Archive for August 2013

EVENT: After Snowden: The G-20 Forum and the Crisis in U.S.-Russian Relations — What Next? September 4 in Washington, D.C.

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 From: “The Heritage Foundation” <mailingfp@heritage.org> Subject: Event Invitation – After Snowden: The G-20 Forum and the Crisis in US-Russian Relations — What Next? September 4. The Heritage Foundation After Snowden: The G-20 Forum and the Crisis in US-Russian Relations ­ What Next? Featuring Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. Senior Research Fellow for

NEW BOOK: Why Communism Did Not Collapse

Eurasia Map

Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 Subject: New book: Why Communism Did Not Collapse From: Martin Dimitrov <martin.k.dimitrov@gmail.com> Martin Dimitrov Associate Professor of Political Science Tulane University New Orleans, LA TITLE: Why Communism Did Not Collapse: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe EDITOR: Martin K Dimitrov PUBLISHER: Cambridge University Press (2013) ABSTRACT: This volume

NEW BOOK: Freedom, Repression, and Private Property in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 From: Vladimir Shlapentokh <shlapent@msu.edu> Subject: New book: Freedom, Repression, and Private Property in Russia. Hardcover,Cambridge University Press, 2013 Freedom, Repression, and Private Property in Russia Hardcover, Cambridge University Press, 2013 by Vladimir Shlapentokh (Author), Anna Arutunyan (Author) This study demonstrates how the emergence of private property and a market economy

ANNOUNCEMENT: “The Ansan Forum” New Online Journal

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

From: “Gilbert F. Rozman” <grozman@Princeton.EDU> Subject: a new online journal Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2013 A new, online journal has been launched with substantial coverage of Russia in the context of international relations of the Asia-Pacific. To check it out, go to www.theasanforum.org In the first issue, there is a Special Forum, consisting of an

SAVE THE DATE: Peter Juviler’s Memorial Service, September 20 in New York City

Columbia University Campus with Main Building

Subject: Save the Date: Peter Juviler’s Memorial Service. September 20. From: The Harriman Institute <harrimanevents@gmail.com> Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2013 Columbia/Harriman Institute Save the Date: Peter Juviler’s Memorial Service A memorial service will be held for Professor Emeritus Peter Juviler on Friday, September 20, 2013 at 4 pm in the James Memorial Chapel at Union

Assad Allies Iran, Russia Consider Syria Options

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson and Golnaz Esfandiari – August 30, 2013) A U.S.-led military intervention in Syria would put Washington on a collision course with two unwavering allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — Iran and Russia. Just how Tehran and Moscow might react is a key part of the calculus that U.S.

Russian envoy sees EU ‘nuancing’ its position on Syria

Syria Map

(Interfax – Brussels, August 30 2013) Everything that the European Union has said so far in connection with the situation in Syria has been fairly tidily formulated and focused on the need for a political resolution of the Syrian crisis, believes Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s permanent representative at the European Union. He told Interfax in Brussels

Russia denies forcing Ukraine to join Customs Union

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 29, 2013) Russia denies allegations that it is forcing Ukraine to join the Belarusian-Kazakh-Russian Customs Union and urges the EU not to misinterpret the essence of the matter. “We are not forcing any decisions on Ukraine, and it is for the Ukrainian leadership and the Ukrainian people to make them on

Not many Russians consider Russian-Georgian relations neighborly – poll

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 29, 2013) Russian citizens give a less negative assessment of Russian-Georgian relations than seven years ago, sociologists said following the poll held. Over a third (35-39%) said in 2006 that Russian-Georgian relations were tense and 22% support this stance now. The share of those thinking that the relations of the two

Syrian Army may have S-300 missile systems – source

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – August 30, 2013) The Syrian Armed Forces might possess S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in addition to S-200, Buk-M1-2, Buk-M2E, Pantsir-S1E, S-125 Neva and S-125M Pechyora systems, which would allow Damascus to successfully respond to U.S. air and sea missile attacks, a Moscow military source familiar with the situation said. “Syria’s air defense systems

RIA Novosti: Russia Worried About Strikes on Syria? Not Really

Syria Map

(RIA Novosti – Alexey Eremenko – August 29, 2013) As US destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean are aiming their cruise missiles at Syrian state targets, what can Moscow ­ which has been vocally opposed to Western military intervention ­ do and how much does it stand to lose? Surprisingly little on both counts, foreign policy

RIA Novosti: Russians Don’t Care About Syria – Poll

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 29, 2013) ­ Though Russia’s leadership is actively involved in the geopolitical standoff over possible foreign military intervention in war-torn Syria, most of the Russian population is not paying any attention to the ongoing civil war and supports neither the Syrian government nor the armed opposition, a new poll showed.

