RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin distances itself from Moscow election controversy” – Interfax

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Interfax – July 16, 2019) The Kremlin has distanced itself from the controversy surrounding the registration of candidates in September’s Moscow city council election. “Broadly speaking, this is a matter for the electoral commission, and here the Kremlin simply has neither the authority nor any intention to intervene in this situation,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on 16 […]

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Dirty Tricks: Navalny Aide’s Bid For Moscow Duma Seat Brings Out The Worst

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dmitry Volchek, Robert Coalson – June 26, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/dirty-tricks-navalny-aide-bid-for-moscow-duma-seat-brings-out-the-worst/30022120.html) On the face of it, the task ahead of 31-year-old lawyer Lyubov Sobol seems simple enough. To qualify as a candidate for the September 8 Moscow City Duma elections, Sobol just needs to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin touts Russia as a great power. But he’s made it a weak one.” – Washington Post/ Timothy Frye

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Moscow is playing an assertive role [globally] … despite … weakness. … If anyone has made Russia’s hand weak, it’s [Putin, in power for two decades with a] … failure to create a more dynamic economy …. Thanks to high energy prices and fiscal caution … [there are] large reserve funds, but the economy has stagnated …. in 2012, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Top Auditor Kudrin Blasts Corruption in Legal System” – Moscow Times

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2019) Russian economic growth is hampered by deep-seated corruption in the country’s legal system, the head of Russia’s auditing agency said Thursday. Audit Chamber head Alexei Kudrin told a St. Petersburg International Economic Forum panel that corruption in the Russian judiciary system goes back centuries, pointing to one of the classic Russian poet […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “When flats become safe deposit boxes. Videos showing incredible amounts of money seized from officials and security services convince ordinary people of total corruption of state apparatus.” – Vedomosti/ Pavel Aptekar

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

“The phrase … a ‘flat where the money lies’ is increasingly … literal … [when there is] confiscation from yet another high-ranking official or security services officer of colossal amounts of cash stored … at home, in bags and packages. … Rosbalt … and … other media … reported … money and valuables worth R12bn … confiscated from FSB [Federal […]

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RUSSIALINK: “3% of Russians Trust Officials’ Income Declarations – Poll” – Moscow Times

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 7, 2019) Only 3 percent of Russians believe that government officials submit trustworthy income declarations every year, according to an independent Levada Center survey. The 2018 declaration showed President Vladimir Putin earning 8.6 million rubles ($134,000), or less than half of what he earned in 2017. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s yearly pay rose to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia is no place for young people” – Deutsche Welle

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

It’s almost impossible to find a decent salary and comfortable living conditions in Russia. For many young people, the only options are to build a life in Moscow or leave the country, says Anastasia Arinushkina. “… half of Russia’s citizens are unhappy with the size of their salaries and struggle to pay for health care and education, according to recent […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What’s at Stake in Ukraine’s Presidential Election” – AP

File photo of statue of St. Volodymyr in Kyiv overlooking the Dnieper River, adapted from image at cia.gov

“Awash in corruption, plagued by a war with Russia-backed separatists, reliant on international institutions for billions of dollars in aid, Ukraine presents stern challenges for its next president. Sunday’s election, which will require a second round if none of the 39 candidates wins an absolute majority, comes five years after mass protests drove the pro-Russia president to flee the country. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kharkiv’s pro-Russian protesters still mistrustful of Kiev; Some in Kharkiv see Ukrainian government as ‘illegitimate’ and will not vote in Sunday’s presidential elections” – Aljazeera/ Tamila Varshalomidze

Kharkiv at Sunset, file photo adapted from image at ua.usembassy.gov

“… Pro-European demonstrations born in 2013 on Kiev’s Independence Square – known as the Maidan protests – were copied in the country’s second-largest city, but … crowds were never more than about 300 people. … [A] sprawling pro-Russian protest camp occupied the central square in 2014 with Russian flags on display. … The differences that led to the split in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Bulldogs under the rug; Russia’s new purges rattle the elite; No one is immune in the Kremlin’s in-fighting” – The Economist

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

“… [Mikhail Abyzov’s] arrest has … demonstrat[ed] to the Russian political class that everyone is vulnerable, unless … personally protected by … Putin. All must live in fear. … corruption is omnipresent, the rule of law is selective and property rights are dependent on the will of the Kremlin …. [with] a pattern of growing in-fighting and repression among elite […]

