JRL NEWSWATCH: “China’s ties with Russia are growing more solid” – The Economist

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

“Our columnist visits a future Russian outpost in China’s most advanced spaceport” “… Here, in this showcase for Chinese technology, … Moscow Power Engineering Institute … has been invited to open a branch in Wenchang with room for 10,000 students of aerospace engineering and science. … Chinese media have already announced that, unusually, the Hainan institute will be a Russian-led […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biden needs to give Putin something to worry about” – The Hill: Mark Toth, Jonathan Sweet

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Biden and his national security team are facing a moment of truth in Ukraine. Simply funding the war in Ukraine without changing the dynamics will likely result in Putin winning over time. … [Biden] must determine whether he has the will and conviction to … see … Zelensky and his generals through to victory. … Biden has extended a […]

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Russia in Review, April 19-26, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) 7 Things to Know The U.S. confirmed this week that it secretly sent long-range missile systems known as ATACMS to Ukraine, with the weapons arriving in the country this month. U.S. President Joe Biden reversed course on a decision to withhold the weapons that some feared could lead to an escalation in the war with Russia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Parallel economy; How Russia is defying the West’s boycott” – Al Jazeera

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

“… Nearly 1,400 companies, including many of the most internationally recognisable brands, have since February 2022 announced … they would cease or dial back …. operations in Russia [over] Moscow’s military aggression against Ukraine. … [M]any of these companies’ products are still widely sold in Russia, [often] in violation of Western-led sanctions …. Aided by the Russian government’s legalisation of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, China dump the dollar as Moscow announces new trade corridors” – Quincy Institute 

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

“The Kremlin is looking to reshape global commerce in an effort to dodge Western sanctions” “Russia announced this week that its bilateral trade with China has almost completely moved away from using the U.S. dollar, highlighting the two countries’ commitment to reducing their reliance on the U.S.-led economic system. … [T]hese ‘de-dollarization’ efforts allow Russia and China to avoid … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia warns Europe: if you take our assets, we have a response that will hurt” – Reuters

File Photo of Counterfeit Euros from Russia, adapted from cbp.gov image

“… Putin [ally Valentina Matviyenko] warned Europe on Tuesday [without specifics] that Russia has already drafted legislation to retaliate if nearly $300 billion of Russian assets were seized by the West … to help Ukraine. … ‘We also have a prepared answer,’ … Matviyenko, the speaker of the Russian upper house of parliament [and a member of Russia’s powerful Security […]

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UKRAINEWATCH: “Change the approach from just helping Ukraine fight to letting them win the war” – The Hill: Kira Rudik

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

“… [T]he Kremlin’s goals … have not changed. Dmitriy Medvedev, … former Russian president and current deputy head of the Russian Security Council, described them clearly … [to] include the ‘complete capitulation’ of Ukraine with the subsequent absorption of [Ukrainian] territories and resources by Russia. … Everything … Putin’s regime has already done and will continue to do is a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Christine Lagarde says U.S. plan to raise debt against Russian assets carries legal risk” – Financial Times

File Photo of Counterfeit Euros from Russia, adapted from cbp.gov image

“Comments from European Central Bank chief point to transatlantic rift over use of seized funds” “… Lagarde … [said] … ‘I have seen four different … proposals to circumvent what many other jurists or lawyers — including in some [U.S.] administrations … — regard as a very serious legal obstacle ….’ She added that [the] work was ‘ongoing’ …. ‘Moving […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to grow faster than all advanced economies says IMF” – BBC

File Photo of IMF Acronym on Wall Below Row of Circular Lights, adapted from image at state.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“… The IMF[] expects Russia to grow 3.2% this year, … more than the UK, France and Germany. Oil exports have ‘held steady’ and government spending has ‘remained high’ contributing to growth, the IMF said. … Despite the Kremlin being sanctioned over its invasion of Ukraine, the IMF upgraded its January predictions for the Russian economy this year, and said […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Coming to Terms” – Harpers: George Beebe, Anatol Lieven

