NEWSLINK: “Implausible Deniability: Novichok Victim Dies: Did the Kremlin Really Lose Control of its Deadliest Poisons? The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“… Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley visited … Salisbury and somehow ingested the exotic nerve agent used in the poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter …. Sturgess died. … a 44-year-old mother of three. … the police now have a murder case on their hands.  The masterminds of the Skripal attack, at least, are thought to be […]

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked” – Reuters

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

“The top U.S. counterintelligence official is advising Americans traveling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. … William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travelers ….”   […]

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NEWSLINK: “Are Russia’s soccer fans dangerous? In the West, many people are wondering if mass brawls among fans will mark the World Cup in Russia” – Deutsche Welle

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

“Russian fans have a negative image in Europe, with many remembering the riots in Marseille during the 2016 European Cup.”  

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin’s Russia Became Mafia Heaven; Inside the long, strange story of organized crime taking over the former Soviet Union-and how Russia tamed it only to unleash it on the West. [re: Mark Galeotti]” – ViceCom/Seth Ferranti

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

“…  Putin is engaged in this kind of political war with the West—he’s effectively trying to weaponize Russian organized crime against the west. We have seen Russian-based organized crime groups being used to kill enemies of his, to gather intelligence, to move spies across boarders, and raise money for Putin by supporting particular groups or media outlets that he likes […]

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NEWSLINK: “England fans at World Cup ‘at risk of blackmail from Russian mafia hookers’; There are fears gangsters could threaten to send incriminating pictures to fans’ wives or post them on social media” – The Daily Mirror (UK)/Tom Davidson

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

“… ‘It’s not just the Russian government we have to be fearful of when it comes to England fans.  It is also the Russian mafia who we know exploit sex, and use the internet and dating, to offer women in order to blackmail customers.’ …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Countering a Kleptocratic Kremlin; We must remember that predatory authoritarianism is not stamped into the Russian DNA” – The American Interest/Larry Diamond

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

“With every passing week we have new evidence of the threat that Vladimir Putin’s kleptocracy poses to our democracy, our national security, and the entire liberal world order. Putin’s regime – something akin to an organized crime ring masquerading as a state – has looted the wealth of Russia, subjugated its people, attacked neighboring former republics of the USSR, annexed […]

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NEWSLINK: “Autumn of the Oligarchs; Vladimir Putin’s Billionaire Buddies Are Getting Scared, and Not Just of Sanctions” – The Daily Beast/Amy Knight

Kremlin and River

“Some of the oligarchs now face major U.S. sanctions, while others are getting arrested on the Kremlin’s orders. Is Putin’s circle of the shameless rich beginning to crumble?”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Zapret a manger: Russia’s elites face growing sanctions pressure” – Bear Market Brief/Max Hess

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“[With the Treasury Department’s April 6, 2018, sanctions announcement,] [s]even Russians explicitly labeled oligarchs … their main Russian businesses, and 17 government officials were added to the list of Specifically Designated Nationals (SDN) … [who] have their U.S. assets frozen, while U.S. persons are barred from doing business with them. … a tactical escalation of the U.S. sanctions …. expanded […]

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Interfax: Russian Constitutional Court restricts use of house arrest

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. March 24 (Interfax) – House arrest cannot be used in charges that do not envisage imprisonment and deviation from this rule is only possible in a situation when the person has already breached a preventive measure before, the Russian Constitutional Court has ruled. The decision was posted on the court website on Friday. The claim was filed with […]

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“Gangster’s paradise: how organised crime took over Russia; Under Vladimir Putin, gangsterism on the streets has given way to kleptocracy in the state” – The Guardian (UK)/Mark Galeotti

“… The challenge posed by Russian organised crime is a formidable one – and not just at home. Across the world, it trafficks drugs and people, arms insurgents and gangsters, and peddles every type of criminal service, from money laundering to computer hacking. For all that, much of the rest of the world remains willing – indeed, often delighted – […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lutsenko says Savchenko planned mass murder in the Verkhovna Rada” – Kyiv Post/Veronika Melkozerova