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RUSSIALINK: “More Than 1,300 Russian Officials Fired for Corruption in 2018 – Prosecutors” – Moscow Times

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 27, 2019) More than 1,300 Russian state officials suspected of violating corruption rules were fired for loss of trust last year, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. Russia ranks among the world’s most corrupt countries. Observers have criticized anti-graft campaigns under President Vladimir Putin’s rule as ineffective. The Prosecutor General’s Office said its intervention has led […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Dirtiest’ Race Ever Drags Ukraine Election Into Perilous Waters” – Bloomberg/ Kateryna Choursina, Yulia Surkova

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… the first of two spots in an almost certain runoff next month looks wrapped up[;] a battle for the other is raging between incumbent Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Accusations are flying — everything from voter payoffs to wiretaps and shady donors. There’s even a decoy candidate …. Dirty tricks aren’t unique to Ukraine. They’re a common […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Poroshenko’s team hit by defence industry corruption scandal, Tymoshenko starts impeachment process” – bne Intellinews

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Poroshenko rivals in the upcoming presidential election are accusing him of ‘profiting from blood’ after an investigation revealed that the son of the president’s close business partner has been selling arms to separatist rebels in the breakaway eastern region of Donbas … [according to] a report broadcast on Ukrainian TV …. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who leads the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Black Market Totaled 20% of GDP in 2018 – Reports” – Moscow Times

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 22, 2019) The size of Russia’s shadow economy was equal to 20 percent of the GDP last year, media reported Friday, citing the Rosfinmonitoring state financial watchdog. The watchdog recorded 20.7 trillion rubles ($315.9 billion) in undeclared imports and income taxes, as well as under-the-table salaries and other suspicious transactions, in 2018, the RBC […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Having an Honest Business Is Not Possible in Russia, Majority Says” – Moscow Times

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 20, 2019) A majority of Russians say that doing business in the country without breaking a few rules is impossible, according to a newly released state-funded survey. The poll was carried out a day after Michael Calvey, a U.S. citizen and one of the biggest private equity investors in Russia, was detained on suspicion […]

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Gangster Geopolitics: The Kremlin’s Use of Criminals as Assets Abroad

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Mark Galeotti – January 17, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/gangster-geopolitics-kremlins-use-criminals-assets-abroad) Mark Galeotti is a senior associate fellow of RUSI and a senior non-resident fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague, as well as a 2018-19 Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. His most recent book is “The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia” (Yale, 2018) [Amazon: […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “Russia’s Happy Ending”

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

[originally posted 12.6.18] Subject: Russia’s Happy Ending Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Russia’s Happy Ending 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.] Link for article with pictures and video medium.com/@ECHOSiberia/russias-happy-ending-c77b332a6eec How […]

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Call for Papers: Business Ethics and National Patterns of Behavior: The Economics Profession in Russia

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

Subject: Call for Papers: Business Ethics and National Patterns of Behavior: The Economics Profession in Russia Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 From: Patricia Dowden <pedowden@gmail.com> I’m attaching a call for papers for a conference to be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in May of 2019. We would be very grateful if you could publish this to your readers. Best wishes, […]

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WADA to Inspect Moscow Lab for Doping Violations

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 8, 2019) With the clock ticking towards new sanctions, Russian authorities said on Monday they would allow a World Anti-Doping Agency inspection team to return to a Moscow laboratory to retrieve data it had earlier been denied. Russia’s Sport Minister Pavel Kolobkov said WADA officials would return to Moscow on Wednesday. WADA also confirmed […]

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WADA ‘Bitterly Disappointed’ At Russian Failure To Meet Anti-Doping Deadline

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Article ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Jan. 1, 2019 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/wada-bitterly-disappointed-at-russian-failure-to-meet-anti-doping-deadline/29687033.html) Russia faces the possibility of renewed sporting sanctions after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that Russian officials failed to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory by December 31. WADA President Craig Reedie said on January 1 that he was “bitterly […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Numbers Backing ‘Russia’s Agricultural Boom’ Were Inflated, Report Says” – Moscow Times

