Monthly Archives: February 2013

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#40 – 27 February 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#40 :: 27 February 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. Der Spiegel: Mikhail’s Milieu. Gorbachev Memoir Shows World of Love and Deceit. 2. www.russiatoday.com: Russia to become developed state in 7 years – report. 3. Moscow Times: Samuel Greene, The Question Isn’t Who […]

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Damascus explosion sparks new criticism of the US

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Ekaterina Zabrovskaya, Nikolay Surkov, RBTH – February 27, 2013) Moscow sees U.S. objection to a U.N. statement condemning the recent terrorist attack in Syria as a double standard. The discussion of a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the latest terrorist attack in Damascus, that killed 53, has engendered yet another upsurge in Moscow’s […]

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Re-Elected, Zyuganov Defends Stalin’s Grave

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – February 27, 2013) Gennady Zyuganov, re-elected Saturday as leader of the Communist Party, a position he’s held for 17 years, said Tuesday that public calls to remove Stalin’s and Brezhnev’s graves from the Kremlin Wall Necropolis came from “provocateurs” and “SS loyalists.” He vowed that his party would continue to fight proposals […]

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Xenophobic Attitudes Growing Across Russian Political Spectrum, Moscow Expert Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 26, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-xenophobic-attitudes.html) Xenophobic attitudes are now to be found among communist, nationalist, liberal and pro-Kremlin parties and groups, according to Moscow’s leading specialist on inter-ethnic relations, a development that reflects the efforts of these organizations to tap into popular attitudes and win votes. Such outreach programs are not likely […]

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China’s quiet splash in the post-Soviet space

File Photo fo Chinese Military Parade

(opendemocracy.net – Michael Cecire – February 25, 2013) Michael Hikari Cecire is a Black Sea-Eurasia regional analyst and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, where he contributes to the Project on Democratic Transitions. China’s steadily growing economic expansion throughout the world is a cause of concern for many governments. Eastern Europe and Central Eurasia are no longer […]

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Russia’s nonconventional reserves seen more promising than Arctic in next decade

Russian Gas Facility file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) – The development of nonconventional reserves of oil and gas in Russia in the next decade holds more promise than the Arctic, Gazprom Neft (RTS: SIBN) first deputy CEO Vadim Yakovlev told reporters. He said nontraditional reserves will be developed before the Arctic. “They are no less important than Arctic reserves, but are now the priority […]

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Russian Natural Resources Ministry to study shale gas

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Interfax – February 27, 2013) The Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will carry out an analysis and geological study of resources and reserves in non-traditional gas deposits, including shale gas. There is a lot of focus on extraction of shale oil and gas in the mineral material base preservation program, which was drafted by the Natural Resources Ministry. The […]

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Putin’s War on Three Fronts

Duma Session file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – www.imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – February 25, 2013 – click here for original posting of article) Two important tendencies have marked Russian political life during the past few months. The first is the Kremlin’s attempt to control officials’ and lawmakers’ foreign accounts and real estate holdings. The second is the growing activity of independent bloggers […]

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Russia’s population can increase in 2020-2025 – labor minister

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

NOVO-OGARYOVO (Moscow region). Feb 27 (Interfax) – Labor Minister Maxim Topilin said Russia’s population could increase to 150 million people instead of the projected 145 million in 2020-2025. “According to our calculations, we can exceed the projected figure of 145 million by 2020-2025, reaching 147 million people, or, according to optimistic predictions, even 150 million people,” Topilin said at the […]

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Kerry and Lavrov Expected to See Eye to Eye

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – February 27, 2013) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, held their first face-to-face meeting in Berlin late Tuesday, initiating a diplomatic relationship expected to be stronger than that between Lavrov and Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton. The two top diplomats were expected to discuss the ongoing […]

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Kerry, Lavrov Tackle Syria, Adoptions in ‘Constructive’ Talks

Syria Map

BERLIN, February 26 (RIA Novosti) ­The United States and Russia will do “everything possible” to facilitate a dialogue between the Syrian government and the armed opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday in Berlin following his first bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry. “No one will solve the Syrians’ problems for them, but in order for […]

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Lavrov denies that Russia, U.S. preparing to exchange declarations on missile defense