Rada File Photo

“… Lutsenko made his sensational claim the same day Savchenko returned to Ukraine from Strasbourg to give testimony to the Security Service of Ukraine as a witness in a case against Volodymyr Ruban, a Donbas war mediator accused of attempting to assassinate Ukrainian leaders and smuggling weapons. …”

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NEWSLINK: “If we don’t boycott the World Cup, England fans will almost certainly die in Russia; Here are 13 very good reasons to stay at home” – The Daily Mirror (UK)/Fleet Street Fox

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

“… The Russian state is suspected of involvement in the murder of 14 people in Britain. … more than the Yorkshire Ripper ….  Russian football hooligans are the most organised and ruthless in the world. They injured 130 in Marseille after Euro 2016, including 2 left in comas with life-changing injuries and others who had their Achilles tendons sliced in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Harassment Russian Style” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

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

“Харассмент: harassment … How is it that I’ve never written about домогательство? This word and issue – what is usually called harassment in English – have come up plenty of times in the past. But this week the subject came up, stayed up and is screaming for attention. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian lawmaker accused of sex harassment apologizes” – AP

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“An influential Russian parliament member accused of sexual harassment by several female journalists has issued an apology and asked for forgiveness. … allegations against [foreign affairs committee head] Leonid Slutsky by three journalists include groping and making demeaning comments. … demonstrators including … Sobchak held pickets outside the parliament demanding [his] resignation ….” Click here for: “Russian lawmaker accused of […]

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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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U.S. Urges Travelers To Reconsider Visiting Russia

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 11, 2018) The U.S. State Department listed Russia as one of the most dangerous countries to visit in a new travel advisory system released Wednesday, together with states including Sudan, Pakistan and Niger. The new four-tier advisory replaces the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts system and is based on seven risk factors including […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian answer to opioid epidemic: ‘Cold turkey’; Russia has an opioid abuse problem as big as America’s, but a very different way of dealing with it. No methadone replacement therapy in Moscow – just a couple of aspirin and a short, sharp withdrawal shock.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Blurred Image of Young Woman Holding Up Pill Between Her Thumb and Index Finger, adapted from image at drugabuse.gov

“Russia has an opioid addiction crisis about as grave as America’s. … the two countries’ approaches to the problem could hardly be more different. … most US and European clinics offer patients methadone as replacement therapy [yet] Russian doctors disdain such ‘soft’ treatment. … their [cold turkey] methods … have a lower success rate than the 50 percent achieved in the United States. … […]

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Nine Months After New Domestic Violence Law, Russian Women Still Struggle; The decriminalization of battery has made it harder for women to come forward, advocates say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Manuilova – November 24, 2017) For Svetlana, a 35-year-old mother of three from Moscow, domestic violence is a family affair. Her ex-husband repeatedly threatened to take their son away and beat her mother. Last spring, it was Svetlana’s turn. “He cornered me in our flat in Moscow for several hours and beat me,” she […]

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Putin Calls Ekho Moskvy Journalist’s Attacker a ‘Sick Person’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 30, 2017) The man who stabbed a radio editor in Moscow last week was a “sick person” without political motives, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. Tatyana Felgenhauer, a deputy editor at the liberal-learning Ekho Moskvy radio station, was stabbed last week by a Russian-Israeli man believed to have mental health issues. Two state television […]

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No home, no work, no family: the difficulties of rehabilitation for Russia’s ex-prisoners; Confiscation of property, slave labour, deceit, despair. What else do Russian ex-cons face when they leave prison?

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

(opendemocracy.net – Tatyana Dvornikova – July 20, 2017) Tatyana Dvornikova is a Moscow-based journalist. She works with Colta, Kommersant and Radio Mel. Russia has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world. According to the Federal Penitential Service, more than half of Russia’s prison population at any moment consists of people who have done time before. Committing a second […]

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Russian investigators say Nemtsov not killed over religion

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – July 13, 2017) The Russian Investigations Committee has ruled out the theory that opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered on religious, rather than financial grounds, its spokeswoman has said. “During the investigation there was an analysis of the testimonies of suspects Zaur Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev on how they committed the murder of Boris Nemtsov on grounds of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Will the cliche of the ‘Russian baddie’ ever leave our screens? With James Norton starring in McMafia, an upcoming BBC drama about a mob family, the country’s criminal image shows no sign of disappearing” – The Guardian (UK)/ Stuart Jeffries

