Moscow’s Overnight Demolition Blitz Sparks Legal Debate

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova, Vasily Kolotilov – February 11, 2016) You could hear a young woman yelling, but her voice was diluted in the sound of bulldozers, smashed glass and metal. “What are you doing?! There are people still in there! Stop it!” she said. Several police officers stood outside, watching the bulldozer do its work without […]

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Half of Russians don’t trust conclusions made by British in Litvinenko case

Radioactivity Symbol

(Interfax – January 31, 2016) Over half of Russians (53%) believe the London court had no real grounds to accuse Russian officials of involvement in the death of former Federal Security Service official Alexander Litvinenko, Levada Center has reported. The poll, which surveys 1,600 respondents, was conducted in 137 populated areas of 48 regions of Russia on Jan. 22-25. The […]

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Russians do not want authorities to have access to non-public personal data

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – January 31, 2016) Most respondents surveyed by the Public Opinion Foundation (58%) believe the state should not have access to non-public personal data and people’s correspondence on social networking sites and via email, while 24% believe it violates human rights and 22% believe it constitutes privacy invasion and is not ethical. The poll, which surveys 1,000 respondents who […]

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Russia Improves Position in International Corruption Rating

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 27, 2016) Russia was ranked 119th – together with Azerbaijan, Guyana and Sierra Leone – in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, up 17 points from its 2014 position. The rating was published on Transparency International’s website. In the 2014 index, Russia was ranked 136th, just behind Nigeria. Russia was 127th in 2013 and […]

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Sweden delivers judgment in favor of Russia in dispute with Yukos holders

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) A Swedish appeals court upheld Russia’s appeal filed earlier in its dispute with the Spanish investment funds, which were holders of American Depositary Receipts (‘ADRs’) of Yukos, Kommersant newspaper reported on Jan. 28. The appeals court acknowledged the fact that the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce that sustained the funds’ claims to […]

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British Inquiry Implicates Russia, Putin In Death Of Ex-Agent Litvinenko

file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 21, 2016) A British inquiry has concluded that the Russian government was behind the 2006 poisoning death of former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko and that President Vladimir Putin “probably approved” the killing. The findings, issued on January 21, said that there is a “strong probability” that it was carried out by Russian citizens Dmitry […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Today: “UK report points to ‘probable involvement’ of Putin, Russian officials in Litvinenko death”

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Over 20 judges making decisions on Euromaidan activists may be dismissed in Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

KYIV. Jan 19 (Interfax) – Ukraine’s Supreme Council of Justice has recommended that 21 judges be dismissed for breaking their oath when issuing court rulings with regard to Euromaidan activists, council head Ihor Benedisyuk told reporters in Kyiv on Tuesday. “Of the 41 conclusions that have already been received by the Supreme Council of Justice [from the provisional specialized commission […]

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Law Guaranteeing Phone Call After Arrest Comes Into Force in Russia

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 11, 2016) A law outlining the right of a detainee to make a phone call no later than three hours after being arrested has come into force in Russia, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta state-owned newspaper reported Sunday. “A suspect as soon as possible, but not later than three hours after he [or she] was arrested, […]

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State vs Art: Russia’s 2015 Crackdown on Contemporary Culture

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 31, 2015) “It’s theater. We were just playing.” That’s how Boris Mezdrich, his tone simultaneously apologetic and defiant, described the avant-garde production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser that got him fired. “Blasphemy!” – was what the Russian Orthodox activists shouted as they protested outside the State Opera and Ballet Theater in Novosibirsk, […]

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Nemtsov murder case suspects to request jury trial – lawyer

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – The suspects in the case opened into the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov intend to ask for a jury trial, one of the lawyers has said. “Our position remains unchanged: Zaur Dadayev pleads not guilty. We will request a jury trial,” lawyer Shamshudin Tsakayev told Interfax on Tuesday. The indictment says that the […]

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[Khodorkovsky:] Who is to blame for what happened to the Russian Constitution, and What do we do about it now?

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Institute for Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Mikhail Khodorkovsky – December 17, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of the Open Russia movement, discusses why the Russian Constitution is “no more than a piece of paper-a sham symbol of federalism, freedom and democracy.” December 12, Russia’s Constitution Day, was marked by the detention of one of the Constitution’s authors for organizing a […]

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10 Laws Putin’s Foes Say Russia Needs To Scrap

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – Claire Bigg – December 23, 2015) A group of prominent Russian dissidents has identified what it says are Russia’s 10 most harmful laws. Their project, “Sanatsia Prava,” or Sanitation Of The Law, calls for the abolition of legislation that they say causes extensive harm to Russian society. The project’s initiators include writer Grigory Chkhartishvili, better known under his […]

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Magnitsky’s mother asks Chaika to confirm publicized facts concerning her son

