RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting of the State Council on promoting competition” – KremlinRu

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – April 5, 2018) In the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council meeting on priority areas of activity of the Russian regions to promote competition in the country. Head of the Republic of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov, Head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin and Governor of the Ulyanovsk Region Sergei Morozov […]

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NEWSLINK: “Direct mayoral elections are abolished in Yekaterinburg” – Meduza

Yekaterinburg file photo

“A day after a protest in the capital, legislators in the Sverdlovsk regional parliament adopted a third and final reading of a law that abolishes the direct election of Yekaterinburg’s mayor. … Instead of the popular vote, Yekaterinburg’s mayor will now be selected by city deputies from a list of candidates determined by a ‘competition committee.’ …”

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Pride, Loneliness in the Deep North: The Russians Who Refuse to Leave Dying Arctic City

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Henry Ridgwell, Ricardo Marquina Montañana – March 25, 2018) VORKUTA, RUSSIAN ARCTIC – In Russia’s far north, the city of Vorkuta is slowly being reclaimed by the Arctic tundra. The front lines of this battle between the urban and natural worlds are in the suburbs, where abandoned apartment blocks emerge from the towering snowdrifts. […]

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Kemerovo governor warned not to use administrative resources in election – Pamfilova

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

MOSCOW. March 16 (Interfax) – The Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) has sent the Kemerovo region’s governor a telegram warning him not to use administrative resource in the presidential election. “The Kemerovo region needs monitoring. We sent a telegram to the governor today warning him that administrative resource cannot be used,” CEC Chair Ella Pamfilova said during a meeting with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Real Drama in Russia’s Election: How Many Voters Will Show Up? Putin is poised to win another term as president, and efforts to boost turnout recall Soviet-era elections” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas Grove

Russia Regions Map

“… the challenge for the Kremlin [is] not how to assure [Putin’s] victory … but how to boost voter turnout and legitimize an uncompetitive election. … in the northern Yamal-Nenets region … residents of voting age will be able to take their pictures against an election banner at a voting booth and post it on VKontakte, one of Russia’s most […]

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On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia: Part Two: Putin, Grudinin, Titov and the Meaning of Life

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

Subject: Part Two Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia Part Two: Putin, Grudinin, Titov and the Meaning of Life By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil society development support network in the former […]

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On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia; Part One: Ksenia Sobchak

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

Subject: The Siberian Campaign Trail Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia Part One: Ksenia Sobchak By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil society development support network in the former Soviet Union.] [Text with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity in large cities tumbled by 12 points in February” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

“… Putin’s popularity in large cities tumbled by 12 percentage points in the last month to 57.1% … state owned … VTsIOM … reported ….  less than 10 days to go until [the presidential election] Putin’s popularity rating fell from 69.7% in January to 57.1% in February in the … millionki … 11 cities with more than 1mn residents …. […]

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Russians Increasingly Blasé about Major Corruption Cases But Infuriated by Local Ones

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 4, 2018) The anti-corruption cases Moscow has launched in recent months no longer shock most Russians who view them as a kind of theater or surrogate for a genuine struggle against corruption because it is hard for them to view money in the capital as if it were their own, Aleksey […]

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NEWSLINK: “A Literary Road Trip Into the Heart of Russia; In the land of Tolstoy, Turgenev and now Putin, what are the stories Russians are telling themselves?” – New York Times Magazine/Karl Ove Knausgaard

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

  “… Russia is still an enigmatic country to me. Every day there is news from Russia – we hear about Putin, about his imprisoned dissidents, about his meddling in the elections of his rivals – all of it serving the notion that ‘Russia’ is a singular, comprehensible, clear-cut entity. But what do the people who live inside of that […]

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If Russians are ignoring their upcoming presidential election, what are they talking about? This year, local issues are the hidden focus of Russia’s presidential election.

Yekaterinburg file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Kolezev – February 13, 2018) Dmitry Kolezev is deputy editor of Znak.com. He lives in Ekaterinburg. If you follow events in Russia on the Internet, newspapers or TV, you may think that the country has been seized by the most important election campaign in a while. Russia is going to elect its president, the most influential person […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s federal election commissioner is peeved about all the non-binding referendums planned on March 18” – Meduza.io

Russia Regions Map

“… More than 100 local non-binding referendums are planned on March 18. Volgograd wants to poll voters on daylight savings time, and localities in the Kirov region have a whole array of questions for the public. In Moscow, City Hall pushed the idea of ‘school referendums.’ Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has insisted that the concept was not designed to boost voter […]

