Russia’s Top Judge Spurs New Talk Of Changing Constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – October 16, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-s-top-judge-spurs-new-talk-of-changing-constitution/29547265.html) When the Russian Constitution was approved in late 1993, the fledgling country’s parliament building– now known as the White House– was blackened and charred, the result of an all-out military assault ordered by President Boris Yeltsin to quell […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Over 70 administrative protocols filed against parents of minors detained at St. Petersburg rally” – Interfax

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

ST. PETERSBURG. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The police have drawn up protocols on parental neglect against parents of minors, who had been detained during an unauthorized rally against the pension reform in St. Petersburg yesterday. Several hundred of people, including 80 teenagers, were detained during the protest on Sunday, the office of the children’s rights commissioner for St. Petersburg, Svetlana […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Liability for firing people of pre-pension age may bar them from employment – FNPR head” – Interfax

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – The introduction of criminal liability for employers who dismiss people of pre-pension age may have a negative effect on workers, Mikhail Shmakov, the head of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), said. “We need to be very careful about the proposal to introduce criminal liability for employers hiring or dismissing people of […]

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Russian Power Under Putin: Up and Down and Flatline

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Andrew Kuchins – August 22, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/russian-power-under-putin-and-down-and-flatline) Andrew Kuchins is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, Georgetown University. This op-ed is part of a new debate from Russia Matters and is written in response to “Measuring National Power: Is Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Decline?” by Simon Saradzhyan and Nabi Abdullaev. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukraine should create Mossad-type unit to kidnap Yanukovych from Russia – prosecutor” – UNIAN

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

“Law enforcers should do their utmost to make sure the disgraced president is brought to responsibility if the court convicts him, the official said. Prosecutor of the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office, Ruslan Kravchenko, who represents state prosecution in the treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, has offered to set up a special unit to kidnap the ex-leader from […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Mail.ru Group calls for amnestying people convicted of extremism over reposts, likes” – Interfax

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 15 (Interfax) – The Mail.ru Group has urged the State Duma, the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, and the Justice Ministry to decriminalize the activity of social media users and amnesty persons convicted on such counts. “We have sent the following official petitions today: we urged the State Duma to initiate the submission of a bill on the amnesty […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Russia, the Corporate Raiders Are Often Cops; Companies face harassment from law-enforcement officials, according to business owners, lawyers and activists” – Wall Street Journal/James Marson, Thomas Grove

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

“… Russian companies routinely face harassment from law-enforcement officials seeking to extort money or expropriate businesses, according to business owners, lawyers and activists. One in six Russian business owners is facing criminal prosecution, according to [a Kremlin-launched agency]. …  Putin’s authoritarian rule relies on security officials and political heavyweights who use their authority not only to squash political opponents but […]

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NEWSLINK: “How the GRU spy agency targets the west, from cyberspace to Salisbury” – The Guardian (UK)/Andrew Roth

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… A British security source … [said] the nerve agent attack on the former double agent Sergei Skripal was also ordered by the [GRU] intelligence agency. The British government is poised to submit an extradition request to Moscow for two Russians suspected of carrying out the Salisbury attack that left one person dead and three injured, including Skripal and his […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Provision on criminal liability for complying with Western sanctions on Russian territory may be removed from bill – Volodin” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. July 10 (Interfax) – Russian MPs may remove the provision criminalizing compliance with Western anti-Russian sanctions in the country from a draft bill that is currently under consideration in the lower house of the Russian parliament, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said. “Everyone, including the business community, experts and deputies, have reached consensus on the second part of the […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Medvedev at] The 8th St Petersburg International Legal Forum” – GovernmentRu

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – May 16, 2018) Dmitry Medvedev attended a plenary session titled Future of the Legal Profession. The St Petersburg International Legal Forum was launched in 2011 and is a major platform for dialogue between politicians, lawyers, economists and researchers representing all the main economic and legal systems. The forum seeks to promote ways to modernise the law in the […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: EVERYDAY LAW IN RUSSIA” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

“A while ago I met a businessman working for a large multinational corporation in Russia. Apparently, Russian tax officials are paid according to how many tax violations they report, creating an incentive to accuse companies of violating the tax code even when they haven’t. As a result, the Russian tax authorities regularly accuse this businessman’s company of breaking the law. […]

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Interfax: Russian Constitutional Court restricts use of house arrest

