Interfax: Eighty-Eight NGOs registered as ‘foreign agents’ in two years, seven of them did it voluntarily – Justice Ministry

St. Basil's Domes

(Interfax – September 1, 2015) Less than 10 percent of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) recognized as ‘foreign agents’ submitted by themselves an application regarding their status during the two years that the respective law has been in force, according to Dmitry Yermak, the acting director of the NGO department at the Russian Ministry of Justice. “Altogether, 88 organizations have been included […]

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Like Stalin, Putin hasn’t Changed the Rules of the Game; He’s Destroyed Them, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 28, 2015) The Anschluss of Crimea and the murder of Boris Nemtsov were not continuations of the rules of the game that had existed before, with the first following the 2008 Russian actions in Georgia and the second that of murders like Galina Starovoitova and Anna Politkovskaya, Vitaly Portnikov says. Instead, […]

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Russian ombudsman slams ex-Defence Ministry official’s parole as “elite” justice

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 25, 2015) Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has strongly condemned a court decision to release on parole Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a key figure in the Oboronservis case, suggesting the move amounted to “elite” justice, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 25 August. Earlier on 25 August, a court in Vladimir Region granted Vasilyeva parole after she […]

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Falsification, cover-up and political exploitation of killings of the Maidan protesters from the Volyn Region during the Maidan Massacre

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Ivan Katchanovski – Facebook – August 23, 2015) Ivan Katchanovski teaches at the School of Political Studies and the department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of “Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post-Soviet Ukraine and Moldova” and the co-author of “Historical Dictionary of Ukraine, Second Edition. [Wait for embedded feed of original […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

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

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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Turning Opinions of Disability Upside Down

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jordan Reed – August 25, 2015) This weekend the charitable organization Downside Up, which helps children with Down syndrome and their families, raised money and awareness for the cause with a cycling event through Moscow and Kaluga region. The 20th event of its kind saw 100 participants cycle 100km in Kaluga region on Saturday and […]

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Unlike Stalin’s Show-Trial Victims, Russia’s Political Defendants Don’t Back Down

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

(RFE/RL – Robert Coalson – August 20, 2015) There are, of course, many differences between the infamous show trials of Josef Stalin’s Great Terror and the politically convenient prosecutions of the political adversaries of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Stalin liked to try his victims in huge mass productions on blatantly political charges and then march them off for summary execution […]

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Russia’s ‘Foreign Agents’ Risk Losing Right to Run Media

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 21, 2015) As the crackdown on Russian NGOs continues, the Communications Ministry has suggested forbidding those labeled as “foreign agents” from launching and registering media outlets. The proposal, part of a bill that the ministry published on a government website for draft laws, stipulates that non-governmental organizations registered as “foreign agents” […]

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New Policy on Commemorating Victims of Repression At Odds With Actions

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 20, 2015) The government announced a new policy this week condemning attempts to justify mass Soviet repression, a move that appears to directly contradict official rhetoric and state actions during the last few years. The move shows a lack of unity in the Kremlin on the ideological front, or even the […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Russia’s summer of intrigue: Political trials take center stage.

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UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#163 :: Wednesday Afternoon 19 August 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#163 Wednesday Afternoon – 19 August 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in […]

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Ukrainians Will Need a Generation to Overcome Trauma from Russian War, Émigré Psychotherapist Says

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Paul Goble – Staunton, August 18, 2015) Madlen Rozenblum, an émigré psychotherapist who has been helping Ukrainians with Skype consultations and training sessions, says that Ukrainians are going to need a generation or even more to overcome the traumas inflicted on them by Russian aggression there. While different Ukrainians have experienced the trauma of war differently, she told Novy Region […]

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Dagestan: Living on the front line of Russia’s fight against terror

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

For several years already, Russia’s southernmost republic Dagestan has been the epicenter of terrorist activity in the country, with state law-enforcement agencies and special services engaged in a continuous struggle to identify and neutralize terror cells. However, as RBTH reports, these anti-terrorist units do not always use the most humane methods, which inevitably complicates the lives of local residents. (Russia […]

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NEWSLINK Globe and Mail (Canada): “Russia’s Brief, Shining Moment”

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

Mark MacKinnon visits the unassuming city in the shadow of the Urals where, not long ago and for not very long, free expression was allowed to flourish. In fact, it was encouraged and even financed by the state. Then something happened.

