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Tag Archive for Politics

Vast Majority of Russians Think Foreign Media Criticize Putin to Weaken Russia

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 30, 2014) The overwhelming majority of Russians view negative foreign media coverage of President Vladimir Putin and of Russia in general as an attempt to destabilize the country, pollster VTsIOM revealed Wednesday. The poll revealed that 87 percent of respondents see such ulterior motives in critical

Number of Russians ready to support Putin in presidential polls falls from 66% to 38%

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 30, 2014) 38% of Russian citizens interviewed by the Levada Center in September said they were ready to vote for incumbent President Vladimir Putin if the presidential elections were to be held this coming Sunday, as compared with 66% at the beginning of the year, center sociologists told

Half of Russians Expect Repeat of Soviet-Era Repression, Poll Says

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 30, 2014) Nearly half of all Russians believe that a return to Soviet-era repression is possible within their lifetime, a poll by the state-run Public Opinion Foundation revealed Wednesday. The poll, titled “Mass Repression in the Soviet Union,” examined the public’s perceptions and interpretations of Soviet-era

Navalny Wins Court Case Against Federal Media Watchdog

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 29, 2014) Opposition activist Alexei Navalny announced his victory Tuesday in a lawsuit challenging the Russian federal media watchdog’s refusal to register his news outlet as an official media outlet. Navalny filed an application with the agency on June 2 to set up the “Alexei Navalny Information Agency,” a

Interfax: Moscow Helsinki Group, but not Memorial, gets Russian presidential grant

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 27, 2014) Leading human rights organizations Moscow Helsinki Group and the For Human Rights movement were among the recipients of presidential grants as a result of a bid process held by the Civil Dignity organization. “Among well-known organizations, Moscow Helsinki Group received R1.8m [about 34,000 dollars at the current exchange rate]

Red Square Exhibit Sheds New Light on Soviet Cult of Lenin

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Kevin O’Flynn – October 28, 2014) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/leniniana-returns-to-red-square-to-dispel-myth-of-beloved-leader/510079.html] Everyone knew what was in the redbrick 19th-century building by Red Square in Soviet times. It was the Lenin Museum, the home – together with the nearby mausoleum – of the Lenin cult, to which a visit was a rite of

Fewer Russians Ready to Re-Elect Putin, Poll Shows

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 28, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s rating has fallen for the first time this year, with a substantial drop in the number of those who say they are ready to re-elect him, a poll by the Levada Center showed Tuesday. While a poll in August showed 57 percent of respondents

Interfax: Poll: Western-style democracy won’t work for Russia

Map of Russia

(Interfax – October 28, 2014) Russians are prone to describe the Western democratic model as unviable under the Russian conditions but exhibit an interest in the life and work in Western countries, sociologists told Interfax. Fifty-five percent of 1,630 respondents polled by the Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said

RIA Novosti: Gorbachev says Putin’s latest speech questioning U.S. dominance best ever

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 26, 2014) The first president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, thinks that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Valdai [Valday] speech was one of the strongest of his period in power. On Friday [24 October] the head of state gave a speech to participants in the Valdai discussion club in Sochi, in

Russian Intellectuals Ask State-Run TV to Admit Falsehoods in Ukraine Reports

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 24, 2014) A congress of Russian intellectuals has appealed to the head of state-run Channel One television to acknowledge “falsifications” in its reporting on Ukraine, holding the network accountable for the deaths of young Russians who were moved to go and fight there. The congress told

List of ‘foreign agents’ grows thanks to Justice Ministry

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galiya Ibragimova, RBTH – October 21, 2014) Since Russia’s Justice Ministry received the right to declare organizations “foreign agents” without their consent, the number of NGOs on the list has grown substantially In the two years since the passage of Russia’s controversial law on NGOs in July 2012,

Does Russian Liberalism Still ‘End at Ukraine’?

