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Archive for April 2013

Tsarnaev Case Highlights Communication Breakdown Between Daghestani Agencies

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – April 30, 2013) The Boston Marathon bombings have served to corroborate many observers’ previously unsubstantiated hunch that one reason for the Russian security services’ inability to contain the North Caucasus insurgency is that the various agencies responsible fail to share information among themselves. In this particular case, Daghestan’s

Russian Security Services Offer Surprising Revelations About Boston Bombings

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 80 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Valery Dzutsev – April 29, 2013) On April 27, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article on the dead Boston bomber suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, based on information it received from the Russian security services. It cited officers of the Dagestani Center

Testimony on Russian-American Relations on the Question of Chechnya

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Andranik Migranyan testimony – House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade – April 26, 2013 – http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/joint-subcommittee-hearing-islamist-extremism-chechnya-threat-us-homeland) Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Islamist Extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland? Prepared Testimony of Andranik Migranyan  Director of the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, New York U.S.-Russian

Resolving missile shield issue to bring Russia, U.S. closer – Lavrov

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 29, 2013) Achieving agreements on the missile shield issue between Russia and the United States will bring the Russian-U.S. ties to a new allied level like during World War II, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We are convinced that doing it together – doing it together with the United States

AmCham finds business as usual

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – April 29, 2013) The American Chamber of Commerce cleared the decks straightaway at its annual investment conference last week, in the wake of a difficult year in Russian-U.S. political relations. “One of the purposes of this conference is to emphasize the fact that basically it’s business as

How Elvira Nabiullina Can Improve Russia’s Central Bank

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Kostin – April 29, 2013) Andrey Kostin is chairman of VTB Group, Russia’s second- largest lender. He is also chairman of the B20 financial- stability task force. Russia’s central bank is about to get a new chairman and, as at the Bank of England, the imminent arrival of a new

Russian economy could grow 6% annually in 2014-2016 with structural modernization – minister

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 29, 2013) The Russian economy could be in a position to achieve 6% annual growth in 2014-2016 with structural modernization, Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov said. “The use of these reserves (structural modernization mechanisms) will enable us to enter a trajectory of 6% growth in 2014-2016 and almost 7% a year

COLD WAR II: Russia sets up airbase in Minsk, sells missile system

Belarus Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – April 30, 2013) Russia is beefing up its western border’s defence with plans for a new airbase in Belarus and sales to the government there of one of its most sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced April 23 a new deal with Minsk that will

Tbilisi gives conditions to establish diplomatic ties with Moscow

Tblisi, Georgia, file photo

(Interfax – TBILISI, April 29, 2013) Georgia will not establish diplomatic ties with Russia while 20% of its territory is occupied, Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Pandzhanikidze told reporters on Monday. “While 20 percent of the Georgian territories are occupied by Russia, establishing diplomatic ties is impossible. Another reason is that Russia recognizes two Georgian regions

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania: ‘We Need To Outsmart Russia’

Map of Georgia

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 27, 2013) Irakli Alasania served as Georgia’s UN ambassador before resigning in late 2008 and joining the opposition to President Mikheil Saakashvili. He is now defense minister in Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coalition government. RFE/RL correspondent Brian Whitmore caught up with Alasania in Tbilisi to discuss the new government’s approach to

Even Russian Nationalists Now Reject Slogan ‘Russia for the Russians,’ Demushkin Says

File Photo of Crowd of Russians

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 9, 2013) Dmitry Demushkin,, the leader of the “Russians” political movement, says that “even Russian nationalists do not support the slogan ‘Russia for the Russians’ because it has to be qualified in so many ways that it is useless as a mobilizing tool and dangerous it

Trying to please: The NGO checks are not just political – they are also busy work in action

Map of Russia

(Moscow News - themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – April 29, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is an editor and correspondent at themoscownews.com As the head of an organization that helps people suffering from cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that affects the lungs, Olga Alekina, of the Aid to Patients with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, wasn’t exactly daunted when

Russian Public Chamber comes to defence of NGOs under attack

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – April 29, 2013) More than ten members of the Russian Public Chamber have signed a statement in support of yet another NGO being checked in Russia in which they slammed the ongoing mass checks of non-profit organizations in the country in general, saying they lead to significant infringement of civil liberties, Russian news

Rights Group Slams Order to Register as ‘Foreign Agent’

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 30, 2013) Prosecutors in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan have ordered the Agora human rights group, which has provided legal assistance to people detained at anti-Kremlin protests, to register as a “foreign agent,” a demand it has dismissed as “unlawful.” Under a controversial law approved by President Vladimir Putin last year,

Authorities to sum up results of the NGO inspections

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax -  April 30, 2013) The inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGO) are not large-scale and the results will be summarized in late May, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin wrote in a letter to Chairman of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov. “The inspection does not pursue limiting NGO activities, it is preventive

What to make of May Day?

