Bounties, Putin's Power Extension Return US-Russia Relations to Spotlight

Headline Roundup July 2nd, 2020

Recent news regarding Russia — including reports of Kremlin-backed bounties on U.S. troops and a constitutional amendment passed to keep Vladimir Putin in power until 2036 — has re-magnified U.S.-Russia tension, and questions about oppression and democracy in the world's ninth-most populous nation.

Voices on all sides of the political spectrum investigated the bounties and Putin's effort to retain power at great length; left-rated sources generally focused more on the former, and right-rated outlets on the latter. Some focused specifically on opposition from U.S. leaders to allowing Russia to return to the G7 summit later this year in light of the bounty reports, after President Donald Trump said previously he'd consider re-inviting Putin. Others focused on new Russian Internet regulations critics say will jeopardize privacy and free expression.

Bounties, Putin's Power Extension Return US-Russia Relations to Spotlight

From the Right
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ANALYSIS

Vladimir Putin is stepping up his war on the World Wide Web. In late May, claiming that it was key to Russia’s counterterrorism efforts, Putin signed a decree dramatically expanding his government’s power to regulate — and limit — access to the Internet for the country’s nearly 150 million inhabitants.

The edict, an update to the Kremlin’s 2014 counterterrorism strategy, gives Russian authorities greater control than ever before over the dissemination of information on the Internet. The ostensible goal of the measure is to curb language that could incite hatred...

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From the Left
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ANALYSIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin just got what he’s wanted from a recent vote: the veneer of a popular mandate on a plan that allows him to stay in power far beyond his current term limit — and could essentially make him president for life.

On July 1, Russia tallied the results of a week-long national vote on a slew of constitutional reforms, including a constitutional amendment that allows Putin to nix term limits and remain president until 2036. Such an outcome was expected, and largely predetermined, given Russia’s long track...

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From the Center
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In early May a classified CIA update for officers across U.S. intelligence agencies and others with security clearance reportedly cited evidence of a Russian program suspected of paying Taliban-linked militias to kill American and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The military and intelligence agencies were investigating whether the bounty program might have played a part in an April 2019 roadside bombing near Bagram Air Base in which three Marine reservists were killed. The United States had evidence – in the form of a half-million dollars in cash found in a Seal...

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