NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Re-election Is Assured. Let the Succession Fight Begin” – New York Times/Neil MacFarquhar, Ivan Nechepurenko, Oleg Matsnev

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Ask Russian analysts to describe the coming presidential election campaign, and their answers contain a uniform theme: a circus, a carnival, a sideshow. What they do not call it is a real election. With the victory of President Vladimir V. Putin assured, the real contest, analysts said, is the bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred fight to determine who or what comes after him […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Putin’s Heartland, Apathy and Disappointment Rule” – AP

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“Three months ahead of Russia’s presidential election, apathy and disappointment pervade … A new person is unlikely …. If Putin’s 18 years in power have induced apathy and a sense of helplessness … that’s the big issue in Navalny’s view. Putin has made voters in industrial cities … his base, touting stability …. A … Levada Center [survey] suggests that enthusiasm for Putin is in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Reactions To Putin’s Announcement That He Is Running For A Fourth Term” – Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)

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

“On December 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his 2018 presidential bid …. The Russian news agency Tass explained that Putin did not yet disclose whether he would run as the United Russia party nominee or as an independent self-nominated candidate. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “For Some Russian Oligarchs, Sanctions Risk Makes Putin Awkward to Know” – Reuters

“The threat of new U.S. sanctions has spread anxiety among Russia’s wealthiest people that their association with … Putin could land them on a U.S. government blacklist …. drawn up by early next year … part of a sanctions bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress …. Although those included on the list would not automatically be sanctioned, six people … part of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Business ombudsman Boris Titov to run for president” – bne Intellinews/ Vadim Dumes

Boris Titov file photo

“Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov will run for president in the 2018 election, representing the business-oriented Party of Growth …. [running] on the ‘Growth Strategy’ program developed by the Stolypin Club … unlikely to become a serious competitor … [but he] could bring pressing economic issues [to] the forefront …. * * * … the greatest other threat to [Putin’s] re-election is perhaps public apathy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Populism Trap” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Julia Gurganus

Putin Descending a Staircase

“In contrast to the populist image … Putin has created to galvanize support, he is part of today’s Russian establishment elite. This puts him in an awkward position as populism spreads across Europe and Russia marks the one hundredth anniversary of the 1917 revolution. Should Putin again take the populist approach, he is likely to inspire accusations of hypocrisy from the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Western Moscow, Putin Allies Lose an Election but Cling to Power” – Reuters

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

“More than 10 weeks after losing a local council election in western Moscow … Putin’s party is clinging to power there – by fair means or foul.  The standoff over control of Filyovsky Park Council came to a head when opposition councilor Vadim Korovin tried to sit in the chairman’s seat at a meeting on Tuesday. A councilor from the […]

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Most Russians Hold Putin Responsible for Country’s Problems – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2017) A majority of Russians hold President Vladimir Putin responsible for Russia’s problems, according to the results of a Levada Center poll published Monday. Putin is widely expected to announce his candidacy for elections next March which would give the president a fourth term. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose anti-corruption protests this year […]

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It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. “It is not yet unclear whether Putin will run for the re-election. As you know, he did not say anything about it,” Peskov told reporters, replying to a question as to whether the possibility of involving […]

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NEWSLINK: “AP Interview: Russia must be more tolerant, candidate [Ksenia Sobchak] says” – AP

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“A celebrity Russian TV host who intends to run for president in next March’s election said Friday that she hopes to make the nations’ tightly-controlled political system more inclusive and democratic. The 36-year-old Ksenia Sobchak has cast herself as a ‘candidate against all’ in the March 18 vote. She’s seeking to reach out to those who have grown tired of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The importance of Russia’s unimportant prime minister” – bne Intellinews/ Mark Galeotti

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

“Elections in 2018 are very unlikely to mean a new president for Russia, but they could see a new prime minister appointed. … while the role is essentially to be presidential henchman and scapegoat, it is a role with meaning, and … Putin’s choice will be both consequential and also a potential indicator of the direction he plans to take …. […]

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Communist Party Leader Zyuganov Says He’s Not Running for President (Yet)

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 8, 2017) The longtime leader of Russia’s Communist Party denied that he’s running for president in 2018 – less than 24 hours after seemingly announcing his candidacy on state-run television. Gennady Zyuganov said on the centennial anniversary of the October Revolution on Tuesday that “every organization” within his party had backed his candidacy for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Reality TV Opposition” – New York Times/Oleg Kashin/ Translated by Carol Apollonio

