Archive for June 2013

Golos NGO pays both fines for refusal to register as foreign agent

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) The Golos non-governmental association has paid fines imposed by court for refusing to register as a foreign agent. “We fulfilled the court ruling categorically and paid both fines imposed,” Golos Deputy Director Grigory Melkonyants told Interfax on June 27. On April 25, the magistrate precinct of Moscow’s Presnensky Court fined

A Strategy for Elections

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Alexander Podrabinek – June 27, 2013) On September 8, Moscow will hold its first mayoral elections in a decade. Among those running for office are incumbent Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and anticorruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. Author and analyst Alexander Podrabinek weighs the pros and contras of boycotting and

Navalny to Present an Alternative Program for Moscow

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 28, 2013) Despite numerous hurdles facing opposition leader Alexei Navalny, including the six criminal cases against him and campaign conditions skewed in favor of the incumbent mayor, Navalny pledged to fiercely campaign his own program at Moscow’s mayoral elections on Sept. 8. “Moscow is not developing

Leading Russian Internet Companies Object To New Anti-Piracy Law

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, June 27, 2013) Russian internet companies have published an open letter against the “anti-piracy” bill, which was approved by the senators on Wednesday (26 June). It was posted on the website of the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC). The authors of the appeal are Mail.ru Group, Yandex, Afisha-Rambler-SUP, Google Russia,

Looking for Snowden in ‘The Terminal’

Edward Snowden file photo

(Moscow News/RIA Novosti – themosconews.com – Dmitry Vinogradov, RIA Novosti – June 27, 2013)  SHEREMETYEVO ­ A burlesque of Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal is being staged in Terminal E of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Hordes of journalists flocked to the airport in the last several days hoping to find Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who emerged

Anti-money-laundering plan to increase Rosfinmonitoring’s role – Transparency International

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Yelena Panfilova, the head of the Russian office of Transparency International, sees President Vladimir Putin’s statement on plans to draw up a national anti-money-laundering plan as a sign of strengthening the Financial Monitoring Agency’s (Rosfinmonitoring) functions. “I believed that Rosfinmonitoring had been the one responsible for answering these problems

Over quarter of Russians convinced nothing can be achieved with strikes – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) The faith of Russian citizens in the efficiency of going on strike has decreased – the number of those considering strikes as the only way to resolve issues has gone down in the past years, while the number of skeptics grew considerably, a poll showed. In 1989 17% respondents

Lobbying hampering privatization in Russia – Medvedev

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. June 27 (Interfax) – The chronic non-fulfillment of privatization plans in Russia is related not just to the market situation but to lobbying also, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, which discussed a truncated version of the privatization program. “Let’s be honest, this also has something to do with the

For Human Rights engages in political activities, gets foreign funding – prosecutor

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) Moscow prosecutors inspected the movement For Human Rights because its leader Lev Ponomaryov organized political actions and there is information that this NGO is receiving money from abroad. The organization “has been found to receive money from foreign organizations and engage in political activities,” a representative of the Moscow prosecutors

The disappearing entrepreneur

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – June 27, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. Russia’s small businesses are officially disappearing. Perestroika was supposed to give everyone the chance to be his own boss. Things, however, turned

Russian Academy of Sciences system is obsolete, will be reformed – Medvedev

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the system of the Russian Academy of Sciences needs to be reformed, adding an appropriate draft law is being drawn up. Medvedev told a government meeting that the Cabinet will consider reforming the system of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the appropriate

Russia Gets First Official ‘Foreign Agent’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 28, 2013) ­ The state roster of “foreign agents” among Russian nongovernmental organizations finally added its first entry on Thursday, a year after it was established, the Justice Ministry said Friday. The first organization to voluntarily sign up as a “foreign agent” was the Supporting Competition in CIS Countries noncommercial

FLEX Students Return Energized and Inspired for Change

FLEX Student Exchange Program Logo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – June 28, 2013) Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series. For Ivan Chesnokov’s 18th birthday, his mother and stepfather redecorated his room in floor-to-ceiling posters of a fluttering American flag and the Manhattan skyline. On the wall, they hung a clock whose design was inspired

Snowden’s presence in Russia provoked by somebody – Russia’s Human Rights ombudsman

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin does not think Russia should grant political refuge to CIS intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, and he sees his emergence at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport as not accidental. “Should we grant him political refuge? I can’t answer this question by saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ I have

Snowden fracas becomes another political football

Edward Snowden file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – June 28, 2013) The case of NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden, who is holed up in a secret location in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, has become the latest political football. It has become a regular fixture in domestic tournaments between opposing political parties around the world.

