Archive for November 2012

Russia Hopes Climate Change Maximizes Arctic Shipping

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Voice of America – James Brooke – Nov. 28, 2012) MOSCOW ­ Americans may have seen the downside of climate change when Hurricane Sandy bashed into New Jersey and New York City in October. Some scientists say melting Arctic ice helped to create the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Russians and Chinese, however, see an

A ‘Kompromat’ War Of All Against All

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – Nov. 29, 2012) Is it an anti-graft campaign? A purge of the elite? Or the start of a clan war? When police raided and searched the home of Rostelekom CEO Aleksandr Provotorov last week, it marked yet another chapter in what the Russian media has been describing as a Kremlin-backed

Russia’s Misery Loves U.S. Company

United States Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm – Nov. 30, 2012 – Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times) For many Russian conservatives who still mourn the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “secession” movement in the U.S. has offered some misguided comfort, if not schadenfreude. After the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential

TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to Kommersant newspaper

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(http://premier.gov.ru – Nov. 29, 2012) Question: You’ve been Prime Minister for six months now. We can safely say that the organising phrase of forming the Government is over. Earlier you had outlined seven priority areas of the Government’s work including in the short term. What have you been able to resolve at this stage and

NEWSLINK: Senate fight coming over Russian human rights bill

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Senate fight coming over Russian human rights bill – Foreign Policy – Josh Rogin – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) ForeignPolicy.com covers the U.S. Senate’s handling of the Magnitsky Act and related trade regulation, and the question of whether to broaden its scope to human rights violators world-wide: The Senate is

NEWSLINK: The Magnitsky Bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(The Magnitsky Bill: The Sources of America’s Obsession with Russia – US-Russia.org – featuring Vlad Sobell, Ron Paul, Edward Lozansky, Willism Dunkerley, Alexander Rahr, Alexandre Strokanov, Nicolai Petro,  Mark Nuckols, Patrick Armstrong, and Sergei Roy – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) US-Russia.org features remarks in Congress by Cong. Ron Paul, as

NEWSLINK: Georgia eyes double-digit growth, renewed Russia ties

Map of Georgia

(Georgia eyes double-digit growth, renewed Russia ties – Reuters – Margarita Antidze – Nov. 26, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/26/us-georgia-economy-idUSBRE8AP0NE20121126) Reuters covers Georgia’s expressed need for increased economic growth in the face of unemployment and low per capita GDP, with one hope being that trade with Russia will play a part: Georgia’s new economy minister says his

NEWSLINK: Russia’s Population is Growing For The First Time Since The Early 1990’s

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Russia’s Population is Growing For The First Time Since The Early 1990’s – Forbes.com – Mark Adomanis – Nov. 29, 2012 – http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/11/29/russias-population-is-growing-for-the-first-time-since-the-early-1990s/) Forbes and Mark Adomanis examine the Russian demographic situation: Just to be clear, the fact that Russia eked out a minuscule level of natural population growth does not mean that it is

NEWSLINK: Russia government sets population growth as top priority

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

(Russia government sets population growth as top priority – Itar-Tass – Nov. 29, 2012 – http://pda.itar-tass.com/en/c154/584720.html) ITAR-TASS covers Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s comments at a meeting of the Russian government, that the Russian government’s top priority is to stabilize demographic trends and increase Russia’s population: Despite the natural growth of the population, the demography

Medvedev vows both symmetrical and asymmetrical response to Magnitsky Act

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thinks that the support of the Magnitsky Act by European countries is pointless and vows that Russia will respond to such a decision by the U.S. Congress. “If we speak about this act, it will invoke both symmetrical and asymmetrical reactions on our behalf. We

Resumption of dialog with Georgia is possible given new geopolitical reality – Medvedev

Map of Georgia

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) – Russia is ready to cooperate with the new Georgian authorities, if they take into account Russia’s decision on the recognition of Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “This is not the easiest path, but Russia has always said that we are ready for dialog with

Much but not everything was done as part of Russian-U.S. ‘reset’ – Medvedev

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev counts on the fact that relations with the United States will develop under President Barack Obama but stresses that Moscow will not change its position on the European missile defense system. “There are issues on which we differ seriously: this is the European missile defense

