The big picture

As countries line up for Russia's vaccine, not everyone is buying it

It's 92% effective, according to unconfirmed data.

Nov 12, 2020 - World
Alexei Navalny in first interview: Putin was behind Novichok poisoning

"I have no other explanation for what happened."

Oct 1, 2020 - World
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 - World
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 - World
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 - World

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19 hours ago - World

Russia to pull out of Open Skies Treaty, increasing tensions with U.S.

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. Photo: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP via Getty

Russia will pull out of a longstanding accord that allows countries to conduct fly-over military operations across territories, following in the United States' footsteps after President Trump left the treaty last year, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Friday.

Why it matters: Russia's exit from the Open Skies Treaty could escalate its rivalry with the U.S. as the country transitions to a new administration under President-elect Joe Biden.

Russia’s SolarWinds hackers likely burrowed deep

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Russian cyber operators are almost certainly still rummaging through U.S. networks, potentially lifting data or setting traps for future havoc even as officials scramble to assess the damage Moscow's hack has already dealt.

Why it matters: The hack, powered by malicious code inserted into an update of SolarWinds network management software, could be among the most significant in the country’s history, perhaps on par with China’s hack of the Office of Personnel Management or Russia’s 2014 hack of the State Department.

National Security Council names Russia as "likely" origin of U.S. agency breach

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A U.S. task force responsible for investigating the massive cyberattack that breached the departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security — among others — identified the hack as "likely Russian in origin," per a joint statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the first time the federal government has formally named Russia as the likely origin of the attack.

Jan 3, 2021 - Technology

Cybersecurity firm FireEye says massive Russia hack was waged inside U.S.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Russian hackers staged their attacks from servers inside the U.S. — sometimes using computers in the same town or city as the victims, cybersecurity company FireEye tells the New York Times.

Why it matters: This let the intruders evade "legal prohibitions on the National Security Agency from engaging in domestic surveillance," and elude "cyberdefenses deployed by the Department of Homeland Security."

Dec 29, 2020 - World

Argentina, Belarus become first countries outside Russia to deploy Sputnik V vaccine

Photo: Ronaldo Schmeidt/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina and Belarus on Tuesday became the first countries outside of Russia to begin coronavirus vaccinations using the Sputnik V vaccine, AP reports.

Why it matters: Although both countries authorized the vaccine last week, Russia has yet to complete advanced studies to ensure that Sputnik V is safe, effective and adheres to scientific protocols.

Dec 28, 2020 - World

Russia threatens to jail Putin critic Navalny if he does not return immediately

Photo: MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia’s prison service has ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny to return to Moscow by Tuesday morning or face jail if he returns past the deadline, Reuters reports.

The state of play: Navalny, one of Russia's most prominent critics of President Vladimir Putin, has been in Germany since he was airlifted there while recovering from an attempted poisoning attempt.

Dec 21, 2020 - World

Russian security officer duped into revealing poisoning plot to Navalny

Alexei Navalny. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

One of the Russian agents who tailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny before his poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok in August was duped into revealing how the botched operation was carried out in a 49-minute phone call with Navalny himself, CNN and Bellingcat report.

Why it matters: Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that the Kremlin had any role in Navalny's poisoning, calling the anti-corruption activist a pawn of Western intelligence and claiming that Russian agents "would have probably finished the job" if they were responsible.

Dec 19, 2020 - World

U.S. plans to close two consulates in Russia

A security officer walking in front of the the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 2018. Photo: Vasily Maximov/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. State Department will close its consulate in Vladivostok, Russia, and suspend operations at the U.S. Consulate General in Yekaterinburg, leaving the embassy in Moscow as the only remaining U.S. diplomatic outpost in Russia, a State Department spokesperson told Axios.

Why it matters: The closures come amid a massive cyberattack on U.S. government departments and agencies — including the State Department — and private companies that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says was "clearly" carried out by Russia.

Pompeo says Russia is "pretty clearly" behind cyberattack on U.S.

Mike Pompeo. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Friday evening interview that "we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians" behind a massive cyber attack that breached dozens of government agencies, think tanks and companies.

Driving the news: Pompeo's comments on "The Mark Levin Show" are the first from a Trump administration official publicly linking Russia to the hack. President Trump has yet to address the issue.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Dec 18, 2020 - Technology

Cyberhack looks like act of war

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A Trump administration official tells Axios that the cyberattack on the U.S. government and corporate America, apparently by Russia, is looking worse by the day — and secrets may still be being stolen in ways not yet discovered.

The big picture: "We still don't know the bottom of the well," the official said. Stunningly, the breach goes back to at least March, and continued all through the election. The U.S. government didn't sound the alarm until this Sunday. Damage assessment could take months.

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