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Local Referenda Could Become the Black Swans of the Upcoming Election, Galyamina Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 6, 2018) Local referenda both where they can be held because opposition parties hold enough seats in local legislatures to authorize them and where people want them but are opposed by the power vertical can become an important means of challenging the regime by teaching people about the virtues of genuine democratic […]

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Belykh case reveals flaw of Russian law enforcement: lack of mercy for the ill – Kudrin

Nikita Belykh file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 2 (Interfax) – The case of Nikita Belykh, the former governor of the Kirov region, who has been sentenced to eight years in jail, is a manifestation of the absence of mercy for sick people, Russia’s former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, said. “Among other things, the Belykh case revealed the most anti-humane flaw of our law enforcement system: […]

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Tyumen city hall approves Navalny supporters’ Jan 28 rally

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org by Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

TYUMEN. Jan 19 (Interfax) – Supporters of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny have been permitted to hold a rally in Tyumen on January 28, a city administration representative told Interfax on Friday. “We have issued permission for the rally, which will take place at Zarechny Park,” the representative said. The opposition originally sought permission for a procession along Tsvetnoi Boulevard […]

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RUSSIALINK: [Putin at] Meeting with participants of the Forum of Small Towns and Historical Settlements – KremlinRu

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

Vladimir Putin met with participants of the Forum of Small Towns and Historical Settlements that opened in Kolomna. The forum is devoted to preserving and developing the cultural, tourism and economic potential of small towns. Before the meeting the President visited an exhibition of projects for a comfortable urban environment. Vladimir Putin looked over the stands of the Ministry of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Regions Strike Back: Provincial Leaders Want More From Moscow” – Carnegie Moscow/ Andrey Pertsev

Russia Regions Map

“Russian regional leaders are rediscovering their power and their ability to fight with Moscow over budgets and autonomy. Discontent over Moscow siphoning off regional funds has reached a breaking point, while Tatarstan is in a new contest with the center over regional language rights. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “In Western Moscow, Putin Allies Lose an Election but Cling to Power” – Reuters

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

“More than 10 weeks after losing a local council election in western Moscow … Putin’s party is clinging to power there – by fair means or foul.  The standoff over control of Filyovsky Park Council came to a head when opposition councilor Vadim Korovin tried to sit in the chairman’s seat at a meeting on Tuesday. A councilor from the […]

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Russian Info War Against U.S., Far Broader than Last Year’s Elections, an Act of Terrorism, Latynina Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 12, 2017) Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil. In the case of what has come to […]

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Russia’s Regions Ask Moscow for Financial Help

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Kozlov – November 7, 2017) Against a backdrop of the Russian economy gradually coming out of recession and oil prices on the rise, the country’s far-flung regions have been feeling financial strain and are now asking the center for help. Udmurtia, a small republic east of Moscow, and its newly appointed governor Alexander Brechalov […]

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Two-Thirds of Russia’s Villages have Disappeared or Soon Will, Statistics Show

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 5, 2017) Most discussions of migration in Russia focus on the arrival of gastarbeiters from Central Asia, the Caucasus or elsewhere; but two other population flows may be even more important for the country’s future: the flight from villages to the cities and the exit of people from the north and […]

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Welcome to Gdov, where Russia comes to an end; Russia’s westernmost district is dying out – and with it, hopes for the country’s rebirth.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Damberg – November 1, 2017) Sergey Damberg is a sociologist and graduate of St Petersburg and Bielefeld universities. He directs the Expertise sociological bureau, and is a researcher at Centre for Independent Social Research. In 2014-2015, Damberg was the general manager of Pskov Drama theatre. Together with Russian sociologist Sergey Damberg, we start a new column series […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What Does the Decline of Clans in the North Caucasus Mean for Moscow?” – Carnegie Moscow/ Konstantin Kazenin

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

“Recent speculation that Russia wants to topple the ‘traditional’ clan system in the North Caucasus misses the point: the clan system is in no way traditional, and it is collapsing on its own. The real question is whether the federal center will find other allies in the region when it falls. …”  

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RUSSIALINK: “Waking the Russian Spirit of Urbanism; Urban renewal could become a new doctrine of patriotism” – Moscow Times/ Sergei Kapkov

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

“… They’ve looked around and realized that Russian cities are not nearly as beautiful as they could be, and in addition to amusement park rides and shish kebab stands, they can build skate parks and dance floors. And the harsh Russian climate is no obstacle to developing urban cycling. …”  

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova” – KremlinRu

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – October 9, 2017) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova, who informed the President of the outcomes of elections that took place on the unified voting day, September 10, 2017. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Pamfilova, could you share your assessment of the outcomes of the unified voting day? […]

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Interfax: Kremlin calls wave of governors’ dismissals ‘rotation process’

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

MOSCOW. Oct 2 (Interfax) – Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has connected the appearance of a large amount of information about dismissals of governors to a rotation period. “No doubt, there is a process of rotation taking place in the body of governors now. Naturally, this leads to a huge amount of information flows,” Peskov said, when asked about […]

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Oops! How Moscow’s municipal election turned into a headache for city hall; The unexpected success of independent candidates in Moscow’s recent council elections may be relative – but it’s real enough.

