Russia receives orders from 20 countries for ONE BILLION doses of world’s first Covid-19 vaccine


11-08-20 04:28:00,

A total of 20 nations from Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia have already requested doses of Russia’s breakthrough coronavirus vaccine, which was confirmed to be registered on Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At a conference dedicated to the announcement of the vaccine’s registration, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) explained that it had already received orders for a billion doses.

“Together with our foreign partners, we are ready to produce more than 500 million doses of the vaccine per year,” Kirill Dmitriev explained. Everything produced in Russia will be used domestically, and doses for use in other countries will be made abroad.

According to Dmitriev, the RDIF is also working on a humanitarian aid program for developing countries, with the aim of making the Covid-19 vaccine available in states that can’t afford to make or buy their own.

Explaining that vaccination is an acute problem in the world’s poorest countries, Dmitriev said that the fund believes “people around the world should have equal access to a vaccine, regardless of their financial situation.”

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine. Named “Sputnik V,” the vaccine is due to enter mass production soon, and will be available to the general public from January 2021. Despite being registered, the vaccine will still go through more clinical trials in Russia and the Middle East.

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World’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine named ‘Sputnik V’, Russia launches official website

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Russia Vetoed UNSC Draft for Al-Qaeda Free Logistics Flow into Syria


08-07-20 06:49:00,

As anticipated, promised, and warned, Russia and China vetoed the new attempt of NATO member states at the UNSC to extend the free passage for al-Qaeda into Syria for the 7th year, since 2014.

During the past 6 years, there was no sufficient real humanitarian aid that went through those crossings sanctioned by the UNSC in its infamous resolution 2165 for 2014, whatever real aid, food and medicine, reached were ‘entrusted’ to members of al-Qaeda Levant aka Nusra Front aka HTS to distribute to the civilians, which as it’s widely known now they were stockpiling the aid and selling little of it at very high prices to the civilians in dire need living in the ‘oases’ and ‘democracy havens’ these terrorists control.

The other aid that crossed generously and easily into Idlib and the other regions, through the above-mentioned crossings, unchecked were the Turkish-provided poisoned vaccines which killed 36 Syrian children, and tonnes of weapons provided by the same NATO member states whose representatives at the United Nations flooded its headquarters ‘virtually through the video meeting’ with their crocodile tears.

The crossings that Syria and its allies Russia and China want to be closed are the makeshift border-crossings from NATO member state Turkey in the north, from the UK-controlled Jordan in the south through At-Tanf area where the US holds thousands of Syrians hostages in a remote desert area in the infamous Rukban Concentration Camp, and a third one from the US-occupied Iraq northeast of Syria.

Suffering of Displaced Syrians in the Rukban Concentration CampSuffering of Displaced Syrians in the Rukban Concentration CampSuffering of Displaced Syrians in the Rukban Concentration Camp

Embattled Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft disrespecting the UN Charter and its mechanisms threatened to carry on acts circumventing the UNSC resolutions through illegal means: “The U.S. will not relent in its efforts to reach those in need in Syria” she said after their failure to pass their resolution.

Less than a week ago the same ambassador threatened to have ‘Mass Graves’ of innocent Syrians if their intended resolution gets blocked by Russia, she told Fox News in an interview last Wednesday: “What we’re really focused on in the Council is the outcome, and that is saving lives, that’s reaching over 4 million Syrians.

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Russia has come a long way since 1993; Putin’s constitutional changes reflect the needs of a revitalized state


01-07-20 12:16:00,

By Ernest A Reid, a British political analyst. IMESS in Politics & Security. UCL SSEES Alumnus. Westminster Russia Forum Ambassador. Guest Expert at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC). @ErnestAReid

Russia’s ‘super-presidential’ 1993 Constitution was forged in blood after violent upheaval, at a time when the country was on its knees. It is logical that it would be revisited when modern Russia had finally come of age.

What is so problematic with the current 1993 Constitution, and what are the reasons behind the proposed amendments? The answers can be found in the circumstances under which President Boris Yeltsin’s document came into effect and in the major transformation that Russia has undergone since then.

First of all, it is necessary to stress that Russia in 1993 and Russia in 2020 are essentially two different countries. In 1993, it was a bleak shadow of the Soviet Union, with a grim present and uncertain future. Yeltsin, along with Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrey Kozyrev and other liberal-minded members of his team, were doggedly pushing their country into the American sphere of influence. 

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Yeltsin’s Constitution – adopted just two months after his team’s undemocratic usurpation of power (by means of shelling and storming the parliament during the October putsch) – wasn’t fit for its purpose as the supreme law of a great power. Instead, it legitimized the servicing of Western elites and Washington in particular. 

The widely known consequences of such policies had been tragic for Russia, as it descended into a decade of lawlessness, poverty, and war.

In 2020, the situation is completely different. President Vladimir Putin’s policies have been by and large ‘Russia first’, in comparison with those of Yeltsin, and have enjoyed widespread support among the ruling elites as well as the general population.

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Veteran Russian liberals Pozner & Pamfilova reject claims that constitutional changes are solely about a Putin 2036 power grab

New Reality

Moreover, today’s Russia is a strong regional power and a major player in global politics, which no country in the world, including the US, can ignore. It is also relatively stable and more independent;

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Shush! Russia’s leading design studio used AI ‘employee’ for making customer logos for months… and NOBODY noticed


28-06-20 09:13:00,

Why make something yourself when you can get a bot to do it? A Russian art design studio has been using an AI neural network to create logos for more than a year – all the while keeping its customers in the dark.

In 2018, the Artemy Lebedev Studio unveiled a cheap service for small brands – a logo for just 100,000 rubles ($1,432). “Express Design” turned out to be a popular option for small-budget businesses and even two well-known Russian bloggers, Ruslan Usachev and Yuri Khovansky.

Unknown to the clients, the Express Design service was actually a futuristic experiment: the studio had developed “artificial design intelligence” to create unique logos and was trying it out in practice. A fake designer persona dubbed Nikolay Ironov was created, supplied with a portfolio page.

“All clients were unaware that their designs were being created by a machine. All of Nikolay Ironov’s work was approved by clients and then released to huge audiences,” a statement on the studio website has revealed.

Today, Ironov’s work can be seen in businesses throughout Russia, on branded products, and in endless YouTube clips.

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Piercing the digital veil: Creepy AI tech can generate photo-realistic faces from extremely pixelated images

Artemy Lebedev is Russia’s arguably most well-known, if at times controversial, graphic designer. In recent years, his studio created the Russian Premier League logo and the Moscow Metro map. Those were created by living, breathing humans as far as we know.

How long till government agencies start sporting logos created by robots? If 2020 is any indication, we shouldn’t be too surprised if it’s already in the works.

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Human brains outdated? ‘Inventive’ AI making abstract art just filed for two PATENTS

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Russia to abandon flat tax after almost two decades, will start moving back to progressive system – Putin


23-06-20 07:40:00,

Russia is planning to introduce a progressive tax regime, adding a 15% tax bracket for those earning over five million rubles ($72,000) a year, President Vladimir Putin said. The money will be used to treat severely ill children.