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) Since at least the time of the Russian Civil War, it has been common ground among many observers in Moscow and the West that Russian liberalism “ends at Ukraine,” a notion for which Aleksey Navalny’s statement that Russia will retain Crimea whatever happens appears

Russia’s ‘Era of Freedom’ has Come to an End, Academician Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 19, 2014) Russia’s 25-year-long era of freedom, which began in 1989 with the Congress of Peoples Deputies, has come to an end and the prospects for the future are extremely bleak, according to Academician Yury Pivovarov. If Russians do not transform themselves, their country risks becoming

Censorship Fears Mount as Officials Move to Tackle ‘Negativity’ in Russian Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2014) Days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law forcing foreign companies to sell stakes in Russian media, members of Russia’s upper house of parliament have advocated applying state pressure to combat a glut of “negative” news that is poisoning the country’s image, a news report said Friday.

For the Russian elite, loyalty is all: Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations…

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(opendemocracy.net – Yelizaveta Surnacheva – October 16, 2014) Yelizaveta Surnacheva is a journalist at Kommersant. In the last six months, Russian officials, oligarchs, CEOs of state-owned businesses, parliamentary deputies, and regional governors have found themselves in a new world, with new missions, new economic circumstances, and new mechanisms for decision-making. Not many are comfortable with

Putin’s Class Of 2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 17, 2014) The iPhone-toting hipsters hanging out in their trendy downtown Moscow office are just the high-profile part of the Kremlin’s new youth strategy. Founded in November 2013, the youth group Set — which means “Network” in Russian — has organized patriotic fashion shows and film festivals,

Navalny Wouldn’t Return Crimea, Considers Immigration Bigger Issue Than Ukraine

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 17, 2014) Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in an interview this week that he would not return the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine if he had the power to do so, and that the issue of illegal immigration was more important for Russia than anything

Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like

Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Endorse Internet Censorship

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 15, 2014) The majority of the Russian population supports a curb on Internet freedoms in theory, a new study showed Tuesday. Fifty-four percent of the respondents in a new poll by the independent Levada Center said the World Wide Web had enough dangerous websites to mandate censorship. Another 31

RIA Novosti: Putin prepared to be held responsible for all happening in Russia

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 14, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin does not agree with a widespread opinion that everything in Russia depends on him only; he believes that many simply want to find a person with whom the buck stops, and he does not resist this role. “This widespread belief that everything depends on

Putin Immune to Economic Decline – So Far

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 16, 2014) Most of Russia’s indicators of economic health have plummeted this year. Inflation last month was at its highest level in three years, capital outflow this year is expected to exceed $100 billion, the ruble has lost almost 20 percent of its value since January,

Fewer Russian Bureaucrats But Salaries Increased 30%, Study Shows

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) The number of Russian officials has decreased slightly from 2009, but their collective earnings have grown 31 percent to 682 billion rubles ($16 billion), a new study showed Wednesday. Russia had 1.45 million officials in 2013, compared with 1.5 million five years ago, the study conducted by

Interfax: Most Russians think Putin is doing his job well – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, October 15, 2014) Russians support the president of the Russian Federation and more and more often see their trust in Vladimir Putin as a reflection of his successful handling of the problems facing Russia, sociologists have told Interfax. A poll conducted by the [Russian independent polling organization] Levada Centre among 1,630 people

De-Modernization and Degradation-A Net Assessment of Russia’s Domestic Situation Since the Start of 2014

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 181 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – October 14, 2014) Considering Russia’s shocking transformation in the course of just half a year, it is easy to forget that last February the country was united in the joy of hosting the Sochi Winter Olympic games. The

Down with Lenin!

