Khodorkovsky Calls for Civil Disobedience against Unjust Laws and Putin’s Unjust System

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 27, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that Russian citizens are fully entitled not to observe unjust laws imposed not to promote justice but to protect the power of Vladimir Putin, a potentially dramatic development in the relationship between the Russian opposition, the Russian people, and the Kremlin. In a blog post on […]

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Russian ombudsman slams ex-Defence Ministry official’s parole as “elite” justice

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 25, 2015) Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has strongly condemned a court decision to release on parole Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a key figure in the Oboronservis case, suggesting the move amounted to “elite” justice, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 25 August. Earlier on 25 August, a court in Vladimir Region granted Vasilyeva parole after she […]

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Ukraine’s largest lender PrivatBank investigated for diverting $1.8bn of IMF funds

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – August 24, 2015) PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender partly owned by controversial oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, is under criminal investigation by the authorities for fraudulently diverting around what was then about $1.8bn, the bank has confirmed. “We are aware of the existence of criminal proceedings. PrivatBank fully cooperates with the investigators […]

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UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#163 :: Wednesday Afternoon 19 August 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#163 Wednesday Afternoon – 19 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in […]

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Why are we so worried about the Russian doping scandal?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

Fresh allegations over doping in international athletics have cast plenty of shame and doubt. They also reveal the west’s political prejudices and ignorance. (opendemocracy.net – Rolf Fretheim, Thomas Rowley – August 14, 2015) Rolf Fredheim is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge, where he works on […]

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Western Experts Cry Foul Over Russian Books Published in Their Names

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 10, 2015) Prominent Western experts and journalists accused a Russian publishing house Sunday of pirating their work and printing books using their names without their permission or prior knowledge. Journalists Luke Harding and Edward Lucas and U.S.-based Russia expert Donald Jensen confirmed to The Moscow Times that they did not know […]

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Russian Opposition Cornered by Authorities in Regional Election Race

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 10, 2015) Attempts by the opposition’s Democratic Coalition to take part in upcoming regional elections have been thwarted by local election commissions’ refusal to register its members as candidates, in what analysts say is a concerted effort to nip opposition bids in the bud. The coalition, which consists of opposition firebrand […]

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RBTH: Proposed extensions to Russian police powers spark controversy

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

A new bill proposing to extend policemen’s rights, including those concerning the use of weapons, has provoked major disagreements among Russian public figures and rights activists. While its authors believe that extending police authority is necessary for defending the rights of fellow policemen, critics worry that if the law is adopted it will legitimize police brutality and may be used […]

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Average Bribe in Russia Doubles in Rubles, Remains Steady in Dollars

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2015) The amount of the average bribe in Russia has nearly doubled this year, reaching 208,000 rubles ($3,485 at today’s rate), as the country’s currency has shed value amid Western sanctions and an economic downturn, according to Interior Ministry estimates cited by pro-government Izvestia daily on Friday. This compares to about 109,000 rubles […]

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Crimea Is Now Putin’s Problem Child; Russian security services are cracking down on alleged corruption in the newly annexed peninsula

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – July 24, 2015) President Vladimir Putin likened Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea to a family welcoming home a long-lost relative. Now the family is showing signs of strain. Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, has opened criminal investigations of three high-ranking Crimean government officials, accusing them of graft and other misdeeds. Four regional […]

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A Moscow Education, in More Ways Than One

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Haddad – July 27, 2015) A recent article published in British weekly Times Higher Education revealed that one in seven Russian undergraduates admits to cheating on exams. The figure is probably much higher. Any expat in Moscow teaching English will confirm that. Cheating in the Russian educational system is rampant, even acceptable. I experienced […]

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Majority of Russians think it is impossible to make millions honestly

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Francesca Moll in London – July 23, 2015) Most Russians believe that the country’s millionaires earned their money dishonestly, according to a recent survey. In a survey by the independent pollster Levada Centre, an overwhelming 70% of respondents answered “no” when asked if they thought you can earn millions of rubles honestly now in […]

