Foreign Press Review (20.02-26.02)

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Last week after Michael Flynn’s resignation US President Donald Trump selected Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as a new national security advisor. His choice was welcomed by numerous US politicians while the media actively tried to compare his background and his views with his predecessor’s ones. Observers suggested that McMaster’s appointment could signal a shift in Trump’s Russia policy because in contrast to Flynn, who was usually portrayed by the media as close to Vladimir Putin, the new advisor considers Moscow as a threat and publicly voiced his concern over it being the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.

Western Hunt for “Russian Trail” Stands in the Way of Building Trust

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Milivoje Katnić, Montenegro’s Chief Special Prosecutor, has accused Moscow of orchestrating and financing an alleged coup attempt, which, he said, ambitiously aimed to halt the integration of the former Yugoslav republic into NATO. The country’s Prime Minister Milorad Djukanovic is reported to have reiterated his intention to join the Alliance. Thus, Moscow is supposed not only to voice its discontent over NATO’s expansion, but also to signal its readiness to prevent it.

The Great Split

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The Revolution, which broke out a century ago in Russia, is a most controversial and multifaceted phenomenon, which exerted powerful influence on the fate of the humanity as well as Russia. Thus, the events triggered by February 1917 can justifiably be referred to as “the Great Russian Revolution”.

State Duma: Quality First

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The State Duma has adopted the amendments to its Charter concerning the legislative procedure. First, the single “voting hour” has been abandoned. Now the decisions on all bills will be made by the deputies immediately after discussions at the plenary sessions. Second, voting for a bill at second and third readings simultaneously becomes an exceptional practice – if before deputies could suggest it, now this decision can be made only by the Council of the State Duma in response to a well-founded suggestion of the responsible committee.

The Institution of Primaries is Spreading in Russia

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Primaries are a new element of Russian political system, but their introduction can be described as successful even now. The evidence of that is the spread of the institution of primaries. For instance, primaries will be held in May 2017 to select United Russia candidates for regional elections and elections to representative bodies, and interim heads of regions appointed by Vladimir Putin will also take part in these elections.

Foreign Press Review (13.02-19.02)

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Last week the most resonant event was a resignation of US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in the wake of information, collected by intelligence services, that he had discussed possible lifting of sanctions with Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump taking office and had provided “incomplete information” about these contacts.

Nascent Advisory Board in State Duma

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The State Duma instituted a body of advisors to committee heads who will be working on a voluntary basis. It will contribute to the parliament’s prestige and facilitate the work of experts whose advice is valuable for lawmaking, Vyacheslav Volodin told Interfax.

Less is Better in US-Russian Relations Today

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Beware of rapid improvement in US-Russian relations – this is a key idea of a recent article by a renowned US scholar Thomas Graham Jr. on perspectives of Russia-US interaction in a new phase. The article was published on February 13 in “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”, the main Russian daily newspaper, and prepared by the author specially for Rethinking Russia think tank.

Foreign Press Review (06.02-12.02)

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Last week witnessed another information battle in the US media as Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” during an interview with US President Donald Trump, but Trump said in response that “there are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?” reminding the interviewer about the US invasion of Iraq. This statement provoked a burning debate in the US with some hawks accusing Trump of betrayal of his voters and describing his words as “anti-American”.