Just 15% of Russians Say Moscow Attractive Place to Live – Poll

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 30, 2013) ­ A recent opinion poll has shown that only 15 percent of Russians think that Moscow is an attractive city to live in, while another 25 percent prefer small-town life. Some 60 percent of respondents said they could not see any “good qualities” in the average Muscovite, considered

Human Rights Council Calls for Broader Economic Amnesty

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 29, 2013) Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, has proposed introducing a broader amnesty for economic crimes in addition to the one that began in July, Kommersant reported Wednesday. He said the amnesty should be prepared for the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution in

Gazprom Losing Its Markets and Its Clout in Europe and CIS

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 29, 2013) Gazprom, one of Moscow’s main sources of leverage in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, is losing its positions in both places, something that has domestic consequences as well because the company is one of the largest taxpayers of the Russian Federation, according

Russian Lower House Speaker Compares Snowden to Don Quixote

Edward Snowden file photo

(RIA Novosti – BRATISLAVA, August 29, 2013) ­ The chairman of Russia’s lower house of parliament has likened fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to the hero of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel. “You know, I compare him [Snowden] to Cervantes’ hero, Don Quixote,” State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Wednesday in an interview with Slovak

Russian and American soldiers: Brothers in arms?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Kislyakov, special to RBTH August 29, 2013) News of American decorations being given to Russian servicemen ­ and reconnaissance officers at that ­ could in no way be called ordinary. Meanwhile, the current geopolitical situation and potential threats to the global community attest to the need to

Poll shows 40% Russians opposed to international military operation in Syria

Syria Map

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 28, 2013) The majority of Russian citizens do not support either side of the Syrian conflict but more people believe in the victory of the Syrian authorities rather than the opposition, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax on the basis of the poll they conducted. The majority of respondents (61%) have heard

Ukraine to Seek Free Trade With EU Despite Russian Pressure

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – August 29, 2013) Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on Wednesday signaled that his country would not back out of its push toward free trade with the European Union despite Russian pressure. Azarov’s statements at a meeting of his Cabinet follow a brief spell of sweeping checks for

Russia Strikes Back at Belarus in New Trade War

Belarus Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW/MINSK, August 29, 2013) ­ Russia hit back at two mainstays of the Belarusian economy this week after Minsk arrested the head of Russia’s largest fertilizer company, imposing cuts on oil exports and threatening food imports in moves that it insists have no connection to the arrest. Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft

Interview: Fukuyama On Democratization In Eastern Europe

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

(RFE/RL – August 27, 2013) More than two decades ago, at a time when the world was witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union and its socialist economy, as well as the triumph of the free market and democracy, American political scientist Francis Fukuyama predicted that liberalism would sweep away competing ideologies. But in an

Lavrov disagrees with Kerry on blaming Syrian govt for chemical attacks – Russian Foreign Ministry

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Separte Podiums, Kerry with a Visible Earpiece; Adapted from Photo at state.gov

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 28, 2013) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the latest tensions surrounding Syria in a telephone conversation late on Tuesday. “John Kerry set out his judgments based, as was stated, on information from trustworthy sources, according to which the government of the Syrian Arab

G20 will need to make decisions on investment, financial sector regulation – Putin

File Photo of Russia-Hosted G20 Banners Outdoors Before Yellow and White Facade of Historic-Looking Building

(Interfax – August 28, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin said important decisions are expected to be made in the sphere of investment stimulation at the G20 summit scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg. “A roadmap for the financing of long-term investment has been created. It will be implemented during the years of Australia’s chairmanship

Russian companies may be forced to declare offshore units

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – August 28, 2013) The Kremlin’s drive to increase transparency and limit the amount of money held in offshore havens could be extended to companies, which will be forced to declare an overseas status. Duma deputy Dmitry Savelyev for the ruling United Russia Party, has submitted a bill, which would

Rights group praises Russian Supreme Court’s refusal to rehabilitate top NKVD officer

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 27, 2013) Russian human rights group Memorial has expressed support for Tuesday’s refusal of the Russian Supreme Court to rehabilitate Yakov Agranov, a top figure in Stalin’s NKVD secret police who is believed to have been one of the architects of the 1930s reign of terror. Agranov was executed in 1938.