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

As they are toppled one after another in cities across the country, statues of Lenin are becoming an endangered species in Ukraine. But Lenin the political symbol is still alive and kicking. (opendemocracy.net – LEONID RAGOZIN – October 13, 2014) Inside a granite pyramid on Red Square, in front of the Kremlin wall, lies the

Bill Proposes Softening NGO ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 9, 2014) A legislative commission has approved a bill reducing fines for non-governmental organizations that fail to register with the Justice Ministry as so-called “foreign agents,” the government said in a statement Wednesday. The bill, conceived after the Ministry received complaints from the country’s human rights commissioner, proposes halving

RIA Novosti: Russian President Says He Took 5-Mile Hike on His Birthday

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that he went on a 5-mile hike in the mountains of Siberia on his 62nd birthday. “The day before yesterday was a day of walking for me. I walked in the mountains for almost 9 kilometers [about 5 miles]. Everything still hurts,” Putin

Putin Seeks Solitude Amid Russia’s Perfect Storm

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(Stratfor.com – October 9, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 62nd birthday Tuesday in a peculiar fashion: by himself in the Siberian forests. For the past few days, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has brushed off journalists’ questions about why the president decided not to celebrate his birthday in Moscow or do other work as he

VIDEO: Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Open Russia and Building Civil Society: A Conversation With Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

The Council on Foreign Relations hosted an event featuring former Russia oil oligarch, and former Russian prison inmate, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Open Russia and Building Civil Society: A Conversation With Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” is archived at cfr.org/russian-federation/mikhail-khodorkovsky-open-russia-building-civil-society/p33555. Among other things, Khodorkovsky argued that Putin has become so entrenched as a strongman, that any successor might be

Putin Aloof as Russia’s Economic Troubles Close In

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – October 8, 2014) Official documents published Monday show the Kremlin has scrapped the president’s annual budget address. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS that the set piece speech would, from now on, be folded into the state-of-the-union address, usually given in December. While Putin floated the idea

RIA Novosti: Russia’s Ethnic Tensions Drop Due to Crimea Reunification, President’s Approval: Kremlin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Interethnic tensions have reduced significantly this year in Russia as a result of the country’s reunification with Crimea and President Vladimir Putin’s high approval ratings, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Magomedsalam Magomedov said Wednesday. “The main factors for the significant reduction in interethnic tension

Russia Beyond the Headlines: What is democracy? A third of Russians don’t know

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Darya Lyubinskaya, special to RBTH – October 8, 2014) Results of a recent poll indicate a discontinuity between views on the meaning of democracy and what constitutes democratic leadership. A recent poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) provided new insight into how Russians feel about democracy

Critic of Russian Economic Policy Ejected From Influential Journal

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 8, 2014) Prominent economist and Kremlin critic Sergei Alexashenko says that political pressure has forced him to surrender his post as editor and contributor to a respected macroeconomic bulletin published by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. “Someone doesn’t like what I write, what I do, where

Moscow Times: Vladimir Putin’s (Imaginary) Bucket List

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Pilot in Hang Glider Airborne Next to Flying Cranes

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – October 7, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin turns 62 on Tuesday. Though he has manned the helm of Mother Russia for nearly 15 years, he remains such a divisive figure that a 2044 textbook will be needed to glean his real place in history. But one thing

Dmitry Gudkov, L’Enfаnt Terrible of the State Duma

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – October 7, 2014) In a Russian parliament filled with yes-men, Dmitry Gudkov is Mr. Nyet. Since his election to the State Duma in 2011, the 34-year-old deputy has opposed many legislative initiatives of symbolic importance to the Kremlin. Gudkov – who has served as an independent since

Putin Clans Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Irina Reznik, Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov – October 5, 2014) Russia’s wheels of power are grinding to a halt. That’s the assessment of five officials close to President Vladimir Putin, who say that a struggle at the heart of his inner circle is slowing decision making as sanctions squeeze the

Interfax: Russia not planning to limit internet traffic, nationalize domains – minister

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – October 2, 2014) The Russian authorities have no plans to limit the number of trans-border internet exchange points (IXP) or to regulate the management of the country’s local domains, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 2 October. “Such an idea is not on the agenda,” Russian Telecommunications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov told journalists

Can Russia Disconnect From The Internet?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RFE/RL – Luke Johnson – October 02, 2014) After chairing a meeting of the Russian Security Council on October 1, President Vladimir Putin insisted the Kremlin was not planning to limit access to the Internet or put it under total state control. The authorities would, however, take additional measures to increase cybersecurity and continue to shut

