From Russia With News

From Russia With News

This week’s news and analysis from Russia introduced by our staff and guests.

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    Putin Forever? And Russian Economy Rocked by Coronavirus Fallout

    This week on the podcast:

    — In a televised statement to Russia’s parliament, Vladimir Putin backed a constitutional shake-up that could see him remain President for another two full terms. The plans would mean Russia’s cap of two six-year presidential terms for presidents would be re-set when a batch of high-profile constitutional amendments come into force later this year, thereby allowing Putin to run for office again in 2024 and 2030 — should he wish to of course. To dig into the developments and look at what happens now, Professor Sam Greene, head of the Russia Institute at Kings College London joins us on the line.

    — Last week, Russia rejected a proposal from Saudi Arabia to cut oil production in response to the economic fallout of the coronavirus, kicking off an “oil price war” and sending global energy prices tumbling. In the studio to weigh up those claims and assess the real damage, Natasha Doff, Economy and government editor at Bloomberg News here in Moscow.

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    Russia and Turkey scramble to avoid conflict. And what do the U.S. Democratic primaries mean for Moscow?

    This week on the podcast:

    — The leaders of Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow on Thursday in a bid to de-escalate fighting in Syria which has brought the two countries to the brink of direct military confrontation. It is the latest episode in a fraught nine-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands, created millions of refugees and reshaped geopolitics in the Middle East. Financial Times Bureau Chief Henry Foy joins us in the studio to discuss what is at stake for both countries.

    — Following Super Tuesday in the United States, it is shaping up to be a two-way fight between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden to secure the Democratic nomination and go head-to-head with Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. On the line to discuss where the candidates sit on Russia, journalist Ben Judah, author of “Fragile Empire: How Russia fell In and Out of Love with Vladimir Putin”, and who is now on the campaign trail in the U.S. reporting on Bernie Sanders’ bid for the White House.

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    Moscow targets Chinese nationals amid coronavirus fears. And the Arctic heats up in record speed

    This week on the podcast: 

    — China has complained that Moscow’s response to coronavirus is discriminatory and risks damaging relations with Beijing. Associated Press correspondents Francesca Ebel and Dasha Litvinova looked at how Moscow authorities went into great lengths to track down Chinese nationals. Francesca joins us to explain Russia’s increasingly heavy-handed measures to contain the outbreak.

    — The battle for the Arctic is heating up — literally — as countries, companies and citizens wrangle to protect and advance their interests in the region. We’ll speak to American journalist Alec Luhn about the effects of climate change on the Arctic, and Russia’s political and economic strategy for its icy north.

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    Russia gets tough on Coronavirus. And what does Surkov's departure say about modern Russia

    From today — that’s Thursday the 20th of February — most Chinese citizens will be temporarily blocked from entering Russia as part of Moscow’s latest moves to contain the spread of coronavirus. The ban covers all Chinese citizens traveling to Russia on employment, tourist and student visas. On the line to discuss Russia’s latest moves to stop the coronavirus spread is Alexander Gabuev chair of the Asia-Pacific program at Carnegie Moscow Centre.

    And later. Vladimir Putin fired his long-time advisor Vladislav Surkov this week — the Kremlin’s so-called “grey cardinal” who was, until a few weeks ago, Russia’s chief negotiator over the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. On the phone to explain a bit about the man behind the reputation and explore whether Surkov leaving the Kremlin will mean anything for Russia-Ukrainian relations, Mark Galeotti of Honorary Professor at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies and author of ‘We Need to Talk about Putin’. From Russia With News is hosted by Jake Cordell and produced by Pjotr Sauer. The episode was recorded and edited at CM Records Studio in central Moscow.

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    Russian anti-fascist group gets 'monstrous' jail terms. And New Yorker journalist Joshua Yaffa on his new book, 'Between Two Fires'

    — On Monday, seven members of a Russian anti-fascist activist group were jailed for up to 18 years on terrorism charges in a case that observers have compared to a Soviet-era show trial. We speak to NYT correspondent Ivan Nechepurenko about how Russian society has reacted to the case. — New Yorker correspondent Joshua Yaffa joins us in the studio to discuss his new critically-acclaimed book “Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia,” a fascinating portrait of modern Russia and the inner struggles of the people who sustain Putin’s rule.

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    Russia returns to the Council of Europe. And the Kremlin puts the squeeze on Georgia as 'Anti-Russian' protests continue in Tbilisi

    — Five years after it was expelled for annexing Crimea, Russia has been admitted back onto the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. And not everyone is happy about it. We speak to Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky about how the decision has divided European allies and delighted Russia.

    — A decade after Russia and Georgia fought a 5-day war, ties between the countries are at a historic low following a dramatic week of protests, resignations and sanctions. We talk to Thomas de Waal of the Carnegie think tank about why Vladimir Putin is lashing out at Georgia.

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    What to make of Putin's annual call-In 'ritual'. And are we closer to justice for MH17 victims?

    — Vladimir Putin put on display his ability to rattle off facts about Russia’s success during his annual phone-in on Thursday. But just how impressed was his audience? We talk to Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie think tank.

    — On Wednesday, Dutch prosecutors charged three Russians and one Ukranian with murder in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The three Russian men have various links to their country’s intelligence services and all of them served in the military. Their trial, which they are unlikely to attend given that Russian law prohibits its citizens from being extradited, begins in March next year. Joining us on the line is Dutch journalist Gert-Jan Dennekamp a reporter at Nieuwsuur television program.

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    A journalist's arrest shows the cracks in Putin's regime

    The shock arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov — and his even more unexpected release — is revealing the unpredictability of late Putinism. We speak with Alexei Kovalev, Ivan’s editor, about what it took to get him free, and with Daily Beast reporter Anna Nemtsova about how authorities tried to manage the outcry.

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    The Kremlin woos foreign investors at "Russian Davos." And what's behind the roaring success of HBO's Chernobyl

    — Russia’s flagship economic conference, kicking off in St. Petersburg on Thursday, has been overshadowed by the detention of U.S. investor Michael Calvey. We speak with Ann Simmons of the Wall Street Journal about what Russia is doing to shore up its image and find new trading partners.

    — HBO’s roaring hit Chernobyl has sparked some uncomfortable conversations in Russia. We talk to writer Michael Idov about why the show has struck a chord in the U.S. and a nerve in Russia

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    Don't Insult the President. And why rural doctors are striking

    — Russians are learning the hard way what happens when you take Putin’s name in vain. We speak with Moscow Times editor, Daniel Kozin, about a new law against insulting the authorities.

    — If it's demonstrations against trash disposal, then it’s against new churches, restrictions or internet censorship. We’ve covered them all on the podcast, and now, doctors are protesting. We speak to Andrew Kramer from the New York Times about how doctors in rural Russia are speaking up against low wages.

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