Tag Archives: Human Rights

NEWSLINK UNIAN: Ukrainian prisoners in Donbas made slaves in Chechnya, relatives say

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

From 400 to 700 Ukrainians captured in the Donbas conflict zone have been taken to Russia, and many sold into slavery in Chechnya, Ossetia and Adygea, according to an open letter of the relatives of prisoners to the Russian human rights defenders published on the Web site of Open Russia public organization on Wednesday, a Ukrainian news broadcaster has reported. […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Boris Nemtsov’s last act of courage

Nemtsov March of Mourning

IN THE final years of his life, Boris Nemtsov never gave up on politics in Russia, even when many others were discouraged or frightened away from standing up to President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Nemtsov, once in the front ranks of Russia’s post-Soviet reformers, in the last decade and a half became a persistent Putin critic. To some, he was a […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: Russian Court Quashes Latest Bid to Jail Kremlin Critic Navalny.

Alexei Navalny file photo

Reuters covers the latest attempt to jail Russian lawyer, whistleblower and opposition figure Alexei Navalny. A Moscow court on Wednesday rejected a bid by law enforcement officials to have Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny jailed for violating the terms of his suspended five-year sentence on embezzlement charges. Navalny, who led mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in 2011-2012, denies any […]

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In Putin’s Russia, Universal Health Care Is for All Who Pay

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer – May 13, 2015) Expectant mothers in Moscow must wait as long as six weeks for ultra-sound scans, up from three days last year. Hospital outpatients pay for blood tests and X-rays that were free 12 months ago. And Marif Alekberov, a 27-year-old fireman with leukemia, is being told to find […]

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Nemtsov Report Says More Than 200 Russian Soldiers Killed In Ukraine War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 12, 2015) [Report here https://openrussia.org/] More than 200 Russian military personnel have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to a report based on research begun by slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The estimated death toll is one of the main findings of the much-anticipated report on Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, which […]

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Russian ombudsman checks reports of servicemen being coerced to fight in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – Moscow, May 6, 2015) Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has not confirmed reports of Russian servicemen’s presence on the territory of Ukraine. “Inquiries concerning each of the incidents mentioned in the press had been sent to military prosecutors of military districts and directly to the chief military prosecutor. It follows from the official replies received by the […]

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BOOK REVIEW: The lessons Russia learnt in Chechnya

Chechen Militants file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nicholas Watson in Prague – April 22, 2015) “Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994-2009″. By Mark Galeotti, Osprey Publishing (2014). As Russia begins a new period of military adventurism, it’s an opportune time to review what happened when the country previously waged war in its backyard, so Mark Galeotti’s “Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994-2009″ is […]

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Civil Assistance NGO defies ‘foreign agent’ status, ready to go to ECHR

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

(Interfax – April 21, 2015) The Civil Assistance human rights organization will appeal the Russian Justice Ministry’s decision to assign it ‘foreign agent’ status. “Naturally, we will lodge an appeal against this decision with the district court,” the organization’s lawyer Kirill Koroteyev has said. “We will also request a suspension of the Justice Ministrys ruling because the filing of a […]

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Sixty percent of Russian citizens deem death penalty acceptable – poll

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

(Interfax – April 19, 2015) Sixty percent of Rusian citizens, compared to 80% in 2001, see the death penalty as an acceptable punishment, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation. The poll was held on April 11 and 12 among 1,500 respondents in 100 localities of 43 regions. Twenty-two percent of those polled, compared to 16% in […]

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Why Putin’s Next War Will Be at Home; A pollster and a former Putin adviser predict new popularity problems-and renewed focus on domestic enemies

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – April 17, 2015) Vladimir Putin appeared this week in his annual marathon television broadcast to answer questions posed by viewers from across Russia. Of course, the four-hour show, Direct Line With Vladimir Putin, was carefully choreographed to avoid anything that could embarrass the Russian leader. But that doesn’t mean the broadcast shied away […]

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‘Optimization’ of Health Reform Causing Russian Mortality Rate to Rise

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 15, 2015) Russia’s attempts to reform its health services have resulted in a larger number of people in hospitals dying and an increased mortality rate in the country in general, a report by the government’s accounting agency said. The hospital mortality rate increased by 2.6 percent last year compared to the […]

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Why Russia watchers should listen to Glenn Greenwald

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(opendemocracy.net – Philip Evans, Associate Editor at oDR – April 2, 2015) Elites throughout the former Soviet Union are cracking down on dissent. But before Russia watchers start criticising the region’s repressive governments, they should first engage with the criticism, which has long been levelled at them. From Minsk to Astana, elites throughout the former Soviet Union are clamping down on dissent as […]

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post/Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: Politicizing History: Parliament adopts Dangerously Divisive Laws

Rada File Photo

On April 9 Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada adopted four laws pertaining to Ukraine’s recent history, two of which at least are highly contentious, with the manner in which they were presented to parliament and voted on also grounds for concern.  At a time when Russia is waging undeclared war against Ukraine, the need for unity is paramount.  Instead, a majority in […]

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NEWSWATCH The Herald (Scotland): No daughter can be restored. No leg can be replaced: our report from the frontline of the war in Eastern Ukraine.