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. March 24 (Interfax) – House arrest cannot be used in charges that do not envisage imprisonment and deviation from this rule is only possible in a situation when the person has already breached a preventive measure before, the Russian Constitutional Court has ruled. The decision was posted on the court website on Friday. The claim was filed with […]

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NEWSLINK: “Harassment Russian Style” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

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

“Харассмент: harassment … How is it that I’ve never written about домогательство? This word and issue – what is usually called harassment in English – have come up plenty of times in the past. But this week the subject came up, stayed up and is screaming for attention. …”

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Interfax: Russian Constitutional Court doesn’t accept Navalny’s complaint over participation in presidential election

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Jan 19 (Interfax) – The Russian Constitutional Court has refused to accept Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s complaint about the norms of the court’s law on presidential elections. The court’s ruling, dated January 18, is available on the court’s website. The Russian Constitutional Court earlier scrutinized a norm similar to that contested by Navalny as part of a […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘I don’t like the Central Election Commission’ Alexey Navalny’s speech to the government officials who moments later barred him from Russia’s 2018 presidential election (full translation)” – Meduza

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.orgadapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Russia’s Central Election Commission refused to register Alexey Navalny’s presidential candidacy on December 25, a day after the opposition politician’s campaign staged nomination gatherings in 20 cities across the country and Navalny personally submitted his candidacy application to the commission. Before the formal vote, Navalny addressed the commission in a fiery speech where he called on election officials to let […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s Russia Keeps Getting More Dangerous; The Ulyukaev verdict shows that personal loyalty to Putin cannot protect an official in the event of a conflict with those who are part of Putin’s inner circle” – The National Interest/ Sergey Aleksashenko

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Meeting with Constitutional Court Judges” – KremlinRu

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 12, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a traditional meeting with judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation timed for Constitution Day. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, colleagues, good afternoon. I would like to greet you, the judges of the Constitutional Court, your entire staff, and, of course, all Russian citizens on Constitution Day and […]

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Nine Months After New Domestic Violence Law, Russian Women Still Struggle; The decriminalization of battery has made it harder for women to come forward, advocates say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Manuilova – November 24, 2017) For Svetlana, a 35-year-old mother of three from Moscow, domestic violence is a family affair. Her ex-husband repeatedly threatened to take their son away and beat her mother. Last spring, it was Svetlana’s turn. “He cornered me in our flat in Moscow for several hours and beat me,” she […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia moves up to 35th place in the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business’ index” – bne Intellinews

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

“… Russia is ranked 35th in the 2018 issue of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report published on October 31, moving up five places …. Another international rating, the 2017 Economic Freedom Index compiled by the Heritage Foundation in February, placed Russia in the 114th position in the ‘Mostly Unfree’ category … with a score of 57.1 of 100. … the […]

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Interfax: Foreign activity on Kirovles case is attempt to influence 2018 elections in Russia – Federation Council

File Photo of Council of Europe Headquarters Building with Flags in Front

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – The high interest of structures of the Council of Europe in the Kirovles case is an attempt to influence the preparations for the presidential elections in Russia, the Russian Federation Council commission on the protection of state sovereignty said. “Foreign activity around the debate in the structures of the Council of Europe on the so-called […]

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Yabloko submits bill limiting president’s right to use military abroad to 3 regional legislatures

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) – The Yabloko party has submitted a draft federal bill restricting the president’s right to use the armed forces abroad to three regional legislatures for consideration, the party’s press service reported. “Party Chairperson Emilia Slabunova has submitted the bill to Karelia’s Legislative Assembly, and Mikhail Amosov and Lev Shlosberg of the party’s federal political committee submitted […]

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Business community expects economic reforms in Russia after presidential vote – Gref

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – The business community expects that Russia may begin extensive economic reforms after next year’s presidential elections and the preparatory stage is now underway, Sberbank of Russia (MOEX: SBER) CEO Herman Gref said in an interview on NTV television. “The expectations of business and, in general, the entire country is that such an extensive reform process, […]

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The Stunning Story of Russian Minister Ulyukayev’s Arrest for Bribery, Explained

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2017) Alexei Ulyukayev, the first serving Russian minister to be arrested since the fall of the Soviet Union, will appear in court on Tuesday, after being accused of soliciting a bribe from the country’s largest oil company. The former Economic Development Minister has been under house arrest since his detention in the dead […]

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Interfax: Defense finish reviewing evidence in Browder, Cherkasov dossier