In a televised address on Tuesday, Putin explained that a tax hike would raise approximately 60 billion rubles a year ($870 million), with Russia’s highest earners paying an extra two percent tax on their income. The rate for all other Russians will remain unchanged at 13 percent.

He said that the tax increase will be used to treat children with serious illnesses, removing the need for parents to seek assistance from charities or to crowdfund help.

Russia’s income tax rate has been set at a flat rate of 13 percent since 2001, and the introduction of a separate tax bracket, due to begin in 2021, will be the first significant change to the personal tax rate in almost twenty years.

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As well as the personal income tax changes, the president also announced other taxation adjustments, including a decrease in the tax on IT companies from 20 percent to three percent. This would make Russia competitive with countries like India and Ireland, who are currently two of the most attractive locations for the IT sector. He also proposed the introduction of a simplified tax code for Russian tax residents, who also own foreign assets.

According to Putin, the new tax changes are permanent and will not just be a temporary fix to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19.

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Same-sex couple receive tax deduction as LGBT activist proves Russian marriages conducted abroad are valid in Russia

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Russia could jail adults for 10 YEARS for encouraging youth to protest, according to proposed legislation


01-06-20 08:11:00,

Russians who encourage minors to join protests may face 10 years in jail. The author of the new bill, an MP with the ruling United Russia party, believes rally organizers prey on youth “because they are the easiest to manipulate.”

Under current law, the organizers of an unauthorized rally can be fined up to 50,000 rubles ($718), but Yevgeny Marchenko wants to send them to a penal colony.

‘May God bless them’: Putin says Russian protest leaders free to hold marches as long as they obey laws

“Nowadays, the topic of the rallies seems to be gone. Because of the coronavirus, we don’t have any rallies, legal or illegal, but it could arise at any time. Organizers of unauthorized rallies bet on underage youth, because they are the easiest to manipulate,” said Marchenko.

As it stands, involving minors in an unauthorized protest is an administrative offense. Marchenko’s new law would change this to a criminal offense. If found guilty, the punishment could be up to 10 years in a penal colony.

“We have an article in the Criminal Code for involving minors in antisocial activities. Various illegal actions are listed there, and I want to supplement this article with another illegal action,” he said.

According to Marchenko, the bill will be submitted to the State Duma before the end of the spring session.

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As Russia Sends Aid, US and NATO Snear and Smear | New Eastern Outlook


09-04-20 09:26:00,


When Russian military planes and trucks arrived in Italy to provide relief for communities hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Italian government, elected into power by the Italian people, was thankful for the assistance offered by Moscow.

Named officials within the Italian government, including the foreign minister, the minister of defense and the governor of Apulia, Michele Emiliano, publically expressed thanks to Russia for the aid.

But finding any mention of this across the Western media is difficult, often buried deep within articles aimed entirely at smearing Russia for sending aid and depicting Italians as victims of a publicity stunt.

Reuters, in a smear piece published by the New York Times and aimed at vilifying Moscow, still had to admit regarding Russian aid that Italians were grateful, noting:

“There are no new geopolitical scenarios to trace, there is a country that needs help and other countries that are helping us,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio was quoted as saying by Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera newspaper on Thursday.

Despite Italy being capable of speaking for itself and bringing up any suspicions (if they had any), the West decided to step in and speak for Italy instead.

Sneering and Smearing 

Western headlines are flooded with scorn for both Russia and the aid they sent, completely indifferent to how Italians themselves perceived the gesture.

Articles like Bloomberg’s “Italy Questions Russians Over Their Goodwill Virus Gestures,” admit several paragraphs in that officially, Italy was grateful for the aid, noting:

“Our country can only be grateful” for the solidarity of many countries, including Russia, the Italian defense and foreign ministries said in a joint statement Friday.

Yet claims that “Italy questions Russia” suggest the entire nation is suspicious of the aid. Upon reading Bloomberg’s article, the only source cited is a single article in the Italian newspaper “La Stampa.” It is hard to believe an article in “La Stampa” constitutes all of “Italy.”

According to the pro-Western Moscow Times in their article, “80% of Russia’s Coronavirus Aid to Italy ‘Useless’ – La Stampa,” also entirely based on the La Stampa article,

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Russia sets up new oil company to potentially take over operations in Venezuela


31-03-20 12:59:00,

A company specializing in the production and transportation of oil and gas has been set up in Russia, according to the state registry data. The new firm could take over projects in Venezuela after Rosneft sold its assets there.

Roszarubezhneft, which is owned by the Federal Agency for Government Property Management, will have an authorized capital of 322.7 billion rubles (over $4 billion). 

The company was registered in Moscow on March 28, after Russia’s oil major Rosneft announced the sale of its assets in Venezuela. On Saturday, Rosneft signed an agreement with the newly established government-run company on selling its shares and on the cessation of its participation in all projects in Venezuela (including its stock in Petromonagas, Petroperija, Boqueron, Petromiranda and Petrovictoria). Under the agreement, the oil giant will receive 9.6 percent of shares in Roszarubezhneft.

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Venezuela slams US sanctions on Russia’s Rosneft as an attempt at grabbing control of global oil market

In February, the US slapped sanctions on a Rosneft subsidiary over its trade ties with Venezuela. The Russian company slammed those sanctions as illegal and groundless, pointing out that all of its operations in Venezuela were fully compliant with international law. It has explained that it had been investing in the Venezuelan oil and gas sectors long before the US sanctions were rolled out.

READ MORE: Trump threatens to slap ‘very serious’ sanctions on buyers of Venezuelan crude

Venezuela’s state energy firm PDVSA has also condemned the US sanctions and accuses Washington of attempting to create unfair competition to attain an advantage in the oil market.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia declares European Endowment for Democracy undesirable


29-03-20 09:58:00,

On 10 March 2020, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office added the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) to the list of “undesirable organizations.” The NGO was asked to cease its activities in Russia or be liable to a prison sentence.

It is the twentieth foreign organization which has been banned from working in Russia.

The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is the European Union’s replica of the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), also undesirable in Russia.

This Cold War construct was devised by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, within the framework of the 1941 Atlantic Charter which had been set up to enlist US and British Trotskyists against Soviet Stalinist sympathisers to advance their goal of “world revolution” … under Anglo-Saxon leadership.

The 1983 initiative ushered in the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) whose budget is voted with that of the Department of State and the US Institute of Peace (USIP) whose budget is in turn voted with that of the Department of Defense. President Reagan called on all vital forces in the United States, including those on the left, to rally against the “Empire of Evil” (Kirkpatrick Doctrine). Sister organizations were created in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

This system was maintained beyond the dissolution of the USSR. It proved particularly effective in the staging of coups d’etat branded as “colour revolutions.” In 2006, realizing that they were up against a new form of covert war, several countries banned the activities of the NED and the USIP, including Russia. In 2012, the High Representative of the European Union, British national Catherine Ashton, created the European Endowment for Democracy to fill in for its US counterpart. In particular, it played a prominent role in fostering the 2013 Euromaidan coup in Ukraine.

