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UKRAINE & RUSSIA :: Recent Issues: MONDAY JRL 10.20.14 :: FRIDAY JRL 10.17.14 :: THURSDAY JRL 10.16.14 :: WEDNESDAY JRL 10.15.14 :: TUESDAY JRL 10.14.14 :: MONDAY JRL 10.13.14 :: more ...

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Russian Rights Ombudswoman Slams EU Over Ukraine Silence

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – October 20, 2014) Russia’s human rights ombudswoman has accused the European Union of “ignoring human suffering” in eastern Ukraine, in an interview published in the state-run bulletin “Rossiiskaya gazeta.” Ella Pamfilova said that although Europe is “an icon in the style of human rights, democracy, and freedom of speech,” it “openly

RIA Novosti: Time Running out for Election Monitors, Registering Ahead of Ukrainian Parliament Polls

Rada File Photo

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – Monday will be the final day for those, going to monitor the upcoming parliamentary election in Ukraineto register with the country’s Central Election Commission. More than 1,800 observers have been registered so far, with 1,589 representing non-government organizations and 238 dispatched by foreign governments. A snap election to the

Masked men again attack Akhmetov’s Zaporizhstal steel plant

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 20, 2014) Over 100 masked men wearing nationalist insignia laid siege to Zaporizhstal, one of Ukraine’s largest steel plants, and owned by Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov, newswires report. “The northern and southern entrances to the Zaporizhstal metallurgy plant are blocked by about 10 passenger vans carrying unidentified

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian president “recognized by everyone” – Russian foreign minister

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 19, 2014) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that he would not dramatize Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s public statements ahead of the elections to the Supreme Council [parliament], although some of them are “hitting below the belt”. “As regards public statements (by Poroshenko), the election campaign is under way

RIA Novosti: Lavrov: Western Sanctions’ Goal is to Change Russia, Not to Settle Ukrainian Crisis

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – The goal of Western sanctions is to force to change the position of the Russian Federation on the key and fundamental issues, and not to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Our partners, who actually imposed the sanctions, do not hide the fact that

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#218 table of contents with links :: Monday 20 October 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#218 :: Monday 18 October 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. www.thedailybeast.com: Anna Nemtsova, Why

Interfax: Ukraine rebels reject German reports blaming them for downing flight MH17

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – Moscow, October 19, 2014) First deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic Andriy Purhin [Russian: Andrey Purgin] rejects German intelligence allegations of militia members’ involvement in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing, suggesting that Ukrainian troops may have shot down the airliner in error, mistaking it for a reconnaissance aircraft. “These

Ukraine and Russia move close to gas agreement, want IMF to pay bill

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 20, 2014) Russia and Ukraine have moved a step closer to an agreement on gas supplies and pricing, but have called for the international community to help Ukraine pay its gas bill. “[We] reached an agreement,” Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko said on Ukrainian TV on October 17, immediately

Specter of ’98 Default Haunts Russians as Ruble Weakens

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 18, 2014) As the Russian ruble plunges to repeated record lows and the Central Bank ramps up market interventions to defend it, few want to mention Aug. 17, 1998. On that day, amid budgetary chaos and dwindling foreign currency reserves, Russia abandoned its support of the

Russia’s ‘Era of Freedom’ has Come to an End, Academician Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 19, 2014) Russia’s 25-year-long era of freedom, which began in 1989 with the Congress of Peoples Deputies, has come to an end and the prospects for the future are extremely bleak, according to Academician Yury Pivovarov. If Russians do not transform themselves, their country risks becoming

Khodorkovsky expecting large-scale civil war in Russia

Map of Russia

(Pravda.ru – October 17, 2014) Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in an interview with the BBC that he was expecting a large-scale civil war in Russia in the future. “What is happening in Ukraine, is undoubtedly bad for Russia, as it strengthens the authoritarian regime in Russia and ruins the hopes of the progressive part of the

Censorship Fears Mount as Officials Move to Tackle ‘Negativity’ in Russian Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2014) Days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law forcing foreign companies to sell stakes in Russian media, members of Russia’s upper house of parliament have advocated applying state pressure to combat a glut of “negative” news that is poisoning the country’s image, a news report said Friday.

Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#217 table of contents with links :: Friday 17 October 2014

St. Basil's file photo

… 37. Moscow Times: Vladislav Inozemtsev, The Ruble’s Senseless and Harmful Devaluation.
38. RFE/RL: Brian Whitmore, Putin’s Class Of 2014.
39. www.opendemocracy.net: Yelizaveta Surnacheva, For the Russian elite, loyalty is all. Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations
40. Bloomberg: China Embraces a Russia Cut off From Western Capital. …

Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps.

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps. Date: 15 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 3. Practical aspects of sanctions impact optimization for Russian companies. Violating sanctions or hoping for a world without sanctions is not a sanctions policy. Effective sanctions policies optimize transacting and protect assets. They work at the nexus of regulatory,

NEW BOOK: Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine

Maidan Square file photo

Subject: New book: Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 From: Ruslan Pukhov <director@cast.ru> Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine Edited by Colby Howard and Ruslan Pukhov, Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Published by East View Press, 2014 ISBN 978-1-879944-22-0 paperback, 252 pages

For the Russian elite, loyalty is all: Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations…

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(opendemocracy.net – Yelizaveta Surnacheva – October 16, 2014) Yelizaveta Surnacheva is a journalist at Kommersant. In the last six months, Russian officials, oligarchs, CEOs of state-owned businesses, parliamentary deputies, and regional governors have found themselves in a new world, with new missions, new economic circumstances, and new mechanisms for decision-making. Not many are comfortable with

Putin’s Class Of 2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 17, 2014) The iPhone-toting hipsters hanging out in their trendy downtown Moscow office are just the high-profile part of the Kremlin’s new youth strategy. Founded in November 2013, the youth group Set — which means “Network” in Russian — has organized patriotic fashion shows and film festivals,

Life in Russia with $80 oil

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – October 17, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. From late 2010 until the middle of August this year, the price of Brent crude has traded within a relatively narrow range and averaged close to $110 per barrel. Over the

Interfax: “Novak: oil price drop no ‘tragedy'”

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax – October 17, 2014) The current decline in oil prices is no tragedy, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, adding that the average annual price of oil needs to be considered. “The price reached $120 per barrel at the beginning of the year, and averaged $100 per barrel in the three preceding years. If

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Ruble devaluation compensates for loss of oil revenue

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Karnaukh, special to RBTH – October 17, 2014) Falling oil prices – and the falling ruble – have different consequences for the budget and consumers Oil prices – and the Russian ruble – continue to sink. As of Oct. 16, the price of a barrel of Brent

Interfax: Russians feel no effect from Western sanctions, think Russian economy may benefit – poll

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – October 17, 2014) Most Russians claim they have felt no effect from Western sanctions and expect that the sanctions will be good for the national economy, sociologists have told Interfax. A relative majority (41 percent) of 1,630 respondents polled by Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said the

Russia to crack down on tax evasion

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 17, 2014) Russian authorities are moving ahead with a campaign to plug external and internal tax loopholes, with the government preparing a new law on ‘de-offshorisation’ and the central bank closing down banks complicit in grey capital outflows. The de-offshorisation campaign is intended to repatriate Russian business from

Navalny Wouldn’t Return Crimea, Considers Immigration Bigger Issue Than Ukraine

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 17, 2014) Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in an interview this week that he would not return the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine if he had the power to do so, and that the issue of illegal immigration was more important for Russia than anything

Putin’s Glamour Deemed Threat to National Security

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 17, 2014) In 2009, during his stint as prime minister, President Vladimir Putin flirted with being a columnist at literary magazine Russky Pioner, famous for its ostentatious parties. A vehicle for the literary ambition of the Russian elite, its contributors have also included presidential aide Vladislav

Interfax: West Africa Ebola sooner or later to be contained, virus not to reach Russia – Virology Research Institute

Ebola Virus, adapted from image at nih.gov with credit NAID

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – Experts from the Ivanovsky Virology Research Institute of the Russian Health Ministry believe the situation with Ebola in the world is unlikely to reach a level when Russia will have to restrict border entry. “I believe the situation will develop according to a favorable scenario and the outbreak can be

Interfax: Expert says drug abuse rates in Russia not catastrophic, alcoholism much worse

Russian Drug Den File Photo

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – The official drug abuse figure in Russia stands at 650,000 people. Their number is down 9% for the first time ever, the Russian Health Ministry’s chief substance abuse specialist Yevgeny Bryun said. “I cannot call drug abuse rates catastrophic. The alcoholism problem is much worse here. About 650,000 drug addicts

