On Trump’s New Man in Russia, Jon Huntsman, Moscow Says ‘Wait and See’; The former China envoy is facing a tough crowd

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 19, 2017) The appointment of reported ‘hardliner’ Jon Huntsman as the United States’ new Ambassador to Russia met with mixed reactions in Moscow on Wednesday. “It’s too early for labels,” Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency. “[We have to] judge him by his […]

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Klintsevich links Washington’s conditions for return of Russian diplomatic property to Trump administration’s attempts to ‘save face’

File Photo of Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Adapted From Image at loc.gov

MOSCOW. July 17 (Interfax) – Franz Klintsevich, first deputy head of the Federation Council committee on defense and security, has called actions taken by Washington, which sets conditions for the return of Russian diplomatic property seized in the United States, strange and said he hopes for the settlement of the situation. “It is possible that the current U.S. administration now […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. [excerpt re: NGOs]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Valentina Matviyenko: Mr President, we also organised public hearings on a subject that was long ripe for discussion. We simply gave this discussion a formal framework through these hearings on the inadmissibility of interference in Russia’s internal affairs. We know how […]

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Russian prosecutor general suggests giving Justice Ministry right to conduct extraordinary inspections of NGOs that breach legislation

Yury Chaika file photo

MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) – Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has suggested giving the Justice Ministry the right to conduct extraordinary inspections of NGOs. “We suggest giving the Justice Ministry the right to conduct extraordinary inspections of NGOs if there is information that they are in breach of any bans and restrictions envisaged by the law,” Chaika told a parliamentary […]

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Interfax: Idea of appointing Russian Academy of Sciences president deserves attention – Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – The idea that a Russian Academy of Sciences head may be appointed by the president of Russia deserves attention, yet no decisions have so far been made to this effect, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “All of us have been watching the developments around the election of a [Russian Academy of Sciences] president. The […]

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Interfax: Trump continues to follow pragmatic rather than ideological path – Kosachyov

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement before Congress about the need to search for new allies displays his pragmatic attitude, but a pledged growth of military spending and his position on Iran cause concerns, Federation Council international affairs committee’s head Konstantin Kosachyov said. “America is ready to look for new allies in tackling new threats, so, […]

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Kosachyov sees ‘window of opportunity’ for building pragmatic relations with U.S. under Trump

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

MOSCOW. Feb 2 (Interfax) – Relations with the United States will not be ‘a bed of roses’ for Russia, yet there is a window of opportunity for pragmatic interaction now that a new team has moved into the White House, Federation Council International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov said. “I, personally, think that [U.S. President Donald] Trump is much more […]

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Meeting between Putin, Russian Security Council members involved exchange of opinions on current state of Russian-U.S. relations – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday held an operative meeting with permanent members of the Russian Security Council, presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov told Interfax. “The meeting addressed current issues relating to the internal Russian socio-economic agenda,” Peskov said. “It also addressed the outcome of the Astana negotiations, and also the prospects of further efforts […]

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Russian Justice Ministry to consider Anti-Maidan leader’s request on checking several NGOs for foreign financing

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Aug 20 (Interfax) – The Russian Justice Ministry will consider an appeal by Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin, the founder of the Anti-Maidan movement, on checking a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) for receiving financing from abroad. “The Russian Justice Ministry has received an appeal from Russian Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin. The appeal will be considered within the […]

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Moscow interested in further dialogue with NATO – Federation Council members on NATO-Russia Council meeting

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage

MOSCOW. July 8 (Interfax) – The upcoming NATO summit will hardly be sensational, and a lot will depend on a NATO-Russia Council meeting to take place after it, Federation Council members said, adding that Russia was pro-dialogue. “Although NATO excitedly speaks about the forthcoming ‘epochal event’, nothing sensationally substantial will happen at the alliance’s summit in Warsaw,” Federation Council International […]

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Interfax: Federation Council not ruling out deployment of U.S. missile defense shield in Romania may influence New START Treaty’s fate

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

MOSCOW. May 13 (Interfax) – The activation of a Romania-based facility of the U.S. missile defense shield and the further deployment of this shield in Eastern Europe may influence Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in 2010, Frants Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council, […]

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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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Interfax: Truthfulness of evidence of oil smuggled to Turkey from terrorists-controlled areas raises no doubt – senator Ozerov

