Putin Isn’t Restoring the USSR; He’s Seeking Support from Conservative Part of the Population, Gontmakher Says

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 17, 2013 – windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-putin-isnt-restoring.html) Several recent actions by the Kremlin restoring Soviet-era symbols have led to speculation that Vladimir Putin is returning Russia to the political-economic model of the USSR, but such speculation distracts attention from what the Russian president is really trying to do: generate support for himself among the […]

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Russian Communist Leader Zyuganov Slams Government Policy

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 17, 2013) The head of Russia’s Communist Party on Wednesday lambasted the government’s current social and economic policies, saying they are detrimental to the country’s economy and that a new cabinet is required to lead Russia out of a crisis. “We must warn society that should the current social and economic course be continued, Russia […]

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Putin generally happy with PM Medvedev’s Duma speech

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – April 17, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin is generally “positive” about Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev’s annual speech to the State Duma on the work of the government on 17 April, presidential press secretary Dmitriy Peskov said on the same day, as reported by Russian privately owned Interfax news agency. Putin “on the whole gave a positive assessment of […]

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Russian Website Explains Decision To Publish ‘Secret’ Video Of Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo

(RIA Novosti, Moscow, April 17, 2013) The LifeNews (Internet) publication has admitted that it broke some rules when it published President Vladimir Putin’s remarks made at a closed meeting in Kalmykia. However, it thinks that the decision was right and says that the (possible) exclusion of its journalists from the Kremlin pool will not be a problem for the publication. […]

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Police Raid Medvedev’s Innovation Hub Over Fraud Inquiry

Skolkovo File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov & Henry Meyer – April 18, 2013) Russian police raided the Skolkovo innovation hub, a project championed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a day after his speech to parliament was overshadowed by a leaked video. Investigators talked today to the foundation’s head, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, and other top officials, Skolkovo spokesman Roman Shcherbakov said […]

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Cabinet Under Fire After Putin Threatens Reshuffle

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova, Anatoly Medetsky – April 18, 2013) The Cabinet came under attack from State Duma deputies Wednesday as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addressed the lower house of parliament for the first time since taking office. The annual speech, which prime ministers have given since 2009, came as the country teeters on the brink of […]

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Experts and officials spar over growth

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – By Irina Granik, Moskovskiye Novosti – April 15, 2013) Analysts call for reform of state institutions, while the government demands action from private and state companies The forecast for socio-economic development of the country through 2030, recently published by the government, has come straight into the depths of discussions flaring up in connection with the […]

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Duma Endorses Election Reform in First Reading

Duma Session file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – April 17, 2013) The State Duma on Tuesday passed in a first reading a bill that would reintroduce a mixed voting system for parliamentary elections, despite a heated argument on the Duma floor that it favors pro-Kremlin forces. In voting late Tuesday afternoon, 296 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, 148 […]

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Putin Criticizes ‘Worthless’ Officials in Leaked Video

Vladimir Putin file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 17, 2013) A website leaked a video on Wednesday showing President Vladimir Putin apparently criticizing senior politicians at a meeting with ministers and governors the previous day, just hours before Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addressed the Russian parliament. The video of the meeting on housing issues, published by Russia’s Life News website, shows Putin asking […]

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Medvedev Addresses Duma at Noon (Live Blog)

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 17, 2013) Moscow Times reporter Anatoly Medetsky is providing a live blog of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit at noon to the State Duma, where he will recap the Cabinet’s activities for the past year and offer an account of his upcoming plans. 3:45 p.m.: Medvedev wrapped up his Duma appearance after a closing […]

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Economic Development Ministry proposed additional privatization transactions in 2013

Empty Boardroom

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – April 16, 2013) The Economic Development Ministry of Russia proposed another five large privatization transactions in addition to the sale of 14% of ALROSA and an additional issue of VTB worth RUB100bn, Minister Andrei Belousov said, Vedomosti reported. The Ministry proposes to privatize in 2013 up to 19% of Rosneft, state-owned stakes in Aeroflot […]

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Presidential Council Member Urges Clear Rules for NGO Checks

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 16, 2013) Pavel Chikov, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, said on Monday that a clear set of rules for inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is required. “There are no rules for prosecutors’ checks. In my opinion, this is the main lesson that we should learn from all these […]

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Not all Russian NGOs with foreign funds controlled by Justice Ministry – ministry official

