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  • How The European Union Became Divided On Russia

    This difference of opinion on Russia is just a symptom of a broader reality: Europe itself is becoming increasingly divided. Indeed, when diplomats speak of such integration with the West, Hungary is faced with a critical question: What does “integration” even mean? After the war, Bulgaria became a Soviet satellite and only joined the European Union in 2007. The German FactorLying farther west, Germany has fewer security concerns when it comes to Russia than Bulgaria and Hungary have. In addition, German, Austrian, and French energy companies are engaged in a number of joint venture projects with Russian energy companies.

    | Zero Hedge | 28 min read

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    Belgian PM Backs Sanctions, Talks between EU, Russia

    Belgian PM Backs Sanctions, Talks between EU, RussiaMOSCOW – The Prime Minister of Belgium expressed on Wednesday his support for sanctions on Russia but insisted he wanted to reduce tensions between Moscow and the European Union. “We need to be able to talk about our common interests, but also our differences. It is not about preaching but about seeing the solutions we can bring together,” he said. The Belgian head of government said he hoped tensions between Moscow and Brussels could be reduced, as well as any strained relations between Russia and NATO. He said he wanted to understand Russia’s point of view and show his European colleagues that sanctions, though he supported them, were not an end goal in themselves and dialogue was needed in order to advance.

    Latin American Herald Tribune | 5 min read
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    Another Reset with Russia?

    Another Reset with Russia? What is clear is that such stories have distracted attention from the task of bridging the diplomatic chasm now dividing Russia and the West. It’s hard for a Westerner, even one of Russian ancestry like me, to warm to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Trump proposes a “deal” to lift Western sanctions on Russia in exchange for an agreed reduction in nuclear stockpiles. But, provided the West treats Russia and its concerns with respect, there is no reason why a much better working relationship cannot be established.

    Robert Skidelsky | Ocsia Ltd, Ocsia.com | 28 min read
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    Russia Considers France Among Major Partners in Europe

    NOVO-OGARYOVO (Moscow Region) (Sputnik) - Russia considers France as one of its major partners in Europe and is willing to further develop bilateral dialogue on a pragmatic and equal basis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. "I will stress that we consider France as one of Russia's key partners in Europe and seek to develop dialogue with your country on the entire range of issues relating to bilateral and international agenda on a pragmatic and equal basis," Putin said at a meeting of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Russia and France have repeatedly stated the intention to boost bilateral trade and to develop cooperation in such areas as innovations, hi-tech and green technologies. Russian and French companies also have experience in working together on energy projects. French energy giant Total and Russian energy company Novatek are jointly implementing the Yamal LNG liquefied natural gas project.

    Sputnik International - World | 3 min read
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    How Not to Design Russia Sanctions

    Anticipating new sanctions, Putin responded to oligarchs’ December appeal to simplify the process of bringing money back to Russia. Some oligarchs were approaching Daniel Fried, who used to handle Russia sanctions at the State Department, to offer him money to help them avoid sanctions. It included Russia’s ombudsman for human rights and its presidential commissioner for children’s rights. In doing so, this senior official ridiculed the government experts who had prepared another report, rendering [the Russian sanctions law] ineffective and mocking US sanctions on Russia overall.”The Russians seemed to agree. “The list is a virtual xerox of Forbes Russia Rich Guy List,” he told me.

    Best of The Atlantic | Julia Ioffe | 26 min read
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    CIA Director Reportedly Met With Russian Intel Chief On US Sanctions List

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with his Russian counterparts when they visited the United States last week, including the the chief of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, who is included on a list of sanctioned Russian officials sanctioned by the U.S., CBS News reported Tuesday night. Russian media also reported that Naryshkin and Pompeo met in the U.S. last week, and the Russian embassy in the U.S. appeared to confirm the meeting in a tweet. The meeting took place in the same week that Pompeo told the BBC that he expects Russia to try to interfere in the 2018 U.S. elections. “I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that,” Pompeo said in an interview that aired Monday. “But I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election, that we’ll push back in a way that is sufficiently robust, that the impact that they will have on our election won’t be great.”

    Talking Points Memo | Caitlin Macneal | 5 min read
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    Russians are Baffled by the United States Treasury’s Latest Sanctions List · Global Voices

    5/ — Brian O'Toole (@brianoftoole) 30 января 2018 г. — Nina Jankowicz (@wiczipedia) 30 января 2018 г. — Daragh McDowell (@DaraghMcdowell) 30 января 2018 г. pic.twitter.com/5fGXWfsoFK — Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) 30 января 2018 г.Tweet text: Putin, on not being included in this list of “America’s enemies”: Listen, it’s offensive! Просто либеральный обком обоссал собственные штаны( — Olesya Shmagun (@Shmagun) 30 января 2018 г.

    Global Voices » Feature | 31 min read