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Archive for December 2012

2012: the year the Kremlin lost control of the script

Kremlin Aeriel View file photo

(Peter Pomerantsev – www.opendemocracy.net – December 28, 2012) Peter Pomerantsev is a British TV producer. For many years, he sold British programmes to the Russian TV industry. He now lives in London. Throughout the Putin heyday, Russian political discourse was invented, manipulated and owned by a handful of Kremlin spin doctors. Over the last year,

Russians think Soviet breakdown could have been avoided, many have no regrets – poll

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – Fifty-six percent of Russians regret the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The indicator stood at 65% a decade ago, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) told Interfax on Saturday. Mostly, the Soviet Union is mourned by people older than 45 (70-83%), people with little education (72%), non-Internet users

YEAR IN REVIEW: Gas comedy

Russian Gas Facility file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – A classic situation comedy is where a snarl of ridiculous situations flow from one small lie that the hero says is only from good motives. For the justification of one untruth another is offered, then anothera(euro) and that is how a house of cards is built only to collapse amid

YEAR’S RESULTS: Modest results and record demand for Gazprom this year

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – The gas sector in 2012 will be noted for peak demand, which gas companies dealt with honorably. It was also characterized but modest results, which only slightly topped the daily results posted during the first wave of the financial crisis. PRODUCTION According to Interfax’s calculations based on the Central Dispatching

New year’s greetings from US Ambassador Michael McFaul and his wife

Ambassador Michael McFaul file photo

New year’s greetings from US Ambassador Michael McFaul and his wife http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnZD_xtCfD4 [please note: a smaller frame is being provided, to accommodate users on mobile devices; click here for larger version over on youtube itself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnZD_xtCfD4]

Pundits Believes US Adoption Ban Will Damage Russia’s Reputation Abroad

Russian Orphanage file photo

(RIA Novosti – December 28, 2012) Russian experts believe that the law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on 28 December, which bans the adoption of Russian children by US nationals, is unlikely to cause widespread protests in the country but will damage Russia’s reputation in the world. The so-called Dima Yakovlev law will come into

Russian law office vows unrelenting war on Russian adoptees’ abuse in U.S.

Russian Orphanage file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – Russia’s top criminal investigation agency has promised to be unrelenting in seeking action against American couples that have abused children adopted from Russia. “The Investigative Committee is determined to take all possible measures within its powers to protect Russian children from criminal encroachments, regardless of where such crimes have been

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#230 – 31 December 2012

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Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#230 31 December 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996n0 “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are” DJ: Happy New Year! In this issue POLITICS 1.

Call for Applications! 2013 Summer Research Laboratory at Illinois

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

From: “REEEC <University of Illinois>” <reeec_resources@mx.uillinois.edu> Subject: Call for Applications! 2013 Summer Research Laboratory at Illinois Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2012 The Summer Research Laboratory (SRL) on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia is open to all scholars with research interests in the Russian, East European and Eurasian region for eight weeks during the summer months

Full-time Job Vacancy: Researcher on Russia

Map of Russia

From: Rachel Denber <denberr@hrw.org> Subject: Job announcement Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 http://www.hrw.org/employment/2012/12/18/researcher-russia FULL-TIME JOB VACANCY RESEARCHER ON RUSSIA Europe and Central Asia Division (Moscow Office) Application Deadline: January 28, 2013 Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a Researcher to monitor human rights developments in Russia. This position reports to a Deputy Director in the

US Adoptive Families Heartbroken Over Adoption Ban

Russian Orphanage file photo

WASHINGTON, December 27 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) – Somewhere in Texas, there’s a pink room full of toys and books, waiting for a little girl who may never come home. “We’re pretty heartbroken, honestly,” said Donna Thomas in an interview with RIA Novosti on Thursday. She and her husband Robert are in the

Amendments might be made later to anti-Magnitsky Act law – Russian Justice Ministry

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) – In the future, amendments could be made to the law on measures against people responsible for human rights abuses against Russian citizens, which Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on Friday, Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said. “The practice will show in the future whether some adjustments should be made, and