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NEWSLINK Washingtonpost/Lev Golkin: “Eastern Ukraine needs help, not isolation”

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

Twenty-five years ago, my family was stuck in then-Soviet Ukraine. We had nothing, and the West, including the United States, helped us and hundreds of thousands of other refugees even though we were technically “Soviet puppets,” born on the wrong side of the line. Today is a different story. Isolating a region for geopolitical considerations is one thing; withholding life-saving […]

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Georgy Satarov: ‘The Opposition Needs to Put the Authorities in Zugzwang’

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – August 12, 2015) As part of the Institute of Modern Russia’s ongoing interview series with Russian and Western experts, imrussia.org editor-in-chief Olga Khvostunova sat down with INDEM Foundation president Georgy Satarov to talk about social discontent, the consequences of the law on ”undesirable organizations,” the principle of simplification in Putin’s politics, and the […]

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Kremlin Forms NGO Expert Group

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 11, 2015) The Kremlin has announced the creation of an expert group to consider changes to a controversial law that labels NGOs receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents,” the RBC news agency reported Monday, citing deputy presidential chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin. The group will work within the presidential administration and will consist […]

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Faced with Any Kremlin Action, Russians Want Explanations Not Change, Kirillova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 9, 2015) Many analysts in Russia and the West are speculating about whether the burning of food at the Russian border will finally be enough to spark major protests in Russia.  But they are missing the point: faced with any Kremlin action, no matter how absurd and immoral, Russians want explanations […]

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re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII

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

Subject: re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 15:51:31 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his D.Phil. (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His essays on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms — The headline of Beevor’s article in The Guardian (1) is “By banning my […]

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Ukraine Famine Monument Erected In Washington

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(RFE/RL – Tony Wesolowsky – August 6, 2015) After years of work and some setbacks, a memorial to the millions who perished in the Ukraine famine of the 1930s, or Holodomor, has been erected in the U.S. capital. The monument — a bronze slab resting on a stone plinth and showing a field of wheat stalks — was winched off […]

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Moscow Times/VTsIOM/Penn: Six in Ten Russians Would Support Internet Censorship During a Crisis

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 4, 2015) Nearly six in 10 Russians would support the government if it decided to pull the plug on Internet access inside the country in a crisis situation, a recent poll indicates. Support for online censorship or cutting off Internet access altogether was the highest among Russians who never or rarely […]

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Human rights activists fear Soros Foundation to leave Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 3, 2015) The Soros Foundation could follow the MacArthur Foundation and National Endowment for Democracy and leave Russia, veteran of the human rights movement and head of the Civil Assistance committee Svetlana Gannushkina said. “I am afraid that the Soros Foundation is leaving Russia,” she said. According to Gannushkina, the probability exists that the Soros Foundation will […]

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RBTH: Proposed extensions to Russian police powers spark controversy

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

A new bill proposing to extend policemen’s rights, including those concerning the use of weapons, has provoked major disagreements among Russian public figures and rights activists. While its authors believe that extending police authority is necessary for defending the rights of fellow policemen, critics worry that if the law is adopted it will legitimize police brutality and may be used […]

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US expands sanctions day after Russia vetoes MH17 UN tribunal

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 31, 2015) [DJ: US Department of Treasury press release here http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0133.aspx] The US Department of Treasury announced on July 30 it would expand the sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian companies, officials and individuals, which “underscores US commitment to maintain the strength of existing sanctions and the unity of the international […]

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RBTH: Flight MH17: Russia blocks UN resolution on international tribunal

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on the establishment of an international criminal tribunal in connection with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014. While countries in favor of the resolution accuse Russia of insulting the families of the 298 victims of the disaster, Russia says the tribunal would have been premature, and questioned […]

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NEWSWATCH The Economist: Russia’s prisons. Putin v Punk Pussy. A brave, brassy singer highlights the plight of Russia’s other inmates.

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

The Economist magazine covers prisoners rights activism by Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova. At the last count there were 657,000 Russians behind bars, one of the world’s highest ratios of prisoners to population. … The frequency of deaths in custody amounts to a ‘Russian Ebola’. Tuberculosis is the commonest killer, she says, followed by HIV-AIDS, which may affect 75,000 prisoners. … … prisoners routinely […]

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NEWSWATCH BBC: Russian debtors despair as boom turns to bust

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The BBC covers the Russian economic crisis and the plight of Russians who took on debt during boom times only to face misery and potential disaster now. Millions of Russians took out loans during the economic boom years, but now they face crippling debts and the law is not on their side …. * * * … the Russian United Credit Bureau […]

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Ukrainian refugees in Russia receive a mixed welcome; Many people took refuge in Russia after fleeing eastern Ukraine last summer. Their experiences are far from uniform

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Okrest – July 28, 2015) Dmitry Okrest is a former staff writer with The New Times and currently works as an independent journalist. While the West thinks Russia is fighting a war with Ukraine, and Moscow calls the conflict a ‘civil war’, civilians continue to flee the combat zone in eastern Ukraine. Last summer, many people made […]

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Ukraine: Tainted Chernihiv Election Raises Concerns about Future Elections

