Tag Archives: Government

Sanctions and Regime Survival

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, and Senior Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University – March 11, 2015 – article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/article/sanctions-and-regime-survival) Some debates never die; they just get replayed. After the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan in late December 1979, the United States imposed economic sanctions against the USSR. The Russian Federation since […]

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Witness can’t recognize suspected Nemtsov assassin – newspaper

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – The confession of Zaur Dadayev, the suspected perpetrator of the killing of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, is not confirmed by a direct witness to the crime, Kommersant reported on Friday. Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the investigator, that Ukrainian model Hanna Durytska, who was accompanying Nemtsov at the time he was killed, was […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes: Russian Support For Democracy Just Hit The Lowest Level In More Than 20 Years

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

The invaluable Levada Center, Russia’s only genuinely independent polling agency, regularly conducts a survey about Russians’ attitudes towards the government, the economy, and the proper relationship between the state and its citizens. The 2015 results were just released, and it makes for rather depressing reading. Basically, right across the board, Russians have become substantially more statist and nationalist in their […]

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Uproar in Murmansk as Teachers’ Salaries Withheld Amid Economic Crisis

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 26, 2015) Teachers’ salaries have been withheld en masse in Murmansk as Russia’s economic crisis bears down on the regional budget, news site FlashNord reported Wednesday. The Murmansk branch of Russia’s national teachers’ union filed a complaint with regional governor Marina Kovtun, claiming that a large number of employees of Murmansk’s […]

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New team on the way?

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – March 26, 2015) A rumour was doing the rounds in Moscow on March 25: Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to hold a big press conference on March 26 and will sack the entire cabinet – presumably including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – and appoint a […]

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Health Care Workers to Hunger-Strike in Protest of Labor Conditions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 24, 2015) Health care workers in central Russia threatened to stage a hunger strike starting Monday to protest what they described as “repercussions” against co-workers who demanded better working conditions and higher salaries at previous protests, media reports said. The hunger strike, planned in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow: A Chechen Dragon Splits Moscow

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

… In any case, the Chechen connection has split the ruling elite. Putin faces a backlash from those who object to his reliance on Kadyrov. Anti-Chechen racism is only part of it. Kadyrov’s enemies in the FSB and other places suspect, for good reasons, that the loyalty of the Kadyrovtsy to the Russian state is provisional. They recall that many […]

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Vladimir Putin: A Reincarnation of Dracula?

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

(©2015 Ukrainian Magazine (Chicago) – ukrainianchi.com – Rev. Myron Panchuk, M.A. – March 24, 2015 – article also appeared at ukrainianchi.com/vladimir-putin-reincarnation-dracula/ – reprinted with permission) In August of 1991 a miracle occurred: Ukraine declared its independence. I remember the joy, the euphoria felt in our Ukrainian-American community in Chicago. People greeted each other in the streets as if it was Easter Day, and on […]

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BOOK REVIEW: “Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” – an updated version

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Timothy Ash, Head of EM Research, ICBC-Standard Bank, London – March 23, 2015) “Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin”, new and expanded, by Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, Brookings Institute Press, Washington, 2015. This book is sold as a biography, but if you want a standard chronological recap of the life of Vladimir Putin […]

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Paul Grenier: “A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology)”

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Subject: A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology) Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 From: Paul Grenier <psgrenier@gmail.com> A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology) By Paul R. Grenier Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues. After advanced study in Russian affairs, international relations and geography at […]

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Interfax: Best effort put into investigation of Nemtsov murder – Russia’s former minister

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, March 18, 2015) The investigation into the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov is regarding all possible theories of the crime using best law-enforcement practices, former Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin has said. “I know what effort has been put in there and so far I cannot say that the investigation is on the wrong track,” Kudrin told […]

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Outsourcing sovereignty from Russia to Chechnya

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Just like in business, the centre of Russia has transferred a range of its functions to a regional political ‘contractor’. But now the tail is starting to wag the dog. (opendemocracy.net – Sergey Markedonov – March 17, 2015) Sergey Markedonov is Associate Professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities The North Caucasus is back in the news. This time, the […]

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NEWSWATCH: How Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin in the crosshairs

Nemtsov March of Mourning

[“How Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin in the crosshairs” – Los Angeles Times – Paul Stronski – ] Writing in The Los Angeles Times, the Carnegie Endowment’s Paul Stronski considers prospects for Russian political turbulence following the assassination of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s killing is not just a tragedy for Russia, but could be a harbinger of political turbulence. […]

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NEWSLINK Politico: What If Putin Disappeared for Real? The Russian president’s absence points to Russia’s looming succession crisis