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

BERLIN. Feb 27 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied media reports alleging that Russia and the U.S. are preparing to exchange declarations on cooperation on missile defense and on guarantees that it will not be directed against Russia’s interests. “I have read these reports and talked with their authors. I don’t know the author’s sources, but there […]

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Jewish Library Not the Only Thing Russia Isn’t Giving Back

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – February 26, 2013) President Vladimir Putin said last week that returning a Jewish book collection confiscated after the Bolshevik Revolution was impossible because it would open a “Pandora’s box” of claims on such property. “[If Russia] starts satisfying these sorts of claims, there would be no end to them and no telling […]

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Lavrov Lambastes EU Over Visa Fairness

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – February 26, 2013) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday accused the European Union of employing a double standard when it agreed to allow nondiplomatic Ukrainian officials to enter member states without a visa. “A Ukrainian bureaucrat is no different from a Russian one,” he told students at Moscow’s Diplomatic Academy. Russian and […]

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‘Cloud Atlas,’ Russian style; How a bizarre adoption drama can be traced back to Magnitsky’s death

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – February 25, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News A story needs a beginning and end, but what has become the main narrative of Russia’s current political era doesn’t seem to have either. And the weak are meat the strong do eat, as David Mitchell coined in his […]

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Putin System Degenerating and Will Be Swept Away, Solovey Argues

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 25, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-putin-system.html) The Russian Federation is “again entering a period of radical changes when entirely different and still unknown forces and figures” will replace those that President Vladimir Putin has assembled around him, according to Valery Solovey, an MGIMO professor who heads the New Force Party. In an interview […]

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Justice Ministry Refuses to Check Golos Election Watchdog

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

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – February 26, 2013) The Justice Ministry has refused to conduct a check into election watchdog Golos’ compliance with recently passed legislation requiring foreign-funded organizations to register as “foreign agents” despite over 100 requests to do so. The ministry received 120 requests to recognize Golos as a foreign agent, and 350 such requests for the Levada […]

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Blind Lawmaker Praises New Law Requiring Firms to Hire the Disabled

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 26, 2013) Oleg Smolin, a State Duma deputy with the Communist Party, praised a law that entered into force Monday and requires companies to hire disabled people or face fines of up to 10,000 rubles ($330). “We supported this legislation because it looks like a first step forward,” Smolin, who is […]

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Giving all Children the Right to Learn

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Svetlana Smetanina, special to RBTH – February 26, 2013) A new law on education soon to be passed in Russia will allow parents of children with special needs to demand that their children be educated in regular state schools. Moscow Technological High School 1540 has been teaching children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) […]

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Putin still seen best for presidency, though rating falls

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Aleksandras Budrys – February 26, 2013) One-third of Russians still believe that President Vladimir Putin is the best choice for the post as head of state, although his rating continues to fall steadily, a survey conducted by independent agency Levada Center showed on Tuesday. The poll, conducted on February 15 to February 18, surveyed 1,600 […]

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US Fast Food Chains Banking on Russian Bellies

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

WASHINGTON, February 25 (By Sasha Horne for RIA Novosti) ­ The Kremlin has moved aggressively in recent months to stifle US influence on its domestic politics, but America’s fast-food footprint continues to grow across Russia’s nine time zones. Iconic US eatery McDonald’s has announced it could widen its presence from Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad to eastern Siberia in a […]

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Finance reform is key for Russia’s G20 presidency

G20 Logo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Alexander Yakovenko, special to RBTH – February 26, 2013) Alexander Yakovenko is Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom. He was previously Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The first meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under Russia’s G20 presidency was held in Moscow […]

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10% of Russian Companies Dodged Taxes in 2012 – Central Bank

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Every tenth Russian company making settlements through the Central Bank’s payment system dodged tax payments in 2012, according to data posted on the regulator’s website on Tuesday. Central Bank figures show 242,000 companies or about 11 percent of the 2.2 million businesses surveyed by the regulator made zero tax payments last year, despite conducting […]

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Latest Case Opened into U.S. Adoptee Death

U.S. Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – February 26, 2013) Investigators have opened a murder case into the death of a 9-year-old Russian boy in the care of U.S. parents, the Investigative Committee said in an online statement late Monday. Anton Fomin died of smoke inhalation in a fire at his house in the state of Nebraska in May […]

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Russia Upbeat, US Cool on Success in Lavrov-Kerry Talks