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

“… [I]t is increasingly clear that the Ukrainian army is not capable of reconquering … territories lost to Russia … [W]ithout continued and massive Western aid, the Ukrainians will suffer eventual defeat owing to Russia’s huge economic and demographic superiority, and … such aid cannot be guaranteed. Sanctions have not cratered Russia’s economy or crippled its war effort. Russia has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian quarterly budget revenues rise more than half amid high oil prices” – Financial Times

File photo of Russian paper currency, adapted from image at csce.house.gov

“Russian budget revenues in the first quarter of 2024 reached 8.7tn ($94bn) roubles … marking year-on-year growth of more than half, [according to the Russian] finance ministry …. Energy revenues, … a third of Russia’s total budget earnings, surged by almost 80 per cent … [due to] high oil prices and one-off [energy exporter tax-related] payments …. Non-oil and gas […]

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Russia in Review, March 29-April 5, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) 6 Things to Know Russian forces have gained 23 square miles of Ukrainian territory, while Ukrainian forces have re-gained 0 square miles in the past month, according to the April 2, 2024, issue of the Belfer Center’s Russia-Ukraine War Report Card. Most recently, Russian forces have advanced into the outskirts of the town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow hopes frozen assets swap scheme will benefit Russian stocks” – Reuters

File photo of Russian paper currency, adapted from image at csce.house.gov

“Russia hopes its stock market will benefit from a scheme … where Russians who own frozen foreign securities will be able to apply to sell them to foreigners with frozen assets in Russia …. Moscow presents the plan as a way for … Russian and foreign investors to free up assets … blocked by Western sanctions and Russian counter-measures …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Claims That Sanctions Hurt Europe More Than Russia Are Wrong” – Foreign Policy

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“A false narrative is being peddled by the Kremlin and its Western friends.” “… Russia has never been a major market for EU firms, with Russian businesses buying just 4 percent of EU exports in 2021. [A]bout half of EU exports to Russia fall under sanctions … [so] only 2 percent of EU exports are affected …. [S]anctions do not […]

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Russia Analytical Report, Feb. 26-March 4, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) 3 Ideas to Explore “Russia’s ability to absorb military losses, its deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure and the limitations of its conventionally armed land-attack missile arsenal provides” at least two “potential insights into Russia’s theatre nuclear doctrine,” according to William Alberque of IISS. “Firstly, given Russia’s indifference to civilian casualties in Ukraine, it stands to reason that […]

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Russia in Review, Feb. 23-March 1, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) 7 Things to Know Vladimir Putin used his annual address to the Russian parliament to not only rattle his nuclear saber at the West again, but also to accuse his Western counterparts of “spooking the world” with the threat of a nuclear war, all while claiming to be ready for talks on nuclear arms control. “We remember what […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s resilience to sanctions shows it is ‘costly and unattainable’ to isolate a large and globally integrated economy, economist says” – Business Insider

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s economy remains resilient against Western sanctions. Economist Elina Ribakova wrote about the limitations of trying to isolate a globally integrated economy like Russia. The West’s experience sanctioning Russia could help in crafting potential future trade restrictions against China.” “Despite sweeping … sanctions over … Ukraine, Russia posted … GDP growth of 3.6% in 2023 after contracting 1.2% in 2022. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Unveils Biggest Sanctions Package on Russia Since War Began” – Bloomberg

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

“Drone maker, payment system are among targets of penalties Yellen says Russia’s economy showing ‘signs of weakness’” “U.S. holds off metals sanctions amid fears of economic chaos Russia’s economy still forecast to grow up to 1.5% in 2024″ “The U.S. unveiled its biggest one-day sanctions package against Russia since the [full-scale] invasion of Ukraine … targeting more than 500 people […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Seizing Frozen Russian Assets Over Ukraine War Wins Endorsement of Legal Experts” – Bloomberg

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

Letter from scholars backing seizure is circulating in G-7 ‘It would be lawful, under international law,’ 10 experts say “A group of legal experts sought to bolster the case for seizing frozen Russian central bank assets, arguing that such actions are allowed under international law given the scale of Russia’s continuing attacks in Ukraine. … The letter … is co-signed […]