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Russia has no doubt about the credibility of the evidence it showed of oil supplies to Turkey from ISIL-controlled areas, said Viktor Ozerov, head of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee. “These are objective documents. With the system of capabilities that the U.S. and other NATO states have, joking and serving – to put […]

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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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Interfax: Senior senator says Russia to be thorn in US side while it sticks to exclusivity

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Interfax – September 10, 2015) The head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, has said that he believes that a Russia that challenges the American theory of exclusive leadership will always be a problem for the USA, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 10 September. Russia to be problem for USA for as long as […]

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Kaliningrad election commission confirms Yakunin’s rank as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

KALININGRAD. Aug 20 (Interfax) – It has been confirmed that Russian Railways (MOEX: RZHD) chief Vladimir Yakunin has the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Kaliningrad regional election commission chief Inessa Vinyavskaya wrote on her Facebook page. “In reply to the commission’s query as part of the verification of the information on V. I. Yakunin, the Russian Presidential Administration […]

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Head of Russia’s Mighty Rail Monopoly Looks Set to Step Down

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 18, 2015) Vladimir Yakunin, one of Russia’s most powerful executives and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, was nominated as a senator for the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Monday, a position that would oblige him to step down as head of the state rail monopoly Russian Railways (RZD). […]

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Human rights activists fear Soros Foundation to leave Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 3, 2015) The Soros Foundation could follow the MacArthur Foundation and National Endowment for Democracy and leave Russia, veteran of the human rights movement and head of the Civil Assistance committee Svetlana Gannushkina said. “I am afraid that the Soros Foundation is leaving Russia,” she said. According to Gannushkina, the probability exists that the Soros Foundation will […]

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Russian Senators Propose Ban of 12 Foreign NGOs, Reining In Civil Society

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 9, 2015) In what experts see as Moscow’s latest bid to rein in civil society, Russian senators released a list Wednesday of 12 foreign NGOs whose work they believe poses a threat to national security, and who should thus be declared “undesirable” and prohibited from operating in the country. The Federation […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Interfax: Russia should get less aggressive towards sex minorities – senator

Federation Council file photo

(Interfax – June 28, 2015) Deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Constitutional Legislation Konstantin Dobrynin has suggested that the American “don’t ask, don’t tell” principle be enshrined in the Russian law with respect to people of non-heterosexual orientation. One may laugh at America or a tolerant Europe for as long as one likes; it should be admitted, however, […]

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Interfax: Armenia is not immune to ‘color revolution’ – Kosachyov

Armenia Map

MOSCOW. June 24 (Interfax) – Federation Council International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov has detected ‘color revolution’ symptoms in the latest events in Armenia. “The situation is developing as a conflict of people displeased with the economic and social situation in Armenia,” Kosachyov told reporters on Wednesday. “But one should not be mistaken: practically every ‘color revolution’ started with such […]

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Interfax: Ukraine can retain Donbas if it treats it as special region – Russian Federation Council member

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

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – Kyiv should grant special status to southeastern regions of Ukraine in order to preserve the country’s unity, says Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee. “Only decentralization, reducing everyone to the same level would be not enough, and if Ukraine wants to preserve Donbas as its part, it should treat […]

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Interfax: Increasingly difficult for Kyiv to explain its problems by ‘Russian threat’ – Senator Kosachyov

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. April 28 (Interfax) – The chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, believes that the latest Ukraine-EU summit had a ‘sobering-up’ effect on Kyiv. “At the Ukraine-EU summit, Brussels focused on things that sobered Kyiv up – the pace and scope of constitutional and other reforms in Ukraine, the fight against corruption, the restructuring of […]

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Russian state will not clamp down on dissenters, senate speaker says

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, April 1, 2015) Russia does not intend to conduct a clampdown on the opposition as it is not threatened by a “colour revolution” no matter how hard the West tries to de-stabilize the interior situation in the country, Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has said. “The Russian state does not intend to pursue a clampdown […]

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Russian upper house calls on “constructive forces” in Ukraine to focus on truce

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

(Interfax – Moscow, February 25, 2015) Members of the Federation Council have called on constructive forces in Ukraine to concentrate their efforts on implementation of the Minsk agreements and make further efforts to launch a nationwide dialogue. The Federation Council “fully approves the agreements reached in Minsk by the heads of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany and voices support for […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian senator calls for new security architecture in Europe

