Russia

The big picture

The tangled web of Russia's Taliban support

Suspected Russian support of the Taliban goes all the way back to the Obama administration.

Jul 8, 2020
Russians back reforms that could let Putin rule through 2036, officials say

It's the most significant reform package since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Jul 1, 2020
20 Years of Putin: Tracing his rise from KGB to Kremlin

Part 1 of an Axios special report focuses on his rise, his early years and his escalating antagonism with the West.

Updated Dec 31, 2019
Russian interference, 2020

Polarized Americans are even more exposed to emotional manipulation in 2020.

Aug 22, 2019
What the Mueller report tells us about Trump and Russia

The first part of the Mueller report addresses Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Updated Apr 18, 2019
Russia is winning its war of disinformation

American politics have been further radicalized.

Dec 17, 2018

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Why you should be skeptical of Russia's coronavirus vaccine claims

Photo: Alexey Druzhini/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has registered a coronavirus vaccine and said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated, AP reports.

Why it matters: Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia's claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin's claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects.

Updated Aug 10, 2020 - World

Protests erupt in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

The latest: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the election as "not free and fair" on Monday and urged the Belarusian government to "refrain from use of force" against protesters who have taken to the streets. At least one person has died in the protests, while hundreds have been injured and thousands arrested.

Blumenthal calls classified briefing on Russian interference "absolutely chilling"

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) called on the Trump administration to declassify intelligence detailing Russian efforts to influence the 2020 elections, telling MSNBC on Sunday that the classified briefing lawmakers received about the Kremlin's activities last week was "absolutely chilling."

The big picture: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in a statement Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. China and Iran would prefer that Trump is defeated, according to Evanina.

Aug 9, 2020 - World

Pelosi says election threats from China and Russia are "not equivalent"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the threats posed by China and Russia to U.S. elections are "not equivalent," stressing that "Russia is actively, 24/7, interfering in our election."

Why it matters: Top counterintelligence official William Evanina revealed in a statement on Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. The government of China, meanwhile, prefers that Trump does not win re-election, Evanina said.

Aug 6, 2020 - World

How the world's nuclear stockpiles have shifted since Hiroshima

Data: Federation of American Scientists; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

There are roughly 13,355 nuclear weapons in the world, with 91% of them belonging to Russia (6,370) or the U.S. (5,800), according to estimates from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

What to watch: China’s stockpile of around 290 warheads is “likely to grow further over the next decade” and put it firmly in the third spot among the world’s nuclear powers, according to analysts Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda.

Aug 6, 2020 - World

Nuclear free-for-all: The arms control era may be ending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki have remained unreplicated for 75 years in part because the U.S. and Soviet Union — after peering over the ledge into nuclear armageddon — began to negotiate.

Why it matters: The arms control era that began after the Cuban Missile Crisis may now be coming to a close. The next phase could be a nuclear free-for-all.

Updated Aug 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sally Yates: There was a "legitimate basis" for FBI's Flynn interview

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified Wednesday that she believes there was a "legitimate basis" for the FBI to interview then-national security adviser Michael Flynn in January 2017 as part of a counterintelligence investigation into Russian election interference.

Why it matters: The Justice Department under Attorney General Bill Barr is attempting to dismiss the case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, on the grounds that there was no basis for the FBI to interview him in the first place.

Aug 5, 2020 - World

How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis.

The big picture: Nuclear war remains the single greatest present threat to humanity — and one that is poised to grow as emerging technologies, like much faster missiles, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, upset an already precarious nuclear balance.

Updated Aug 4, 2020 - Science

The U.S. is at risk of attacks in space

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Other nations are catching up to U.S. capabilities in space, potentially putting American assets in orbit at risk.

Why it matters: From GPS to imagery satellites and others that can peer through clouds, space data is integral to American national security.

Fitness tech company Garmin confirms ransomware attack

Photo: Sergei Mikhailichenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Garmin, a major fitness tech company that tracks many users’ workout routines and GPS coordinates, was the victim of a ransomware attack, the company confirmed Monday.

The big picture: The attack, first reported by TechCrunch, froze “the company’s online services for millions of users, including Garmin Connect, which syncs user activity and data to the cloud and other devices.” Garmin’s “aviation navigation and route-planning service” was also affected, says TechCrunch.

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