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Tag Archive for Government

Interfax: Poll: Russians say Aug 1991 events are tragedy, not triumph of democracy

File Photo of Parliament Building Billowing Smoke in 1993

(Interfax – August 19, 2014) A relative majority of Russians (41 percent) see the August 19, 1991, putsch in the former Soviet Union as a tragedy which had harmful implications for the country and its people. The number has grown 14 percent in the past 20 years, from 27 percent in 1994, the Levada Center

Interfax: Some 82 percent of Russians ready to support Putin in next election – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Interfax – August 13, 2014) The election rating of Vladimir Putin has practically doubled since the beginning of the year and he would have won a convincing victory if the next presidential election were held next Sunday, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax. Some 52 percent of the respondents who intend to cast their ballots mentioned

In Russia, Iron Curtain Falls Not at the End of the Play But Much Earlier, Moscow Sociologist Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 12, 2014) Aleksey Levinson, a Levada Center sociologist, says that iron curtains like the one now being erected around Russia are a political strategy that reflects weakness rather than strength and that its appearance is not the end of the story but somewhere much earlier. In

Russia’s Boom Business: Forced Labor In Prisons

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Vladimir Abarinov – August 11, 2014) When Nadezhda Tolokonnikova arrived at penal colony IK-14 in August 2012, a deputy warden proudly announced: “As far as my political convictions go, I am a Stalinist.” Tolokonnikova soon learned what that meant in practice. One year into her sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” the Pussy Riot

Hiding dual citizenship now a criminal offense in Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anastasia Vityazeva, special to RBTH – August 12, 2014) New legislation requires Russians with passports of two or more countries to inform the migration service on their own initiative, with those who intentionally conceal dual citizenship being criminally liable. A government representative claims that Russians who are a

No Passports Required to Use Public Wi-Fi, Moscow City Hall Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 9, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree Friday instructing public Wi-Fi network operators to require user identification – but only in certain spots. The decree was almost immediately greeted with outrage from many residents of Moscow, where Wi-Fi is widely available in parks, cafes, schools and on

Ban on anonymous access to public Wi-Fi irritates Russians

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Igor Rozin, RBTH – August 11, 2014) A government decree demanding that Russians show their passports when accessing public Wi-Fi has agitated Russian society. A few hours after the decree was issued, the Moscow Mayor and the Ministry of Communications’ press offices explained that the decision did not

Daching: How to Get Beaten Up in the Russian Countryside

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 11, 2014) Many extreme sports, from snowboarding to air racing, are known health hazards. But only one can lead to indiscriminate beating, allegations of terrorism, jail and even self-imposed exile – and all you need to do is take a stroll through supposedly public land. Dozens

After Putin, Russia Will Be Either Fascist or Federalized, Ukrainian Analyst Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 10, 2014) Ever more people around the world want Vladimir Putin to leave the scene but very few have asked themselves what Russia will be like after his departure. One who has, Sergey Klimovsky, suggests that Russia will either be a fascist state even worse than

Putinism Resembles ‘a Fascist Dictatorship,’ Eidman Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 8, 2014) Putinism, Igor Eidman says, is “a combination of the practice and ideology of the authoritarian regime of Putin, which operates on a corrupt bureaucratic oligarchy and is in many respects close to a fascist dictatorship,” with its “aggressive annexationist foreign policy, state-monopoly capitalism, force

Putin’s Approval Rating Soars to 87%, Poll Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 7, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has reached a record high of 87 percent, according to the results of a survey published Wednesday by the independent Levada Center pollster. In May, Putin enjoyed an approval rating of 83 percent, its highest since 2008, according to major U.S. pollster

No Palace Coup in Sight for Russia

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 5, 2014) When the U.S. government announced its first round of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s friends over the Ukraine conflict in May, it made no bones about their aim: Increase the cost for them of Putin continuing his course and they will influence him to

Law Requiring Bloggers to Register as Mass Media Comes Into Force

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 1, 2014) A law requiring popular bloggers to register as mass media took effect Friday, tightening government control over the country’s influential online voices but leaving some uncertainty as to how strict the immediate scrutiny will become. In accordance with the new law, any blog that

Putin’s ‘Russian Spring’ Idea was Invented by Russian Fascists in 1920s

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 30, 2014) Commentators in Moscow and the West ever more frequently draw parallels between Vladimir Putin’s ideas and actions and those of fascist regimes in the first part of the 20th century, but few have focused on the fact that one of the Kremlin leader’s most-cherished

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Social media alive and well despite laws

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Plyushchev, special to RBTH – July 15, 2014) Alexander Plyushchev is a popular blogger and one of the pioneers of Internet journalism in Russia. Russians flock to social networks even as the government tries to regulate the web A new law, which comes into effect Aug. 1,

Russian History Provides Five Lessons for Liberals in Illiberal Times, Makarkin Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 26, 2014) Russian liberals have lived through many periods of illiberal governance in the past, have devised various strategies to cope because the repressive regimes have been so different, but have managed to survive and see their country change course at least for a time in