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 15, 2013) The information on the multi-billion funding of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Russia coming from abroad voiced by the president only partially refers to the NGOs whose activities are controlled by the Justice Ministry. “Of course, not all NGOs that are reported by banks to receive such funding according to the NGO legal status belong […]

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Russian police says NGOs made no complaints over ‘foreign agent’ checks

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, April 15, 2013) The Interior Ministry has received no complaints against police with regard to checks of non-commercial organizations, Deputy Minister Mikhail Vanichkin has said. “Since the start of the checks, there has not been a single complaint to date from heads of non-commercial organizations against the actions of the police,” Vanichkin told a special meeting of […]

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Second ‘Foreign Agent’ NGO Probed in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 16, 2013) ­ Russian prosecutors have opened a case against a regional non-governmental organization accused of not registering as a “foreign agent” in the wake of a wave of inspections of NGOs, a rights group reported on Tuesday. Alexander Zamaryanov, director of the Kostroma Public Initiatives Support Center, is suspected of being involved in political […]

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Down, boy!

Russian Duma Building

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – April 15, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. Broadcaster Vladimir Posner’s ‘slip of the tongue’, calling Russia’s parliament the Dura (fool) instead of the Duma, added yet another slur to the already emasculated body. A […]

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Russians want to know MP’s income, spending, would ban foreign assets – poll

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax –  Moscow, April 15, 2013) Only 4 per cent of Russian do not care what incomes State Duma deputies have, while the vast majority (92 per cent) would like to know this and therefore support the use of such measures as mandatory declaration of incomes and spending for the elected representatives of the people. Some 90 per cent of […]

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Russians Want Stability Even If Things Are Not Going Well, Polls Show

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 15, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-russians-want.html) In January 1917, Lenin thought that he and members of the older generation of revolutionaries might not live to see a revolution but by the end of that year, he and the Bolsheviks were in power in Petrograd. Now, the Russian opposition believes that there must be […]

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Navalny’s Taunts Led to ‘Speedy’ Investigation

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15. 2013) Days before the much-anticipated trial of opposition leader Alexei Navalny is scheduled to begin, an Investigative Committee spokesman has suggested that Navalny’s constant criticism of the government caused investigators to “accelerate” work on the case against him. When someone “uses all his energy to bring attention to himself” and “provokes the government,” […]

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Officials’ Income Declarations Released

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15, 2013) Income declarations for 2012 for the president, members of the presidential administration, government officials and Federation Council officials were published on Friday, showing revenues that ranged from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of rubles, and from one to several pieces of real estate. In the overall picture, President Vladimir Putin […]

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Alienation of Russian Nation from Russian State Led to 1917 and 1991, Moscow Historian Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 13, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-alienation-of-russian.html) A major reason for the destruction of the Russian Empire in 1917 and of the Soviet Union in 1991, a Moscow historian says, was “the alienation that existed between the state and the Russian people,” a shortcoming that unfortunately the Russian Federation has not yet overcome with […]

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Putin, Medvedev agree to meet to discuss prospects of Russian economy amid world crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 15, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have agreed to have a special meeting with the economic block of the government, members of the Kremlin administration and experts to discuss prospects of the Russian economy amid the global negative tendencies on the world market. Medvedev said at a meeting with Putin at […]

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The Kremlin’s press secretary has no doubts about foreign funding of Russian NGOs

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – April 15, 2013) Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said that the information about the foreign funding of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Russia recently disclosed by President Vladimir Putin is reliable. “There is not the slightest reason to doubt the reliability of the said figures,” Peskov said on a Sunday night current events show on Russia 1 channel. […]

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Putin Is ‘Master of Compromise,’ Spokesman Says

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15, 2013) Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday described Vladimir Putin as a “fierce” defender of Russia’s national interests but also a “master of compromise” while commenting on everything from the opposition movement to escalating tensions with the U.S. Peskov’s comments, made on the state-owned Rossia 1 television channel on Sunday night, come amid […]

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Interview: ‘Democratic Development Survives Bad Laws And Repression’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 12, 2013) The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private foundation based in Washington, D.C., that provides grants and other support to organizations around the world that promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The NED’s senior director for Europe, Rodger Potocki, recently visited RFE/RL’s broadcast center in Prague and spoke with […]

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Putin Has More Free Speech Than All Media

Duma Session file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm – April 12, 2013) Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times. State Duma Deputy Alexei Mitrofanov, who heads the Duma committee regulating the media, came up with a new idea two weeks ago to fight the Kremlin’s battle against “insulting speech” aimed at politicians: increase the fines against media outlets […]