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Russia in Review, Feb. 9-15, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) 5 Things to Know Donald Trump’s advisers have discussed getting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin around a negotiating table early in a potential second term, according to a Feb. 14 report by Bloomberg. One adviser to Trump said the promise of severing U.S. military aid could help get Zelenskyy—whom Trump has described as “the greatest […]

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UKRAINELINK: “A Long War Made Longer by the West’s Unaddressed Mistakes” – Kennan Institute: Victor Andrusiv

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Victor Andrusiv, Officer, Ukrainian Armed Forces; Former Director, Kyiv School of Public Administration – Feb. 14, 2024) Two years of war in Ukraine is already a long time, but recent events suggest that all forecasts regarding the end of hostilities no longer apply. For the first time, in speaking of a “long war” we’re referring […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Asia’s commercial heft helps keep Russia’s war economy going; That holds future lessons for America” – The Economist

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

“… [M]ore than three dozen countries … slapped economic sanctions on Russia … unprecedented in … scope for a target of its size, covering energy and other commodities, finance, technology, travel, shipping and more … to raise the cost … of continuing the war [in Ukraine]. … China … has done the most to undermine the West’s sanctions. Trade between […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “EU unlikely to confiscate Russian central bank assets – officials” – Reuters

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“The [EU] [reportedly] is unlikely to confiscate Russian central bank assets frozen in Europe, despite G7 plans to discuss the legality of such a move at a meeting in February …. The EU, United States, Japan and Canada froze some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine … [including roughly] $200 billion … held […]

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Ukraine and West Can’t Count on Collapse of Russia’s Military-Industrial Sector as a Result of Sanctions, Inozemtsev Says

File photo of Russian paper currency, adapted from image at csce.house.gov

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Jan. 16, 2024) Western analysts and politicians cycle between viewing Russia as too strong for anyone to do anything about it to considering it so weak that its key sectors are about to collapse and therefore to argue that no radical steps are necessary to force Moscow to change its positions. That […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. plan to break Russia’s grip on nuclear fuel” – Financial Times

“Demand for atomic energy is surging but Moscow dominates the world’s supplies of enriched uranium.” “… Utilities companies have spent two years stockpiling nuclear fuel in case Russian supplies are disrupted. … Washington is undertaking a multibillion-dollar push to rebuild its nuclear supply chain …. More than a fifth of the fuel used by the 93 nuclear reactors in the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Grabbing $300 billion of Russian assets is no panacea, West cautions in Davos” – Reuters

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

“Western officials looking at confiscating Russian assets No decisions yet made – U.S. special representative Belgium: we need to work out a mechanism” “Western officials said in Davos … they were open to … confiscating $300 billion of Russian assets to help Ukraine, but cautioned … the devil was in the legal detail and that, even if it could be […]

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Russia in Review, Jan. 5-12, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) 6 Things to Know The Pentagon has failed to properly track at least $1 billion in weapons that the U.S. has provided to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, according to a report by the Defense Department’s inspector general, FT  reports. The high rate of weapons that were missing or otherwise immediately unaccounted for in government […]

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Oil Drilling Is Booming in Russia Despite Western Sanctions

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

(oilprice.com – Charles Kennedy – Jan. 10, 2024) Drilling at Russia’s oil production wells likely beat a post-Soviet record in 2023, according to industry data Bloomberg has seen — evidence that the Western sanctions haven’t affected drilling rates much, especially at brownfields. Russia is estimated to have drilled oil production wells with a total depth of 28,100 kilometers (17,460 miles) […]

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Russia Analytical Report, Jan. 2-8, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) “The ‘rules-based order’ that President Biden proclaims has become a slogan rather than a fact,” WP’s David Ignatius argues in his preview of how the Russian-Ukrainian war and other conflicts will evolve in 2024. In his latest column, Ignatius blasts Vladimir Putin’s aggression again Ukraine, but also reminds us how there was an “element of truth” in […]

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Russia in Review, Dec. 21, 2023-Jan. 5, 2024