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

The Herald and David Pratt examine some of the human costs of the conflict in Ukraine. Those who could afford it, or had somewhere else to go, got out when they could.   But often the most vulnerable — the elderly; infirm; poor; disabled — had no choice but to sit out the violence engulfing their community. Nadezhda Kalashnikova’s husband, […]

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Russian State Agency Accused of Funding Opposition Media

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 8, 2015) Russia’s Investigative Committee has reportedly demanded explanations about government subsidies to media that support opposition positions after a pro-Kremlin daily accused a government agency of supporting publications that pursue “clearly anti-state” policies. The report by the pro-government newspaper Izvestia on Tuesday named some of Russia’s best-known remaining independent-minded media […]

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Life behind the blockade in the Donetsk People’s Republic

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

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Yalovkina – April 7, 2015) The closure of the border between Ukraine and the Donetsk People’s Republic has divided communities, leaving people short of food and medicines. In January, after spending months trying to secure Donetsk’s airport, the Ukrainian authorities closed off all roads into the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Now residents of the towns and […]

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[CALL FOR PAPERS: State of War: Human Condition and Social Orders:] The Russian Sociological Review

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

Subject: The Russian Sociological Review Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:47:05 -0500 From: Nail Farkhatdinov (farkhatdinov@gmail.com) The Russian Sociological Review (sociologica.hse.ru/en), an international peer-reviewed academic journal published by the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (www.hse.ru), invites contributions from philosophy, social sciences and cognate fields for the special issue entitled State of War: Human Condition and Social Orders. […]

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Russian Church Leader Says Stalin Fans Need to ‘Sober Up’ to Realities

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 7, 2015) A Russian Orthodox Church leader has urged supporters of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to “sober up” by visiting the mass graves of political dissidents executed under his regime, news reports said. The comments by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk came in response to poll results that showed a growing number of Russians view […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Closing the doors on a museum of political repression in Russia

St. Basil's Domes

The only museum of political repression set in an old Stalinist labor camp has closed, the latest casualty of the Russian government’s effort to silence independent voices. After a three-year struggle with the government of the Perm region, in the western foothills of the Ural Mountains, the nongovernmental organization that operated the museum, known officially as the Memorial Historical Center […]

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NEWSLINK International Business Times: Ukraine War Forces A Nation To Talk About A Taboo: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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

Many Ukrainians, including soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with a yearlong war that’s killed more than 6,000 people, are leery of going to psychologists. There is still a large stigma attached to seeking psychological care. Some of the field’s practitioners here see a connection to the legacy of Soviet medicine, which focused on treating external ailments, while psychology […]

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Is There a Feud Over a New Tsar in the Kremlin?

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – April 1, 2015 – article also appeared at imrussia.org/en/analysis/politics/2217-is-there-a-feud-over-a-new-tsar-in-the-kremlin) Vladimir Putin’s ten-day absence from the public eye has become the most discussed event in Russia this past month, and also highlights the country’s crisis of governance. According to Donald Jensen, resident fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations, keeping the increasingly […]

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Witness to Nemtsov murder to be summoned for police lineup – newspaper

Boris Nemtsov file photo

MOSCOW. Apr 1 (Interfax) – Detectives investigating the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov intend to summon a main witness to his murder, Nemtsov’s Ukrainian girlfriend Hanna Durytska, for a police lineup, the newspaper Izvestia wrote on Wednesday. “Durytska made the acquaintance of Nemtsov three years ago and they stayed together almost all the time in the recent period, so she […]

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NEWSWATCH The Guardian: How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision: A month after the politician’s killing in Moscow there are signs of a Kremlin power struggle – and Russia’s president may soon have to take sides” – The Guardian – Shaun Walker in Moscow – March 29, 2015] The Guardian covers the aftermath of the Moscow assassination of former Deputy Prime Minister and […]

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Soviet-Era ‘Objective Truth’ Bill Would Imperil Presumption of Innocence

