Odds and Ends 

Moscow Cops Raid Offices of Putin Opponent Alexei Navalny, Who Just Wont Quit

MOSCOWAt about 8 oclock Thursday night, days before municipal elections, police special forcesmen in black uniforms with faces hidden under black balaclavasbroke the door to opposition leader Alexei Navalnys Anti-Corruption Foundation, stormed in and confiscated pretty much everything: computers, cameras, film lights, cell phones, clothes, food, as well as thousands of documents important for independent election observers. Two hours later police detained nine of the foundations members in different corners of the Russian capital. During the raid Navalny, famous for his cool resistance and extraordinary stamina, took a video of…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

This Senator Tried to Make Nice With Russia. It Shut Him Out.

2Early this week, two SenatorsRon Johnson (R-WI) and Chris Murphy (D-CT)announced that the government of Russia had blocked them from entering the country for a planned official visit. The snub represented an abrupt turn of events, especially for Johnson. Just last year, the Wisconsin Republican had visited Moscow and then worked to set up talks with members of the Russian Duma, people familiar with the outreach told The Daily Beast. Those efforts havent blossomed. And neither have U.S.-Russia relations more broadly. The Kremlins decision to withhold visas from both Johnson…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

A Missile Explosion, a Radiation Spike, and Kremlin Secrecy Bring Back Memories of Chernobyl

MOSCOWNot much has changed in Russia since Soviet authorities hid the truth about the nuclear catastrophe in Chernobyl more than three decades ago. At the time, Soviet military commanders, KGB generals, and Communist Party leaders were terrified theyd get sacked or end up in the Gulag if the truth came out, so they preferred to lie to the public, delaying the evacuation when radiation equivalent of 500 Hiroshima bombs was released into the atmosphere. Today, it seems the generals of President Vladimir Putins Russia have not learned the dangers of…

Read More
Headlines 

‘It’s an outrage’: Putin attacks 18-month prison term for Maria Butina

Russian president says sentence an attempt by US to save face after Butina found guilty of conspiring to infiltrate US conservative circles Vladimir Putin on Saturday described as an outrage the sentencing of Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina to 18 months in prison in the US, calling her treatment a travesty of justice. The Russian president described the sentencing as an attempt by the US to save face in his first public comments in the wake of Butinas sentencing in on Friday. Her case has been high-profile amid the…

Read More
Headlines 

Anti-vaxxers, the Momo challenge … why lies spread faster than facts

With Trump making six false claims a day and bogus Brexit claims spreading, we live in a disorienting post-truth era. It all began with the David Irving trial, writes Jonathan Freedland The queasiness keeps coming back, a very specific malady that I thought Id put behind me nearly 20 years ago. But each time I read about, say, the bogus version of the Momo challenge, or the rise and rise of the anti-vaxxer movement, the symptoms return, stronger than ever. If asked by a doctor to describe the sensation, Id…

Read More
Headlines 

Putins Soccer Ball for Trump Had Transmitter Chip, Logo Indicates

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s gift of a soccer ball to U.S. President tweeted, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.” It turns out they weren’t entirely wrong. Markings on the ball indicate that it contained a chip with a tiny antenna that transmits to nearby phones. But rather than a spy device, the chip is an advertised feature of the Adidas AG ball. Photographs from the news conference in Helsinki, where Putin handed the ball to Trump, show it bore a…

Read More
Headlines 

The Accused Russian Agent as Trump Republican

Here are some things we know about Maria Butina. She is a 29-year-old white woman with an enthusiasm for guns who has attended multiple National Rifle Association events, socialized with NRA leaders and repeated NRA talking points. She attended Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's 2015 announcement seeking the Republican nomination for president, and later supported Republican Donald Trump for president. She attended the National Prayer Breakfast, a Republican gathering place, in Washington this year.    Butina published an grifter that is a According to Dusty Johnson, a South Dakota Republican and…

