Archive for January 2013

U.S. NGOs’ Decision To Move Russian Staff Divides Observers

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – January 30, 2013) Reports on 30 January that two US NGOs have closed their Russian branches and taken Russian staff to Lithuania over concerns for their safety prompted a mixed reaction from public figures and commentators. Some said the move was understandable in light of changes to legislation, introduced in November 2012,

Russia seeks new models of cooperation with U.S. – foreign policy expert

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

MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax) – A decision of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to terminate the Russian-U.S. agreement on law enforcement and drug control cooperation aims at a new level of bilateral relations, Foreign and Defense Policy Council Chairman Fyodor Lukyanov told Interfax on Wednesday. “This is absolutely not a cold war; why would we

US-Russian Projects Honored for Boosting Bilateral Ties

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

WASHINGTON, January 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ Basketball, bone marrow and 250-year-old telescopes: 2012 saw a wave of initiatives strengthening US-Russia ties at a time of escalating tensions between the two countries. Russian-speaking representatives from organizations across the United States gathered in the US capital Wednesday for the second annual Silver Archer USA awards, presented to

Russian senator, pundit welcome U.S. Senate confirmation for John Kerry

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

(Interfax – Moscow, 30 January: The newly confirmed US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is a clear-headed politician who played an important role in the development of the “reset” (in US-Russian relations), the chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Mikhail Margelov, thinks. John Kerry does not think that Russia is America’s enemy, the

Titov Laments Status of Small Businesses

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – January 31, 2013) More then 40 percent of Russian businessmen have moved into the shadows since the government increased social taxes in 2011, business ombudsman Boris Titov said. Titov, the government envoy for protecting the rights of small and medium-size businesses, said the introduction of a 34

Russia Must Tap Investment Potential – Putin

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

MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian government must turn the country’s enormous investment potential into a real flow of foreign capital, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. Putin was addressing a government meeting discussing Russia’s economic development to 2018, including measures to boost the country’s economic growth and reduce its dependence on raw

Volgograd to Regain Stalin’s Name For Battle Anniversary

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian city of Volgograd will call itself Stalingrad again for a few days this year, to mark the 70th anniversary of the epic World War II battle in that city, after local officials approved the measure on Thursday. The city legislature said Volgograd would be named “hero-city Stalingrad”

Russia’s Low Press Freedom Index ‘Fair’ – Media Community

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian media experts said on Wednesday the country deserves its 148th position out of 179 on the 2013 Press Freedom Index, six points down from last year. Reporters without Borders, which published the index on Tuesday, said Russia has lost points again because “since Vladimir Putin’s return to the

Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era; Government Should Stop Pressure, Reprisals on Civil Society

Kremlin and St. Basil's

From: “HRW Press” <hrwpress@hrw.org> Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 Subject: Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era For Immediate Release Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era Government Should Stop Pressure, Reprisals on Civil Society (Moscow, January 31, 2013) ­ The Kremlinn in 2012 unleashed the worst political crackdown in Russia’s post-Soviet history, Human Rights Watch said

Indifference Not Support ‘Foundation’ of Putin’s Regime, Gudkov Says

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 30, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-indifference-not.html) A majority of Russians today does not feel any sympathy for the Putin regime or is not prepared to show any “active support” or “active opposition” to it, according to Lev Gudkov, head of the Levada Center. Instead, they manifest a kind

NEWSLINK: Russian ex-finance minister tipped to be premier before long

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Russian ex-finance minister tipped to be premier before long – BBC Monitoring/Ekho Moskvy Radio – January 30, 2013) BBC Monitoring reports on Ekho Moskvy and Argumenty Nedeli covered of alleged systematic down-grading of how state-controlled Russian television presents Dmitry Medvedev to the viewing public: Russia’s national TV channels have been told to reduce their coverage

Russia adopts major bill to ban smoking in public places

No Smoking Symbol

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Olga Doronina – January 31, 2013) On Jan. 25, the State Duma adopted an “anti-tobacco” bill that will ban smoking in public places, cigarette sales at kiosks and smoking scenes in films and cartoons. Most Russians oppose a total ban on smoking in public places, but smokers will

