FROM Alec Luhn
The summit within the summit After warm greetings in public, Presidents Trump and Putin were behind closed doors for more than two hours today in Hamburg, Germany. For the moment, their meeting has overshadowed the larger G-20 summit, as protesters stormed local police in the streets of the city. Mr. Trump’s aides said he had “no agenda,” but Secretary of State Tillerson says he began with Russia’s meddling in America’s election. Putin denied it. With US-Russian relations at their lowest point in decades, is there any chance of a rapprochement? Is that in America’s interests?
Are Russian protests a threat to Putin? Riot police detain demonstrators during an anti-corruption protest organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, on Tverskaya Street in central Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2017 Photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters This could have been one of Russia's most extensive days of political protest in recent history. Police in 200 cities were out in force and at least 700 have been arrested so far. Demonstrators also had to share the streets with people colorfully dressed in historical costumes for a Russian holiday. We hear more from the Guardian 's Alec Luhn, who was covering today's protests and was arrested at demonstrations earlier this March, and from Andrew Weiss, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment where he oversees the Russia and Eurasia Program.
The Russia reaction to Trump leaks Now that the Oval Office conversation between President Trump and Russian officials is the subject of global speculation, let's hear how it is playing out in Russia. The Washington press corps is abuzz with reports that Trump shared classified information with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Is it even a story in Moscow? We ask Alec Luhn, who's based in Moscow for the Guardian.
Putin Holds Forth on Marathon Call-In Show Despite economic recession, President Vladimir Putin has 80% approval in Russia. Today, he held the annual, four-hour televised call-in that's designed to keep it that way. Alec Luhn writes from Moscow for the Guardian newspaper and the Nation magazine.
Russia's Currency Crisis The price of oil and economic sanctions have panicky Russian consumers rushing to buy whatever they can as the ruble loses its value, but at today's three-hour, end-of-the-year news conference, Vladimir Putin said , not to worry: the crisis will only last a couple of years. He blamed the US and Europe, said the Russian bear won't be chained up -- saying he was referring to nuclear weapons. We look at what might be in store for Ukraine and at the role of Saudi Arabia in Russia's economic decline.
Ukraine's Future and Russian Politics Despite last week's plan to "de-escalate" the crisis, Ukraine and Russia are now exchanging accusations over Saturday's deadly shootings near the Eastern city of Sloviansk. Russia says Ukraine has failed to crack down on "extremists" as promised last week in Geneva. Ukraine says people were killed in a "crude provocation" staged for Russian TV. Vice President Biden has arrived in Kiev for talks with Ukraine's interim government starting tomorrow, while the Obama White House decides whether to escalate economic sanctions. Would they make any difference in the short term? Does Vladimir Putin want to invade Ukraine, or will continued destabilization suit his purposes? His domestic approval rating is 80% based on nationalism and conservative values. Is that more important than the economy in the short term?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.