Snowden, Russia’s Favorite U.S. Dissident

Edward Snowden file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm, opinion page Editor of The Moscow Times – June 28, 2013) Is Edward Snowden a traitor or hero? While public opinion in the U.S. clearly favors traitor, Russian politicians and the Kremlin-friendly media have turned him into a “hero of democracy” and a “U.S. dissident.” Alexei Pushkov, the

Georgians Want to Reinstate Relations with Russia – Poll

Map of Georgia

(RIA Novosti -TBILISI, June 28, 2013) Eighty two percent of Georgians spoke in favor of restoring relations with Russia, while 11 percent said relations should be reinstated partly, a poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) said on Friday. Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties after Moscow recognized de-facto independent Georgian republics of Abkhazia

Borders of Russian Arctic zone may be determined in 2013 – minister

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) Russian Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev believes the borders of the Russian Arctic zone may be specified and determined before the end of 2013. “The borders of the Arctic zone can be specified by an appropriate law. Such a law is now being drawn up. It can be included in

Rogozin: active development of Arctic shelf to cause conflict of interest, sabotage

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 28, 2013) Acts of sabotage against Russian facilities are possible in the Arctic shelf development rivalry, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said. He presented several scenarios of external threats to Russia at a conference dedicated to an election article of President Vladimir Putin. “Active development of the Arctic shelf will unavoidably

Russia has fewer happy people than world average but few unhappy – global poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Russia took the 33rd place out of 54 in the rating of the happiest countries. The top ten includes Latin American countries, Finland, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and others. The global survey was held by the Gallup International/WIN, the association of independent pollsters, in over 50 counties, including Russia and the

Heat wave in Moscow repeats century-old record

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Temperatures soared to 31.4 degrees Centigrade in Moscow on Thursday afternoon, the hydro-meteorological bureau of Moscow and the Moscow region told Interfax. “A century-old record has been repeated: Moscow had temperatures of 31.4 degrees Centigrade on June 27, 1911,” it said. The bureau does not rule out the temperature

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#118 :: 28 June 2013

Map of Russia

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#118 :: 28 June 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

‘Russian-born Disinformation’ Breeds Terror, Slanders US – New Book

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(RIA Novosti – Karin Zeitvogel – WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013) ­ The Kremlin has practiced a homegrown technique called disinformation for centuries, including using it to slander the United States, fan the flames of anti-Semitism and convince “much of the world” that US government was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years

Federation Council commission to probe U.S. surveillance of Russians’ private life – Matviyenko

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG. June 26, 2013) An ad hoc commission of the Federation Council commission will investigate whether foreign security services have been really monitoring the private life of citizens in social networks, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “We have set up a working group, a commission entrusted with holding parliamentary inquiries. It

NBC Debuts Horror-Reality Show ‘Siberia’ Online

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(RIA Novosti – WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013) NBC has debuted the first episode of its horror-reality TV show “Siberia” online, TV.com reports. The series, a faux-reality show which is in fact a scripted horror series, features a group of Americans arriving in Russia to shoot a “Survivor”-type program, in which they must survive the harsh

Moscow Prosecutors to Look into NGO Eviction

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Moscow prosecutors have launched a probe into Saturday’s eviction of a Russian human rights organization from its office, a Moscow deputy prosecutor said on Wednesday. “The city’s prosecutor instructed to probe actions by Moscow Mayor’s office officials and by police officers,” Moscow First Deputy Prosecutor Alexander Kozlov said,

RIA Novosti: Poll shows most Russians do not dread repressions [but nearly 60 percent worried about country’s future]

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – June 27, 2013) Most Russians polled by the Levada Center stated that they are not afraid of any abuse of power by the government, world wars or natural catastrophes. Most respondents are, however, worried about the country’s future. The poll conducted by the Levada Center shows that Russians do not fear mass

Rights activists call for Russian asylum for Snowden

Edward Snowden file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – June 26, 2013) Prominent human rights activists in Russia are calling on the country’s authorities to offer political asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. “I’m very sad that Russia is not using this situation and is not offering Snowden the opportunity to remain on Russian territory,” Kirill

Independent Russian Election Watchdog To Create Replacement Despite Suspension

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, June 26, 2013) The suspension by the Justice Ministry of the operation of the Golos (Voice, or Vote) association will not prevent its leaders from registering a new and similar organization; moreover, Golos has recently launched the winding-up procedure, deputy executive director of the association Grigoriy Melkonyants has told RIA Novosti.

Russia to Overhaul Academy of Sciences

Adaptions of Image from Livermore.gov of Element 118 Atoms

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) ­ The Russian government is to overhaul the nation’s Academy of Sciences, it announced on Thursday, including stripping it of the right to manage its property in apparent impatience with the state of the organization. “It’s important to allow the scholars to focus on science and research and

Jailed businessmen await amnesty or pardon?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, special to RBTH – June 26, 2013) The Russian president’s unexpected initiative may set back preparation of the law. The economic amnesty decree is almost ready, according to members of the lower house of Russia’s Federal Assembly. The State Duma deputies hope to get the bill

Khodorkovsky Marks 50th Behind Bars

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 27, 2013) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of defunct oil giant Yukos, spent his 50th birthday Wednesday behind bars after spending nearly 10 years in prison on charges of fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion in what many see as President Vladimir Putin’s revenge for the businessman’s

Moscow has record number of mayoral contestants

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Two more aspirants filed for registration as Moscow mayoral candidates on Thursday, the city elections commission told Interfax. “The documents were filed by two unemployed men: 53-year-old Andrei Kim and 43-year-old Sergei Golkin,” the commission representative said. The city elections commission denied registration to one self-nominee, unemployed Alexei Denisov

