Russian President Vladimir Putin called for dialogue based on equal treatment and mutual respect with the United States on Saturday in a congratulatory message to President Barack Obama marking U.S. Independence Day. Putin said U.S.-Russian relations remained important for solving global crises. The two countries have disagreements over the conflict in Ukraine, defense matters and democracy.
Moscow’s annexation of Crimea was a geopolitical earthquake with tremors extending as far as the information sector. In this new era of “hybrid warfare,” military capabilities and traditional manifestations of power merge seamlessly with intangible factors such as discourse.
The Kremlin surprised nearly everyone when it unleashed its media machine on the world after the pro-Moscow president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was chased from power in February 2014 and Ukraine fell into division and conflict. Moscow's version of events was available on television, radio, and in print media in dozens of languages in dozens of countries and the selective storytelling of these outlets succeeded in raising doubts in some peoples' minds as to who was telling the truth about events in Ukraine: Western media or Russian media.
On December 9, during a routine session of the European Parliament in Brussels, someone snuck into the building, probably through an inner parking garage, and quietly placed copies of the same thick paperback book into the private mailboxes of all 751 parliamentarians.
The book, Red Dalia, is a takedown of Dalia Grybauskaite, the president of Lithuania. The country sits on the fringes of the EU, squeezed between the former Soviet dictatorship of Belarus and the militarized Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. The books were printed in English.
The Russian government has always understood the interest of the three Finno-Ugric countries – Finland, Hungary and Estonia – in the Finno-Ugric peoples within the borders of the Russian Federation as “a pretext for putting pressure on Russia when the situation requires,” according to Alina Sergeyeva, a St. Petersburg commentator.
The public will have a chance to meet Russians from Waterville’s sister city, Kotlas, on Tuesday at Waterville Public Library as part of the 25th celebration of the relationship between the two cities. The reception will be held at 3:30 p.m.