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Amid Paranoia, Moscow Increasingly Cracks Down on Human Rights Groups

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 68 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel Felgenhauer – April 11, 2013) Since last March, Russian and international human rights organizations­ – including such prominent ones as Memorial, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International and others­ – have been harassed by Russian law enforcement and tax authorities, had their premises searched all […]

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Investigator Bastrykin and the search for enemies

Alexandr Bastrykin file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Richard Sakwa – April 10, 2013) Richard Sakwa is professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent, England. Among his books are Putin: Russia’s Choice (Routledge, 2nd edition, 2007) and Russian Politics and Society (Routledge, 4th edition, 2008) Alexandr Bastrykin, head of Russia’s influential Investigative Committee, is one of the most powerful individuals in the […]

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Russian Cabinet Member to Repatriate Assets as Restrictions Loom

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas & Scott Rose – April 12, 2013) Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and his wife, the second-biggest earners among families of Cabinet members, plan to move their assets under Russian jurisdiction to comply with new restrictions. Shuvalov and his wife Olga are planning to shift their foreign holdings, Alexander Machevsky, a spokesman […]

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Kremlin advises officials to start closing foreign accounts, including those in CIS

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 11, 2013) Russian state officials, reporting their income and expenses exceeding joint income of their families for three years, will have to declare foreign bank accounts and securities kept not only in foreign banks but in banks of the Customs Union and the CIS as well, aide of the Russian State Presidential Legal Directorate, Valentin Mikhailov, […]

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What drives ‘nationalization’ of Russia’s elite?

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Bovt, special to RBTH – April 12, 2013) Georgy Bovt is a prominent Russian columnist and political expert.   The Russian anti-corruption campaign gains momentum. Will the Russian public be in favor of even stronger measures? Russia’s anti-corruption campaign looks like an attempt to “nationalize” the state elite by increasing their stakes […]

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The System: Shifting the Tectonic Plates

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Sergei Guriev – April 11, 2013) Sergei Guriev is a Morgan Stanley Professor of Economics and a Rector at the New Economic School (NES) in Moscow. Russia’s Byzantine system of government has long been a rich subject for study. Could it change? Might it suddenly have to? Possibly, but there are so many vested interests and the upheaval […]

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‘Foreign Agent’ Election Watchdog Told to Vacate Office

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, April 12, 2013) ­ Russian election watchdog Golos (Vote, or Voice) has been given notice to vacate its office in Moscow with no explanation, the non-governmental organization’s deputy director Grigory Melkonyants told RIA Novosti on Friday. “Our rental contract is still valid, but the new lessor has informed us they are breaking the contract ahead of its […]

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Lavrov: Magnitsky act ‘Russophobia’ product

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 11, 2013) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has branded the U.S. Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act as a manifestation of “the Russophobia that is traditionally present” in U.S. Congress. One of the architects of the Magnitsky act was Hermitage Capital investment fund chief executive William Browder, who “illegally hoarded a large fortune in the […]

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Russia Needs Radical Reforms but Those Could Again Destroy the Country, Many Russians Think

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 11, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-russia-needs-radical.html) Mikhail Gorbachev’s call for a new perestroika has sparked a discussion which rests on the idea that “if the medicine (perestroika) would kill the cancer patient (Russia in its current state), then it is necessary to put up with the cancer as long as possible,” according to […]

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Putin’s Commitment to ‘Stability above Everything’ Promises Anything But, Moscow Experts Say

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 9, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-putins-commitment-to.html) A report by the Inter-Regional Association of Young Political Scientists notes that Vladimir Putin has changed his language to reflect is “commitment to stability above everything else,” a conclusion that one Moscow commentator suggests fails to capture just how dangerous Putin’s position is for Russia as a […]

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Corruption Should Carry Same Penalty as Treason – Watchdog

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

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 10, 2013) ­ The punishment for those found guilty of corruption should be as severe as for treason, Kirill Kabanov, head of Russia’s National Anti-Corruption Committee independent watchdog said on Wednesday. “We believe the penalty for corrupt activities should be equal to that in place for treason,” said Kabanov, who is also director of the […]

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Medvedev to Face Angry Duma Next Week

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 10, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will face withering criticism and calls to fire at least one minister when he delivers his first address on the work of his Cabinet to the State Duma next week. Medvedev is scheduled to speak in the Duma on April 17, and he also will meet with the […]

