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Archive for July 2013

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#138 :: 31 July 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#138 :: 31 July 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: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. Interfax: Degree of secrecy of

The Foreign and Security Policies of the Central Asian States

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(International Relations and Security Network (ISN) – isn.ethz.ch – Stephen Aris for the ISN, senior researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) – 30 July 2013) Despite the potentially suffocating interests of external powers, the Central Asian states still have enough political space to pursue their own foreign and security policy agendas. In today’s

‘Foreign Agents’ fight for survival

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Yuri Dzhibladze – July 30, 2013) Yuri Dzhibladze is founder and president of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a Russian public policy and advocacy NGO. The Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights has achieved much in fifteen years, but now, like so many NGOs, it

Income disparity in Russia up slightly in H1

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 30, 2013) Income disparity in Russia increased slightly in the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year, Rosstat reported. The 10% of Russians with the highest incomes accounted for 30.4% of all income in the six months. The first half results in previous years were

ECHR judgment on first Yukos case should lead to its review – Fedotov

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 30, 2013) The latest judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the first Yukos case should lead to its review, head of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov said. “There is no place else to go to after the Strasbourg Court – you can agree with

Low Demand Limits Russia’s 2013 Growth

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2013) Russian industry’s main economic indicators do not suggest it is on its way to recovery in the second half of 2013. Low demand for industrial goods remains the main challenge for Russian businesses according to a poll conducted by the Gaidar Institute. The poll showed that in

Best Thespians, Theaters and Themes of 2012-13

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – July 31, 2013) It’s time to put the tired theater season to bed. Let it hibernate for a month or so then make a perennial attempt to come back fresher and better in September. The 2012-2013 season was lopsided. There was a lot of mediocre, admirably ambitious,

Keeping calm and carrying on

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Sharogradskaya – July 31, 2013) Anna Sharogradskaya is the director of the Regional Press Institute in St Petersburg, lecturer in Journalism and social activist. St Petersburg’s Regional Press Institute has defended Russian media rights for the last two decades. Like other similar organisations, it has been subjected to various forms of governmental

Vice Rector Follows Guriev Out of New Economic School

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2013) A renowned economist is following in the footsteps of Sergei Guriev by leaving the New Economic School in Moscow. Konstantin Sonin, vice rector and director for undergraduate studies, has accepted a position with Moscow’s Higher School of Economics amid differences with the leadership that has taken the

Two thirds of Moscow residents happy with Sobyanin’s work – poll

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 30, 2013) The share of Moscow residents happy with the work of the Moscow mayor, its government and Moscow City Duma grew, however the majority still think that authorities ignore wishes of Moscow residents when making decisions, sociologists said. The share of Moscow residents happy with the work of acting Moscow

Group Debate Irks Mayoral Candidates

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – July 31, 2013) Moscow’s election committee announced Tuesday that debates for the Sept. 8 mayoral election will be held with the participation of all six candidates simultaneously ­ an arrangement many say is a result of acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s reluctance to go head to head with

Yeltsin’s Bear Will Retire to Better Digs Outside Moscow

File Photo of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2013) The brown bear that former president Boris Yeltsin gave to the Moscow zoo will be moved to a new location so that he can meet his old age “with dignity,” the zoo’s director Sergei Popov said at a press conference Tuesday. The zoo had previously received numerous

Russian Prosecutor Questions Reported Bribery Figures

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 30, 2013) ­ While the number of bribes being offered in Russia rose 30 percent in the first six months of this year, the number of bribes accepted was down 6.5 percent, a top prosecutor said Tuesday, questioning the objectivity of those figures. Such figures could be related to the

Death rate in Russia keeps decreasing – Health Minister

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 30, 2013) The positive dynamic of decreasing death rate can be observed in Russia, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said. “The results of 2013 show that positive tendencies remain regardless of the flu epidemic we had in January-April,” Skvortsova said at a meeting of the State Council Presidium in Novo-Ogaryovo on

Degree of secrecy of geographical data in Russia will be reduced – Medvedev

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Interfax – July 31, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev intends to order the ministries and the Moscow government to draw up a document reducing the degree of secrecy of geographical data for the publication of digital maps on the Internet. “As regards the maps, the draft orders I will sign after our meeting expressly

Russians deem ruble devaluation possible – poll

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 30, 2013) The majority of Russians deems ruble devaluation possible and anticipates a threat to family budgets, Romir Holding said. Approximately two-thirds of the 1,000 respondents (64%) polled in seven federal districts in July said ruble devaluation was possible and 13% of them argued that it was inevitable. Twenty-five percent did

Expert Invokes Italian Economic Miracle as Model for Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – July 31, 2013) Removing obstacles that inhibit the development and operation of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Russia is the key to economic recovery, an Italian expert said. Small businesses were instrumental in rebuilding the Italian economy and transforming a mainly rural nation into an industrial powerhouse

Western Activists Urge Vodka Boycotts, Visa Bans To Protest Russia’s Antigay Laws