Muscovites in for a Harsh Winter as Temperatures Set to Plunge

File Photo of Moscow In Snowy Winter Showing St. Basil's At Night in Snowfall, with People on the Ground in the Distance

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 17, 2014) After several years of relatively mild winters, Russia is gearing up for what meteorologists say will be a truly “Russian winter,” with its traditional frosts and ample snowfall. “Our estimations show that this year’s winter will be closer to our long-term average,” Alexander Frolov, head of the

RIA Novosti: Kiev’s Ultranationalism Behind Conflict With Eastern Ukraine: Russian Envoy

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) -The reason behind the tragedy in Eastern Ukraine is that the local population rejected the ultranationalist stand of the new Ukrainian government, which responded with a punitive operation against its own citizens, the Russian envoy to the United Nations said at a security conference in Switzerland. “The reason behind the

Interfax: DPR won’t hold Ukrainian elections – Purgin

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – The administration of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic is calm about the statement made by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who said the elections in the DPR are to be conducted in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. “Our position remains unchanged. We will not allow any Ukrainian elections on our

Thirty-nine government heads roll after lustration law takes effect

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 17, 2014) Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk has said that 39 top government officials have lost their jobs on the basis of a lustration law that entered into force on October 14, purging officials who served under former president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February. “In accordance with

Interfax: Russian defence chief “seriously concerned” by US counterpart’s statement

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 16, 2014) US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s statement on the necessity of preparing the American army for “dealing with the Russian armed forces” is evidence that military scenarios near the borders of the Russian Federation are being worked on, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu has told journalists. “Chuck Hagel’s point

Preparing for War Against the US on All Fronts – A Net Assessment of Russia’s Defense and Foreign Policy Since the Start of 2014

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 183 – Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – October 16, 2014) In a series of recently published interviews, President Vladimir Putin (kremlin.ru, October 15), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Interfax, October 15) and national security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 15) have outlined Moscow’s strategic vision

Hagel: U.S. Army Must Be Ready to Face ‘Revisionist’ Russia

Chuck Hegel gesturing, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has issued a warning to his country’s armed forces, saying they should be prepared for the security threat posed by a revitalized Russia. “The demands on the [U.S.] Army will only grow more diverse and complicated going forward,” Hagel told the

Interfax: FMS: Over 3.5 million Ukrainian nationals move to Russia in 2014

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) – More than 3.5 million Ukrainian nationals moved to Russia this year, Lilia Arestova, deputy head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) naturalization department, said at a meeting of the committee for public support to residents of south-eastern Ukraine. “The FMS is keeping a daily record of arrivals. A total of

RIA Novosti: Putin: No Energy Crisis in Europe on Russia’s Behalf

Gas Flame file photo

BELGRADE, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reassured European partners that Russia would do everything possible to prevent any interruption of Russian natural gas deliveries to Europe. “We would’t want any crisis to occur during the winter period,” Putin told reporters following talks with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. “Russia

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Kerry and Lavrov take a practical approach

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Separte Podiums, Kerry with a Visible Earpiece; Adapted from Photo at state.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nikolai Litovkin, RBTH – October 16, 2014) During a three-hour meeting in Paris on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed cooperation against ISIS in Iraq and Syria as well as the political crisis in Ukraine. After the talks, Lavrov said

RIA Novosti: Ukraine Demands Gas Transit Contract With Europe, Refuses to Guarantee Safe Transit

Gas Flame file photo

KIEV, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine will not guarantee uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to Europe via its territory unless it signs a gas transit contract with EU partners, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Thursday. “Ukraine declares that we are a state that guarantees uninterrupted transit of natural gas, but in order to guarantee

Back-of-envelope estimate of cost to Russia of Ukraine crisis is $100 billion in 2014

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Timothy Ash of Standard Bank – October 15, 2014) Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, this week estimated that the crisis in Ukraine would likely cost the German economy €40bn this year, and a further €50bn in 2015 – presumably through lost exports, and a broader disruption to the German

Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like

TRANSCRIPT: Kerry Remarks at a Solo Press Availability

John Kerry file photo

(US Department of State – John Kerry, Secretary of State – October 14, 2014) Paris, France SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good evening, everybody. Thanks for your patience. This has been a very productive couple of days, and I’m glad to have an opportunity to be able to catch up on the discussions that we’ve had, both