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 19, 2018) Russia’s widely lauded agricultural boom was overestimated by as much as 30 percent for certain crops, according to a report published earlier this month. Driven by a weaker ruble and higher oil prices, agriculture overtook arms sales in 2017 to become Russia’s second-biggest export sector behind oil and gas. Official data suggested […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What Drives the Russian State; To understand what makes Putin and his allies act the way they do, you need to look beyond the myths” – New York Times/ Alexander Baunov/ Carnegie Moscow

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Since … Putin came to power … analysis of Russia … has largely focused on two interpretations …. The first argues that Russia is a mafia state in which the main aim of the ruling elite is to steal money at home to conceal and spend abroad. The second states that Mr. Putin is a hostage of his own popularity […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “IMF, World Bank see little progress in fight against corruption in Ukraine” – Interfax-Ukraine

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… key donors of Ukraine – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank – note low effectiveness of the Ukrainian authorities in the fight against corruption. ‘We see good and important progress in setting out institutions for tackling investment …. Shortcomings in the judicial system and corruption are some of the key reasons why investment is so low […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Do Russians Trust their Police? Reform Must Start from the Top [Excerpt]” – PONARS Eurasia/ Lauren McCarthy, Noah Buckley

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(PONARS Eurasia – Lauren McCarthy, Noah Buckley – October 29, 2018) Lauren A. McCarthy is Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Noah Buckley is Postdoctoral Associate at New York University Abu Dhabi. [Full text: ponarseurasia.org/memo/do-russians-trust-their-police-reform-must-start-at-top] (PONARS Policy Memo) Despite some recent, seemingly half-hearted efforts, the police remain one of Russia’s most unreformed bureaucracies and Russians’ trust in police has […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Acceptance of Corruption Has Grown in Russia Under Putin, Report Suggests” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2018) A new study suggests that Russians have become more tolerant of corrupt practices in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia ranks among the world’s most corrupt countries in international ratings, with corruption-related crimes costing an estimated $2.5 billion in damages between 2014 and 2017. Observers have said that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Regional Elections Rundown” – Bear Market Brief (Sept. 28, 2018)

Russia Regions Map

“Moscow’s political control over regional governments is slipping, opening the door for local elites to gain greater control …. [including] greater de facto control over natural resources, creating opportunities for external investment but … increasing corruption risks …. [T]rend[s] [are] rooted in a sustained decline in living standards … also prompt[ing] unprecedented protest activity and a more confrontational … ‘systemic’ […]

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Lobbyists Now More Powerful than People in Putin’s Russia, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Warns

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 21, 2018) Russia now faces a problem many other countries have long been familiar with, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say. Well-organized lobbyists are often far more effective than “larger but amorphous social groups” in securing a larger share of government resources for those they represent. The power of lobbyists, however, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia is throwing out suspicious gubernatorial election results in Primorsky Krai” – Meduza

Russia Regions Map

“Russia’s Central Election Commission is urging regional election officials in the Primorsky Krai to invalidate the results of last Sunday’s runoff gubernatorial election. Commissioner Ella Pamfilova justified the recommendation on the grounds that it is impossible to determine the race’s outcome reliably because of significant violations at multiple polling stations. … the commission’s ‘recommendation’ is more like a direct order, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “World Anti-Doping Agency Reinstates Russia” – AP

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

“[WADA] reinstated Russia on Thursday despite a wave of protests, ending the nearly three-year suspension of the country’s drug-testing program because of a state-sponsored doping scheme. WADA’s decision after a vote of its 12-member executive committee was called ‘the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history’ by the lawyer of the whistleblower who helped uncover Russia’s cheating. WADA decided […]

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Tension Builds In Russian Far East Region After Disputed Vote Count

Russia Regions Map

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – August 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/tension-builds-in-russian-far-east-region-after-disputed-vote-count/29495661.html) Rival contenders for the governorship in a Russian Pacific region girded for court battles, and more protests, after an unusual last-minute vote count in a runoff election gave victory to the ruling party incumbent. Supporters of Russia’s Communist Party have cried foul […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Communists Say Election Stolen by Pro-Putin Candidate” – Reuters