After a pause for reflection, on 27 March, the European Union issued a declaration rejecting the decision of the Russian authorities.

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75 years after Russia & America worked TOGETHER to defeat Hitler, Trump SNUBS Putin’s Moscow celebrations invite


10-03-20 06:58:00,

While the ‘Russiagate’ hoax kept millions entertained in the fantasy world of US cable news, it also had plenty of real-world consequences. Now another can be added to the list: the White House’s absence from Moscow on May 9.

US President Donald Trump has rejected Vladimir Putin’s invitation to the Russian capital to mark the 75th anniversary of the World War II victory over Nazi Germany, according to Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Trump’s non-attendance, which could be seen by many in Russia as an extraordinary affront to Soviet Russia’s disproportionate sacrifice in annihilating fascism, marks an incredible U-turn after he previously showed a willingness to come to the May 9th parade. It can only be presumed that fear of being seen in Moscow during an election year forced the president’s hand, given he has endured years of bizarre smears about his supposed connections to Russia.


Despite almost perpetually frosty relations between the two countries, the US has always recognized the sacrifice of Russia during the Second World War. With an estimated 27 million Soviet deaths, it played a huge role in defeating the Axis powers. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the victory, and Russia is set for a triumphant celebration. Everyone is acutely aware of the fact this will probably be the last major celebration in which a significant number of veterans will be able to take part, given even the youngest survivors are now in their 90s.

Through tensions, crises, and even the looming threat of nuclear war, many American leaders attended Victory Day parades in Moscow. In 1995, the 50th anniversary, President Bill Clinton observed the parade on Red Square, along with a vast array of other foreign leaders. In 2005, the 60th anniversary, President George W. Bush was in attendance.

“We do not yet know at what level the United States will be represented at the Victory Day celebrations. Indeed, through diplomatic channels, we received information that the president will not come,” Peskov told reporters.

The first official invitations to foreign heads of state came at the 2019 G20 Summit, with President Putin formally inviting US President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Confirmed attendees thus far include the Presidents of Austria,

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Assad to Russia 24: Erdogan Aligned with Al Qaeda Because of his Muslim Brotherhood Ideology


05-03-20 07:51:00,

President Bashar al Assad told Russia-24 TV that Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood ideology, not Turkish national interests, is the cause of his sending troops illegally into Syria, to fight for al Qaeda in Idlib.

Dr. Assad also discussed the challenges of the American occupation of Syrian oil fields and Syrian monies stolen by foreign banks.

Syria News provides the full transcript of the recent interview by Yevgeny Primokov, courtesy of SANA.

Journalist:  Hello! This is “International Review” with Yevgeny Primakov. Today, we are in Damascus, in our temporary studio. His Excellency, President Bashar al-Assad, is not our guest in the studio; rather, we are his guests. Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving us and giving us the time to conduct this interview. We are happy to be with you and to see that you are in good health in these difficult circumstances.

President Assad:  You are welcome. I am very happy to receive a Russian national television station.

Question 1:  Thank you very much Mr. President. Clearly, the most important topic now, besides the war on terrorism that your country is waging, are the events in the Idlib governorate, and the danger of confrontation between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey. The Turkish forces are directly supporting what is called “the opposition,” although we see in their ranks elements which belong to terrorist organizations, which are affiliated to Al Qaeda and other organizations. Turkish troops are also taking part in attacks against Syrian forces. The question is: what has changed in the relations between you and Erdogan, between Syria and Turkey? Before 2011, Erdogan used to call you “brother,” and your two families were friends. What has changed and pushed things to where they are now?

President Assad:  The core of the issue is American policy.  At a point in time, the United States decided that secular governments in the region were no longer able to implement the plans and roles designated to them; of course, I am referring to the countries which were allies of the United States and not those like Syria which are not.  They decided to replace these regimes with Muslim Brotherhood regimes that use religion to lead the public.

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Russia seeks to ‘create conditions so that NOBODY wants to fight us’ – Putin


02-03-20 10:00:00,

Vladimir Putin has confided that US President Donald Trump privately lamented the “insane” US military budget. He also says Russia protects itself by making the costs of attacking the country too high for anyone to contemplate.

“The US has outstripped us” in terms of annual defense expenditure, the Russian president said in a new episode of news agency TASS’s ‘20 Questions to Vladimir Putin’ series. But being the world’s largest military spender doesn’t really make Donald Trump particularly happy, Putin said. 


“Donald told me that they have adopted an insane [military] budget for the next year, $738 billion.”

The US commander-in-chief, who likes to talk up his country’s military hardware during overseas trips while bragging about the armed forces, tends to be more reserved in private, according to Putin. “He told me that the costs were too high, but he had to do it,” he said, describing his counterpart as “an advocate of disarmament, as he says.”

In terms of military spending, Russia trails behind China, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France, and Japan, with a defense budget worth $48 billion, although its lower cost base gives it more purchasing power than most western states. “Moreover, our annual expenditures are falling. In contrast, other countries’ spending has been rising,” Putin stated.

We are not going to fight against anyone. We are going to create conditions so that nobody wants to fight against us.

Putin also explained why Trump – who already dismantled the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty the US signed with the old Soviet Union – is reluctant to talk non-proliferation and arms control.

“That is another question, this is a question which relates to the understanding of security and how to ensure it… We can discuss this topic,” the Russian president replied without going into details.

Another crucial treaty which now hangs in the balance is the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which dramatically reduced the number of nuclear warheads and the means of delivery.

The current edition of the pact, known as New START, was signed by former US President Barack Obama and his then-Russian counterpart,

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Are Russia and Turkey on a collision course?


28-02-20 08:13:00,

The murder of the Iranian hero-martyr General Soleimani created a situation in which a war between Iran and the Axis of Kindness (USA/Israel/KSA) became a real possibility but, at the very last minute, Uncle Shmuel decided that he had no stomach for a full-scale war against Iran. Wise decision.

This, however, does not at all imply that the AngloZionist Empire decided to stand by idly, far from it. The need to take quick and determined action became particularly acute following the huge anti-US demonstrations in Iraq (well over one million people in the streets!) which directly put at risk the US occupation (the MSM would call it “presence”) in both Iraq and Syria.

At the same time, Turkish President Erdogan’s refusal to remove all the “bad terrorists” from the Idlib province eventually resulted in a joint Syrian-Russian offensive to liberate the province. That offensive, in turn, clearly infuriated the Turks who warned of a major military operation to prevent the Syrians from liberating their own country.

This begs the question: are Russia and Turkey really on a collision course?

