Not Just A Putin Problem

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – June 21, 2017) [Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-not-just-a-putin-problem/28570823.html] “Krym Nash” was just the beginning. Crimea is not the only place and Ukraine is not the only neighbor where Russia has territorial ambitions. And this is not just a fixation of Vladimir #Putin and his cronies, but […]

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Russian Protests Don’t Threaten Kremlin Because There’s No Opposition in the Duma, Portnikov Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 12, 2017) Both the Kremlin and the Russian people are afraid of a Maidan, but they needn’t be because for a Maidan to take place in Russia there would have to be something that does not now exist, a genuine opposition in the Duma ready and willing to serve as a […]

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Interfax: Russians have started smoking less, dying of alcohol poisoning less – government report

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – Russians have become less prone to bad habits. According to the materials prepared for the annual government report in the State Duma, thirty-one percent of the country’s adults said they smoked in 2016, against 41% in 2010. The data was provided citing the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. Alcohol consumption has decreased from 14.3 liters […]

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Interfax: State Duma sees no need to enquire with authorities about compliance by Voice of America, Radio Liberty, CNN with Russian laws

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. April 18 (Interfax) – The State Duma committee for information policy, information technologies and communications will not be asking federal authorities to provide information on whether the Russian offices of the Voice of America, Radio Liberty and CNN comply with the Russian elections laws, the Committee has decided to confine itself to a discussion of this issue at an […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Mr Medvedev briefed Vladimir Putin on the key points of the report on the Government’s work in 2016, which will be presented to the State Duma on April 19. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, on April 19 you will present to the State Duma the Government’s report on its work last year. What will you be presenting? What […]

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Interfax: SBU cannot yet confirm ex-Duma deputy Voronenkov’s killer was FSB agent

FSB Building file photo

KYIV. March 30 (Interfax) – The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is continuing to investigate whether Pavlo Parshov, who killed former Russian State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov, was an agent of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). “This has not yet been proven in the case of Parshov. We are now working [to establish] whether he really was an FSB […]

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Is #Navalny a ‘Young and Sober’ #Yeltsin or ‘the #Putin of Tomorrow’?

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 28, 2017) Aleksey #Navalny’s new prominence and his success in attracting young people – which some see reflected in the fact that he now has more “likes” than Moscow TV (politsovet.ru/54872-navalnyy-obognal-po-chislu-podpischikov-pervyy-kanal-rt-i-rossiyu-24.html) – #Putin loyalists are attacking him and others asking what kind of a leader he may be. Putin’s press spokesman […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Valentina Tereshkova

File Photo of Valentina Tereshkova in Space Suit with Helmet Open, adapted from image at starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 6, 2017) Vladimir Putin extended his birthday greetings to Valentina Tereshkova, pilot cosmonaut, the first woman in space, Hero of the Soviet Union, and State Duma deputy. The President issued an executive order awarding the Order For Services to the Fatherland I Degree to Ms Tereshkova, deputy chairperson of the State Duma Committee for Federal Organisation and […]

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Defeat of Russian Civic Nation Law Shows Putin Isn’t All-Powerful, Krasheninnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 7, 2017) “The most interesting aspect” of Moscow’s retreat from its efforts to promote a civic Russian nation is not that it shows “society isn’t very prepared” for that as Valery Tishkov says (kommersant.ru/doc/3235995), but rather the way in which it represents “a personal defeat for Vladimir Putin,” according to Fyodor […]

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Moscow Counting on Russians Passively Accepting Raising Pension Age beyond Male Life Expectancy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 2, 2016) The Russian government doesn’t have to worry about widespread protests over its reported plans to raise the pension age of Russian males in 2018 to one older than their average life expectancy, a Russian scholar in Yakutsk says. The opposition will complain, but it doesn’t have the votes in […]

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De-dollarization of economy, banking system proceeding at full speed, to continue – Central Bank

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) – De-dollarization of the #Russian economy and #banking system is proceeding at full speed given the preferences of the public and companies and this process will continue, the head of the Central Bank of #Russia’s research and forecasting department Alexander #Morozov said at a roundtable in the State #Duma. “De-dollarization in the economy is proceeding at […]

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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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Russia may take asymmetric measures against U.S. in response to ‘Magnitsky list’ expansion – Russian MP Slutsky

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Moscow may asymmetrically react to Washington’s decision to expand the ‘Magnitsky list’ – similarly to Russia’s response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States, Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said. “I would like to remind you that Russia has a law on measures of response to the Magnitsky […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Today/RT: “MPs propose urgent steps to restore Russia-US relations after Trump elected”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“A member of the State Duma Foreign Relations Committee has a proposal to launch a special group for restoring normal relations between Russia and the US, while other MPs seek to launch a week of Russian-US friendship to mend broken ties. Vitaly Milonov wrote that the principles of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence are the basis of global security, and […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Russia’s domestic policy architect is now managing the Duma. Vyacheslav Volodin, now that he has won Kremlin support to become the next speaker of the State Duma, has emerged as a potential Putin successor in 2018.”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… Russian President Vladimir Putin recommended all four Duma parties to support the candidacy of the first deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Administration, Vyacheslav Volodin. As usual, the parliamentary parties did not oppose the president and expressed their approval. …

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United Russia will not adopt unpopular decisions – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) – The United Russia party, which has won a constitutional majority in the new State Duma, will not adopt unpopular decisions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is the party’s chairman, said. “Some people think that the constitutional majority in the Duma and solid representation at the regional level gives the party a right to adopt […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian politics. The hollow election. The lowest-ever turnout for Duma elections suggests Vladimir Putin is losing touch with his political base.

