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Jan 26, 2014

Olympics-High stakes for Putin at costly Sochi Games

MOSCOW, Jan 26 (Reuters) – The Sochi Winter Olympics are meant to be Vladimir Putin’s crowning achievement as Russian leader but are in danger of becoming a symbol of his country’s problems.

When the Games open with great fanfare on Feb. 7, the president will be there to revel in the unlikely feat of turning an ageing sub-tropical resort on the Black Sea into a glittering modern hub for a Winter Games in seven years.

Jan 20, 2014

Militant Islamist video threatens Winter Olympics

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Two men said by Islamist militants to have carried out suicide attacks in south Russia appeared in a video donning explosive belts and warning Vladimir Putin to expect a “present” at the Sochi Winter Olympics from fighters following after them.

The video was posted by a group identifying itself as Vilayat Dagestan and appeared on a website often used by militants from Russia’s northern Caucasus region where Moscow has been battling insurgency for over a decade. It could not be independently corroborated.

Jan 14, 2014
via FaithWorld

Kalashnikov rifle designer felt ‘spiritual pain’ from mass deaths it caused


(Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose AK-47 automatic rifle has been the weapon of choice in a half-century of wars from Afghanistan to Zaire, celebrated his 80th birthday November 10, 1994 in this file photo. REUTERS)

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 rifle, wrote a letter to the Russian Orthodox Church before his death expressing concern that the weapon had killed so many people, Izvestia newspaper reported.

Jan 14, 2014

Russia expels U.S. journalist critical of Putin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has barred a U.S. journalist who is critical of President Vladimir Putin for five years, a move that could upset relations with the United States and has echoes of the Cold War.

Moscow’s treatment of David Satter could fuel concern about freedom of speech before the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month, although Putin has tried to appease critics by freeing former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and members of the Pussy Riot protest group in the run-up to the Games.

Dec 19, 2013

Putin says to pardon jailed tycoon Khodorkovsky

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin is to pardon one of his best known opponents, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in what may be a gesture to critics of his human rights record before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics.

Putin made the announcement that he would soon free Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, after a marathon news conference in which he exuded confidence that he has reasserted his authority in the face of street protests. He also confirmed that women from the Pussy Riot group would be also be released.

Dec 19, 2013

Russia’s Putin says Ukraine bailout not aimed against Europe

MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on
Thursday portrayed Russia’s bailout of Ukraine as an act of
brotherly love to stave off economic crisis and said it was not
designed to keep its big neighbour out of Europe’s clutches.

Russia agreed on Tuesday to buy $15 billion worth of
Ukrainian Eurobonds and cut the price Kiev pays for Russian gas,
weeks after Kiev spurned a trade pact with the European Union in
a policy U-turn which touched off anti-government protests.

Dec 17, 2013

Russia agrees $15 billion bailout of Ukraine, fuelling protests

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia agreed a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine and slashed the price of gas exports on Tuesday under a deal that keeps the cash-strapped country in Moscow’s orbit but fuelled street protests in Kiev.

Vladimir Putin’s lifeline to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was a triumph for the Russian leader in a geopolitical battle with the Europe Union. But the deal saddles Russia with a heavy financial burden and he failed to lure Ukraine into a customs union with other ex-Soviet republics.

Dec 17, 2013

Russian bailout wins Ukraine economic respite but deepens political rift

MOSCOW, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s President Viktor
Yanukovich has secured a $15 billion bailout from Russia,
offering respite for an economy heading ever closer to default
but also drawing accusations he has sold his country out to its
former Soviet master.

By grasping the lifeline thrown by Russian leader Vladimir
Putin, Yanukovich reignited demands for his resignation by
opponents at home already enraged by his decision to walk away
from a trade and political deal with the European Union.

Dec 16, 2013

Ukraine leader seeks cash at Kremlin, Kiev protest planned

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s president could secure
loans from Russia on Tuesday when he meets Vladimir Putin at the
Kremlin – money that could help fend off economic crisis as
anti-government protests continue in Kiev.

Demonstrators demanding that Viktor Yanukovich step down
after he spurned a trade and investment deal with the European
Union last month plan a new show of force in Ukraine’s capital
on Tuesday as the president meets his Russian counterpart.

Dec 16, 2013

Russia nears loan deal with Ukraine to keep it in its orbit

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia signaled on Monday it was about to agree a loan deal with Ukraine to help its indebted neighbor stave off economic chaos and keep it in its former Soviet master’s orbit.

In snowbound Kiev, the opposition went ahead with plans for another big rally for Tuesday against what they see as moves by President Viktor Yanukovich to sell out national interests to Russia after he backed away from a landmark deal with the European Union that would have shifted their country westwards.

    • About Timothy

      "Timothy Heritage is Brussels Bureau Chief and European Affairs Editor, responsible for coverage of the European Union. He has previously been based in Moscow, Jerusalem, Paris, London, Warsaw and Belgrade, covering events ranging from the fall of Communism and conflict in the Balkans and Middle East to the euro zone debt crisis."
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