Tag Archives: Government

NEWSWATCH: My friend charted the looting of a nation; his death is a warning to all Russians

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“My friend charted the looting of a nation; his death is a warning to all Russians” – The Sunday Times (UK) – Edward Lucas – March 1, 2015] Edward Lucas reflects upon the Moscow assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, writing in London’s The Sunday Times. Nemtsov was my closest friend in Russian politics. I had known him since the […]

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Putin’s Russia between the Reichstag Fire and the Kirov Murder

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 1, 2015) No one can disagree with Yuliya Latynina that with the murder of Boris Nemtsov, Russia has entered a new era, one in which the political opponents of the regime are killed or intimidated by that possibility and one about which it is critically important that all recognize that reality (echo.msk.ru/programs/code/1501598-echo/). […]

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Nemtsov: Kremlin-Watchers Find Eerie Parallel In An 80-Year-Old Murder

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Daisy Sindelar – March 1, 2015) On December 1, 1934, a killing took place that would set the stage for one of the blackest chapters in Soviet history. The victim was Sergei Kirov, the popular head of the Leningrad Communist Party and one of the few men who could stand toe-to-toe with the increasingly powerful Soviet […]

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Is Nemtsov’s Murder a Replay of Kirov’s?

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Jack Matlock – jackmatlock.com – March 1, 2015) Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Responding to the shock of the gang-style execution of Nemtsov in Moscow, Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomarev, speaking at Tufts University yesterday, said […]

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First Putin Marginalizes His Critics, Then He Kills Them, and Then He Shifts the Blame

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 1, 2015) The horror and revulsion all people of good will feel about the murder of Boris Nemtsov in the shadow of the Kremlin has led many to treat this latest crime as if it were something new. In fact, the killing of Nemtsov is only the latest example of Vladimir […]

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Nemtsov Murder Corners Kremlin

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – March 2, 2015) There is no shortage of theories as to who was behind the murder of Boris Nemtsov. But we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by the decoys spread by investigators and the pro-Kremlin media, such as that his murder was the result of a business dispute or revenge by his […]

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Boris Nemtsov: ‘We Must Free Russia From Putin’

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mikhail Sokolov and Luke Johnson – February 28, 2015) Slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was looking ahead to a planned March 1 opposition rally, though in an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service earlier this month, he portrayed the demonstration as just a first step in a long struggle. “If you think that [authorities] would run away […]

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Nemtsov’s Murder Defines Putin’s Russia

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Bloomberg editorial – bloomberg.com – March 1, 2015) The thousands who marched in Moscow on Sunday in honor of the murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov did so because they recognize just how much has been lost with his death. Nemtsov had been brave enough to tell the truth in Russia under President Vladimir Putin. The official response to his apparently professional […]

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Nemtsov Feared Putin Would Kill Him and Now the Kremlin Leader Has

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Window on Eurasia –  Paul Goble – Staunton, February 28, 2015) Almost three weeks ago, Boris Nemtsov said that he feared that Vladimir Putin would kill him for his opposition activities, and last night, the Kremlin leader did, either by direct order which some are convinced is the most likely or by creating the barbarous climate in Russia which has made such […]

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Gorbachev: Nemtsov murder a scheme to provoke political trouble in Russia

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – February 28, 2015) Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has expressed confidence that Friday night’s assassination in the center of Moscow of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a scheme to “provoke aggravation, and maybe even destabilization, of the situation in the country, increase the confrontation.” “It’s hard to say now which side is responsible for this. One mustn’t hurry […]

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NEWSWATCH: The Murder of Boris Nemtsov: Another Putin opponent is killed by unknown assailants

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“The Murder of Boris Nemtsov: Another Putin opponent is killed by unknown assailants” – Wall Street Journal editorial – February 28, 2015] The Wall Street Journal comments upon the assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. In the gangster state that is Vladimir Putin ‘s Russia, we may never learn who shot dead Boris Nemtsov in Moscow late Friday night, much […]

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NEWSWATCH: Death threats and a late night dinner before Russia’s Nemtsov was shot dead

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“Death threats and a late night dinner before Russia’s Nemtsov was shot dead” – Reuters – Thomas Grove – MOSCOW, Feb 28, 2015] Reuters covers the assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. A political reformer who had fallen foul of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov had been preoccupied for weeks with details of an opposition march planned for Sunday. * […]