File Photo of Russian Tanks on Parade

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Simon Speakman Cordall special to The Moscow News – April 29, 2013) Overshadowed by dramatic Victory Day celebrations, the May 1 holiday has yet to be redefined in the post-Soviet landscape There were four pivotal dates on the Soviet calendar; January 1, May 1, May 9 and, the anniversary of

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#81 – 30 April 2013

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[check back for updates, including links; links also posted to twitter and facebook] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#81 :: 30 April 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#80 – 29 April 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#80 :: 29 April 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.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. ITAR-TASS: 77% of Russians say

Boston’s sobering lessons for Russia and the U.S.

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Mark Galeotti, special to RBTH – April 26, 2013) Looking for the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist has hitherto not been a major part of Russian security services’ strategy ­ but after the Boston bombings, cooperation between the FSB and FBI is crucial. Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to journalists’ questions following Direct Line

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Kremlin.ru – April 25, 2013) Moscow After the Direct Line programme, Vladimir Putin met with members of the media to answer their questions. QUESTION: Mr President, 85 questions, 85 answers, 85 people ­ this is quite a lot. And all the questions were important. But there were nearly 2.5 million people who asked questions. Will

TRANSCRIPT: Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Kremlin.ru – April 25, 2013) (transcript continued) Moscow KIRILL KLEYMENOV: Thank you, Novoshakhtinsky. Thank you, Primorye. Let’s give the opportunity to ask a question to… MARIA SITTEL: Just one second. On the topic of adoption, I have a question from Marina from Vladivostok. Mr President, is it possible to look into the legislative aspects of

Georgia’s Changing Russia Policy

Map of Georgia

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 29, 2013) TBILISI – Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says resolving his country’s conflicts with Russia is his “big dream.” But it’s a dream that has him locked in a war of words with President Mikheil Saakashvili and his allies. Saakashvili slammed Ivanishvili on April 23 for

Russians see CIS, China as Russia’s chief foreign-policy partners – poll

Eurasia Map

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 28, 2013) Respondents polled in Russia recently said they would prefer Russia to deal with China and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States rather than with the United States. “Asked which countries should be given priority as partners in cooperation, 28% of those polled named members of the Commonwealth of

The Fading Line Between Domestic and External Threats

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(RIA Novosti – Fyodor Lukyanov – April 26, 2013) Fyodor Lukyanov is Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, an authoritative source of expertise on Russian foreign policy and global developments – eng.globalaffairs.ru The case of two ethnic Chechens suspected of planting bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon last Monday has

Boston Bombers Reflect Specific Experiences of Some North Caucasians in Soviet and Post-Soviet Times, Moscow Analyst Says

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 29, 2013) The two brothers who carried out the horrific Boston bombing are not simply Muslims who were inspired by radical websites or Chechens who were continuing their struggle against Moscow by other means, as many in both Russia and the West have insisted, according to

After Dress Rehearsal, Sochi Declared Ready for Olympics

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 29, 2013) With the end of ice hockey championships, Sochi 2014 organizer Dmitry Chernyshenko has declared that the dress rehearsal for the Olympics is a success. Test events held in the framework of the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games ended with the final game of the International Ice

Navalny Again Calls for an End to Russian Federalism

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 28, 2013) Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny says that Russia does not need federalism and should become a unitary state in which cities rather than the current federal subjects would be the fundamental political link between individual Russian citizens and the Russian state. In an interview

Prosecutor General Chaika: Civil society’s interference in justice system’s work is unacceptable

Yury Chaika file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 27, 2013) Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika sees as unacceptable civil society’s pressure on the justice system. “Everyone should mind their own business. When a civil society institution reviews a court ruling, in my opinion, this is just unacceptable,” Chaika said taking questions from Federation Council members on Saturday. “There is

Putin Purse Tightening Hobbles Medvedev in Race to Deadline

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas & Irina Reznik – April 29, 2013) President Vladimir Putin rejected calls for fiscal stimulus, limiting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s options as he races to meet a deadline for submitting a plan to revitalize Russia’s economy. First Deputy Premier Igor Shuvalov said Putin dismissed proposals to aid flagging growth

Medvedev’s Cabinet Carried Out 73% of Putin’s Tasks

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 29, 2013) ­ The Russian government has implemented some 73 percent of presidential decrees issued by Vladimir Putin last May, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday. Putin swapped jobs with Medvedev last May, and tasked the government with 218 assignments, including 67 ones scheduled to be carried out within

Russians to Skip May Day Rallies Even as Protest Mood Grows

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 29, 2013) Despite an uptick in protest sentiment, most Russians will stay away from street rallies during the May Day holidays, according to a new poll. At least 70 percent of respondents said they were not planning to participate in annual street rallies either for or against the authorities

Putin and Russian History

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

From: Arch Getty <getty@ucla.edu> Subject: Putin and Russian History Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 Putin and Russian History By J. Arch Getty J. Arch Getty is Professor of History at UCLA.  He is the author of several books on Russian history, including Practicing Stalinism: Boyars, Bolsheviks and the Persistence of Tradition, forthcoming from Yale University

JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#79 – 26 April 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#79 :: 26 April 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.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. Moscow Times: In Marathon Show,