File Photo of William Browder Seated at Table with Microphone as Woman Listens, with Image Watermark Saying Presented by Library of Congress with U.S. House of Representatives Seal, adapted from image at house.gov

MOSCOW. July 22 (Interfax) – The materials concerning Hermitage Capital Management co-founder William Browder and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov were sent for approval to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, the defense lawyer Alexander Antipov said on Thursday. “The defense finished reviewing the case files, currently, the dossier has been sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office but I don’t think […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on measures to protect the rights of people involved in shared-equity construction projects and on defining the legal status of self-employed individuals. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we are here to discuss several issues. I would like to start with several matters that […]

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Court turns down motion on mitigating Oleg Navalny’s prison sentence

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

VORONEZH. June 14 (Interfax) – The Uritsky District Court in the Oryol region has turned down a request on mitigating the punishment of Oleg Navalny, the brother of prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is serving his time at a local penitentiary, the court press service told Interfax. “The court today heard a request by Oleg Navalny’s lawyer on replacing […]

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Ukraine’s justice ministry sues Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

KYIV. May 31 (Interfax) – Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko intends to file a defamation lawsuit against Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the Rukh Novykh Syl political force. “I have made a decision to file a lawsuit based on all those statements that this citizen made regarding the protection of honor and dignity,” Petrenko told a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday. […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Do you know what memes are?’ Billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s lawsuit against opposition leader Alexey Navalny goes to trial” – Meduza

Alisher Usmanov file photo

“On Tuesday, May 30, a Moscow court convened to consider the merits of a defamation lawsuit brought by billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov against opposition politician Alexey Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). Usmanov is demanding that Navalny retract multiple accusations he made in a recent investigation into corruption allegedly involving Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as well as allegations Navalny has […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Navigating the Complexities of Doing Business in Russia” – Harvard Business Review/ Mark McNamee

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

… Most firms we work with feel a sense of powerlessness to handle the changing conditions in Russia. But  … there are ways that they can manage the uncertainty. … First, companies should pinpoint exactly what elements of their operations are most vulnerable to abrupt changes in foreign policy relations. … [and] think through the types of political and macroeconomic […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2017) Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov presented his annual report to the President. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Titov. Have you brought your annual report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. Time flies. We are completing the first five-year period in our work. Five years ago, you made a […]

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Punishment for petty crimes excessive, decriminalization needed – Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

KRASNOYARSK. April 21 (Interfax) – The system penalizing for misdemeanors in Russia is too harsh, with its shortages of workforce the country needs to decriminalize its laws, Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Board at the Center for Strategic Research. “We need decriminalization, the punishment for petty, insignificant crimes should be reduced, [imprisonment] up to two to three years for insignificant […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on national consumer rights protection system

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 18, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council Presidium meeting on the national consumer rights protection system. At a State Council Presidium meeting on national consumer rights protection system. Meeting participants discussed the effectiveness of the national consumer rights protection system and the state consumer rights protection strategy to 2030. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, […]

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

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

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

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

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

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

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Prosecutor General Office’s Board

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 14, 2017) Vladimir Putin attended a meeting of the Prosecutor General Office’s Board, where he assessed the prosecution agencies’ performance in 2016 and outlined their priority tasks for 2017. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, As usual at these board meetings, we will discuss the prosecution agencies’ performance in 2016 and set the priorities for […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian corporate governance comes in from the ‘Caveman era'” – bne Intellinews/Jason Corcoran

“Russia’s new corporate governance code … in place for two years, is being increasingly adhered to, according to market participants. Other reforms undertaken by the Moscow Exchange – as well as an increase in domestic liquidity – is accelerating the trend for more companies to list in the Russian capital rather than in London. …” [featured image is file photo, […]

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NEWSLINK: “New book: Everyday Law in Russia, by Kathryn Hendley” – Cornell University Press

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

“Everyday #Law in #Russia challenges the prevailing common wisdom that Russians cannot rely on their law and that Russian courts are hopelessly politicized and corrupt. While acknowledging the persistence of verdicts dictated by the Kremlin in politically charged cases, Kathryn Hendley explores how ordinary Russian citizens experience law. Relying on her own extensive observational research in Russia’s new justice-of-the-peace courts […]

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Support for Death Penalty in Russia Plummets

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 8, 2017) The number of Russians who support the death penalty has plummeted by 24 percent over the past 15 years. Just 44 percent of Russians would like to see the return of the death penalty, compared in 68 percent in 2002, a survey by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed on Wednesday. Thirty-two […]

