Kerry says agreed with Russia over U.N. resolution on Syria chemical weapons

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday he had reached an agreement with his Russian counterpart on a draft U.N. resolution aimed at identifying the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Is the U.S. less corrupt than Russia?

At the highest levels, the U.S. and European Union believe that corruption in Russia is so extensive that after the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine, they directed many sanctions toward Russia’s elite. Western powers went after super rich “oligarchs” and wealthy “friends of Vladimir,” hoping to punish financially Mr. Putin’s inner circle and pressure it into changing his calculus about Russia’s aggression….

 Yet, considering some of the legislation and behavior of our own political class, these claims seem sanctimonious. U.S. politicians would do well to examine themselves and consider the admonition to take the log out from their own eye.

BREAKING: Russia and France cancel $1.3 billion warship deal

The two countries have terminated a contract worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for France to supply two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia.

The deal was signed in 2011 but France faced pressure to withdraw from the arrangement after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. The French government suspended delivery of the ships last year.

Russia or ISIS? Who is America’s No. 1 Enemy?

Who poses the biggest threat to America? For the last few weeks, the nation’s top security chiefs were pressed to answer that existential security question.

And as luck would have it, the experts don’t seem to fully agree on the identity of America’s No. 1 enemy. But they’ve laid out some interesting options…

Russia Seen Turning to Crisis Playbook to Prevent Ruble Rout

Russia’s central bank may pick up where it left off earlier this year to avert another run on the ruble.

To take the pressure off the currency, the Bank of Russia will restart one-year foreign-exchange repurchase operations that were halted June 1, according to 14 of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Russia Eyes Further Counter-Sanctions

Russia’s prime minister has ordered preparation of retaliatory measures against several non-EU European nations that have joined the European Union’s sanctions against Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev instructed officials Tuesday to consider counter-sanctions against the countries, which he didn’t identify.

Can the United States Stop a War with Russia?

America is heading for war with Russia. Some call the current situation  “an increase of hostility” or “Cold War II.” There are two sides to this story. I believe that American journalists from all political persuasions are not offering critical analysis. Understanding the Russian side and taking their arguments seriously can help prevent serious consequences.

Fears grow as Ukraine rightwing militia puts Kiev in its sights

At a thickly forested former youth camp west of Donetsk in war-torn eastern Ukraine, a military instructor is busy teaching hundreds of new recruits how to fire everything from machine guns to rocket-propelled grenades. The new boys are lean and fit, anti-separatist and — in the instructor’s words — have “fire in their eyes”.

But this is not Ukraine’s regular army. The troops are members of Right Sector, the far-right group that evolved from among the most militant wing of the protesters who toppled Viktor Yanukovich, the country’s pro-Russian president, in its pro-democracy revolution last year.

WHAT 18 FOCUS GROUPS IN THE FORMER USSR TAUGHT US ABOUT AMERICA’S IMAGE PROBLEMS

THE UNITED STATES has a major public relations problem in former Soviet countries. Not only in Russia, but in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and even Ukraine, ordinary people see the U.S. as an arrogant, hegemonic superpower that meddles in the affairs of other countries in a cynical pursuit of its own interests — perceptions that dovetail with the Russian government’s official critiques of the United States, which may explain the success of these particular memes.

To restore American soft power in the region, the United States should reduce direct support for civil society organizations in former Soviet countries and others that lack intrinsic demand for civic engagement

Russia will recover, but it needs deep reforms: IMF

Russia will slowly recover in the coming year but cheap oil and sanctions continue to weigh on the country’s economic outlook along with Moscow’s “slow progress” in implementing structural reforms, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

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