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Black cash still oils Ukrainian politics

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Graham Stack in Kyiv – July 17, 2015) In his first interview since being fired as head of Ukraine’s state security service on June 16, Valentyn Nalivaichenko alleged that Ukraine’s leading political parties are behind huge flows of secret funds moving to and fro from offshore jurisdictions. He is only the highest […]

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Saakashvili is turning politics upside down in Ukraine

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

Down on the Black Sea, the newly appointed governor of Odessa (and ex-president of Georgia) Mikheil Saakasvhili is making waves. Is the balance of the Ukrainian state beginning to shift? (opendemocracy.net – Victoria Narizhna – July 9, 2015) Victoria Narizhna is a Ukrainian columnist, essayist, translator, cultural manager, and civil activist from Dnipropetrovsk. During EuroMaidan, Yaroslav Hrytsak, one of Ukraine’s […]

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Interfax: Over 40 per cent of Russians do not believe corruption could be defeated – poll

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

  (Interfax – June 17, 2015) A public opinion poll conducted by the independent pollster Levada Centre has shown that two thirds of Russians believe that President Vladimir Putin is making progress in fighting corruption, but, at the same time, more than 40 per cent believe that it will be difficult to defeat it because corruption cannot be eradicated in […]

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Majority [of Russians] See FIFA Scandal as Attack on Russia

putin-fifa-meeting

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – June 18, 2015) Most Russians think that corruption allegations against officials at FIFA, football’s governing body, leveled by U.S. investigators last month are an attempt to prevent Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup, according to a survey published Wednesday by state-run pollster VTsIOM. A total of 65 percent of respondents said […]

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Switzerland probes Russian 2018 World Cup bid over bribery charges

putin-fifa-meeting

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 27, 2015) Russia’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup is under criminal investigation on corruption suspicions, Switzerland’s attorney general announced May 27, after investigators seized data and documents from the Zurich headquarters of soccer’s global governing body FIFA. The move comes only weeks before the draw for the qualifying rounds […]

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Ukraine tries to prove that is serious about corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 20, 2015) Ukraine is trying to publicise its efforts to clamp down on corruption, as a crucial deadline looms for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to review conditions for extending billions of dollars in credits. In the south-eastern city of Zaporizhia, the head of the local anti-corruption committee and a […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: The Putin Recession; Russia’s economy keeps shrinking, but the West won’t take advantage

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal editors address Russia’s economic crisis and the West’s apparent unwillingness to step up economic pressure. The Russian recession is expected to continue unfolding. An oddity of recent weeks has been the attempt to argue that Russia’s economy isn’t as awful as it looks. Then along comes Friday’s report that GDP fell 1.9% year-on-year in the first […]

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Questions Raised Over Poroshenko’s Role In Valuable Kyiv Land Deal

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Maksym Savchuk, Daisy Sindelar – May 13, 2015) KYIV — An investigation by RFE/RL shows that Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko may have used his presidential influence to shut down investigations into a land deal aimed at building a private mansion on a historic site in the Ukrainian capital. Two reports broadcast on RFE/RL’s Ukrainian-language television program, […]

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Russia’s road to deoffshorisation and capital amnesty still ‘under construction’

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Artem Toropov, senior associate in the tax practice at law firm Goltsblat BLP – May 7, 2015) More than a year has passed since the Russian “deoffshorisation” reform was switched into “active” mode by the Russian president. 2014 was dominated with work on the new legislation – but the result, to many, was quite […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Judge Rebuffs U.S. in Rejecting Extradition of Ukraine Billionaire

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

In a defeat for the United States, an Austrian judge refused Thursday to order the extradition of Dmitri V. Firtash, a Ukrainian billionaire and onetime patron of the country’s ousted president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, siding with defense lawyers who said the American request was politically motivated.