Solzhenitsyn Spat Sees Mironov Attack Putin Ally

Alexander Solzhenitsyn file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – September 29, 2014) As Moscow’s weather gradually cools down, the temperature of political discourse is definitely heating up. A public spat over the place in history of novelist and historian Alexander Solzhenitsyn led last week to some fighting words that culminated with a popular actor, Yevgeny Mironov,

Life After Putin: Russia Needs to Be Rebuilt From Scratch

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – September 30, 2014) This story begins a series of analytical articles and editorials in The Moscow Times about Russia’s long-term strategic prospects. It is strange to recall in 2014 that back at the beginning of his rule, President Vladimir Putin was hailed as a reformer. His main agenda during

Interfax: Third of Russians think Russia has all the democracy it needs – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – Moscow, September 30, 2014) A relative majority of Russians (39 per cent) believe that democracy in the Russian Federation was [and is] at its height under the rule of Vladimir Putin: 12 per cent said that it was so during the first two terms of Putin’s presidency (2000-2008), and 27 per cent –

Facebook, Google and Twitter hit by new Russian internet law

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – September 30, 2014) Russia’s official communications regulator Roskomnadzor says it will enforce a recently passed law that could force foreign-owned internet companies to store the data of Russian users on Russia data centres, as part of a Kremlin drive towards what it calls ‘information sovereignty’. Major US-based internet companies

We have made today’s Frankenstein with our own hands

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Kantor – September 29, 2014) Maxim Kantor is a painter, novelist and playwright. His latest novel V tu storonu (In that direction), which explores the parallel between the financial crisis and a malignant tumour, will be published in Russia shortly. When communism ended, Russia’s people wanted democracy. Instead, they got the market

Moscow Times: Poll Shows Russians Divided on Democracy’s Meaning, Importance

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – September 30, 2014) Democracy is important to most Russians, but they can’t seem to agree on what exactly it is, according to a survey published Monday. In the survey, conducted by the state-run pollster Public Opinion Foundation and published by the Kommersant newspaper Monday, 63 percent of

Defense Ministry Dismisses Reports of Russian Paratroopers Killed in Ukraine

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 30, 2014) An opposition lawmaker who inquired about the reported deaths of Russian paratroopers in Ukraine has been told by the Defense Ministry that the accounts are “rumors” and that releasing information about military casualties would violate privacy laws. State Duma lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov – one of the few

Another Lenin Down, but How Many More Remain?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 29, 2014) The demolition of the statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has attracted international attention, with some seeing this as a provocation by one or another side in the war in Ukraine and others viewing it as an indication of the maturation

Russians’ Greatest Fears Coming True, Undermining Stability, Gontmakher Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 24, 2014) The eight developments Russians identified as of their greatest fears are all coming true, and that pattern regardless of what else happens undermines the stability of Russian society and the Russian state, according to Moscow economist and commentator Yevgeny Gontmakher. In August, Russians were

RIA Novosti: Putin Called Top Moral Authority Among Russian Celebrities: Opinion Poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – Two thirds of Russians say that some of the country’s famous citizens can be considered as moral authorities, and 36 percent of them believe President Vladimir Putin is taking the lead , a poll by the Public Opinion Fund reported Wednesday. Around 60 percent of respondents believed that there

The Troubled Rebirth of Political Opposition in Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Vladimir Gelman – September 2014) Distinguished Professor, Political Sciences and Sociology; Aleksanteri Institute at the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies In the 2000s, most experts considered the role of political opposition in Russia as peripheral at best. But with the protest wave of 2011-12, opposition actors and movements reentered

Fewer Russians Blame Authorities for Deaths in Beslan Attack

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 2, 2014) On the 10th anniversary of the Beslan terrorist attack in which more than 330 people died, a poll revealed Monday that fewer Russians think authorities mishandled the crisis than in 2004. The poll, conducted by the independent Levada Center from Aug. 22 to 25, showed a less

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