From protests to pogroms

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Emil Pain – August 27, 2013) Emil Pain is a professor at the National Research University­Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and the General Director of the Center for Ethno-Political Studies. As the level of inter-ethnic violence reaches disturbing proportions, Emil Pain asks if Russia’s protest moment has turned nasty.   In the middle

About 1 Million Foreigners Registered in Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 28, 2013) About one million foreigners are officially registered with the migration authorities in Moscow and 1.5 million in surrounding areas as of Tuesday, a senior migration official said. “We have a centralized database of foreign nationals. Today we have obtained the most recent figures: there is about a million

Citizens can ensure fair elections themselves

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Makar Butkov, special to RBTH – August 27, 2013) The protests in the winter of 2011-2012 used “For Fair Elections” as a slogan.  Subsequently, many politically active citizens became observers at the presidential elections that March. This year, the Election Commission is being formed five years early. What

TRANSCRIPT: Address by Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in St Petersburg

File Photo of Russia-Hosted G20 Banners Outdoors Before Yellow and White Facade of Historic-Looking Building

(Kremlin.ru – August 28, 2013) [The official website of the Russian G20 presidency http://en.g20russia.ru/] PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: This year marks the G20’s 5th anniversary. At the peak of the crisis the G20 members agreed on coordinated measures to support the global economy. We made the commitment to curb trade protectionism, developed new principles

U.S., Russia in Anti-Terror Exercise

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(RIA Novosti – WASHINGTON, August 27, 2013) ­ While the United States and Russia might be engaging in a war of words over Syria, Edward Snowden, adoption and gay rights, the differences are not stopping the two countries from joining together with Canada in an anti-terror exercise this week. Fighter jets from the joint US

Western military intervention in Syria highly likely – Russian experts

Syria Map

(Interfax – August 27, 2013) The likelihood of Western military intervention in Syria is very high, Sergey Karaganov, honorary chairman of the presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (SVOP) think-tank, has said. “Unfortunately, the concentration of troops in the region is such that a war may start. The USA may strike within

Interfax: No ‘easy victory’ for USA, NATO in case of attack on Syria – Russian source

Syria Map

(Interfax – Zhukovskiy, Moscow Region, August 27, 2013) In case of a military operation in Syria, Western countries will not be able to secure an easy victory since Syrian troops are armed with Russian Buk-M2E air defence systems and other air defence means, a military-diplomatic source told Interfax AVN news agency on Tuesday (27 August).

Uralkali Arrest Ratchets Up Moscow-Minsk Tension

Belarus Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – August 28, 2013) The Russian Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday that detention of the chief executive of potash giant Uralkali in Minsk could cause Moscow’s relations with Belarus to deteriorate as the conflict takes on political overtones. Putting Vladislav Baumgertner in a pretrial detention facility is “unacceptable” and

Filmmaker Says Lonely Leader Scared to Loosen Grip

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya and Irina Reznik – August 27, 2013) Vladimir Putin was lonely and homesick after moving to Moscow to work in the Kremlin in 1996 and planned to return to St. Petersburg within a year, according to a friend, documentary filmmaker Igor Shadkhan. “But then things began to happen very

Kremlin Now Views Elections as Way to Distract and Divide Society Rather than as Threat to Itself, Commentators Say

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 28, 2013) ­ The statement by Vyacheslav Volodin, first deputy chief of Presidential Administration, that Moscow won’t block opposition candidates is just for show, Russian analysts say, but it does indicate that the Kremlin has sufficient confidence in its ability to manage the process in ways

The Scandalous Truth About Russian Men

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief, The Moscow News – August 27, 2013) Earlier this month, Russian-American journalist Diana Bruk shocked the delicate sensibilities of the American reading public by writing a no-holds-barred account of why she loves (and hates!) dating Russian men. [http://www.salon.com/2013/08/12/i_love_and_hate_dating_russian_men/] In her essay, published by Salon.com, Bruk talked about how

Interfax: U.S. interference in Syria fraught with geopolitical catastrophe – military expert

Syria Map

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 26, 2013) The possible military interference of the United States and its allies in Syria will have catastrophic consequences for the situation at Middle East, military expert, member of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Igor Morozov said. “The military interference of the U.S. and its allies in Syria will