Putin Ready to Revive Russia’s Far East Mega Plan

File Photo of People Working on Car Amidst Siberian Woodlands and Meadows

NOVO-OGARYOVO, November 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was ready to rejuvenate government plans to create a mega state corporation to develop Russia’s depressed eastern Siberia and Far East. “The idea of a government corporation was discussed and I know that far from everyone shares this approach,” Putin said

Russia to Weigh Taxing Individuals on Investments, Deposits

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – Nov. 28, 2012) Russia will consider taxing individuals who earn more than 1 million rubles ($32,200) a year from financial holdings to narrow income inequality, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. “We could collect tax on additional income from wealthy citizens who have larger bank deposits and more investment

Better Business Climate Gets New Impetus

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – Nov. 29, 2012) Business executives are urgently calling on the government to improve conditions for entrepreneurship, which they say remains massively underdeveloped because of stifling bureaucratic and administrative hurdles. If the country’s leaders do not act soon, they might put themselves in jeopardy, participants in a

Russian deputy PM says democracy depends on innovative economy

Skolkovo File Photo

(Interfax – Skolkovo, 28 November) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov has described innovative work as a priority political task because high technologies contribute to the development of democracy. “I think innovative work is a priority political task. It precedes party building, it precedes elections, it comes before everything else, because there will be no

AIDS spreading by leaps and bounds in Russia – AIDS center chief

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

MOSCOW. Nov 28 (Interfax) – AIDS is spreading in Russia at a fast and accelerating pace, with more than 60,000 cases registered this year and about 70,000 people expected to pick the virus in 2013, the head of the national IDS center said on Wednesday. “About 20,000 have died (of AIDS) this year, and this

Putin’s Repressive Power Is Tested and Found Lacking

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 217 – Pavel K. Baev – Nov. 28, 2012) A capacity for unleashing targeted repressions is crucial for the survival of authoritarian regimes, and President Vladimir Putin finds it increasingly difficult to demonstrate that he has such a capacity­or that he controls it. Health

Bringing out the dead: Why Sergei Magnitsky’s story remains relevant for the arts

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – Nov. 26, 2012) Let’s get one thing out of the way first ­ I am married to one of the actors starring in “One hour and eighteen minutes,” a documentary play about the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. And I am not here to talk to you

PM Medvedev Says Corrections in TNK-BP Deal Possible

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said corrections are possible in the recently inked deal on the purchase of Russia’s third largest crude producer TNK-BP. Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft announced in October it had reached agreements to buy 100 percent of TNK-BP from British oil major BP and the

Prison Revolt Yields More Questions Than Answers

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Nov. 29, 2012) There were either 250 participants or about 1,000. They demanded improved conditions or nothing at all. Their protest was plotted by criminal masterminds or it was spontaneous. Almost nothing is clear about last weekend’s revolt at a maximum security prison in the Urals, as

Medvedev: Repression Charges Are Pure Politics

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 29, 2012) Saying the “repressive” label given to new laws on treason and other civil issues is “a pure political tactic,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev voiced support for the State Duma’s reinstating of criminal charges for libel ­ which overturned one of his own initiatives as president. In a

Russia’s Leadership ‘Tandem’ Losing Appeal – Poll

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

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – The two men who form Russia’s ruling tandem – President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – have seen their credibility and approval ratings drop over the past 11 months, the Levada polling agency said on Thursday. Putin’s credibility ratings fell from 41 percent in January to 34

Number of Russians viewing authorities as corrupt continues to grow

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

(Interfax – 11.29.12) Corruption in Russia remains high, and citizens are worried about it, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) told Interfax on Thursday. Seventy-five percent believe that the corruption level is high or even very high. The indicator was the same in 2007-2008, the sociologists said. Sixty percent claimed high corruption in their

Russia Ranks Dismally in Rule of Law Index

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – 11.29.12) Russia ranked dismally in the yearly Rule of Law Index published by the nongovernmental World Justice Project, scoring in the bottom third for each of the ranking’s eight criteria. Russia ranked 92nd out of 97 countries for the extent to which its government’s powers are limited, 92nd for order