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

“… With 95 percent of votes counted on Sunday night, Kremlin-backed United Russia incumbent Andrei Tarasenko was trailing his Communist rival by around 5 percent. But on Monday, the local election commission said Tarasenko had won by just over 1 percent, an unlikely turnaround that the Communists said was evidence of rigging. The scandal is awkward for Putin, who met […]

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Capitalism the Kremlin Way

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Boris Grozovski, Maxim Trudolyubov – Sept. 13, 2018 – kennan-russiafile.org/2018/09/13/capitalism-the-kremlin-way/) Boris Grozovski is a prominent Russian journalist writing about the country’s economy and development. His work has appeared in Forbes Russia, InLiberty, the Moscow Times, the New Times, Vedomosti Daily, penRussia and others. In 2002-2008 and 2014-2015 he held various editorial positions at Vedomosti Daily […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia is advancing on Ukraine again – and Ukraine isn’t going quietly; President Petro Poroshenko tells the Post how he wants the war to end” – Washington Post/ Lally Weymouth

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“When Ukrainians took to the streets in the 2014 Maidan revolution, they ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and selected Petro Poroshenko as his successor to begin a period of reform. Poroshenko is up for reelection next spring, and polls show that Ukrainians are disappointed with him, particularly for what they see as his failure to clean up corruption. In a rare […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kudrin speaks of state funding theft in Russia, corruption prevention” – Interfax

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 30 (Interfax) – Societal opinion on rampant theft of state resources in Russia is justified, Alexei Kudrin, the head of the Audit Chamber and chairman of the Center for Strategic Development, said. “People are confident that state funding theft is widespread. This opinion, unfortunately, is justified,” Kudrin said in an interview with the newspaper Kommersant on Thursday. If […]

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Who is ordering attacks on activists in Ukraine? In Ukraine, activists are being attacked, and law enforcement is standing idle. The pressure on civil society has become systematic. RU

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Tetiana Kozak – August 23, 2018) Tetiana Kozak reports on conflicts connected to the transformation of the former Soviet Union, new conflicts related to the refugee crisis and the rise of nationalism in Europe. [Text with links and photos opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tetiana-kozak/who-is-ordering-attacks-on-activists-in-ukraine] The attack on activist Kateryna Gandzyuk in the southern city of Kherson has become the last straw for […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukraine should create Mossad-type unit to kidnap Yanukovych from Russia – prosecutor” – UNIAN

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

“Law enforcers should do their utmost to make sure the disgraced president is brought to responsibility if the court convicts him, the official said. Prosecutor of the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office, Ruslan Kravchenko, who represents state prosecution in the treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, has offered to set up a special unit to kidnap the ex-leader from […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man; The hedge-fund manager has offered a fable for why the West should confront Putin” – The New Yorker/Joshua Yaffa

File Photo of William Browder Seated at Table with Microphone as Woman Listens, with Image Watermark Saying Presented by Library of Congress with U.S. House of Representatives Seal, adapted from image at house.gov

“… In 2009, Browder’s tax adviser Sergei Magnitsky testified that the Russian police and tax authorities had attempted to steal two hundred and thirty million dollars in Russian taxes paid by Browder’s Moscow-based investment firm, Hermitage Capital. Magnitsky was arrested, and died in a pretrial detention center in Moscow. In the years that followed, Browder strenuously lobbied for a law […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Russia, the Corporate Raiders Are Often Cops; Companies face harassment from law-enforcement officials, according to business owners, lawyers and activists” – Wall Street Journal/James Marson, Thomas Grove

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

“… Russian companies routinely face harassment from law-enforcement officials seeking to extort money or expropriate businesses, according to business owners, lawyers and activists. One in six Russian business owners is facing criminal prosecution, according to [a Kremlin-launched agency]. …  Putin’s authoritarian rule relies on security officials and political heavyweights who use their authority not only to squash political opponents but […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Four Years After Its Revolution, Ukraine Is Still a Mess; Lingering corruption and a lagging economy contributed to the country’s stalled reforms” – Bloomberg/Leonid Ragozin

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Ukraine has improved its ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index since 2013 … [but] still shares 130th place (out of 180 …) with Sierra Leone and Myanmar. Many other former Soviet republics, including … authoritarian Belarus, are far ahead … Russia is just one point behind. One of the biggest reform efforts was the creation in 2015 of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to play minor role, if any, in Paul Manafort trial” – AP