Interfax: Putin vows to avoid clampdown in fight against radicalism

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Interfax – July 22, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that the fight against radicalism in Russia will not result in a state clampdown on civil society and said he expects the Russian public to help prevent one, Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Putin made the statements at a meeting

Interfax: Putin says Ukrainian “scenario” won’t happen in Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – July 22, 2014) The “scenario” that has been used in Ukraine by “external” forces will not happen in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has said. He made these remarks at a meeting with the Russian Security Council, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax. Speaking about the so-called “colour revolutions” and in particular Ukraine,

Convinced of His Own Exceptionalism, Putin is Both ‘a Pragmatist and a Fool,’ Milshtein Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 22, 2014) In a commentary entitled “Forewarned and Armed,” Ilya Milshtein argues that tragically “there are no particular reasons to hope that Putin will change his approach” in Ukraine. Instead, the Moscow analyst says, he will proceed in ways that reflect his beliefs in his own

Stratfor: Can Putin Survive?

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – July 21, 2014) There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the

Interfax: Patrushev says Russian decision-makers must heed opposition

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. July 22 (Interfax) – The Russian Security Council Secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, has spoken of the need to draw conclusions from what is going on in Ukraine and heed the opinion of the Russian opposition. “The events occurring in Ukraine – their role for us is this: we must draw the right conclusions from them,”

Russian Government Sets Up Four-Year Plan to Boost Productivity

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – July 14, 2014) In an effort to transform Russia’s oil-dependent economy into a sustainable engine of growth, the government has unveiled a series of legal and financial measures aimed at fulfilling President Vladimir Putin’s ambitious pledge to increase Russia’s labor productivity 50 percent by 2018. Approved Wednesday

Russian Blog Post Decrying Government’s Internet Crackdown Goes Viral

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – July 14, 2014) Is this an updated version of Aldous Huxley’s classic antiutopian novel, “Brave New World”? Not exactly. If you live in Russia, this will be your world by September 1, according to a blog, “A Guide Through Your Life: What the Duma Has Banned in

Having Failed to Stage ‘Short Victorious War’ in Ukraine, Putin Faces Problems at Home

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2014) Both those Russians who continue to press Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine and those who say that his policies in Ukraine have been a disaster are increasingly reviving an old Russian metaphor that cannot be encouraging to the current incumbent of

Putin versus the NGOs

Vladimir Putin file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Pavel Chikov – July 3, 2014) Pavel Chikov is chair of AGORA, an association of human rights organisations based in Kazan. Agora, founded in 2005, provides legal advocacy for victims of suspected human rights abuses, in particular for journalists, political activists and NGOs. Since 1999 Chikov has been a leading human rights lawyer

Putin’s Authoritarianism Now Self-Re-Enforcing, New Book Concludes

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 4, 2014) That Putin has intervened in Ukraine at least in part to overcome the political challenges he faced in 2011-2012 and that he has made Russian more authoritarian in the process is largely common ground. But a new book gives remarkable details about these links

Russians Failing to Notice Ways Their Country Becoming Like Hitler’s Reich, Portnikov Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 5, 2014) “Putin’s Russia has already long been a Reich” much like Hitler’s Germany, but ordinary Russians now, like ordinary Germans 75 years ago, have not taken note of the fact because so far the state’s repressive attentions have not been directed primarily at them, according to Vitaly Portnikov. Portnikov,

Putin’s Successor May Be ‘Already in His Entourage,’ Kryshtanovskaya Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 30, 2014) Olga Kryshtanovskaya, head of the Center for the Study of Elites at the Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology and Russia’s most distinguished student of elites and their rotation, says that “Putin’s successor is already in his closest entourage” and that Putin may even

RIA Novosti: Russia’s Influence on Self-defense Forces Should Not Be Overestimated – Kremlin

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reminded that Russia is not a party to the conflict in the east of Ukraine and its influence on self-defense forces should not be overestimated. “Russia is not a party to the confrontation, it’s an internal Ukrainian conflict. And Moscow can’t tell self-defense forces what

Why Putin Is in Trouble With 86% Approval

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com –  Evgenia Pismennaya, Henry Meyer, Brad Cook – June 27, 2014) One month he wins the Olympics and kudos from world leaders. The next he grabs Crimea and gets kicked out of their most exclusive club. Now he’s facing a recession with few tools to fight it save the public’s love. Even

No Rehab for Russia’s Drug Addicts

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(The Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – June 26, 2014) As the world marks the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Thursday, millions of drug addicts in Russia have nowhere to go for treatment, and specialists are in despair over the lack of progress in the country’s rehabilitation

Support for Putin’s Policies on Ukraine Broad but Not Deep, Gudkov Says

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 23, 2014) Public support for Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine is broad but not deep and is likely to dissipate quickly rather than become the basis by itself for any new imperial adventures, accordin to Lev Gudkov, the head of the independent Levada Analytic Center. In

Few Russian Artists Bother to Fight Creeping Trend of Censorship

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – June 23, 2014) As we approach July 1, the day after which obscenities will officially be banned in Russian art, the Russian creative community is doing what it can to make sense of a concerted push on the part of the government to regulate the arts and