Magnitsky Play at Teatr.doc Hits Harder Than Ever

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – December 28, 2012) Some things remain relevant longer than you would expect. Take the death of Sergei Magnitsky. This muck-raking attorney was allowed to die in a Moscow prison in November 2009. That story was still making news when Teatr.doc opened a show called “One Hour Eighteen”

Putin Implores Cabinet to Act

Kremlin Aeriel View file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – December 28, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Thursday commanded the Cabinet to make good on his costly campaign promises, in a sign that he may be unhappy about how they are being fulfilled. This is the second time that Putin highlighted his intention to get the Cabinet

Russian Government Officials to Commute by Helicopter in 2013

File Photo of Russian MI-26 Helicopter in Afghanistan with MI-17 Helicopter In Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – December 28, 2012) President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are likely to swap their armored limousines for helicopters next year, as the city center will be equipped with several landing pads, head of the presidential affairs office Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday. The pads might appear

Russian Ban on U.S. Adoptions Reflects Strained Relations

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nicole Gaouette & Flavia Krause-Jackson – December 28, 2012) Russia’s move to prohibit Americans from adopting Russian orphans is the latest threat to the Obama administration’s flagging attempt to “reset” relations between the two Cold War rivals. President Vladimir Putin today signed a bill to ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children

Lavrov: Russia to oppose replacement of governments by foreign intervention

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – December 28, 2012) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks about the tasks facing the Foreign Ministry in 2013 and the ministry’s approach to key international problems in an interview given to Interfax in the run-up to the New Year holidays. Russia is determined to oppose attempts to legalize the practice of replacement of

Russian NGO head could lose job over new law

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – December 28, 2012) Ludmila Alexeyeva, a leading Russian human rights advocate, is ready to defend the job she might lose under the newly adopted Russian response to the Magnitsky Act, she told RIA Novosti on Friday. The bill signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier in the day

Russia’s 2013: Macbeth, or the Comedy of Errors?

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Daniil Kotsyubinsky – www.opendemocracy.net – December 28, 2012) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg 2012 started in a huge upsurge of opposition activity: street protests, marches, arrests and imprisonments. A year later the scene is much calmer. Daniil Kotsyubinsky considers the future for the opposition, and does not find what

History Repeated Itself as Farce in 2012

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – December 28, 2012) Two hundred years ago this month, the miserable shreds of Napoleon’s Grande Armee shuffled out of Russian territory, thanking their lucky stars they had made it safely home and vowing never, ever to try that again. Those sentiments were shared by survivors of this

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#229 – 28 December 2012

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Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#229 28 December 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. Valdai Discussion Club: Alexander Rahr, Results of 2012: Emergence of a middle class in Russia. 2. Moscow Times: Roland Oliphant, History Repeated Itself as Farce in

NEWSLINK: In Ex-Soviet States, Russian Spy Tech Still Watches You

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

[In Ex-Soviet States, Russian Spy Tech Still Watches You - wired.com - Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan - December 21, 2012 - http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/russias-hand/all/] Wired.com reports on Russian security services spying on citizens, with the Russian legal system deeming citizen activities such as opposition protests to be extremist and a justification for surveillance: On November 12,

Poor State of Housing Services Could Be Next Rallying Point

File Photo of Water Facet with Drop of Water Coming Out

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – December 27, 2012) Calls for honest elections and President Vladimir Putin’s removal might attract the urban middle class to rallies, but it is rusty pipes and the poor state of the utilities sector that might persuade thousands of disgruntled citizens of all classes to march in the

Putin: Capital Outflow Is Russian Business Expansion Abroad

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Officially registered capital outflow from Russia frequently reflects Russian business investment abroad, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. “As for capital outflow, this process is not viewed as simplistically as is frequently talked about. Capital outflow in our conditions does not mean direct capital flight,” he said. A substantial

Children’s Rights Watchdog Defends U.S. Adoption Ban

Russian Orphanage file photo

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian Children’s Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has sent a report to President Vladimir Putin offering justifications for a bill that would ban US adoptions of Russian children. “The right of a state to outlaw foreign adoptions is supported by the majority of international acts in this area,” Astakhov wrote

