RBTH: The Georgian on their mind: Why Russians still approve of Stalin

Joseph Stalin file photo

Public opinion surveys show that today support for Stalin in Russia is the highest it has been since the fall of the Soviet Union. More than half of Russians believe that he played a positive role in the history of the country and the Communist Party is even planning to use the image of the Soviet leader in the next […]

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Putin Invaded Ukraine to Deflect Russian Nationalist Threat to Himself, Demushkin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin launched his “Russian world” project and invaded Ukraine in the hopes that radical Russian nationalists who represented a threat to his rule would go there and die, thus “killing two birds with one stone,” according to Dmitry Demushkin, the leader of the ethno-political movement “The Russians.” In […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Joint press conference with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras [excerpt re: Ukraine]

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Kremlin.ru – May 27, 2016) Following the Russian-Greek talks, Vladimir Putin and Alexis Tsipras made a joint statement for the press. [excerpt re: Ukraine] Question: The European Union is currently debating the issue of extending sanctions against Russia. How much was this topic discussed at your talks today? Do you think the exchange of Savchenko for our guys will have […]

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Putin’s Longstanding Plan for Long-Term Confrontation with the West Being Implemented Ever More Rapidly, Illarionov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 28, 2016) For the last decade, Vladimir Putin has pursued a plan to isolate his country from the outside world by pursuing rearmament and confrontation with the West, Andrey Illarionov says. Now, there is evidence that the Kremlin leader is stepping up his efforts I that direction even during the current […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Russian Media

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Kremlin.ru – May 28, 2016) Following the Russian-Greek talks, Vladimir Putin met with Russian media representatives. Question: Mr President, may I ask you a question about domestic policy rather than talks with Greece? Vladimir Putin: Are you having trouble sleeping? Remark: I am. The whole country is thinking about this issue. Vladimir Putin: Go ahead. Question: Mr Medvedev visited Crimea […]

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Medvedev opens Moscow’s fourth airport Zhukovsky

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

Zhukovsky. May 30 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has opened the Moscow aviation hub’s fourth international airport, Zhukovsky, an Interfax correspondent reported. One of the first airlines to begin scheduled flights from Zhukovsky will be Kyrgyzstan’s Air Kyrgyzstan. The first flight is scheduled for June 20, a representative of the carrier told journalists on Monday. At the opening […]

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Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club

Kremlin and River

Subject: Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 From: Rachel Douglas <cmgusa@frontiernet.net> Glad to see some attention to the Russian Presidential Economic Council meeting of May 25, but, setting aside the evaluations, there were quite a few errors of fact in two of the items included in JRL 2016-#95/May 26. Stratfor – […]

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Many Fear Real Elections Will Bring Fascism to Russia But Their Absence Helps It Rise, Piontkovsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 21, 2016) Both before the 1917 revolution and since 1991, Russian liberals and their foreign backers have often feared that genuine elections, ones in which the outcome was not determined by those in power who supposedly were committed to reform might lead either to a return to communism or the rise […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Literature and Language Society

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Russian Literature and Language Society’s Congress. The Russian Literature and Language Society was established in 2016 to consolidate the efforts of scholars, teachers, cultural figures and the global public to preserve the leading role of Russian language and literature in educating young people, strengthening the […]

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Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. May 27 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry is still committed to the 1987 Treaty Between the United States of America and the Soviet Union on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The Russian Federation is committed to this treaty and abides by all of its provisions,” Ryabkov […]

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Was Russia’s First Bond Sale in 3 Years a Success?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – May 26, 2016) [Chart here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/was-russias-first-bond-sale-in-3-years-a-success/570254.html] Bidding opened suddenly on the morning of May 23. After a three-year absence from international markets, and with very little warning, Russia announced it wished to borrow billions of dollars. The Finance Ministry sought to help finance a yawning budget deficit caused by the low price […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Economic Council Presidium

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Economic Council Presidium to examine growth sources for the Russian economy through to 2025. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, The Economic Council Presidium is at work once again, this time with the task of discussing and outlining key guidelines and objectives for our economic policy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why IR Theory Gets Russia Wrong; Moscow’s Predictably Unpredictable Politics” – Foreign Affairs/Timothy Frye

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

With Russia’s economy sagging, support for the government falling, and even … Putin’s sky-high approval ratings beginning to come down to earth, there has been no shortage of speculation about Russia’s political stability. Some argue that a collapse of the Putin regime is imminent … others are more cautious. * * * Russia is oil-rich, but less so than many […]

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Degradation of Russian Elites Underlies Russia’s Decline, Pastukhov Says

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) “The thinning out of the Russian ‘cultural stratum’ and, as a result, the degradation of elites who have turned out to be incapable of responding to new historical challenges,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, is the underlying cause of the current decline of the country. All other causes, technological, societal and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Anti-travelogue’ on Putin’s Russia wins £10,000 Ondaatje prize. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev takes prize honouring writers who best ‘evoke the spirit of a place” – The Guardian