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

MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian diplomatic sources expressed optimism a breakthrough will finally be reached in missile defense negotiations at the foreign ministers’ talks in Berlin on Tuesday, although their US counterparts were playing down the meeting and said they expect no “major” breakthroughs. Russia’s Kommersant newspaper, citing diplomatic sources on both sides, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei […]

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Be Careful: Russia is Back to Stay in the Middle East

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Felix Imonti – February 25, 2013) Russia is back.  President Vladimir Putin wants the world to acknowledge that Russia remains a global power.  He is making his stand in Syria. The Soviet Union acquired the Tardus Naval Port in Syria in 1971 without any real purpose for it.  With their ships welcomed in Algeria, Cuba or Vietnam, Tardus […]

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Russian arms industry exports record high

Russian Helicopter file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – February 25, 2013 – Yuri Paniyev, special to RBTH) With Russia’s weapons industry booming, state-owned Rosoboronexport received more than double the number of foreign enquiries for arms sales in 2012 than it did in 2011. Rosoboronexport director general Anatoly Isaykin tells journalists about India as its biggest client, Latin America as its priority […]

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Russia in the Caucasus

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(International Relations and Security Network (ISN) – www.isn.ethz.ch – Aglaya Snetkov for the ISN – February 25, 2013) Aglaya Snetkov is a senior researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS). Despite the attempts by Western powers to penetrate the Caucasus, Russia continues to exert unmatched influence over the region. In today’s Questions and Answers presentation, the CSS’ Aglaya Snetkov […]

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JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#39 – 26 February 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#39 :: 26 February 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. Moscow News: Putin still seen best for presidency, though rating falls. 2. ITAR-TASS: RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW. Russians prefer Shoigu to Medvedev. 3. Forbes.com: Mark Adomanis, Did Russia’s Infant Mortality Rate Just Skyrocket? 4. […]

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BRICS prepare for their summit in Africa

Africa Satellite Image Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yuri Paniyev, special to RBTH – February 23, 2013) BRICS leaders plan to discuss the creation of a new development bank and a “virtual secretariat” at the upcoming summit in South Africa. At the fifth BRICS summit — ­ the first to be held on the African continent ­ — the leaders of […]

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No Talks on Georgia’s Breakaway Republics – Moscow

Georgia Map

MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow reiterated its position on the normalization of ties with Tbilisi on Monday, saying it was not ready to discuss the issue of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, despite a move toward improved relations between the two sides. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin reiterated Russia’s interest in normalizing its ties […]

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Moscow Concerned about Syria, Not Assad – Minister

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow’s position on Syria stems from its concern for the Syrian people, and not the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. “Russia’s position is not predetermined by support of personalities; it is dictated by concern about the fate of the Syrian people, our long-standing friend and partner, and […]

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West Vastly Underestimating Size of Illegal Capital Flight from Russia, Moscow Expert Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 22, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-west-vastly.html) A report by the Washington Center for International Policy’s Global Financial Integrity program suggests that illegal capital flight from the Russian Federation over the last 17 years has been “stupifyingly” large, but in fact, a Russian economic analyst says, the report’s figures understate the size and implications […]

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Russian Unemployment Hit Record Low Last Year, Revised Data Show

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose & Olga Tanas – February 26, 2012) Russian unemployment fell to a record low of 5 percent in August and September last year, less than the initially reported 5.2 percent, revised data released by the Federal Statistics Service show. Last month’s reading of 6 percent was unchanged, the Moscow-based service said in a report […]

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Russian economy still has challenges to face, Medvedev says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – February 25, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that in order to develop the Russian economy it is necessary to increase the share of revenues from high-tech sectors and raise the standard of living in the country. Developing high-tech sectors “There are a number of challenges in the Russian economy to which we have not yet responded. First […]

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Russia’s registration rules: what goes around…

Artist's Rendition of Pile of Papers Shaped Like Human, Wall of File Cabinets, Flying Pieces of Paper

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – February 25, 2013) Here is a solution on how to deal with Russia’s archaic registration system: don’t tie registration to real estate ownership. If registration is simply meant to let the authorities know where you’re residing, people should be able to fill out a single form on a website or at a […]

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How to brand great Russian literature