Seven parties enter parliament, Poroshenko Bloc gets third of votes – survey

Rada File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – October 15, 2014) Interesting poll reported by Interfax. Predictably President Poroshenko’s For Petro Poroshenko Bloc is still riding high in the polls with 33.5% – and emerging as the new party of power. Next up up is Liashko’s Radical Party with 12.8%, and seemingly

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian Teens Tweet Nazi Propaganda, Boast of Burning Russians

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

[Graphics and tweets here en.ria.ru/society/20141012/193990648/ Ukrainian-Teens-Tweet-Nazi-Propaganda-Boast-of-Burning-Russians.html] MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – Since the Euromaidan turmoil and events triggered by the Ukrainian coup of February 2014, Ukrainian youth has been used as the main propaganda force of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Ukrainian right-wing nationalists attract young people by romanticized the image of OUN-UPA

Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Endorse Internet Censorship

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 15, 2014) The majority of the Russian population supports a curb on Internet freedoms in theory, a new study showed Tuesday. Fifty-four percent of the respondents in a new poll by the independent Levada Center said the World Wide Web had enough dangerous websites to mandate censorship. Another 31

RIA Novosti: Putin Limits Foreign Capital’s Participation in Russian Media: Government

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law reducing the possible share of foreign stockholders in the Russian media to 20 percent, says the corresponding document published on the Russian government’s official legal information web portal Wednesday. “Unless otherwise stipulated by an international treaty … a Russian legal entity


Russian Rights Ombudswoman Slams EU Over Ukraine Silence

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – October 20, 2014) Russia’s human rights ombudswoman has accused the European Union of “ignoring human suffering” in eastern Ukraine, in an interview published in the state-run bulletin “Rossiiskaya gazeta.” Ella Pamfilova said that although Europe is “an icon in the style of human rights, democracy, and freedom of speech,” it “openly

RIA Novosti: Time Running out for Election Monitors, Registering Ahead of Ukrainian Parliament Polls

Rada File Photo

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – Monday will be the final day for those, going to monitor the upcoming parliamentary election in Ukraineto register with the country’s Central Election Commission. More than 1,800 observers have been registered so far, with 1,589 representing non-government organizations and 238 dispatched by foreign governments. A snap election to the

Masked men again attack Akhmetov’s Zaporizhstal steel plant

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 20, 2014) Over 100 masked men wearing nationalist insignia laid siege to Zaporizhstal, one of Ukraine’s largest steel plants, and owned by Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov, newswires report. “The northern and southern entrances to the Zaporizhstal metallurgy plant are blocked by about 10 passenger vans carrying unidentified

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian president “recognized by everyone” – Russian foreign minister

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 19, 2014) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that he would not dramatize Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s public statements ahead of the elections to the Supreme Council [parliament], although some of them are “hitting below the belt”. “As regards public statements (by Poroshenko), the election campaign is under way

RIA Novosti: Lavrov: Western Sanctions’ Goal is to Change Russia, Not to Settle Ukrainian Crisis

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – The goal of Western sanctions is to force to change the position of the Russian Federation on the key and fundamental issues, and not to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Our partners, who actually imposed the sanctions, do not hide the fact that

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#218 table of contents with links :: Monday 20 October 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List JRL 2014-#218 :: Monday 18 October 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George  Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist  JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php  Ukraine 1. www.thedailybeast.com: Anna Nemtsova, Why

Interfax: Ukraine rebels reject German reports blaming them for downing flight MH17

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – Moscow, October 19, 2014) First deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic Andriy Purhin [Russian: Andrey Purgin] rejects German intelligence allegations of militia members’ involvement in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing, suggesting that Ukrainian troops may have shot down the airliner in error, mistaking it for a reconnaissance aircraft. “These

Ukraine and Russia move close to gas agreement, want IMF to pay bill

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 20, 2014) Russia and Ukraine have moved a step closer to an agreement on gas supplies and pricing, but have called for the international community to help Ukraine pay its gas bill. “[We] reached an agreement,” Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko said on Ukrainian TV on October 17, immediately