Most of Russians like Putin’s answers at Dec. 20 press conference – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Interfax – December 27, 2012) The Dec. 20 press conference by President Vladimir Putin caught the attention of more than half of Russians. Thirty-four percent watched the press conference live, either fully or partially, and 18% learned the main points from news programs. Forty-eight percent did not follow the presidential press conference, the Russian Public

Governors should be responsible for quality of business climate in regions – Putin

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Dec 27 (Interfax) – The heads of Russian regions ought to bear a political responsibility for their territories, President Vladimir Putin said. “Governors in the regions should bear a political responsibility for the quality of the business climate there. It is a test of his [governor's] management skills,” Putin said at a State Council

Putin Urges Regional Investment Roadmaps to Boost Economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian regions should prepare regional investment roadmaps with clear-cut goals to attract investors and boost the county’s flagging economy, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. Putin made the statement at a meeting with Russian governors to discuss how to make the regions more appealing as investment destinations. Russia’s regions

Moscow hopes to get rid of thorns in Russia-U.S. relations despite the Magnitsky Act

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – December 26, 2012) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov hopes that the damage done by the Magnitsky Act to Russian-U.S. relations will not be irreparable. “Hopefully, we will turn this page, the damage done to our relations will not be irreparable, and we will be able to make further progress. Although, certainly, this

Russia Targets Diplomatic Solution on Syria in Moscow Talks

Syria Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer & Dana El Baltaji – December 27, 2012) Russia hosted a top Syrian official today in support of United Nations efforts to seek a negotiated outcome to the 21-month conflict in the Middle Eastern nation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad, two days

Orenburg 2013: Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New!

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Elena Strelnikov – www.opendemocracy.net – Elena Strelnikova is a journalist based in Orenburg (Southern Russia) – December 26, 2012) Regional journalist Elena Strelnikova takes a wry look at some of the events of the departing year. ‘When I was a child, I remember waking up in the morning and smelling the pancakes my mother would

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#228 – 27 December 2012

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Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#228 27 December 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php In this issue POLITICS 1. ITAR-TASS: Consumer Rights Watchdog chief warns of “decade of nightmare” 2. www.russiatoday.com: Official statistics claims lower poverty in Russia. 3. Paul Goble: Window

Putin’s Start Points to Authoritarian Rule Through 2018

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Voice of America – James Brooke – December 24, 2012) MOSCOW ­ Vladimir Putin’s six months back in the Kremlin may say a lot about his next six years. In May, angry protests greeted Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin for a third term as president of Russia. On inauguration day, Putin’s motorcade swept through

Russian-Language Textbooks Stir Controversy

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Patrick Reevell – December 26, 2012) A policeman says in Russian: “I work a lot, sometimes even too much. … Winter or summer, rain or shine, I go from a bank to a store, from a store to a restaurant, from a restaurant to a market, looking for where to

U.S. Senators created a Catch 22 for Obama, hit reset issue – Lavrov

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

MOSCOW. Dec 24 (Interfax) – The adoption of the Magnitsky Act in the United States was inevitable, Senators set a trap for U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes. “I don’t think this (the adoption of the Magnitsky Act) was the first thing Obama did when he was re-elected. This was inevitable,”

Moscow Students Invoke Putin for Protection in Rare Strike

putin

MOSCOW, December 26 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) ­ Moscow students on strike to protest the merger of their college plastered the premises with portraits of President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to repel possible police attacks, a strike organizer said on Wednesday. “Riot police are known to crack down on protesters who do not represent

New Year makes Russians go childish

File Photo of New Year's Eve Revelers With Sparkler Near Kremlin

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – December 26, 2012) Russian lavish New Year’s celebrations provide the chance to “fall into childhood” which Russians happily enjoy, a psychology professor told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. The superstition about wearing something new, stacking up on figures of animal symbols of the year and rhyming wishes might