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – December 22, 2015) The mother of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died at a Moscow jail in 2009, has asked the Russian Prosecutor General, Yury Chaika, to provide evidence for the claims he made in a letter to the Kommersant daily regarding her son and the activity of the fund’s head, William Browder. “The information you disseminated […]

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Back to the Uncertain Future for Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Dmitry Elovsky, Mikhail Fishman – December 17, 2015) The mob-style execution of Vladimir Petukhov, mayor of the Siberian oil capital Nefteyugansk, one summer morning in 1998 was not an unusual occurrence for the “wild 90s” era of Russian business. But it has returned to the spotlight as part of the reanimated prosecution of former Yukos […]

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Crime and punishment: 25 years in a Russian penal colony

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

The first inmates pardoned from the death penalty will be released in 2017. They have not seen the world outside of the colony for 25 years. Everything they know is based on what they’ve seen on TV and read in letters. What are they going to do, what do they feel? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Fyodor Telkov, […]

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How to Ignore a Corruption Scandal, Kremlin Style

Yury Chaika file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson- December 10, 2015) Alexei Navalny has spent years publishing revelations of the ill-gotten luxuries of Russia’s elite and seeing them ignored by authorities. But when the blogger and opposition politician’s anti-corruption fund unveiled an investigation linking colleagues of Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to the bloodiest bandits of recent years, Navalny thought they […]

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Russia’s Supreme Court overturns ruling to fine “foreign agent” NGO

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

(Interfax – December 7, 2015) The Russian Supreme Court has revoked a ruling to fine a St Petersburg-based NGO, Institute of Regional Press, over its refusal to be labelled a “foreign agent”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 7 December. “The judges failed to find formal components of the crime in the actions of the rights activists. It is […]

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NGO U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and Rule of Law recognized as undesirable in Russia

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

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized a non-governmental organization (NGO) from the United States – the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF) – as an undesirable organization in Russian territory, Prosecutor General’s Office spokesperson Marina Gridneva told Interfax on Friday. “The president of the foundation is a U.S. […]

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Interfax: DPR prepares new draft amnesty law that will take into account conditions of prisoner exchange on both sides

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

DONETSK. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Darya Morozova, human rights ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said that the law on amnesty adopted by Ukraine does not suit the conflict in Donbas and that the DPR is working on its own version. “The republic is not blackmailing anyone, but insists on the fulfillment of the sixth point of the Minsk […]

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Kremlin proceeds from moratorium on death penalty in Russia

Sergei Mironov

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov has refrained from giving detailed comments on the proposal made by Sergei Mironov, chairman of the State Duma faction A Just Russia, to use the death penalty on terrorists, saying that the Kremlin currently proceeds from a moratorium on this measure of punishment. “It’s a very complex issue. There […]

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New Museum Stakes Claim to Russia’s Gulag Legacy

File Photo of Gulag Victim Ivan Burylov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 5, 2015) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/new-museum-stakes-claim-to-russias-gulag-legacy/542211.html] Russia’s largest museum devoted to the horrors of the Soviet gulag has opened, even as many Muscovites remain unwilling to talk about political repression. Moscow’s new Gulag Museum opened Friday even as the country remains polarized by the legacy of its brutal system of Soviet-era prison […]

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Five Questions: The Arrest Of Ukrainian Oligarch Hennadiy Korban

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(RFE/RL – Anna Shamanska – November 3, 2015) The arrest of a close associate of one of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs has pundits and the public wondering whether President Petro Poroshenko is finally cracking down on corruption or merely trying to silence political opponents. Hennadiy Korban, the head of the anti-Poroshenko UKROP party, was initially arrested at his home on […]

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Russian military intelligence officers captured in eastern Ukraine change story

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

(Human Rights in Ukraine – khpg.org – Halya Coynash – October 27, 2015) One of the two Russian spetsnaz officers captured in eastern Ukraine in May this year is now denying that he was a serving Russian officer, and the other, whose family has just hired a different lawyer, may be planning to do the same.   Any claim now that […]

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New bankruptcy law may bring Russians relief from debt collectors

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGÓROV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – October 26, 2015) Debt collectors in Russia often exceed their authority and resort to bullying, intimidation and even physical violence in order to force individuals to pay. However, a new law on individual bankruptcy is designed to help borrowers avoid such unpleasant encounters, though critics fear it […]

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Foreign Investors Complain About Russia’s Unpredictable Laws

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – October 20, 2015) Unpredictable lawmaking is undermining Russia’s ability to attract foreign investors, the Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) – a group of the biggest foreign companies working in Russia – told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. A report by financial services group and FIAC member EY (Ernst & Young) into […]

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Russia’s New Personal Data Law Will Be Hard to Implement, Experts Say

