September 4th, 2013
08:05 PM ET

Breaking up is hard to do: the Obama-Putin relationship

By Jill Dougherty

Relationships can be tough, especially long-distance ones. And talking to that special someone all night on the "red phone" isn't easy when you're pulling all-nighters dealing with world crises.

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed one public display of affection on Thursday, shaking hands and exchanging a few words. Officials say the world leaders could have a longer meeting on the margins of the G-20. The issue of what to do in Syria is adding a lot of stress to an already strained relationship.

Back in January 2009 when Obama was sworn into office for the first time, he had high hopes for U.S.-Russian relations after things went south between George W. Bush and Putin.

There was a new young president – Dmitry Medvedev – in the Kremlin and Obama thought maybe Washington and Moscow could start over.
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August 9th, 2013
08:23 PM ET

Obama says 'pause' needed to assess Russian relations

By Jill Dougherty

Two days after calling off a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow, President Barack Obama said Friday he is re-evaluating the entire U.S./Russia relationship.

Obama, speaking at a White House news conference, seemed ready for a more rocky relationship with the Kremlin.

"It is probably appropriate for us to take a pause, reassess where it is that Russia's going, what our core interests are, and calibrate the relationship so that we're doing things that are good for the United States and hopefully good for Russia as well, but recognizing that there are just going to be some differences and we're not going to be able to completely disguise them, and that's ok."

Obama told reporters his decision not to participate in the Moscow summit next month went beyond Russia's decision to give temporary asylum to admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

"It had to do with the fact that, frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress Russia has not moved," he said. "And so, we don't consider that strictly punitive."

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As Obama readies to visit Russia for G-20 summit, will he bypass Moscow?
July 19th, 2013
12:13 AM ET

As Obama readies to visit Russia for G-20 summit, will he bypass Moscow?

Edward Snowden’s long layover may be over if Russia grants him temporary asylum. But will it?

The country has the G-20 summit coming up. And while the White House has said President Barack Obama will attend the gathering in St. Petersburg, it isn’t saying whether he’ll stop in Moscow.

That’s not the kind of embarrassment President Vladimir Putin wants to risk over the American intelligence leaker.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Putin • Russia
No end in sight for NSA leak fallout
July 10th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

No end in sight for NSA leak fallout

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories and opinion pieces previewing the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 17-20 in Aspen, Colorado.  Follow the event on Twitter under @aspeninstitute and @natlsecuritycnn  #AspenSecurity.

By Jamie Crawford

Edward Snowden's fate and the possible damage he has done to U.S. relations with close allies still commands attention of the Obama administration.

The situation shows the degree to which "the United States and Europe define privacy in different ways," former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told CNN’s Security Clearance.

That tension was apparent following revelations from Snowden, the admitted leaker of national security documents, that the United States had been using electronic intercepts to monitor various European government offices.

While the threat of international terrorism has decreased over the past decade because of "significant" cooperation between the United States and Europe, Crowley said he is "confident" the situation will eventually "work its way through the political situation on both sides of the Atlantic."
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Filed under: Aspen Security Forum • China • Edward Snowden • Medvedev • North Korea • NSA • Putin • Russia • Syria • Terrorism
Snowden claims political persecution amid confusion over asylum requests
July 1st, 2013
10:04 PM ET

Snowden claims political persecution amid confusion over asylum requests

By Jill Dougherty

Edward Snowden spoke out for the first time since fleeing to Moscow, according to a statement attributed to him that was released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

In it, he  attacked President Barack Obama and vowed to continue leaking information on government collection of data.

“This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile,” Snowden said, referring to Obama. “These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”

The U.S. government, he claimed, is “using citizenship as a weapon,” revoking his passport and, he claimed, “leaving me a stateless person.”

The State Department says Snowden is not stateless, noting that he is still a U.S. citizen even though his passport has been revoked.

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June 25th, 2013
11:00 PM ET

U.S. and Russia in standoff over NSA leaker

CNN's Jill Dougherty reports on the U.S.-Russian stalemate as Edward Snowden, the admitted leaker of once-secret surveillance programs, apparently remains hold up in a transit area in Moscow's airport.

Experts: Brooding Putin believes Russia will one day eclipse U.S.
June 21st, 2013
07:21 PM ET

Experts: Brooding Putin believes Russia will one day eclipse U.S.

By Jill Dougherty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in the headlines a lot recently, allegedly pocketing a Super Bowl ring, valued at $25,000, that belonged to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - then jokingly offering to make him an even more expensive replacement.

Then there was that offhand announcement that he and his wife of almost 30 years were calling it quits and hadn't lived together for quite a while, anyway.
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Putin still sees double standard with West on terrorism
Russian President Vladimir Putin
April 26th, 2013
06:22 PM ET

Putin still sees double standard with West on terrorism

By Jill Dougherty

When I was CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief I participated in a round-table discussion with Vladimir Putin, then president for the first time, in the Kremlin library. Sitting next to him, just to his right, I could see how even the word “Chechnya” infuriated him. After all, it was Putin who, in 1999, launched the second Chechen War.

Thursday, in his annual national call-in, “Direct Line,” in which he fielded questions from Russians for almost five hours, Vladimir Putin showed that he still has a deep current of anger toward Chechen terrorists, along with a deep grudge toward the West for what he perceives as its double standard on terrorism.

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Boston bombing looms large at U.S./Russia meeting
April 22nd, 2013
10:08 PM ET

Boston bombing looms large at U.S./Russia meeting

By Elise Labott

BRUSSELS (CNN) - When Secretary of State John Kerry meets Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of NATO meetings, he will have a full agenda, starting with the crisis in Syria, disarmament talks with Iran and nuclear saber rattling by North Korea.

There also will be the issue of missile defense and ongoing negotiations between Moscow and Washington to make drastic cuts in their respective nuclear arsenals.

But the Chechen roots of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects will loom large.

While Russia could be helpful in tracing possible motivation of the alleged attackers, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as well as any possible connection to terrorist groups, the Obama administration wants to make sure it does not upset an already fragile relationship.
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Filed under: Kerry • Putin • Russia • Terrorism
Putin song lands punk band in jail
Members of the all-girl punk band "Pussy Riot" Yekaterina Samutsevich (L), Maria Alyokhina (C) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) sit in a glass-walled cage during a court hearing in Moscow on Agust 17, 2012.
August 17th, 2012
11:02 AM ET

Putin song lands punk band in jail

Three members of Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison Friday after they were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in a church.

The five months they have spent in detention since their arrests in March count toward the sentence, Judge Marina Sirovaya said.

The judge said the charges against the three women - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - had been proved by witnesses and the facts.

The Pussy Riot members were charged after screaming, "Mother Mary, please drive Putin away," in a protest act in February inside Christ Savior Cathedral, one of Moscow's grandest houses of worship.

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Filed under: Putin • Russia
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