Russians put career before having a family

Empty Boardroom

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – August 26, 2013) A third of Russians think raising children gets in the way of having a successful career. People younger than 24 years of age are putting career before family, a poll by major recruiting web portal Superjob showed. Experts are not surprised

Economic ministry expects Russian GDP growth to quicken to 1.9% in Q3, to 2.2% in Q4

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 27, 2013) The growth of Russia’s gross domestic product could quicken to 1.9% in the third and 2.2% in the fourth quarters, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach told the press. “We have revised the GDP growth forecast for the third quarter to 1.9%, for the fourth to 2.2%, Klepach said,

Road Project Brings Hope and Problems

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – August 27, 2013) The Kremlin’s move to revive ambitious Luzhkov-era plan to build a gigantic circular highway 50 kilometers beyond the Moscow Ring Road is bringing to life the dreams of developers and nightmares of owners of property in its path. Construction of the Central Ring Road

Foreign funding is no obstacle to provision of state grants to NGOs – expert

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 26, 2013) Non-governmental organizations that received funding from abroad are on the lift of recipients of grants from the state, Maria Slobodskaya, president of the Institute of Civil Society Issues and a member of the Russian Public Chamber, said. “The issue of who received foreign funding or did not receive foreign

Russia’s Single Power Vertical Dividing at the Top, Commentator Says

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 27, 2013) What Vladislav Surkov described as “sovereign democracy” now lacks a single “sovereign” because the power vertical Vladimir Putin so carefully constructed no longer has one but rather several decision-making centers, a new situation that inevitably calls the entire edifice into question, according to a

Russia dreams of creating an alternative to Suez

Eurasia Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Dashkovsky, special to RBTH – August 26, 2013) Railways across Siberia and the Far East might become alternatives to the sea route. An ambitious program of railway expansion in Russia’s Far East opens up the prospect of creating rapid new trade routes between Asia and Europe. At

Sobyanin claims rivals see mayoral polls as bridgehead in trying ‘to storm the Kremlin’

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 26, 2013) Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has slammed candidates for mayor of the Russian capital who “say that, generally speaking, Moscow is just a stage for them in trying to seize power in the country, to storm the Kremlin.” “I don’t think this trick will work. Neither you and I

Prokhorov’s Future Hazy as Elections Approach

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – August 27, 2013) Civil Platform leader Mikhail Prokhorov’s future seemed uncertain Monday as he denied a report that he would leave politics, while analysts said the billionaire may have indeed scaled down his political ambitions even as his party establishes itself ahead of regional elections. Some commentators

RIA Novosti: Kremlin to Finance ‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs – Report

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 26, 2013) ­ The Kremlin will give grants to the Memorial human rights organization and several other opposition-minded NGOs that prosecutors earlier this year accused of being “foreign agents,” the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported Monday. Two regional branches of Memorial will receive a combined 800,000 rubles ($24,000) from the

Tensions Rise In Georgia’s Breakaway Regions

Georgia Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – August 26, 2013) Five years after their formal recognition by the Russian Federation as independent states on August 26, 2008, Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are on very different trajectories in terms of relations with their northern neighbor. But both are plagued by growing domestic

Russia could receive $17 billion from megatons-to-megawatts deal

File Photo of Russian Nuclear Missile on Mobile Launcher Near Woods

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 27, 2013) Russia could receive the anticipated $17 billion from the 20-year megatons-to-megawatts deal with the United States which expires in 2013. Techsnabexport (Tenex), the Russian agent for the contract, said in a report that a preliminary estimate of revenue from the deal had been made, taking into account the low-enriched

Putin Wants Me Dead or Caged, Georgia President Saakashvili Says

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – By Helena Bedwell, Henry Meyer, Hellmuth Tromm – August 26, 2013) Georgia’s outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin wants him jailed or dead and urged the U.S. to help curb what he says is Russia’s rising influence over his country. Saakashvili, a 45-year-old American-educated lawyer who allied

Russia failing to test vulnerable groups for HIV

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ivan Varentsov, public health expert with the Andrey Rylkov Foundation; special to RBTH – August 22, 2013) The country’s ineffective and conservative policy stymies efforts to stop the epidemic. The HIV epidemic is one of the most pressing public health problems in Russia today. According to the latest

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