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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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Divide in the Russian opposition, the return of Alexey Kudrin, and a new controversy in Crimea. Media Roundup: Russia’s journalists covered the comeback of former finance minister Alexey Kudrin and the split within the Russian opposition ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.”

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Interfax: Putin views fair competition during parliamentary election as basis for building confidence in authorities among citizens

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST PETERSBURG. April 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that the State Duma election to be held this autumn must be characterized by a fair and competitive campaign. “You understand perfectly that it is of the utmost importance for this campaign to be spared violations and proceed in an absolutely competitive and fair contest,” Putin said at […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Legislators’ Council

Tauride Palace file photo - adapted from image © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

(Kremlin.ru – April 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Legislators timed for the Day of Russian Parliamentarianism and the 110th anniversary of Russia’s first State Duma. The meeting at the Tauride Palace is attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and speakers of regional parliaments. President […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Russian Security Force Will Answer to Vladimir Putin. The Russian Guard is being formed ahead of coming parliamentary elections.” – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to … Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections. … the new force … the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. … Putin directed the creation of the force … through an executive order … under review by […]

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Russian State Duma hopeful about Groysman’s appointment as Ukrainian PM

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

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The appointment of Volodymyr Groysman to the post of Ukraine’s prime minister gives hope that actual steps will be taken to implement the Minsk agreements, and that the level of tension in Russian-Ukrainian relations will decline, Russian State Duma Deputy Speaker Alexander Romanovich has said. “Groysman has a record of work at the regional level, […]

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Interfax: Russia lost faith in Western leadership due to abuse of its trust – Pushkov

Alexei Pushkov file photo

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – Russia has stopped seeing the West as a leader because the West has abused Russia’s readiness for partnership, Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma committee on international affairs, said. “Russia was not ready to see the West as a leader by the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, specifically, because the West […]

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Russian veteran opposition politician discusses policy, presidential ambitions

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(Interfax – March 4, 2016) Interfax journalists Vasiliy Antipin and Andrey Novikov interview with Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: “Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: I will win elections from Putin; Yabloko founder has decided to return to big-league politics and describes his plans and his associates’ plans” Moscow, 4 March: Grigoriy Yavlinskiy has decided to return to big-league politics. Yabloko’s founder plans to fight […]

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Russian Duma Introduces Amendment Defining ‘Political Activity’ to NGO Law

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 20, 2016) Representatives of all factions in the State Duma have introduced an amendment to the law on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that specifies the notion of “political activity,” the RBC news agency reported Friday. The draft law, published by the Justice Ministry in January, suggests that operations in a number of spheres including national […]

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Can Russia’s ruling party restore its reputation ahead of the elections?

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

The federal election campaign in 2011 was the least successful to date for United Russia, which saw its reputation tainted by accusations of vote-rigging and fraud. How is Russia’s ruling party preparing for the upcoming elections in 2016 and can it repair its tarnished image among voters? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – February 11, […]

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Snap Elections Wouldn’t Change Russian Ruling Structure – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 11, 2016) If elections were held in Russia next weekend, Vladimir Putin would be re-elected president and the same political parties would be elected to the State Duma, the Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday, citing the results of a recent poll. The survey carried out by the independent Levada Center pollster revealed that 53 percent […]

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Micromanaged Democracy: Russia’s Ruling Party Schools Candidates On Campaigning

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – February 3, 2016) Elections for Russia’s State Duma, as well as a large number of local contests, are scheduled for September. And the ruling United Russia party wants to make sure its candidates are prepared for any awkward encounters with voters or journalists. The party has created a largely closed section on its […]

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Russia’s Yabloko Party Turns Down Offer to Merge With PARNAS

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 1, 2016) Russian liberal opposition party Yabloko has turned down a proposal from the PARNAS opposition party that they merge to compile a single list of State Duma election candidates, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday. “It was suggested that we include our candidates on the PARNAS list. They actually suggested we liquidate our party, […]

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Moscow Times: New Anti-Gay Law Rejected by Russian Duma Committee

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 18, 2016) The State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building has rejected a bill that would make it illegal to come out as gay in Russia, the Interfax news agency reported Monday. Dmitry Vyatkin, the deputy chairman of the committee said that the draft bill was rejected “primarily due to the fact […]

