Fiscal rule already essentially in effect, might be formally introduced in 2018 – Belousov

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW. April 17 (Interfax) – The new fiscal rule that restricts Russian budget spending of additional oil and gas revenue is essentially already in effect, and it might be formally introduced in 2018, Kremlin aide Andrei Belousov said. “The fiscal rule comes down to cutting off the level of spending at an oil price of $40 per barrel. We negotiated […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Mr Medvedev briefed Vladimir Putin on the key points of the report on the Government’s work in 2016, which will be presented to the State Duma on April 19. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, on April 19 you will present to the State Duma the Government’s report on its work last year. What will you be presenting? What […]

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‘Young Russians Love Putin, State Ownership and Socialism,’ Poll Finds

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 17, 2017) The massive participation of young Russians in the March 26 anti-corruption demonstrations led many Russian and Western analysts to predict that the rise of a generation born or at least grown up after the end of the Soviet Union will have a profound and positive impact on the future […]

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“Young people in Russia today don’t have it easy”; After young people and students took to the streets, education is firmly on the agenda in Russia.

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

An interview with Mikhail Sokolov on the threats to academic freedom and whether one of Russia’s leading universities will survive. (opendemocracy.net – Tatyana Dvornikova, Mikhail Sokolov – April 12, 2017) Tatyana Dvornikova is a Moscow-based journalist. She works with Colta, Kommersant and Radio Mel. Mikhail Sokolov is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at European University in St Petersburg. Education […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Power brokers in the Kremlin jostle to succeed Putin; President’s authoritarianism has barred the rise of any challenger” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille, Henry Foy

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“More than 17 years after … Putin became president, the authoritarian system he built is showing signs of internal corrosion. … Navalny’s ambitions are not expected to undo … Putin’s re-election bid. But the uncertainty over what comes next is stirring ambitions and sparking jostling among power brokers in the Kremlin and across Russia. … Putin remains the supreme arbiter of Russia’s politics. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Mir broadcasting company

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – April 12, 2017) Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Mir television and radio broadcasting company on the eve of his visit to Kyrgyzstan. The interview took place on April 11. President of Interstate Television and Radio Company Mir Radik Batyrshin: The Collective Security Treaty Organisation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The benefits for Russia’s allies are clear. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov

Moscow Roads

(Kremlin.ru – April 10, 2017) Mr Sokolov briefed Vladimir Putin on the transport sector’s main results in 2016. Subjects of discussion included air, sea, rail and road transport, and also road construction and projects for developing Crimea’s transport infrastructure. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sokolov, let’s examine the full range of issues under the Transport Ministry’s responsibility: freight, road […]

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NEWSLINK: “How the Tumultuous ’90s Paved the Way for Putin’s Russia” [Book Review of “WHO LOST RUSSIA? How the World Entered a New Cold War”] – New York Times/ Rajon Menon

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

“… So who lost Russia? Russia’s leaders, primarily Putin, who neither built democracy nor made Russia a partner of the West? Or the West, which was never serious about respecting Russia’s interests, let alone a partnership? Conradi doesn’t provide a clear-cut answer to his question. Given the complexities he grapples with, who can blame him?”

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Five Telling New Poll Results from Russia

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 6, 2017) Polls in Russia are anything but reliable guides to popular attitudes: Pollsters in many cases structure their questions to get the results those in power want; and the population often tells those conducting surveys not what they in fact think but rather that which they believe the authorities want […]

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Ellen Mickiewicz: “New info re RT”

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

Subject: New info re RT Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2017 From: Ellen Mickiewicz <ellen.mickiewicz@gmail.com> Ellen Mickiewicz James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy Studies in the Sanford Institute for Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at Duke University. Maxim Audinet’s piece about RT in Le Monde diplomatique [JRL#65] provides data that are partly right, partly not. Does the corrective […]

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Russian PM Calls Opposition Corruption Charges ‘Rubbish,’ ‘Nonsense’

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 4, 2017) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has for the first time responded to allegations of corruption made by opposition activists, calling them “rubbish” and “nonsense.” Medvedev said on April 4 the allegations, which have led to a series of street demonstrations by opposition protesters, had been made “to try to pull people out into […]

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Putin Is Up, But Russians Are Feeling Down

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 3, 2017) Russia’s long recession is officially over: In the fourth quarter of 2016, the country’s economy grew 0.3 percent, and growth appears to be continuing. Consumer sentiment is in positive territory for the first time since 2014. The numbers indicate that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is regaining some of its lost […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A near-no show on Red Square highlights problems of Russia’s protest movement” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“… Last weekend’s rallies clearly caught authorities by surprise. State television ignored them, and no one spoke about them until Monday, when Putin’s spokesman called them ‘a provocation.’ That word gets used a lot in Russian officialdom in the sense of ‘someone was trying to start something, but we aren’t going to say what or who or why,’ when, in fact, […]