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

Well, he’s ba-ack, but Russia’s brief sojourn without Vladimir Putin in public view won’t be forgotten soon. Even as Putin rather airily dismissed the issue of his long public absence on Monday, saying life “would be boring without gossip,” the frenzied rumor-mongering over the Ten Days That Shook the Twitter World raised a lot of serious issues. Most of all, […]

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Russia: All five men in custody charged with Nemtsov’s murder

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – March 16, 2015) All five men held in custody in connection with the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have now been formally charged, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax news agency has reported. Three men – Shadid Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov – were charged on 16 March, the agency reported the same day. Two others, Zaur […]

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Russian Elites but Not Russian People, Ready to Capitulate to the West, Kagarlitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 17, 2015) The West does not understand Russia, but it does understand very well indeed Russia’s elites; and as a result, it has seriously miscalculated in its dealings with Moscow about Ukraine, according to Boris Kagarlitsky, who argues the elites are ready to capitulate in the face of sanctions but the […]

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A Post-Putin Russia Might Be Bad News for Everyone, Including Ukraine, in the Short Term

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 14, 2015) If Vladimir Putin is ousted or when he dies, the Russian government likely to emerge at least in the near term would not be the liberal, democratic and peaceful one in which so many are placing their hopes. And in the short term, such a regime almost certainly would […]

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Russian State TV Shows Footage of Putin Working in Good Health

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 14, 2015) Russian state television aired what it said was footage of President Vladimir Putin working at his residence outside Moscow on Friday, a first appearance since he dropped out of sight days ago, triggering rumours he was ill or sidelined by internal conflict. In the footage, Putin was shown in his office at […]

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Nemtsov murder suspect was not tortured – lawyer

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 12, 2015) A lawyer for one of the men charged with the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has dismissed suggestions that his client was tortured in order to force him to confess to the crime, the privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 12 March. Ivan Gerasimov said that his client, Zaur Dadayev, had told […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New evidence sheds doubt on ‘Islamic’ motive in Nemtsov killing

Nemtsov March of Mourning

Experts say that conflict between Russia’s security services and the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, likely played a role in the murder. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 12, 2015) New details in the Feb. 27 murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov have cast doubt on the claim of the investigators that Nemtsov was […]

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Where is Putin?

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – March 13, 2015) Moscow is gripped by the disappearance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hasn’t been seen in public for a week. Is he dead? Is there a palace coup underway? Perhaps he has sneaked off to marry his girlfriend, or he is just undergoing another […]

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Interfax: Putin has very busy schedule – press secretary

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

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has a very busy schedule at this time, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. “He is holding meetings all the time, but not all of them are public. His schedule is very busy these days. He is discussing crisis-linked issues and other matters. He is keeping in touch with the […]

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Moscow Times: Support for Putin Among Russian Voters Doubles

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 6, 2015) More than half of Russians would vote for President Vladimir Putin if a snap presidential election were held, a survey published Thursday showed. Fifty-five percent of the 1,600 adults across Russia polled about their voting intentions by the independent Levada Center last month said they would cast their ballot […]

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Putin Sounds the Alarm Over Budding ‘Color Revolutions’ in Russia

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 5, 2015) President Vladimir Putin urged Interior Ministry officials on Wednesday to focus on smothering budding color revolutions, thus bolstering the current political climate by reinforcing a widespread fear of domestic enemies, analysts told The Moscow Times. “We see attempts to use so-called ‘color revolution technology,’ ranging from organizing unlawful public […]

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Interfax: Over half of Russians ready to vote for Putin – poll

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

(Interfax – March 5, 2015) The electoral rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin remains high, and 55 per cent of Russians would vote for him in a presidential election, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 5 March, quoting the Russian independent polling organization Levada Centre. According to the poll conducted on 20-23 February, among those who had decided their position […]

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Interfax: No “tightening of screws” after Nemtsov murder – Russian upper house speaker

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

(Interfax – March 4, 2015) The murder of prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was an attempt to destabilize and discredit Russia, but it will not lead to a clampdown on the opposition, Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has said, as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 4 March. “I am shocked by this murder… (ellipsis as published) […]

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Russians Less Likely to Protest as Their Situation Deteriorates, Urnov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 4, 2015) It is an axiom in most countries that people will protest when their living conditions decline and that assumption underlies current Western policy toward Moscow, but Mark Urnov, one of Russia’s leading political analysts, argues that the situation in Russia is different and that Russians are less rather than […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New law will allow NGOs to lose ‘foreign agent’ tag – on certain conditions

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 3, 2015) Non-governmental organizations that were forced to register as “foreign agents” under controversial legislation will soon be able to lift that status – but only if they meet certain conditions that some NGOs say are unrealistic. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has taken action to free NGOs from […]

