table, with Flags and Windows Overlooking Green Space in Background

“The strength and unity of the response to Russia’s invasion surprised the Kremlin but some have accused the west of hypocrisy.” “… The speed, strength and unity of the western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine surprised the Kremlin …. [and] may even have surprised western leaders. … ‘[T]he west,’ as a geopolitical concept, is no longer defined by geography. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Oil and gas revenues give Russia’s economy $3.4bn cushion” – Financial Times

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Yet Moscow downgraded to ‘selective default’ by S&P as it warns country is unlikely to honour foreign debt terms.” “Russia has boosted the fund that cushions its sanctions-hit economy with $3.4bn in additional oil and gas revenues thanks to rising energy prices since the start of its war with Ukraine, as it edges closer to its first debt default since […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What to Know About Russia’s Possible Debt Default” – WSJ

File Photo of Assorted U.S. Cash, adapted from image at tsa.gov

“The country has until May 4 to remit funds to foreign bondholders’ accounts before defaulting.” “Russia missed a big set of dollar-bond payments due to foreign bondholders earlier this week …. The Russian Finance Ministry said U.S. sanctions were responsible for keeping the money trapped in Russia, setting the stage for the nation’s first default since 1998 and its first […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia cuts interest rates to 17 percent as ruble recovers.” – New York Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The unscheduled rate change came after the ruble had regained most of its losses since Russia invaded Ukraine.” “… The central bank said inflation would continue to rise but that recent data had pointed to a slowdown in price increases …. The annual rate of inflation neared 17 percent at the start of April … [T]he central bank said … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “West set to toughen sanctions on Russia; Ukraine urges more” – AP

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

“Western governments prepared Wednesday to toughen sanctions against Russia and send more weapons to Ukraine, after … Zelenskyy pointedly accused the world of failing to end Moscow’s invasion of his country and what he said was a campaign of murders, rapes and wanton destruction by Russian forces. In scarred and silent streets of ruined towns around Ukraine’s capital, investigators collected […]

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Despite Ukraine and Sanctions, Putin Still Enjoys an Enormous Credit of Trust with Russians but This Isn’t Infinite, Pastukhov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Mar. 22, 2022) Most Russians expect that the current crisis arising from the fighting in Ukraine and the sanctions the West has imposed will be overcome in a few months; and as a result, they are still prepared to support Vladimir Putin in his policies, Vladimir Pastukhov says. But this “credit of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In targeted Russian economy, businesses operate without Western products; Sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign firms are hitting small businesses especially hard.” – Washington Post

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… [A]s Russia faces … international sanctions … [and] the impact of Western businesses shunning the country[,] [t]housands of small and medium businesses — including restaurants, bars, beauty salons, consultancies, transportation, logistics companies and others — face …  [multiple] problems. As real wages plummet, consumption falls, inflation escalates and supply chain problems choke the economy, the crisis is devastating private […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “White House: Intel shows Putin misled by advisers on Ukraine” – AP

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

“U.S. intelligence … [reportedly] ha[s] determined that … Putin is being misinformed by advisers about his military’s poor performance in Ukraine …. The advisers are scared to tell him the truth …. The findings … indicate that Putin is aware of the situation on information coming to him and there now is persistent tension between him and senior Russian military […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Corporate Rejection of Russia Marks New Era of Political Risk” – International Institute for Strategic Studies/ Nigel Gould-Davies/ Moscow Times

File Photo of Meeting Room Table with Microphones and Chairs, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“More than 250 foreign companies have left the Russian market.” “… [N]ew Western sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine are unprecedented in three ways. …. [N]o great power has ever been subject to measures so severe and so rapidly applied. … [T]he sanctioning coalition is extremely broad: the entire transatlantic community is in lockstep, and several […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Mental Health Crisis Looms in Russia as Sanctions Fuel Drug Shortages, Job Losses” – Moscow Times

“It feels as if the world has two atmospheres, and they’re slowly crushing me.” (Moscow Times – James Beardsworth – March 24, 2022) Sasha, a 26-year-old animal behaviorist from Moscow, had seen a steady improvement in her mental health over the last three years. Thanks to her passion for her job and rigorous micro-management of her medication, she was able […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Orders Europe to Pay Rubles for Russian Gas” – Moscow Times

Gas Flame file photo

Move is seen as a bid to get Europe to roll back heavy sanctions on Moscow. (Moscow Times – March 23, 2022) Russia will force Europe to start paying for gas supplies in rubles, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in televised remarks. “I have decided to implement a set of measures to transfer payments for our gas supplies to unfriendly […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian population divided over war, tens of thousands seek exile in neighboring countries, expert says” – Fox

“Russia may only have enough money to operate for next few months as sanctions take hold, top scholar [Marlene Laruelle] says” “Russians are split over the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, and tens of thousands of Russians have already sought exile in neighboring countries, [according to] a leading scholar on Russian studies[,] … Marlene Laruelle, who heads the Institute for European, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “We must put emotions aside and ask the hard questions on Ukraine” – The Hill/ Joshua C. Huminski

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

“As a country, and certainly at a policy level, we need to have serious conversations and ask hard questions about America’s and NATO[‘]s interests in Ukraine before undertaking measures that could well lead to an escalation spiral with Moscow — this is not to say the West should not act, but that it should act in a clear-eyed fashion. We […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to Make Peace With Putin; The West Must Move Quickly to End the War in Ukraine” – Foreign Affairs/ Thomas Graham, Rajan Menon

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

“… Western arms flowing into Ukraine will increase Russia’s already substantial losses … but Putin appears prepared to accept the cost …. [T]oppling [Putin] would not necessarily end [the war]. A popular uprising … is unlikely; the Russian state has formidable means of repression …. [After] a palace coup, a new leader could be more willing to talk but … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Debt Payment Due Amid Default Fears Over Ukraine Sanctions” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – March 16, 2022) Russia is due to make an interest payment on its foreign debt Wednesday, the first since the West hit Moscow with sanctions over Ukraine, which have raised concerns that Russia could default. Moscow is due to pay $117 million on two dollar-denominated bonds. Sanctions over Russia’s operation in Ukraine have targeted $300 billion of […]

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