KGOU

Russia

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on June 21, 2017
NPR

Wednesday is another big day of testimony before two Congressional committees investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 Presidential election. Notably, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (under President Obama) is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee. 

US Capitol building
Flickr

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open hearing on Tuesday. Senators will likely ask about his recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and what if anything he knew about President Trump reportedly asking former FBI Director James Comey to ease off the inquiry into onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn. Here is Sessions' prepared opening statement to the committee, annotated by NPR journalists.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reads his opening statement at a public hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 13, 2017.
NPR

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

In this screenshot taken from the live video, former FBI Director James Comey listens to questions during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence June 8, 2017.
NPR

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Ukraine has been in conflict since 2014, when President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country, and Russian troops annexed the Crimea region. Fighting has been off-and-on ever since, with Russian-armed separatists in the eastern Ukraine region of Donbass fighting against pro-government forces. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates over 9,600 people have been killed in the violence, and 1.1 million Ukrainians have become migrants or refugees.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., talks to supporters during the Republican watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
J. Pat Carter / AP

The U.S. Senate investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is moving steadily, despite reports to the contrary, said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford in an interview with NPR's Rachel Martin on Tuesday morning.

 

This satellite image released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows a damage assessment image of Shayrat air base in Syria, following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes on Friday, April 7, 2017.
DigitalGlobe/U.S. Department of Defense via AP

 

American forces launched over 50 missiles at a Syrian air base Thursday night, to retaliate against the Bashar Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Joshua Landis, the director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, told KGOU’s World Views he doesn’t expect President Donald Trump to get involved in regime change.

“Regime change would not be good for America,” Landis said.

The NPR Two-Way blog will provide live coverage of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The live blog will include streaming video of the proceedings, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

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A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd (modern day St. Peterburg), Russia, during the February Revolution.
State museum of political history of Russia

 

Women played a central role in the Russian Revolution, but their importance was largely erased from history after the Bolsheviks took power.

Historian Rochelle Ruthchild wants to change that.

“Women went out on the streets to for International Women's Day to demonstrate. And that actually sparked the Russian Revolution which led to the toppling of Tsar Nicholas II,” Ruthchild told KGOU’s World Views.

President Obama meets with King Salman during a 2015 trip to Saudi Arabia.
Pete Souza / The White House

On Friday, France’s foreign minister described talks over Syria’s future as entering a “danger zone.” Opposition leaders have stepped away from the negotiating table in Geneva, accusing the regime led by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad of violating the cease-fire the U.S. and Russia painfully put together.

Representative of Assad’s regime might not even be at the negotiating table without Russia’s intervention. Airstrikes helped Syrian forces take back territory, put the rebels on their heel, and attack ISIS positions in the ancient city of Palmyra.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss two sides of international education. China has charged an education advocate in Tibet with inciting separatism, and a one-room basement library in Afghanistan is providing books to citizens once ruled by the Taliban.

Then contributor Joshua Landis talks with Jeffrey Mankoff from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He argues the U.S. tried to outsource solving the Ukraine crisis onto German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They’ll also discuss Russia’s involvement in Syria.

Jeffrey Mankoff during an October 2014 Center for Strategic and International Studies forum on Russia's war, Ukraine's history, and the West's options.
Center for Strategic and International Studies / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Russia rapidly moved to the front of the world stage when President Vladimir Putin returned to power in 2012, setting off an adversarial relationship with the West not seen since Cold War tensions thawed in the 1980s.

The country’s ascendancy includes the 2014 invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea region, and a greater role in Syria on the side of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Syria is fighting rebels opposed to Assad’s minority Alawite-led government as well as Islamic State, or ISIS, militants bent on establishing a caliphate in the Middle East.

President Obama talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during the 70th United Nations General Assembly Sept. 28, 2015.
Pete Souza / The White House

In the wake of Russian aggression in the region, President Obama announced Wednesday that he will be strengthening America’s military presence in Eastern Europe.

"As we approach the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, it is clear that the United States and our allies must do more to advance our common defense in support of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace," President Obama said in a statement.

Suzette Grillot and Brian Hardzinski discuss Catalonia's push for independence from Spain, and Russia's "frozen zone" in the troubled region of eastern Ukraine.

Then Rebecca Cruise talks with Peter Lochery. He’s the Director of Water for the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, or CARE, and won the University of Oklahoma WaTER Center's 2015 Internaitonal Water Prize.

Heavy weaponry is moved through eastern Ukraine, disrupting day-to-day life.
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It’s been almost two years since pro-Russian unrest took hold in Ukraine, dividing the country along ideological lines and leading to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

As the second anniversary of the Euromaidan movement’s genesis approaches, nearly three million people are living in what The New York Times' Andrew Kramer describes as a “frozen zone.”

Historian Beeta Baghoolizadeh says 19th century Iranian slavery can appear softer alongside its American counterpart, but that’s not a fair comparison. She'll trace the country's history of slavery and its erasure from the national consciousness.

But first, Joshua Landis joins the show again for a discussion of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt and what may have caused it, and Turkey’s recent parliamentary elections.

Rebecca Cruise talks with energy analyst Andreas Goldthau, who says if Europe embraces technology like hydraulic fracturing, it’ll reduce the reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.

But first, Joshua Landis analyzes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s surprise visit to Moscow this week to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on both current and future military operations in Syria. 

A Rosneft oil rig drilling near Ugut, Russia.
Tatiana Bulyonkova / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The year-long drop in crude oil prices has caused economic anxiety across the globe, especially in so-called “petrostates” that rely heavily on oil and natural gas to drive their economies.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss Russia's air strikes on Syria, and what the country's motivation could be for trying to take on a greater role on the world stage.

Then, Suzette talks with filmmakers Paco de Onís and Pamela Yates. They use their documentaries to raise awareness and create social change.

President Obama talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during the 70th United Nations General Assembly Sept. 28, 2015.
Pete Souza / The White House

This week Russia launched its first air strikes in Syria after the country’s parliament approved the use of military force to combat Islamic State militants. The move comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama met at the UN General Assembly.

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