Steve Gutterman's Week In Russia
Thursday 1 November 2018
October 26, 2018
The Week In Russia: Martyrdom, Nuclear War, And Falling Ratings
Vladimir Putin said Russians will go to heaven as “martyrs” if the country gets into a nuclear war and warned of a new “arms race” if Washington abandons treaties. Putin got bad domestic news, with an ally issuing a grim economic forecast and a poll putting his approval rating near an all-time low.
October 12, 2018
The Week In Russia: A Storm Of Setbacks And A Call For Constitutional Change
Russian President Vladimir Putin has faced something close to a perfect storm in the past several days, with setbacks on many fronts, ranging from politics and opinion polls to space, soccer, religion regional tension, and more.
September 28, 2018
The Week In Russia: A Shockingly Normal Election, Novichok News, And More Jail For Navalny
The Kremlin scrambled to shore up its power nationwide after a handful of electoral defeats, while evidence that the poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter was a GRU operation mounted as cybersleuths dug deeper and Russia dug in, repeating its denials. Aleksei Navalny walked out of jail after 30 days – and walked back in hours later, handed another 20 days behind bars over the protests he has mounted against President Vladimir Putin and pension reform.
September 21, 2018
The Week In Russia: Rough Around The Edges -- Challenges For Kremlin At Home, Abroad
The Kremlin suffered setbacks along edges of its sphere of influence over the past week: Syrian forces shot down a Russian reconnaissance plane, killing 15 servicemen; a ruling-party win in the Russian Far East was annulled amid evidence of "shocking" fraud; and the Russian Orthodox Church slipped closer to a historic loss of clout in Ukraine.
September 14, 2018
The Week In Russia: Duels And Don'ts -- Salisbury, 'Steak,' and Siloviki Slipups
One of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies broke the Kremlin taboo on speaking Aleksei Navalny’s name – and vowed to make “mincemeat” out of him in a duel. Two alleged GRU officers went on TV to explain why they were in Salisbury the day Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned, telling a story that critics said had more holes than the International Space Station. And Putin stunned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a proposal to sign a World War II peace treaty before the year is out.
September 07, 2018
The Week In Russia: Novichok Charges, The Putin Show, And Final Farewells
Britain named, charged, and published photographs of the two alleged Russian military intelligence officers it says traveled to England on a mission to kill an ex-spy with a Novichok nerve agent. Iconic crooner Iosif Kobzon and Russia-backed separatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko were buried, and President Vladimir Putin was lionized in a fawning prime-time program on state TV.
August 10, 2018
The Week In Russia: Sanctions, Seagal, and Sentsov
Weeks after the first summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. officials announced a fresh volley of sanctions against Russia and warned that more may be on the way, while Moscow appointed action-movie actor Steven Seagal as a special envoy for cultural ties. In a Russian prison, hunger-striking Crimean filmmaker Oleh Sentsov's condition was called "catastrophic."
August 03, 2018
The Week In Russia: Mercenaries, Mining, And More Pension Woes
Three seasoned journalists were shot dead as they were investigating Russian military contractors and mining interests far beyond the country's borders, while pension-reform plans put millions of people back home in a protest mood and exposed rifts in the ruling party.
July 27, 2018
The Week In Russia: The Torture Problem And The Second-Summit Dilemma
A harrowing video of an inmate’s beating shone a bare-bulb spotlight on Russia’s prison-torture problem. And a second summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was pushed into 2019 while the United States reaffirmed its rejection of Moscow’s takeover of Crimea, raising further questions about Russia’s concrete gains from the Trump-Putin talks in Helsinki.
July 20, 2018
The Week In Russia: Summit Shortcomings, Pension Perils
From Washington to Moscow, the summit in Helsinki was widely seen as a big win for Vladimir Putin. But despite President Donald Trump's follow-up invitation for Putin to visit the White House within months, the meeting may have fallen short of some of the Kremlin's more ambitious expectations. And when it was over, Putin returned home to a country facing the prickly problem of pension reform, with trepidation over planned retirement-age hikes denting his popularity.
Some of the key developments in Russia over the past week, and some of the takeaways going forward, by RFE/RL's News Editor Steve Gutterman.