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BNE: Chart – Russians’ latest reactions to Ukraine, sanctions and Putin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – March 3, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-russians-latest-reactions-ukraine-sanctions-and-putin] A series of recent polls by Russia’s Levada Center has cast an interesting light on major issues surrounding Russia, such as Russians’ views on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the effects of continued Western-led sanctions, and the general popularity of the government. Ukraine […]

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Moscow Times: “Analysts: Nemtsov Murder Won’t Consolidate Russian Opposition”

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 3, 2015) Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov’s murder is unlikely to unite Russia’s scattered opposition factions, whose discordant ideologies have consistently prevented their consolidation into a coherent political force to be reckoned with, analysts said Monday. The multicolored flags of various opposition parties flew high above Sunday’s silent march to mourn the […]

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RIA Novosti: “Russian secret service cameras did not capture Nemtsov murder – spokesman”

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

(RIA Novosti – March 2, 2015) The Russian law-enforcement agency that provides personal protection to President Vladimir Putin and other top officials says its video cameras did not capture the killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov on a bridge near the Kremlin late on 27 February. In remarks reported by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on 2 March, Sergey […]

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Interfax: Nemtsov murder witness Durytska allowed to return to Ukraine, say Russian investigators

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 3, 2015) Ukrainian citizen Anna Duritskaya, a key witness in the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, was not held in Russia against her will and, after leaving for Ukraine, promised to further cooperate with Russian investigators, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Tuesday. “No restrictions were imposed on Duritskaya and no personal […]

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OBITUARY: Nemtsov’s death and the opposition’s failure to change the regime

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 2, 2015) This is so depressing. First a proxy war that has expanded into the worst geopolitical showdown in 20 years. Then a crisis that has led to stagnation and a steep fall in the ruble. And now the murder of one of Russia’s best-known opposition politicians. Russia is […]

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NEWSWATCH: A March of Mourning for Boris Nemtsov

Nemtsov March of Mourning

[“A March of Mourning for Boris Nemtsov” – Masha Lipman – The New Yorker – March 1, 2015] Masha Lipman covers the march of mourning following the assassination of Boris Nemtsov and reacts to his killing, including recalling other assassinations during the Putin era: Boris Nemtsov was among the organizers of a mass protest action called “The Spring,” planned for Sunday, […]

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NEWSWATCH: Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia

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

[“Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into the uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia” – Garry Kasparov – Wall Street Journal – March 1, 2015] Garry Kasparov reacts to the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure and former Yeltsin official Boris Nemtsov. Boris Nemtsov, my longtime friend and […]

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Eric Kraus: Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov

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

Subject: Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov. Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2015 From: Eric Kraus <krausmoscow@yahoo.com> Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov. By Eric Kraus Eric became well known in global financial circles in the 90s and naughts as the author of a widely read monthly investment strategy newsletter: Truth and Beauty (…and Russian Finance), prized as much […]

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NEWSWATCH: Boris Nemtsov murder: Putin now governs mostly through terror & propaganda: Any plot would have been known by Kremlin

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

[“Boris Nemtsov murder: Putin now governs mostly through terror and propaganda; Any plot against Boris Nemtsov would have been known by the Kremlin. Putin either killed him or tolerated his death.” – The Daily Telegraph (UK) – February 28, 2015] Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Ben Judah comments on the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. He […]

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NEWSWATCH: Boris Nemtsov: Liberal martyr: Russia’s rising political hatred claims a victim: a scrupulously honest reformist leader

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

[“Boris Nemtsov: Liberal martyr: Russia’s rising political hatred claims a victim: a scrupulously honest reformist leader” – The Economist – February 28, 2015] The Economist covers the assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. ‘NEMTSOV is a national traitor! Execute the traitor!’ wrote a commenter a few days ago, on an internet petition to strip Boris Nemtsov of […]

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NEWSWATCH: The Nemtsov Murder and the FSB

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“The Nemtsov Murder and the FSB” – Tom Rogan – The National Review – March 2, 2015] Tom Rogan, writing in The National Review, covers the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. He points to signs of involvement by the Russian government security services, particularly the FSB. Nemtsov opposed not only the Putin regime but the related kleptocracy […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia’s Army of Avengers: Masha Gessen on the Murder of Boris Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“Russia’s Army of Avengers: Masha Gessen on the Murder of Boris Nemtsov” – Masha Gessen – New York Times – March 2, 2015] Masha Gessen covers the assassination in Moscow of Russia opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. The scariest thing about the murder of Boris Nemtsov is that he himself did not scare anyone. ‘He was no threat to the current […]

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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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