Archive for November 2013

Interfax: Ukrainian public split over EU/Customs Union options – poll

EU Map

KYIV. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Ukraine is split practically 50/50 over the accession to the European Union or the Customs Union. Europe is favored by 39% of Ukrainians, and 37% prefer the Customs Union, said the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. Some 76% of the Ukrainians polled in the middle of this November said they

Russian bonds: Short on risk, long on reward

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Pavel Vasiliadi, special to RBTH – November 27, 2013) Economist Pavel Vasiliadi discusses the benefits of buying undervalued Russian bonds. Pavel Vasiliadi is director of the analytics and risk-management department at the UFS Investment Company. Russia has long been an active player on the international debt market ­

Russia Reverses Investment Decline, Minister Says

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 27, 2013) Seasonally adjusted investment in Russia increased 1.7 percent in October from September, reversing the decline of the previous months, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said in an interview published Wednesday. Ulyukayev also said that private investment had grown from January to October, compared to the same period

Most Russians don’t expect changes in country’s economics in next six months – poll

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – November 27, 2013) Few Russians believe that the economic situation in Russia will improve and the government can improve the situation in the country in the next half year, and citizens are divided on whether strikes are an acceptable method of resolving vital problems, sociologists from Levada Center told Interfax. The poll was

Petersburg, the city with a split personality

St. Petersburg

(opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky – November 25, 2013) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is a Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg Today’s Russia is like a huge ice floe ­ broken off from contemporary life and drifting further and further from Europe into a dank and gloomy past. St Petersburg, or ‘Peter’, epitomises this duality most

The Price of the Opposition: Should One Walk in the Counsel of the Wicked?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Alexander Podrabinek – November 25, 2013) The participation of Russian opposition politician Vladimir Ryzhkov in a recent Kremlin meeting with Vladimir Putin has reignited the debate about whether it is acceptable for the democratic opposition to engage with the leader of an authoritarian regime. Author and human rights

Interfax: Government officials must leave posts if they disagree with the course – Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

YEKATERINBURG. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Government officials who disagree with the official course should leave their posts, said ex-finance minister and head of the Civil Initiatives Committee Alexei Kudrin. “I agree that if one does not support the policy pursued by the president or government, one should switch to the experts community, or join the

Interfax: Russian church calls for broad debate of idea for special role of Orthodox faith in Constitution

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – There is a need for an open and broad public debate on the proposal to reflect in the Constitution the special role of Orthodox faith, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synodal department on relations between the church and society, said. “Such initiatives, like any public, ideological, and legislative

Medvedev’s televised interview set for December 6

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will sum up the results of the year 2013 on December 6 in the traditional live televised interview, titled “A Conversation with the Prime Minister,” the government’s spokesperson Natalya Timakova announced. “The interview will proceed in the traditional format,” she said. “The main themes to be

Delays Beset Politkovskaya Case

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 27, 2013) Seven years and 51 days have passed since journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in her apartment building in central Moscow, but so far only one person has been convicted in connection with the crime, leaving her family and former colleagues frustrated with the lack

A Warning to Medvedev

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – November 25, 2013) Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin gave the police and security forces an opportunity to take revenge for their losses during Dmitri Medvedev’s presidency. Practically all of the initiatives of the former Russian president and current prime minister have been revised­ –

Yanukovych: Ukrainian economy needs at least $20 billion a year to shift to European standards

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KYIV. Nov 27 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian economy needs at least $20 billion a year in order to shift to European standards, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said. “In all, approximately $160 billion are needed in the period until 2017,” the presidential press service quoted Yanukovych as telling Ukrainian television channels on Tuesday evening. “This [association

Ukraine Offers New Deadline for EU Deal

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – November 27, 2013) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday told EU officials to refrain from strong language over Ukraine’s decision last week to freeze preparations for a trade agreement with Europe in favor of tighter ties with Russia. Russia and Ukraine are part of a free-trade zone, Putin

RIA Novosti: Case Closed: Kremlin Sends Louis Vuitton Packing Off Red Square

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ A giant designer suitcase-shaped pavilion installed in the middle of Moscow’s Red Square is being dismantled, city authorities said Wednesday, following a wave of public outrage and numerous demands for its removal. The organizers of the Louis Vuitton-sponsored installation were preparing to take it down on Wednesday afternoon, the