Important to maintain demographic trend, ensure Russian population growth to 145 mln by 2025 – Medvedev

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Interfax – January 31, 2013) Russia is capable of increasing its population to 145 million by 2025, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at an expanded government meeting on Thursday. “It is important to maintain the recent upward demographic trend, and ensure sustainable growth in the birth rate, lower the mortality rate and increase life expectancy

Sympathies of Russians for West increased in a year – poll

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – Presently, Russians think better of the European Union than of the United States and believe it would be best for Russia to follow foreign policy objectives in Western Europe and CIS, a poll indicates. During a poll in January, 64% of the respondents said they held a positive attitude to

Georgia vows to keep seeking EU, NATO membership

NATO Meeting file photo

TALLINN. Jan 31 (Interfax) – Georgia’s foreign minister made assurances on Wednesday that her country would stick to its policy of seeking membership in the European Union and NATO. “Both for Estonia and for Georgia, joining the European Union is primarily a security issue, but, of course, it would help revise the Georgian economy as

Russian-U.S. relations in drug control are on the rise – FSKN

Russian Drug Den File Photo

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – The Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) has announced that relations between Moscow and Washington in combating drugs will be developing despite Russia’s withdrawal from an agreement in law enforcement with the United States. “Today Russian-American relations in the sphere of drug control are on the rise and continue advancing,”

Georgia’s new govt looks to press “reset” in Russia relations

Georgia Map

(Business New Europe – www.bne.eu – Molly Corso in Tbilisi – January 31, 2013) In power for just three months, the government of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili appears to have struck gold in economic relations with Russia: officials in Moscow have tentatively given the green light to resuming Georgian wine and mineral water imports, reopening

Half of Russians Favor Dima Yakovlev Law, 30% Oppose – Poll

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Fifty percent of respondents in a nationwide poll spoke in favor of the recently introduced law banning child adoptions by Americans, but 31 percent said they opposed the new legislation, the Levada Center pollster said on Wednesday. The poll, conducted between January 18 and 21, also found that 39

Russia takes wary assessment of EU’s anti-crisis efforts

EU Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – January 30, 2013) Though optimistic about the eurozone’s future, Russia is not planning to buy European debt anytime soon. Instead, according to Prime Minister Medvedev, Russia should look at options for swapping part of its euro reserves and reducing dependence on hydrocarbon exports.

Concerns about Sochi Olympiad behind Kremlin’s Move in Daghestan

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 29 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-concerns-about-sochi.html) President Vladimir Putin named Ramazan Abdulatipov, head of Daghestan in place of Magomedsalam Magomedov who will now work on nationality issues in the Presidential Administration because the Kremlin is worried continuing instability there could threaten the Sochi Olympiad in 2014, according to commentators

Journalist In Recent Row With MPs Is Among Best Trusted On Russian TV – Poll

Russian Duma Building

(RIA Novosti – January 29, 2013) Veteran journalist Vladimir Pozner is one of the three best known and most trusted TV journalists in Russia, a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) has shown, as reported by RIA Novosti news agency on 29 January, citing the organization’s website (http://fom.ru/SMI-i-internet/10793). The poll was conducted on

Kerry Seen as Best Choice for Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – January 30, 2013) Moscow pundits gave a warm welcome to John Kerry on Tuesday, as U.S. senators were expected to confirm their veteran colleague as secretary of state. But they warned that U.S.-Russian relations were set for a potentially bumpy ride during President Barack Obama’s second

Clinton Urges Russia to be More ‘Integrated’

File Photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton with Nazarbayev

WASHINGTON, January 30 (RIA Novosti) The United States and Europe should work to persuade Russia’s leadership to let their country become more “integrated” with the West despite challenges in relations with Moscow, outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview published Tuesday. “It’s going to have to be a mutual effort, Europe

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#20 – 30 January 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#20 :: 30 January 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net 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. RIA Novosti: Bad Roads, Drinking, Utilities ­ Russians’ Chief Concerns. 2. Christian Science Monitor: Fred Weir, Putin eyes trip to Antarctica, shuns elder image. 3. Vedomosti: NON-GOVERNMENTAL DANGER.