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“[Sobchak’s father] was mayor of Leningrad … [and] made … Putin his deputy. … he defended Mr. Putin from corruption accusations. … [Sobchak] fled the country … [facing] his own corruption allegations. … [returning] after … Putin became prime minister …. For the opposition, [Ksenia] Sobchak’s meeting with [Putin] … amounts to treachery: A true [Putin] opponent … would never negotiate with him about participating in the election. But are there any real […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: [Vladimir Putin and Igor Borisov at] Meeting of Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (transcript concluded)” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) [Full transcript here en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55947] Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin …. Igor Borisov: Mr President, thank you for giving me the floor. I have just a few words about the elections. I understand we have a very compressed schedule; Mr Fedotov is ready to […]

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Crimea should hold new referendum – Sobchak

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

YEKATERINBURG. Oct 28 (Interfax) – The Russian television presenter Ksenia Sobchak, who has decided to run for presidency in 2018, says that Crimea must hold a new independent referendum. “Russia violated its international obligations, that’s the main starting point. There are Russian people living in Crimea, many of them. (…) We cannot treat them as subjects of geopolitics. That policy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Putin Want? To Maintain His Power No Matter What; A big win for Putin in the March election would be a victory for the Russian autocratic state.” – NBC/ William Pomeranz

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

“In Russia … [elections] are acts of confirmation: The only real suspense … is whether … Putin will receive 70 percent or 80 percent …. Putin … surely understands that reform is the moment of greatest vulnerability for a Russian leader (just ask … Gorbachev). … Putin’s intent is always to maintain control, as recent prosecutions attest. * * * … At the top of […]

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Russian Journalist Yekaterina Gordon Announces She’ll Run for President in March 2018

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 30, 2017) Yekaterina Gordon, a 37-year-old journalist and singer-songwriter with her own law firm, on Monday announced she would be putting herself forward as a candidate for presidential elections in March 2018. The announcement comes less than two weeks after celebrity Ksenia Sobchak placed her presidential bid, in a controversial move which critics say […]

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Ksenia Sobchak, Russia’s Star Presidential Candidate, Will Be Heard; Loud and divisive, Ksenia Sobchak knows how to put on a show

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – October 26, 2017) The jeers and whistles rang out with venom. But that wasn’t going to stop Ksenia Sobchak: She was the one on stage, and she was the one holding the mic. Standing in front of a crowd riled up by the previous three weeks of protests against President Vladimir Putin, […]

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Moscow Times/ Levada Center: Majority of Russians Ready to Hand Putin Fourth Term

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 27, 2017) More than 50 percent of Russians surveyed in a recent independent poll are ready to give President Vladimir Putin a fourth term in office. Asked who they’d vote for if the elections were held this Sunday, 53 percent named Putin. One in five couldn’t name who they’d vote for, while one in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Sobchak and the presidential reality show; Why does the Kremlin allow socialite Ksenia Sobchak to take part in the presidential elections? Distraction? Theatricality? According to security expert Mark Galeotti it reflects the limitations of Putin’s hyper-presidential system. ‘Vote against all’ is a way out for the population” -RaamopRuslandNL/ Mark Galeotti

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“The news that Ksenia Sobchak, part-time opposition gadfly, erstwhile reality TV host, and full-time celebrity, plans to stand in the 2018 presidential elections has – rightly – been interpreted as a Kremlin bid to ‘sex up’ what otherwise seemed unbearably tedious elections and also to split Alexei Navalny’s opposition camp. That Sobchak presented herself as the ‘against everyone’ candidate, simply […]

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Sobchak Campaign Teams Up With Igor Malashenko, Who Once Helped Yeltsin

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 24, 2017) In her first press conference since announcing her bid for the presidency, Ksenia Sobchak on Tuesday said Igor Malashenko, who once helped Boris Yeltsin to the presidency, would be joining her campaign team. Sobchak unexpectedly announced last week she would run in presidential elections in March next year. Although President Vladimir Putin […]

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“Against all” option may reappear in Russian elections soon – Matviyenko

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

MOSCOW. Oct 25 (Interfax) – The “against all” option is necessary and may reappear on Russian election ballots in the medium-term future, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “As for this option, I still think it is necessary and I am sure it will reappear in the medium-term future,” Matviyenko told reporters on Wednesday. The “against all” option is still […]

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Udaltsov calls for consolidation of left-wing forces in Russia

File Photo of Sergei Udaltsov Speaking Outdoors, Holding Microphone and Gesturing

ST. PETERSBURG. Oct 25 (Interfax) – The Left Front movement will resume its activity before the Russian presidential election, movement coordinator Sergei Udaltsov told reporters in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. “We’d like to declare that the left-wing movement in Russia is not just looking back but is also mindful of the future,” Udaltsov said, adding that it was not accidental […]