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Law Guaranteeing Phone Call After Arrest Comes Into Force in Russia

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 11, 2016) A law outlining the right of a detainee to make a phone call no later than three hours after being arrested has come into force in Russia, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta state-owned newspaper reported Sunday. “A suspect as soon as possible, but not later than three hours after he [or she] was arrested, […]

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Russia May Be Close to a Revolution But Not the One Opposition Hopes For, Sociologist Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2015) Given the increasing pessimism among Russians because of declines in their standard of living, Russia may be approaching a revolutionary situation, according to Yekaterina Dobrenkova; but the revolution may not succeed or it may turn out to be very different than the one the opposition hopes for. Earlier this […]

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10 Laws Putin’s Foes Say Russia Needs To Scrap

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – Claire Bigg – December 23, 2015) A group of prominent Russian dissidents has identified what it says are Russia’s 10 most harmful laws. Their project, “Sanatsia Prava,” or Sanitation Of The Law, calls for the abolition of legislation that they say causes extensive harm to Russian society. The project’s initiators include writer Grigory Chkhartishvili, better known under his […]

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Interfax: Recurrent Western attempts to ‘educate’ the East a kind of mania – Naryshkin

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 21 (Interfax) – World history shows that ideological wars have become a constant of Western policies, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in his article published by Russian newspaper ‘Izvestia’ on Monday. “The fact is that from time to time the West attempts to ‘educate’ the East. But having no authority to do this, it gets rebuffed, […]

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Interfax: West unfoundedly accuses Russia of INF breach to deflect similar accusations against itself – Naryshkin

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) – The West, including the United States, is breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and is accusing Russia of doing so in order to deflect accusations against itself, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has said. “Political speculations aimed at deflecting lawful accusations and at misleading the global public on the subject of Russia have become […]

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RBTH: “Russia can now ignore rulings by European human rights court”

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

The Russian State Duma has passed a law making it possible to recognize, upon a motion from the president or the government, some rulings by international courts as unenforceable in Russia. While critics say the law is aimed at limiting the powers of the European Court of Human Rights, an RBTH source says the state is merely defending its sovereignty […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Russian parliament gives blessing to security overhaul after plane bombing”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Reuters covers the Russian government’s reaction to the Russian air crash in Egypt. Russia’s parliament backed a sweeping overhaul of national security, including possibly expanding the powers of the country’s intelligence services, after the Kremlin concluded a bomb downed a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month. There also is talk of using the death penalty for terrorism. Sergei Mironov, […]

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If the Russian Elite is to Preserve Itself, It Must Change,’ Gudkov Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 5, 2015) Many commentators are speculating on whether Russia’s elite groups, now threatened by Vladimir Putin’s policies, will find a way to remove him from office and install someone more to their liking. Andrey Piontkovsky has focused particular attention on this issue (nv.ua/opinion/piontkovskiy/putin-protiv-rossijskih-elit-78063.html). But this is only part of a larger […]

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Foreign Investors Complain About Russia’s Unpredictable Laws

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – October 20, 2015) Unpredictable lawmaking is undermining Russia’s ability to attract foreign investors, the Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) – a group of the biggest foreign companies working in Russia – told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. A report by financial services group and FIAC member EY (Ernst & Young) into […]

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Lawmakers Move to Force Russian Media to Report Foreign Funding

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – October 13, 2015) Russian media will be obliged to report funding they receive from abroad to the media watchdog Roskomnadzor, if an inter-party group of deputies get their way. A bill to that effect was introduced to the State Duma, the lower chamber of the country’s parliament, last week by deputies from […]

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[From 1993:] Russia Mourns Victims of Uprising

File Photo of Parliament Building Billowing Smoke in 1993

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anne Barnard, David Filipov – October 8, 1993) Moscow mourned the human cost of this week’s political bloodshed Thursday, as President Boris Yeltsin suspended the Constitutional Court he has accused of complicity in the violence. Several thousand friends, strangers and comrades in arms filed past the coffins of six policemen killed last Sunday and Monday […]