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and its commander-in-chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi have continued their indirect struggle over which of them should assume prime responsibility for the unpopular decision1 to conscript up to 500,000 Ukrainians. The tussle began on Dec. 19 when Zelensky claimed that the Ukrainian army chiefs had requested the conscription of up to 500,000 men, according […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine May Have to Accept a Cease-Fire” – WSJ

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

“The good news is it would open the door to eventual EU and NATO membership.” “According to a recent report …. [Ukrainian] troops on the front line are running out of ammunition. Artillery shells are being rationed, forcing the Ukrainians to cancel planned assaults and making it hard to hold defensive positions against Russian attacks. … As Ukraine struggles, its […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Seizing Russian reserves is the right thing to do” – Financial Times

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

“Blatant violations of international laws require a response and reparations would be in line with historical precedent.” “… [One] geopolitical flashpoint[] … may be … pressure to seize Russia’s reserves in foreign central banks to fund Ukraine. Western nations … reported[ly] … have been actively exploring the move …. rais[ing] worries about … consequences for the financial system, … that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia exports almost all its oil to China and India – Novak” – Reuters

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

“… Russia has successfully circumvented sanctions on its oil … divert[ing] flows from Europe to China and India, … together account[ing] for around 90% of … crude exports, [according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.] … He said … Europe’s share of Russia’s crude exports has fallen to … about 4-5% from about 40-45%. … [Regarding] … OPEC+ …, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and U.S. Heading for Major Escalation” – Newsweek/ Isabel van Brugen

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“Russia and the U.S. could be headed for a major escalation, according to [Sergei Ryabkov, Russian deputy foreign minister responsible for ties with the U.S., arms control and non-proliferation.] … [Ryakkov] said … confiscation of frozen Russian assets could lead to diplomatic relations … being severed. … [R]eports emerged that the Biden administration could be close to seizing more than […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Official Reveals Drastic Punishment for Russia” – Newsweek

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

“The United States seeks to cut Russia’s oil and gas revenue by 50 percent by 2030 as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine …. according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt[,] [who said that] … Washington hopes [oil and gas] sanctions … will hinder … Putin from … future military aggression …. Kremlin has managed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to Avoid Defeat in Ukraine: For starters, step up military aid and break Putin’s global networks of influence.” – WSJ

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium in Front of U.S. and State Department Flags, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“The German tabloid ‘Bild’ said …. President Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz … plan to force Ukraine into peace talks next year by denying it the weapons needed to win. … Team Biden is more interested in avoiding confrontation with Russia than in defeating it. To oppose aid to Ukraine is to ensure a Russian victory, but funding [] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Some EU Nations Push to Weaken Russia Sanctions Enforcement Plan” – Bloomberg

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“EU proposals include ban on re-export to Russia of key goods Proposals include penalties for breaches and fund for Ukraine” “… [EU’s] executive arm has proposed banning importers from reselling so-called high-priority items — like semiconductors used in weapons or needed to make them — to Russia or for use in Russia, and requiring a sum to be deposited in […]

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Russia in Review, Nov. 9-17, 2023

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) The U.S. Congress’ interest in financing Ukraine’s fight against invading Russian forces has “dipped lower than ever,” according to WP. Moreover, rising competition from other national security priorities could “sound the death knell for continued American aid” for Kyiv, this newspaper predicted shortly before Biden signed a bill that is designed to avoid a government shutdown, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Almost No Russian Oil Sold Below G7 Price Cap – FT” – Moscow Times

Oil Wells File Photo

(Moscow Times – Nov. 14, 2023) Russia has managed to almost entirely circumvent a G7 price cap on its oil exports, with Moscow claiming average sales at more than $20 per barrel above the imposed limit, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing Western officials and Russian export data. [ft.com/content/09e8ee14-a665-4644-8ec5-5972070463ad] According to an unnamed senior European official who spoke to FT, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s New Elite Emerges to Fill Void After Multinationals Flee” – Bloomberg