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… Pomerantsev said he had been struck by the ‘state-reinforced psychology of the new Russia, the insistence that all identities are mutable, that nothing is true and everything is possible.’ Born in Ukraine and now living in London, Pomerantsev has worked as a journalist, film-maker and as a consultant for the EU and World Bank. * * * Judge and […]

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Putin’s Advisors to Outline Russian Economic Reform

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 23, 2016) Russia’s latest economic reform package is set to cut state spending and raise the retirement age, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Monday. The reforms, which are due to be discussed Wednesday May 25 by President Vladimir Putin’s economic council, will focus heavily on stimulating domestic investment. It is the first time the council […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t Rock the Boat: How Long Can Putin Avoid Capsizing?” – Carnegie Moscow Center/Andrei Kolesnikov

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

Some Russian experts are predicting that the current Russian regime will last another ten years. Change is inevitable, but no one can forecast what form it will take. In the short term, the trend is for inertia and no change. What will the Russian political landscape look like a decade from now? Is Russia slipping back to the Soviet past […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s reported doping is a subversion of the Olympic ideal” – Washington Post

sochi-olympics-200

… The latest evidence is a detailed report in the New York Times that Russian officials clandestinely carried out a doping program at the Sochi Games by giving athletes performance-enhancing drugs and then tampering with their urine samples to cover it up. The … account comes from the director of the Russian anti-doping agency at the time, who played a […]

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Is neoliberalism applicable to Russia? A response to Ilya Matveev; Attempts to call the Putin regime “neoliberal” get one fundamental thing wrong: capitalism doesn’t exist in Russia.

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anastasiya Ovsyannikova – May 20, 2016) Anastasiya Ovsyannikova is an economist and journalist. She has worked for F5 and Cityboom.ru, as well as Moscow’s Sakharov Center. oDR recently published an article by Ilya Matveev, “Russia, Inc”, which positioned neoliberalism as an organic part of the Putin regime. The intense discussion that followed brings us back to two central […]

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Economy Minister Says Russia Out of Recession More Than Six Months

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 20, 2016) The Russian economy has been out of recession for more than six months, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said during a briefing at the Russia-ASEAN summit on Friday, the TASS news agency reported. Russia’s GDP may perform better than the official forecast, which predicted a decline of 0.2 percent, Ulyukayev said, attributing […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Excerpts: Medvedev at] The 6th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – May 18, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev attended a plenary session titled Trust in Law – Mechanism for Global Crisis Resolution. The St Petersburg International Legal Forum was launched in 2011 and is a major platform for dialogue between politicians, lawyers, economists and scientists who represent various economic and legal systems. The forum seeks to promote ways to modernise the […]

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Russia’s Atheists Organize to Fight Clericalization

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 18, 2016) Russia’s atheists who in Soviet times enjoyed the active support of the government now face a situation in which the Russian regime is both supporting Orthodox Christianity and heavily influenced by it. As a result, this newly embattled minority has organize to fight the clericalization of Russia. Last Friday, […]

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The Monster Under The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 19, 2016) At first glance, the massive shoot-out at Moscow’s Khovanskoye Cemetery this past weekend seemed pretty retro. What, after all, reminds us more of the 1990s than rival Russian gangs staging a deadly brawl in a turf war over control of the lucrative burial business? What is more reminiscent of the […]

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Russia eyes $12.6 billion windfall from privatization of state companies

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

In 2016 the government intends to sell a part of the shares in its large raw commodity companies. The buyers can be foreign investors, but on certain conditions. It has already been announced that shares in Russia’s largest diamond mining company, Alrosa, will be sold through the Moscow Stock Exchange. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH […]

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Russian Charities to Be Exempt From ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) Charities are no longer to be classified as “foreign agents” if they receive money from abroad, according to a new amendment approved by the Russian State Duma. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in areas such as art and culture will also be exempt from the “foreign agent” label, the Interfax news agency reported […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Commission for Monitoring Targeted Socioeconomic Development Indicators

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – May 16, 2016) The meeting discussed the state of progress in implementing the instructions set out in the presidential executive orders of May 2012. The agenda included, in particular, issues pertaining to staffing the healthcare system with qualified personnel, development of supplementary education for children, and raising the quality of public services, including in the housing and utilities […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] State Council meeting on construction sector and urban planning development

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the State Council in the Kremlin on developing the construction sector and improving urban planning. The meeting agenda included measures to develop the construction sector, including by implementing investment projects, introducing new technology, harmonising construction legislation and applying public-private partnership mechanisms. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on defence industry development

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 13, 2016) Vladimir Putin held this week’s final meeting with Defence Ministry leadership and defence industry representatives. The meeting covered the current tasks of the defence industry, specifically, mobilisation readiness of defence industry companies. Another issue on the agenda was the deployment of the US missile defence system in Eastern Europe. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good […]

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Interfax: Lower key rate would not boost Russian economy – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Lowering the key interest rate in current conditions would not result in growth for the real economy, Dmitry Tulin, first deputy governor of the Central Bank, said in the State Duma, during a discussion of the Central Bank’s annual report. “We take into consideration the factor of the impact of monetary policy on the state […]

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Could a union do anything to protect Russian journalists?

