NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Liberals in the Crosshairs: The Russian opposition’s troubles are only beginning.” – The National Interest/Maria Snegovaya

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

As Russia approaches parliamentary elections scheduled in September 2016, the prospects for Russia’s so-called nonsystem liberal opposition look increasingly gloomy. Not only have democratic opposition leaders failed to create a unified coalition yet again, as in essentially every previous election – a failure that will likely diminish their already limited chances to win seats in Russia’s federal and regional parliaments […]

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Cossacks Chief Denies Attack on Navalny Group at Anapa Airport

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) A group of Cossacks did not attack Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny but tried to break up the fight, the chief of Anapa’s Cossack community told the RBC newspaper Tuesday. “Those who attacked Navalny and his companions are not Cossacks. Police are now looking for them,” Ivan Petrov said. Navalny, his colleagues […]

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Jailed for Protesting Against the Kremlin – Life 4 Years After Bolotnaya

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – May 13, 2016) The Bolotnoye protest followed disputed parliamentary elections that saw the ruling United Russia secure a narrow parliamentary majority and Putin return to the presidency. The lights went out without so much as a flicker in the Moscow apartment shared by Andrei Barabanov, his mother and girlfriend one evening in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Divide in the Russian opposition, the return of Alexey Kudrin, and a new controversy in Crimea. Media Roundup: Russia’s journalists covered the comeback of former finance minister Alexey Kudrin and the split within the Russian opposition ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.”

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Higher School of Economics shrugs off reports on its involvement in new Russian constitution drafting allegedly contracted by Khodorkovsky

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. April 30 (Interfax) – Russia’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) said that it has nothing to do with any drafting of the new Russian constitution allegedly ordered by former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “The National Research University Higher School of Economics is out of politics and does not engage in personal projects of any participants in the political process,” […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir: “In Russia, young Communists see moment to vie for power. Under the impact of economic crisis and impatient with ‘mutant capitalism’ dominated by Kremlin cronies, younger members of the Communist Party say they could provide an alternative to ‘Putinism.'”

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Former Prime Minister Kasyanov Stifled by Both Kremlin and Allies

Mikhail Kasyanov File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Daria Litvinova – April 22, 2016) Sitting on a deep leather sofa in his office, Mikhail Kasyanov looks much like he always has. There’s the same no-nonsense demeanor, the expensive suit and his smooth, deep voice. He has an almost aristocratic style of talking, heavy and bureaucratic. He is a man who made […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Mikhail Khodorkovsky Is Putin’s Most Powerful Enemy (in Exile). Russia may not be ready for the ex-billionaire to return, but his arguments are gaining ground.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

… the Open Russia Foundation …. basically represents the brains and money behind the Russian opposition [and recently] held an event at its headquarters … in London. … predictions for Russia’s future seemed to grow darker by the minute.  * * * On the back row of the rather thin audience, the foundation’s sponsor, exiled Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovksy – […]

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Russia May Label Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation ‘Foreign Agent’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – March 16, 2016) The All-Russian Interethnic Union of Youth has filed a request with the Russian Justice Ministry that they add the Anti-Corruption Foundation NGO – headed by the oppositioner Alexei Navalny – to its list of “foreign agents.” The group also requested that the Prosecutor General’s Office investigate Navalny for inciting […]

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Fewer Russians Think Political Opposition Exists in Russia – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 15, 2016) The share of Russians that think there is political opposition in Russia has decreased from 66 to 54 percent over the past year, the Interfax news agency reported Monday, citing a new survey by the independent Levada Center pollster. The findings come six months before parliamentary elections in Russia and reveal that […]

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Russian veteran opposition politician discusses policy, presidential ambitions

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(Interfax – March 4, 2016) Interfax journalists Vasiliy Antipin and Andrey Novikov interview with Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: “Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: I will win elections from Putin; Yabloko founder has decided to return to big-league politics and describes his plans and his associates’ plans” Moscow, 4 March: Grigoriy Yavlinskiy has decided to return to big-league politics. Yabloko’s founder plans to fight […]

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Russia Is Giving up on Its Tragedies-and on Itself

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 45 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel K. Baev – March 7, 2016) Pavel K. Baev is a research professor at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and nonresident senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating is regularly accepted as a proxy […]

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Even motor processions are now a demonstration in Russia

Moscow Roads

A law signed into force by Russian President Vladimir Putin equates car processions to demonstrations and the establishment of tent cities in public places – to protesting. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 10, 2016) Motor processions and tent camps in public places in Russia have been added to the list of events defined by law in Russia […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct/Ivan Tsvetkov: “Russian liberals warn Putin that Kadyrov could be dangerous. A recent report from the liberal opposition released on the anniversary of the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov raises some serious questions about the political influence and future intentions of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.”