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Deciphering a Revolution; ‘1917: Code of a Revolution’ is the first exhibition marking this year’s centenary

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – March 31, 2017) In 2017, Russia marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most crucial episodes in its history – the October Revolution. And what better place to hold the first in a series of exhibitions devoted to the centennial than the Museum of Contemporary Russian History – known until 1998 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to families of those killed and injured in explosion in St Petersburg metro

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 3, 2017) The President was briefed on the blast in the St Petersburg metro by the security service heads, in particular, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov. Mr Putin instructed the city authorities to take all necessary measures to help the families of those killed and injured. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: As you know, […]

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Alexei Navalny Wants Putin’s Job. Here’s What He’d Do With It; The Russian presidential hopeful who led Sunday’s coast-to-coast protests talks about corruption, the Kremlin, Ukraine, and Trump.

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 30, 2017) Alexei Navalny is in jail. When he gets out, the man determined to unseat Russian President Vladimir Putin next March probably won’t be permitted to run. Banned from Russian TV, he has to barnstorm the vast nation to drum up support for his long-shot bid. Yet he is Putin’s most […]

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Russia’s prison service is keeping its abuses under lock and key; Despite signs of early change, the cover-up of torture inside Russia’s prison service demands reform.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Bulat Mukhamedzhanov – March 31, 2017) Bulat Mukhamedzhanov is coordinator for Zona prava, which provides legal and informational support to prisoners and criminal defendants in #Russia. Right now, 17 prison officers are on trial in the southern Russian regions of Krasnodar and Kalmykia – they’re accused of meting out severe beatings to their charges, two of whom died […]

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Study: Russia’s Most Active Protesters Are Its Least Active Voters

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 31, 2017) Russia’s most active protesters may be its least active voters, according to a new study. Of the 10 Russian regions where the highest percentage of the overall population took part in the March 26 anti-corruption protests, nine had a voter turnout below the national average during the Sept. 2016 parliamentary election. In […]

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TRANSCRIPT: The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum. [excerpts re Putin]

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 30, 2017) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the filurth international forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue. The forum’s theme this year is People and the Arctic. The participants are discussing ways to improve the quality of life in the Arctic, maintain its unique environmental potential, boost sustainable socioeconomic development of the Arctic regions and strengthen international […]

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Are Russian Teens Really About to Storm the Kremlin? Recent anti-corruption rallies will go down as Russia’s most youthful protests

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – March 30, 2017) When 12-year-old Gleb took to the stage at an anti-corruption protest in the Siberian city of Tomsk last week, few in the audience would have expected the moment to go viral. “It doesn’t matter who’s in power – Putin or Navalny,” Gleb said to rounds of applause. “The most […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting on Arctic region’s comprehensive development

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 29, 2017) In the course of his trip to Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Archipelago Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the comprehensive development of the Arctic region. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Special Presidential Representative for Nature Protection, the Environment, and Transport […]

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NEWSLINK: “Where Will Russia’s Protests Lead? The anticorruption wave could give way to greater instability” – The National Interest/Alexander Lukin

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

“March 26 saw widespread protests against corruption in Moscow and several other big Russian cities. The formal cause was the absence of reaction by the authorities to the film He Is Not Dimon to You, produced and distributed online by the Foundation Against Corruption, headed by opposition activist Alexei Navalny. The film accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption, showing […]

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NEWSLINK: “The arts thrive in Putin’s Russia – though they play a complex game of censorship; Russia’s art scene prospers in a bizarre critical climate fostered by the Kremlin. We may not know the rules, but we know our place” – The Guardian (UK)/Natalia Antonova

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

“… The Russian state’s paradoxical nature becomes especially apparent when considering the country’s thriving arts scene. It is these contradictions of governance, and their peculiar influence on the Russian art world, that aid and abet Putin’s rule, and ultimately, help generate support for the Russian president. So is there censorship? Yes, some people would argue – but it’s not clearly […]

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Election of Russian Academy of Sciences president set tentatively for Sept 27 – acting RAS President Kozlov

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – The election of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) president will most likely be held on September 27, 2017, acting RAS President Valery Kozlov said on Tuesday. “We are preparing and we will be preparing a general assembly, it will most apparently be held at the end of September of this year. Moreover, the [RAS] […]