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

“… Will McMafia buck or conform to the stereotypes? On the lawn of Munden House, James Norton tells the Guide that he hopes his performance will remind us that Russians are different to what is considered the norm on cinema and TV. He says that one reason he wanted to play Alex, the Anglo-Russian who’s both revolted and seduced by […]

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Article by Vladimir Putin published in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt (re G20)

Map of Germany

(Kremlin.ru – July 6, 2017) Ahead of my trip to Germany to take part in the Summit of the Group of Twenty, I would like to share some thoughts about cooperation within the G20 framework with the readers of Handelsblatt, one of the most popular and reputable German newspapers. Over the years of its existence, the Group of Twenty has […]

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Jury Deliberating For Second Day In Case Of Accused Nemtsov Killers

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – June 28, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-chechnya-nemtsov-murder-trial/28583189.html) The jury in the trial of five men who are charged in connection with the 2015 killing of opposition politician and former Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov is continuing deliberations for a second day in Moscow. The jury on June […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2017) Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov presented his annual report to the President. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Titov. Have you brought your annual report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. Time flies. We are completing the first five-year period in our work. Five years ago, you made a […]

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Punishment for petty crimes excessive, decriminalization needed – Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

KRASNOYARSK. April 21 (Interfax) – The system penalizing for misdemeanors in Russia is too harsh, with its shortages of workforce the country needs to decriminalize its laws, Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Board at the Center for Strategic Research. “We need decriminalization, the punishment for petty, insignificant crimes should be reduced, [imprisonment] up to two to three years for insignificant […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Mir broadcasting company

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – April 12, 2017) Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Mir television and radio broadcasting company on the eve of his visit to Kyrgyzstan. The interview took place on April 11. President of Interstate Television and Radio Company Mir Radik Batyrshin: The Collective Security Treaty Organisation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The benefits for Russia’s allies are clear. […]

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Kicking habits, kicking back; In Russia, a punitive Soviet approach to drug users is still in place. But a new generation of activists is ready to challenge it.

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Lebedev – February 20, 2017) Dmitry Lebedev is a freelance journalist from Moscow. He holds a Master’s research degree in political philosophy from Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. When Russian media report an increase or decrease in drug addiction in the country, they are usually only reflecting the number of users officially registered at state clinics. The practice […]

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Sentence in ‘Kirovles case’ deprives Navalny of possibility of running in presidential elections under law on presidential elections in Russia – lawyer

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. Feb 8 (Interfax) – Under the legislation on presidential elections, opposition politician Alexei Navalny cannot participate in the upcoming election campaign due to his conviction in the Kirovles case,” according to which he has been found guilty of embezzlement, his lawyer Olga Mikhailova told Interfax. “According to the law on [presidential] elections, a person convicted for a grave crime […]

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Support for Death Penalty in Russia Plummets

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 8, 2017) The number of Russians who support the death penalty has plummeted by 24 percent over the past 15 years. Just 44 percent of Russians would like to see the return of the death penalty, compared in 68 percent in 2002, a survey by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed on Wednesday. Thirty-two […]

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State Duma speaker deems CoE pressure over family violence decriminalization by Russia to be inadmissible

File Photo of Council of Europe Headquarters Building with Flags in Front

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin deems the pressure of Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland on Russia in connection with the law decriminalizing family violence to be inadmissible. “This is pressure, and it is inadmissible,” Volodin told the press on Wednesday. The State Duma adopted the amendments in first reading in January, and the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Soviet dissident had thousands of child abuse images, UK court told; Vladimir Bukovsky downloaded indecent images and films over 15-year period, Cambridge crown court hears” – The Guardian (UK)/Luke Harding

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

“… Bukovsky, 73, is charged with 10 counts of making and possessing indecent photos and one count of possessing an indecent computer-generated graphic. He denies all charges. * * * Bukovsky has been a longstanding opponent of Soviet and Russian power. He began his struggle against the Soviet regime in the early 1960s. Soviet authorities eventually kicked him out of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian bribery probe widens amid reports of Kremlin power struggle” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“… Russia’s state-run news agency reported … more officials could be targeted in the corruption probe that has already led to the arrest of the … economic development minister. Other news reports … name[d] names, all of them of officials close to … Medvedev, leader of the so-called liberals, who tend to favor a smaller state role in society and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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Russia Supreme Court Proposes Ban on Pre-Trial Detention for Economic Crimes

