Tag Archive for Government

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

Medvedev Orders Bank Chiefs to Reveal Personal Assets in Corruption Battle

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 13, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the heads of Russia’s two largest banks – state-owned Sberbank and VTB – to report their income, expenses and assets as part of an annual anti-corruption checkup. Sberbank’s German Gref, a former economic development minister, and VTB’s Andrei Kostin were among

Winds of change leave Russia’s opposition out in the cold

Moscow Protest file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Danila Rozanov, special to RBTH – May 12, 2014) Two years ago, Russia’s opposition movement was in full swing as a series of street protests across the country drew huge crowds of people dissatisfied with the rule of Vladimir Putin. But amid infighting among opposition factions and a

Kremlin continues its corruption crackdown on officials with a trust funds ban

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – May 7, 2014) The Kremlin launched a new initiative to outlaw the use of non-transparent trust funds for the holding of shares, Vedomosti reported on Tuesday. One of the biggest problems investigators face in Russia is the widespread use of trust funds to own shares in companies. Trust funds

Putin’s confidence rating at 78.3%, Russians drifting toward conservatism – survey

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – May 7, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has a confidence rating of 78.3% in Russia, and Russian society is drifting toward conservatism, according to the country’s Civil Society Development Foundation (FoRGO). “There exists demand for conservative policy in practically all strata of Russian society despite allegations by liberal critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin,”

Russian Patriotism Runs High Ahead of Victory Day

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 8, 2014) Fighter jets screamed across a snowy Moscow sky on Monday morning, in the last rehearsal ahead of Friday’s Victory Day parade on Red Square. But this year the annual occurrence evoked more than just the usual awe residents feel when glancing overhead, and some

Russia’s regions threaten to become an Achilles’ heel

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 8, 2014) Russia’s economy is slowing dramatically, but the pain is not evenly spread. While a few Russian regions are making rapid progress and modernising, the bulk are getting into deep financial trouble. “Since the 2009 financial crisis, the Kremlin has allowed Russia’s

RIA Novosti: Vladimir Putin Marks 10th Year as Russian President

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW, May 6 (RIA Novosti) – Tuesday marks the second year of Vladimir Putin’s third term as President of the Russian Federation, an anniversary that comes amid a turbulent time of tensions in Ukraine, a tightening pressure on Russia from the West and soaring approval ratings for Putin at home. Putin’s career at the helm

Brush Up Your Shakespeare to Understand Today’s Russia

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – May 5, 2014) “Hamlet.” Has there ever been a better play to fall back on when you need to have a chat about Russia? “Words, words, words.” “To be or not to be.” “The rest is silence.” All phrases that sound loaded in many a Russian historical

Russian Internet ‘One Step Away’ From Chinese Firewall

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 29, 2014) Amid growing criticism of its increasingly tighter regulation of the Internet, Russia’s official media watchdog on Monday vowed to continue its fight in the “information war,” saying freedom of speech “does not mean everything is permitted.” The government made clear at an annual meeting

Creative Unions Seen to Back Kremlin Views

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – April 28, 2014) Last week, the State Duma gave its final approval to a bill introducing criminal penalties for “spreading lies” about the Soviet Union’s role in World War II. The legislation, under which offenders face up to five years in prison, has prompted renewed allegations that

Is Putin at Risk of Being Overthrown by a Coup?

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 28, 2014) Many in Russia and the West have speculated that the combination of Vladimir Putin’s policies against Ukraine, Moscow’s increasing isolation internationally, and deteriorating economic conditions at home will eventually lead to a Maidan-style challenge to his rule. That is possible, of course, but a

Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail to Putin Circle

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – April 28, 2014) Outside a Moscow stadium one night in 2006, deputy central bank chief Andrei Kozlov was walking to his car after playing soccer when two men opened fire, pumping bullets into his head and neck and killing his driver. Days before the murders, the

Most Russians Think Their Interests Not High on Putin’s Agenda, Poll Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 21, 2014) Only one in eight Russians think that President Vladimir Putin represents the interests of “ordinary people” in the country, a recent poll showed, even though a vast majority have said that they “trust” their leader. The most popular choice in a question that allowed for multiple answers

LDPR Leader Zhirinovsky Condemned for Tirade Against Pregnant Reporter

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 19, 2014) The State Duma’s ethics committee will investigate Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky after the firebrand politician directed a particularly crude and offensive outburst at reporters on Friday. After being asked whether Russia should retaliate against the travel restrictions placed on Russian men by Ukraine, Zhirinovsky went

Did Putin Declare a Mini Thaw in Culture?

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – April 21, 2014) Did this actually happen or am I imagining it? It’s no big event or turning point, that is for sure. But it did feel for a moment last week that the temperature of the flames burning around us dipped just a little. In recent

Putin Hovering on the Brink of a Massive Invasion of Ukraine

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 73 - Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – April 17, 2014) The Ukrainian crisis and the “reunification” of Crimea with the rest of Russia dominated President Vladimir Putin’s almost four-hour-long televised national phone-in-an annual PR performance that had been previously dominated by discussion of pensions, utility payments, inflation,

Putin Shows Victor’s Benevolence at Annual Call-In

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 17, 2014) Breaking his tradition of publicly tongue-lashing opponents at home and abroad, President Vladimir Putin assumed a non-predatory stance Thursday to diffuse fears of escalation of the ongoing rift with the West over the Ukraine crisis during his annual live call-in show broadcast on national

Duma Bill Ending Mayoral Elections Passes First Reading

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – April 17, 2014) The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill that would put an end to direct mayoral elections in some of Russia’s largest cities in what critics said was an attempt to ensure the appointment of mayors loyal to the Kremlin. The

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