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Archive for September 2012

NEWSLINK: Kremlin oil control drive could backfire

Oil Well file photo

Kremlin oil control drive could backfire – Reuters – By Dmitry Zhdannikov – September 27, 2012 –  click here for original article Reuters reports on the Russian government’s efforts to bring more oil assets under state control.  Critics charge that growing state control could cripple industry, strain budget resources and even cause social unrest. Some

Free Elections Are Coming To Russia! No, Really!

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

RFE/RL –  By Brian Whitemore – September 27, 2012 Russia will have free and fair elections in October. There will be real choice with multiple, viable candidates. There will be vigorous televised debates. The vote will be open and transparent, with clear rules of the game. No, I’m not delusional. And no, I am not

Pussy Riot Members Unmasked – Nashi Head

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

MOSCOW, September 28 (RIA Novosti) – More members of the anti-Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot have been unmasked, pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi’s head Konstantin Goloskokov claimed on Friday. Nashi earlier announced that they had set up a “prize fund” which would go to anyone sharing reliable information with them regarding the identities of the

Sobchak to Get Her Money Back

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  September 28, 2012 Federal investigators will return the almost $2 million in cash they seized from the apartment of it-girl-turned-political activist Ksenia Sobchak in June, the Investigative Committee said late Thursday. “Checks conducted by investigators revealed no tax evasion by Sobchak,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on

”Next steps in Missile Defence” – Remarks by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow at the Security and Defence Agenda Rountable

Missile Defense Launch File Photo

www.nato.int –  27 September 2012 I very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today. The Security and Defence Agenda was established just after my last stint in Brussels, when I was US Ambassador to NATO. Over the past decade, the SDA has developed a stellar reputation. So let me compliment Giles Merritt for his

”Russia-NATO: 15 years on the way to partnership” – Address by NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to the International Conference

Stained Glass Window with NATO Logo and Handshake

www.nato.int – 27 September 2012 Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me start by thanking the leadership of the Diplomatic Academy ­ and in particular Rector Bazhanov, Mr. Lukin and Mr. Safranchuk — for their initiative to organise this important conference together with our NATO Information Office in Moscow. I understand there are many distinguished

NEWSLINK: USAID ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA WILL BE CONTINUED BY NDI AND THE FORD FOUNDATION

USAID From the American People Logo

USAID ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA WILL BE CONTINUED BY NDI AND THE FORD FOUNDATION – The U.S. Agency for international development (USAID) will continue to carry out its programs with the help of its partners – Izvestia – Anton Lednev – September 28, 2012 [no link available to English-language version of article] Izvestia reports that, while

NEWSLINK: Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet Russian PM

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet Russian PM – AFP – September 28, 2012 click here to read original article AFP covers plans for Facebook social network founder Mark Zuckerberg to visit Russia and meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.  Facebook is holding an event in Moscow, and already has ties to Russian IT. “Zuckerberg will

Medvedev Seen Hanging in the Balance

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Nikolaus von Twickel – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 28, 2012 When Dmitry Medvedev announced on Sept. 24, 2011, that he would step aside to let Vladimir Putin return as president, he disappointed critics and supporters alike. Disgruntled observers described him as a “political corpse.” A year later, Medvedev is prime minister and leader

Georgia Abuse Outcry Lifts Russia-Linked Billionaire in Vote

Map of Georgia

By Helena Bedwell and Henry Meyer – Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – September 28, 2012 Public outcry over the rape and beating of prisoners in a Georgian prison is threatening the nine-year rule of U.S. ally President Mikheil Saakashvili in Oct. 1 parliamentary elections. While Saakashvili’s ruling party held a lead of more than 20 percentage

Russia Is Turning Into Iran

Russian Duma Building

By Michael Bohm – Moscow Times –  themoscowtimes.com – September 28, 2012 Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times. On Tuesday, members of the four parties represented in the State Duma introduced a bill that would carry a three-year prison sentence for “insulting the religious feelings of others.” Given the bill’s widespread

Rejoinder to Alexander Rahr; West Is Punk?!