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2016) The plenum of Russia’s Supreme Court has proposed banning the arrest of individuals accused of several varieties of economic crimes, the Prime news agency reported Thursday. According to the proposal, suspects can still be detained, but cannot be kept in pre-trial detention if they stand accused of several economic crimes: commercial fraud, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/RBC: “Is it necessary to break the law to improve your standard of living?”

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

According to the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), 30 percent of Russians see a link between increasing their standard of living and breaking the law.

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Russians Now Killing Doctors as Aggressiveness Spreads throughout Population, Commentator Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 16, 2016) Aggression in Russian society is “changing qualitatively,” Aleksey Tarasov says, with ordinary Russians now regularly attacking and even killing doctors and others whom they would never have lifted a finger against in the past and with an increasing share of Russians accepting this as the new normal. As a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “This Week Marks the 10th Anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s Murder; The legacy of the fearless Russian journalist’s muckraking reporting still lives on.” – The Nation

Anna Politkovskaya file photo

Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher and Editor of The Nation, memorializes slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the 10-year anniversary of Politkovskaya’s assassination, and considers some of the dangers and other challenges impacting Russian journalists. It is 10 years since Russia and the world lost a great and courageous journalist. The killing of Anna Politkovskaya on October 7, 2006, was horrifying […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Businessman takes hostages in Moscow bank in desperate plea to Putin”

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

On Aug. 24, a bankrupt businessman took the staff and customers of a bank in downtown Moscow hostage in a bid to attract the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the plight of those in his position.

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‘Thieves-in-law’: Russia’s close-knit criminal corporation

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

In mid-July, the police detained Shakro Molodoi, or Shakro the Young, a king of the underworld and infamous “thief-in-law,” who lived in a lavish mansion in Moscow. In the 1990s and early 2000s, people like him were the protagonists of popular Russian TV series, later forgotten – but the “thieves” themselves have not gone anywhere. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – […]

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Helping Russia’s broken women to get back on their feet

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Dozens of crisis centers operate in Russia to help women caught up in desperate situations and left without help from their families. Some of them have nowhere to live, while others are trying to get away from their alcoholic, wife-beating husbands. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG SKRIPNIK, SPECIAL TO RBTH – July 14, 2016) There are three […]

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Russian Artist Pavlensky Stripped of Award Over Support for Police Killers

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ed Crowther – July 8, 2016) The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has stripped radical political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky of the Vaslav Havel prize, awarded to him in May, the Dozhd news website reported Friday. The decision was a result of Pavlensky’s support for the Primorye Partisans, a group recognized as a criminal organization by […]

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Putin’s New Friendship Offensive Won’t Work Abroad or at Home, Shevtsova Says

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s “main message” at the St. Petersburg economics conference that Moscow “again wants to be friends” with the West will not work either in the West, which has been transformed by the Kremlin leader’s aggressiveness, or at home among Russians because he depends on continued anti-Western mobilization, Liliya […]

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Antony Penaud: The Observer, the anonymous Twitter account, and the unnamed official

Rotating Soccer Ball

Subject: The Observer, the anonymous Twitter account, and the unnamed official Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud received his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His articles on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms Following three days of violent clashes in Marseille (the first […]

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How the reporting of the British media changed during the Marseille cashes

Rotating Soccer Ball

Subject: How the reporting of the British media changed during the Marseille cashes Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 ) From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Being French, having lived in England for half of my life, and being Russophile, I followed the Marseille streetfight events and the way they were reported in the British press with a special interest. In the France […]

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The Monster Under The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 19, 2016) At first glance, the massive shoot-out at Moscow’s Khovanskoye Cemetery this past weekend seemed pretty retro. What, after all, reminds us more of the 1990s than rival Russian gangs staging a deadly brawl in a turf war over control of the lucrative burial business? What is more reminiscent of the […]

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