There are certainly some very worrying warning signs including a number of very harsh statements by Erdogan himself, and a suddenly re-kindled Turkish interest for the US “Patriots”.

On the ground in Idlib, the Turks have clearly provided the “bad terrorists” with a lot of support including equipment, MANPADs, tanks and armored personnel carriers. The Turks actually went as far as sending special forces to assist the “bad terrorists” directly. Finally, from footage taken by Russian and Syrian drones, and even the “bad terrorists” themselves, it appears undeniable that Turkish MLRS and regular artillery provided the “bad terrorists” with fire support.

Both sides also agree that a number of Turkish personnel were killed (they only disagree on how many and what these Turks were doing in Syria).

Finally, and most ominously, there is even a video circulating on the Internet which appears to show a US “Stinger” being fired by the “bad terrorists” at a Russian aircraft which, thank God, managed to evade it (unlike 2 Syrian Army helicopters which were shot down).

So the first conclusion that we can come to is that the Turks are already engaged in combat operations against the Syrians.

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“Russia AgainGate”: Phony Accusations of Russian “2020 Election Meddling”.The Big Lie that won’t Die – Global Research


22-02-20 11:46:00,


The NYT falsely warned of Russian meddling to re-elect Trump that hasn’t occurred.

Nor does any evidence suggest it’s coming ahead. Earlier accusations of Moscow electoral interference to help Trump defeat Hillary in 2016 were bald-faced Big Lies.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russian election meddling occurred in the US or anywhere else — a longstanding CIA/NED specialty in dozens of countries worldwide throughout the post-WW II period.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy researcher Dov Levin earlier documented 81 times Washington meddled in foreign elections from 1946 – 2000 – since then in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, and elsewhere, unsuccessfully in Venezuela, Iran and Russia.

In his book titled “Demonstration Elections,” the late Edward Herman documented US involvement in orchestrating sham Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Vietnam elections, wanting regimes installed that serve US interests.

The same thing goes on in countless other countries, electoral coups masquerading as democracy in action, an abhorrent notion Washington tolerates nowhere, especially not domestically.

According to a Times report with no credibility, US intelligence officials “warned (that) Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected…”

No evidence was cited because none exists. The anti-Trump Times, still furious over his defeat of media darling Hillary, loves to resurface the Big Lie that won’t die.

Reportedly House Intelligence Committee members were briefed by US intelligence officials on February 13.

According to the Times, lawmakers were told earlier of Russian US election meddling — no evidence presented suggesting it. Without it, accusations are groundless.

So-called “new information” that doesn’t exist about Moscow intending to interfere in primaries and the general election this year indicates lots more of this rubbish to come in the run-up to November.

Last April, Robert Mueller’s witch hunt report exposed the Russiagate hoax by revealing no damning evidence because there was none to find.

Cooked up by Obama’s Russophobic CIA director John Brennan, it was one of the most shameful chapters in US political history.

Mueller’s 19-lawyer team, 40 FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff spent around $25 million.

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Russia and Turkey, “Allies” Fighting One Another: On Opposite Sides of the War on Syria – Global Research


21-02-20 06:26:00,

US forever war in Syria shows no signs of ending because restoration of peace and stability to the country would be a major strategic blow to Washington’s aim for controlling the Middle East — NATO and Israel serving as junior partners in its project.

Turkey’s Erdogan is a significant obstacle to resolving years of war in Syria because of his revanchist aims — what his support for ISIS, al-Nusra, and likeminded jihadists is all about, using them as proxies (earlier and now) in northern Syria.

His aims and Russia’s in the country are world’s apart. Negotiations between his regime and Moscow on the conflict are uneasy at best.

Multiple recent rounds failed to resolve differences, further talks planned, including a possible summit involving Putin, Iranian President Rouhani and Erdogan.

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed his support for jihadists in Syria, saying:

“We are expressing significant concerns over such support for (these elements) from the Turkish armed forces.”

It “violat(es) the Russian-Turkish agreements on separating armed opposition from terrorists, and creating a demilitarized area, and it may provoke a further escalation in the conflict in this part of the Syrian national territory,” adding:

“On February 20, the Russian center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria reported several mass attacks with the use of a large amount of armored vehicles at the positions of the Syrian army in the Idlib de-escalation zone carried out by terrorist units.”

“At the same time, the actions of (jihadists) were supported by artillery fire by the Turkish forces, which allowed terrorists to breach Syrian army’s defenses” before being repelled with Russian aerial support, a statement by its military saying:

“In order to prevent terrorist groups from advancing deep into Syrian territory, Su-24 aircraft of Russia’s Aerospace Force delivered a strike at the request of the Syrian command against the terrorists’ armed formations that had penetrated the area. This helped the Syrian troops to repel all the attacks successfully.”

A Russian reconnaissance drone filmed Turkish artillery providing support for al-Nusra terrorists near Nayrab village in southern Idlib province.

AMN News reported that Russia’s aerial response was “devastating,” repelling Turkish-supported jihadists,

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Is Russia Doomed? –


20-02-20 03:43:00,

Is Russia Doomed?

Paul Craig Roberts

Winston Churchill said that Russia was “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”  Having read two contrasting news reports of attitudes in Russia, I understand what Churchill meant.

General Valery Gerasimov, chairman of the Russian General Staff, has concluded from Washington’s many NATO intensified drills on Russia’s border that Washington and its NATO puppet states are preparing for a major conflict.  In a briefing to foreign military attaches in Moscow, Gerasimov said that the increased number and scale of military exercises conducted by NATO members indicates that the alliance “is purposefully training its troops to be engaged in a major military conflict.” 

The Kremlim’s spokesperson said that the Russian government trusts the opinion of General Gerasimov.

To be clear, based on analyzed evidence the Russian military sees Washington and its vassals preparing for war with Russia. The Russian government states that it trusts the opinion of the Russian military leadership.

Yet, a contemporaneous poll published by the Levada Center, an independent Russian pollster, reports that 80% of Russians see Washington and its NATO vassals as “friends.” 

“Only 3% of Russian respondents said they see the West as Russia’s enemy, Levada said. Another 16% said they view the West as a rival.

“Two-thirds of Levada’s respondents (67%) said Russia should treat the West as a “partner,” while 11% said Russia should treat the West as a “friend,” according to the Kommersant business daily’s breakdown of the data.”

The extraordinary difference between the view of the Russian general staff and ordinary Russians is hard to explain. Who is communicating with the Russian people?  Their leaders? Or the Western funded NGOs and media that feed Western propaganda to the Russian people?  Are the Russian people still listening to the Voice of America?

If these  contrasting news reports are correct, then Russia is faced with the fact that the awareness of the government that Washington and its European vassals are an enemy intent on war is not shared by the Russian population. This implies a total failure of communication between the Russian government committed to Russian national sovereignty and the Russian people who apparently see no risk of being colonized by their friends in the West. 