NEWSLINK: Rostelecom Is Forever in Debt to the Kremlin

Empty Boardroom

(Rostelecom Is Forever in Debt to the Kremlin – Yulia Latynina – Moscow Times – Nov. 28, 2012 – Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/rostelecom-is-forever-in-debt-to-the-kremlin/472094.html) Yulia Latynina comments in a Moscow Times op-ed on alleged corruption and repercussions entangling Rostelecom, Marshall Capital and VTB Bank, yet another Russian

NEWSLINK: Russia says plans no switch out of euro reserves

EU Map

(Russia says plans no switch out of euro reserves – Reuters – John Irish – Nov. 27, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/27/us-russia-forex-idUSBRE8AQ0ND20121127) Reuters covers Russian plans to continue having foreign exchange reserves having almost as many Euros as U.S. Dollars: Russia has no plans to switch euro-denominated foreign exchange reserves into other currencies as Moscow believes the

Daghestani Brothers Struggle To Bridge Religious, Political Divides

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(RFE/RL – Uma Isakova – Nov. 28, 2012) An uneasy peace holds between Ruslan and Rustam Shapiyev in the Daghestani village of Komsomolskoye. Younger brother Rustam, who has taken the name Abubakar, says he loves and respects his older brother, who has adopted the name Magomed. “Of course, a brother is a brother. We are

Expert argues that alcohol consumption in Russia similar as in U.S. and Europe

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Interfax – Nov. 28, 2012) Russian head drug and alcohol addiction therapist Yevgeny Bryun believes that Russians drink as much as people in countries with unrestricted selling of alcoholic beverages. “The indicator stands at an annual 13.6 liters per capita. It is similar with the world average in countries without restrictions on distribution and consumption

Has the Russian opposition lost its way?

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(Ben Judah – www.opendemocracy.net – Nov. 27, 2012 – Ben Judah is the author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin to be published in May 2013 by Yale University Press. He is an associate fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.) From the euphoria of last

NEWSLINK: It is enough to compare plans of Russia and China to understand Russia’s authorities [re: Economy]

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Valdai Discussion Club – Vladislav Inozemtsev – Nov. 28, 2012 – Vladislav Inozemtsev is  Federal Political Council member of the Right Cause party, Director of the Centre for Post-Industrial Studies, publisher and editor of the Svobodnaya Mysl monthly, member of the Valdai Discussion Club – This article was originally published in Russian in Moskovsky Komsomolets

Putin’s China Syndrome

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – Nov. 27, 2012) The Moscow punditocracy has had China on its mind lately. In fact, one leading commentator even confessed to suffering from “China envy.” When the Chinese Communist Party elected the country’s new top leaders earlier this month, with Hu Jintao relinquishing power to Xi Jinping, many in Russia’s

NEWSLINK: Constitutional Court considering law on rallies

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Constitutional Court considering law on rallies – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – November 28, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/583381.html) ITAR-TASS reports on the Russian Constitutional Court’s review of a law on protests: Russia’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday began to consider complaints filed by parliamentarians of the State Duma and opposition leader Eduard Limonov. They oppose new

Georgian PM Ivanishvili expects U.S. to help normalize relations with Russia

Tblisi, Georgia, file photo

TBILISI. Nov 28 (Interfax) – U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin discussed relations between Tbilisi and Moscow with Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at a meeting at the Georgian State Chancellery behind closed doors, the prime ministerial press service reported on Tuesday. Ivanishvili said following the meeting that

USRF supporting only business, legal, educational projects in Russia – USRF chief

Map of Russia

(Interfax – November 27, 2012) The U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF), which is a U.S.-registered entity, neither can replace the defunct Russian branch of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) nor has any plans to do so, USRF’s chief executive said on Tuesday. USRF and USAID have

Safe European missile defense possible if there is political will – Moscow

Missile Defense Launch file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – Russia is ready for missile defense cooperation with European partners on the condition of reliable guarantees this system will not be directed against it, First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said at the opening of the 11th Congress on European Security and Defense in Berlin. The ministry website has published

Russia has no plans to back Assad at any cost – Medvedev

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

PARIS. Nov 28 (Interfax) – Russia has no plans to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at any cost, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “Russia has no special relations with President Assad. Such relations existed between the Soviet Union and his father, but they don’t exist between our country and the incumbent Syrian president,” Medvedev