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Russian Opposition Battles Fear, Disunity Following Nemtsov’s Death

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – February 25, 2016) Ilya Yashin was in the middle of a press conference presenting a special report on the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – a genre invented and made successful by his late friend and ally Boris Nemtsov – when a police officer tried to force everyone to leave the building. The […]

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Chechen Separatist Leader: Kadyrov Is Here To Stay

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Natalya Golitsyna – February 19, 2016) One of Ramzan Kadyrov’s staunchest critics says the Chechen leader remains one of the most powerful men in Russia despite mounting criticism over his ruthless tactics. According to Akhmed Zakayev, the exiled head of the Chechen separatist government, Kadyrov has accumulated so much clout that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself […]

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Moscow Authorities Approve March in Honor of Slain Kremlin Critic Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 18, 2016) Moscow City Hall has approved a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, opposition party member Konstantin Merzlikin told The Moscow Times on Wednesday. The authorities have given permission for 50,000 people to attend the memorial event, which is due to take place on Feb. […]

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Virtual Stalinism

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 2, 2016) Russian officials seem to have developed an execution fetish of late. One example, of course, is the disturbing video Ramzan Kadyrov posted on Instagram showing opposition figures Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle. Another is the bizarre series of animated clips Vladimir Putin’s All-Russian […]

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Peskov on Kasyanov’s plans to await president’s response to threats from Kadyrov: “This is his right”

Mikhail Kasyanov File Photo

MOSCOW. Feb 2 (Interfax) – The Kremlin has said that PARNAS opposition party leader, Mikhail Kasyanov, has a right to expect a response from the Russian president, as the guarantor of the constitution, to Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov’s Instagram publication with threats toward the non-systemic opposition and Kasyanov personally. “This is his right,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on […]

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Russia’s Yabloko Party Turns Down Offer to Merge With PARNAS

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 1, 2016) Russian liberal opposition party Yabloko has turned down a proposal from the PARNAS opposition party that they merge to compile a single list of State Duma election candidates, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday. “It was suggested that we include our candidates on the PARNAS list. They actually suggested we liquidate our party, […]

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Interfax: Russian Investigative Committee completes inquiry against five Nemtsov murder suspects – Markin

Boris Nemtsov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – The Russian Investigative Committee has informed the suspects and their lawyers that it has completed its criminal inquiry opened into the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the committee’s spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Friday. “Today, the suspects in this criminal case have been informed that the investigation has been completed, and in […]

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NEWSLINK: “How a liberal bastion is persevering in an increasingly illiberal Moscow. The Andrei Sakharov Center, one of the last safe spaces for Russia’s liberal community, has been fined and fined again for its purported ‘political activity.’ But celebrity support and crowdsourcing have kept it alive.” – Christian Science Monitor

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Interfax: Inquiry against 5 people charged over Nemtsov’s murder completed

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – January 26, 2016) The criminal investigation opened against five people charged over the killing of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has been completed, a lawyer for one of the suspects told Interfax. “The investigation has notified me today that the inquiry as part of this case has been completed,” lawyer Mussa Khadisov, who represents suspect Anzor Gubashev, said. […]

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Nemtsov’s daughter, associate believe his murder not solved yet

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – January 21, 2016) The daughter of the murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Zhanna Nemtsova, said she did not agree with Chairman of the Russian Investigations Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin that her father’s murder had been solved, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 21 January. “I do not think that the murder has been completely solved, unlike Bastrykin,” […]

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Khodorkovsky to Support Russian Opposition Candidates

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 22, 2016) Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia foundation will support opposition candidates at Russia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. Open Russia will aid candidates via its new Open Elections project, introduced last summer, according to Khodorkovsky’s website. “We will provide the resources. There aren’t any people who know to attract […]

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Russian Investigative Committee: Nemtsov Murder Solved

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 21, 2016) Head of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin has announced that last year’s murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has been solved, the Interfax news agency reported. The investigation Into Nemtsov’s death was one of the murder cases solved in 2015 Bastrykin said in an interview with state-run newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta: Weekly to […]