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Double Jeopardy: Why Kremlin Opponent Navalny is Back in Court

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – February 3, 2017) Alexei Navalny, the main leader of Russia’s so-called “non-systemic” political opposition, may again become a convicted felon. If that happens, he’d lose the chance to compete in next year’s presidential race, when Vladimir Putin will likely seek a fourth term in office. This week, as Navalny endures a retrial […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin orders check on prison conditions

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

(RIA Novosti – January 3, 2017) President Vladimir Putin has ordered the nation’s prosecutor-general to investigate the observance of the law inside Russia’s prison system, state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported on 3 January, citing a statement on the Kremlin website. “The prosecutor-general is to conduct a check on the conformity by the Federal Penal Service of implementation of legislation […]

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Kremlin Official Admits Problems With Foreign Agent Law

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 7, 2016) First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko told members of Russia’s Human Rights Council that while the controversial Foreign Agents law on NGOs cannot be repealed, it could be improved. Kiriyenko admitted the law was problematic during a conversation with members of the council held on Dec. 6, which lasted […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Constitutional Court judges

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 6, 2016) At the Kremlin, the President met with judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in advance of Constitution Day, marked on December 12. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, colleagues, Good afternoon. I would like to congratulate you once again on the 25th anniversary of the Constitutional Court. I would like to […]

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Navalny blames authorities for using criminal proceeding to bar him from elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

KIROV. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Opposition activist Alexei Navalny believes that the authorities are trying to use criminal proceedings as a way to bar him from nomination in elections. “They want to deprive me of the electoral right. If this process begins, I will again be deprived of the electoral right for three years,” Navalny said at the Kirov Leninsky […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: “In Meeting, Putin Vows to Protect Artistic Freedom in Russia”

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

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in a meeting with film directors and artists, vowed on Friday to protect artistic freedom in the country but also said a court was right to give one director a 20-year prison term. …”

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Following Supreme Court Presidium’s verdict Navalny regains right to be elected until new trial concludes

Alexei Navalny file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) – The Russian Supreme Court Presidium’s decision to reverse the sentence in the Kirovles case against opposition activist Alexei Navalny and businessman Pyotr Ofitserov restored Navalny’s right to stand for election. “Alexei has a right to participate in elections at any level right now,” Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh told Interfax on Wednesday. However, if a guilty […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Opposition Leader Navalny’s Case Sent for Retrial” – AP

Alexei Navalny file photo

Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday scrapped a criminal conviction and sent the case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for retrial, opening the door for his potential run for office.  … convicted in 2013 of embezzling timber …. Following unsuccessful appeals in Russia, Navalny, a trained lawyer, turned to the European Court of Human Rights which ruled in February that Russia […]

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Russia Supreme Court Proposes Ban on Pre-Trial Detention for Economic Crimes

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2016) The plenum of Russia’s Supreme Court has proposed banning the arrest of individuals accused of several varieties of economic crimes, the Prime news agency reported Thursday. According to the proposal, suspects can still be detained, but cannot be kept in pre-trial detention if they stand accused of several economic crimes: commercial fraud, […]

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MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIA’S CURRENT SYSTEM OF BUSINESS OVERSIGHT INEFFECTIVE

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

Interfax: Daily Headline News for October 19, 2016 [excerpt re Medvedev] Control and oversight activity in Russia in its current form is not effective enough, and is corrupt and unmanageable, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. “It is clear that control and oversight activity in the form it currently exists causes very much criticism, and is considered to […]

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MEDVEDEV: ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN ON COMPANIES, INDIVIDUALS MUST BE REDUCED

Artist's Rendition of Pile of Papers Shaped Like Human, Wall of File Cabinets, Flying Pieces of Paper

Interfax: Daily Headline News for October 19, 2016 [excerpt re Medvedev] The administrative burden on companies and individuals arising from regulatory and supervisory actions must be reduced, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “The administrative burden on companies, enterprises and citizens must be reduced,” he said at a meeting of the presidential council on strategic development and priority projects. “A responsible […]

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Russian Security Services Forced to Reveal Home Searches

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 7, 2016) Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) must now inform home owners and residents if their property is searched by government agents. The FSB must notify residents 24 hours after the search has taken place, according to a new decree signed on Aug. 12. Contact can be made by post, email or fax, telephone, […]

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