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Putin’s ‘Hybrid’ Great Terror

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 28, 2015) When reporters asked former world chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov who was behind the assassination of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, he dismissed the question as irrelevant. Whoever did the dirty work, he implied, would have done so only with President Vladimir Putin’s blessing. “Who gave the order to […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Nemtsov murder: Shock and condemnation in Russia and abroad

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – February 28, 2015) The killing of prominent Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow late on Friday shocked policymakers and other public figures both in Russia and abroad. His associates tend to believe that the murder was politically motivated. They are determined to hold a mourning procession in central Moscow on Sunday […]

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Interfax: Moscow admin allows Nemtsov mourning procession

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, Feb. 28, 2015) The mayor’s office has given permission for a planned procession in central Moscow on Sunday to mourn Boris Nemtsov, an official in the city administration said. “The route lies from Kitaigorodsky Proyezd along Moskvoretskaya Embankment and the Greater Moskvoretsky Bridge. The procession is to terminate on the Smaller Moskvoretsky Bridge,” Alexei Mayorov, head of […]

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Analysts Blame Nemtsov’s Death on Russia’s ‘Legitimized Hate’

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – February 28, 2015) Boris Nemtsov, 55, one of the most vocal political opponents of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead outside the Kremlin on Friday night, revealing the deep sense of alienation between various political forces in Russia and showing how political divisions in the country can in a moment turn violent. […]

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It’s the economy, stupid

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MACRO ADVISER: Chris Weafer – February 17, 2015) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. Bill Clinton famously won the first of his two presidential elections using the slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid”. He recognised that while support for the first Gulf War had been strong, people were starting […]

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Russia in Far Worse Shape than Most Assume, Moscow Commentator Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 15, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s bombast and aggressiveness both is rooted in and helps conceal the underlying reality: “the situation of Russia is much more difficult than it appears,” as even the most superficial examination of Russian realities demonstrates, according to Moscow political analyst Vasily Zharkov. In a commentary in yesterday’s “Novaya […]

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Embattled Teatr.doc Proudly Returns to the Stage

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – February 16, 2015) “I always thought this democracy stuff was, you know … ,” Alexei Yudnikov said, his voice trailing off with disgust still ringing in it. “Yes, yes! No, no!” A couple hundred people burst into laughter. The joke was both subtle and obvious. Yudnikov was emceeing the reopening of the […]

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Few Russians left unmoved by “Leviathan” of a movie

Movie Theater file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – FILM REVIEW: Anna Kravchenko in Moscow – February 10, 2015) Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan”, probably the most anticipated film in post-Soviet Russia, hit the screens of more than 600 cinemas on February 5. The film made RUB7.2mn (€97,000) in its first day of release, an impressive sum for Hollywood-dominated Russian distribution market. Weekend box office […]

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Interfax: Corruption not Russians’ primary concern – deputy interior minister

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – February 9, 2015) Russian citizens are not particularly worried about corruption in the country, Russian Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov has said, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax on 9 February. “All the colour revolutions, in every country that has had one, took place under the slogan of fighting corruption, but thereafter these countries were thrown into […]

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Getting Ready for President Putin’s Successor

Putin at Desk

Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2015 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> Subject: Getting Ready for President Putin’s Successor David Law, www.davidmlaw.com, is Senior Associate at the Security Governance Group and Senior Fellow at its partner organisation, the Centre for Security Governance. President Putin’s current mandate runs out in 2018. It has long been expected that he will go for a second six-year […]

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There are Alternatives to Putin and Not All of Them are in the Kremlin, Satarov Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 4, 2015) In any political system, there is always “an alternative” to the current leader, Georgy Satarov says, and consequently, when Vladimir Putin leaves his position, a new head of Russia will emerge — and it won’t necessarily be someone from the current Kremlin entourage or happen peacefully. But it is […]

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A Coup Against Putin?

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – February 4, 2015) As Russia’s economy enters recession and its political stability starts to weaken, there is increasing speculation about the possibility of a regime change in the country. Donald N. Jensen, resident fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations, discusses Russia’s political climate and the options currently confronting […]

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Interfax: Putin proposes bill on removing NGOs from foreign-agents list

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, Feb 4, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a bill on how to remove nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from the register of foreign agents. The bill has been registered in the lower house’s electronic database. Under the federal laws concerning public associations and NGOs functioning as a foreign agent, public associations which are legal entities and other […]

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Victory for Memorial in court ruling but survival battle is only half-won

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Timofeichev, RBTH – February 3, 2015) Russia’s Supreme Court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the Justice Ministry against the country’s oldest human rights organization Memorial, seeking its closure. However, despite the court’s decision, the ministry has refused to abandon the lawsuit and is now pursuing legal action against Memorial’s international […]

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NEWSWATCH: ‘Putin’s brain’ says he doesn’t have Putin’s ear. Do we know who does?

