Secret Soldiers

Article Brief

Despite a fragile ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists, there is another side of the war that is coming into the fold. Families and friends of Russian soldiers killed while secretly serving in Ukraine are demanding to know what happened to their loved ones. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry refused to answer Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov's request for information about the hundreds of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry maintains that there are no Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine and has blamed these rumors primarily on Ukraine and Western media sources.

Article Source: vedmosti

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Russian Foreign Minister Calls for Another "Reset" of Relations With the U.S

Article Brief

Speaking to Russian state media on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a "reset" between Russia and the United States. He pointed out that Russia does not have any interest in isolating itself from the West. In addition, Lavrov criticized NATO, the EU, and the US for being unwilling to help pacify the situation in Ukraine.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Poroshenko Announces EU Membership Bid for Ukraine in 2020

Article Brief

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced in a press-conference on Thursday that he plans for his country to formally apply for EU membership in 2020. In order for Ukraine to meet this goal, Poroshenko announced a plan called "Strategy 2020", which outlines 60 necessary reforms to be carried out in the country over the coming six years. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed that it is crucial in the coming years that Ukraine proves to the European community that it is ready to conduct its economic and political affairs in accordance to European norms, so as to show that "Ukraine is a European state not just on paper, but in reality."

Article Source: Moskovskiy Komsomolets

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World Bank Roresees Several Years of Stagnation for Russia

Article Brief

The World Bank has issued a report that the Russian economy can expect to experience a high degree of stagnation with no potential for economic growth in the near future. Partially due to geopolitical tensions, in 2014 Russia has seen an outflow of capital from the country, a weakened ruble, heightened inflation, and rising credit rates. Birgit Hansl, the bank's leading economist on Russia, stated that the greatest current risk for Russia is that there will be few opportunities for the country's economy to recover without major structural reforms. 

Article Source: vedmosti

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Arkady Rotenberg's Villas and Bank Accounts Seized in Italy

Article Brief

On September 23, Another oligarch has been affected by sanctions imposed by the EU, US, and other Western countries. Arkady Rotenberg, a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and multi-billionaire, had his bank accounts and assets frozen by the Italian government. According to Italian news sources, the government seized his hotels, villas, and bank accounts to prevent "financial terrorism and activities of a country that threatens international peace and security." Rotenberg has the right to dispute and appeal the seizures by the government.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Money for the Donbass

Article Brief

While there are still some violations of the ceasefire agreement between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian rebels, it appears that the focus of both sides is now moving towards the reconstruction and territorial delineations of eastern Ukraine. With so much industry and mining in the Donbass region, many speculate that Ukraine and Russia will slowly figure out a joint way of governing the region. According to Vadim Karasev, a Kiev-based political scientist and director of the Global Strategy Institute, all sides (Russia, Ukraine, and the oligarchs) need the Donbass to pacify and begin to work again.

Article Source: svobda

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Tens of Thousands of People Take Part in the "March of Peace"

Article Brief

As planned several weeks ago by Russian opposition parties, the "March of Peace" occurred on Sunday in Moscow. Starting at Pushkin Square, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Moscow to Sakharov Prospekt. The exact number of participants is not known but estimate range from five thousand on the government's side to over 50,000 from the opposition's side. The main theme of the march was opposition to Russia's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Poroshenko: Russia's Actions Threaten the Whole World

Article Brief

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke in Washington in front of a joint session of Congress on Thursday morning. He thanked the United States for their continuing support in the effort to defend the territorial integrity and independence of his country, stating that Russia's recent actions in his country stand as a threat to global security. He also requested assistance in the form of military equipment to help Ukraine defend itself against outside aggressors. Before his visit to Washington, Poroshenko also visited with government officials in Canada, who also offered their assistance in helping Ukraine endure through the country's current crisis.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Scotland and Crimea: Completely Different Referendums

Article Brief

On September 18, Scots will vote in a referendum on whether or not Scotland should become independent or remain part of the United Kingdom. Many in Russia are looking at the event as a time for the European community to acknowledge the legitimacy of the independence referendum held in Crimea earlier this year. However, there are many dissimilarities between the two referendums. While the Crimean situation was more similar to a war operation and hastily put together, the referendum in Scotland has been an event which has taken several years in the making and one which is in full compliance with UK and international law.

Article Source: Vedomosti

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Ratification with a "Special" Flavor

Article Brief

Wednesday marked an historic day in Ukrainian history with the official ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. Signing simultaneously via video conference, Ukraine's Parliament and the EU Parliament officially signed the document. In addition the Association Agreement, Ukraine's Parliament passed laws giving the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts limited self-rule, giving amnesty to separatists involved in the DPR, and repealing "dictatorial laws" enacted by ex-President Yanukovych. Ukraine and the EU also decided to push back the implementation of the free-trade portions of the Association Agreement until 1 January 2016 in order to give all sides time to pacify the east of the country.