Interfax: Kudrin denies plans to set up his own party

Alexei Kudrin file photo

YEKATERINBURG. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who today heads the Civil Initiatives Committee, has denied any immediate plans to establish his own party. “I have no plans to set up a party,” Kudrin said at an Interfax press conference in Yekaterinburg on Tuesday, after being asked about his short-term plans,

Interfax: Stereotype on immunity of high-level officials being destroyed – Chaika

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

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – Law enforcement authorities made progress in fighting corruption in 2013, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said. “The stereotype on immunity of high-level officials is being destroyed. A total of 3,600 corrupt officials of various levels were convicted in January-June 2013,” Chaika said when speaking on Wednesday at a coordination meeting

What makes Putin so popular among Russians? Putin’s popularity does not depend on just the population’s financial stability.

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vardan Bagdasaryan, special to RBTH – November 27, 2013) Vardan Bagdasaryan is Deputy Director of Center for Scientific Political Thought and Ideology. There are various, culture-to-culture political consciousness types that exist. In Russia, a specific type has emerged historically. It is three-dimensional ­ boyars, folks, and tsar. The

Interfax: Most orphans who did not go to U.S. were adopted by Russian families – diplomat

Russian Orphanage file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Most Russian orphans whose adoption by American families was prohibited by the Dima Yakovlev law have already been adopted by Russian citizens or have been returned to their biological mothers, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights envoy, told Interfax on Tuesday. “Most of these children have already been

Interfax: Almost 80% of Russians say their country has enemies – poll

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Some 78% of Russians believe their country has enemies. The number grew 15%, from 63% last year, Levada Center said presenting a poll held in 130 towns and cities in 45 regions. Only 13% claimed that Russia had no enemies and 9% could not answer the question. Not everyone is

RIA Novosti: Russian pundits expect Ukrainian pro-EU protests rallies to fizzle out

EU Map

(RIA Novosti – November 25, 2013) The pro-EU protests in Ukraine will not bring about any serious political changes and are likely to fizzle out over time, according to analysts questioned by state-owned news agency RIA Novosti on 25 November. Pavlovskiy The level of protest of the supporters of Ukraine’s European integration is not high

Interfax: Russians expect relations with Georgia to improve under new administration

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

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Russians give a C- (2.74 points on the five-point scale) to the current bilateral relations with Georgia, the Russian Public Opinion Studies Center (VTsIOM) told Interfax, referring to a nationwide opinion poll. At the same time, most Russians (56%) expect the relations to improve after the election of the new

Deal with Iran could create new balance of power in the Middle East

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Ilyashenko, special to RBTH  – November 26, 2013) What made this the right time to reach an agreement? The answer may be as much about U.S. politics as anything. At a meeting in Geneva, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (known as

Interfax: Iran deal won’t change European missile shield plan – NATO source

Mssile Defense Control Room

BRUSSELS,. Nov 26 (Interfax) – NATO does not see reasons to review the European missile shield plan in connection with the Iran nuclear program deal. NATO’s missile defense project is not intended to provide defense from a concrete country, a source in the NATO headquarters told Interfax in Brussels. What is meant here is defense

Putin and Pope Swap Gifts, Talk Syria During Visit

Pope Francis Portraits on Four Vatican Stamps

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2013) President Vladimir Putin presented Pope Francis with an icon of Our Lady of Vladimir during a brief visit to the Vatican on Monday afternoon, which some observers hope could improve ties between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. Putin and the pope spoke privately for 35 minutes

Interfax: Russian hopes to complete work on OECD accession in 2014


MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Russian federal executive authorities and the OECD should increase their work to complete the relevant work for Russia’s accession to the organization before the end of 2014, a Russian government presidium decision published on the government website on Monday shows. The Russian Economic Development, Natural Resources, Industry and Trade Ministries

Goldman Says Buy China, Russia Stocks on Valuation to Reform

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Maria Levitov – November 26, 2013) Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying Chinese (SHCOMP) and Russian stocks as a pick up in growth in developed countries and government reforms boost prospects for the “least-expensive” emerging markets. Goldman upgraded equities in the two countries to overweight, the equivalent of buy, from market