Russia Threatens EU With ‘Retaliation’ if No Visa Deal by 2014

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 28, 2012) The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday threatened the European Union with “retaliation” if visa-free travel is not introduced in time for the Sochi Olympics in February 2014. Anvar Azimov, the ministry’s point man on visa negotiations with the EU, said Tuesday that Moscow wants

Medvedev Assures France on WTO Behavior

WTO Logo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – November 28, 2012) Russia and France signed an agreement Tuesday on creating a council to develop economic cooperation amid growing criticism from the European Union of some measures Moscow has introduced to support local manufacturers following accession to the World Trade Organization. A protocol to establish the

Response to your question (re Masha Gessen) [Whether Massive Prison Protest Reported]

Map of Russia

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 Subject: Response to your question (re Masha Gessen) From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> A response to David’s request concerning the accuracy of Masha Gessen piece “In the Penal Colony. This Being Russia, A Massive Prison Protest Isn’t Being Reported”. By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova The temperatures here in Novosibirsk are currently ranging between

Medvedev denies Russia’s Internet laws repressive

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Interfax – November 27, 2012) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denied on Tuesday that Russian laws on the Internet are repressive. “It’s impossible to call those laws repressive because so far not a single resource has been banned or disconnected,” Medvedev said at a joint news conference in Paris with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Putin to deliver video address Dec 1 on Russia’s presidency in G20 – newspaper

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin’s video address on December 1 will highlight Russia’s priorities as the G20’s coordinator, the daily Kommersant wrote on Tuesday. “Putin’s special video address will highlight the strategy of Russia’s presidency in this organization,” the newspaper writes. Also, a Web site will be launched on December 1 to

Putin to Travel After 2 Months at Home

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 27, 2012) President Vladimir Putin is visiting Turkey and Turkmenistan next week, signaling that he is fit for travel again after a two-month hiatus that raised speculation about his health. Putin is expected to meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gül

Medvedev confirms education development program through 2020

Russian Schoolchildren with U.S. Official

(Interfax – November 27, 2012) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has confirmed the state program for the development of education for 2013-20, the government press service reported on Tuesday. “The goals set in the program are to make the quality of Russian education compliant with citizens’ changing demands and with the strategy of Russia’s social and

Veteran Russian journalist calls for privatization of all federal TV channels

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Interfax – Moscow, 26 November) TV host Vladimir Pozner is calling for a real privatization of all federal TV channels, with one of them being turned into public TV. “Who is to blame for the fact that Russia has this sort of TV – I mean the federal channels, Channel One, Rossiya 1 and NTV?

Year-old protests hit snag: Plagued by infighting and a seeming caste system, the opposition is at a crossroads

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 26, 2012) Nearly a year after a modest opposition rally against an allegedly rigged parliamentary vote sparked the biggest demonstrations Russia has seen in two decades, anti- Kremlin groups are suffering from fatigue ­ and an identity crisis. “If someone knew what to do in this

Chelyabinsk Prison Revolt Ends With Calls for Reform

Map of Russia

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com  – Jonathan Earle – November 27, 2012) A revolt at a maximum security prison in the Chelyabinsk region by prisoners complaining of corruption and abuse has ended, regional prison officials said in a statement Monday. But the fallout appears to be just beginning, as prosecutors quickly opened a check into the

Moscow Cossack Patrol Unsanctioned -­ Officials

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Self-proclaimed Cossacks who began patrolling central Moscow on Tuesday were not authorized to do so, despite claiming otherwise, the district administration said. A group of people styling themselves Cossacks patrolled a downtown square by the capital’s Belorussky train station on Tuesday, reports said. Eight men in furry hats and

Medvedev interview to be broadcast live on Dec 7 – newspaper

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – An interview with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will be broadcast live on Rossiya 1 television and Medvedev will be fielding questions from journalists representing Chanel One, VGTRK, NTV, REN TV and the Dozhd television station, business daily Kommersant wrote on Tuesday. “Such interviews at the end of the year have

Medvedev Motorist ‘Megafine’ Spurs Disdain

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – November 27, 2012) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was showered by a wave of ridicule and negative public sentiment on Monday following a weekend tirade against bad driving. The backlash kicked off on Saturday when Medvedev used the latest entry on his video blog to call for a

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