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Putin’s Central Bank Pick Avoids Kuroda-Style Revolution

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas & Scott Rose – April 10, 2013) Elvira Nabiullina is declining to follow in the footsteps of Mark Carney and Haruhiko Kuroda and become an agent of change at Russia’s central bank. Nabiullina, backed by lawmakers to become the first woman to head a Group of Eight monetary authority in June, pledged continuity yesterday […]

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Income declarations of Putin, his administration to be released in April – Peskov

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 9, 2013) Income declarations of Russian President Vladimir Putin and officials of his administration will be released in mid April in line with previous plans. “Formally (in accordance with the president’s decrees from April 2) we don’t have to do it in April. But income declarations have already been submitted to the administration and nothing prevents […]

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Khodorkovsky sentence fair, Pussy Riot ruling could be softened – Moscow City Court chairman

File Photo of Pussy Riot Member in Courtroom Cage, Grinning and Gesturing with Clasped Hands

(Interfax – April 8, 2013) Moscow City Court Chairman Olga Yegorova believes the sentences handed down on former Yukos CEOs Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev are fair, but the sentence on the members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot could be softened. “It would be a shame if the Supreme Court changes the sentence handed down on Mikhail Khodorkovsky. […]

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Documentary Series Shows ‘Hairs and Wrinkles’ of Opposition Leaders

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – April 8, 2013) Anti-Kremlin leader Alexei Navalny walks methodically past a crowd of protesters standing behind metal barricades on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, heading for a stage. Two baby-faced police officers step out of his way, blank expressions on their faces. “We’re with you,” a man in sunglasses says to Navalny. “Thanks,” Navalny answers […]

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NGO Inspections Aim to Control Foreign Funding – Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo

(RIA Novosti, HANOVER, April 8, 2013) The recent wave of inspections of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Russia is not aimed at restricting their activity but rather at controlling their foreign funding, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “All our actions are not designed to shut down or ban [the operation of NGOs in […]

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Poll shows improvement in perceptions about Russian ministers’ work

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – April 5, 2013) Russians have shown a more positive attitude towards the work of the country’s ministers for the last few months, a survey by the pro-Kremlin All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) has found, the Interfax news agency reported on 5 April. The poll is available on the VTsIOM website, at http://wciom.ru/index.php?id=459&uid=113822 Respondents were asked to assess […]

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Russian officials should have to invest in Russian securities – central banker

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 4, 2013) All Russian government officials should be obligated to invest their money in the securities of Russian issuers, deputy Central Bank chairman Sergei Shvetsov said. “Today a large number of officials disclose their assets, and we see vehicles, dachas and land there, we very rarely see mutual funds, Russian securities. The presence of securities in […]

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Russian state property agency to publish 2014-2016 privatization plan in May

Empty Boardroom

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 4, 2013) Russian federal state property agency Rosimushchestvo will publish the privatization plan for 2014-2016 in May, the head of the agency, Deputy Economic Development Minister Olga Dergunova, said at the Russian Exchange Forum in Moscow on Thursday. “We are currently at the stage of forming the 2014-2016 privatization plan. The information will be published on […]

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Putin’s Russia at a Crossroads Politically and Economically

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 63 – Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – April 4, 2013) The Russian government, the expert community in Moscow and the national economic elite are actively discussing the economic future of the nation and possible drastic financial policy changes as the economy slumps into potentially long-term stagflation, which may fundamentally destabilize the […]

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Offshore Investigation Threatens to Embarrass Kremlin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 5, 2013) A leak of details about offshore bank accounts belonging to Russian businesspeople and the wife of First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov threatens to embarrass President Vladimir Putin, who has vowed to crack down on the use of tax havens. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a network of 160 journalists around […]

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Kudrin meets with Putin, shares views on pressing issues

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 4, 2013) Alexei Kudrin, chairman of the Civil Initiatives Committee and former finance minister, said that he sometimes meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “There are meetings with the president. But I’m not ready to discuss their contents,” Kudrin told reporters on Thursday. Kudrin said that he shared his position at such meetings. “I express my […]

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Need for public agreement has ripened in Russia, expert report finds

Map of Russia

(Interfax – Moscow, April 4, 2013) For the first time in Russian history, the current situation in the country is such that it requires concluding a public agreement that entails a diffusion of power, an analytical report prepared by the Centre of Political Technologies foundation, commissioned by the Civic Initiatives Committee (CIC), has found. “A ‘super-presidential’ republic should be replaced […]

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