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Ivan Davydov – September 20, 2017) Ivan Davydov is a Russian journalist and writer. His articles can be seen at The New Times, Republic, Inliberty and Gazeta.ru, among other publications. The Russian opposition enjoyed an unexpectedly decent showing at the municipal council elections in Moscow last week. The Yabloko political party, having broken with its own traditions by […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with newly elected heads of regions” – KremlinRu

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – September 20, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with the heads of regions elected on the unified voting day. Elections at various levels were held in 82 Russian regions on the single election day, September 10. Governors and heads of republics were elected in 17 regions, with one elected by direct vote of the republic’s parliament. The meeting was attended […]

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Yabloko submits bill limiting president’s right to use military abroad to 3 regional legislatures

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) – The Yabloko party has submitted a draft federal bill restricting the president’s right to use the armed forces abroad to three regional legislatures for consideration, the party’s press service reported. “Party Chairperson Emilia Slabunova has submitted the bill to Karelia’s Legislative Assembly, and Mikhail Amosov and Lev Shlosberg of the party’s federal political committee submitted […]

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Russia’s Local and Gubernatorial Elections, the Reactions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 11, 2017) On Sunday, 82 Russian regions held elections for different levels of government. The elections traditionally attract little interest. But this year the vote was widely seen as a bell-weather for mayoral elections in Moscow and presidential elections next year. In the sixteen regions which held gubernatorial elections, United Russia won every seat. […]

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United Democrats win over 260 seats in Moscow municipal assemblies – Gudkov

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 11 (Interfax) – Over 260 members of the United Democrats team, which comprised members of the Yabloko, Parnas parties, the Communist Party of Russia and independent candidates, were elected municipal deputies in Moscow according to the results of the September 10 election, the organizer of the coalition, opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov said. “According to the latest data, we […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Celebrations of Moscow’s 870th anniversary” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 9, 2017) Vladimir Putin congratulated Moscow residents on the city’s 870th anniversary. The President attended a concert in Red Square and congratulated Moscow residents and guests on the 870th anniversary of the city’s founding. Speech at gala concert in Red Square marking Moscow’s 870th anniversary. Russian President Vladimir Putin: Muscovites, visitors to the city, Mr Prime Minister, […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin cast his vote during municipal elections in Moscow – KremlinRu

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 10, 2017) The President visited polling station No. 2151 in Moscow’s Gagarinsky District and cast his vote in elections for deputies of local self-government bodies. On the unified voting day, elections of various levels take place in 82 regions of Russia. People are voting for top officials in a number of Russian Federation’s constituent entities, regional parliament […]

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Moscow’s Upcoming Municipal Elections Attract Young Candidates

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 8, 2017) The number of young candidate nominees in the upcoming Moscow municipal election has hit a record high, news outlet RBC reported Friday. Of the 8,330 candidates reportedly seeking nomination, 3,073 (36.89 percent) are under the age of 35, according to RBC, whose calculations are based upon registered candidate data published on the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Move Moscow to Far East Russia? Russian demographer Yury Krupnov has proposed transferring the capital to an area nearer to China, Japan and South Korea, which he calls the center of the world’s geo-economic map” – Asia Times/ Inga Velanskaya

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

“When … Putin announced a policy to promote and invest in the economy of the country’s Far East, he probably wasn’t expecting a proposal to move Moscow to the Pacific coast. … what Yury Krupnov came up with as chairman of a think-tank on Russian regional development. … In the so-called ‘Doctrine of De-Moscovication’ Krupnov argues development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on developing Northwest Russia’s transportation infrastructure

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

(Kremlin.ru – August 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Kaliningrad on the opportunities for developing transportation infrastructure in Northwest Russia. The heads of relevant ministries and agencies and a number of regional heads from the Northwest Federal District took part. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. We are here to discuss the development of transportation infrastructure […]

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Econ Min approves creation of priority development areas in 11 mono-cities

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

St. Petersburg. Aug 11 (Interfax) – The Russian Economic Development Ministry has approved the creation of priority development areas (PDA) in 11 mono-cities – cities that are predominantly dependant on one industry or factory – in nine constituent members of the Russian Federation, the minstry’s press service said. The Economic Development Ministry commission has approved the creation of PDAs in […]

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Moscow’s Makeover Swaps Soviet Grit for Urban Sparkle; Smart city apps, historically accurate trees, a working subway. While Washington obsesses over sanctions and hacks, Russia is rebranding its capital as a model of urban planning.