Article Source: svboda

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Happening Today: The Dreams of a Liberal Have Come True

Article Brief

On Sunday Russians went to the polls to (re)elect their local and regional leaders. Like the majority of elections since Putin came to power in 2000, United Russia appears to have a large lead across Russian regions. Also like previous elections, any opposition parties that could possibly threat United Russia were kept from running in the election. In the following article, Slon.ru contributor Ivan Davydov analyzes what Russian elections have become and how they have confirmed the worst fears of Russian liberals.

Article Source: slon.ru

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Peace March in Moscow

Article Brief

September 21st is the date has been set for the Peace March in Moscow. Radio Svoboda recently caught up with Anton Litvin, an artist from Moscow, who is one of the organizers of the upcoming march. According to Litvin, this march is not an anti-regime march targeted at the Kremlin, but an anti-war march to show that there are people who support peace with Ukraine and reject the occupation of Crimea. It is estimated that some 50,000 Muscovites will participate in the march.  

Article Source: svboda

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Moscow Threatens to Ban the Import of Foreign Cars

Article Brief

As a response to expected sanctions from the European Union this week, Moscow has announced that it will consider the possibility of banning future imports of foreign-made automobiles and other industrial products into Russia. This announcement comes at a time when the ruble has reached an all-time low. As a result, the Kremlin has announced that it is preparing a case to present in front of the WTO in an effort to dispute the recent sanctions enacted against the country.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Poroshenko is Ready to Give Greater Autonomy to the Rebels

Article Brief

On September 10, BBC Russian reported that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that he is ready to grant greater autonomy to the rebel-controlled regions of eastern Ukraine and that new legislation concerning the matter will be presented to the country's parliament next week. Poroshenko emphasized that such a move does not mean that these regions will be allowed to completely separate themselves from Ukraine. Poroshenko also announced that Ukrainian intelligence sources estimate that 70 percent of the Russian troops fighting alongside the rebel forces in eastern Ukraine have left the country.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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15 Years after the Explosion

Article Brief

Fifteen years ago, on September 9, 1999, the first of two apartment bombings happened in Moscow. In total, between the two explosions in Moscow and two explosions in other Russian cities, 293 people were killed. In the aftermath of the bombing, the Russian government claimed that the terrorist act stemmed from groups in the North Caucasus and in response, began the Second Chechen War. However, to many inside and abroad the Russian government's explanation is not satisfactory. Moreover, many have been researching the event, along with other terrorist attacks like it. Conspiracy or not, it is a subject that is of interest to many. Radio Svoboda spoke with researchers who talk about the events in 1999, as well as the Russian government's response to terrorism since then.

Article Source: svboda

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The EU Agrees on a New Round of Sanctions against Russia

Article Brief

According to European Union representatives, the 28-member bloc has agreed on a new round of sanctions against Russia. The sanctions will primarily affect companies in the oil and gas sector and will prevent them from using European capital markets. Representatives say that the new sanctions will come into force within the next few days, unless there clear evidence that the ceasefire in Ukraine is being upheld by all sides and that Russia has stopped supporting the pro-Russian separatists. Russia has threatened to counter new Western sanctions with threats of closing its airspace to European airlines.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Ukraine Truce Doesn't Involve the Separation of the Donbass

Article Brief

According to the ceasefire that came into effect on September 5, the Donetsk and Lugansk regions will be entitled to a more decentralized government, but not a total separation from Ukraine. All sides involved recognize that the President Poroshenko's "12 Points" toward peace need to be met. However, despite the signed ceasefire, there are still reports of fighting in the southeast of the country.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Rasmussen Speaks of Plans for NATO, Ukraine at Wales Summit

Article Brief

NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen discussed the Alliance's plans for Ukraine and its European allies on the opening day of a two-day summit currently being held in Wales. He affirmed that NATO would work to act as a protector to its member-states and announced plans to place 4000 new troops throughout new NATO bases in the Baltics and Poland. Rasmussen also spoke of the Alliance's continuing efforts to strengthen its partnership with Ukraine as it helps to reform the country's military and defense sectors. This does not mean, however, that NATO is willing to directly assist in Ukraine's military actions, even though Rasmussen had no qualms in stating that Russia is currently attacking Ukraine.

Article Source: segodnya.ua

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France Refuses to Supply Russia with Warship

Article Brief

On September 3, French officials announced on that they will not deliver a warship to Russia as planned, backing away from what was to be a $1.6 billion weapons sale. France announced that due to Russia's recent actions in eastern Ukraine, which have undermined the security of Europe, the country could not move forward with its plans to hand over the ship. In turn, Russia declared that France's decision to not go through with the deal would create additional tension between the two countries in the future. 

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Property of Ukrainian Oligarch Seized in Moscow

Article Brief

On September 2, Russian media sources reported that the Moscow and Crimean properties of Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky were seized by the Investigative Committee of Russia. Lenta.ru investigated the oligarch and found that he owned prime property in Crimea. The location of his property in Crimea was very close to other massive estates owned by Viktor Yanukovych, the former President of Ukraine, and Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man. Lenta.ru also reported that these properties were acquired unlawfully.

Article Source: lenta.ru

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