Atomic energy and political power in Russia

Nuclear Plant File Photo

In Russia, the space for environmental activism and advocacy is changing under increasing state pressure. An interview with one of Russia’s leading ecological organisations about the prospects for anti-nuclear activism today. (opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA, VLADIMIR SLIVYAK, NAILYA IBRAGIMOVA – April 25, 2016) In the coming days, much of the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia is […]

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Interfax: Business confidence rises in Russian extractive, manufacturing sectors

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) – The business confidence index in the Russian extractive industry grew for the third straight month in April, while the index in the manufacturing sector also grew, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The business confidence index in the Russian extractive sector improved to minus (-) 2% in April, from -3% in March, -4% in […]

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Same Level of Corruption Recorded in Russian, U.S. Businesses – Survey

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 23, 2016) Thirty-four percent of respondents in Russia and and the United States agree that bribery and corruption are widespread in their country, a survey by multinational financial services company EY reported. The survey results show business professionals in both countries agreed that corruption in business was widespread in their respective nations. EY – […]

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Barred From Hundreds Of Occupations In Russia, A Few Women Fight Back

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, April 17, 2016) Svetlana Medvedeva cannot rise to the top of her chosen profession for a very simple reason — she is a woman. The ambition of the 30-year-old mother of two is to earn a much better wage as the captain of a boat on the Volga River, which runs through […]

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Ford Mulls New Russia Investment as Quarterly Sales Jump 93%

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Lemeshko, Yuliya Fedorinova – April 14, 2016) Ford Motor Co., which spent more than $1.5 billion with a partner in the past five years to build cars and engine factories in Russia, is studying new investments in the country in a bet on economic recovery. The national car market could still become Europe’s biggest, and […]

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Government incomes: Abyzov pulls into first place in 2015

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

MOSCOW. April 15 (Interfax) – Open Government Affairs Minister Mikhail Abyzov, the only member of the government on the Forbes list of billionaires, pulled ahead of other members of the government in terms of income last year, thanks to a near doubling of his own earnings and a decline for his main competitor, Alexander Khloponin. Abyzov and his wife had […]

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The pitchforks are coming; Farm workers in the depths of southern Russia are hardly a protest constituency, but corruption and corporate raids have pushed them to the brink. They may even take their grievances to Moscow – by tractor.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – April 7, 2016) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. Aleksei Volchenko, 37, is a farmer in Kalininsky district, in the Kuban area of southern Russia. There are no large cities or towns here, just stanitsy, Cossack villages. Residents either work their […]

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The Soviet Adventures Of Steve Jobs

Mac Computer file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – April 1, 2016) In the summer of 1985, a young commercial attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow sat down with two representatives of the California computer company Apple who were visiting the heart of the Soviet empire. One was an “older guy,” the attache, Mike Merin, recalls. The other was “this lanky, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – March 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members. The subjects on the agenda included priority draft laws to improve the business climate. The meeting participants also examined the transition to new procedures for payment of property tax based on cadastral value. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, Today, we will hear from the Economic Development […]

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Trump’s New Russia Adviser Has Deep Ties to Kremlin’s Gazprom

Donald Trump

Carter Page brings a “real-world” resume-and says his close relations with Russian business are a strength. (Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Zachary Mider – March 30, 2016) A globe-trotting American investment banker who’s built a career on deals with Russia and its state-run gas company, Carter Page says his business has suffered directly from the U.S. economic sanctions imposed after Russia’s […]

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Budweiser Is Having a Ball in Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – March 30, 2016) Budweiser is enjoying an unlikely source of growth in Russia’s declining beer market, even as the all-American brand continues to struggle at home. In a country where brewing output has fallen more than 30 percent since 2008, the self-proclaimed King of Beers is growing sales at a double-digit pace, according […]

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Russian minister and U.S. ambassador discuss privatization, sanctions

John Tefft file photo

(Interfax – March 28, 2016) The Russian privatization and sanctions against Russia were discussed during the meeting between Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev and UEc.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft in Moscow on March 28, along with other aspects of the Russia-U.S. trade and economic cooperation. “We have discussed a broad spectrum of the Russian-American economic ties, including both […]

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Russia’s top investigator says Khodorkovsky acquired Yukos shares illegally

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – March 25, 2016) Russia’s Investigations Committee is close to proving that the shareholders of dissolved oil company Yukos acquired their shares unlawfully, spokesman Vladimir Markin has said. This would give Russia grounds to not pay the Yukos shareholders a 50bn dollars in damages pursuant to a 2014 Hague ruling. “This is a case that can be characterised by […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of the RSPP congress

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – March 24, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a plenary session of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) congress. The RSPP congress took place within the framework of the Russian Business Week. The discussions focussed on economic issues and improving the business climate. After the RSPP congress, the President also met with board members of the […]

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Science parks: Russia’s secret weapon, or Potemkin village?