Russia Regions Map

The Economist reports on low participation in Russia’s 2016 Duma elections. … The Kremlin made every effort to ensure the elections were as sterile and low-profile as possible. It banned and harassed genuine opposition parties and their leaders. … it persuaded many that nothing depended on voters. The official turnout was 48% – the lowest ever in the history of […]

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The Russian Opposition Should Do Its Homework

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vladislav L. Inozemtsev – September 22, 2016) Vladislav Inozemtsev is a Russian economist and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies in Moscow. A landslide United Russia victory and a remarkably poor showing of the opposition forces in Russia’s parliamentary elections earlier this week shouldn’t be attributed entirely to rigged electoral rules or fraud. There […]

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Pamfilova to stay in charge of Central Election Commission until last election complaint processed

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

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Russian Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova said she would not leave her post until the last complaint regarding the State Duma elections was processed. “Not a single complaint will be disregarded. No one leaves until this Central Election Commission processes the last claim against this election campaign,” she said. “I have been urged to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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Will Russia’s Opposition Draw the Right Lessons From Electoral Defeat?

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – September 20, 2016) The Russian opposition on Monday awoke to an electoral hangover – in some cases quite literally – after suffering a crushing defeat in the polls that has relegated it to the fringes of political life. “The opposition has lost again. Who’s to blame?” the cover of the opposition-minded New […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin’s big win in Russian elections may not be a victory” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… United Russia … may have won a crushing victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections … undoubtedly … a huge boost for … Putin. But the most common remark about the now-concluded election campaign is that it was “very boring.” … an odd moment for Russia …. buffeted by two years of economic recession and still-escalating political tensions with the West. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Putin] Visiting United Russia party’s campaign headquarters

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 18, 2016) After the polling stations closed, Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the election campaign headquarters of the United Russia party. The United Russia party candidates who took part in the election in Moscow and the Moscow Region, along with volunteers and United Russia party activists took part in the meeting. Prime Minister Dmitry […]

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Duma Vote Shows Changes Won’t Come in Russia via Elections, Commentators Say

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 19, 2016) The most important feature of the Duma Elections was unprecedentedly low level of participation, a reflection of the Russian population’s symmetrical response to the Kremlin’s contempt for its views and an indication that change in Russia “will not come via elections but as a result of some sort of […]

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Russian Opposition Just as Moscow-Centric as Russian Regime, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 13, 2016) Russian opposition figures who took part in recent discussions in Tallinn and Vilnius said many “just words” about how totally predictable the upcoming elections in Russia will be, Vadim Shtepa says. But they were also totally predictable in focusing “almost exclusively” on Moscow and how Muscovites will react. Participants […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Post-Election Economy: Down, But Not Out. Parliamentary elections are rapidly approaching, but this time politicians aren’t making any pie-in-the-sky promises.” – Moscow Times/Boris Grozovsky

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

By any measure, the Russian economy is deep in a classic recession: GDP has dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter. If Russia had political competition, these elections would pose a challenge for both the ruling party and the opposition. But without real competition, politicians are under little pressure to lift the economy out of the current crisis. … * * […]

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Any Vote Is A Vote For Putinism

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Garry Kasparov – September 9, 2016) Garry Kasparov is a Russian politician, a former world chess champion, and head of the Human Rights Foundation international NGO. The views expressed in this commentary, which he wrote for RFE/RL’s Russian Service, do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL. Translated from the Russian by Robert Coalson There are […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian pollster sees same parties in Duma after election

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – September 8, 2016) The head of Russia’s main state-owned pollster has said that the chances of parties that were not represented in the last State Duma winning seats in the lower house in the parliamentary election on 18 September are minimal. Little chance “Now we don’t see chances of overcoming the 5-per-cent barrier,” Valery Fyodorov, head of […]

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Down, Down, Down: Why Russia’s Ruling Political Party Keeps Losing Support

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – September 2, 2016) With little over two weeks left until Russia stages a parliamentary vote, ruling party United Russia is struggling to reverse a downward trend. A survey published Thursday by the independent Levada Center pollster showed support for United Russia had dropped from 57 percent to 50 percent in August compared […]

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NEWSLINK The Nation/Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “How A Siberian Mom Took on Politics as Usual in Russia and Won.”