Few Russians celebrate Western-style Christmas – poll

File Photo of Typical American Christmas Dinner Table

(Interfax – December 25, 2012) Only 7 percent of Russians celebrate Western-style Christmas, according to a Levada Center survey obtained by Interfax. The indicator stood at 5 percent in 2011, 6 percent in 2006, and 19 percent in 2003. It seems Russians are bracing for the long New Year holiday season, Levada Center said. The

Russia to start preparations for severing adoption deal with U.S. in near future – diplomat

Russian Orphanage file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 26 (Interfax) – Russia will start preparations for launching procedures to invalidate the Russian-U.S. agreement on cooperation in adoption in the near future, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Wednesday. “We will proceed from realities. We understand the motives that both the State Duma deputies and Federation Council members were

Russia’s Global Health Engagement

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Kurt Hepler – November 5, 2012) Meeting Report “The story of Russia’s engagement in global health ­and in international development assistance more broadly­begins many decades ago,” remarked Judyth Twigg, Professor and Chair, Program in Political Science and International Studies, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth

Acquittal Nears for Magnitsky Suspect

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – December 26, 2012) A prosecutor on Monday requested that the only remaining defendant in whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death be acquitted of criminal negligence. The United States recently passed a law to impose international sanctions on Russians it believes were involved in the 2009 death, but Russia

Medvedev Tackles Stimulus as Economy Slows

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will chair a meeting on Wednesday on how best to tackle Russia’s slowing economic growth. “This year, Russia has seen falling growth in the major macroeconomic indices ­ gross domestic product, industrial output, and fixed capital investment,” the government press office said in a statement.

Challenges Facing the Russian Defense Establishment

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(International Relations and Security Network (ISN) – Dmitry Gorenburg – December 20, 2012) Efforts to reorganize and modernize the Russian military have generated an increased demand for manpower and modern equipment. The country’s widening demographic crisis and procurement challenges, however, threaten to seriously undermine these efforts, or so argues Dmitry Gorenburg. Over the last four

Navalny Hit With 3rd Criminal Case

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – December 26, 2012) A third criminal investigation was opened against opposition leader and anti-corruption lawyer Alexei Navalny on Monday, with the Investigative Committee claiming he stole money from a political party in 2007. The committee said in a statement that Allekt, a company headed by Navalny in

Gazprom Facing Challenges at Home and Abroad

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 26, 2012) A landmark gas-supply agreement with Germany signed late last month by Norway’s Statoil put the challenges facing Gazprom’s business model in the spotlight and prompted a quick response from the Russian gas giant’s executives. It is just one of many recent setbacks for the

Russia and the West need to rediscover each other in 2013

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

(Dmitri Trenin – www.opendemocracy.net – Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center; Counselor of the Commission on Euro-Atlantic Security – December 24, 2012) A year is a very long time in politics. Over the past year Russia’s relations with the West have deteriorated, not helped by events in Syria and the Magnitsky Act. A

Kremlin, India Strike Weapons Deals

India map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – December 26, 2012) India on Monday agreed to buy $2.9 billion worth of Russian weapons, as President Vladimir Putin visited the longtime ally. Under the larger deal, India will purchase kits to assemble 42 Sukhoi-30 fighter jets for $1.6 billion. The other contract is for 71 Mi-17

The heartbreak kids: Foreign adoptions have always raised hackles in Russia ­ but they also offer hope

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – December 24, 2012) “‘Don’t leave…’ Those were the last words I heard my mother say to me before strangers in white came to take me,” Caroline Baker (not her real name) remembered. “A man picked me up as I screamed for my mother. I grabbed the frame

Kremlin’s Syria Policy Hurts Russia’s Position in Arab World

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Voice of America – James Brooke – December 24, 2012) In the days of the Soviet Union, Moscow was a major player in the Arab world. But in the last two years, the Kremlin has repeatedly backed the losing sides in the Arab Spring. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is using Russian-made rockets, rifles and

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#227 – 26 December 2012

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Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#227 26 December 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Interfax: Few Russians celebrate Western-style Christmas – poll. 2. Moscow News: New Year makes Russians

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