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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Expert: Putin’s Reported Plan to Restore KGB May Reflect Fear of Overthrow

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

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jim Kovpak – MOSCOW, September 26, 2016) The consolidation of Russia’s intelligence agencies into a massive security ministry, in effect recreating the old Soviet KGB, is a worrisome prospect for some Kremlin watchers. The plan reportedly under discussion would merge the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s principal security agency, the Foreign Intelligence Service and […]

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Interfax: Kremlin criticises media’s take of “Yarovaya laws”

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – September 26, 2016) The Kremlin has criticised media coverage of the so-called “Yarovaya package” of anti-terrorist laws, accusing journalists of being too emotional in their reporting and exaggerating the laws’ provisions, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 26 September. “All of these themes are being reflected in the media within a very lively discussion. Much of it […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian politics. The hollow election. The lowest-ever turnout for Duma elections suggests Vladimir Putin is losing touch with his political base.

Russia Regions Map

The Economist reports on low participation in Russia’s 2016 Duma elections. … The Kremlin made every effort to ensure the elections were as sterile and low-profile as possible. It banned and harassed genuine opposition parties and their leaders. … it persuaded many that nothing depended on voters. The official turnout was 48% – the lowest ever in the history of […]

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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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Russian Opposition Governor Arrested for Corruption Claims Innocence

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 27, 2016) A Russian governor arrested for corruption has claimed his innocence in a Moscow court. Nikita Belykh, governor of the Kirov region in central Russia, was arrested Friday after allegedly taking a 400,000 euro ($440,000) bribe. Appearing in court on Saturday, June 25, Belykh maintained that he was not guilty, telling the court, […]

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The Monster Under The Kremlin

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 19, 2016) At first glance, the massive shoot-out at Moscow’s Khovanskoye Cemetery this past weekend seemed pretty retro. What, after all, reminds us more of the 1990s than rival Russian gangs staging a deadly brawl in a turf war over control of the lucrative burial business? What is more reminiscent of the […]

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Russians, Their Guns And the State

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 29, 2016) U.S. gun enthusiasts live in constant fear of the federal government confiscating their weapons. For Russian gun owners, such a fear may be about to become a reality. On April 14, President Vladimir Putin, announced the formation of a new National Guard, and declared one of its key fuctions […]

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RBTH: Putin announces creation of National Guard for Russia

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

A series of important changes has taken place within Russian security organs, with the most significant being the establishment of a National Guard, to be formed from Interior Ministry troops. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – April 6, 2016) A reorganization of government bodies has seen Russian President Vladimir Putin place the Federal Drug Control […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Russian National Guard established

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – April 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin made the announcement at a meeting with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Interior Ministry Troops Commander Viktor Zolotov, Federal Drug Control Service Director Viktor Ivanov and Federal Migration Service First Deputy Director Yekaterina Yegorova. Vladimir Putin announces the creation of the National Guard on the basis of the Interior Ministry Troops. On the right: […]

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Expanded meeting of Prosecutor General Office’s Board

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in an expanded meeting of the Prosecutor General Office’s Board, reviewing the results for 2015 and priority work areas in 2016. Fighting corruption and terrorism and protecting public and state interests in various areas were the main subjects of discussion. A total of 317 prosecutors and judges from all around Russia […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Working Group to Monitor and Analyse Law Enforcement Practice in Entrepreneurial Activity

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Kremlin.ru – March 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired the first meeting of the Working Group to Monitor and Analyse Law Enforcement Practice in Entrepreneurial Activity, which discussed a number of business community proposals on legal guarantees for businesspeople. The working group was formed in February 2016 to organise cooperation between business associations and the federal executive authorities. The group’s participants […]

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Like, Share, Convict: Russian Authorities Target Social Media Users

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – March 10, 2016) [Chart here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/like-share-convict-russian-authorities-target-social-media-users/562015.html] It was a throwaway comment, forgotten almost the minute it was written. Then again, Viktor Krasnov could hardly have predicted the trouble those three words -“God doesn’t exist” – would cause. He couldn’t have imagined that two VKontakte users would file a formal complaint to the […]

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Interfax: Number of inspections of NGOs declining – Justice Minister

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

MOSCOW. March 2 (Interfax) – Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said the number of inspections of non-government organizations (NGOs) scheduled for this year is declining. “When organizing inspections of NGOs, the Justice Ministry uses information received from other public administration agencies, and it has to be said that the total number of inspections conducted in 2015 went down 12% from […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Federal Security Service board