Europe Map

(RIA Novosti – December 30, 2014) The head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, has called for the start of a dialogue on forming a European security architecture on new principles, without national egoism, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 30 December. “It is in our common interests to […]

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Interfax: Putin to make annual address to Federal Assembly on Dec. 4 – Federation Council Chair Matviyenko

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Russian Federation Council Chair Valentina Matviyenko has reminded the Federation Council members that the president will present an annual address to the Federal Assembly on December 4. “Both parliamentary chambers will hold a joint session at the Grand Kremlin Palace on December 4 to listen to the president’s address to the Federal Assembly,” Matviyenko told […]

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Interfax: Federation Council expects no breakthroughs from Minsk meeting, humanitarian issues to be emphasized

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) – No serious breakthroughs are expected with regard to a peace settlement in eastern Ukraine at the possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk because Poroshenko is guided by the U.S. stance, the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee said. “Washington is not represented at this meeting in Minsk […]

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Interfax: Most Ukrainian industrial production facilities will stop with severance of diplomatic ties with Russia – Federation Council members

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. July 16 (Interfax) – Members of the Russian Federation Council believe that Ukraine would experience grave socioeconomic consequences from the possible severance of diplomatic relations with Russia. Nikolai Ryzhkov, Federation Council member and the head of a public committee for support of the residents of southeastern Ukraine, described remarks by Ukrainian officials suggesting that Ukraine could sever diplomatic ties […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko: Kyiv zombies people by Hollywood videos of Russian tanks

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. July 8 (Interfax) – Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has accused the Ukrainian authorities of unleashing an information campaign against Russia and stated the appearance of political prisoners in Ukraine. “Ukrainian residents are being zombied by claims that this is the fight for a just cause, the fight against Russia which has waged a war and some Hollywood videos […]

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NEWSLINK: No more little green men? Putin takes military option in Ukraine off table.

Federation Council file photo

[“No more little green men? Putin takes military option in Ukraine off table” – Christian Science Monitor –  Fred Weir- June 24, 2014] The Christian Science Monitor covers Russia’s legislative move to formerly rescind an authorization for additional military intervention in Ukraine. Almost four months after Russia’s upper house of parliament granted Vladimir Putin blanket permission to use military force in Ukraine, […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian lawmakers revoke right to send troops into Ukraine

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

[“Russian lawmakers revoke right to send troops into Ukraine” – Reuters – June 25, 2014] Reuters covers a vote by Russia’s Parliament to formerly rescind a past authorization of military intervention in Ukraine.  The legislators acted in response to a directive from Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The authorization of force could be reinstated in short order if need be. The Russian parliament […]

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RIA Novosti: Kiev Responsible For Ukraine Crisis, Demands of Moscow ‘Knocking On Wrong Door’ – Speaker [Valentina Matvienko]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev bears full responsibility for the crisis in southeastern Ukraine, and blaming Moscow for it is “knocking on the wrong door,” the speaker of the upper chamber of Russian parliament said Wednesday. Valentina Matvienko told reporters she was aware of recent media reports about the possibility of economic sanctions against Russia if Moscow fails […]

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Interfax: Russian peacekeepers may come to Ukraine only with UN authorization – MP Ozerov

UN Building file photo

MOSCOW. April 25 (Interfax) – Peacekeepers may be deployed in Ukraine only with the UN Security Council permission, while the Federation Council has exercised its powers regarding the Armed Forces and allowed the Russian president to send troops to that country, Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ozerov said in an interview with Interfax. There will be no […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko sure Federation Council permission to send troops to Ukraine won’t be used

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Interfax – April 18, 2014) Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko is confident that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have to use the Federation Council’s permission to send troops to Ukraine for protecting the civilian population. “I am positive that will not be necessary. The Geneva meeting mapped out ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis (…) I very much hope […]

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Interfax: Russia not financing unrest in eastern Ukraine – senator

Federation Council file photo

(Interfax – April 9, 2014) Andrey Klimov, deputy head of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council, has said the US State Department statements about unrest in eastern Ukraine being sponsored by Russia are absurd, Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax reported on 8 April. “Such statements are absolutely groundless and absurd. If Americans use these methods in their work […]

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RIA Novosti: Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk is Different From Crimea – Russian Lawmaker