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – July 29, 2013) Western lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists are ratcheting up the pressure on Russia over laws outlawing “gay propaganda.” Among the tactics: an online campaign to “dump Russian vodka” calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, while another

Georgian Culture Ministry Denies Agreeing To Return of Stalin Statue

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(RIA Novosti – TBILISI, July 31, 2013) ­ Georgia’s Culture Ministry said Wednesday it did not authorize the reinstallation of the six-meter (20 foot) statue of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin that was torn down overnight three years ago in his hometown of Gori. The Gruziya Online website reported Tuesday that the ministry had decided to

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#137 :: 30 July 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#137 :: 30 July 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: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. Business New Europe: Ben Aris,

Opposition Candidates Refuse To Boycott Election Of Moscow Mayor

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

(RIA Novosti – July 29, 2013) Yabloko leader Sergey Mitrokhin, chairman of Just Russia Nikolay Levichev and the candidate from RPR-Parnas, Aleksey Navalnyy, will not withdraw their candidatures from the September election of Moscow mayor, RIA Novosti (1) reported on 29 July. A coordinator of the Left Front, Sergey Udaltsov, earlier called on Levichev, Navalnyy,

Over 60 percent of Muscovites approve of Putin – poll

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyana – July 30, 2013) When asked to rate President Vladimir Putin’s work as good or bad, over 60 percent of Muscovites gave a positive answer, a recent poll says. When asked who they would vote for in a hypothetical presidential election this week, 54 percent of Muscovites said

Europe’s west is doomed and its east might not make it

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – Ben Aris in Moscow – July 30, 2013) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/storyf5224/Europes_west_is_doomed_and_its_east_might_not_make_it] It’s not going well. Governments around the world have had six years to make a dent in the huge debts they built up during the 2008 crisis, but in the first half of this year those debt levels

American witness: Blogging Russian life

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – July 29, 2013) For Oklahoma native Jennifer Eremeeva, what started as a childhood fascination turned her into a guide of Russian life. Eremeeva’s settlement in Moscow began in 1993 in a rather exotic location, an apartment she shared with her future husband in the neighborhood of Butovo,

Money to be made for small businesses in Russia; Can foreigners start their own business in Russia? In what spheres is there more money to be made?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Shpigel, special to RBTH – July 30, 2013) Against the background of crises in the developed economies, Russia, with its high oil revenues, looks promising for the development of the services sector. The majority of micro and small enterprises operate in the services sector, because it is

Local Politics in Moscow Goes Global

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 139 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – July 29, 2013) Last week, Aleksei Navalny re-entered the Moscow mayoral election campaign after his implausible release from jail the day after being condemned to five years behind bars on a blatantly fabricated charge. His team has jump-started

Let’s Say “No” to the Erosion of the Constitution

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Ekaterina Mishina – July 29, 2013) Russia’s leading legal experts have published an open address in which they detail the threats to the country’s constitutional order. IMR Advisor Ekaterina Mishina, a co-signatory of the address, emphasizes that, for the lawyers, to point out the dangers of the current

Putin, Gone Fishing

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow News – Anna Arutunyan, Editor and Correspondent at themoscownews.com – July 29, 2013) It’s late July, and that can only mean one thing: Potemkin Tales takes on its favorite subject – primordial myth. When it’s warm outside, the Russian president never fails to give fodder for armchair anthropology. The idea that is central both

Moscow Region Election Plays by Harder Rules

File Photo of Gennady Gudkov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 30, 2013) In the shadow of a much more publicized mayoral election in the capital, the upcoming gubernatorial election in the Moscow region offers a decidedly different set of campaign issues, people’s demands and opposition activity. Unlike in Moscow, residents of the region that is often

Fewer Russians Talk Politics Than 21 Years Ago – Survey

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 30, 2013) The number of Russians discussing politics when they meet with friends has dropped nearly by half over the past 21 years, an opinion survey by the Levada Center pollster has shown. According to the survey published Monday, 16 percent of Russian nationals talk about politics at such meetings.

Over half of Russians uncertain of tomorrow – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 29, 2013) One in two Russians gives three (out of five) to the existing economic situation in the city, town or village where the respondent lives, the majority do not feel confidence in tomorrow and their social activity is decreasing, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax. According to the results of the

TRANSCRIPT [Putin]: Orthodox-Slavic Values: The Foundation of Ukraine’s Civilisational Choice conference

File Photo of Ukrainians with Ukrainian Flag in Public Square Near Tower with Golden Dome

(Kremlin.ru – July 27, 2013) Vladimir Putin took part in the conference called Orthodox-Slavic Values: The Foundation of Ukraine’s Civilisational Choice. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, friends, I just said goodbye before to President of Ukraine Mr Yanukovych. You also sent him your best wishes. Unfortunately, he has a strict schedule with a

Verdict in Bradley Manning WikiLeaks case will show Snowden’s possible fate in U.S. – Russian parliamentarian

Alexei Pushkov file photo

(Interfax – July 30, 2013) The verdict to be handed down on Tuesday to Bradley Manning, a soldier accused of the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history, will show what could have happened to former CIA employee Edward Snowden if he had returned to the United States, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#136 :: 29 July 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#136 :: 29 July 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: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. ITAR-TASS: Russians most proud of