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – September 3, 2015) In a streak of measures designed to impose stricter control over the Internet in Russia, the law that requires all Internet services store the personal data of Russian users on Russian territory – in effect from Tuesday – will be the most difficult to implement due to its vagueness […]

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Khodorkovsky Calls for Civil Disobedience against Unjust Laws and Putin’s Unjust System

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 27, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that Russian citizens are fully entitled not to observe unjust laws imposed not to promote justice but to protect the power of Vladimir Putin, a potentially dramatic development in the relationship between the Russian opposition, the Russian people, and the Kremlin. In a blog post on […]

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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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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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Russian media watchdog lifts ban on Wikipedia drug article

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Roskomnadzor has removed a ban on a Wikipedia article about the drug charas. The online encyclopedia complied with the media watchdog’s demands after Russian telecom providers were told to block access to the material. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 25, 2015) A Wikipedia article about the narcotic substance charas that violated Russian laws […]

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

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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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Average Bribe in Russia Doubles in Rubles, Remains Steady in Dollars

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2015) The amount of the average bribe in Russia has nearly doubled this year, reaching 208,000 rubles ($3,485 at today’s rate), as the country’s currency has shed value amid Western sanctions and an economic downturn, according to Interior Ministry estimates cited by pro-government Izvestia daily on Friday. This compares to about 109,000 rubles […]

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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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Re: Restrictions on Foreign Orgs in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

Subject: Re restrictions on foreign orgs in the U.S. Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:09:46 -0400 From: Thomas M. Callahan <tom.callahan@yandex.com> There has long been an American statute in place regulating the work of organizations working “in the interests” of foreign powers on American soil. However, it is quite short and, anyway, is a single provision compared to Russia’s extensive […]

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Ukrainian President’s Russian Candy Factory Wins Case Against Russian Taxman

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) A local court has sided with a Russian chocolate factory owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a dispute with the tax authorities, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday citing a court statement. The decision is a rare victory for the Roshen Confectionary Factory in Lipetsk, about 440 kilometers south of Moscow, […]

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Putin frees small business from inspections for three years

cash-register

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 14, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law giving small companies a three-year holiday from regular inspections, a measure lawmakers hope will spur the development of small business in the country, according to a document published Tuesday [14 July] on the government’s legal information website. Small business is relatively underdeveloped in Russia, […]

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RBTH: Controversial new law on ‘right to be forgotten’ stirs debate in Russia

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Russia has adopted a law on the so-called “right to be forgotten,” which will require internet search engines to remove links to personal information at the request of citizens. Although State Duma deputies claim the legislation mirrors that of the European Union, industry players strongly oppose the law, predicting a series of lawsuits, while lawyers say that such a right […]

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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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NEWSWATCH Kyiv Post: Soviet social guarantees for employees scare away investors, often backfire

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

The Kyiv Post and Olena Gordiienko comment on Ukrainian labor law and its impact on real world labor practices, business and investment. Ukrainian labor legislation is paternalistic and focuses excessively on employee rights, many lawyers and employers say … it also leads to unintended consequences.   Ukrainians earn less than any other nation in Europe, $180 per month on average. Unemployment rose from 7.3 […]

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Taking Exception To Sergeant Joe Friday’s Admonition – Give Me The Facts, Just The Facts

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

Subject: Taking Exception To Sergeant Joe Friday’s Admonition – Give Me The Facts, Just The Facts Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 From: Robert Teets <TeetsR@gorodissky.ru> [Robert Teets is Counsel at Gorodissky & Partners in Moscow] A baby-boomer from Ohio, I was nurtured on an empiricism that runs deep in American character and our television’s archetype of law and order definitively […]

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Ukraine’s labour reforms threaten workers’ rights

Rada File Photo

(openedemocracy.net – Vitaly Dudin – June 5, 2015) Vitaly Dudin is a legal analyst at Ukraine’s Center for Social and Labor Research, which was created in 2013 as an independent not-for-profit institution dedicated to the analysis of socio-economic problems, collective protests, labour relations and conflicts The oligarchs have joined forces to railroad a new labour code that strips Ukrainian workers of […]

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Russian ‘Troll Farm’ Lawsuit Postponed When Defendant Fails to Show

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 2, 2015) Russian court hearings into a lawsuit by a former Internet “troll” against her former employer have been postponed after the defendant failed to show up for the proceedings. A city court in St. Petersburg also ruled that the plaintiff, Lyudmila Savchuk – who said her suit was intended to […]

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Switzerland probes Russian 2018 World Cup bid over bribery charges

putin-fifa-meeting

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 27, 2015) Russia’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup is under criminal investigation on corruption suspicions, Switzerland’s attorney general announced May 27, after investigators seized data and documents from the Zurich headquarters of soccer’s global governing body FIFA. The move comes only weeks before the draw for the qualifying rounds […]

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