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Persecuted Russian Lawyer Finds New Ways Around Foreign Agents Label

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sergey Chernov – April 29, 2015) The life of St. Petersburg human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. After his American wife was deported as a “threat to national security” in August, the family moved to Prague, but Pavlov returns regularly to lead high-profile cases and manage a group […]

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Champagne Tastes On Beer Incomes: Tax Declarations In Ukraine Suggest Enduring Corruption

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Katya Gorchinskaya – KYIV, April 21, 2015) Yulia Tymoshenko didn’t have much of an income in 2014. The former Ukrainian prime minister spent part of the year in prison, part of it rehabilitating in the hospital, and much of it in back-to-back campaigns for president and parliament. But nevertheless, she managed to buy a luxury car, […]

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NEWSLINK Newsweek: Mystery of Ukraine’s Richest Man and a Series of Unlikely Suicides

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Feuding oligarchs are battling to retain or increase their influence in the new order, and their lieutenants are turning up dead. Melnychuk was a prosecutor in the southern port town of Odessa, governed by Kolomoisky ally Ihor Palytsia. He is just one of at least eight officials appointed by the Yanukovych regime, ousted by pro-democracy protesters in February last year, […]

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Former Finance Minister Slams Russian Government on Corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 8, 2015) While the Russian government is trying to involve itself in more economic spheres, the state is failing to perform its basic functions and corruption has swelled to levels “unimaginable” during the heydays of previous administrations, the head of Russia’s second-largest bank said at an international conference on economic development conference on Tuesday. […]

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: A group of lawmakers wants Yatsenyuk corruption charges investigated

Rada File Photo

A group of lawmakers blocked the parliament’s rostrum in the morning of April 7 to demand a probe into the work of the Cabinet and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Serhiy Kaplin, a member of Ukrainian parliament representing Petro Poroshenko Bloc, also initiated a rally in front of the parliament, where people could sign a petition to create a temporary investigative […]

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Nemtsov Allies Plan to Publish ‘Putin.War’ Report on Russian Soldiers in Ukraine

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 31, 2015) A report being prepared by supporters of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov claims that Moscow has started discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to Ukraine and then denying compensation to the families of men who were killed in order to cover up Russia’s involvement in the […]

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Vladimir Putin: A Reincarnation of Dracula?

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(©2015 Ukrainian Magazine (Chicago) – ukrainianchi.com – Rev. Myron Panchuk, M.A. – March 24, 2015 – article also appeared at ukrainianchi.com/vladimir-putin-reincarnation-dracula/ – reprinted with permission) In August of 1991 a miracle occurred: Ukraine declared its independence. I remember the joy, the euphoria felt in our Ukrainian-American community in Chicago. People greeted each other in the streets as if it was Easter Day, and on […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Chechen’s Ties to Putin Are Questioned Amid Nemtsov Murder Case

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, has been at the center of intrigue surrounding the murder of Boris Y. Nemtsov, a prominent critic of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. So before a busy weekend that included a night out with the boys to watch cage fighting, Mr. Kadyrov wanted to clear something up. “I am utterly devoted […]

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NEWSWATCH: How Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin in the crosshairs

Nemtsov March of Mourning

[“How Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin in the crosshairs” – Los Angeles Times – Paul Stronski – ] Writing in The Los Angeles Times, the Carnegie Endowment’s Paul Stronski considers prospects for Russian political turbulence following the assassination of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s killing is not just a tragedy for Russia, but could be a harbinger of political turbulence. […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy: Ukraine’s Rotten Front Forget Russia — if the new government wants to save the country, it needs to drum corruption out of its ranks.

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Ukrainian leaders, it has been said, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Though it’s still unclear whether the new government can break this pattern, the opportunity before it now is nothing less than to undo the system of institutionalized corruption that has held Ukraine down since independence, and made it vulnerable to aggression and dismemberment. Despite the enormous […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New evidence sheds doubt on ‘Islamic’ motive in Nemtsov killing

Nemtsov March of Mourning

Experts say that conflict between Russia’s security services and the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, likely played a role in the murder. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 12, 2015) New details in the Feb. 27 murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov have cast doubt on the claim of the investigators that Nemtsov was […]