File Photo of Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., adapted from image at uscourts.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.com :: ww.stevencwelsh.info

“The trial of President Donald Trump’s onetime campaign chairman will open … with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into the political consultant’s pocket. What’s likely to be missing: answers about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election, or really […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s performance in World Cup – and the country’s history – are raising doping suspicions” – Los Angeles Times/Kevin Baxter

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Russia will meet Croatia in the quarterfinals Saturday in Sochi, where it will play in a stadium built to stage the opening and closing ceremonies of those now-discredited Winter Olympics. And though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing with the soccer team, its performance here — including a round of 16 win over Spain, the World Cup champion eight […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The real World Cup losers: The Russian people” – Washington Post/Frank A. Guridy, Tinatin Japaridze

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… Putin’s bet that the World Cup will produce a win for his government is a big gamble. The global political climate of 2018 is very different than the environment that existed when Russia was awarded the World Cup eight years ago, or even four years ago when Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula after hosting the 2014 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the World Cup is bigger than Putin; ‘I can write about the genius of French forward Kylian Mbappé, knowing the FT is also covering Russian elite corruption'” – Financial Times/Simon Kuper

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

“…  the Russian World Cup isn’t Berlin all over again. First, Putin isn’t as evil and ambitious as Hitler. Second, he’s a much better-known quantity than Nazism was in 1936. Hitler at that point had said disturbing things but few foreigners took him either literally or seriously. He hadn’t lifted a finger against other countries. Many Jews were still living […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Can we believe what we see at Putin’s World Cup?” – San Diego Union Tribune/Mark Zeigler

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… [when] FIFA’s 22-person executive committee awarded both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups … victories by Russia and Qatar … risky bids, were met with immediate speculation of vote bartering and outright bribery. … rumors of a Russian scheme to bribe referees on Spain’s behalf in the 2010 World Cup …. FIFA sent investigators to look into it … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sobchak on Sobchak: A New Film about Russia in the 1990s; Vera Krichevskaya and Ksenia Sobchak teamed up to make a film about Anatoly Sobchak” – Moscow Times/Andrei Muchnik

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – June 29, 2018) Ksenia Sobchak, recent presidential candidate, TV host and socialite, and director Vera Krichevskaya, known for her documentary about Boris Nemtsov’s life “The Man Who Was Too Free,” just released a film about Sobchak’s father Anatoly Sobchak, a controversial liberal democratic politician and the first mayor of St. Petersburg. The […]

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S. Requests Doping Tests of Russian World Cup Team” – Moscow Times

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 22, 2018) The United States reportedly requested results from Russian footballers’ doping tests following a sudden improvement in performance during the World Cup. FIFA vowed rigorous doping tests at the tournament following allegations that Russia ran a state-run doping program in past competitions, a charge Moscow has denied. The World Cup host country started […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup; Long before anyone had heard of Christopher Steele or a “p[**] tape,” there was an investigation into FIFA corruption” – New York Times/Ken Bensinger

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… In stark contrast to England, Russia appeared profoundly unqualified to host a monthlong tournament expected to draw well over three million spectators. For starters, Russia didn’t have a great soccer tradition; its team hadn’t even qualified to play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks to an embarrassing loss to Slovenia. More important, it didn’t have adequate stadiums […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Londongrad oligarchs are being forced back to Russia’s embrace; As sanctions bite, tycoons feel hemmed in by Vladimir Putin’s power” – Financial Times/Max Seddon

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“…. once ideal go-betweens between Russia and the west. … [s]uddenly, oligarchs are too Russian for a west eager to clean up its act and too western for a Russia hunting for ‘enemies of the people.’ … the nature of oligarchy … has changed dramatically …. Putin shifted the power dynamic …. under an unwritten rule: they were allowed to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Doping Scandal Whistleblower Expects Clean World Cup” – Moscow Times

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 1, 2018) Russian former anti-doping chief-turned-whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov said on Thursday that one player in hosts Russia’s provisional World Cup squad had raised suspicions but he expected the tournament to be clean. Speaking by Skype from an undisclosed location in the United States, with his head covered by a balaclava and heavy-framed glasses, Rodchenkov […]

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