Foreign Press Review (27.06-03.07)

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The main topic of last week was the normalization of Russia-Turkey relations. Despite disagreements between two parties whether Erdogan’s letter was an apology or just condolences for the downing of a Russian warplane in November, the fact is that Moscow is satisfied with Ankara’s step. Observers share general consensus that it is a diplomatic victory for the Kremlin as Russia has already flexed its muscles on the world stage by its readiness to take strong measures in response to aggressive actions, and now the normalization of relations will be mutually beneficial in economic and security terms. Russia-NATO relations have been in the spotlight. Two incidents have recently taken place in the Eastern Mediterranean when Russian and American naval ships had a close encounter on the high seas. In addition, Brexit itself and its consequences continued to be at the centre of debates in the West. The media call Russian President Vladimir Putin the main winner, as Brexit fuels his hope of new divisions inside the EU and a weaker Europe as a result.

Foreign Press Review #13 (20.06-26.06)

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Last week Brexit was the top story in Western media. Outlets described Russian president Vladimir Putin as the main winner of the EU referendum as Europe is weakening now with Eurosceptic political movements gaining power. The US State Department dissent memo, which called on President Obama to resort to “targeted military strikes in response to egregious regime violations”, triggered serious debates in the foreign media. Amid these debates, the press was actively disseminating commentaries on the incident in the Syrian sky that took place on the 16th of June, when, according to the US officials, U.S. F-18 fighter jets tried to intercept Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers, reportedly, bombing US-backed rebels.

Foreign Press Review #12 (13.06-19.06)

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During the week foreign media was discussing violence at the Euro-2016 championship and the clashes between Russian and English supporters in Marseille in particular. Quite prominently the German foreign minister criticized NATO last week calling its exercises at the Russian border an act of war-mongering and sabre-rattling. The recent attack on the Democratic National Committee’s computers has also been in the limelight. DNC officials and security experts accused the Russian government hackers of the attack, as a result of which they allegedly gained access to all email and chat traffic and stole a database of research on Donald Trump.

Foreign Press Review #11 (06.06-12.06)

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The Syrian conflict was widely covered in the foreign media last week. Journalists warned about a possible clash between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian government’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran, as both parties have been simultaneously conducting offensives against ISIS in Raqqa. Voices skeptical of NATO’s current policy are becoming louder, amid the massive military exercises troops from over 20 countries participating. Debates over sanctions against Russia continue to take place in the West. On Wednesday, the French Senate overwhelmingly supported the resolution calling on the government to lift sanctions against Russia ahead of the EU summit.

Foreign Press Review #10 (30.05-05.06)

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Last week was marked by a heated dispute between Russia and the US over legitimate targets in counter-terror operations in Syria. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Washington asked the Kremlin not to target Nusra Front because there is “normal” opposition next to it. The Kremlin insists that some rebel groups, which are considered to be American allies, continue to closely work with al Qaeda. Additionally, last week the media payed a lot of attention to Russia-EU relations as the Union is soon to vote on the extension of sanctions against Moscow while still remaining divided over the economic measures that also hurt a number of European countries.

Foreign Press Review #9 (23.05-29.05)

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Last week all eyes were on the prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, as a result of which Nadezhda Savchenko was released. Journalists highlighted her colorful defiance to Moscow but few media outlets mentioned her ultranationalist views. Some experts suggest that Savchenko eyes a career in Ukrainian politics, others think that her release may deepen the existing rift within the political elites. Last week Western media widely reported on an alleged ISIS attack against the T4 base in Syria, as a result of which four Russian helicopters and twenty trucks were destroyed. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, denied these reports. The placement of the 1.75 billion USD Russian bonds was also in the limelight last week. Despite some technical problems and skepticism on the part of a number of investors, this event symbolizes the failure of Western attempts to isolate Russia.

Foreign Press Review #8 (16.05-22.05)

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Last week the American Schools of Oriental Research said that Russia had set up a military base in Palmyra, which the Russian Ministry of Defense immediately disproved claiming that available satellite images show a temporary camp of Russian experts demining the vicinities of Palmyra. A claim by the former deputy commander of NATO, former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff that the West is on the verge of a nuclear war with Russia also featured prominently in Western media last week. According to the general, the events in Crimea destroyed the post-Cold War world order and paved the way for a direct conflict which can begin as early as next year. The Western media has again payed special attention to latest accusations of state-sponsored doping in Russia during the 2014 Sochi Olympics and calls to ban Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic Games.

Foreign Press Review #7 (09.05-15.05)

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The celebration of the Victory Day in Russia was in the limelight last week. Noting Russia’s enormous contribution to the victory over Nazism some journalists have drifted into criticism and compared the military parade in the Red Square to muscle flexing. Last week one of the main topics was the deployment of an American anti-ballistic missile defense system in Romania, which Moscow called a direct threat to the country’s national security and a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Foreign Press Review #6 (02.05-08.05)

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The concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra in Palmyra overshadowed the latest developments in Syria last week. Nonetheless Russia and the US managed to extend Syria’s “regime of calm” to Aleppo and the surrounding areas, keeping a fragile ceasefire in place. Besides, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Moscow has also become a high-profile event in the western press. A territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, which is a stumbling block to a peace treaty between Russia and Japan, has been at the top of the agenda.

Foreign Press Review #5 (25.04-01.05)

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Syria continues to dominate the international agenda. Experts believe that the sides are preparing for an upsurge in fighting amid the cessation of hostilities and that the peace negotiations “hang by a thread.” Russia-NATO relations are again in the limelight after Russia had intercepted a US reconnaissance plane over the Baltic. Last week the French parliament also made the headlines by adopting a non-binding resolution calling for the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia.