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Archive for March 2013

EVENT: Former Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor S. Ivanov Speaks on U.S.-Russian Relations; April 4, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

File Photo of George Washington Bust at George Washington University

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 From: IERES <ieresgwu@gwu.edu> Subject: Invitation-Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor S. Ivanov Speaks on U.S.-Russian Relations IERES – The Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies The Changing System of International Relations and Its Impact on U.S.-Russian Relations Part of IERES’s Eurasian Leadership Series with Igor

EVENT: Kennan Institute Caucasus Railroads and Pipelines Conference April 2, 9:30AM-2PM

Woodrow Wilson Center Facade file photo

From: “Ariel Cohen” <Ariel.Cohen@heritage.org> Subject: INVITATION: Kennan Institute Caucasus Railroads and Pipelines Conference April 2, 9:30AM-2PM Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 Dear Friends: I am honored to invite you to the following event, at which I co-chair a panel. If you do not live in the Washington, D.C. area, our apologies. Feel free to forward

EVENT: “The Decline of Russian-American Relations: Does the Reset Begin at Home?”- Tuesday, April 9th, 2013, in New York City

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

Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 Subject: “The Decline of Russian-American Relations: Does the Reset Begin at Home?”- Tuesday April 9th From: Fiona Neale-May <fiona.nealemay@nyu.edu> New York University will host “The Decline of Russian-American Relations: Does the Reset Begin at Home?” a panel discussion featuring former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley and Jack Matlock,

EVENT: ASN 2013 World Convention – Preliminary Program; April 18-20, 2013 in New York City

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

From: Dominique Arel <darel@uottawa.ca> Subject: ASN 2013 Convention Preliminary Program Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 ASN 2013 PRELIMINARY PROGRAM NOW AVAILABLE! 150+ PANELS ON THE BALKANS, CENTRAL EUROPE, RUSSIA, UKRAINE, THE CAUCASUS, EURASIA, TURKEY, CHINA, AND NATIONALISM STUDIES The preliminary program of the ASN 2013 World Convention can be downloaded at www.nationalities.org. Updated versions will

Russia’s Relations With Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania – Russia Analytical Digest No.125:

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> Subject: No.125: Russia’s Relations With Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 25 March 2013/No. 125 Russia’s Relations with Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2467 Analyses Russian­Turkish Relations in the 21st Century, 2000­2012, by ener Aktürk, Istanbul

Domestic Politics – Russia Analytical Digest No. 124

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> Subject: No.124: Domestic Politics RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 18 March 2013/No. 124 Domestic Politics To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2462 Analyses Divisions within the Russian Political Elites, by David Lane, Cambridge Forward to the Past! The President’s Message to the Federal Assembly,

China reaffirms strategic partnership in Russia

China Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Andrei Ilyashenko, special to RBTH – March 28, 2013) The visit from the new Chinese leader showed Moscow and Beijing to be close partners, if not allies. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow ended in over 30 economic agreements being signed, although the nature of the bilateral

BRICS summit falls short of creating new bank

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alina Sabitova, special to RBTH – March 28, 2013) The fifth BRICS summit, which ended in Durban, South Africa, on March 27, resulted in several significant agreements, including the creation of a BRICS Business Council. However, there was no consensus on the details of a BRICS bank, which

Russia Needs Standard Approach to Teaching History – Putin

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

ROSTOV-ON-DON, March 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia needs a unified, standard approach to teaching history. “I fully agree that there should be a canonical version of our history,” Putin said Friday while meeting with his campaigners from the All-Russia People’s Front. He acknowledged that there are different opinions concerning

Human Rights Council wants to discuss NGO checks with Russian Prosecutor General

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. March 28, 2013) Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council is expecting Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to explain the purposes of numerous inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGO) at the upcoming session of the council in April. “We have asked the Prosecutor General to participate in the council meeting so that representatives of the

Medvedev’s Online Followers Told Not to Get Too Familiar

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ You may be able to “friend” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Facebook, but that’s no excuse to get familiar. That was the message coming out of Medvedev’s office on Thursday in response to some web-users’ impudently using a diminutive version of the premier’s name. “I don’t get people

Human Rights Council members doubt checks of non-profit entities relate to fight against extremism

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – Prosecutors inspecting non-profit organizations are performing unusual duties, which are virtually repressive, a member of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council and board member of Memorial international society, Sergei Krivenko, said. “We tried to draw an analogy with the current unprecedented inspections in Memorial – nothing like that has happened in

Number of convicts drops to 575,000 in Russia for the first time in contemporary history

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – Some 600,000 people are currently serving prison time in Russia, Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said. “For the first time in at last 20 years, in the entire contemporary history of the Russian Federation, the number of people serving their sentences in prisons and penal colonies, i.e., people convicted to

Russian economy will not reach 5% growth in next few years – Klepach

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. March 29 (Interfax) – The Russian economy will not be able to reach 5% growth or higher in the coming years, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said while presenting at a roundtable organized by the newspaper Vedomosti entitled ‘Growth of 5% or More: What is Preventing Russia from an Economic Breakthrough’ in Moscow

Berezovsky Lives!

Boris Berezovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – March 29, 2013) The oligarch is dead. Long live the oligarchy. Boris Berezovsky’s death in London last week has been called the end of an era, and in some ways it sort of was. The man who once controlled swaths of the Russian economy and was called everything

Russian Nationalists ‘Gathering Strength,’ Moscow Expert Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia, Paul Goble, Staunton, March 28, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-russian-nationalists.html) Russian nationalist parties are likely to form in the near future and to gain enough support to put their representatives into the next Russian Duma, according to a Moscow specialist who has examined polling data, monitored the Russian media and talked to other members

Putin discusses fundamental issues of Russia’s development at the first All-Russia People’s Front conference

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

(Interfax – March 29, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Rostov-on-Don to participate in the first conference of the All-Russia People’s Front dedicated to building social justice. The event is the first in a series of the All-Russia People’s Front conferences dedicated to discussing fundamental issues of Russia’s development, which have been discussed

Putin Says ‘Gave Up’ Eavesdropping After KGB

File Photo of Partial FSB Headquarters Building Facade

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday his time in the KGB had taught him that it was “bad” to listen into other people’s conversations. “It’s bad to eavesdrop,” a smiling Putin told a meeting of his newly revived All-Russian People’s Front. “I learned this from my time in

Experts point to flaws in mechanisms of state support for NGOs in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – The existing system of support for nongovernmental organizations in Russia lacks transparency in many respects which obstructs the strengthening of the role of civil society in Russian life. The conclusion can be drawn from the report “Third sector in Russia: the current state and possible development models” compiled by the

BRICS to Set Up Joint Business Council

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – March 28, 2013) Russia and four other major emerging economies on Wednesday agreed to set up a council that seeks to facilitate joint business projects. But the five countries, known as BRICS, put off the establishment of a joint development bank, saying the move requires more work.

NGO Checks ‘Unprecedented’ in Post-Soviet Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle and Yekaterina Kravtsova – March 29, 2013) The Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest human rights organization, on Thursday became the latest NGO inspected in a massive government campaign that has hit hundreds of non-state groups in 25 regions and is unprecedented in post-Soviet Russia, a rights leader said.

The Cyprus Financial Meltdown Disrupts Close Relations with Berlin and Europe

Cyprus Map

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 58 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel Felgenhauer – March 28, 2013) The European Union is Russia’s number one trading partner, and for many years Moscow was seeking to establish a privileged political and economic relationship with select Western European “friends” like France and Germany. Moscow’s most important

Alexander Vershbow: Our primary concern is that Assad regime could use chemicals weapons

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – March 29, 2013) Interview Deputy NATO Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, who is visiting Moscow for an informal conference of former U.S. ambassadors to Russia and Russian ambassador to the United States, has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about NATO-Russia cooperation, as well as pressing issues on the international agenda,

Despite inspections, international NGO Memorial won’t reduce foreign financing

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – March 28, 2013) The international human rights society Memorial is not going to reduce financing from abroad, says Sergei Krivenko, a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council and a Memorial board member. “Memorial and all of its organizations will not reject foreign financing, which we are receiving officially and legally under various

Talking point: Is culture the new politics in Russia?

Map of Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Artemy Troitsky, Peter Pomerantsev, and Oliver Carroll – March 27, 2013) Oliver Carroll is editor of oD Russia. Oliver was a founder editor of Russian Esquire and has worked for a number of other print and online publications in Russia and the UK. Peter Pomerantsev is a British TV producer. For many years,

Prosecutor Says Extremism Law Is Behind NGO Checks

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ A recent series of spot checks on non-governmental organizations in Russia that caused outcry among rights advocates is aimed at establishing their compliance with laws against extremism and the legalization of criminal income, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Thursday. Nationwide NGO inspections have been taking place since last month,

Unannounced Checks of NGOs Persist

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – March 28, 2013) Prosecutors on Wednesday continued performing unannounced inspections of nongovernmental organizations, checking the Moscow offices of three prominent groups and summoning two human rights leaders for questioning. Officials have inspected about 2,000 NGOs nationwide in the past month, Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora human

Kremlin, Opposition Don’t Understand that Alienation Doesn’t Mean Inertness, Moscow Sociologist Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 28, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-kremlin-opposition.html) Neither the Kremlin nor the opposition understands that widespread alienation among the Russian people is not equivalent to inertness but rather contains within itself “a latent civic activism” which under certain conditions could coalesce and threaten the existing regime, according to a

BRICS summit and China’s trip to Moscow marks a new era

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 28, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin was in South Africa on March 27 at the opening of the BRICS summit to highlight the growing importance of the emerging markets club that are increasingly taking the lead when it comes to global growth. “Work in the BRICS group is

Roubini Predicts Slower Growth in Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – March 28, 2013) Russia’s economy is facing a slowdown due to a lack of necessary structural reforms, according to a report by Roubini Global Economics, a macroeconomic research firm founded by economist Nouriel Roubini. According to the firm’s estimates, GDP growth will slow to 3.3 percent this year, versus 3.4

Russian women prefer abortion to the pill

Ultrasound and Photo of Prenatal Child file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 28, 2013 – Svetlana Smetanina, special to RBTH) A recent U.N. study shows that induced termination of pregnancy is still prominent in Russia as one of the most widespread methods of contraception [sic]. As the abortion capital of the world, Russia has some of the most liberal

Critics Of Khodorkovsky Verdict In Kremlin Crosshairs

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – March 27, 2013) MOSCOW — Mikhail Subbotin thought he was answering a call to public service. Two years ago, then-President Dmitry Medvedev’s Human Rights Commission recruited the legal expert to draft a report reviewing the most recent conviction of former oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Subbotin agreed to work

Khodorkovsky mourns passing of Berezovsky

Boris Berezovsky file photo

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – Former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky said that he was “very bitter” amid the death of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky in London. “I was told that Berezovsky had died. We were never friends but have known each other for over 20 years. It is a long time. It is hard to

The Fate of the Nashi Movement: Where Will the Kremlin’s Youth Go?

Nashi Demonstration with Red Coats and Russian Flags file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – www.imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – March 26, 2013) The evolution of Putin’s regime toward tougher authoritarianism, which began with the “national leader’s” return to the Kremlin, will soon affect its policies toward youth. Under Vladislav Surkov, the erstwhile “éminence grise,” pro-Kremlin movements were supposed to serve as the main “anti-Orange”

Putin Steps Up Support for People’s Front

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – March 28, 2013) President Vladimir Putin is set to attend a forum organized by the All-Russia People’s Front on Friday in a show of support for the movement he created almost two years ago to garner votes for the increasingly unpopular United Russia party. Putin will take

Many Russians Believe Lawmakers Fulfill Kremlin’s Wishes, Survey Shows

Duma Session file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 28, 2013) Fewer Russians approve of the work of the State Duma and many believe that lawmakers are dependent on the Kremlin, a survey released Thursday showed. Thirty-seven percent of respondents surveyed by the Levada Center said that lawmakers are completely dependent on the Kremlin and do whatever the

Bolshoi’s ‘Rite of Spring’ Festival Goes On Despite Turmoil

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Raymond Stults – March 26, 2013) Despite the turmoil following the attack in mid-January on Bolshoi ballet artistic director Sergei Filin, the theater has continued without hesitation to follow the age-old precept “the show must go on.” And this week it promises to do so with still greater intensity when

Raids On NGOs In Russia Suggest ‘Increasingly Insecure’ Kremlin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – March 26, 2013) Amnesty International has joined a growing list of organizations raided by Russian officials in recent weeks amid what activists describe as a ruthless Kremlin crackdown on dissent. Prosecutors and tax police on March 25 searched the venerable rights watchdog’s Moscow headquarters, along with three other

Russian unemployment spans from 1.1% in St. Petersburg to 46.9% in Ingushetia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) – Differentiation between the levels of unemployment in Russia’s federal districts remains strong – the gap in the districts can surpass four-fold and in the regions 40-fold, the Federal State Statistics Service Rosstat said in a report on employment and unemployment in February. The lowest level of unemployment, in accordance with

Russia Open for New Investment Projects – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

DURBAN, March 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday played up Russia’s potential as an investment destination as he tried to reassure investors at a summit of the world’s leading emerging market economies that the country was open for new business projects. “Let me emphasize that Russia and its economy are open for

Morgan Stanley optimistic about Russian equities

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) – Russia’s stock market has very strong potential for growth, Morgan Stanley analysts believe. Russian equities are currently the lowest priced among emerging markets and there are a number of reasons to expect that the discount at which they are traded will decrease, the investment bank’s analysts said in a report.

Independent Poll Workers Highly Concentrated in Moscow

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – March 27, 2013) Unprecedented numbers of independent poll workers will help ensure clean elections in Moscow and St. Petersburg through 2018, a group of leading vote monitors said Tuesday, but the ruling United Russia party and local governments will continue to control polling stations elsewhere, a lingering

Authorities search NGOs for ‘foreign agents’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Stanislav Kuvaldin, special to RBTH – March 27, 2013) Law enforcement organs are conducting mass checks of Russian NGOs. According to information from human rights activists, more than 40 organizations in 16 regions of Russia have already been inspected. The Justice Ministry and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have

More Inspections Hit Rights NGOs in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian state officials continued a wave of raids on prominent rights organizations on Wednesday that activists describe as a renewed pressure campaign against non-governmental organizations in the country. On Wednesday, officials from the Prosecutor General’s Office and tax control service targeted several more NGOs, including the Moscow offices of

The Kremlin Fights Its Opponents – and Itself

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org - Brian Whitmore – March 26, 2013) You can learn a lot about a regime from the fights it picks. And lately, the Kremlin and its proxies have been picking a lot of fights — both with civil society and with each other. Take, for example, the peculiar public feud that erupted last

Court upholds Russia’s switch to year-round summer time

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Interfax – MOSCOW. March 26, 2013) The Supreme Court has found Russia’s switch to year-round summer time, in compliance with the government resolution of August 31, 2011, lawful and it rejected public organizations’ demand for scrapping the year-round summer time pattern, an Interfax correspondent reported. An inquiry was filed with the Supreme Court by the

Internet Gains Trust Among Russians As Source Of Information – Study

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RIA Novosti -  March 26, 2013) A research conducted by RIA Novosti Research Centre has shown that the trust of Russians towards the internet is growing, whereas TV is losing its popularity as a source of information, RIA Novosti news agency reported on 26 March. In December 2012, media experts and heads of Russian leading

Last Year, 23,000 Russian Citizens Sought Political Asylum in Europe

EU Map

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 27, 2103 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-last-year-23000.html) More than 23,000 citizens of the Russian Federation, a large percentage of them non-Russians from the North Caucasus, sought political asylum in Europe in 2012, a number that ranks Russia just behind Afghanistan and Syria and ahead of Iraq, Somalia and China,

Russia Readying Help for Companies With Funds Ensnared in Cyprus

Cyprus Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov & Vladimir Kuznetsov – March 27, 2013) Russia is among the biggest losers of the crisis in Cyprus and may use its development bank to aid companies with funds trapped behind capital controls in place on the cash-strapped island, the head of the state lender said. “We are prepared

Despite Visa Hassles, Russia Promotes Itself as Tourist Destination

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Manik Mehta – March 27, 2013) BERLIN ­ In an attempt to refurbish its image as a tourist destination, Russia went on a charm offensive to court international travelers at the recent Berlin International Tourism Bourse, the world’s largest tourism show. Conceding that visa rules were a big problem, a

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