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

“Foreign firms have sold assets worth over $21 billion Third wave of business elite swoops in to grab bargains” “A new cohort of Russian business elite has emerged to benefit from the void left when international firms suddenly exited following … Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. … snapp[ing] up assets at discounted prices after … multinationals … [left due to] pressure […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s war economy leaves businesses starved of labour” – Financial Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Busy armaments factories are depriving other industries of scarce workers” “Russia’s army and … weapons factories are sucking in a growing number of workers as Moscow braces itself for a long war … leaving civilian sectors with painful labour shortages and destabilising the … economy. … [L]abour shortages have helped expose [economic] weaknesses … contradict[ing] the [Kremlin’s] rosy picture …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Squeezed by Sanctions, Some Oligarchs Are Heading Home to Putin’s Russia” – Bloomberg

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Putin’s war in Ukraine is leaving billionaires who sought to integrate with the West to face the reality of international isolation.” “… Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed everything for [certain Russian oligarchs] … who prospered under Putin until the U.S. and Europe imposed sweeping sanctions aimed at isolating the Kremlin leader and bringing his economy to its knees. The penalties […]

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Russia Analytical Report, Oct. 23-30, 2023

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) The Kremlin stands to benefit from the Israel-Hamas conflict in three ways, according to Hanna Notte of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. The conflict distracts the West from the war in Ukraine; it hinders normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel; and it helps Russia to style itself as David to the Western […]

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West Sanctions Russian Aviation, But Moscow Decides to Keep Planes Flying Despite Risks

Russian Plane file photo, adapted from image at ice.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Steven E. Harris – Oct. 26, 2023) Steven E. Harris is professor of modern Russian and European history at the University of Mary Washington. He is presently writing a book on the history of Aeroflot and authoritarianism in the Russian Jet Age from Stalin to Putin. When the U.S. and its allies slapped sanctions on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “China’s Xi Doubles Down on Belt and Road as Path to New World Order” – WSJ

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

“Chinese and Russian leaders tout trillion-dollar initiative as a model for international cooperation at summit in Beijing, but Western leaders weren’t there to hear it.” “… [O]ne war raging in Ukraine … another unfolding in the Middle East …Xi Jinping is promoting his signature foreign-policy project as a force for unity, cooperation and prosperity around the globe. At a summit […]

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Russia in Review, Oct. 6-13, 2023

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) As violence escalated between Israel and Hamas after the latter’s indiscriminate attacks against the former, top Russian officials seized the opportunity to blame the crisis on what they described as America’s repeated failure to use its “monopoly” on mediation between the two sides to reach a fair peace deal. Vladimir Putin has also called for a cessation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians allowed to compete as neutral athletes at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris” – AP

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

“Russians will be allowed … as neutral athletes at next year’s Paralympics in Paris … following the invasion of Ukraine. The International Paralympic Committee voted 74-65 … on Friday against suspending Russia’s membership entirely — which would have meant a full ban … then voted 90-65 in favor of ‘partially’ suspending the country through 2025. … because of ‘breaches of […]

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In Dealing With Ordinary Russians, the West’s Values Are At Stake

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Ekaterina Kotrikadze, News Director and Anchor, TV Rain (Dozhd TV) – Sept. 27, 2023) Russian citizens are facing new restrictions. European Union authorities have just prohibited them from crossing the union’s border in cars bearing Russian license plates and from carrying certain items with them. As these restrictions were being introduced, European sanctions were being […]

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Russia in Review, Sept. 8-15, 2023

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org) Russia has managed to overcome sanctions and export controls imposed by the West to expand its missile production beyond prewar levels, according to U.S., European and Ukrainian officials cited by NYT. “With revenue from high energy prices, Russia’s security services and ministry of defense have been able to smuggle in the microelectronics and other Western materials […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to wage the financial war against Russia’s economy” – Washington Post

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The war in Ukraine is being waged on the battlefield but also globally … [T]he latter theater might be the more decisive … the financial and commercial terrain where the West’s sanctions have been deployed … [T]he effort to subvert Russia’s economy might eventually do more to end the war than any new weapons system or fresh breakthrough along the […]

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