Happy in Yakutia and Russia

Map of Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 23, 2014) Could you be happy living somewhere where temperatures drop below 50 degrees Celsius in the nine-month-long winters? It seems hard to imagine, but the residents of Siberia’s Yakutia in the heart of the Asian part of Russia – the coldest place

New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A

Interfax: Russians losing interest in political opposition, say it is still needed – poll

Russian Duma Building

MOSCOW. June 17 (Interfax) – Over a half of Russians (57%) believes Russia needs political opposition, Levada Center told Interfax. Yet their number has reduced significantly since 2012 (72%), the sociologists said. Twenty-three percent of respondents say Russia does not need political opposition and 20% are undecided. The need for opposition was mostly expressed by

Putin’s War in Ukraine Marks Rebirth of Stalinism in Russia, Chubais Says

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 16, 2014) The Russian authorities have unleashed and are conducting a war in Ukraine, “a new type of war without declaration or a front line” and one that is simultaneously “destroying all official Soviet and post-Soviet myths and clarifying the real nature of the political regime

Kremlin distances itself from Putin’s aide’s statements on Ukraine

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – June 10, 2014) The Kremlin has distanced itself from statements by presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev, which he made at a roundtable discussion on the Ukrainian crisis in Moscow on Tuesday 10 June, the Russian Interfax news agency reported on 10 June. A senior source in the Kremlin once again stressed that “all thoughts

NEWSLINK: Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

["Who Ordered Politkovskaya's Murder?" - New York Times editorial - June 10, 2014] The New York Times comments on the recent convictions of five additional men for involvement in the 2006 assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya: Almost eight years after the gruesome murder of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most respected investigative journalists, Moscow’s highest criminal

Muscovites Turn Out for City Duma Primaries

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 9, 2014) More than 1,000 candidates participated in the Moscow City Duma’s first ever nonbinding primaries on Sunday. The results of Sunday’s poll will have no effect on the Moscow City Duma election, which will be held on Sept. 14. Muscovites were invited to cast their

Interfax: Putin says Russian authorities “not connected to any particular person, including the incumbent president”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

SOCHI. June 5 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has disagreed with suggestions alleging the existence of the “Putin regime”, adding that Russia has standard democratic institutions, which, however, have their own specifics and traditions. “The current regime is not connected to any particular person, including the incumbent President. We have common democratic state institutions,

Russian upper house approves tougher “foreign agent” NGO law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – Moscow, May 28, 2014) The Federation Council [Russia's upper chamber of parliament] has approved a draft law giving the Justice Ministry authority to include a noncommercial organization [the usual Russian phrase for what is referred to elsewhere as NGOs] on the register of foreign agents, even if that same NGO has not applied

Putin’s Russia ‘Already Almost a Totalitarian State,’ Democratic Activists Say

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 19, 2014) Putin’s Russia is “already almost a totalitarian state,” one in which “citizens are losing their individual rights” and “government propaganda is stupefying people,” according to a declaration of 52 leading human rights activists, opposition political leaders, and commentators, who collectively form the December Roundtable.

Kiselyov Defends TV Network After Caucasus Footage Labeled as Ukraine

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 20, 2014) The deputy chief of a pro-Kremlin television holding has dismissed as an “accidental error” his network’s use of footage from a gunfight in the North Caucasus to illustrate supposed recent anti-Russian violence in eastern Ukraine, a news report said. The footage – first used

Russia Reduces Domestic Borrowing Plan Seeing Budget Surplus

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – May 19, 2014) Russia reduced its 2014 domestic borrowing plan by 46 percent as the world’s largest energy exporter expects to turn a fiscal surplus, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. The government lowered the fundraising target to 435 billion rubles ($12.6 billion) from 808 billion rubles, Siluanov told

Medinsky the Media Magnet

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – May 19, 2014) Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky received an honorary fellowship on Thursday a few days late and not quite as planned. The institution doing the honors was Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, but a planned ceremony in Italy on May 12 was junked at

Russian Premier Medvedev Defends Facebook, Twitter

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Torrey Clark – May 17, 2014) Russians access to Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. is safe if Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has a say in the matter. The government leader rebuked a communications official for saying in an interview published yesterday that Russia has the right to fully block online social

The seductive power of Seliger

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Kristina Silvan – May 8, 2014) Kristina Silvan is a 5th year Finnish undergraduate student from the University of Glasgow Every year the Seliger All-Russia Youth Forum brings together tens of thousands of engaged young Russians for a week of edification in an idyllic natural setting. Its goal is to promote patriotism in

Putin Tries New Approach To Imposing Order In North Caucasus

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 13, 2014) In a tacit admission that the situation in the North Caucasus differs radically from that elsewhere in the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin has made a series of personnel appointments clearly intended to strengthen Moscow’s control over developments there. Putin has dismissed Aleksandr Khloponin, whom then-President Dmitry Medvedev had appointed in January

Public’s Desire to Protest Hits Record Low

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 14, 2014) Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and lingering patriotic fervor following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a poll published on Tuesday showed that Russians are more reluctant than ever to participate in political protests. The Levada Center, an independent research organization, found that a record

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