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Russia and New Zealand, the Dialogue Continues | New Eastern Outlook


10-02-20 07:35:00,

In 2019, the Russian Federation and New Zealand marked the 75th anniversary since diplomatic ties between the two nations had been established. At present, when Oceania and the entire Asia-Pacific region have become the battleground for the political and economic confrontation between China and the West, the Russian Federation is preparing to join the ranks of other powerful regional players. And this may, undoubtedly, signal a new stage of New Zealand–Russia relations.

Diplomatic ties between the Soviet Union and New Zealand were established on 13 April 1944, in the midst of World War II. New Zealand joined the fighting together with its former colonial ruler Great Britain, and made a significant contribution to the battle against Hitler’s Germany and its allies, Japan and Italy. Not only did New Zealanders fight in the South Pacific region but also in Europe and North Africa too. In addition, they were among the defenders of Arctic convoys, which, at times of great peril, delivered necessary shipments to the USSR despite taking constant fire from Hitler’s troops. Altogether, approximately 140,000 New Zealanders were part of the war effort and 11,928 of them died as a result. Every year, members of the local Russophone community in Wellington place wreaths at the memorial dedicated to sailors from New Zealand who defended the Arctic convoys in the capital of the nation, on 9 May. It is well known that remembering the Second World War is especially important for Russia and the memory of New Zealanders’ valiant efforts during the conflict cannot but affect the relationship between the two countries.

The USSR actively purchased agricultural products from New Zealand. In fact, at one point in time, the Soviet Union was the biggest importer of its mutton, which has always been one of New Zealand’s most important exports. At present, Russia and New Zealand are also collaborating in the agricultural sphere, and both see room for development in this area.

New Zealand is thriving, but it is a fairly small country and does not have a highly developed military sector. Therefore, this nation clearly comprehends that its security and prosperity depend on the entire Asia-Pacific region as well as the world. It also understands the importance of maintaining law and order all over the world;

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Syria & Russia Publish Evidence Of US Weapons Recovered In Idlib ‘Terrorist Enclave’


09-02-20 09:16:00,

The Syrian Army is making major gains inside Idlib in a military offensive condemned by Turkey and the United States, over the weekend capturing the key town of Saraqib from al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Amid the military advance, the Syrian and Russian governments say they’ve recovered proof of US support for the anti-Assad al-Qaeda insurgent terrorists, publishing photographs of crates of weapons and supplies to state-run SANA:

Syrian Arab Army units have found US-made weapons and ammunition, and medicines made in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait at the positions and caches of terrorist organizations in the towns of Mardikh and Kafr Amim in Idleb southeastern countryside after crushing terrorism in them.

Syrian reporters say they were recovered in newly liberated areas of southeastern Idlib province, where army units “found weapons, ammunition and US-made shells and Grad missiles left behind by terrorists at their positions in the town of Kafr Amim after they fled from the area after the advancement of the army.”

The Russian Embassy in Syria also circulated the photos on Saturday, saying there were some “interesting findings” in areas that were controlled by terrorists:

#SYRIA | The #Syrian Army is coming across interesting findings as it liberates new areas in #Idlib from terrorists: lots of ammunition and medical supplies from various foreign countries ➡️ | #IdlibBattle #سوريا #ادلب #إدلب_تحت_النار #USA #Nusra #grad

— Russian Embassy, Syria (@RusEmbSyria) February 8, 2020

For years since nearly the start of the war in 2011 and 2012, Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly offered proof of US weaponry in the hands of jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIS. 

Pentagon and even some former CIA officials have since admitted the covert US program ‘Timber Sycamore’ resulted in American arms ‘unintentionally’ making their way to terrorists in Syria; however, many informed commentators have said Washington knew exactly what it was doing in its ‘at all costs’ push to overthrow Assad.

Meanwhile, in the past days the US State Department has issued repeat warnings to Damascus that it must halt its joint offensive with Russia –

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Russia was second-biggest energy exporter to US in Autumn 2019, volumes hit 8-year high


06-02-20 07:34:00,

Given the dire state of Russia-US political relations, and Washington’s steadfast defense of its alliance with Saudi Arabia, it seems almost unbelievable that Moscow sends more energy exports America’s way than Riyadh.

Nevertheless, figures recently published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) say it’s true: Russia is America’s second-biggest source of crude oil and petroleum products.

Despite years of sanctions, the autumn of 2019 saw the amount of Russian ‘black gold’ sold to the US reach levels not seen since before the 2013/14 Ukraine crisis. Last October, imports sharply increased, with the Americans purchasing 20.9 million barrels.

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Although volumes sourced from Russia paled in comparison to those from Canada (136.5 million barrels), they managed to overtake both the US’s southern neighbor Mexico and Saudi Arabia – the world’s leading exporter of oil.

Last month, Russian media reported that the US had inadvertently helped Russia boost oil sales through restrictive measures against other countries, such as Iran and Venezuela. This led the Americans to turn to Moscow to make up shortfalls.

Venezuela traditionally ships about 15-20 million barrels of oil to the USA every month, but all imports ceased following sanctions last summer.

Raiffeisenbank analyst Andrey Polishchuk told Moscow daily RBK that another reason for the increase in deliveries may be a fall in prices for Russian Urals oil; in October 2019, the blend cost only $58.5 per barrel – 1.4 times cheaper than the previous year.

The sharp increase in exports beat a record which had stood for over eight years; the last time Russia supplied more oil to the USA was in November 2011, long before the start of tensions over Syria and Ukraine. In November, Russia dropped back into third place, as it delivered 19.2 million barrels compared to Mexico’s 21.2 million.

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Russia praises China for transparent coronavirus updates


06-02-20 07:32:00,

Moscow welcomes the prompt and transparent information exchange with China on the new coronavirus outbreak, said Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, Aleksey Volin.

“China is providing transparent updates on developments around the new coronavirus outbreak. Every day they report the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries, detailing their steps to fight the epidemic. There is enough information to gauge the real picture,” Volin said in an interview to Russia-China: Top News

Volin stressed that the transparency and verifiability of the coronavirus-related updates is being ensured, not only through government channels, but also via the Chinese media, which put the outbreak-related measures under public scrutiny. For example, China Media Group’s Yangshipin multimedia platform offers round-the-clock livestreams of the deployment of mobile hospitals in Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s not just a live broadcast: anyone, Chinese national or not, can comment on it. Many of these online supervisors are qualified engineers and healthcare professionals giving advice that helps to boost construction efficiency.

“We believe this approach is extremely efficient as it ensures a broader involvement of the public in the country’s management. Russia has also started offering livestreams of the deployment of public interest facilities,” Volin said.

The Yangshipin platform has already broadcast a round-the-clock livestream from construction sites of two specialized hospitals for those infected with the new coronavirus. The term ‘online supervisors’ was coined in China for the most active platform users. Their numbers were growing progressively each day, starting from 30 million on Day 1, to 50 million the next day, to 80 million the day after. Not only did they offer advice, but they also supported construction workers any way they could. Some wrote poems and created fanfiction, while others ordered takeout meals and safety masks for them.