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NEWSLINK: Federal Judge Orders Browder to Comply with Subpoena in Money-Laundering Case

U.S. Courthouse for Southern District of New York in Manhattan

Wall Street Journal: A Manhattan federal judge has ordered London-based hedge fund manager William Browder to comply with a subpoena that could force him to reveal the sources of information he gave to federal prosecutors in a high-profile money-laundering case. …

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Interfax: No “tightening of screws” after Nemtsov murder – Russian upper house speaker

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

(Interfax – March 4, 2015) The murder of prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was an attempt to destabilize and discredit Russia, but it will not lead to a clampdown on the opposition, Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has said, as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 4 March. “I am shocked by this murder… (ellipsis as published) […]

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Russia’s Vaguest Laws and Their Unexpected Consequences

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 4, 2015) Critics complain that the vague language and broad terminology used to draft some of Russia’s more controversial laws make them fodder for prosecutorial abuse. Prosecutors could take advantage of the loose definitions featured in the laws banning extremism, gay propaganda, blasphemy and offending the sentiments of religious believers to […]

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Moscow Times: “Analysts: Nemtsov Murder Won’t Consolidate Russian Opposition”

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 3, 2015) Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov’s murder is unlikely to unite Russia’s scattered opposition factions, whose discordant ideologies have consistently prevented their consolidation into a coherent political force to be reckoned with, analysts said Monday. The multicolored flags of various opposition parties flew high above Sunday’s silent march to mourn the […]

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RIA Novosti: “Russian secret service cameras did not capture Nemtsov murder – spokesman”

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

(RIA Novosti – March 2, 2015) The Russian law-enforcement agency that provides personal protection to President Vladimir Putin and other top officials says its video cameras did not capture the killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov on a bridge near the Kremlin late on 27 February. In remarks reported by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on 2 March, Sergey […]

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Interfax: Nemtsov murder witness Durytska allowed to return to Ukraine, say Russian investigators

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 3, 2015) Ukrainian citizen Anna Duritskaya, a key witness in the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, was not held in Russia against her will and, after leaving for Ukraine, promised to further cooperate with Russian investigators, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Tuesday. “No restrictions were imposed on Duritskaya and no personal […]

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OBITUARY: Nemtsov’s death and the opposition’s failure to change the regime

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 2, 2015) This is so depressing. First a proxy war that has expanded into the worst geopolitical showdown in 20 years. Then a crisis that has led to stagnation and a steep fall in the ruble. And now the murder of one of Russia’s best-known opposition politicians. Russia is […]

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NEWSWATCH: A March of Mourning for Boris Nemtsov

Nemtsov March of Mourning

[“A March of Mourning for Boris Nemtsov” – Masha Lipman – The New Yorker – March 1, 2015] Masha Lipman covers the march of mourning following the assassination of Boris Nemtsov and reacts to his killing, including recalling other assassinations during the Putin era: Boris Nemtsov was among the organizers of a mass protest action called “The Spring,” planned for Sunday, […]

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NEWSWATCH: Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia

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

[“Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into the uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia” – Garry Kasparov – Wall Street Journal – March 1, 2015] Garry Kasparov reacts to the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure and former Yeltsin official Boris Nemtsov. Boris Nemtsov, my longtime friend and […]

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Eric Kraus: Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov

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

Subject: Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov. Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2015 From: Eric Kraus <krausmoscow@yahoo.com> Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov. By Eric Kraus Eric became well known in global financial circles in the 90s and naughts as the author of a widely read monthly investment strategy newsletter: Truth and Beauty (…and Russian Finance), prized as much […]

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NEWSWATCH: Boris Nemtsov murder: Putin now governs mostly through terror & propaganda: Any plot would have been known by Kremlin

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

[“Boris Nemtsov murder: Putin now governs mostly through terror and propaganda; Any plot against Boris Nemtsov would have been known by the Kremlin. Putin either killed him or tolerated his death.” – The Daily Telegraph (UK) – February 28, 2015] Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Ben Judah comments on the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. He […]

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