Specter of ’98 Default Haunts Russians as Ruble Weakens

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 18, 2014) As the Russian ruble plunges to repeated record lows and the Central Bank ramps up market interventions to defend it, few want to mention Aug. 17, 1998. On that day, amid budgetary chaos and dwindling foreign currency reserves, Russia abandoned its support of the

Russia’s ‘Era of Freedom’ has Come to an End, Academician Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 19, 2014) Russia’s 25-year-long era of freedom, which began in 1989 with the Congress of Peoples Deputies, has come to an end and the prospects for the future are extremely bleak, according to Academician Yury Pivovarov. If Russians do not transform themselves, their country risks becoming

Khodorkovsky expecting large-scale civil war in Russia

Map of Russia

(Pravda.ru – October 17, 2014) Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in an interview with the BBC that he was expecting a large-scale civil war in Russia in the future. “What is happening in Ukraine, is undoubtedly bad for Russia, as it strengthens the authoritarian regime in Russia and ruins the hopes of the progressive part of the

Censorship Fears Mount as Officials Move to Tackle ‘Negativity’ in Russian Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2014) Days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law forcing foreign companies to sell stakes in Russian media, members of Russia’s upper house of parliament have advocated applying state pressure to combat a glut of “negative” news that is poisoning the country’s image, a news report said Friday.

Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2014-#217 table of contents with links :: Friday 17 October 2014

St. Basil's file photo

… 37. Moscow Times: Vladislav Inozemtsev, The Ruble’s Senseless and Harmful Devaluation.
38. RFE/RL: Brian Whitmore, Putin’s Class Of 2014.
39. www.opendemocracy.net: Yelizaveta Surnacheva, For the Russian elite, loyalty is all. Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations
40. Bloomberg: China Embraces a Russia Cut off From Western Capital. …

Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps.

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps. Date: 15 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 3. Practical aspects of sanctions impact optimization for Russian companies. Violating sanctions or hoping for a world without sanctions is not a sanctions policy. Effective sanctions policies optimize transacting and protect assets. They work at the nexus of regulatory,

NEW BOOK: Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine

Maidan Square file photo

Subject: New book: Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 From: Ruslan Pukhov <director@cast.ru> Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine Edited by Colby Howard and Ruslan Pukhov, Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Published by East View Press, 2014 ISBN 978-1-879944-22-0 paperback, 252 pages

For the Russian elite, loyalty is all: Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations…

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(opendemocracy.net – Yelizaveta Surnacheva – October 16, 2014) Yelizaveta Surnacheva is a journalist at Kommersant. In the last six months, Russian officials, oligarchs, CEOs of state-owned businesses, parliamentary deputies, and regional governors have found themselves in a new world, with new missions, new economic circumstances, and new mechanisms for decision-making. Not many are comfortable with

Putin’s Class Of 2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 17, 2014) The iPhone-toting hipsters hanging out in their trendy downtown Moscow office are just the high-profile part of the Kremlin’s new youth strategy. Founded in November 2013, the youth group Set — which means “Network” in Russian — has organized patriotic fashion shows and film festivals,

Life in Russia with $80 oil

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – October 17, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. From late 2010 until the middle of August this year, the price of Brent crude has traded within a relatively narrow range and averaged close to $110 per barrel. Over the

Interfax: “Novak: oil price drop no ‘tragedy'”

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax – October 17, 2014) The current decline in oil prices is no tragedy, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, adding that the average annual price of oil needs to be considered. “The price reached $120 per barrel at the beginning of the year, and averaged $100 per barrel in the three preceding years. If

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Ruble devaluation compensates for loss of oil revenue

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Karnaukh, special to RBTH – October 17, 2014) Falling oil prices – and the falling ruble – have different consequences for the budget and consumers Oil prices – and the Russian ruble – continue to sink. As of Oct. 16, the price of a barrel of Brent

Interfax: Russians feel no effect from Western sanctions, think Russian economy may benefit – poll

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – October 17, 2014) Most Russians claim they have felt no effect from Western sanctions and expect that the sanctions will be good for the national economy, sociologists have told Interfax. A relative majority (41 percent) of 1,630 respondents polled by Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said the

Russia to crack down on tax evasion

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 17, 2014) Russian authorities are moving ahead with a campaign to plug external and internal tax loopholes, with the government preparing a new law on ‘de-offshorisation’ and the central bank closing down banks complicit in grey capital outflows. The de-offshorisation campaign is intended to repatriate Russian business from