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Sanctions are hampering Russia’s modernization and economic growth, but the country is determined to develop new technologies. Science parks are a crucial part of the national innovation strategy. How many have been built in the country recently, and what exactly are they doing? RBTH has the answers. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VICTORIA ZAVYALOVA, RBTH – March 21, […]

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Russia, Inc.: From “structural reforms” of the 2000s to austerity policies today, neoliberalism has been and remains an organic part of the Putin regime

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Ilya Matveev – March 16, 2016) Ilya Matveev is a researcher and lecturer based in St Petersburg, Russia. He is a founding editor of the online publication Openleft.ru and a member of the research group Public Sociology Laboratory. In December 2014, Vladimir Putin gave his usual annual speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly. This speech turned out to be […]

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Moscow’s authoritarian future

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

Recent moves against Moscow’s street traders don’t only violate Russia’s Constitution and hurt the economy. They also consolidate the regime’s power. (opendemocracy.net – Anastasiya Ovsyannikova – March 9, 2016) Anastasiya Ovsyannikova is an economist and journalist. She has worked for F5 and Cityboom.ru, as well as Moscow’s Sakharov Center. The overnight demolition of 104 street kiosks in Moscow last month […]

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Nord Stream 2: Is Russian gas politically incorrect?

Gas Flame file photo

A lobbying campaign against the extension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, spearheaded by Gazprom together with five European energy majors, has now engulfed the European Parliament. What are the arguments of the opponents and are they business-focused or politically motivated? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 4, 2016) Twelve members […]

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Russian oil companies approve production freeze

Oil Well file photo

The country’s top oil bosses have agreed to keep production at January levels in a deal with the government, which is hoping the move will see oil prices increase. However, analysts say that the move may not necessarily lead to a recovery. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – March 3, 2016) The heads of Russia’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin’s Embargo Is Reshaping Russia’s Cuisine. Putin’s embargo is changing the way Russians dine out, and chef Vladimir Mukhin is taking the opportunity to transfigure the country’s cuisine. 16. The Economist: Russia and sanctions. Toe in the water. Why is Russia tapping international debt markets?” – Wall Street Journal

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Mail.ru Overtakes Yandex as Most Valuable Russian Internet Company

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 1, 2016) Russian Internet giant Mail.ru Group has topped a ranking of the most valuable companies operating in the Russian Internet segment for the first time, according to a rating released by the Russian version of Forbes magazine Monday. Mail.ru Group includes the mail.ru portal as well as the Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, […]

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‘Why Didn’t You Run?’ – The Inside Story on the Arrest of Russian Billionaire Dmitry Kamenshchik

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – February 25, 2016) On the morning of Feb. 18, Dmitry Kamenshchik, Russia’s 27th-richest tycoon, packed a backpack with some spare clothes, a toothbrush, and shoes without laces – the essentials for a stint in prison. The billionaire owner of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport was unemotional, says his lawyer. Ten days earlier, three current […]

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Can Things Get Any Worse for Russia? You’re About to Find Out

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Investors who’ve made a fortune in the country say that with oil’s plunge, the ruble’s collapse, and Putin in power, all bets are off (Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko and Henry Meyer – February 23, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-24/putin-s-oil-despair-drives-lucky-few-investors-toward-the-exits] For a decade, Dmitri Barinov has been following the volatile economy of his homeland from the safe distance of Union […]

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Strategy-2030 to be formulated in coming months – Dvorkovich

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

KRASNOYARSK. Feb 19 (Interfax) – Russian government officials intend to formulate the country’s development strategy to the year 2030 in the next few months, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said, opening the plenary session of the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum on Friday. “We have gathered not only in order to talk, but also to formulate solutions or approaches to solving the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – February 15, 2016) The agenda included dialogue between business and the authorities and issues the business community is discussing currently and will examine further at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) annual congress. President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin: Mr President, let me start by thanking you for our regular meetings. […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH/Kommersant: “Russian retail figures retreat to 1970 levels as crisis deepens. The Ministry of Economy has published figures revealing the Russian retail sector’s worst performance in over 40 years as inflation remains high. The report also shows a rise in the number of people in the country living below the poverty line”