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

[“‘Putin’s brain’ says he doesn’t have Putin’s ear. Do we know who does? As fighting in Ukraine flares up again, one influential voice says that Putin has sidelined him. And Putin’s oligarch allies, smarting from Western sanctions, have reportedly lost influence as well.” – Fred Weir – Christian Science Monitor – January 27, 2015] The Christian Science Monitor considers the question […]

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NEWSWATCH: Inside Putin’s Head: The Crisis in Russia and Ukraine and Worst-Case Putin Scenarios

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

[“Inside’s Putin’s Head: The Crisis in Russia and Ukraine and Worst-Case Putin Scenarios” – Gordon M. Hahn – gordonhahn.com – January 31, 2015] Gordon Hahn considers the impact of the conflict in Ukraine and economic repercussions on the stability and viability of Russia’s Putin regime. The … Russian-NATO proxy war in Ukraine along with the Russian-Western economic cold war could destabilize Russia’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: How Russia props up Putin in the polls

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

[“How Russia props up Putin in the polls” – Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung – Washington Post – January 30, 2015] Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung scrutinize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s domestic political popularity ratings. … Despite the price of oil sinking below $50 a barrel and the Russian economy falling into a tailspin, Putin’s approval ratings hover above 80 percent, seemingly […]

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BNE Conference Call: West needs new tactics to deal with Russia over Ukraine (Erik Berglof, Edward Lucas, Sir Andrew Wood, Ben Aris, Professor Michael Ben-Gad, Pippa Malmgren)

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – January 29, 2015) Participants at a bne IntelliNews debate in London expressed frustration with the failure of Western sanctions over Ukraine to modify Russia’s behaviour so far, and some suggested it is time to try new tactics. “We are reinforcing all the bad traits in Russia,” said Erik Berglof, director of the Institute for […]

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Turf War Seen at Heart of Russian Space Industry Shake-Up

International Space Station file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – January 23, 2015) An ambitious drive by a friend of President Vladimir Putin’s to take control of Russia’s defense industry may be behind a shock announcement this week that Russia would merge its federal space agency with a major industry group, analysts said. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took industry observers by surprise […]

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Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – January 23, 2015) Vladimir Putin isn’t just angering leaders from Berlin to Washington. He’s irking some of his richest friends, too, by snubbing their pleas to end the conflict in Ukraine and ostracizing all but a handful of hardliners. The ruble’s plunge has heightened opposition to Putin’s backing of the rebellion […]

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Putin Now has His Storm Troopers and Pogroms Will Surely Follow, Ganapolsky Says

Vladimir Putin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 23, 2014) Putin’s Russia has crossed a Rubicon: it now has sanctioned the Anti-Maidan Movement, a domestic version of Hitler’s storm troopers, and thus created a monster that almost certainly will engage in pogroms against one group or another in the future, according to Moscow commentator Matvey Ganapolsky. Despite Putin’s ratings […]

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Russian Authorities to Create Blacklist of Corrupt Officials

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 22, 2015) The Russian government has called for the creation of a special registry of officials who have been dismissed from their positions on the basis of a “loss of trust” due to corrupt activities, Kommersant reported Thursday. The move aims to serve both as a deterrent to corrupt activities among […]

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Putin’s Attacks on Science, Rooted in His Fear of the Educated, Destroying Russia’s Future, Koch Says

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – January 20, 2014) Vladimir Putin “understands that the threat to his regime is to be found among the thinking and educated” and thus has been taking steps to “destroy higher education” in Russia and cut the financing of science, according to Moscow commentator Alfred Koch. Such actions may buy Putin some short term protection, […]

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Moscow Times: Russian Culture Ministry Reverses Plans to Ban Films That Undermine ‘National Unity’

Movie Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 20, 2015) The Culture Ministry has reversed plans to deny distribution licenses to films deemed harmful to Russia’s “national unity,” after the proposed restrictions drew widespread criticism. A ministry spokesman said some of the requirements set for films seeking clearance for screening in Russian movie theaters and on television had been lifted, the Interfax […]

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Igor Eidman: Putin became a fascist-style leader in mid-2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – January 20, 2014) [from Euromaidan PR: Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. He has served as director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn, and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Russia’s Mobutu?