FSB Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) board to review the results of the Service’s work in 2015 and set its priority tasks for 2016. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, We are here today to review the results of the Federal Security Service’s work in 2015 and […]

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‘Putin’s Children’ – Life, Crime, Terror on the Edge of Russia

Russia Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oliver Carroll – February 26, 2016) The driver’s voice teeters between depression and aggression. “What kinduva life do yoo call this?!” he shouts. “Weerrall peepul … peeeeepul, for sheeettin sake! … Fook, Ruussia, yoo make me want to cry!” We veer from side to side of the snow-covered track. Outside, the mercury pushes twenty under, […]

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Defender of Putin, Detained in Russia: American Activist Deemed U.S. ‘Agent’

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org –Carl Schreck – February 17, 2016) For a person who has dedicated her life to improving ties between Moscow and the West — and who has passionately denounced what she calls the “demonization” of President Vladimir Putin by Western media and officials — Sharon Tennison has gotten a strange reception in Russia. Tennison, an American activist whose […]

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Interfax: Casualties of law enforcement agencies reduce threefold in North Caucasus in 2015 – Interior Ministry

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Interfax – STAVROPOL, Feb 11, 2016) A decline in the number of clashes, bombings and shelling incidents continued in the North Caucasus in 2015, head of the Russian Interior Ministry department in the North Caucasus Federal District Sergei Chenchik said at a coordination conference of district police chiefs in Pyatigorsk. “The number of shelling incidents, bombings and clashes was significantly […]

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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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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russia’s ex-PM asks FSB to launch criminal proceedings against Chechen leader”

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo » Read more

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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Russian Minister: Security Concerns Justify Restricting Civil Rights

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 28, 2015) Russia’s interior minister said restricting civil rights is justifiable if security considerations demand it, according to a television interview that was broadcast Thursday night and prompted criticism from human rights advocates. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev told NTV television that police and security agencies must “tighten the screws” in case […]

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Russia’s Sole Sexual Assault Center Struggles to Make Ends Meet

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – October 21, 2015) Russia has only one organization that exists specifically to help victims of sexual assault, and today, its fate hangs in the balance. The Sisters sexual assault recovery center in Moscow is eking out an existence, depending on modest donations and barely able to cover the rent and phone bill […]

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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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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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Will the patriotic stop list kill Russia’s NGOs? Since 2012, Russian NGOs receiving funding from abroad have had to register as ‘foreign agents’. A new patriotic ‘stop list’ might shut this funding off forever.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Kozlov – July 22, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems facing Russia’s NGOs. He has at various times worked for Vremya Novostei, Moskovskiye Novosti and the online publication Gazeta.ru. His work has also appeared in Novaya Gazeta and Lenta.ru. […]

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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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Witness can’t recognize suspected Nemtsov assassin – newspaper

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – The confession of Zaur Dadayev, the suspected perpetrator of the killing of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, is not confirmed by a direct witness to the crime, Kommersant reported on Friday. Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the investigator, that Ukrainian model Hanna Durytska, who was accompanying Nemtsov at the time he was killed, was […]

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Nemtsov murder suspect was not tortured – lawyer

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 12, 2015) A lawyer for one of the men charged with the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has dismissed suggestions that his client was tortured in order to force him to confess to the crime, the privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 12 March. Ivan Gerasimov said that his client, Zaur Dadayev, had told […]

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Kremlin Foe Navalny Fined $10 For Cutting Ankle Bracelet

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 14, 2015) Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been convicted of large-scale theft twice and spent many nights in jail after street protests. The latest punishment meted out to one of the Kremlin’s fiercest foes is perhaps the least severe: a $10 fine. On his website on January 14, Navalny posted a note from Russia’s […]

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A new drama in Moscow: Teatr.doc – a pioneer of ‘New Drama’ in Russia – has recently been evicted from its basement home in Moscow. But is it all an act?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Alexey Krizhevsky – January 14, 2015) Alexey Krizhevsky is culture editor at gazeta.ru and member of Teatr.doc Teatr.doc is on the move. Having performed its last plays and a holiday evening, the theatre packed its bags and left the tiny basement in the centre of Moscow – its home for many years. The director of the independent theatre, […]

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Theater and the Heart of a City: Moscow’s Teatr.doc’s Confrontation with Authority