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Stepan Ivanov, combined report, RBTH – February 24, 2013) Dmitry Bak, the new director of the Literature Museum, talked to a number of journalists about how the museum is developing and emphasized how classic Russian literature needs to be understood through the contemporary. To this end, the director suggests branding Russian literature ­ […]

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Arrest and custody, Russian-style

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(www.opendemocracy.net – Grigory Okhotin – February 22, 2031) Grigory Okhotin is a journalist and co-founder of the grassroots police monitoring organisation OVD-Info [‘police-info’]. [Charts here: http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/grigory-okhotin/arrest-and-custody-russian-style] Police custody, violence, trials and imprisonment have been all to common features on the Russian protest landscape since December 2011. A grassroots monitoring project called OVD-info has kept realtime data on the arrests; co-founder […]

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Presumed Putin Allies Get Most Construction Contracts

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – February 25, 2013) Two companies co-owned by people seen as close to President Vladimir Putin were awarded the largest number of major road and bridge construction contracts by City Hall in 2011-12, Vedomosti reported Tuesday. In the period, a total of 150 road and bridge construction contracts worth 182.4 billion rubles ($6 billion) were awarded, […]

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Army reform continues to march forward

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Viktor Litovkin, special to RBTH – February 22, 2013) The replacement of Anatoly Serdukov by Sergei Shoigu has not meant a retreat from the modernization of the Russian armed forces. On the eve of Feb. 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day, Russian Defense Minister General Sergei Shoigu alerted the Ivanovo Airborne Division, based […]

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Civil servants may have problems selling their foreign assets – Kremlin representative

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. Feb 22 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin’s representative in the State Duma Garri Minkh has acknowledged that government executives may have problems selling their assets and foreign company shares in compliance with the president-proposed bill. “The procedure of selling shares is not so easy. Not so easy as selling a glass of sunflower seeds,” Minkh said during the first […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Prensa Latina news agency, Cuba

Map of Cuba and Environs

(Governent.ru – February 23, 2013) Question: We know that Russia’s relations with Latin America are on the ascendant and we are happy that they have reached a peak. Do you consider them to be strategic or are they governed by pragmatic and transient considerations, as well as the competition over the region between the United States and Russia? Dmitry Medvedev: […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Globo

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 22, 2013) Transcript: Correspondent (via interpreter): I know we have little time and will try to be succinct. I’ll start with Syria right away. Do you think Bashar al-Assad will remain in power for a long time to come? We know that Syria has been in this situation for a long time already, and it is still […]

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McFaul Slams ‘Sensational Exploitation’ of Orphan’s Death

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – February  25, 2013) U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul has condemned “sensational exploitations” of the recent death of a Russian toddler in the United States and said he is “troubled” by portrayals of the U.S. legal system, government and the American people in the Russian press. “It is time for sensational exploitations of human […]

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Lavrov sees some progress in U.S. on adoptions

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 25 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes the U.S. administration in the past few weeks has manifested a wish to influence the administrations of the U.S. states to resolve problems of Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens. “They have a wish to do it. We have seen some attempts to influence the administrations of the states. […]

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Russians Gloomier About Russia-US Relations – Poll

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

MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – The proportion of Russians who are positive about Russian-US relations has fallen from 53 percent to 39 percent since last fall, according to an opinion poll by the state-run All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Study (VTsIOM). According to the survey, 55 percent of Russian nationals perceive the United States positively, a 2 percent rise. […]

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Kremlin Writes Off Most of Cuba’s $30Bln Debt

Map of Cuba and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 25, 2013) Russia has agreed to cancel most of Cuba’s $30 billion Soviet-era debt ­ the country’s biggest debt cancellation in years, according to an agreement reached during Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to the Caribbean island late last week. Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who accompanied Medvedev during his […]

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Senior MP Admits Adopted Children’s Deaths Almost Never Probed In Russia

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

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, February 21, 2013) Up to 300 adopted children die in Russia every year but practically no-one has faced criminal prosecution over these deaths, head of the State Duma Committee on Affairs of Family, Women and Children Yelena Mizulina (representing A Just Russia party) said on Thursday (21 February). “According to the figures available to the committee, […]

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JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#38 – 25 February 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#38 :: 25 February 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. Wall Street Journal: Russia Signs Anti-Smoking Law. 2. Government.ru: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. 3. Governent.ru: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Prensa Latina news agency, Cuba. 4. Washington Post: In […]

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