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Survey: Two-Thirds Of Russians Hold Putin Responsible For Corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 28, 2017) More than two-thirds of #Russians believe that President Vladimir Putin is “entirely” or “significantly” responsible for massive corruption among state officials, according to a new survey by the Levada Center. [http://www.levada.ru/2017/03/28/institutsionalnaya-korruptsiya-i-lichnyj-opyt/] The March 28 survey found that 79 percent of Russians believe corruption has “completely infected” or “significantly infected” Russia’s organs of state […]

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Patriarch Kirill blames 1917 revolution on intelligentsia

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

MOSCOW. March 29 (Interfax) – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has put the main blame for the 1917 revolution on the intelligentsia. “What happened in the 20th century, that meat-grinder, which ground the entire intelligentsia, is it not an organic consequences of the horrible crimes that the intelligentsia committed against faith, against God, against their people, against their […]

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Is #Navalny a ‘Young and Sober’ #Yeltsin or ‘the #Putin of Tomorrow’?

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 28, 2017) Aleksey #Navalny’s new prominence and his success in attracting young people – which some see reflected in the fact that he now has more “likes” than Moscow TV (politsovet.ru/54872-navalnyy-obognal-po-chislu-podpischikov-pervyy-kanal-rt-i-rossiyu-24.html) – #Putin loyalists are attacking him and others asking what kind of a leader he may be. Putin’s press spokesman […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Valentina Tereshkova

File Photo of Valentina Tereshkova in Space Suit with Helmet Open, adapted from image at starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 6, 2017) Vladimir Putin extended his birthday greetings to Valentina Tereshkova, pilot cosmonaut, the first woman in space, Hero of the Soviet Union, and State Duma deputy. The President issued an executive order awarding the Order For Services to the Fatherland I Degree to Ms Tereshkova, deputy chairperson of the State Duma Committee for Federal Organisation and […]

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More On Russia’s Protests

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore, The Morning Vertical – March 28, 2017) … There is no shortage of commentary on nationwide protests in Russia on March 26. Here’s a sampling: In The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe explains the significance of this past weekend’s protest. Leonid Ragozin has a piece in Bloomberg looking at Navalny’s campaign operation in Siberia and what […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian regime’s critics are falling dead, but their discontent can’t be killed” – Washington Post

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

“… #Voronenkov … #Gorokhov … only the latest in the string of violence and death that has trailed those who criticize … #Putin and his regime. Boris #Nemtsov … was assassinated while walking home across a bridge within sight of the #Kremlin walls. Alexander #Litvinenko, a former KGB officer who had become a fierce critic of … Putin … killed in London with radioactive polonium placed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russian protests are making the Kremlin rethink 2018 presidential elections. The implicit choice in next year’s elections was looking like ‘Putin or nothing.’ But the breadth of protests Sunday organized by anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny is changing that equation.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russia Regions Map

“… staging significant protest actions in almost 100 #Russian cities Sunday, Alexei Navalny has laid down a serious challenge to Vladimir Putin. The anti-corruption blogger-turned-politician wants to run for president in elections that are barely a year off, and has been conducting himself as if his campaign were already under way. The Kremlin has the means to prevent him, by invoking a […]

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David Filipov: “There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was hospitalized but for most of the day police in #Moscow were generally patient w crowds”

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

(David Filipov @davidfilipov (Washington Post) – Twitter – March 26, 2017) Washington Post correspondent David Filipov writes on twitter: “There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was hospitalized but for most of the day police in #Moscow were generally patient w crowds” [embedded tweet should also load below:] There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was […]

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Russia May Shrink Its ‘Foreign Agents’ Registry by Half

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 24, 2017) Russia may drastically shrink its registry of “foreign agents” – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and political activities, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports. The government will likely remove half of the organizations from the registry following an analysis of the law’s application by a presidential administration working group. More than 50 […]

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Interfax: March 26 rally organizers warned of illegality of staging rallies in city center – Moscow authorities

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. March 23 (Interfax) – Moscow authorities have considered all the applications filed by organizers for public events to be held in central Moscow on March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, head of the Moscow Department for Regional Security and Combating Corruption, told Interfax on Thursday. “The Department has received five applications from a group of people for public events to be […]

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Putin to Stress Superpower Status in Presidential Campaign; Restoring Moscow’s global influence will be a dominant theme of the 2018 election, experts say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Matthew Kupfer – March 23, 2017) In 2016, Donald Trump rode a wave of popular discontent to the White House on the promise that he would “make America great again.” As Russia’s presidential election, scheduled for March 2018 draws nearer, President Vladimir Putin may try a similar tactic – by contending that he […]