Read More
Headlines 

Trump shows he trusts an ex-KGB agent more than US intelligence

New line on Russia opens up an unprecedented chasm between London and Washington For those hoping the US president would refrain from making unwarranted concessions to Vladimir Putin, the omens were not good. Before his departure for Europe, Trump predicted the Putin conversation was likely to be easier than his discussions with his Nato allies exonerating Putin for much of his behaviour in the past decade. In so doing Trump went into the Helsinki conference chamber not quite naked, but at least pleading guilty on his countrys behalf. In the…

Read More
Headlines 

Trump responds to Mueller indictments by blaming Obama

President preparing to meet Vladimir Putin in Helsinki after special counsels indictment of 12 Russian spies Donald Trump has commented for the first time on the tweeted: The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration. Why didnt they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election? According to widespread vice-president Joe Biden, chief of staff Denis McDonough and senior adviser watered down by Republican Senate…

Read More
Headlines 

Kelly Loses White House Clout as Trump Blazes Own Path

Chief of staff out of loop for several key recent decisions President and top aide at times now on different wavelengths Donald Trump’s side for crucial decisions on staffing and policy moves, according to several senior aides. Kelly wasn’t with the president last week when Trump abruptly decided to oust H.R. McMaster as national security adviser and replace him with John Bolton. Just two people were in the room for that decision: Trump and Bolton. And Kelly is rarely on the line any more when Trump calls foreign leaders. Last…

Read More
Headlines 

Vladimir Putin wins Russian election with 74% of vote

Result expected to be declared legitimate despite some irregularities extending Putins time in office to nearly a quarter of a century Vladimir Putin cruised to victory in Sundays presidential elections in a result that was never in question. His fourth term as president will extend until 2024, making him the first Kremlin leader to serve two decades in power since Josef Stalin. With results still coming in, Putin looked set to exceed expectations by clinching more than 73% of the vote. Turnout, which was seen as a measure of the…

Read More
Headlines 

Trump Scraps Possible Formal Meeting With Putin

President Donald Trump will not meet formally with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam this week due to a scheduling conflict, the White House said Friday, amid U.S. concerns that the meeting wouldn’t create genuine progress on key issues. “Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there’s not one on the calendar and we don’t anticipate that there will be one.” Any Putin-Trump meeting…

Read More
Headlines 

Three Trump Associates Charged in Russia Collusion Probe

The federal investigation into whether President Read the full indictment here The accusations arrive after a months-long probe into possible crimes including obstruction of justice by Trump and other crimes by his associates. The Read more: Your Guide to Understanding the Trump-Russia Saga Manafort, 68, has been targeted by Mueller for months. A top Republican strategist who also worked extensively for foreign politicians, he left Trump’s campaign after only a few months in 2016. He departed after information surfaced about his work in Ukraine for a pro-Russian party, which intensified…

Read More
Headlines 

Crimea the big budget Russian blockbuster the world will never see

Film depicting Vladimir Putins 2014 annexing of Crimea from Ukraine will only be shown in Russia and Belarus This is the kind of decision that is only taken once a century, says a voice on the trailer for Crimea, a high-budget Russian film that dramatises the 2014 Russian takeover of the peninsula. The film, which will premiere across Russia next month, features Russian soldiers, tanks, planes and a love story the director describes as a Romeo and Juliet tale. The Maidan uprising, and a man from Sevastopol who joins the…

Read More
Headlines 

Chillaxed Vladimir Putin cultivates strongman persona with holiday adventures

Russias president spear-fishes in camouflage wetsuit, pilot a powerboat and catches some rays on Siberian holiday Russias President Vladimir Putin, who loves to cultivate a virile man-of-action image, was shown on Russian TV on Saturday spear-fishing in a camouflage wetsuit, piloting a powerboat and catching some rays while on a Siberian holiday. Putins affinity for the tough guy pose has been documented with shots of him bare-chested on horseback, diving in a submarine in Lake Baikal the worlds deepest and flipping a judo opponent. Putin said the US would have…

Read More