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 From: Sergei Roy <SergeiRoy@yandex.ru> Subject: rejoinder to Alexander Rahr Attached is my rejoinder to Alexander Rahr’s statements posted on JRL 25 September. West Is Punk?! By Sergei Roy [Former editor of Moscow News] Recently I was invited to take part in a panel discussion on US-Russia relations (reported on JRL

Russia is building an “iron fist” to deter the West; A National Consensus in Moscow on Pursuing a Revisionist Strategy

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume 13 Issue 19 – By Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org- September 17, 2012 In an interview published on September 26 in the official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of armaments Dmitry Rogozin, highly praised President Vladimir Putin’s plans to “reindustrialize Russia” by spending hundreds of billions of

JRL Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#170 – 28 September 2012

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#170 28 September 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project www.worldsecurityinstitute.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: www.russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Moscow Times: Medvedev Seen Hanging in the Balance. 2. AFP: Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet

JRL Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#169 – 27 September 2012

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#169 17 September 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project www.worldsecurityinstitute.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: www.russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Interfax: Number Of Putin’s, Medvedev’s Supporters Growing In

Billionaire Lebedev Charged With Hooliganism

Alexander Lebedev file photo

Moscow Times –  themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – September 27, 2012 Kremlin critic and billionaire Alexander Lebedev has been charged with hooliganism over a fistfight on a television show last year, the Investigative Committee said Wednesday. The charge, which carries a five-year prison sentence, is for “hooliganism motivated by political, ideological, racial, ethnic or

Putin Confirms Russia’s Adherence to WTO Rules

WTO Logo

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will follow the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) despite the fact that he did not sign the protocol of Russia’s accession to WTO. “Regarding my signing of the WTO accession protocol: I did not sign anything. I worked for Russia’s accession, indeed,

Making the Kremlin Queasy: Massive American Aid Has Helped Russians Three Times in the Last Century

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

Voice of America – By James Brooke – September 25, 2012 James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. As American officials struggle to meet an Oct. 1 deadline for closing the 20-year-old USAID office in Moscow, it is worth looking at America’s other great 20th century aid program to

Compromise on Missile Shield Possible – Vershbow

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) – A compromise with Moscow on U.S. missile defense system in Europe is possible despite the current deadlock, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said on Thursday. Several prominent Russian researchers and military experts have recently supported NATO’s claims that the alliance’s plans are not targeting Russia, Vershbow said. Proposals

NEWSLINK: Siberia placed to be the new Middle East

Oil Well file photo

Siberia placed to be the new Middle East – Asia Times – By Yong Kwon – September 24, 2012 – http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NI25Ag01.html Yong Kwon is a Washington-based analyst of international affairs. Asia Times examines the impact of Middle Eastern instability on oil and the global economy, and Siberia’s emergence as a significant source of petroleum. Russia

NEWSLINK: What the Papers Say, Sept. 24, 2012

File Photo of Russian Print Newspapers, adapted from image at loc.gov

What the Papers Say, Sept. 24, 2012 – Moscow Times/BBC Monitoring – 25 September 2012 –  www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/what-the-papers-say-sept-24-2012/468642.html The Moscow Times and BBC Monitoring examine the latest news and trends in Russian-language print newspapers. click here to read the coverage in its entirety

NEWSLINK: Deadly Hobby of Dog Hunting Gains Popularity

File Photo of Dog at Animal Shelter Jumping Up on Person in Winter Clothing, With Beseeching Look

Deadly Hobby of Dog Hunting Gains Popularity – Moscow Times/AP – September 24, 2012 – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/deadly-hobby-of-dog-hunting-gains-popularity/468660.html The Moscow Times features an AP story about Moscow dog-killers, with reports of at least 70 dead dogs in a week prompting police action.  Psychopaths who poison dogs apparently are using the internet and social networking to share information

Protest sentiment abating over restructuring in civil society

Moscow Protest file photo

(Interfax – September 24, 2012) Restructuring in civil society and in the protest movement may give birth to fresh and serious ideas, said Russia’s ex-Finance Minister and Civil Initiative Committee chairman Alexei Kudrin. “One shouldn’t fear abatement in the [protest] sentiment. I think we are witnessing a restructuring in civil society, including the protest movement,

Russian Opposition Leaders See Their Name Recognition, Disapproval Ratings Go Up

File Photo of Gennady Gudkov

Interfax – Moscow, 24 September: In the past six months, most leaders of the unofficial opposition have managed to increase their name recognition, but their approval ratings have remained the same, while their rejection levels have gone up, according to the results of polls that became available to Interfax. The growth of Russian opposition leaders’