Navalny Wouldn’t Return Crimea, Considers Immigration Bigger Issue Than Ukraine

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 17, 2014) Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in an interview this week that he would not return the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine if he had the power to do so, and that the issue of illegal immigration was more important for Russia than anything

Putin’s Glamour Deemed Threat to National Security

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 17, 2014) In 2009, during his stint as prime minister, President Vladimir Putin flirted with being a columnist at literary magazine Russky Pioner, famous for its ostentatious parties. A vehicle for the literary ambition of the Russian elite, its contributors have also included presidential aide Vladislav

Interfax: West Africa Ebola sooner or later to be contained, virus not to reach Russia – Virology Research Institute

Ebola Virus, adapted from image at nih.gov with credit NAID

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – Experts from the Ivanovsky Virology Research Institute of the Russian Health Ministry believe the situation with Ebola in the world is unlikely to reach a level when Russia will have to restrict border entry. “I believe the situation will develop according to a favorable scenario and the outbreak can be

Interfax: Expert says drug abuse rates in Russia not catastrophic, alcoholism much worse

Russian Drug Den File Photo

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – The official drug abuse figure in Russia stands at 650,000 people. Their number is down 9% for the first time ever, the Russian Health Ministry’s chief substance abuse specialist Yevgeny Bryun said. “I cannot call drug abuse rates catastrophic. The alcoholism problem is much worse here. About 650,000 drug addicts

Muscovites in for a Harsh Winter as Temperatures Set to Plunge

File Photo of Moscow In Snowy Winter Showing St. Basil's At Night in Snowfall, with People on the Ground in the Distance

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 17, 2014) After several years of relatively mild winters, Russia is gearing up for what meteorologists say will be a truly “Russian winter,” with its traditional frosts and ample snowfall. “Our estimations show that this year’s winter will be closer to our long-term average,” Alexander Frolov, head of the

RIA Novosti: Kiev’s Ultranationalism Behind Conflict With Eastern Ukraine: Russian Envoy

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) -The reason behind the tragedy in Eastern Ukraine is that the local population rejected the ultranationalist stand of the new Ukrainian government, which responded with a punitive operation against its own citizens, the Russian envoy to the United Nations said at a security conference in Switzerland. “The reason behind the

Interfax: DPR won’t hold Ukrainian elections – Purgin

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – The administration of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic is calm about the statement made by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who said the elections in the DPR are to be conducted in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. “Our position remains unchanged. We will not allow any Ukrainian elections on our

Thirty-nine government heads roll after lustration law takes effect

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 17, 2014) Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk has said that 39 top government officials have lost their jobs on the basis of a lustration law that entered into force on October 14, purging officials who served under former president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February. “In accordance with

Interfax: Russian defence chief “seriously concerned” by US counterpart’s statement

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 16, 2014) US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s statement on the necessity of preparing the American army for “dealing with the Russian armed forces” is evidence that military scenarios near the borders of the Russian Federation are being worked on, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu has told journalists. “Chuck Hagel’s point

Preparing for War Against the US on All Fronts – A Net Assessment of Russia’s Defense and Foreign Policy Since the Start of 2014

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 183 – Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – October 16, 2014) In a series of recently published interviews, President Vladimir Putin (kremlin.ru, October 15), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Interfax, October 15) and national security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 15) have outlined Moscow’s strategic vision

Hagel: U.S. Army Must Be Ready to Face ‘Revisionist’ Russia

Chuck Hegel gesturing, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has issued a warning to his country’s armed forces, saying they should be prepared for the security threat posed by a revitalized Russia. “The demands on the [U.S.] Army will only grow more diverse and complicated going forward,” Hagel told the

Interfax: FMS: Over 3.5 million Ukrainian nationals move to Russia in 2014

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) – More than 3.5 million Ukrainian nationals moved to Russia this year, Lilia Arestova, deputy head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) naturalization department, said at a meeting of the committee for public support to residents of south-eastern Ukraine. “The FMS is keeping a daily record of arrivals. A total of

RIA Novosti: Putin: No Energy Crisis in Europe on Russia’s Behalf

Gas Flame file photo

BELGRADE, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reassured European partners that Russia would do everything possible to prevent any interruption of Russian natural gas deliveries to Europe. “We would’t want any crisis to occur during the winter period,” Putin told reporters following talks with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. “Russia