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Small businesses taking off in Russia, thanks to the crisis

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

Many Russians are responding to a reduction in income or the loss of a job by showing creativity in setting up a small business, with the fastest growing sectors today in catering and online. RBTH asked several entrepreneurs to tell the story of their success. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – February 8, 2016) While […]

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Putin’s New Internet Czar Wants Apple and Google to Pay More Taxes

iPad file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov and Stepan Kravchenko – February 8, 2016) When he’s not checking Gmail on his MacBook, Vladimir Putin’s new Internet czar can’t stop railing against American technology companies. Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., collectively worth more than Russia’s gross domestic product, have all entered German Klimenko’s crosshairs since he was named Putin’s first Internet […]

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Investment in oil and gas exploration may drop 10-15% in 2016

Gas Facility file photo

(Interfax – February 7, 2016) Investment in geological exploration for oil and gas in Russia may reduce 10-15% in 2016, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoy said in a program aired by the NTV television channel. “Investment in hydrocarbon [exploration] will reduce somewhere between 10% and 15%, somewhere between these two digits,” he said. The minister said that […]

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Review: Arkady Ostrovsky’s ‘The Invention of Russia’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

This new history tells a compelling, if normative, story of how Russia’s journalists and entrepreneurs threw off their former shackles, only to put them back on again. (opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards – February 3, 2016) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. He writes on nationalism, inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, with a focus on post-Soviet countries. His articles have appeared […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with the core group of the Leaders Club

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the core group of the Leaders Club, an informal association of small and medium business owners from various economic sectors. The Leaders Club was established in February 2012 and is engaged primarily in having businesspeople provide independent evaluations of conditions for doing business in Russia’s regions and the quality of state […]

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Putin Opens Asset Sales to Foreigners as Budget Gap Widens

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Andrey Biryukov – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin will allow foreign investors to bid for stakes in some of Russia’s largest companies as the government prepares its most ambitious asset-sale program in years to close a widening budget gap. “Russia was and remains open for foreign investment and Russia is interested in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Could sanctions spur Russia’s ascent to agricultural superpower? Since the end of the Soviet era, Russia’s agricultural industry has languished. But with sanctions now keeping European goods out of the Russian market, small domestic farmers are stepping up.” – Christian Science Monitor

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Kremlin: Privatization of Russian companies open for foreign investors

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – February 2, 2016) Privatization of Russian companies is open for foreign investors, and Russia is interested in attracting new foreign partners, the Kremlin has said. “Russia has always been interested in foreign investors; we value cooperation with those who continue to operate on the Russian market and we are interested in an inflow of fresh investments,” Kremlin press […]

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Putin Says No Privatization at Knockdown Prices

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin on Monday threw cold water on proposals to quickly sell stakes in state companies to fill holes in Russia’s budget. “There should be no sale of shares cheaply, at giveaway prices. This won’t bring particular benefit to the budget,” Putin said at a meeting with officials and heads of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on privatisation

Empty Boardroom

(Kremlin.ru – February 1, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting to discuss privatisation issues. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. We have met today to discuss the Government’s privatisation plans for 2016. I have just looked over a few issues with [Prime Minister] Mr Medvedev. The privatisation process plays an important part in changing the Russian economy’s structure […]

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Has the crisis driven back corruption in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The British television channel BBC One has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal fortune totals $40 billion. At the same time, Putin himself has ordered officials to act “tough” in returning everything stolen and taken out of Russia. Could the economic crisis lead to a reduction in corruption in the country? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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Russia’s Great Shift Downward; Putin has shown little interest in changing the economic model.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – January 28, 2016) For Russia’s battered economy, 2016 already looks miserable. The ruble has slumped to record lows as oil prices have fallen 11 percent since Jan. 1, to around $30 a barrel. The government, which gets nearly half its revenue from oil and gas, is scrambling to plug a 1.5 trillion-ruble ($19.2 […]

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Sweden delivers judgment in favor of Russia in dispute with Yukos holders

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) A Swedish appeals court upheld Russia’s appeal filed earlier in its dispute with the Spanish investment funds, which were holders of American Depositary Receipts (‘ADRs’) of Yukos, Kommersant newspaper reported on Jan. 28. The appeals court acknowledged the fact that the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce that sustained the funds’ claims to […]

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