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Derek Brower in London – January 13, 2015) Corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia has sprouted its own sub-genre for Western publishers. Few of the many books, though, have the laser-like focus or amass the same devastating detail as Karen Dawisha’s “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” (Simon & Schuster, New York: 2014). Thanks to Britain’s […]

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Analysts Predict a Russian Descent Into Madness

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 19, 2015) President Vladimir Putin cannot afford at this point to reform the political system he has built up, as doing so would undermine his grip on power, a panel of political analysts said at the Gaidar Forum on Friday. They went on to warn that without fundamental change, Russia risks an […]

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Provincialism Keeping Russia from Becoming Great, Inozemtsev Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 18, 2014) Russia’s latest turn to authoritarianism and isolationism was possible because of the provincialism of its leaders and people, a sense of being on the margins of the real world and one that prevents them from achieving greatness because they are less interested in that than in “seeking to present […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Five reasons to watch Leviathan

Movie Theater file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anton Dolin, special to RBTH – January 16, 2015) Andrei Zvyagnitsev’s film has already taken home a Golden Globe and Palme d’Or at Cannes for best foreign film and it is now up for an Oscar. Still wonder if you should see it? Let RBTH erase any remaining doubts. 1. This is not […]

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Russian Prime Minister Scorns Fears, But Fails to Present Strategy at Economic Forum

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 15, 2015) While Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev radiated confidence Wednesday that Russia would be able to use the unfolding crisis as an impetus to make necessary changes to its economy, members of his government indicated that they do not have a concrete plan for bringing about reform. “The energy- and resource-dependent […]

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Primakov’s ‘Anti-Crisis Federalism’ Seen Threatening Russia’s Non-Russians

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 15, 2015) Many in Russia and the West are celebrating Yevgeny Primakov’s argument presented at the Mercury Club this week that hyper-centralization, a policy associated with Vladimir Putin, is a threat to the Russian Federation and its economic recovery and his call for devolving more powers to the regions of the country. […]

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Interfax: Fifty-five percent of Russians want to see Putin as their president after 2018 – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(Interfax – January 15, 2015) Fifty-five percent of Russian citizens recently interviewed by the Levada Center said they would like to see Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president after the 2018 elections, as compared with 32 percent in March 2014 and 26 percent in 2013, the center’s sociologists told Interfax. Ten percent of respondents said they would not be opposed to […]

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Increasingly, Russians See No Alternative to Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2015 Though it will be another three years before Russian voters cast their ballots for the next round of presidential hopefuls, most people already know whom they plan to vote for. More than half of Russians would prefer to keep President Vladimir Putin at the country’s helm after the 2018 elections and believe […]

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‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears” Russians have about the year […]

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Kremlin Foe Navalny Fined $10 For Cutting Ankle Bracelet

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 14, 2015) Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been convicted of large-scale theft twice and spent many nights in jail after street protests. The latest punishment meted out to one of the Kremlin’s fiercest foes is perhaps the least severe: a $10 fine. On his website on January 14, Navalny posted a note from Russia’s […]

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Culture Minister Wants ‘Patriotic Internet’ to Protect Russians

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 15, 2015) Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has called for the creation of a “patriotic Internet” to combat Western ideas, adding that those who are against Russia are against the truth. Russia needs to “consolidate the state and society on the basis of values instilled by our history,” said a statement released […]

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Health Ministry Says Transsexuals Can Still Drive in Russia

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 14, 2015) The Health Ministry has denied widespread reports that transvestites and transsexuals could lose their rights to drive in Russia based on a new road safety decree. Although the decree provides for the disqualification of driving rights for certain individuals with psychological or behavioral disorders, the mere fact that a person has a […]

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Putin’s Backing Allows Kadyrov Free Reign for Open Threats, Analysts Say

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 13, 2015) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has embarked in recent days on a marathon of threat-laden spats with prominent public figures, making statements so brazen they would be unimaginable coming from any other regional leader. Analysts interviewed by The Moscow Times attributed Kadyrov’s recent bout of brashness to the unyielding trust […]

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