Foreign Press Review (14.11-20.11)

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While Donald Trump continues to announce key members of his future administration, many among American establishment make everything possible to prevent the future president from cooperating with Russia. For example, congressmen try to use time before inauguration and, according to the Washington Post, “put forward bills to restrain Russia over hacking and on other fronts”, with both republicans and democrats supporting the direction. However, whereas the lawmakers tend to describe it as a message to Russia, it seems that it is rather a message to President-elect Trump, who advocates normalization of US-Russia ties. Moreover, President Obama expressed hope that Trump “would not simply take a realpolitik approach” to relations with Moscow and advised “to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms”. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov accused Obama’s administration of “doing everything to drive bilateral relations to such a deadlock that it will be difficult for the future team to improve them if it wishes to do so”.

Meanwhile, according to the official press-release of the Kremlin on the Monday telephone conversation between the Russian President and the US President-elect, “Mr Putin and Mr Trump not only agreed on the absolutely unsatisfactory state of bilateral relations but also expressed support for active joint efforts to normalize relations and pursue constructive cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues” and “it was agreed to maintain contact by phone and arrange a meeting in person in the future, with preparations to be conducted by representatives of both sides”. Almost immediately after this call NATO officials cautioned Trump against pursuing thaw in relations with Moscow at the expense of abandoning US allies. At the same time, journalists predictably tried to support this caution by using their favourite tactics of fear-mongering by drawing pictures of Moscow planning to attack the Baltics. So now the most interesting question is whether Donald Trump is able to resist such enormous pressure on the part of US hawkish circles, who are not interested in ironing tensions.

Despite still being overshadowed by the US presidential elections, the Syrian conflict returned to the limelight of the media as last week Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russian military “launched a major operation to strike the positions of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra in the provinces of Idlib and Homs”. The so-called Syrian monitoring groups and the West claimed that Russia also attacked the Aleppo province, killing civilians and striking civilian infrastructure. Russian Defense Ministry already confuted these accusations supporting its words by objective control data. In addition, on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov clearly explained that Russian airforce and the Syrian airforce work only in the provinces of Idlib and Homs in order to prevent ISIS terrorists who can leave Mosul from entering Syria. During his campaign, Donald Trump said that he wanted to join Russia in combating terrorists, whereas Russian diplomats, who are already in contact with the Trump’s transition team, have expressed hope that the President-elect will adopt a new approach to the Syrian conflict despite the hysteria fuelled by the Western media.

Russia-US relations

Why Trump’s Victory Won’t Drastically Change the U.S.-Russia Relationship

By Simon Saradzhyan, William Tobey 

The Huffington Post


That would require overcoming several fundamental obstacles.

Now That They’ve Been Proven Wrong, Will Putin’s Demonizers Apologize for Their Slanders?

 By James Carden

The Nation


Probably not. Blaming the Russian president for everything is now a national hobby, the facts be damned.

Commentary: How Trump’s win boosts the Putin myth in Russia

By Gregory Feifer



Trump’s victory – and the Kremlin’s enthusiasm for it – offers proof that the post-World War Two era is over and that millions of U.S. voters support a broader international retreat from global integration.

The United States needs to hold Russia accountable for its aggression

By Ben Cardin, U.S. senator from Maryland and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Washington Post


Any presidential administration’s top charge is to protect U.S. national security interests, and now more than ever, that important endeavor must start with addressing a resurgent Russia.

Russians Are Divided When Faced With the Reality of a Trump Presidency

By Anastasya Manuilova 

The Huffington Post


The Kremlin is hopeful, but some citizens, opposition leaders and intellectuals worry he won’t stay true to enough promises to mend U.S.-Russia relations.

Trump’s victory may not be the big win for Putin everyone thinks it is

By Alec Luhn 



The new US president will, at best, likely be a mixed blessing for Moscow.

Note to Trump, Putin is not our friend: Max Boot

By Max Boot

USA Today


The only real question is what damage will be done before the bromance inevitably ends.

Russia-NATO relations

Russia: Putting the ‘nuclear gun’ back on the table

By Neil Buckley, Sam Jones and Kathrin Hille

The Financial Times


Moscow’s posturing and potential for loose talk in the US alarm Nato defence chiefs.

Syrian conflict

Why is Russia engaged in Aleppo?

By Lyse Doucet



Russia has launched a major new assault on what it calls “terrorist targets” in Syria as a brief calm around Aleppo is shattered by devastating air strikes.

Is Aleppo the first flash point in Trump and Putin’s relationship?

By Nick Paton Walsh



Russia wanted to be seen to be upping its fight in Syria.

Russia and Eastern Europe

The new presidents of Bulgaria and Moldova are less pro-Russian than advertised

The Economist


Both countries are continuing a long-standing game of playing Russia and the West against each other.

APEC summit

In a polycentric world, Russia wants to collaborate

By Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

The Globe and Mail


Russia is convinced of the prospects for collaboration within APEC. We are firmly committed to fair and mutually beneficial co-operation and will continue to play an active role and be a reliable partner in pursuit of a region-wide constructive process, to the benefit of our peoples.

Russia’s internal politics

Why Putin Sacrificed His Economy Minister

By Leonid Bershidsky



Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev’s arrest raises questions about the future of Putin’s highly professional, technocratic economic team as well as one of the president’s closest associates, Igor Sechin, who runs the state-owned oil behemoth, Rosneft.

Putin circle nervous as corruption probe widens

By Kathrin Hille 

The Financial Times


Fears over whether Ulyukaev arrest is power struggle or political move.

Putin Looks Beyond Election in Bid to Expand Authority

By Stepan Kravchenko, Evgenia Pismennaya



Putin is setting up a team to ensure he wins a fourth term with a wide margin in 2018, according to five people close to the process.

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