Press Freedom Declined Amid Repression in 2012, Report Says

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 30, 2013) Press freedom in Russia continued to decline last year, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday. The country dropped six points in the organization’s World Press Freedom Index, finishing in 148th place among 179. Russia’s rating is slightly better than Singapore’s and slightly worse than that of the Philippines,

80% of Russian orphaned children live in Russian adoptive families – lawmaker

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

ST. PETERSBURG. Jan 29 (Interfax) – Eighty percent of Russian orphaned children have been adopted in Russia, said Irina Sokolova, vice chairperson of the State Duma Committee for Family, Women’s and Children’s Affairs. “Besides the anti-Magnitsky law, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on January 28 on the state policy of protecting orphaned and parentless

Majority of Russians against early Duma elections – poll

Duma Session file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – A little more than half of Russians are against the hypothetical dissolution of the State Duma and early parliamentary elections – about twice as many as those who want new elections, an opinion poll suggests. Moreover, more than two-thirds of Russians don’t want to take part in protests such as

Bad Roads, Drinking, Utilities – Russians’ Chief Concerns

Moscow Traffic file photo

MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Bad roads, the spread of alcoholism and the critical situation in the housing maintenance and utilities sector are Russia’s most pressing problems, followed by poor healthcare services and drug addiction, the Federal Statistics Service (FSS) said on Wednesday. Last September, the FSS conducted a survey covering 10,000 households in

Local Scientists Deliver Big Discoveries in 2012

DNA file image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Gryaznova – January 29, 2013) 2012 was a busy and successful year for Russian scientists. They went on the hunt for long-hidden genomes, mysterious particles and subglacial lakes, and in their downtime deorbited multimillion-dollar satellites. The year wrapped up with the annual nationwide science festival, which aims to make

Russian refugees: strangers in a strange land: A suicide highlights the reality of obtaining asylum

EU Map

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – January 28, 2013) When Ali applied for asylum in Austria, he thought that any kind of life would be better than facing rampant power abuses in Russia’s restive republic of Chechnya. Instead, he found himself fending off questions about whether he was a terrorist. And the scrutiny

Why Russia is not losing Siberia

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(opendemocracy.net – Ben Judah – January 25, 2013) 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. The Yellow Peril was a feature

Russia Hires Goldman Sachs to Polish Investment Image

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia has hired U.S. banking giant Goldman Sachs in a $500,000 deal to polish the image of the country’s investment potential abroad and lure foreign cash, Deputy Economics Minister Sergei Belyakov said. “We, officials, don’t know how to communicate with investors,” Belyakov said, explaining the government’s decision. Under a

Revising the concept of Eurasia

Eurasia Map

In Russia, Eurasia is usually assumed to mean the post-Soviet space. The integration project Moscow has been actively promoting over the past four years is even called the Eurasian Union. However, the interpretation of Eurasia as the territory of the former Russian Empire and the Soviet Union is now outdated.

G20’s relevance under question, as Russia takes the helm; Russia is leading the G20, but questions stand over the group’s relevance in a time of crisis

G20 Summit Group Photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – January 28, 2013) Russia’s assumption of the chairmanship of the G20 has received a lot of attention since the handover from Mexico at the beginning of December. One of the subjects of discussion at the Gaidar Forum earlier this month was the country’s potential to lead the

Russia Expands ‘Blacklist’ Targeting Americans – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia confirmed on Tuesday it is extending its “Dima Yakovlev” blacklist to include more US citizens deemed to be human rights violators, who will be banned from entering the country in the latest tit-for-tat retaliation for the US Magnitsky Act. “The Foreign Ministry is carrying out the law known

$60 Oil Price Will Eat up Russia’s Oil Fund ­ Survey

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s Oil Wealth Fund will be totally consumed if world oil prices plunge to $60 per barrel and stay at that level for a year, experts from the Russian School of Economics (VSE) said on Tuesday. That scenario presents “a shock not only for the budget system but also

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#19 – 29 January 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#19 :: 29 January 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net 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. Government.ru: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with CNN. 2. Moscow Times/BBC Monitoring: What the Papers Say, Jan. 29, 2013. 3. Vedomosti: CHALLENGING CHUROV. The Russians fight for their right to

Will Moscow’s Use of ‘Soft Power’ in the North Caucasus Improve the Situation or Lead to that Region’s Islamization?