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Kerry and Lavrov take a practical approach

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Separte Podiums, Kerry with a Visible Earpiece; Adapted from Photo at state.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nikolai Litovkin, RBTH – October 16, 2014) During a three-hour meeting in Paris on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed cooperation against ISIS in Iraq and Syria as well as the political crisis in Ukraine. After the talks, Lavrov said

RIA Novosti: Ukraine Demands Gas Transit Contract With Europe, Refuses to Guarantee Safe Transit

Gas Flame file photo

KIEV, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine will not guarantee uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to Europe via its territory unless it signs a gas transit contract with EU partners, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Thursday. “Ukraine declares that we are a state that guarantees uninterrupted transit of natural gas, but in order to guarantee

Back-of-envelope estimate of cost to Russia of Ukraine crisis is $100 billion in 2014

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Timothy Ash of Standard Bank – October 15, 2014) Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, this week estimated that the crisis in Ukraine would likely cost the German economy €40bn this year, and a further €50bn in 2015 – presumably through lost exports, and a broader disruption to the German

Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like

TRANSCRIPT: Kerry Remarks at a Solo Press Availability

John Kerry file photo

(US Department of State – John Kerry, Secretary of State – October 14, 2014) Paris, France SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good evening, everybody. Thanks for your patience. This has been a very productive couple of days, and I’m glad to have an opportunity to be able to catch up on the discussions that we’ve had, both

Seven parties enter parliament, Poroshenko Bloc gets third of votes – survey

Rada File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – October 15, 2014) Interesting poll reported by Interfax. Predictably President Poroshenko’s For Petro Poroshenko Bloc is still riding high in the polls with 33.5% – and emerging as the new party of power. Next up up is Liashko’s Radical Party with 12.8%, and seemingly

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian Teens Tweet Nazi Propaganda, Boast of Burning Russians

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

[Graphics and tweets here en.ria.ru/society/20141012/193990648/ Ukrainian-Teens-Tweet-Nazi-Propaganda-Boast-of-Burning-Russians.html] MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – Since the Euromaidan turmoil and events triggered by the Ukrainian coup of February 2014, Ukrainian youth has been used as the main propaganda force of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Ukrainian right-wing nationalists attract young people by romanticized the image of OUN-UPA

Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Endorse Internet Censorship

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 15, 2014) The majority of the Russian population supports a curb on Internet freedoms in theory, a new study showed Tuesday. Fifty-four percent of the respondents in a new poll by the independent Levada Center said the World Wide Web had enough dangerous websites to mandate censorship. Another 31

RIA Novosti: Putin Limits Foreign Capital’s Participation in Russian Media: Government

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law reducing the possible share of foreign stockholders in the Russian media to 20 percent, says the corresponding document published on the Russian government’s official legal information web portal Wednesday. “Unless otherwise stipulated by an international treaty … a Russian legal entity

Interfax: Russia remains open to free trade zone with EU, Lavrov says

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 14, 2014) There is no alternative to improving relations between Russia and the EU and Russia is ready to discuss the creation of a free trade zone with the EU, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “I believe that no clear-headed person in Europe will argue with the fact that

RIA Novosti: Putin prepared to be held responsible for all happening in Russia

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 14, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin does not agree with a widespread opinion that everything in Russia depends on him only; he believes that many simply want to find a person with whom the buck stops, and he does not resist this role. “This widespread belief that everything depends on

Interfax: Medvedev believes unitary state in Ukraine has no future but choice is up to Ukrainians

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that a unitary state in Ukraine has no future but says a decision must come from the Ukrainians themselves. “Ukraine is an independent country and Ukrainians should decide for themselves where to live,” he said in an interview with the channel CNBC, answering a

RIA Novosti: Medvedev: Russian Troops Movements Not Signal to Anyone

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – The return of Russian troops, who took part in summer exercises in southern Russia, to their permanent bases is part of Russia’s domestic policy and not a signal to anyone, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. “All sorts of decisions that Russia takes, including decisions on our armed

Interfax: Russia interested in reviving cooperation with Ukraine – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that mutually beneficial relations may still be restored with Ukraine and that it is possible to end the armed conflict in Ukraine’s southeastern regions. “Despite the current complicated period in Russian-Ukrainian relations, we are interested in having consistent, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with our

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