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

In Siberia, Natalia Pinus is taking on established political forces and challenging the idea that Russian democracy is no more than a puppet show

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Putin’s Election Grip Is So Tight Even His Nemesis Can Take Part

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – August 24, 2016) The last time Vladimir Putin’s political party won national elections, ballot-stuffing allegations sparked the biggest protests of his rule. Five years on, Putin appears to be so confident in his hold on power that even his most dogged adversary is welcome to challenge United Russia in next month’s […]

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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Poll: Over 35% of Russians believe voting in upcoming elections is useless

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

Experts explain that many voters do not believe that their votes will be counted honestly, do not see any differences between the parties and do not consider the parliament an influential body. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA CHULKOVSKAYA, RBTH – July 14, 2016) A few months before the parliamentary elections in Russia, which will take place on […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of parties represented in the State Duma. The agenda included the work of the parliament over the past five years, and progress of the election campaign. Excerpts from transcript of meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Not long ago, I met […]

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Large Parties Expected to Dominate Duma Election – Report

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 14, 2016) The next State Duma could be made of three political parties instead of four, with smaller opposition parties winning no seats at all, a new report by the Russian Association of Public Relations (RASO) announced Wednesday. The ruling United Russia party and larger, systemic, opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and […]

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What Russia’s New Draconian Data Laws Mean for Users

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 14, 2016) After three years of relative silence, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden spoke up: “[President Vladimir] Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for Russia.” For the man who fled to Russia after blowing the lid off the NSA’s unprecedented […]

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Third of Russians Expect Rigged 2016 Duma Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 1, 2016) More than a third of Russians believe that the upcoming State Duma elections will not be free and fair, a survey by independent pollster Levada Center revealed Friday. Thirty eight percent of the 1600 respondents believed that the elections would involve slander, pressure on the electorate, ballot tampering, or other forms of […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Russia’s strict new anti-terror laws: What is the debate about? A new package of “anti-terrorist” laws adopted by the State Duma on the last day of the legislative season has the potential to affect many areas of the lives of ordinary Russians. What do lawmakers hope to achieve with the new legislation and why has it been criticized?”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] United Russia party congress

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin is taking part in political party United Russia’s 15th congress. The congress will approve the party’s election campaign programme and present party lists of candidates for the upcoming State Duma election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, I welcome the delegates and guests at this United Russia congress. This congress is an […]

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New Anti-Terrorist Acts Means Kremlin is Preparing for War at Home and Abroad, Ponomarev Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2016) Today, the Russian Duma passed on second and third reading the so-called “Yarova-Ozerov law on terrorism,” a draconian measure that means not only that Vladimir Putin’s recent call for improved relations with the West was nothing more than “a special operation” but also and more seriously that he is […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin addressed the State Duma’s plenary session

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2016) The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session. Speech at the State Duma’s plenary session. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. […]

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Russian State Duma Election Season Begins

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 20, 2016) Campaign season for the upcoming Russian State Duma elections kicks off this week, with the country’s main political parties preparing for their vital 2016 conventions and candidate nominations. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Friday that elections would be taking place on September 18. Russian law requires that between 90 to 110 days […]

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United Russia: Same Game, New Tactics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola CichowlasJ – June 16, 2016) By June 19, President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign a decree that will officially kick-start the campaign season. Within a few days, all the parties taking part in the election will host conventions and declare their list of candidates. These State Duma elections will be the first time […]

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Five Foreign Organizations Declared ‘Undesirable’ in Russia This Year

Yury Chaika file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 9, 2016) Five foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been labelled “undesirable” by the Kremlin in the past year, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told the State Duma that investigations into the NGOs are continuing with the help of the Foreign Ministry. The investigations seek to establish if the NGOs […]

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New Bill Forces Russian Companies to Disclose Owner Information

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 8, 2016) Russia’s State Duma has passed a new bill obliging companies to disclose information on their beneficiaries at the request of the authorities, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. The bill was prepared as part of the country’s push to improve economic transparency and decrease the use of offshore holdings. Russian President Vladimir […]

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Russian Election Commission Head Says ‘No One Is Untouchable’ on Violations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2016) The head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said that an interdepartmental working group is being set up to quickly react to election violations, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily reported Monday. The working group will include representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee, Pamfilova said […]

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Russian Charities to Be Exempt From ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) Charities are no longer to be classified as “foreign agents” if they receive money from abroad, according to a new amendment approved by the Russian State Duma. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in areas such as art and culture will also be exempt from the “foreign agent” label, the Interfax news agency reported […]

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Interfax: Lower key rate would not boost Russian economy – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Lowering the key interest rate in current conditions would not result in growth for the real economy, Dmitry Tulin, first deputy governor of the Central Bank, said in the State Duma, during a discussion of the Central Bank’s annual report. “We take into consideration the factor of the impact of monetary policy on the state […]

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