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Tag Archive for Government

Russia’s ‘Era of Freedom’ has Come to an End, Academician Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 19, 2014) Russia’s 25-year-long era of freedom, which began in 1989 with the Congress of Peoples Deputies, has come to an end and the prospects for the future are extremely bleak, according to Academician Yury Pivovarov. If Russians do not transform themselves, their country risks becoming

Censorship Fears Mount as Officials Move to Tackle ‘Negativity’ in Russian Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2014) Days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law forcing foreign companies to sell stakes in Russian media, members of Russia’s upper house of parliament have advocated applying state pressure to combat a glut of “negative” news that is poisoning the country’s image, a news report said Friday.

For the Russian elite, loyalty is all: Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations…

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

(opendemocracy.net – Yelizaveta Surnacheva – October 16, 2014) Yelizaveta Surnacheva is a journalist at Kommersant. In the last six months, Russian officials, oligarchs, CEOs of state-owned businesses, parliamentary deputies, and regional governors have found themselves in a new world, with new missions, new economic circumstances, and new mechanisms for decision-making. Not many are comfortable with

Putin’s Class Of 2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 17, 2014) The iPhone-toting hipsters hanging out in their trendy downtown Moscow office are just the high-profile part of the Kremlin’s new youth strategy. Founded in November 2013, the youth group Set — which means “Network” in Russian — has organized patriotic fashion shows and film festivals,

Russia to crack down on tax evasion

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 17, 2014) Russian authorities are moving ahead with a campaign to plug external and internal tax loopholes, with the government preparing a new law on ‘de-offshorisation’ and the central bank closing down banks complicit in grey capital outflows. The de-offshorisation campaign is intended to repatriate Russian business from

Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like

RIA Novosti: Putin prepared to be held responsible for all happening in Russia

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 14, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin does not agree with a widespread opinion that everything in Russia depends on him only; he believes that many simply want to find a person with whom the buck stops, and he does not resist this role. “This widespread belief that everything depends on

Putin Immune to Economic Decline – So Far

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 16, 2014) Most of Russia’s indicators of economic health have plummeted this year. Inflation last month was at its highest level in three years, capital outflow this year is expected to exceed $100 billion, the ruble has lost almost 20 percent of its value since January,

Fewer Russian Bureaucrats But Salaries Increased 30%, Study Shows

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) The number of Russian officials has decreased slightly from 2009, but their collective earnings have grown 31 percent to 682 billion rubles ($16 billion), a new study showed Wednesday. Russia had 1.45 million officials in 2013, compared with 1.5 million five years ago, the study conducted by

De-Modernization and Degradation-A Net Assessment of Russia’s Domestic Situation Since the Start of 2014

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 181 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – October 14, 2014) Considering Russia’s shocking transformation in the course of just half a year, it is easy to forget that last February the country was united in the joy of hosting the Sochi Winter Olympic games. The

Five Important Things That Memorial’s Done (And Is Still Doing) For Russia

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – October 13, 2014 – Daisy Sindelar) Russia’s Justice Ministry has asked the country’s Supreme Court to liquidate Memorial, the country’s oldest and best-known human rights organization, which groups together more than 50 bodies nationwide. Founded in 1989 under the auspices of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, Memorial has led efforts to uncover

Bad Roads – a Domestic Russian Problem So Bad Putin Can’t Ignore but Can’t Fix

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 10, 2014) The state of Russia’s road system, which now ranks 136th out of 144 countries evaluated, is so bad that even Vladimir Putin, who recently has been given to upbeat statements about the country, has had to change his tone. But his comments in Novosibirsk

RIA Novosti: Former Soviet Leader Gorbachev Out of Hospital, Back at Work

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev told RIA Novosti on Friday that he has left hospital and is back at work. “Now I am out of hospital,” Gorbachev said. Answering a question about how he is feeling, the former Soviet leader stated that “well” would be an overstatement. “If I

Bill Proposes Softening NGO ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 9, 2014) A legislative commission has approved a bill reducing fines for non-governmental organizations that fail to register with the Justice Ministry as so-called “foreign agents,” the government said in a statement Wednesday. The bill, conceived after the Ministry received complaints from the country’s human rights commissioner, proposes halving

RIA Novosti: Russian President Says He Took 5-Mile Hike on His Birthday

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that he went on a 5-mile hike in the mountains of Siberia on his 62nd birthday. “The day before yesterday was a day of walking for me. I walked in the mountains for almost 9 kilometers [about 5 miles]. Everything still hurts,” Putin

Putin Seeks Solitude Amid Russia’s Perfect Storm

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

(Stratfor.com – October 9, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 62nd birthday Tuesday in a peculiar fashion: by himself in the Siberian forests. For the past few days, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has brushed off journalists’ questions about why the president decided not to celebrate his birthday in Moscow or do other work as he

VIDEO: Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Open Russia and Building Civil Society: A Conversation With Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

The Council on Foreign Relations hosted an event featuring former Russia oil oligarch, and former Russian prison inmate, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Open Russia and Building Civil Society: A Conversation With Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” is archived at cfr.org/russian-federation/mikhail-khodorkovsky-open-russia-building-civil-society/p33555. Among other things, Khodorkovsky argued that Putin has become so entrenched as a strongman, that any successor might be

Putin Aloof as Russia’s Economic Troubles Close In

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – October 8, 2014) Official documents published Monday show the Kremlin has scrapped the president’s annual budget address. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS that the set piece speech would, from now on, be folded into the state-of-the-union address, usually given in December. While Putin floated the idea

Moscow Times: Vladimir Putin’s (Imaginary) Bucket List

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Pilot in Hang Glider Airborne Next to Flying Cranes