Federation Council file photo

DONETSK, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – The situation in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region requires individual examination and is not identical to the Crimean scenario, the deputy chairman of Russia’s upper house of parliament told RIA Novosti on Monday. “The situation [in Donetsk Region] requires separate consideration due to its historic and political background,” Federation Council member Ilyas Ukhmanov said in […]

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Russian official sees no “national leader” among Ukraine presidential candidates

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, April 1, 2014) Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko believes that there is no national leader among the candidates registered for the presidential election in Ukraine. “I do not see a single national leader who could unite Ukraine and become a president elected nationwide among the candidates for the Ukrainian presidential post. For the time being I do […]

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Moscow expects “sobering” effect from Federation Council decision on Ukraine

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. March 3 (Interfax) – Moscow expects the Federation Council’s consent to send Russian army servicemen to Ukraine to have a sobering effect on many forces in that country. “Speaking of the decision the Federation Council made yesterday, we expect this decision to sober up many and to demonstrate the seriousness of intentions of the Russian Federation,” Russian State Secretary […]

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Parliament Approves Putin Request for Military Action in Ukraine – RIA Novosti

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s upper house of parliament on Saturday approved a request from President Vladimir Putin to use armed force in Ukraine. Putin made the request because of what he said was a threat to the lives of Russian citizens and military forces located in naval bases in Crimea. The Federation Council voted unanimously in support […]

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Radicals may push aside Ukrainian moderate opposition – Margelov

Mikhail Margelov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 24 (Interfax) – The Federation Council believes that the victory in Kyiv and western Ukraine has been won by radicals and militants and the systemic opposition may soon be pushed aside. “As Maidan [people] refuse to leave and to lay down their arms, it seems the winners think they still have tasks to accomplish. The situation is developing […]

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Russian senator slams EU over “double standards” on Ukraine

Mikhail Margelov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, February 11, 2014) The head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Mikhail Margelov, has accused the European Union of employing double standards. Margelov told Interfax that during his work in PACE he and his colleagues from the Russian delegation acquired strong immunity to double standards in assessments of the same events that are used by […]

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Interfax: Russian Federation Council concerned about events in Ukraine – statement

Federation Council file photo

(Interfax – January 29, 2014) The Russian Federation Council believes that the ongoing events in Ukraine are aimed at discrediting and overthrowing the legitimate authorities, says a statement on the situation in Ukraine the Federation Council members unanimously passed on Wednesday. “The Federation Council is concerned about the situation in Ukraine and believes that the mass unrest provoked by the […]

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Interfax: Russian senators say Kiev lacks political will to solve crisis

Federation Council file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, January 22, 2013) Members of the Federation Council have agreed with the position of their colleagues from the lower chamber [of parliament, State Duma], which adopted a statement on the events in Ukraine on Wednesday [22 January]. “The Federation Council cannot stand aloof from the events in Ukraine and we express solidarity with the stance of the […]

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Interfax: Comparing Khodorkovsky with Solzhenitsyn is inappropriate – top Russian senator

Alexander Solzhenitsyn file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 24 (Interfax) – Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, has advised against comparing former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was pardoned by the Russian president on December 20 and flew to Berlin immediately after his release from prison, with Soviet writer and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whom Matviyenko described as a prominent […]

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Interfax: Moscow to respond proportionally in case Washington expands Magnitsky List – official [Matviyenko]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Interfax – December 18, 2013) The so-called Magnitsky List is an utterly unfriendly step regarding Russia and Moscow will take proportionate measures if it is expanded, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said. “I think that this law is an unfriendly step regarding us and does not contribute to improving the climate in our bilateral relations with the United States. […]

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Interfax: Lawmaker praises Russia’s “conservative” foreign policy

Mikhail Margelov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – A senior Russian lawmaker has praised what, according to President Vladimir Putin, is the “conservative” nature of Russia’s foreign policy. “Not to correct or deny but to continue history is the slogan of modern conservatism, a rational ideology that is appropriate for addressing tasks posed by circumstances,” Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council’s International […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko calls for careful treatment of Russian Constitution

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko believes it is wrong to make drastic changes to the fundamental provisions of the Russian Constitution. “I don’t see any need to make amendments to the Constitution. There is no need for it and this issue should be approached very carefully,” Matviyenko said during a meeting with young legislators from […]

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