Interfax: Russian business confidence continues to fall in November – Rosstat

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – The business confidence index for the Russian extractive sector negative (-) was 3% in November, down from -2% in October and -1% in September and 4% for the five months prior to that, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. In the manufacturing sector, the index was negative (-) 6%

Interfax: Patriarch Kirill opposed to any forms of convergence of church and state

Patriarch Kirill file photo

SMOLENSK. Nov 25 (Interfax) – The Russian Orthodox Church will advocate its independence, its head Patriarch Kirill has said. “The church is defending its freedom because it is sure that only its independence gives it the possibility of being a full-scale spiritual authority. Any form of convergence of the church and state is dangerous for

Interfax: Matviyenko calls for careful treatment of Russian Constitution

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko believes it is wrong to make drastic changes to the fundamental provisions of the Russian Constitution. “I don’t see any need to make amendments to the Constitution. There is no need for it and this issue should be approached very carefully,” Matviyenko said during a

Outcry Prompts Putin Compromise Offer on Tax Investigation Bill

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – November 26, 2013) President Vladimir Putin on Monday proposed a measure aimed at mollifying a business community alarmed by a recent Kremlin-sponsored tax crime bill. The legislation, which earlier caused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to lose his poise and lash out in a rare public disagreement with

With Exit of Soviet-Trained, Russia Faces ‘Total De-Professionalization,’ Gontmakher Says

Moscow State University

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 26, 2013) With the retirement or death of “the last generations who received technical education in the USSR,” the Russian Federation now  faces an increasingly severe shortage of qualified workers and “the total de-professionalization of the workforce,”  according to Yevgeny Gontmakher. And that, far more than

Window on Eurasia: Russians Back Moscow’s Repressive Laws, Polls Show

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 26, 2013) A majority of Russians supports or is at most indifferent to recently-adopted Moscow laws directed against gays, immigrants and media freedom but does back slogans like “stop feeding the Caucasus” and “Russia for the [ethnic] Russians,” according to a new Levada Center poll. And

Meteorologist blames global warming for late snow accumulation in Moscow region

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Interfax – November 26, 2013) Global warming has delayed snow accumulation in the Moscow region for eight or nine days on average as compared with the second half of the 20th century, Hydro-Meteorological Center Director Roman Vilfand said. “Climate change has shifted steady snow accumulation in the Moscow region by approximately eight or nine days

Interfax: Medvedev: energy efficiency has improved, but not due to government efforts

Electrical Yard file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The amount of energy Russia consumes per unit of GDP has declined since 2000, but not due to the introduction of new technologies or the efforts of local authorities and companies, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “In the past 13 years the trend in energy use per unit of GDP

Russian Homes Using Up to 100% More Energy Than in U.S. and Europe

Electrical Yard file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 25, 2013) Russian homes are using up to two times more energy than those in climatically similar regions of Europe and the United States, and the national housing authority wants to tackle the problem by working with the Energy Ministry to build energy-efficient housing. Many residential buildings in Russia

RIA Novosti: Iran Deal Nullifies Needs for Europe Missile Shield – Russian FM

Sergei Lavrov file photo

ROME, November 25 (RIA Novosti) ­ Implementation of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva this weekend will make the US missile defense system in Europe unnecessary, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday. “If the agreement on Iran is implemented, the reason named as a necessity to establish a missile defense system in Europe

Interfax: Iran to take practical steps towards comprehensive solution of its nuclear problem

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

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – A comprehensive solution of the Iranian nuclear problem will be a mutual phased process to result in the comprehensive lift of the UN Security Council’s sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to the Iranian nuclear program, says a joint action plan approved by the Sextet and Iran

Interfax: Most Russians prefer ruble savings but oppose dollar ban – poll

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The percentage of Russians who have savings has hit its highest point in the past few years. The ruble remains the most popular currency of savings, but Russians do not want to abandon the dollar or euro either, sociologists said. Some 22% of the respondents said they had savings in