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Russian Senator Introduces Bill Criminalizing Pro-Stalin Propoganda

File Photo of Joseph Stalin and Sergei Kirov as Part of Group of Five, Next to Bust of Lenin, with Faces of Other Attendees Partially Blurred

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 22, 2015) A high-ranking Russian senator has sought to combat the increasing promotion of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the country by introducing a bill that would criminalize attempts to justify the dictator’s totalitarian regime and political purges, state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday. The bill introduced in the State Duma […]

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Poll shows three parties likely to be elected to next Russian parliament

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Interfax – September 3, 2015) With one year to go, half of Russian citizens have said they intend to vote in the next parliamentary election in Russia scheduled for 13 September 2016, according to an opinion poll conducted by Levada Centre. Thirty-one per cent have said they are “very likely” to vote and 19 per cent said they will “definitely” […]

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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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OBITUARY: Gennady Seleznyov, night rider of Russia’s rowdy parliament

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nick Allen in Berlin – July 23, 2015) With President Vladimir Putin’s executive fist dominating the ‘vertical of power’, while parliament toes the Kremlin line, it’s easy to forget Russia’s heyday of real rough-and-tumble oppositional party politics in the first years after the Soviet collapse. So defiant from the outset was the legislature, still […]

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Seven New Laws That Will Change the Face of Russia

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 8, 2015) Russian lawmakers have kept themselves very busy this year. Over the course of its spring session, which ended Friday, Russia’s State Duma passed a total of 278 new laws. The majority of these were unremarkable – ratifications to international agreements, minor budgetary adjustments and a busload of measures aimed […]

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Kremlin chief-of-staff against moving Russian presidential election

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – June 20, 2015) It doesn’t make sense to move the 2018 presidential election to an earlier date, head of the Russian presidential administration Sergey Ivanov has said. “If you ask my opinion, I see absolutely no sense in this,” Ivanov said in an interview in the Vesti v Subbotu with Sergey Brilev programme on state-owned official Rossiya 1 […]

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Banned if they do, banned if they don’t; Unable to change things in their own country, Russians are quietly leaving for good – but they will still check out Crimea

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – June 11, 2015) Each week in Russia some obscure Duma deputy no one has ever heard of before proposes a new law. Usually, the proposal gets instant and almost unanimous approval of the legislative body and within days becomes law, signed by the head of state. Usually it’s a […]

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Interfax: West loses tool of pressure on Russia after its withdrawal from G7 – Pushkov

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

MOSCOW. June 11 (Interfax) – The value of the G7 has markedly depleted in the U.S.’ eyes without Russia, State Duma International Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov has said. “To my mind, the G7 is merely another incarnation of the Western alliance, a club for friends of the United States of America. So, I believe its value has markedly depleted even […]

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Election Shifts Show Kremlin Wary Of Fallout From Recession

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 1, 2015) The Kremlin is moving to bring next year’s parliamentary elections forward and set up snap gubernatorial votes in several provinces this year, maneuvering that analysts say shows the authorities fear a deepening recession could weaken them and galvanize the opposition. The State Duma elections in December 2011 catalyzed the […]

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Russia Could Use Prison Labor For 2018 World Cup

putin-fifa-meeting

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 25, 2015) A prominent member of parliament for the ruling United Russia party has drafted a bill to allow enterprises to employ thousands of convicts as a cheap workforce to build infrastructure for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The legal amendments reported on May 25 in leading business daily Kommersant create a mechanism […]

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Rights Groups Condemn ‘Dangerous’ Russian Undesirables Law

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) Rights groups named as potential targets of a new law allowing the government to brand international organizations “undesirable” and shutter their Russia operations have criticized the legislation, calling it a “dangerous” new weapon in a Kremlin campaign to suppress civil society. Activists expressed concern on May 26 that the […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Legally silencing Russia’s undesirables

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Russia has just taken another step toward pernicious use of the law to buttress the authoritarian whims of its leader. Both houses of parliament recently passed legislation that would allow the government to label as “undesirable” — in effect, to outlaw — any foreign or international organizations deemed a threat to the “defensive capabilities or security of the state, to […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Move to Shift Vote for Russian Duma Seen Benefitting Putin. Support grows for holding parliamentary elections three months earlier, in September 2016

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Senior ruling-party politicians are throwing their weight behind a proposal to move Russia’s next parliamentary elections up three months to September 2016, a shift that could put opposition candidates at a further disadvantage by relegating the campaign to vacation season.