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Blair A. Ruble – January 2015) Blair A. Ruble is vice president for programs; director, urban sustainability laboratory; and senior advisor, Kennan Institute, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. On the evening of December 30, 2014 — just as two dozen or so patrons were settling into their seats at a purposefully ramshackle basement […]

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Khodorkovsky Speech Aired in St. Pete Hotel Despite Chaos

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 8, 2014) It seems St. Petersburg authorities on Sunday did not want a Holiday Inn conference room to show a speech by one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and vocal critics: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The conference area was searched for drugs, police attempted to evacuate the building because of a bomb […]

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Failures of Russian Law Enforcement Leading More Russians to Want to Carry Guns

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 24, 2014) Russians increasingly want to have the right to carry guns for the same reason many people in the United States say they do – their conviction that police are not willing or able to defend them and their belief that they must therefore be in a position to defend […]

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Russia Releases Opposition Activist Charged With Violence Against Police

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 9, 2014) Russia has released from custody opposition activist Sergei Mokhnatkin, who gained prominence among fellow activists for what he said was an attempt to protect a woman from police brutality at a protest rally, and who has been charged with violence against police. Mokhnatkin’s attempt to protect the woman had […]

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Death Be Not Proud – Be Profitable: Moscow’s Funeral Business

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn- June 5, 2014) Your beloved mother has died, leaving you in a state of grief just short of catatonic. Who do you call? Many Muscovites will tell you it was not really who you call that matters – it was who the police, the dispatcher or the medics call: the funeral agents. Because […]

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Russian upper house approves tougher “foreign agent” NGO law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – Moscow, May 28, 2014) The Federation Council [Russia’s upper chamber of parliament] has approved a draft law giving the Justice Ministry authority to include a noncommercial organization [the usual Russian phrase for what is referred to elsewhere as NGOs] on the register of foreign agents, even if that same NGO has not applied for inclusion on the register. […]

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In Sochi and Crimea, Cossacks Seek to Define Role in Society

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – April 2, 2014) Dimiter Kenarov, a freelance reporter working in Crimea, was surprised to see a group of uniformed Cossacks hastily carrying cables and video equipment out of an Associated Press television studio. When he and another photographer attempted to document the incident, they found themselves attacked and robbed at gunpoint, […]

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Protest Crackdowns Illegal, Human Rights Ombudsman Says

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 6, 2014) Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin called crackdowns on unsanctioned opposition protests illegal. According to Russia’s Supreme Court decisions, unauthorized protests were not necessarily illegal, Lukin said, Interfax reported. He added that often the protests pose no disturbance to citizens and that violations should only be pursued when the actions “create a […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Prosecutors Check TV Channel Over WWII Poll

St. Petersburg

MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Staff of an online TV station in Russia face a threat of up to two years in prison after prosecutors announced an “extremism” investigation Thursday into an opinion poll concerning World War II. The liberal Dozhd (“Rain”) channel triggered the ire of conservatives by asking on its website whether the Soviet Union should have […]

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Prosecutors sanction over 500,000 requests for inspecting businesses in 2014

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has declined nearly half of a total of over 1 million requests from controlling agencies on inspecting small and medium-sized businesses in 2014, which makes nearly half of all such requests, the office reported on its website on Thursday. “In line with the law on state and municipal control, draft […]

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VIDEO & Article: Police Detain Dozens at Protest Calling for Release of Bolotnaya Prisoners

Kremlin and St. Basil's

[scroll down for video] (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 7, 2014) Police detained two dozen protesters who gathered in central Moscow on Monday to demand the release of opposition activists from prison and to denounce the publicity stunts meant to boost Russia’s image ahead of the Sochi Olympic Games. The protesters gathered on Manezhnaya Square on Russian Christmas Eve, […]

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There Were No Bolotnaya Riots, International Experts Say

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – December 19, 2013) An international public commission declared Wednesday that there were no “riots” at the May 2012 opposition protest on Bolotnaya Ploshchad in Moscow, which was dispersed after violence broke out with police, resulting in more than 400 detentions. The commission’s findings were announced as hope lingers that at least some […]

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RIA Novosti: Ex-minister Kudrin says crime figures understated by factor of four

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, December 4, 2013) A member of the public council at the Russian Interior Ministry, former Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin, has announced that according to his data, the number of recorded crimes committed in Russia is understated at least by a factor of four. He told this journalist after the first meeting of the new composition of […]

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