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Monday, March 20, 2017

Putin Plans For Reelection Without Crimea Euphoria And The Trump Bubble

Putin has exhausted the popularity gains from Crimea and has gotten no boost from Syria. He has the admiration of vast segments of the Russian population, who can see no one other than he as their president. Donald Trump must be on Putin’s mind. Trump supposedly had no chance to win. Putin should be a shoo-in. Life and politics occasionally play tricks.



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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is Putin Preparing To Admit Guilt For MH17?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began its hearings on Ukraine's suit against Russia on March 6 in the Hague. Ukraine’s 45-page indictment alleges that Russia violated two UN conventions: First, the Terrorist Financing Treaty through its support of "illegally armed groups" in the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and, second, the mistreatment of Tartars under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The shooting down of MH17 is included as a violation of the Terrorist Financing Treaty. Under ICJ procedures, intent to harm civilians must be proved. Putin's lawyers appear to be making the case that the shooting down of MH17 was a terrible mistake -- implicitly on Russia's part.


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Monday, March 13, 2017

Saudi Oil Minister Sounds Trouble For Russia At Houston Conference

Energy producers and OPEC ministers, meeting at CERAWeek in Houston, grappled with a global glut of oil that was not supposed to be. Back in November, OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers agreed to their first production cut in eight years. Thus ended a Saudi-led experiment with free markets that had driven down crude prices to historic lows. The Saudi gamble was that low prices would dry up U.S. shale investment, rig counts, and hence crude production, that competes with OPEC and Russian output.
The experiment apparently failed.



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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Putin Changes Course As He Gives Up On Trump

With Trump and Putin, we are returning to the Reagan-Gorbachev era, but under less favorable conditions for the Russian side. The USSR had a larger population than the US and its GDP was around one half. Can Putin really hope to compete with a country two and a half times Russia’s population and a GDP a 14 times Russia's? Can he sacrifice his peoples’ living standards, health, and education even more? I doubt it.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Interview with Only Russian Linked to Hacks of US Political Institutions

I recently was contacted by Vladimir Fomenko, of Biysk, Siberia. He complained that he and his server-hosting company, King-Servers, had been falsely accused of being deeply involved in Russian hacking of U.S. political institutions. We entered into a correspondence for the purpose of allowing Fomenko to tell his side of the story. Here it is.


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Saturday, February 18, 2017

No One Mentions That The Russian Trail Leads To Democratic Lobbyists

In his February 16 press conference, President Trump declared in response to the intensifying media drumbeat on his Russian connections: “I haven’t done anything for Russia.” K-Street lobbyists, on the other hand, have done a lot to help Russia. They greased the skids for a strategic deal (that required the Secretary of State’s approval) that multiplied the Kremlin’s command of world uranium supplies. They likely prevented the shipment of strategic weapons needed by Ukraine to repulse well-armed pro-Russian forces. A fugitive billionaire who robbed the Ukrainian people of billions is represented by one of the establishment’s most connected lawyers.
Gazprombank GPB hired Breux and Lott to gain repeal of sanctions. That’s perfectly fine in Washington; they are playing according established “swamp rules” in their tailored suits and fine D.C. restaurants. General Flynn lost his job when the subject of sanctions was mentioned by the Russian ambassador in their telephone conversation, but that’s the way the media and Washington play.


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