Foreign Press Review (12.06-18.06)

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Last week one of the main topics concerning Russia in the foreign media was protests that occurred on June, 12, when Russia celebrated its national holiday. Foreign journalists focused mostly on several points. First of all, they tried to emphasize that there had been many youths among demonstrators. Secondly, the media highlighted actions of the police, which had reportedly detained about 1000 protesters. These actions were predictably condemned by the US and EU as threatening “the fundamental freedoms of expression”. Russian authorities pointed to the provocative character of the protests since the leaders of the opposition had changed the authorized place to Tverskaya street, which was central to Russia Day celebrations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described protestors’ actions as “dangerous for the public” as there had been a lot of other people in the center of Moscow celebrating the national holiday. The opposition claimed that it had made this decision because of government-organized barriers to prepare the scene at the authorized location. However, some experts believe that the opposition leaders just wanted to have “catchy” pictures of the “brutal” police. However, in practice it was totally obvious that the police would have to act in case of mass unauthorized demonstrations, especially if protestors try to disrupt the celebration events (as it occurred at one of the celebration locations). During “Direct line with Vladimir Putin” (this annual call-in show was presented by the foreign press mostly through the prism of the Monday protests) the Russian president also commented on the issue emphasizing that all the protests should be legal. Thirdly, the foreign media tried to forecast influence of the current protests on the future presidential elections trying to predict how the Kremlin would plan its campaign, especially given experts noted that many people even among the opposition itself do not support a confrontational style and tools of the current anti-government movement.

Meanwhile the US Senate voted for the bill imposing new sanctions on Russia (it still needs to pass the House of Representatives and to be signed by the US president), including sanctions against key sectors of Russian economy, such as mining, metals, shipping and railways. The bill was originally proposed as imposing new sanctions against Iran, but ended up as some sort of “punitive” measures for alleged Russia’s interference in the US presidential elections. The bill is also aimed at hindering Trump from easing the Russia sanctions unilaterally. The decision was already criticized by secretary of state Rex Tillerson for its diplomatic inflexibility and by Germany and Austria. The two countries claimed that they considered it to be a violation of international law and a US attempt to meddle into Europe’s energy supply plans and potential Nord Stream II project in particular. Vladimir Putin also dismissed the bill and said that it had resulted from internal political struggles in Washington while US sanctions had always been aimed at containing Russia.

Russia-US relations

Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known

By Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson

Bloomberg

13.06.17

Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

U.S. Senate votes near unanimously for Russia, Iran sanctions

By Patricia Zengerle

Reuters

15.06.17

The U.S. Senate voted nearly unanimously on Thursday for legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and force President Donald Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions on Russia.

This is the perfect time to make Putin feel more pain

By Ralph Peters

New York Post

15.06.17

Russia is our enemy. Not because we want it that way, but because Putin and his sycophants have chosen to be our enemies.

Russia-NATO relations

On a Tiny Norwegian Island, America Keeps an Eye on Russia

By Andrew Higgins

The New York Times

13.06.17

“This place is very, very important for America and for the Western world so that they can keep an eye on what the Russians are doing”.

How Russia Targets the U.S. Military

By Ben Schreckinger

Politico

12.06.17

With hacks, pro-Putin trolls and fake news, the Kremlin is ratcheting up its efforts to turn American servicemembers and veterans into a fifth column.

Putin’s interviews

Oliver Stone Talks to ‘The Nation’ About His New Documentary ‘The Putin Interviews’

 By Ed Rampell

The Nation

12.06.17

As the intelligence community, Congress, and the press investigate alleged Russian tampering with the US presidential election, Stone shows Putin’s side of the story.

The Putin Interviews review – first Oliver Stone loses. Then the gloves come off

By Mark Lawson

The Guardian

13.06.17

The film-maker is taking heat for snuggling up to the Russian president in his new documentary. In fact, he got unique access to Vladimir Putin’s jet, dacha, ice-hockey rink – and violent homophobic humour.

Putin Interviews Are Always Pointless

By Leonid Bershidsky

Bloomberg

15.06.17

I can’t recall a single one over 16 years in which he revealed anything accidentally or under pressure.

Putin’s call-in show

On TV, Putin Plays the Role He Likes Best: Russia’s Mr. Fix-It

By NEIL MacFarquhar

The New York Times

15.06.17

In the 15th episode of his annual call-in show on Thursday, President Vladimir V. Putin was part Oprah, part King Solomon, part Avenger against an incompetent bureaucracy, and very much a modern czar, fielding questions mostly from aggrieved Russians and promising to personally solve their problems.

Putin sarcastically offers Comey political asylum in Russia

By Vladimir Isachenkov and Nataliya Vasilyeva

The Washington Post

15.06.17

Wading into the furor surrounding the investigations of the Trump White House, President Vladimir Putin used a national call-in show Thursday to disparage what he called U.S. “political infighting” that is blocking better relations with Russia.

Protests in Russia

Tens of thousands rally across Russia in protests against corruption

By Andrew Roth and David Filipov

The Washington Post

12.06.17

Shouting “We demand answers,” and “Stop lying and stealing,” tens of thousands of protesters turned out Monday across Russia in a nationwide anti-corruption rally called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny as part of his long-shot bid to unseat President Vladi­mir Putin.

In Russia, Protests Demonstrate A Fundamental Change

By Startfor

Forbes

13.06.17

Protests have swept across Russia once again, and the Kremlin has wasted no time in moving to quash them.

The New Face of Russian Resistance

By Masha Gessen

The New York Review of Books

14.06.17

The new face of Russian protest is barely pubescent. Reports from the June 12 demonstrations, which brought hundreds and sometimes thousands of people into the streets of just about every Russian city, feature teenagers.

Russia-Ukraine relations

Putin, Ukraine and What Americans Know

By Robert Parry

Consortiumnews.com

13.06.17

In an interview with Oliver Stone, Russian President Putin explained his take on the Ukraine crisis, one that contrasts with what the U.S. mainstream media has allowed the American people to hear.

Confederations Cup

Russia hopes Confederations Cup will banish 2018 World Cup concerns

By Shaun Walker

The Guardian

15.06.17

On the eve of the Confederations Cup, the focus for officials is on having a smooth event now that shows fans there is nothing to fear from coming to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

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