(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, which require foreign-funded NGOs to register as “foreign agents”. Others played down the significance of
Archive for January 2013
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 do that? This is a series of Russian consistent steps towards the dismantlement of the
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-American projects that contribute to the development of bilateral relations. This year’s event, held at
(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 senator told Interfax. “It is worth noting that he opposed the adoption of the ‘Magnitskiy
(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 percent social tax in 2011 forced many businessmen to move their companies to places like
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 material exports. Russia has fundamental advantages as one of the largest markets in Europe and
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” on February 2, marking the end of the battle and other milestone dates, over half
Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era; Government Should Stop Pressure, Reprisals on Civil Society
From: “HRW Press” <firstname.lastname@example.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 today in its World Report 2013. The authorities introduced a series of restrictive laws, harassed
(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 of “inert indifference” about those in power and focus instead on their more immediate needs.
(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 have less than a year left to adjust to the new rules or kick the
Important to maintain demographic trend, ensure Russian population growth to 145 mln by 2025 – Medvedev
(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 to 74 years. All that will create conditions for increasing the Russian population to 145
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 the EU, and 22% a negative. Last year the correlation was worse at 56:25%, Interfax
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 well,” an Estonian government statement that was made available to Interfax quoted Maia Panjikidze as
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,” Interfax was told at the FSKN PR and media department on Wednesday. FSKN said that
(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 a major market for Georgian farmers and businesses. While critics in Tbilisi have slammed the
(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. Experts agree, believing Russia should steer clear of other countries’ financial problems and face its
(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 in the Russian Federation. Akhmed Yarlykhanov, a senior researcher at the Moscow Institute of Ethnology
(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 term, contrasting with the “reset” in relations that marked the first. Kerry, who has been
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 and the United States both bilaterally and together, working to try to persuade Russia and
Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#20 :: 30 January 2013 E-Mail: email@example.com 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. Legislation pertaining non-governmental organizations is to be stiffened again. 4. Interfax: Majority of Russians against
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 those that have been rocking the country since December 2011, according to the findings of
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 all parts of Russia and a total of 19,800 respondents aged 15 and above. Over
(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 scientific research more accessible to ordinary Russians. The following list shows the most significant events
(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 continued after his asylum was granted. For Ali, it came down to being stuck “between
(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 of life in Soviet times and the demographics on either side of the Russia-China border
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 memorandum signed with the Economic Development Ministry and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Goldman Sachs
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
(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 major economies to solutions to the ongoing economic crisis. This potential has come into question,
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 as the Dima Yakovlev Law, including the part which mentions the compilation of a list.
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 for the economy as a whole,” experts from the Higher School of Economics’ Development Center
Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#19 :: 29 January 2013 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 challenge rigged elections. 4. RIA Novosti: Konstantin von Eggert, The Kremlin Wants Tight Control and
Will Moscow’s Use of ‘Soft Power’ in the North Caucasus Improve the Situation or Lead to that Region’s Islamization?
(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 at the price of opening the way for Islamist groups to enter republic governments and
(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 Turkey, Belarus, and China, and far behind Australia and Germany, the only countries to receive
(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 had enriched themselves via the fraudulent sale of Defense Ministry real estate, but investigators have
(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). One person was killed after the cop lost control of the vehicle. The cop in
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.
(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, who served as an adviser to Belykh, may be implicated in the case. Investigative Committee
Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#21 :: 31 January 2013 E-Mail: email@example.com 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 analysis of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s interviews. 3. ITAR-TASS: President Putin is not dictating government’s
(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 for the next hearing, set on Feb. 18, Alexandra Berezina, a spokeswoman for the Tverskoi
(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 U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, announced Friday, marks the first instance of diplomatic retaliation from U.S.
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 fact that our plans to create a competitive financial market are serious, that Russia relies
(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 me that this is not a question for today because we could lose more than
(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 patriotism for many Russians. Vladimir Vysotsky, a bard singer, poet and actor who would have
(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 am glad of the opportunity to give an interview to Handelsblatt, so I am at