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

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

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

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

St. Basil's Domes

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

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Russian Press Digest (19 August 2015)

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Wednesday, the Russian press focuses on the departure of Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russian Railways and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. According to business daily Kommersant, Yakunin called his decision to leave ‘a personal one’ during a conversation with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Kaliningrad’s election commission is processing Yakunin’s candidacy to become the […]

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Russian Press Digest (17 August 2015)

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Monday, the Russian press reports on the import ban on foreign medicines, Rosneft’s taxes, and an attack by Orthodox activists on a Moscow sculpture exhibition. Kommersant opens with an article on new plans to ban imports of a range of medical products. Several large NGOs, including Vera and Podari zhizn, involved in medical […]

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Russian Opposition Cornered by Authorities in Regional Election Race

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 10, 2015) Attempts by the opposition’s Democratic Coalition to take part in upcoming regional elections have been thwarted by local election commissions’ refusal to register its members as candidates, in what analysts say is a concerted effort to nip opposition bids in the bud. The coalition, which consists of opposition firebrand […]

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Opposition Mayor of Russian City Refuses to Go Without a Fight

Petrozavodsk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 3, 2015) In an office building in Russia’s northern city of Petrozavodsk, chance encounters between representatives of the mayor’s office and the local legislature who share the building are avoided at all costs. Petrozavodsk, capital of the republic of Karelia, is one of very few Russian cities with an elected mayor […]

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Navalny’s Opposition Coalition Stymied in Siberia

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 28, 2015) Efforts to inject some of Russia’s almost invariably pro-Kremlin regional and municipal legislatures with opposition-minded lawmakers ended in failure in Novosibirsk on Monday. Opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny’s Party of Progress, Parnas and several other opposition parties formed a coalition aimed at providing a platform to like-minded candidates in various […]

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Most Russians Oppose Renaming Bridge After Nemtsov, Poll Shows

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 25, 2015) [Chart here themoscowtimes.com/news/article/most-russians-oppose-renaming-bridge-after-nemtsov-poll-shows/526170.html] The majority of respondents in a survey conducted by Russian independent pollster Levada Center opposed the proposal to rename Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge after murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. After the murder, an unofficial memorial was set up on the bridge, which was where Nemtsov was shot last February, with […]

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Interfax: Probable Nemtsov murder weapon found

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – June 3, 2015) The police have found a handgun which probably killed opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, a source familiar with the situation has told Interfax. “The murder weapon has been found and enclosed in materials in the proceeding, examinations are in progress,” he said. The source added that the detectives had found several handguns, each of which was […]

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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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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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Nemtsov’s Report On Putin And Ukraine War Finally In Print, With A Little Help From His Friends

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

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – May 10, 2015) On the evening of February 25, the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov came to his friend, Ilya Yashin, to ask for help with his latest investigation: a sensitive report on Russian soldiers secretly fighting in Ukraine. Two days later Nemtsov, a relentless critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was brazenly shot dead near […]

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Some Who Left: A New Wave Of Russian Emigration

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – April 21, 2015) Hundreds of thousands have left Russia over the last two years, citing a variety of political, economic, and personal reasons. According to Russian government statistics, 203,000 people left the country permanently in the first eight months of 2014. That’s up from 186,000 in 2013, and very likely to break Russia’s […]

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Russian dissidents seek asylum in Kyiv

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Yalovkina – Anna Yalovkina is a journalist from Kyrgyzstan and a correspondent at the internet portal Vecherny Bishkek. She writes for lenta.ru and films video for RFE/RL – April 17, 2015) As oppression heats up in Russia, post-revolutionary Ukraine is attracting political émigrés from the Russian opposition. From the moment the Maidan started in Ukraine, Russian authorities rushed […]

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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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Russian Investigators Have Difficulty Accessing Nemtsov Murder Suspects in Chechnya

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor – Volume 12, Issue 68 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Valery Dzutsev – April 13, 2015) Six weeks after the assassination of prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov near the Kremlin in Moscow, authorities have failed to present a coherent explanation for the crime. As one observer has pointed out: “It looks like the Kremlin has […]

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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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Dmitry Oreshkin: “In the light of Nemtsov’s murder, Putin looks like a weak and dependent politician”

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Leonid Martynyuk – April 6, 2015 – article also appeared at imrussia.org/en/opinions/2222-dmitry-oreshkin-in-the-light-of-nemtsovs-murder-putin-looks-like-a-weak-and-dependent-politician) The Institute of Modern Russia continues its series of interviews with Russian and Western experts on the situation in Russia, its relationship with the West, and the future of its political system. Journalist Leonid Martynyuk speaks with prominent Russian political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin […]

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Russian Political Opposition Uniting for 2016 Parliamentary Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 3, 2015) Russia’s currently fragmented political opposition – which covers a broad spectrum of ideologies, from the far left to the far right – has agreed to form single alliance for next year’s parliamentary elections, newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Thursday. Nine of Russia’s most prominent opposition politicians, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky and […]

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Domestic political stability in Russia depends on Ukraine – report

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – April 6, 2015) A newly published report titled “Between Crimea and the Crisis” puts forward two scenarios of Russia’s future, both of which predict serious domestic upheavals. Everything hinges on the outcome of the Ukrainian conflict. How likely are these scenarios? RBTH investigates. Russia will be swept by moods […]

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Russian state will not clamp down on dissenters, senate speaker says

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, April 1, 2015) Russia does not intend to conduct a clampdown on the opposition as it is not threatened by a “colour revolution” no matter how hard the West tries to de-stabilize the interior situation in the country, Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has said. “The Russian state does not intend to pursue a clampdown […]

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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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How Russia’s opposition learned to stop worrying and love Crimea

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

A recent statement by a prominent Russian opposition figure is testament to an unpalatable truth: Crimea’s annexation is popular with Russia’s ‘liberal elite.’ (opendemocracy.net – Daniel Kennedy – March 31, 2015) Daniel Kennedy is an Associate Editor at oDR. He is an Associate at Global Partners Digital, a social purpose company working to protect and promote human rights values online Even […]

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