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Many Russians Back Existing System but Fear Putin’s Policies are Too Risky, Morozov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 22, 2017) Most commentators accept that Vladimir Putin will easily win re-election as president but suggest that both the level of participation and the number of votes cast for him and his opponent will reflect a division between those who support the Kremlin leader and his system and those who oppose […]

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NEWSLINK: “When ‘against all’ isn’t necessarily against Putin; Prominent Russians react to Ksenia Sobchak’s presidential campaign” – Meduza

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“Television host, socialite, and LʼOfficiel Russia chief editor Ksenia Sobchak announced on October 18 that she intends to run for president next year, confirming rumors that have circulated for the past six weeks. We still know very little about her campaign, though there are reports that political consultant Vitaly Shklyarov (who helped several opposition candidates win municipal races in Moscow […]

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Russian Elections Chief Says Navalny Cannot Run Until 2028

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – October 17, 2017 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-navalny-elections-pamfilova-presidency/28799529.html) Russia’s top election official says that opposition politician Aleksei Navalny will not be eligible to run for office until about 2028. Speaking at a youth festival in the southern city of Sochi, Central Election Commission chief Ella Pamfilova warned Navalny and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Bernie Sanders campaign veteran advises a surging opposition movement in Russia” – Washington Post/ Andrew Roth

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

“Vitali Shkliarov, a 41-year-old political operative born in Belarus, speaks the gospel of Bernie Sanders in the style of a Silicon Valley executive. Technology, he says, is a key to access …. The idea got a test drive in Moscow’s recent municipal elections … the veteran of the Sanders and … Obama campaigns sees it as part of a worldwide movement. * […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova” – KremlinRu

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – October 9, 2017) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova, who informed the President of the outcomes of elections that took place on the unified voting day, September 10, 2017. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Pamfilova, could you share your assessment of the outcomes of the unified voting day? […]

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Putin Now Looking to History Rather than to the Russian People, Stanovaya Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 27, 2017) Vladimir Putin views the upcoming presidential elections as being not so much about legitimizing him as the leader of the Russian people but rather as a ruler “who wants to write him name down in history,” according to Tatyana Stanovaya; and that shift will affect both the campaign and […]

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‘Caricature Candidate’? Sobchak, Navalny Clash Over Her Rumored 2018 Kremlin Bid

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – September 25, 2017) [Text with video, graphics, and links at https://www.rferl.org/a/sobchak-navalny-putin-kremlin-election-presidency-rumors/28756447.html] Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny is trading barbs with Russian celebrity and TV host Ksenia Sobchak over speculation she will run for the Russian presidency in March — a rumor widely discussed in media […]

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Oops! How Moscow’s municipal election turned into a headache for city hall; The unexpected success of independent candidates in Moscow’s recent council elections may be relative – but it’s real enough.

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Ivan Davydov – September 20, 2017) Ivan Davydov is a Russian journalist and writer. His articles can be seen at The New Times, Republic, Inliberty and Gazeta.ru, among other publications. The Russian opposition enjoyed an unexpectedly decent showing at the municipal council elections in Moscow last week. The Yabloko political party, having broken with its own traditions by […]

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Russia’s Local and Gubernatorial Elections, the Reactions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 11, 2017) On Sunday, 82 Russian regions held elections for different levels of government. The elections traditionally attract little interest. But this year the vote was widely seen as a bell-weather for mayoral elections in Moscow and presidential elections next year. In the sixteen regions which held gubernatorial elections, United Russia won every seat. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to be nominated as a presidential candidate in November” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be nominated as a presidential candidate in November. The procedure for nominating the current president as a candidate for a new term will be held in two stages, Kommersant reports, citing sources in the Kremlin where closed meetings on the upcoming presidential elections in 2018 have been held. …”

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United Democrats win over 260 seats in Moscow municipal assemblies – Gudkov

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 11 (Interfax) – Over 260 members of the United Democrats team, which comprised members of the Yabloko, Parnas parties, the Communist Party of Russia and independent candidates, were elected municipal deputies in Moscow according to the results of the September 10 election, the organizer of the coalition, opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov said. “According to the latest data, we […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin cast his vote during municipal elections in Moscow – KremlinRu

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 10, 2017) The President visited polling station No. 2151 in Moscow’s Gagarinsky District and cast his vote in elections for deputies of local self-government bodies. On the unified voting day, elections of various levels take place in 82 regions of Russia. People are voting for top officials in a number of Russian Federation’s constituent entities, regional parliament […]

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Business community expects economic reforms in Russia after presidential vote – Gref