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Confrontation between Chechnya leadership, non-systemic opposition causes concern, exchange of insults cannot solve political problems – Pamfilova

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) – Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Ella Pamfilova has expressed concern about the ongoing confrontation between leadership of the Chechen republic and members of the non-systemic opposition. “What really worries me is the escalating confrontation between the leadership of Chechnya and members of the non-systemtic opposition,” the press service of the ombudsperson’s office quoted Pamfilova as saying […]

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Russian media bosses unimpressed with Chechen leaders’ anti-opposition rhetoric

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, January 18, 2016) Editor-in-Chief of Ekho Moskvy radio station Aleksey Venediktov has said that Chechen parliament speaker Magomed Daudov’s statements against opposition journalists were an inappropriate reaction to uncomfortable questions in the media about the investigation into the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov. “I consider his words to be a reaction to our questions about the investigation […]

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Head of Chechnya says his controversial comments not aimed at “legal opposition”

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, January 18, 2016) Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has said that his comments, which caused an outcry, were not aimed against the lawful opposition in Russia; he expressed the view that Russian human rights commissioner Ella Panfilova “was too hasty” to criticize him. “I was not talking about the lawful opposition, which raises social and economic problems, […]

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Pamfilova criticizes Kadyrov’s words about non-system opposition

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 13 (Interfax) – Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has criticized the statement made by Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, saying that representatives of the non-system opposition are “enemies of the people” who should face trial for sabotage. “Such statements are not only pointless, but also harmful because they render a disservice to the country’s president and […]

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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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Russia’s politics of paranoia

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

Russian society tries to keep its nerve. The Kremlin thrives on it, the papers amplify it-but nobody can quite control this profound paranoia. (opendemocracy.net – ANNA ARUTUNYAN – December 22, 2015) Anna Arutunyan is a Russian-American journalist and the author of The Putin Mystique. She is currently a fellow at the Kennan Institute in Washington. Russian society tries to keep […]

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Russian ombudsman probes into high-profile prisoners’ complaints

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 17, 2015) Russian Commissioner for Human Rights Ella Pamfilova has sent an official letter to the Russian prison authorities asking them to provide urgent medical help to the brother of prominent opposition activist Aleksey Navalnyy – Oleg Navalnyy, who is serving his prison sentence after being convicted for embezzlement, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax news agency reported […]

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Interfax: Poll: Russians continue to lose interest in protests

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 9, 2015) Seventy-seven percent of Russians call unlikely mass protests against declining living standards and in support of their rights. This is the largest index since the end of last year (68 percent in December 2014), Levada Center told Interfax. The percentage of Russians who deem demonstrations focused on economic demands possible has reduced from 24 percent […]

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RIA Novosti: “Protests on the rise in Russia – study”

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

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, November 2, 2015) Protest activity in Russia in the first six months of this year increased by 15 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to a study by the Civil Initiatives Committee [founded by former Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin]. The assessment of protest activity was based on reports in the media and […]

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The autumn of indifference

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Julia Reed in Moscow – October 29, 2015) Earlier in October, Moscow was in the middle of an Indian summer. Autumn is the time to be in the city. I was sitting in a one-room Lebanese cafe a seven-minute walk away from the Kremlin, customers coming in and out for a cigarette […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: When Kremlin candidate loses election, even voters are surprised.

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

Reuters covers a recent Russian regional election in which the ruling United Russia party suffered defeat. When Communist Sergei Levchenko beat the incumbent from President Vladimir Putin’s party to become governor of Irkutsk region in Siberia on Sunday, even the voters who backed him were surprised: the Kremlin doesn’t lose elections. The result is said to raise questions about the […]

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The opposition’s last mandate

Russia Regions Map

Deputies of the Pskov regional assembly are attempting to remove a colleague from their ranks-opposition lawmaker and journalist Lev Shlosberg (opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Prokopyeva – September 23, 2015) Svetlana Prokopyeva is a journalist from Pskov, Russia and former editor in chief of Pskovskaya Guberniya. When the regional assembly of Russia’s north-western Pskov region convenes on 24 September, it promises to […]

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RBTH: Russia’s opposition denies waning influence as protests shrink

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

In the wake of the low turnout to a Sept. 20 protest in Moscow, sources polled by RBTH say that the protest did not appear convincing and conclude that for the time being the opposition does not have very bright prospects. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – September 22, 2015) Despite claims by leading liberal […]

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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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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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