Russia Will Not Survive in Its Current Borders, Russian Regionalist Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 27, 2013) A St. Petersburg regionalist argues in a new book, “Global Separatism as a Means of Overcoming ‘The End of History’,” that Russia is unlikely to survive in its current borders because of the historical burdens it has inherited from the Soviet Union and the

State to Keep Rosneft and RusHydro in New Privatization Plan

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) ­ Russian oil giant Rosneft, hydropower holding company RusHydro and the nation’s second-largest lender VTB Bank are among assets that should stay under state control, Economics Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday after presenting the government’s new privatization plan for 2014-2016. “Proceeding from the current state of world

Russia Scales Down Asset Sales as Medvedev Bemoans Delays

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose & Olga Tanas – June 27, 2013) Russia will raise a third less than previously estimated from asset sales in the next three years, downsizing the program as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the lobbying that’s putting a brake on plans. Revenue from asset sales will bring the budget

Russian Navy Pulls Personnel Out of Syria Base – Deputy FM

Syria Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) ­ Russia currently has no military personnel at its resupply facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, a senior diplomat said, though an expert affiliated with the Ministry of Defense downplayed it as a possible temporary measure. “Currently, there is no one in Syria from the Russian Defense

The ‘big game’ in Central Asia is long over

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – June 27, 2013 – Sergei Markedonov is a visiting research fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.) What the implications of Bishkek’s decision regarding the lease of the NATO-U.S. transit center at Manas are for Moscow. On

Ivanishvili doesn’t regard Georgia’s accession to NATO threat to Russia

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – TBILISI, June 26, 2013) Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has said that Georgia’s accession to NATO is a choice of the Georgian people and it does not matter whether Russia likes it or not. At a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Ivanishvili answered the question about how Georgia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#117 :: 27 June 2013

Map of Russia

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#117 :: 27 June 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

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#116 :: 26 June 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#116 :: 26 June 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. RIA Novosti: Over 100,000 to

Twelve Suspects Deny Charges as Bolotnoye Trial Begins

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 26, 2013) A Moscow court on Tuesday opened the trial of 12 people suspected of taking part in “riots” and clashing with police at a now-infamous anti-government rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad last May. More than 400 people were detained at the protest on May 6, 2012,

Moscow Blog: The Kremlin’s PR incompetence

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris – June 26, 2013) Russia has just hosted its premier investment summit, the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on June 20-22, which is supposed to showcase the country and attract badly needed foreign investment. Instead, thanks to the Kremlin’s typically moronic handling of its PR, it

Participant in Yukos case expertise says it was purely non-profit and voluntary

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 25, 2013) Mikhail Subbotin, a participant in the public expertise of the second Yukos case and senior scholar from the Institute of Economics and International Relations, who is expected at the Investigative Committee on Wednesday, has drawn a parallel between the current case of experts and “doctors’ plot” at the end

Economic amnesty does not apply to Khodorkovsky, Lebedev – lawyer

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. June 25, 2013) Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev are not eligible for the economic amnesty, their defense said. “As we have suspected, although hope dies last, this amnesty was not intended to release Khodorkovsky and Lebedev,” Lebedev’s lawyer Vladimir Krasnov told Interfax on Tuesday. “Comparing what

Our Changing World Order – the More Options for Cooperation, the Merrier

File Photo of G8 Heads of State Outdoors in 2013

(RIA Novosti – Simon Saradzhyan – June 25, 2013 – Simon Saradzhyan is a researcher at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center) The recent G-8 summit in Northern Ireland quickly became another reminder that Russia has not quite integrated into what was originally founded as a club comprising the West’s richest liberal democracies. Post-Soviet Russia may

Moscow and Tehran: A ‘cautious’ partnership

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Evseyev, special to RBTH – June 26, 2013 – Vladimir Evseyev is the director of the Center for Social and Political Studies) Abatement of tensions around Iran serves Russia’s interests, but two countries must find a new way to develop their complicated bilateral relations. A presidential election

Russia Beyond the Headlines: American idealist in Europe: Obama’s nuclear talk

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Kolbin, special to RBTH – June 26, 2013 – Alexander Kolbin is a research fellow and coordinator of the Russia and Nuclear Non-proliferation Program at the PIR Center) U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent speech in Berlin indicates that he remains an “idealist without illusions” when proposes more

Contradiction between ‘modernizers,’ ‘conservatives’ farfetched – Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 25, 2013) Russia’s new economic development minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, considers farfetched a contradiction between “modernizers” and “conservatives.” “Sometimes you read about a contradiction between stability and development. There are modernizers, who are for development, and there are conservatives, who are for stability,” Ulyukayev said as he met with ministry staff. “But

Tolstoy’s Entire Body of Work Goes Online, Descendant Says

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 26, 2013) ­ Count Leo Tolstoy was a prolific author, rich and generous enough to bequeath his works to be published and distributed free of charge. His epics “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” still top most of the lists of greatest novels of all time, and his controversial views

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