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – The business community expects that Russia may begin extensive economic reforms after next year’s presidential elections and the preparatory stage is now underway, Sberbank of Russia (MOEX: SBER) CEO Herman Gref said in an interview on NTV television. “The expectations of business and, in general, the entire country is that such an extensive reform process, […]

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How Western Election Monitors Help Putin

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

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Fedor Krasheninnikov – September 7, 2017) Fedor Krasheninnikov is a well-known Russian journalist and political analyst. He has been a contributing opinion writer with the business newspaper Vedomosti and the independent online publication Snob.ru. Krasheninnikov also serves as political commentator for the radio station Echo of Moscow. He has organised environmental and political campaigns […]

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Putin sure there will be other candidates in addition to Ksenia Sobchak in Russian presidential election

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

XIAMEN. Sept 5 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin was unaware of television personality Ksenia Sobchak’s plans to run for president before the press conference in Xiamen on Tuesday. “This is the first time I’ve heard of her intention to run for president. I am sure there will be other candidates too,” Putin told reporters after the BRICS summit. As […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s government moves from war budget to election budget” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The Russian government has moved from a war budget to an election budget as social spending soars and defence spending is cut. With the presidential election now only a year away, which Russian President Vladimir Putin, virtually unopposed, is expected to easily win, the Russian government has changed its budgetary focus and boosted social spending to soften up the electorate. […]

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Putin’s Would-Be Successors Ranked Ahead of 2018 Elections

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 21, 2017) Ahead of presidential elections scheduled for March next year, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny are among President Vladimir Putin’s potential successors, according to a new ranking produced by a Russian think-tank. Published by the independent Peterburgskaya Politika NGO on Monday, the list casts current […]

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Interfax: Udaltsov plans to consolidate Left Front, urges left forces to nominate sole presidential candidate

File Photo of Sergei Udaltsov Speaking Outdoors, Holding Microphone and Gesturing

  MOSCOW. Aug 10 (Interfax) – Prominent leftist Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, who served four years and six months in a penitentiary for organizing mass disturbances, plans to revive the Left Front organization and work toward consolidating leftist forces, including those in parliament, to nominate a sole candidate in the 2018 presidential elections. “The nearest objectives that I see […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Communists Pursue a Red Revival” – Stratfor

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… The [Communist] Party’s rise, coupled with that of … other dissident factions, will not pose an immediate threat to the Kremlin, but … represents a trend that the current administration can’t afford to ignore in the long term…. cracks are beginning to show in the system that has supported … Putin’s government for 17 years. Demographic shifts, economic stagnation and building pressure […]

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If Navalny Takes Power He Could End Up Like Putin, Says Khodorkovsky

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 9, 2017) Former tycoon turned opposition politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky has warned Russians against pinning their hopes on Alexei Navalny, saying that if he should come to power, the country would face “hard times.” “On one hand, I would feel joy [if Navalny won.] A change in leadership is a good thing,” the former CEO […]

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Kremlin Plans Rapid Healthcare Reform in Time for Presidential Election

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 7, 2017) Russian authorities will unroll healthcare reform nationwide in time for presidential elections next year, the Vedomosti newspaper reported, citing a source close to the Kremlin. The Health Ministry says the organizational reforms for clinics, which were piloted last year, can reduce waiting times twelve-fold and boost consumer satisfaction by 10-15 percent. Implementation […]

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Why Navalny Can’t Lose

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 2, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-navalny/28654383.html) One way or another, we’re in for one hell of a show next year. One way or another, the March 2018 presidential election will probably be like nothing we’ve seen before in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And the reason, of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Risks Decades of Low Growth Under U.S. Sanctions: Putin Adviser”- Reuters

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“Russia risks being saddled with U.S. sanctions for decades, curbing economic growth and preventing it from regaining its status as a leading economic power, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin said …. Alexei Kudrin told Reuters that the current proposed tightening of sanctions in Washington should not have any serious impact. But he called for a major structural reform program […]

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Kremlin Plan to Make Fight for Justice Centerpiece of Putin Campaign Seen Backfiring

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 26, 2017) Two anonymous sources “close to the Presidential Administration” tell the Znak news agency that Vladimir Putin plans to fight “the struggle against poverty and social injustice” a centerpiece of his re-election campaign in order to mobilize Russians against local and regional elites. But Znak commentator Yekaterina Vinokurova warns that […]

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Kremlin Still Unable to Come Up with Future for Putin to Run On, Vedomosti Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 17, 2017) An article in today’s Vedomosti suggesting that the Kremlin has not been able to come up with “an image of the future” which Vladimir Putin can use in the upcoming presidential elections has sparked widespread comment in the Internet that perhaps this means that “Putin doesn’t have a future” […]

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