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Putin Nominates Bank of Russia Head Nabiullina for New Term

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Stepan Kravchenko – March 22, 2017) Russian President Vladimir #Putin told Bank of #Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina he plans to nominate her for a new 5-year term, praising her stewardship of the central bank as the country emerges from the longest recession this century. “The central bank under your leadership has done a #great […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects meeting

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Participants in the meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of priority projects in healthcare, as well as measures aimed at enhancing labour efficiency. Transcript of the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects President […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – March 20, 2017) Mr Donskoy briefed the President on measures to enhance the efficiency of subsoil resource use, develop a system of protected natural zones, and support eco-tourism. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Donskoy, we discussed with you on many occasions the question of effective subsoil use. I know the Ministry has prepared a roilange of instruments, […]

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Interfax: Idea of appointing Russian Academy of Sciences president deserves attention – Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – The idea that a Russian Academy of Sciences head may be appointed by the president of Russia deserves attention, yet no decisions have so far been made to this effect, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “All of us have been watching the developments around the election of a [Russian Academy of Sciences] president. The […]

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Interfax: Moscow authorities believe their rejection of Navalny’s requested anti-corruption rally final

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow authorities do not plan on reconsidering their refusal to approve the anti-corruption march scheduled by opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his supporters in Moscow for March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, the head of the regional security and anti-corruption department for Moscow, said. “This decision is final,” Chernikov said, replying to a relevant question from […]

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Russian Civic Nation ‘Already Exists,’ Doesn’t Need to be Declared or Defined, Kremlin Official Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – March 18, 2017) Staunton, March 18 – Two weeks ago, efforts by the working group Vladimir Putin set up to define the meaning of a civic Russian nation (rossiiskaya natsiya) collapsed when the leaders of that group announced that they were refocusing a draft law on nationality policy more generally (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/putin-tishkov-push-to-define-civic.html). But yesterday, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For the Kremlin, Boosting Turnout Is Key Task for 2018 Vote” – AP

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

“With a year to go before #Russia’s presidential election …. #Putin is set to glide easily to another term against a familiar pack of torpid rivals – leftovers from past races. But the Kremlin must figure out how to overcome one major problem in Russia’s political environment: public apathy. Putin’s strategists are searching for ways to draw more people to […]

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Regional Elites Now Excluded from Politics Seek a Bigger Role, Kudrin Center Study Finds

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 16, 2017) Russia’s regional elites say that they do not have any influence on the political process but that they would like to, especially concerning policies that affect their particular regions, according to a new study prepared by Aleksey Kudrin’s Center for Strategic Development. The study itself, “Russian Elites in 2016: […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Does Vladimir Putin Want? [interview with Alexander Vershbow]” – New York Magazine

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… Q: Assuming all the intelligence agencies are right that Russia meddled in the election, why do you think they would do so? It reflects a broader kind of hostility on the Russians’ part towards the West. It was brewing for some time, and I think it burst into full flower after Putin came back into the presidency in 2012. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of Congress of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin addressed a plenary session of the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The congress is being held as part of the X Russian Business Week (RBW) on March 13-17, hosted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The RBW participants coordinate proposals on key areas of interaction between the […]

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Almost Half of Russians Say They Can’t Distinguish Truth from Lies in Moscow Media

Satellite Dishes

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 15, 2017) Almost half of Russians – 46 percent – say that they often cannot distinguish “false information from truth” in media reports, while a similar percentage – 46 percent say that they can, numbers that are relatively constant across groups of different ages and social classes, according to Aleksey Levinson […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Vice-premier: Russia has a unique phenomenon – workers are officially poor”

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Olga Golodets speaks out about worrying trend in the country: despite having regular jobs, millions of people are stuck below the poverty line due to poor wages. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 16, 2017) Russian Vice-Premier Olga Golodets has highlighted the fact that alarmingly low wages in the country are keeping people with regular jobs below the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with General Director of Agency for Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupsheva

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 15, 2017) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives [ASI] Svetlana Chupsheva. The discussion focussed on the Agency’s work on key activity areas, in particular, developing the investment climate and business activity in Russia and support for social and business projects. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Chupsheva, have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In defence of the Romanovs: the centenary of the February Revolution” – The Spectator (Australia)/Matthew Dal Santo

Romanov Family Photo

“A century ago today, as the Imperial Train sat impounded at a provincial station 180 miles from Petrograd, Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II (1868-1918), signed an act of abdication. The Russian Revolution was formally in motion. Slightly more than eight months later, the liberal republic that succeeded the Romanov autocracy had given way to seven decades of Communist dictatorship. … most […]

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