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Strongman Putin’s bid for Crimea could destroy Russian economy

Putin takes economic gamble with Crimea swoop (via AFP) Russia is facing a prolonged period of low growth due to a failure to implement reform, is suffering from disturbing capital flight and the ruble is coming under sustained market pressure. So is it really the best time for President Vladimir…

Russia sells off record $11.3 billion in foreign currency to prop up ruble

Russia sold a record $11.3 billion in foreign currency to support the ruble on March 3, the so called “Black Monday” when the ruble came under unprecedented pressure due to concerns about conflict in Ukraine, central bank data showed on Wednesday. The Russian central bank sold foreign currency to buy…

Black Monday: Panicked Russian markets crash 10 percent over Ukraine

Moscow (AFP) – Russian stock markets Monday crashed almost 10 percent and the ruble plunged to historic lows in value against the dollar and euro, as alarm grew over the potentially disastrous economic consequences of military intervention in Ukraine. Russia’s central bank hiked its main interest rate in an emergency…

Ukraine mobilizes following Putin’s ‘declaration of war’

By Natalia Zinets and Alissa de Carbonnel KIEV/BALACLAVA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor in Moscow’s biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. “This is…

Russia risks losing G8 membership over Crimea: U.S.

US Secretary of State John Kerry bluntly warned Russia on Sunday that it risked losing its place among the prestigious Group of 8 developed nations over its deployment of troops in Crimea. Kerry warned President Vladimir Putin that "he is not going……

Russian teachers told to cut back homework so children could watch more Olympics coverage

President Vladimir Putin's ruling party on Wednesday urged Russian school teachers to cut back on homework assignments so children could spend more time watching the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The feel-good proposal came on the heels of the Russian……

Madonna introduces Pussy Riot at star-studded sellout concert in NYC

Feted by Madonna and cheered by thousands, Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot defied President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the Sochi Olympics at a star-studded New York concert. The performance highlighted soaring tensions between Russia and the United States, which drastically deteriorated when Moscow granted asylum to U.S.…

Putin orders Russian military to boost presence in Arctic after Canada signalled intention to claim the North Pole

President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military on Tuesday to step up its presence in the Arctic after Canada signalled its intention to claim the North Pole and surrounding waters. The tough and quick response to Canada’s announcement reflected Russia’s desire to protect its oil and natural gas interests in the…

Pussy Riot documentary makes early list of Oscar contenders

A film about jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot and a documentary about a British war photographer killed in Libya made it onto an Oscar candidate long list published Tuesday. “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer” and “Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim…

Russia charges five Greenpeace activists with piracy

Russian investigators on Wednesday charged five Greenpeace campaigners with piracy over an open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling, the environmental group said, calling the move an “outrage”. The charge against the activists — a Briton, a Finn, a Brazilian, a Russian and a dual US-Swedish citizen — dimmed hopes that…

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