Kremlin considering resumption of election bloc practice

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – September 24, 2012) The formation of party blocs, which proved efficient in the elections of 1999, may resume with the weakening of the United Russia position, Nezavisimaya Gazeta said on Monday. “The law on election blocs may become a part of Russian politics again in the next election cycle. The Presidential Administration is

Politics, Orthodoxy a Potent Mix at Winzavod

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

Maximilian Gill – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 24, 2012 Chaos ruled at the opening of an exhibition of “real icons” inspired by Pussy Riot, resulting in the arrest of nine protesters. On Thursday evening, about 20 Orthodox activists and Cossacks blocked the entrance to the Gelman Gallery at Winzavod Modern Art Center, where

Gazprom Neft Delays Arctic Drilling for Safety Reasons

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

Roland Oliphant – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  September 24, 2012 Gazprom Neft has delayed the start of oil operations at its offshore Prirazlomnoye oil field due to safety concerns, it was reported Friday. The field is now expected to start producing oil in September or October of next year, a source at the company

Russian Food-Store Tsar Rings Up Billions as Wal-Mart Wavers

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

Ilya Khrennikov – Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – September 7, 2012 One by one, from the southeastern corner of the continent, Sergey Galitskiy is beating the biggest supermarket chains in Europe. In February, the Russian retailer he founded near the Black Sea, OAO Magnit (MGNT), surged past Metro AG (MEO) of Germany in market value, then

“All the Russias” Blog at the Jordan Center/ Reintroducing Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

From: Eliot Borenstein <eb7@nyu.edu> Subject: “All the Russias” Blog at the Jordan Center Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 Dear Johnson’s List-ers, The Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia has launched it’s new website (http://jordanrussiacenter.org/), which reflects the Center’s emphasize on the comparative and cross-field contextualization of Russia.  You can read more about the

Treason Bill Gains Momentum

Russian Duma Building

Yekaterina Kravtsova – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 24, 2012 The State Duma tentatively approved a bill on Friday to broaden the legal definition of high treason, seen by human rights groups as part of a continuing crackdown on foreign-funded organizations in Russia. While lawmakers contend that the bill would make the work of

Drunk driver kills 7 when he hits a bus stop at 190 kph

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – Moscow News – themoscownews.com – September 24, 2012 Seven people were killed and four more were injured at a bus stop in Moscow when a car hit it at 190 km per hour. The drunk man behind the wheel of a Toyota lost control of the car and crashed into a bus

Russian Veteran Rights Organization Says It Will Not Register As ‘Foreign Agent’

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Interfax – September 21, 2012) Following the Moscow Helsinki Group and the movement For Human Rights, the Russian human rights society “Memorial” has decided not to fulfil the requirement envisaged by the amendments to the legislation that oblige non-commercial organizations, receiving Western grants, to be registered as a “foreign agent”, Russian news agency Interfax reported

Senior MP Says USAID Knew Russia Was Unhappy With It

USAID From the American People Logo

(Interfax Moscow, 20 September) As early as two years ago Russia warned the USA about its grievances over the Agency for International Development (USAID), head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksey Pushkov has said. “We warned the US side a long time ago – I think this story is already two years old

JRL Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#168 – 24 September 2012

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#168 24 September 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project www.worldsecurityinstitute.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: www.russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Moscow Times/AP: Deadly Hobby of Dog Hunting Gains Popularity. 2. Moscow News: Drunk driver

JRL Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#167 – 23 September 2012

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#167 23 September 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project www.worldsecurityinstitute.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: www.russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Russia Beyond the Headlines: John Evans, Putin and Russians need a break. Should Russia

JRL Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#166 – 20 September 2012

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#166 20 September 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project www.worldsecurityinstitute.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: www.russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Moscow News: Baby, it’s cold outside. When the weather turns sour, some Russians splurge

Golos Vows to Carry on Monitoring Despite USAID Moscow Office Shutdown

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW. Sept 20 (Interfax) – The independent election monitor Golos is searching for Russian sponsors to substitute grants from the closing Moscow office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Golos said some of its projects were endangered by the USAID pullout. “Nevertheless, we will continue election monitoring no matter what,” says the

Scandal at jail breaks Georgia election wide open

(Business New Europe – Molly Corso in Tbilisi – September 21, 2012) Reeling from graphic evidence of widespread prisoner abuse just 10 days before the parliamentary elections, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his party are bracing themselves for a major fight to stay in power. The scandal broke on September 18 after a series of