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Subject: Ukraine: Tainted Chernihiv Election Raises Concerns about Future Elections Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2015 From: Freedom House <press@freedomhouse.org> Ukraine: Tainted Chernihiv Election Raises Concerns about Future Elections Washington – July 27, 2015 – Following a badly marred one-off parliamentary election July 26 in Chernihiv, Ukraine, marked by serious electoral irregularities before and after the vote, Freedom House released the […]

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Russian human rights activists lodge appeals against law on “foreign agent” NGOs

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) A number of Russian human rights advocacy organizations have lodged court appeals against their classification as “foreign agents”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Earlier the Russian Justice Ministry released a statement saying it had sent messages to a number of NGOs working in the human rights sector and included on the […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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Will the patriotic stop list kill Russia’s NGOs? Since 2012, Russian NGOs receiving funding from abroad have had to register as ‘foreign agents’. A new patriotic ‘stop list’ might shut this funding off forever.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Kozlov – July 22, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems facing Russia’s NGOs. He has at various times worked for Vremya Novostei, Moskovskiye Novosti and the online publication Gazeta.ru. His work has also appeared in Novaya Gazeta and Lenta.ru. […]

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Human rights NGOs hope to prove they are not foreign agents after Justice Ministry warning

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) Leading Russian human rights organizations that have received warnings from the Justice Ministry intend to go to court to seek their removal from the register of NGOS classed as foreign agents. “We disagree with being entered on this register. We will go to court,” Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the committee Civil Assistance, told Interfax […]

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BNE: Number of Ukrainians in food poverty increases sixfold in two years

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – July 14, 2015) The number of Ukrainians who consider themselves to be in food poverty has increased sixfold in the last two years, according to a study by international polling firm TNS Global. The survey asked 5,000 Ukrainians if they considered themselves wealthy enough to buy certain goods, ranging […]

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Interfax: MH17 investigators have yet to establish type of missile – Dutch prosecutors

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – July 17, 2015) An international group of investigators probing the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine have yet to find out whether the plane was shot down from the ground or from the air, according to the Dutch prosecutor general’s office. “We are investigating the scenario of the ground-to-air missile that downed MH17 and the other […]

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The Day Putin Became A Pariah

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – July 16, 2015) It was the day Moscow’s dreams of empire cost European lives. It was the day the Kremlin lost its last vestiges of credibility. It was the day when it became impossible to continue even pretending that Vladimir Putin’s regime was anything close to respectable. It was the day the mask […]

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UN: At least 5 million Ukrainian citizens in need of humanitarian aid

UN Building file photo

(Interfax – July 10, 2015) At least 5 million Ukrainian citizens are in need of humanitarian aid, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on July 10. And 1.4 million of them are internally displaced persons. According to the information of the UN, the most vulnerable group is people living in the area of the so-called “contact […]

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Moscow Times: Poll: Nearly Half of Russians Favor Decent Wages Over Free Speech

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 8, 2015) More than 40 percent of Russians would be willing to forgo the right to free speech and the freedom to travel abroad if Russian authorities would guarantee “decent” salaries and pensions, a poll released Tuesday by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed. Forty-two percent of Russians said they preferred […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Perspectives on Russia: June 2015

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

Subject: Perspectives on Russia: June 2015 Date: Sun, 05 Jul 2015 From: Sharon Tennison <sharon@ccisf.org> Sharon Tennison has worked for 30 years in Russia and the CIS, creating numerous multi-year, multi-million dollar programs to provide training for Soviet and Russian citizens to gain independence and skills designed for self governance. She is founder and President of the Center for Citizen […]

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And now … a murder rap for Khodorkovsky?

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – July 2, 2015) On June 30, the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, made a shocking allegation. He accused the former head of Yukos oil major Mikhail Khodorkovsky of ordering the 1998 murder of Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk, and several other crimes. The announcement […]

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UNOCHA: Five things you need to know about the crisis in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(From the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – unocha.org – ©2015 Reprinted with the permission of the United Nations – also appeared at unocha.org/top-stories/all-stories/five-things-you-need-know-about-crisis-ukraine – June 29, 2015 ) “We can make a difference … but we do need to get the funds,” said UN Resident Coordinator Neal Walker on Friday at a New York Headquarters Briefing on […]

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Communists Storm Out of Moscow Duma Hearing on Monument to Feared Secret Police Chief

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 25, 2015) The Moscow City Duma courted controversy Wednesday with its determination that a proposed referendum question on the restoration of a monument to feared Soviet secret police chief Felix Dzerzhinsky was consistent with the law. But Dzerzhinsky – a Bolshevik revolutionary and founder of the dreaded Cheka secret police, which […]

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Moscow Edges Closer to First Referendum Since Soviet Collapse

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 23, 2015) Moscow looks set to get its first referendum in post-Soviet times – and one of the burning issues on the ballot will be the restoration of a monument to the founder of the secret police to central Moscow. On June 11, the Moscow election committee approved the Communist Party’s […]

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