Putin Uses His Favorite Ax to Grind Navalny

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm, Opinion Page Editor – July 26, 2013) All autocracies have two things in common: They exaggerate the threats they face from leading opposition figures and take extreme, repressive measures to limit or remove those threats. Russia is certainly no exception, and the trial and conviction of opposition leader

Putin’s Latest PR Stunt Comes Under Fire

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – July 29, 2013) State television on Friday showed President Vladimir Putin catching a 21-kilogram pike in a  Siberian lake and kissing it, in what analysts say was a publicity stunt meant to portray Putin as a strong leader capable of re-election in 2018 and bloggers say was

Explainer: How Do You Get Asylum In Russia?

Edward Snowden file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – July 26, 2013) Fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia and is expected to soon be given a document that would allow him to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport — where he has spent the past month. RFE/RL takes a

Corruption, concerns about judicial system may impact Russian investment climate – EESC head

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 27, 2013) Opacity of the Russian judicial system and corruption may influence investors’ decisions to enter the Russian market, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse said. “Today investors indeed may feel some trepidation for reasons that are linked to the reliability of the Russian judicial system, as well

Patriarch Kirill thanks Putin for constructive dialogue with Orthodox Church

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, July 26, 2013) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has thanked Russian leaders represented by President Vladimir Putin for their respectful attitude towards the Russian Orthodox Church. “We have been developing church-state relations since 2000. This model was not handed down from the above and its outlines – mutual respect, non-interference

Surkov: God summons Putin to save Russia from ‘hostile takeover’

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 27, 2013) Vladislav Surkov who stepped down from the vice-premier’s position in May said his attitude to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian opposition did not change after he quit politics. “My resignation changed nothing in the divine dimension. There is no reason to think differently,” Surkov said in an interview

Federal strategy on ethnic conflict resolution emerges

Migrant Workers file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Arina Obrazkova, RBTH – July 25, 2013) The document emphasizes various preventive measures, as well as cultural and educational events. The government of Russia has developed a special, 82-point plan to deal with inter-ethnic conflicts. Among the proposals put forth by ministers are: the funding of nonprofit organizations

Experts Say Upcoming Elections More Competitive

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – July 26, 2013) The upcoming Sept. 8 regional elections across Russia will be more competitive than the previous ones, amid declining public support for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, experts say. Despite compounded bureaucratic obstacles for the registration of candidates, ongoing regional election campaigns show an increased

Putin’s pike photo new – Kremlin spokesman

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 28, 2013) Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refuted rumors that the photo showing President Vladimir Putin pulling out a pike had been made before 2013. Runet users circulate rumors “for the lack of anything better to do in the summer time,” Peskov said in an interview with the Russian News Service

Former Kremlin Insider Surkov Says No Regrets About Quitting Politics

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(RIA Novosti – July 27, 2013) Vladislav Surkov, who left his posts as deputy prime minister and government chief of staff in early May, has no regrets and was not sacked but resigned, he has said in an interview. “I went of my own volition. That’s what it said in the presidential decree and that’s

Russia’s Aleksei Navalny: Hope Of The Nation — Or The Nationalists?

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – July 28, 2013) Aleksei Navalny has been called the best hope for liberalization in Russia. And he has been called the most dangerous man in the country. Navalny has risen quickly to become the de facto head of Russia’s anti-Kremlin opposition — a rise based almost entirely on

Russia hopes to sign visa relaxation accord with EU before year-end

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 29, 2013) Moscow hopes to sign a visa relaxation agreement with the European Union before the end of 2013, Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large Anvar Azimov said. “We expect the signing of the updated agreement before the end of this year. This will require political will to be demonstrated by

Russian Migration Official Says Snowden May be in Danger

Edward Snowden file photo

(Voice of America – Jessica Golloher – MOSCOW, July 29, 2013) A Russian Federal Migration Service official said he believes it’s best that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden remain in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport because he is a wanted man and is safer there. The United States has promised Russia it will not

Central Asia: An Indicator of Russia’s Imperial Aspirations

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(RIA Novosti – Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief, Russia in Global Affairs journal, authoritative source of expertise on Russian foreign policy and global developments) Polish-American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski said in the mid-1990s that “without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine, suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” This phrase is

Putin calls for integration between Russian, Ukrainian economies

File Photo of Ukrainians with Ukrainian Flag in Public Square Near Tower with Golden Dome

(Interfax – KYIV, July 29, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that Russia will respect any choice Ukraine will make regarding its economic integration but presumed that Ukraine may have competitive advantages only if it integrates closer with the Russian economy. “A very fierce competition is under way on world markets today for these

Sharapova Tops Forbes’ Russian Celebrities List Again

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 25, 2013) ­ Tennis star Maria Sharapova has regained first place on a list of the most popular and richest Russian celebrities published by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine Thursday. The Forbes rating of Russia’s top 50 celebrities is compliled according to a combination of factors including annual income,

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