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-FarberMarch 27, 2015) A freshly introduced draft law proposing to redefine the roles of Russian judges has courted controversy among legal circles who fear that if adopted, the measure would endanger the presumption of innocence by blurring the lines between judges and prosecutors. State Duma Deputy Alexander Remezkov of the ruling United Russia submitted an […]

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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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Interview with a murderer

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

(opendemocracy.net – Ekaterina Loushnikova – March 25, 2015) Ekaterina Loushnikova is a radio and print journalist based in the city of Kirov. There are currently 59,000 women in Russian penal establishments. For many of them prison is not so much a punishment, more a way of life. According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, there are currently 671,700 Russians […]

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NEWSWATCH The Guardian: Fragile truce brings limited respite to war-weary people of eastern Ukraine: The population of eastern Ukraine faces a humanitarian crisis

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

[“Fragile truce brings limited respite to war-weary people of eastern Ukraine: The population of eastern Ukraine faces a humanitarian crisis with an acute lack of basic amenities and mental health problems taking a heavy toll” – The Guardian – Clár Ní Chonghaile -March 25, 2015] The Guardian reports on the humanitarian impact of conflict in eastern Ukraine. Just over a month after […]

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NEWSWATCH Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières: Ukraine: Voices from the Front Line

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

[Ukraine: Voices from the Front Line – Doctors Without Borders – doctorswithoutborders.org – March 19, 2015] Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) relates experiences of civilians encountered during MSF’s humanitarian relief efforts in war-torn Ukraine. Since May 2014, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has supported around 100 medical facilities on both sides of the front line in Ukraine with medical supplies, in […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Chechen’s Ties to Putin Are Questioned Amid Nemtsov Murder Case

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, has been at the center of intrigue surrounding the murder of Boris Y. Nemtsov, a prominent critic of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. So before a busy weekend that included a night out with the boys to watch cage fighting, Mr. Kadyrov wanted to clear something up. “I am utterly devoted […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: Foul stench in rebel-held east Ukraine as war hits water treatment

Faucet and Water Drop

[“Foul stench in rebel-held east Ukraine as war hits water treatment” – Reuters – Gabriela Baczynska – Donetsk, Ukraine, March 18, 2015] Reuters reports on damage to water treatment infrastructure in war-torn Ukraine. Fighting in east Ukraine has interfered with water treatment, producing a foul stench from the taps that aid workers say could bring health risks. * * * The water supply system […]

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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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Lawyer Claims Main Suspect in Nemtsov Killing Has Alibi

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 17, 2015) Three more suspects in last month’s assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have been officially charged with his murder, the Interfax news agency reported Monday, as the main suspect’s lawyer said his client had an alibi. Zaur Dadayev’s lawyer, Ivan Gerasimov, told the RBC newspaper Monday that his client had […]

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Interfax: All defendants in Nemtsov murder refusing to cooperate with police – source

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 17, 2015) Defendants in the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov have refused to cooperate with the police, a source familiar with the situation told Interfax. “The defendants have declined to help the detectives,” he said. He also confirmed that some of the defendants had refused to answer police questions on the basis of article 51 of the […]

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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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Charges dropped against Russian woman accused of treason

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – March 13, 2015) Russian prosecutors have dropped their charges against Svetlana Davydova, a mother of seven from the town of Vyazma accused of treason after calling the Ukrainian embassy about Russian troop movements in April 2014, due to the absence of any crime, the woman’s lawyer Ivan Pavlov told Interfax on Friday. “Davydova was cleared of all high […]

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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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Russian court says Nemtsov murder suspect’s guilt not established

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 11, 2015) The Basmannyy Court has given Zaur Dadayev, accused in the case of murder of politician Boris Nemtsov, an opportunity to state his position regarding the investigators’ request for his arrest, the press-service of the court has said. “Dadayev was given the right to speak. But he thought that the criminal case was being heard, while […]

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Ukraine separatists strip Donetsk elite of power and property

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Donetsk – March 12, 2015) A line of fresh flower-heaped graves marks the northern edge of Donetsk’s Scheglovskoe cemetery, where 33 coal miners killed in a pit blast on March 4 lie. Only 50 metres away stands a pithead of the massive Zasyadko mine, where the men met their deaths. The […]

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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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Russia’s Vaguest Laws and Their Unexpected Consequences

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 4, 2015) Critics complain that the vague language and broad terminology used to draft some of Russia’s more controversial laws make them fodder for prosecutorial abuse. Prosecutors could take advantage of the loose definitions featured in the laws banning extremism, gay propaganda, blasphemy and offending the sentiments of religious believers to […]

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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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