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Valerie Stivers – August 10, 2017) [Text with photos bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-08-10/moscow-s-makeover-swaps-soviet-grit-for-urban-sparkle] Moscow felt medieval when I first arrived almost 20 years ago, in January 1998, seeking adventure. There were few billboards, advertisements, or shop windows filled with merchandise. The women working at my local producti, or small grocery store, wore shawls, had moles and wens, and weighed […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Wants Innovation, but It’s Arresting Its Innovators” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

Skolkovo File Photo

“… The troubles of Mr. Trubitsyn, however, may help explain why such a breakthrough has proved so elusive: The Russian state, which Mr. Putin has made the main vehicle for his plans for the nation’s resurgence, often stifles growth. A bureaucracy empowered by a steady erosion of democratic checks and balances can often smother new ideas. Grand state-directed projects to […]

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A View from the South: Reflections on Dagestan

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – EDWARD C. HOLLAND – July 31, 2017) Edward C. Holland is Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas. His research interests range across a variety of topics, including political violence, religion, and critical geopolitics, and are generally focused on the Russian Federation. He has recently published on these […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Villages, and Their Way of Life, Are ‘Melting Away'” – New York Times/ NEIL MacFARQUHAR

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

“… With Russia’s natural population growth entering an extended period of decline, villages like Baruta are disappearing from across the country’s continental expanse. * * * Russia’s demographic problem dates back at least 100 years, to the upheaval of the 1917 revolution, followed by Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. Both events curbed population growth, foreshadowing the devastating impact of World […]

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Moscow’s Facelift as Modernization

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – July 27, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapital Central Moscow has been a scene of digging […]

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Kremlin Plan to Make Fight for Justice Centerpiece of Putin Campaign Seen Backfiring

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 26, 2017) Two anonymous sources “close to the Presidential Administration” tell the Znak news agency that Vladimir Putin plans to fight “the struggle against poverty and social injustice” a centerpiece of his re-election campaign in order to mobilize Russians against local and regional elites. But Znak commentator Yekaterina Vinokurova warns that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Agency of Strategic Initiatives Supervisory Board

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – July 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting in Petrozavodsk of the Supervisory Board of the autonomous non-commercial organisation Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects. The participants discussed the results of ASI’s work over the first half of 2017 and promising projects planned for implementation in 2017-2018. They include a package of measures to develop the […]

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Muscovites Hesitant to Protest Housing Demolition Scheme, Poll Finds

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 24, 2017) Only one-third of Muscovites who voted against a controversial housing demolition program would participate in protests against the scheme, according to a poll published by independent pollster the Levada Center. The poll, conducted at the request of the RBC news outlet, revealed that 34 percent of those living in apartment blocks who […]

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Medvedev actively involved in regional election campaign – press secretary Timakova

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. July 13 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s press secretary Natalia Timakova has dismissed as untrue a report by the newspaper Vedomosti, which claimed that United Russia chairman Medvedev has not joined the election campaign and has not been visiting regions which will have a gubernatorial election in September. The newspaper explained the “meager activity” of Medvedev by […]

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Bad Weather Blamed for Moscow’s Summer Sadness

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 6, 2017) An unusually cold summer is partially responsible for a spike in Muscovites calling in for psychological help, RT reported, citing the director of the Moscow Psychological Aid Service Nina Petrochenko. The service received a total of 3,870 queries in June 2017, a 14 percent increase compared to the same month in 2016. […]

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Moscow Media Report that West Wants to Dismember Russia Dismissed by Russian Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 26, 2017) On Saturday, a Russian television program featured a claim by an unnamed Russian intelligence officer that NATO viewed the destruction of the USSR as “only the first step” and then planned “to create a Middle Volga Republic” in order to reduce “all of Russia to the size and power […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on measures to protect the rights of people involved in shared-equity construction projects and on defining the legal status of self-employed individuals. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we are here to discuss several issues. I would like to start with several matters that […]

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A New Threat to the Kremlin: Russians’ Incomes Not Keeping Pace with Their Expectations

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 25, 2017) In every federal district except the Far East, Russians say they need more money for “a normal life” than their current incomes, a situation that reflects stagnating wages and salaries and rising prices and one, the editors of Nezavisimaya Gazeta say, that represents an increasingly serious political threat to […]

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