In Marathon Show, Putin Pledges to Stay the Course

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – April 26, 2013) President Vladimir Putin pledged to stay the course on a range of key issues, from macroeconomic policy to the battle with corruption and the composition of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet, during a record-breaking live call-in show broadcast on national television on Thursday. The

[TRANSCRIPT:] Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Kremlin.ru – April 25, 2013) Moscow Direct Line with Vladimir Putin was broadcast live on Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV networks and Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations. During the programme, the President answered more than 85 questions from Russians on the most pressing social and political issues. The total duration of

Less than quarter of Russians view govt’s performance as efficient – poll

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 25, 2013) Russians are critical about the government’s performance but do not expect its dismissal in the near future, the Levada Center public survey service told Interfax based on results of an April poll of 1,600 respondents. Nearly a quarter of Russians – 24% – believe the government led by Prime

Tsarnaev did not contact Islamic radicals while visiting Dagestan in 2012 – official

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Interfax- Moscow/Makhachkala, April 24, 2013) Dagestani Interior Minister Abdurashid Magomedov has denied allegations that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men suspected of committing bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon, started practicing radical Islam during his stay in Dagestan in 2012. “According to our information, Tamerlan Tsarnaev did come to Dagestan in 2012 in order

Russian human rights ombudsman urges measures to ensure “real transparency” of psychiatric clinics

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 26, 2013) Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said that the tragedy in the psychiatric clinic in Ramensky village in the Moscow region’s Dmitrov district was a consequence of a number of issues in the sphere. “I share deep grief of all relatives and loved ones of the victims. Of course,

Church-state partnership level is lower in Russia than in U.S., Europe – Patriarch

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, April 26, 2013) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia thinks that the level of relations between the church and the state does not match its potential. “The level of church-state partnership in Russia is much lower than in Germany where the state collect taxes for the Church, France where the president

Debate Rages Over State History Textbooks

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – April 26, 2013) This is part of an occasional series. As part of his effort to promote patriotism among younger generations of Russians, President Vladimir Putin has proposed creating a single set of history textbooks for schoolchildren, arguing that there should be more consistency in what students

Russian citizens mostly happy – FOM poll

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 25, 2013) Russians are mostly happy with their lives, especially those living in Tyva, Dagestan, Adygea and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the poll held by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) showed. The poll was carried out in 2,220 settlements in 79 Russian regions among 56,900 respondents. A total of 73% Russians

Ex-Privatization Supremo Evasive on Putin CIA Claim

Anatoly Chubais file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 26, 2013) Anatoly Chubais, who oversaw Russia’s mass privatization drive in the 1990s, said on Friday he had always treated allegations that his US advisers at the time were operatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as rumors – until President Vladimir Putin said so out loud yesterday. “I

Only 7% Russians have positive attitude to State Duma deputies – poll

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 25, 2013) Russians firstly have negative associations regarding a State Duma deputy and many consider deputies to be dishonest, self-seeking and away from people, the poll of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) showed. The main associations Russians have with a State Duma deputy are: “a corrupt official” (20%), “greed

The King’s Speech

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – April 26, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his own record with his longest ever annual Q&A meet the people press conference. In just under five hours the president attempted to answer as many of the more than 3m questions submitted by Russians on topics covering the gamut of

Jihadist Websites Played Role in Boston Bombing

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 25, 2013) As more evidence surfaces that the Boston bombing suspects were motivated by a radical version of Islam learned largely from jihadist websites, the monitoring of such websites may prove to be the starting point for closer cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on security

FBI and FSB probe Boston bombers links in Caucasus

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Olga Doronina, special to RBTH  - April 25, 2013) The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing has led U.S. authorities to the North Caucasus to look for links that the Tsarnaev brothers may have had with extremists there. Experts are convinced, however, that the brothers acted alone and

Reassessing the Caucasus after Boston explosion

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – April 24, 2013) The bombing during the Boston Marathon brought Chechnya back to the attention of the West, but the public, the press and the politicians fail to realize the situation there has changed ­ and the threat is greater. Sergey Markedonov

Activists complain NGOs spend more time gathering documents for inspections than helping people

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 24, 2013) Representatives of human rights organizations have said that the number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) inspected by state agencies is excessive. “Hundreds of NGOs were inspected by the tax service, the Ministry of Justice, fire, sanitary agencies and other bodies. Some agencies gave ridiculous demands, for instance, to confirm that

Russian pundits: United Russia’s future in limbo

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dan Peleschuk, special to RBTH – April 25, 2013) As United Russia’s reputation continues to suffer and Vladimir Putin voices increasing support for his People’s Front, what’s in store for the ruling party? Once an all-powerful vanguard party that helped President Vladimir Putin consolidate support and increase his

Prosecutors checking Levada Center pollster as part of NGO inspections

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – April 24, 2013) Russian prosecutors, tax officials, and police are checking the offices of Levada Center, an independent polling organization, as part of a routine inspection of NGOs across the country, a source at the organization told The Moscow News on Wednesday. “They are checking the basic

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