Vladimir Putin has gone to extreme lengths to control the flow of information in Russia, but there’s one step he hasn’t dared take: shutting down YouTube.
Why it matters: One of Putin’s first initiatives upon taking office 20 years ago was to bring Russia’s independent TV networks under his control. But YouTube has replaced TV in the news and entertainment diets of Russians under 30, and it's become the go-to platform for Putin’s critics, Russian journalist Andrey Loshak tells Axios.
Sergey Pavlovich Polozov says he was so surprised to find his name included in special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments that he told himself it couldn’t be him — until he saw a more detailed document that included his date of birth.
Why it matters: Mueller’s indictment accused Polozov of providing “material and technological support” to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the St. Petersburg-based “troll factory” on the front lines of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
China reacted furiously today to a U.S. decision to deny entry to all foreign nationals who had been to China in the past two weeks, denouncing it as a violation of WHO advice that would only spread fear.
The big picture: Some public health experts warn that travel bans are ineffective in fighting outbreaks and discourage international cooperation and transparency. But several governments are now employing them amid the coronavirus outbreak.
No story caused a bigger stir in Davos this week than the news that two suspected Russian spies had been caught in August posing as plumbers in the Alpine town.
Between the lines: One prominent attendee instantly suspected a personal connection. Bill Browder, a U.S.-born financier and long-standing thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin, tells Axios that before departing for Davos he received a warning from the British security services — passed along by their Swiss counterparts — that he could be in danger.
Despite "tough" U.S. sanctions, Russia's economy is picking up steam, and its financial markets are delivering massive rewards to investors.
Why it matters: In an era in which the U.S. has made economic punishment its foreign policy weapon of choice, Russian President Vladimir Putin and others continue to defy the U.S. and are finding the consequences to be quite bearable.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, 67, has given the clearest signal yet of how he plans to navigate term limits and join China’s Xi Jinping, 66, as a possible leader for life.
Why it matters: Several of the world’s most powerful leaders have recently shifted the rules in order to keep power past normal transitions.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet resigned Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin announced major changes to the structure of Russia's government.
Why it matters: This is part of a much wider shakeup. Putin is facing constitutional term limits that, unless amended, will force him to leave office in 2024. In his state of the nation address, Putin proposed a referendum that would shift more power to the prime minister and cabinet and away from any presidential successor.
Twenty years ago today, on New Year's Eve 1999, a political newcomer and former KGB operative named Vladimir Putin suddenly assumed the Russian presidency.
Part 1 of our "20 Years of Putin" special report focuses on his rise, his early years and his escalating antagonism with the West. It's based on conversations with Mikhail Khodorkovsky — the oligarch whose imprisonment in 2003 revealed Putin's ruthlessness to the world — three former U.S. ambassadors to Moscow, leading experts and former chiefs of the Pentagon and CIA. Read part 2.
Why it matters: Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized that Russia is the only country armed with hypersonic weapons. He also has compared the success of the Avangard's development to the Soviet Union's first satellite launch in 1957.
Russia vowed Monday to respond to U.S. sanctions on its Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, the AP reports.
The big picture: The U.S. enacted sanctions last week against individuals and companies building the pipeline — which forced a major contractor to suspend its work — arguing that it would increase Europe's dependency on Russian energy.