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Interfax: Issue of lifting sanctions from Russia should be raised by EU – Naryshkin

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Russia will not initiate a discussion on the issue of the lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions. “We, of course, are not going to discuss any criteria for lifting the sanctions. The first step should be taken by the European Union, which took such unfriendly actions on Russia under […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Lawmakers Take Step to Remove Putin Critic [Ilya V. Ponomarev]

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Russian lawmakers took a major step on Tuesday toward ousting Ilya V. Ponomarev, the only member of Parliament who opposed the annexation of Crimea last year and one of the few elected officials who have repeatedly dared to challenge President Vladimir V. Putin publicly. New York Times: Lawmakers Take Step to Remove Putin Critic. (Ilya V. Ponomarev)

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Russian Political Opposition Uniting for 2016 Parliamentary Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 3, 2015) Russia’s currently fragmented political opposition – which covers a broad spectrum of ideologies, from the far left to the far right – has agreed to form single alliance for next year’s parliamentary elections, newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Thursday. Nine of Russia’s most prominent opposition politicians, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky and […]

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Sexism in Russia: On the retreat but still a long way to go

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – April 4, 2015) There is a prevalent idea in Russian society that men and women should behave according to some unwritten standards. However, it is the country’s women that are affected much more by discrimination. What kinds of problems does this create in daily life and how long is […]

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Soviet-Era ‘Objective Truth’ Bill Would Imperil Presumption of Innocence

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-FarberMarch 27, 2015) A freshly introduced draft law proposing to redefine the roles of Russian judges has courted controversy among legal circles who fear that if adopted, the measure would endanger the presumption of innocence by blurring the lines between judges and prosecutors. State Duma Deputy Alexander Remezkov of the ruling United Russia submitted an […]

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Pressure on Kolomoyskyi is U.S. attempt to create centralized Ukraine with strong anti-Russian govt – Duma deputy

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

MOSCOW. March 24 (Interfax) – The events around Ukrainian governor Ihor Kolomoyskyi attest that he is not among the people the West is planning to build relations with, says Mikhail Yemelyanov, first deputy leader of A Just Russia Party faction. “It is clear that Kolomoyskyi is not the politician with whom the U.S. and Europeans would like to deal, hence […]

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Interfax: Moscow will not stay indifferent to U.S. decision on lethal arms supplies to Kiev

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

(Interfax – March 24, 2015) Russia will not stay indifferent to Washington’s possible decision to begin supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, Alexei Pushkov, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament, has said. “The Congress is urging the president of the United States to begin delivering weapons to the country which has […]

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Moscow Times: Russia Will Overcome Post-Crimea Challenges, Putin Vows

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 19, 2015) With the Kremlin walls glowing crimson in the background Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin praised tens of thousands of adulating fans for their support of Russia’s annexation of Crimea one year ago. He acknowledged that issues have mounted since the annexation, but assured the cheering crowd – the size of […]

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Pushkov does not expect improvement of Russia-U.S. relations

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

MOSCOW. March 16 (Interfax) – Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov is not expecting any improvement in Russia-U.S. relations in the foreseeable future. “Such hopes are expressed here from time to time: they are claiming that we will be good with America again when the crisis passes. No, we won’t be good with America, and this […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New law will allow NGOs to lose ‘foreign agent’ tag – on certain conditions

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 3, 2015) Non-governmental organizations that were forced to register as “foreign agents” under controversial legislation will soon be able to lift that status – but only if they meet certain conditions that some NGOs say are unrealistic. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has taken action to free NGOs from […]

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Russian Patriarch Says Halving Abortions Will Help Solve Population Crisis

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – January 23, 2015) Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, crossed Russia’s shifting line between Church and politics in his first-ever address to the State Duma on Thursday, calling on lawmakers to ensure that traditional moral values are safeguarded in the country’s legislation. The Russian Orthodox Church is known to entertain close […]

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