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

Physical attacks and management interference have put Russian journalists’ safety – and their ability to work freely – back on the table. A new union will have to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. (opendemocracy.net – Nataliya Rostova – May 16, 2016) Nataliya Rostova is a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute, senior correspondent for current affairs portal Slon.ru and […]

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Media Coverage of Governors More about Their Management of the Media than about Anything Else, New Study Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 12, 2016) Those who follow the media in Russia’s regions know that some governors are routinely attacked by media in their federal subjects while others are never criticized, and they often conclude that this is an important indicator of how well the governors are doing in running their oblasts, krays or […]

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Putinism won’t end with a bang, but a warrant; New charges concerning several leading Russian officials reveal the greatest threat to the Kremlin’s hold on power – elite corruption.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – May 10, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview with the French Newspaper Le Figaro

Paris, France, View from Eiffel Tower

(Kremlin.ru – October 26, 2000) Question: Thank you for finding the time to meet with us. Vladimir Putin: Thank you. I think it is important that on the eve of our visit to Paris your readers find out the answers to the wide range of questions you are going to ask me. Question: French readers have long been interested in […]

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Jailed for Protesting Against the Kremlin – Life 4 Years After Bolotnaya

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – May 13, 2016) The Bolotnoye protest followed disputed parliamentary elections that saw the ruling United Russia secure a narrow parliamentary majority and Putin return to the presidency. The lights went out without so much as a flicker in the Moscow apartment shared by Andrei Barabanov, his mother and girlfriend one evening in […]

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Russia Ratifies International Agreement on Financial Information Exchange

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 12, 2016) Russia has signed an international agreement on the exchange of financial information, state news agency TASS reported Thursday. The head of Russia’s Federal Taxation Service (FNS) Mikhail Mishustin said that Russia will join the global system of data exchange between tax authorities in different countries in 2018. “This will allow us to […]

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Russia Convenes Presidential Council to Boost Economy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – May 12, 2016) Stuck in a second year of recession and facing a long period of economic stagnation, Russian officials are searching hard for ways to stimulate growth. On May 25, a presidential economic council will convene for the first time in three years. According to presidential aide Andrei Belousov, it aims […]

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‘All Its Members Faced Jail’: Alekseyeva Recalls Birth Of Russia’s Oldest Rights Group

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg, Yelena Polyakovskaya – May 12, 2016) Few activists today can speak firsthand about the creation of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest operating human rights organization, 40 years ago. Lyudmila Alekseyeva is one of them. At 88, she is Russia’s best-known human rights activist and among the last Soviet-era dissidents still active in the […]

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Why are Russia’s journalists so prone to conspiracy theory?

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

The popularity of conspiracy theory in Russia today isn’t about cultural mindsets. It’s about media ethics. (openedemocracy.net – Ilya Yablokov – May 9, 2016) Ilya Yablokov teaches Russian politics, history and media at the University of Leeds. His research interests include conspiracy theories, nation building and politics in post-Soviet Russia, the history of post-Soviet journalism and international broadcasting. His article […]

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Putin walks fiscal tightrope; deficits seen to 2020

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – ANDRE TARTAR AND OTT UMMELAS – May 7, 2016) If the Russian government’s in-house forecaster is right that muted oil prices are here to stay, budget deficits will stretch to the end of this decade, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Under the Economy Ministry’s projection that oil will average $40 a barrel through 2019, […]

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‘Russia Urgently Needs a Defeat,’ Moscow Commentator Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 8, 2016) As Russians prepare to commemorate Victory Day tomorrow, Moscow commentator Mikhail Berg argues that “Russia urgently needs a defeat,” because the experience of countries suggests that defeats have the effect of “sobering up” society and elevating the recognition of the value of the individual relative to the state. In […]

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Lower-Level State Employees Nucleus of Coming Social Revolt in Russia, Kagarlitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 4, 2016) The reasons Russians are protesting haven’t changed but the composition of those taking part in protests has, Boris Kagarlitsky says; and the groups that are likely to form the nucleus of a new social explosion are not the young and the pensioners as in the past but men in […]

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In the Flesh: Russian Scientists Work to Preserve Lenin’s Corpse

Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square, Kremlin Walls

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – May 5, 2016) He lies in a glass sarcophagus. His eyes are closed, reddish beard and mustache trimmed, and his hands rest calmly on his thighs. Dressed in an austere black suit, Vladimir Lenin, the first Soviet leader, looks, on first impressions, to be sleeping. His image is so lifelike that it […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kudrin and Poroshenko will fail because corruption is the system in Russia, Ukraine” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… The irony is that Russia and Ukraine find themselves in exactly the same place: both countries are suffering from an economic miasma and both need deep and far-reaching reforms if they are to prosper. The difference between them is that Russia is half way through the process and will very like actually make some more reforms, whereas Ukraine is at the […]

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