Map of Caucasus and Central Asia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 28, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-will-moscows-use-of.html) Moscow’s new effort to use “soft power” in the North Caucasus instead of the “hard power” it has used in the past may reduce the number of young people joining the militants and thus buy the center some time — but only

Defense Ministry Gets ‘D’ for Corruption

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2013) The Defense Ministry’s opacity makes it difficult to determine whether anti-corruption reforms are being carried out, Transparency International said in a report released on Tuesday in which it gave Russia a “D-” grade on an A to F corruption index. The rating put Russia on par with

Pressure Growing on Serdyukov With New Allegations

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2013) The net appears to be closing on former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov after military investigators opened an investigation into extravagant improvements at a dacha belonging to his brother-in-law, a news report said Monday. Serdyukov resigned in disgrace last month amid allegations that several of his close associates

Police corruption: all you need is trust

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – January 28, 2013) On Saturday, an inebriated policeman was involved in a deadly car accident on Leninsky Prospekt in Moscow. The policeman, whose official salary is 50,000 rubles a month, was behind the wheel of a Range Rover (the cost of which is about 3.5 million rubles).

Liberal governor advised by Navalny has office searched; Firebrand opposition leader Alexei Navalny may be linked to the investigation into Nikita Belykh, the head of the Kirov region.

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva – January 29, 2013) The office of Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh was searched by investigators Tuesday in a probe into the privatization of a local vodka factory, which investigators claim was sold for a below-market price in 2010. Prominent opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny,

TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with CNN

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – January 27, 2013) Fareed Zakaria: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for agreeing to this meeting. In 2009, when you were President of Russia, you wrote a very interesting and important essay about Russia’s future. You said that the two major problems of the Russian economy were excessive dependence on oil and excessive corruption.

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#18 – 28 January 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#21 :: 31 January 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net 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. ITAR-TASS: RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW. Dmitry Medvedev analyses in interview with the media his presidency and comments on the Magnitsky case. 2. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: MEDVEDEV’S REASONABLE EXPEDIENCY. A brief

‘Kafkaesque’ Trial of Dead Hermitage Lawyer Starts in Moscow

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer & Ilya Arkhipov – January 28, 2013) A Moscow court opened the posthumous trial of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. who died in prison, in a case condemned by Amnesty International as “Kafkaesque.” The state is appointing lawyers for Magnitsky and Hermitage head William Browder

In Protest, U.S. Quits Working Group

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – January 28, 2013) Washington has effectively ended a key working group with Moscow for discussing human rights and democracy, arguing that the panel had become meaningless given recent restrictions on civil society in Russia. The United States’ withdrawal from the Civil Society Working Group of the

Privatizations should be done in Russia, but infrastructure needs to be readied – Putin

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

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Jan 25 (Interfax) – Privatization deals should be carried out on Russian markets, but the infrastructure needs to be put in place, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting dedicated to stock market development. “These deals should occur on Russian trading floors,” he said. “Privatization done within the country is testament to the

Dmitry Medvedev doesn’t rule out introducing progressive personal income tax, but not soon

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – January 28, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev does not rule out that the issue of introducing a progressive personal income tax might be raised at some point, but not in the near future. “At some point, of course, the issue of progress taxation might be put on the agenda, it seems to

Vysotsky’s Iconic Status Endures for 75th Birthday

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – January 28, 2013) In a grim Soviet reality, he lived the lifestyle of a playboy. While not being a dissident, he sang satirical songs. While not writing a single song that would praise the authorities, he wrote ballads about World War II and was a symbol of

TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt

File Photo of "World Economic Forum" Display at Davos from Past Session

(Government.ru – January 28, 2013) Correspondent (via interpreter): Prime Minister, it is a great honour for us that you have agreed to give an interview to our newspaper, Handelsblatt. We are an economic publication and we cannot wait to hear what you will tell us. Dmitry Medvedev: I am glad to meet you and I

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