The fist specialized hospital, codenamed Loki and with 1,000 beds, was unveiled on February 2. The second, 1,500-bed clinic, Thor, was finished on February 5. Construction workers admitted that the help from those online supervisors played a major role in boosting construction efficiency, since they managed to finish construction in 10 days.

The Yangshipin platform currently offers livestreams of the deployment of mobile hospitals in Wuhan. They are set up in the stadiums and exhibition centers.

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The West Will Try Again to Blow Up Russia From Within – Year Results | The Vineyard of the Saker


15-01-20 09:39:00,

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Sasha

Captioned by Leo

The home front is the most complicated for Russia if only because it was by sabotage that our implacable partners destroyed the USSR in the previous century. This is why taking stock for 2019 on the home front is the most complicated.

During the holidays our channel (PolitRussia) subscribers were able to see a series of episodes dedicated to the results of the past year. This episode concludes the aforementioned series and I delayed writing this to the very last moment because it is the most complicated one. If 2018 was marked by the unpopular “pretend” pension reform which dropped the government’s popularity ratings, for 2019 it is rather difficult to name a single event which would characterise the entire year. In the meantime, the opinion polls reveal that the shadow of the pension reform disgrace continued to hover over the year 2019.

Take a look at Russian Public Opinion Research Centre poll: 10% of respondents named the pension “under-reform” the event of the year. To compare, only 4% of responders saw the Crimean Bridge as the event of the year. In the meantime, 74% altogether failed to point out an event that would have been the most important in the past year. And this is despite the possibility of choosing more than one event. What does it tell us? That the society is overall calm. There are no over optimistic expectations, nor there is an impression of a some illustrious victory by Russia in 2019, but neither is there any nagging or pessimism. Which is confirmed by the results of another poll.

Answering the question: “What are your feelings about the passing year and the new year?” 42% of our fellow citizens said they were in a rather good mood and felt optimistic. This is less than a half but just as many – 42% – said they do not feel particularly elated but neither they have negative emotions. If to sum up both groups, it will make 84% of positive or balanced people. As for the whiners, who are seeing the 2020 in a bad mood and bad expectations, they are 14%. This is 7% less than in 2018 but it is still quite a lot.

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Why I Don’t Criticize Russia, China, Or Other Unabsorbed Governments


30-12-19 09:33:00,

Depending on whose political echo chamber I happen to be arguing with on a given day, one common criticism I run into a fair bit which many of my readers have surely also encountered is that I put all my energy into criticizing the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.

“You’re not anti-war, you’re only anti-AMERICAN wars!” they say, as though they’re delivering some kind of devastating slam-dunk point. “If you’re so antiwar, why don’t you criticize Assad’s war in Syria? If you’re such an anti-imperialist, show me where you’ve ever once criticized Russian imperialism, or Chinese imperialism?”

The argument being that someone who opposes US-led warmongering isn’t really motivated by a desire for peace and an opposition to war unless they’re also voicing opposition to all other violent governments in the world. If you’re only criticizing US imperialism and not the imperialism of other nations, you must be motivated by something far more sinister, perhaps a hatred for the United States of America.

I have three responses to this feeble line of argumentation, which I’ll list here for the benefit of anyone else who’d like to make use of them:

1. People making this argument never apply its own logic to themselves.

Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world. If you run into someone making this “you have to criticize all bad governments or your criticisms are invalid” argument on Twitter, just do an advanced search for their Twitter handle plus “Duterte” or “Sisi” or one of the other US-allied tyrants who the mainstream media haven’t spent years demonizing, and you’ll find that they’ve never made a single mention of those leaders the entire time they’ve had that account.

What this proves, of course, is that they don’t actually practice the belief that all misdeeds by all governments are equally worthy of condemnation. What they actually practice is the belief that one ought to criticize the governments they hear their television criticizing: Russia, China, Syria, Iran, etc. The governments the US State Department and the CIA don’t like. The disobedient governments. The governments which have resisted absorption into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

They don’t put the logic of their own argument into practice because it is impossible to put into practice.

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‘We will not be lectured’: Russia stands by Putin calling pro-Hitler Polish WWII envoy ‘bastard & anti-Semitic pig’


28-12-19 10:14:00,

Poland summoned the Russian ambassador in Warsaw to explain President Vladimir Putin’s remarks about the anti-Semitism of the 1930s Polish ambassador to Germany. Moscow is refusing to budge from historical truth.

In a speech on Tuesday, Putin described Jozef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Berlin (1934-39), as “a bastard and anti-Semitic pig.” He based this on Lipski’s own words from 1938, when the envoy told Hitler the Poles would “erect him a beautiful monument in Warsaw” if he carried out the plan to expel European Jews to Africa.

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Warsaw responded on Friday by summoning Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreyev to the Foreign Ministry. After having a “harsh but diplomatic” discussion with the head of the Eastern Department, Andreyev said he stood by the president’s statements as Russia’s official position.

We will not allow anyone to lecture us

“We have something to say ourselves, on the topic of politics of history,” Andreyev told reporters after the meeting. 

Putin had brought up Lipski in the context of Poland’s push for WWII revisionism, including the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers who died in its liberation from Nazi Germany, and a resolution Warsaw pushed in the European Parliament in September, which claimed that the 1939 non-aggression pact between Moscow and Berlin had “paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War.”

Modern Polish historical narrative argues that the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement was a conspiracy against Warsaw, and that there is no difference between the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and the Soviet troops coming in from the east 16 days later.

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Russia has rejected this as a falsification of history, often pointing out that neither the government in Warsaw at the time, nor its British and French allies – who had earlier declared war on Germany in support of their security guarantees to Poland – saw fit to declare war on the Soviet Union. 

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Russia–Israel Rapprochement for “Coordination” on Syria? – Global Research


10-12-19 03:37:00,

Is Russia changing her position in the Middle East? – Not likely. To the contrary, Russia is ascertaining her role in the Middle East and assuring her allies of Russia’s full and alert presence.

When reading a recent article in the Anadolu Agency (AA) News, Ankara (screenshot below) one would have the impression of witnessing a growing love affair between President Vladimir Putin and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. This is deceiving. And it is important to be pointed out, because of transparency vis-à-vis Russia’s partners and allies in the Middle East.

This rightwing news-outlet, AA, also falsely talks about the Syrian ‘civil war’ – Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.” The article goes on saying, “Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced,” – fraudulently implying that the killing and displacing of the people happened at the hands President Assad’s. When in reality the mass-killing, destroying of infrastructure and entire cities was the result of US, UK, French, Israeli and Saudi air strikes.

Yes, President Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Israel in January 2020. In addition to attending together with French President Emmanuel Macron the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, there will, for sure, be other items on the Russian – Israeli agenda, including cooperation in Syria. And, who says Syria, must also say Iran and Hezbollah.

