The big picture

Putin’s stock market soars

Russian President Putin continues to defy the U.S. and finds sanctions to be quite bearable.

Jan 22, 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
How the Russians operated under our radar

They used many small campaigns across many automated platforms, making it harder to get caught.

Oct 10, 2017

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Jun 2, 2020 - World

Trump's G7 counterparts aren't ready to invite Putin back in

"I'm back." Putin at the G20 in 2019. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/AFP via Getty Images

Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed plans for September's G7 summit today.

Why it matters: That may sound unusual, until you recall that Russia was expelled from the then-G8 in 2014 over its invasion of Crimea.

Jun 1, 2020 - World

Kremlin says Trump discussed inviting Russia to G7 in call with Putin

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Monday about Trump's plans to expand September's G7 meeting in Washington to include Russia, according to the Russian government's readout of the call.

The big picture: The phone call between the two leaders, which the Kremlin says was initiated by Trump, comes amid six consecutive days of mass unrest in the U.S. over police brutality and racial inequality. The White House confirmed the call took place and said a readout was forthcoming.

Jun 1, 2020 - World

Putin sets referendum that could allow him to rule until 2036 for July 1

Putin has not seemed to enjoy governing by video conference. Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has set July 1 as the new date for a constitutional referendum that could allow him to remain in power through 2036.

Why it matters: Putin was forced to delay the referendum from April due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has set the date despite Russia's continued struggles to contain its outbreak. Putin's popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid his response to the pandemic and its economic repercussions.

May 25, 2020 - World

Russia asks for 18-year sentence for former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan

Paul Whelan holds up a message inside a defendants' cage in Moscow. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

Russian prosecutors on Monday asked for the maximum 18-year jail term for former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is on trial for espionage charges that he denies, Reuters reports.

The state of play: Whelan, an American citizen who also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports, was arrested in Moscow in December 2018 after allegedly receiving a USB drive containing classified information. Whelan claims he did not know it was classified material and says it was a sting operation set up by Russian intelligence.

May 21, 2020 - World

Trump to pull U.S. out of Open Skies treaty, leaves New START in limbo

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

The U.S. is moving to withdraw from Open Skies, a 1992 treaty that allows NATO countries and Russia to surveil one another from the air to prevent the risk of military conflict.

Why it matters: This is the third major international defense agreement President Trump has abandoned, following the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. The fate of another highly consequential treaty, New START, remains in the balance.

May 14, 2020 - World

Pandemic brings Putin down to size

Watching Putin mark Victory Day, from a Dacha near Moscow. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty

Russia’s surging coronavirus epidemic is now the world’s second-largest, behind the United States.

What to watch: As Russia becomes a new epicenter, President Vladimir Putin appears almost paralyzed.

May 12, 2020 - World

Putin's spokesman hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus

Peskov (R) with Putin in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin's longtime spokesman and close adviser Dmitry Peskov has been hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus, Russian news agencies report, following positive tests for several other senior officials, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Why it matters: The virus is now inside Putin's inner circle. The Russian president has been conducting meetings by video conference, though, and Peskov says he hasn't seen Putin in over a month. Russia's outbreak is among the world's fastest-growing, and is likely far more severe even than the official numbers suggest.

May 3, 2020 - World

Russia sees 4 days of record increases in coronavirus cases

President Vladimir Putin visits a hospital in Moscow on March 24. Photo: Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russia reported 10,633 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, increasing its confirmed case total to 134,687.

Why it matters: It marks the fourth consecutive day that the country announced record single-day increases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Apr 30, 2020 - World

Trump could take the lid off the world's largest nuclear stockpiles

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

There are three truly existential threats to humanity: pandemics, climate change and nuclear weapons.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has rightfully absorbed the world's attention and will for months to come. But the last treaty constraining the world’s largest nuclear arsenals is set to expire in nine months.

Apr 30, 2020 - World

Russian prime minister tests positive for coronavirus

Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on April 30. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting on Thursday that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Mishustin is one of just a handful of major elected world leaders to test positive for the virus. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive in early April and was forced to step away from his work for several weeks, including for a stint in intensive care.

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