Interfax: Foreign direct investment in Russia soars 51.6% to $18.6 bln in 9M – Rosstat

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Russia grew 51.6% year-on-year in January-September 2013 to $18.61 billion, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Overall foreign investment grew 15.7% year-on-year to $132.385 billion. FDI grew 4.6% in January-September last year. FDI in this year included $7.279 billion in equity investment, up 15.2%;

Interfax: Poverty in Russia rises 0.5 pp in H1 2013

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The level of poverty in Russia rose to 13.0% in the first half of 2013, from 12.5% a year previously, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Rosstat said 18.4 million Russians were living below the poverty line, up 0.7 million from the same period of last year. Rosstat estimates

In The Land Of Fur Coats, An Embryonic Animal-Rights Movement

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, November 25, 2013) Alfia Karimova’s path to animal-rights activism started when she was shopping online — for a fur coat. The 34-year-old woman from the industrial city of Magnitogorsk was already the proud owner of an elegant silver-fox-fur coat. And with winter coming, she was in the

Modern face of Russian communism

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Elena Bazina, special to RBTH – November 25, 2013) More than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian communists hope to return to power. The Communists who ruled Russia for more than 70 years are still the second most powerful political force in the country.

Is liberalism the right path for Russia?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Zakhar Prilepin, Dmitry Gubin, special to RBTH – November 24, 2013) Ever since Peter the Great, Russia has struggled with its identity. Should it follow the Western liberal model or look eastward? Or does the country possess specific traits that call for the creation of a special political

Interfax: Russians still proud of their country, though number decreasing – survey


MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – Russians are more proud of living in Russia than of Russia itself, sociologists said. The share of Russian citizens who are not proud of their country has recently grown notably – from 34% in 2010 to 40%, while 53% respondents (against 88% in 2010) are proud of contemporary Russia, the

Turkey and toasts: Russian-Americans celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Artist's Rendition of Turkey, Autumn Leaves

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nora FitzGerald, Xenia Grubstein, RBTH – November 28, 2013) In their celebrations of America’s most traditional holiday, émigrés find a way to embrace an American identity while paying tribute to their roots. For many Russians who have emigrated to the United States, Thanksgiving is their favorite American holiday

The truth about Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Artist's Rendition of Turkey, Autumn Leaves

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Mark H. Teeter – November 28, 2013)  Sometimes Russians get American history so muddled (так путаются в американской истории) that it can only be un-muddled by authentic Yankee ingenuity (аутентичной хитростью америкоса типа меня). Last week, my grandson Valerka displayed lecture-worthy prejudice regarding the origins of Thanksgiving (День благодарения): “Isn’t

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Governors and Mayors

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

Subject: No. 139:  Governors and Mayors Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 18 November 2013/No. 139 GOVERNORS AND MAYORS To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2781 Analyses Dynamics of Regional Inequality in the Russian Federation: Circular and Cumulative Causality, by David Lane, Cambridge The Revival

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Putin’s Turn to Traditionalism/Nationalism

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

Subject: No. 138: Putin’s Turn to Traditionalism/Nationalism Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 8 November 2013/No. 138 PUTIN’S TURN TO TRADITIONALISM/NATIONALISM To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2759 Analyses Conservatism as the Kremlin’s New Toolkit: an Ideology at the Lowest Cost, by Marlene Laruelle, Washington.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Adding Russian voices to Carnegie Corp. US-Russia Relations site

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

From: Scott Bittle <SB@carnegie.org> Subject: Adding Russian voices to Carnegie Corp. US-Russia  relations site Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 I just wanted to follow up — we have added our Russian commentators to the site, in collaboration with the Carnegie Moscow Center, to provide a counterpoint to the American experts from the first round. These

EVENT: Sixth Annual Conference on Doing Business with Russia [Wednesday, December 4 in Washington, D.C.; registration requested]

Empty Boardroom

Subject: 6th Annual Conference Doing Business with Russia From: eurasiamail@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 6th Annual Conference Doing Business with Russia The Eurasia Center & The Eurasian Business Coalition December 4, 2013 At The Russian Trade Representation & The Embassy of the Russian Federation Washington, DC To Register please visit www.eurasiacenter.org  and see Agenda.

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