Let’s not forget, Russia has vital interests in Syria, not only because of Russia’s involvement in and fight against the Western War on Syria – and that by invitation of President Bashar al-Assad – but also because of Russia’s military bases in Syria, i.e. Russia’s naval facility at Tartus, and the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Israel’s hundreds if not thousands of Syrian airspace violations present a permanent danger for Russia’s military bases and for thousands of Russian troops stationed in Syria.

Earlier this month Russian war planes intercepted Israeli jets over southern Syria. According to the Russian publication Avia.Pro,

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Russia & China complete their first cross-border mega highway bridge (VIDEO)


29-11-19 10:32:00,

The construction of a bridge over the Amur River to link Russia and neighboring China has been completed in the Far East. The historic road is first of its kind between the two states and is set to boost economic ties.

The bridge links the cities Heihe in northern China and Russia’s far eastern city of Blagoveshchensk located on the opposite banks of the Amur River, also known as Heilongjiang by the Chinese. The bridge is more than 1km long (0.6 miles) and is a part of key 19.9km (12.4 miles) two-lane highway project.

The ambitious $300-million construction project was started in December 2016 and the two parts of the massive cable-braced bridge were joined together at the end of May. The new milestone was reached on Friday, when local authorities announced the end of the construction works paving the way for the opening, scheduled for April 2020.

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Russia's massive bridge construction project aims to end isolation of remote Siberian region

“The bridge has a strategic importance for us. It is a very serious perspective for our region,” the governor of the Amur Region, Vasily Orlov, said during a special ceremony marking completion of the project.

The harsh weather conditions of the frigid region have been hampering cross-border trade for years, but the ambitious project is set to solve this problem. After the route becomes operational, cargo volume could see an 8-fold increase to 4 million tons, according to Alexander Kozlov, the Russian Minister for the Development of the Far East.

The new bridge should also boost tourism, increasing the tourist flow from China to 2 million. However, initially tourists won’t be able to use the road as it will only be available to cargo trucks. It will take another year and a half to build a crossing point allowing passenger transport, including tourist buses, to cross the bridge.

However, tourists could be offered a more convenient and an even cheaper way to get to the other side, according to Kozlov, as Russia is also building a cableway across the Amur River.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia is now far less dependent on US dollar or any other foreign currency – central bank


28-11-19 10:05:00,

Russia is ready to significantly reduce its dependence on foreign financing, Alexander Morozov, chief of the Research and Forecasting department at the Central Bank of Russia, has told RT.

Moscow has been dumping the US dollar from its international reserves, halving its share to around 24 percent in one year. The diversification could help to mitigate risks, including those linked to sanctions, Morozov said on the sidelines of the 5th Russian-British Business Forum (RBBF) in London.

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“We have already made significant progress in this,” Morozov told RT. “If we compare the current situation with what we had 10 years ago, now, whatever happens, the Russian financial system is certainly much more stable.”

He pointed out, however, that getting rid of the US dollar has never been the goal. Moscow just wants to control the risks that any currency could pose, such as liquidity or changes in the exchange rate, according to the financial regulator.

“As Russia trades with many countries in different currencies, we are naturally interested in keeping some share of foreign currency in the structure of our assets. So, we haven’t had the goal to get rid of the dollar, the euro or any other currency,” Morozov stressed.

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Golden shield: Russian bullion reserves will protect country against slump in oil prices

Russia’s foreign currency and gold reserves have been steadily growing over recent years and have already exceeded half a trillion dollars, thanks to the budget rule. The rule, designed to shield and stabilize the nation’s economy, implies that if oil prices are higher than $42 per barrel, then extra money from the Russian crude and gas exports is transferred to the Russian National Wealth Fund. Thus if crude prices remain above the threshold stipulated by the budget law, Russia is set to further boost its bullion and forex reserves, according to the central bank official.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia’s national payment system MIR looks to expand to Europe


27-11-19 12:07:00,

MIR payment system, developed by Russia in response to Western sanctions, is set to hit the European market. It will launch a pilot project at the Russian-British business forum in London on Wednesday.

PayXpert will become the unique acquirer of MIR cards in Europe, and the UK will be the first country where the system will operate, according to one of the organizers of the business event, the Roscongress Foundation.

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“The launch of our joint project with PayXpert is the first and foremost step in the development of MIR acquiring in Europe, which will lay the foundation for new promising trends in the foreign expansion of Russian payment cards,” said CEO of the MIR payment system Vladimir Komlev.

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Turkey embraces Russia’s national payment system credit card Mir

The Russian payment system is expected to open up access to the Russian consumer market and boost the turnover between Russia and the UK, as it will simplify payment transactions for customers of different companies. The tourist sector is also set to benefit from the project, since more than 40 million Russian tourists visit Europe annually.

“Demonstrating the potential of Russia’s financial services abroad is extremely important,” Russian Trade Representative in the UK Boris Abramov said, vowing to assist in connecting new organizations in the UK to the payment scheme.

PayXpert says that MIR is “a solid cross border payment system” that can make a company attractive to more than 147 million Russian potential customers and give access to new Eastern European and Asian markets.

Russia started developing its own national payment system when the US targeted it with sanctions in 2014. Back then clients of several Russian banks were temporarily unable to use Visa and Mastercard due to the restrictions. Since the introduction of the new system, Russian banks have already issued more than 69.7 million MIR cards.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Could Russia Floating Nuclear Plants Change World Economy? | New Eastern Outlook


25-11-19 08:34:00,

While the EU and United States have all but abandoned nuclear energy as a future power source, with almost no new reactors being built and existing ones being decommissioned, Russia has quietly emerged as the world’s leading builder of peaceful civilian nuclear power plants. Now the Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, has completed the first commercial floating nuclear plant and has successfully towed it to its ultimate location in the Russian Far East where access to power is difficult. It could transform the energy demands of much of the developing world, in addition to Russia. An added plus is that nuclear plants emit zero carbon emissions so that political opposition based on CO2 does not apply.

The floating power plant, named Akademik Lomonosov, houses two 35-megawatt reactors, based on the design of the nuclear plants aboard the successful fleet of Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers and capable of providing 70MW electric power to city of 100,000.By comparison a typical on-land nuclear station in the USA or Europe is 1,000 MW in size making them suitable only for densely populated industrialized areas.

The smaller reactors are far cheaper to build once they go into multiple-unit production and are far more flexible for locations in developing regions of Asia or Africa where lack of reliable electricity is a major constraint to economic development. The construction and installation cost for the Lomonosov is reportedly $480 million, or about $6.90 per watt, slightly more than an average conventional plant.[i]

It is designed to last 40 years before being towed away to a special location in Russia for decommissioning, similar to the process for nuclear-powered ships. The special vessel is some 140 meters long and 30 meters wide. The design features well-proven Russian-built nuclear reactors used reliably for some five decades to power its nuclear icebreaker fleet, the world’s largest. The vessel itself has been designed to be capable of withstanding a tsunami or even a collision with land or a ship. It is designed to be stationed at a specially fixed site on sea and connected to land via underwater cables.The floating units can act as cogeneration facilities capable of feeding the grid and for desalinating large quantities of seawater making them attractive to the Middle East and other countries with water problems.