Battle between liberals, Siloviki heats up over Rosneftegaz cash

Igor Sechin file photo

(Business New Europe – September 21, 2012) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered his cabinet to draw up urgent plans to “seize” 95% of the RUB130bn (€3.2bn) sitting on Rosneftegaz’s accounts to meet President Vladimir Putin’s demands to increase spending on state salaries and infrastructure investment. The move would emasculate Rosneftegaz CEO and Kremlin

NEWSLINK: Opposition says Georgia vote a choice between “good and evil”

Map of Georgia

Opposition says Georgia vote a choice between “good and evil” –  Reuters – Margarita Antidz – September 22, 2012 – click here for original article Reuters covers the campaigns for the October 1 legislative elections in Georgia. On the heels of the broadcasting of a video of prison inmates being tortured and raped with objects,

Campaign Against Georgian Govt Is Financed From Russia – Saakashvili

Map of Georgia

TBILISI. Sept 21 (Interfax) – The campaign against the government in Georgia is financed from Russia, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said at the Tbilisi House of Justice opening ceremony. “They are fighting us with Russian money, using Russian methods, threatening us and wielding weapons on the border. But they won’t intimidate us,” he said. Saakashvili

Russian Finance Minister Answers Putin’s Criticism Of Three-Year Federal Budget

Anton Siluanov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 19 September)  The Russian president’s decrees of 7 May, which reflect (Vladimir Putin’s) election campaign ideas, are a priority, and R1,145bn (36.7bn dollars) is to be spent on their implementation over the next three years, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists. “The implementation of the decrees is a priority. For all

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Denies Abnormal Capital Flight From Country

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Bishkek, 20 September) The leadership of the (Russian) Ministry of Finance is sceptical about pessimistic takes and forecasts on the outflow of capital from Russia and believes that there are no grounds for this – that this is ordinary banking practice. “I see no indication of there being a withdrawal of funds from

NEWSLINK: Pro-Kremlin source says Putin accuses USAID of meddling in Russian politics

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

Kremlin-backed news source Russia Today reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the U.S. Agency for International Development of meddling in Russian politics. Click here for “Putin agrees: USAID meddling in Russian politics” by Robert Bridge from russiatoday.com on September 20, 2012.

Russian Foreign Ministry says Russia’s ‘mature’ society can do without USAID

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website – September 19, 2012 The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on September 19, 2012, addressing Russia’s expulsion of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), leveling accusations regarding the influence of elections and political processes. But the Ministry also decried any international aid: “It should also

Kremlin boots USAID for ‘interference’ in Russian politics; The Kremlin, already suspicious of US involvement in the street protests against Vladimir Putin, ordered development agency USAID to cease operations in Russia by Oct. 1.

USAID From the American People Logo

By Fred Weir – Christian Science Monitor – September 19, 2012 [click here for original article] The Christian Science Monitor reports on Russia’s decision to shut down USAID operations in that country, with Russia accusing them of interference in Russian internal politics. While USAID has funded a wide variety of programs in Russia, there is

Russian Analysts, Rights Activists, Opposition Comment On USAID Closure

USAID From the American People Logo

RIA Novosti – September 19, 2012 The Russian authorities’ decision to bring to an end the work of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has been widely commented by Russian political analysts, opposition politicians and human rights activists. Analysts The closure of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) operation in Russia is a

Top Official Unfazed By Russia’s Standing In ‘Subjective’ Corruption Ratings

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Interfax – September 19, 2012) The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, has said there is no need “to make a tragedy out” of the fact that Russia holds the top position in various international corruption ratings, Interfax news agency reported on 19 September. “There is no need to feel outraged or to

Russia Puts Renewed Hope in Repatriation Program

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

By Natalya Krainova – Moscow Times – September 19, 2012 President Vladimir Putin has revised the state’s repatriation program, simplifying the process for former compatriots to move back to Russia and bring relatives along with them. But analysts doubt that the changes will significantly alter migration flows. Earlier this year, the president said that if

Duma May Call For Stronger Liability For Insulting Religious Feelings on Sept 25

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Moscow file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) – Members of all four State Duma factions have submitted a draft resolution in defense of the religious feelings of members of all creeds which the lower house may mull next Tuesday. “We will make the decision on behalf of the committee and submit the issue to the Duma Council so

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