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Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2103

Edited by Amanda Azinheira and Alexis Mrachek
November 21, 2016


October 20

The Czech Republic is the most recent country to officially accuse Russia of conducting a propaganda war within its borders. 
According to London's Guardian newspaper, Prague has called out Russia for creating what it says are networks of pro-Moscow media and social action groups aimed at destabilizing the country. The Czech charge echoes the accusations of many other countries, especially in Eastern Europe, that have charged Moscow with trying to influence public opinion in it favor.The Czech government now plans to set up a unit meant to counter Russian propaganda in the country. 

October 21:

Just two years after having to bail it out, Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to the country's flagship oil firm to help boost the national economy. Rosneft recently spent 330 billion rubles ($5.1 billion) to buy out Bashneft - another government-controlled oil company - and now the Kremlin is seeking to have the company buy $11 billion of its own shares back from the government, 
reports Bloomberg. The move is intended as a fix for the country’s ailing economy, and a way to inject a short-term stimulus into Russia's cash strapped government budget. 

October 22:

Amid rumors that Moscow is attempting to interfere in U.S. elections, Russian authorities have asked local officials if they could observe polling locations in three U.S. states. The request was sent after Russia declined to join the official observer mission being dispatched by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors elections in all member states. All three U.S. states turned down Moscow's request - two of them because state laws prohibit foreign delegates from entering polling stations.
According to the International Business Times, State Department spokesperson John Kirby called the request a public relations stunt, and said Russia would be welcome as an observer if it applied through the appropriate channels. Russian electoral officials, however, have already used the incident for anti-West propaganda, telling state newspapers that the U.S. State Department denied the observation request because of "russophobic tendencies." 

October 23:

Russia is spending even more of its dwindling cash reserves on military investments. Moscow has announced that it will be working on creating a unified system of satellite communications for military use, as well as a new generation of radio systems for aircraft that is intended to provide Russian forces with a significant advantage over the communication technologies of land forces from other states,
reports UA Wire
.  

October 24:

Has Russia weathered the worst of its economic crisis? Moody's Investors Service, a leading provider of risk analysis, has changed its outlook for Russia's banking system from "negative" to "stable" - an indication that the country’s economy may be poised to begin a recovery. 
According to its website, Moody's expects the Russian economy to contract by only one percent in 2016, with potential for growth in 2017 due to stabilization of oil prices and strong government stimulus. 

October 25:

A Ukrainian hacker group has uncovered emails implicating the Kremlin in a plan to destabilize Ukraine in the near future. According to Foreign Policy, the group hacked into the emails of Vladislav Surkov, a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the lead negotiator in the ongoing peace talks in Ukraine. 

The alleged initiative seeks to support nationalist and separatist politicians and to encourage early parliamentary elections in Ukraine in order to create "favorable conditions for controllable political forces to enter the new parliament." "As a result of fundamental changes in the Ukrainian political situation, it is possible to achieve the return of Donbas to Ukraine on Russian terms," the alleged emails state.


Related Categories: Russia; Russia and Eurasia Program

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