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – October 7, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin turns 62 on Tuesday. Though he has manned the helm of Mother Russia for nearly 15 years, he remains such a divisive figure that a 2044 textbook will be needed to glean his real place in history. But one thing

Dmitry Gudkov, L’Enfаnt Terrible of the State Duma

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – October 7, 2014) In a Russian parliament filled with yes-men, Dmitry Gudkov is Mr. Nyet. Since his election to the State Duma in 2011, the 34-year-old deputy has opposed many legislative initiatives of symbolic importance to the Kremlin. Gudkov – who has served as an independent since

Putin Clans Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Irina Reznik, Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov – October 5, 2014) Russia’s wheels of power are grinding to a halt. That’s the assessment of five officials close to President Vladimir Putin, who say that a struggle at the heart of his inner circle is slowing decision making as sanctions squeeze the

How to Become a Russian Spy

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 3, 2014) When a young Vladimir Putin decided to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a spy, he headed to the local branch of the KGB in Soviet Leningrad. Wary of unsolicited applicants, the KGB officers turned Putin away, but not without some valuable advice: Go

Interfax: Russia not planning to limit internet traffic, nationalize domains – minister

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – October 2, 2014) The Russian authorities have no plans to limit the number of trans-border internet exchange points (IXP) or to regulate the management of the country’s local domains, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 2 October. “Such an idea is not on the agenda,” Russian Telecommunications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov told journalists

Sberbank’s Gref: Inefficiency Crippling Russia’s Development Efforts

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 3, 2014) German Gref, head of Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank, on Friday castigated systemic inefficiencies in the Russian government that, he said, waste trillions of rubles and threaten to drag Russian society back into Soviet times. “We have inconceivable social costs in the area of public

RIA Novosti: Putin: Russia Has Reserves to Implement Budget Plans Regardless of Global Trends

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

NOVO OGARYOVO (outside Moscow), October 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has enough reserves to implement all the tasks under the state budget regardless of global political and economic trends, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday. “We certainly have reserves to resolve the issues that could arise as a result of developments of the situation in

Can Russia Disconnect From The Internet?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RFE/RL – Luke Johnson – October 02, 2014) After chairing a meeting of the Russian Security Council on October 1, President Vladimir Putin insisted the Kremlin was not planning to limit access to the Internet or put it under total state control. The authorities would, however, take additional measures to increase cybersecurity and continue to shut

RIA Novosti: Putin’s spokesman rules out return of Iron Curtain

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 1, 2014) It is absurd to raise the issue of a possible closure of the Russian borders, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said, commenting on a survey by the Levada Centre about the possibility of a return of the Iron Curtain. “The absurdity of this survey does

Life After Putin: Russia Needs to Be Rebuilt From Scratch

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – September 30, 2014) This story begins a series of analytical articles and editorials in The Moscow Times about Russia’s long-term strategic prospects. It is strange to recall in 2014 that back at the beginning of his rule, President Vladimir Putin was hailed as a reformer. His main agenda during

Interfax: Third of Russians think Russia has all the democracy it needs – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – Moscow, September 30, 2014) A relative majority of Russians (39 per cent) believe that democracy in the Russian Federation was [and is] at its height under the rule of Vladimir Putin: 12 per cent said that it was so during the first two terms of Putin’s presidency (2000-2008), and 27 per cent –

Facebook, Google and Twitter hit by new Russian internet law

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – September 30, 2014) Russia’s official communications regulator Roskomnadzor says it will enforce a recently passed law that could force foreign-owned internet companies to store the data of Russian users on Russia data centres, as part of a Kremlin drive towards what it calls ‘information sovereignty’. Major US-based internet companies

We have made today’s Frankenstein with our own hands

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Kantor – September 29, 2014) Maxim Kantor is a painter, novelist and playwright. His latest novel V tu storonu (In that direction), which explores the parallel between the financial crisis and a malignant tumour, will be published in Russia shortly. When communism ended, Russia’s people wanted democracy. Instead, they got the market

Russians’ Greatest Fears Coming True, Undermining Stability, Gontmakher Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 24, 2014) The eight developments Russians identified as of their greatest fears are all coming true, and that pattern regardless of what else happens undermines the stability of Russian society and the Russian state, according to Moscow economist and commentator Yevgeny Gontmakher. In August, Russians were

RIA Novosti: Putin Called Top Moral Authority Among Russian Celebrities: Opinion Poll

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

MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – Two thirds of Russians say that some of the country’s famous citizens can be considered as moral authorities, and 36 percent of them believe President Vladimir Putin is taking the lead , a poll by the Public Opinion Fund reported Wednesday. Around 60 percent of respondents believed that there

Fewer Russians Blame Authorities for Deaths in Beslan Attack

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 2, 2014) On the 10th anniversary of the Beslan terrorist attack in which more than 330 people died, a poll revealed Monday that fewer Russians think authorities mishandled the crisis than in 2004. The poll, conducted by the independent Levada Center from Aug. 22 to 25, showed a less

RIA Novosti: Russian pundits, officials agree with need for new military doctrine

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(RIA Novosti – September 2, 2014) Russian politicians and pundits have expressed support for the announcement that Russia will update its military doctrine. The deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, Mikhail Popov, said today in an interview with RIA Novosti news agency that Russia will make changes to its current military doctrine before the

@Fu-kingPutin; The rhetoric of hatred describing the situation in Ukraine misses the point – Ukraine has problems that are not derived from Russia or the Putin presidency

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(opendemocracy.net – David Marples – August 22, 2014) David Marples is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, Canada. For summer 2014 he is Visiting Professor at the Slavic and Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University, Japan. [DJ: Just to clarify: One word in this article has been tweaked so that spam

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

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