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In Russia, Individuals Can Now Be Branded “Foreign Agents” – Activist Post


22-11-19 10:22:00,

By RuNet Echo

Today, Russia’s State Duma passed the third and final reading of a new bill expanding the scope of the country’s controversial “foreign agent” law.

The first iteration of the law appeared in 2012, and introduced the term “foreign agent” to refer to NGOs which receive foreign funding. It’s a loaded term in Russian, with strong associations with espionage. In November 2017, mass media organisations could be labelled “foreign agents” if they received funding from overseas; the move came soon after the state-funded news outlet RT was made to register as a “foreign agent” by the United States authorities. Since then, several organisations have been declared “foreign agents” by the Russian authorities, such as the Anti-Corruption Foundation of opposition politician Alexey Navalny in October 2019.

The latest amendments expand the definition of “foreign agent” to individuals, at the discretion of the Ministry of Justice, which already maintains online lists of “foreign agent” media outlets and NGOs. They also oblige any media organisation recognised as a “foreign agent” to first establish a Russian legal entity in order to operate in the country, and require individuals to publicly state this status and submit to intense financial reporting requirements. The punishments for non-compliance are harsh, including prison sentences of up to two years and fines of up to five million rubles (around 80,000 USD). On November 18, 10 international NGOs signed an open letter denouncing the new bill as a serious threat to freedom of expression in Russia.

How do the Russian authorities know a “foreign agent” when they see one?

The text of the new amendments, added to the federal laws on information and telecommunications, do not suggest any consistent criteria. Foreign agents, it reads, are “individuals disseminating printed, audiovisual, or other messages and material (including by use of the internet) intended for a potentially unlimited circle of people, receiving money and (or) other property from foreign states, their institutions, international and foreign organisations, foreign citizens, stateless individuals and their agents, and (or) Russian legal entities who receive money and (or) other property from indicated sources.”

State officials have stressed that the new law is nothing to worry about.

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Russia Slams US Backing For Israeli Settlements As “New Dangerous Escalation”


19-11-19 03:39:00,

Reuters reports that Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday condemned the US move to reverse decades-long official policy which viewed Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal. 

“The Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements. U.S. public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday, effectively overturning the State Department’s 41-year-old legal opinion that Israel’s West Bank settlements are illegal.

Russia condemned the drastic policy reversal as a severe blow to the peace process, saying “We consider this Washington’s decision as another step aimed at ruining an international legal basis of the Middle East settlement that will exacerbate tensions in Palestinian-Israeli relations,” according to the foreign ministry statement.

The West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, via Reuters.

“We are urging all concerned parties to refrain from any steps that could provoke a new dangerous escalation in the region and impede the creation of conditions for resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli talks,” the statement emphasized.

Russia underscored it still sees as valid and binding the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 which states that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State [Palestine-Israel] solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” 

Armed settlers from the hardline Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, via the AFP

Thus Moscow still views such settlements on Palestinian territory as illegal under international law, a Reuters summary of the Russian statement noted.

The historic policy shift of the Trump administration came after the State Department’s legal office was ordered to conduct a year-long review of the official US policy on the expanding settlements in the West Bank, according to The Jerusalem Post

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Russia & China to launch joint venture for constructing metros worldwide


13-11-19 02:11:00,

Russian engineering company Mosinzhproekt and the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) plan to set up a joint venture for the construction of subways around the world, said Moscow Deputy Mayor Marat Khusnullin.

He said that several agreements have already been sealed with Chinese partners, particularly on the implementation of a joint project on transfer hubs and the exchange of information technology.

“We have gained expertise and potentially after 2021–2022, when the main number of metros are completed, we can start building in other countries too,” Khusnullin said, adding that a preliminary agreement with the Chinese side has already been signed.

Since August 2017, CRCC has been building a 4.6km section and three stations on the Large Circle Line in Moscow, which will be completed by the end of 2020. In February, CRCC won another metro construction contract and is expected to start tunneling next month.

The Chinese firm may also invest around $1 billion in the construction of the first stage of Russia’s administrative and business center, Kommunarka.

The Moscow metro is one of the busiest in the world and is famous for its efficiency and elegance. It features some of the most beautiful stations, many of which are decorated with frescoes, marble columns and ornate chandeliers. It is one of the cleanest metros, with more than nine million passengers every day.

Opened in 1935 with 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. As of 2019, the Moscow Metro, excluding the Moscow Central Circle and Moscow Monorail, has 232 stations (263 with Moscow Central Circle) and its route length is 397.3km (246.9 miles), making it the fifth longest in the world. The system is mostly underground, with the deepest section at a depth of 84 meters (276ft), one of the world’s deepest.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia, China, & The European Peninsula


07-11-19 12:00:00,

Authored by Godfree Roberts via The Saker blog,

Eurasia has most of the world’s wealth, resources, and population — yet there is very low economic connectivity. A Sino-Russian partnership can collectively create a gravitational pull that allows them to capture the geoeconomic levers of power by creating an alternative to the Western-centric model. This entails developing new global value chains that captures the high-value activities in strategic industries and energy markets, developing new transportation corridors through Eurasia and the Arctic, and constructing new financial instruments such as development banks, trade/reserve currencies, technical standards, and trade regimes. Russia’s comparative advantage derives from its geographical expanse by developing an East-West corridor connecting Northeast Asia with Europe, and a North-South Corridor that links India, Iran and Russia. Moscow sees itself as a stabilising factor in Eurasia by bringing together the entire continent with economic connectivity to ensure that it becomes multipolar and no one state or region can dominate.

The EU stands to lose much from Russia’s Greater Eurasia ambitions. Russia’s original Greater Europe project, which they EU rejected, would have endowed the EU with a powerful ally to collectively project influence deep into the Eurasian continent. In contrast, Russia’s new Greater Eurasia initiative will marginalise the EU’s role across Eurasia as socio-economic and political decisions will be made by BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Belt and Road Initiative. The EU is faced with a dilemma as it has strong economic incentives to cooperate with the development taking place in Greater Eurasia, yet this would contribute to the shift away from the Western-centric geoeconomic infrastructure. Glenn Diesen. The Global Resurgence of Economic Nationalism.

Halford Mackinder said we don’t think of Asia and Europe as a single continent because sailors couldn’t voyage around it. Today the Northeast Passage, NEP, along Russia’s northern coast, links the Pacific and Atlantic coasts while a network of pipelines and air, rail, road and fiber routes are knitting Mackinder’s World Island into ‘Eurasia’ despite Kissinger’s warning, “Domination by a single power of either of Eurasia’s two principal spheres–Europe or Asia–remains a good definition of strategic danger for America. For such a grouping would have the capacity to outstrip America economically and,

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