U.S. may keep sanctions for years, Russia to run economy, trade accordingly – PM

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russia will be developing its economic and trade policies assuming that the United States may keep the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis for many more years, Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said. Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying in an interview to the Slovenian newspaper DELO ahead of a visit […]

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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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PARNAS supporters holding rally in Novosibirsk over election committee meeting on registering party lists

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

NOVOSIBIRSK. July 27 (Interfax) – The rally permitted by the Novosibirsk mayor’s office of the supporters of the People’s Freedom Party For Russia Without Lawlessness and Corruption (PARNAS) is taking place in front of the Novosibirsk region’s government building on Monday, an Interfax correspondent reported. Five people are declared to participate in the rally, event organizer Vadim Sukhonenko said. “One […]

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Flurry Of Moscow Activism Hints That Mood For Protest Is Very Much Alive

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – MOSCOW, July 26, 2015) Three years into President Vladimir Putin’s third term and a renewed effort to banish conspicuous political dissent in Russia, local protests are bubbling up all over the capital. From weekslong sit-ins to save neighborhood parks to pushback against development plans with ties to the political elite, Muscovites are taking their frustrations to […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Controversial Russian politician named deputy in Ukraine (Maria Gaidar)

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

AFP reports on involvement in the Ukrainian political scene by Maria Gaidar, daughter of former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar.  She is nominated to work with former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. The nomination of a Russian politician to a top post in Odessa has caused a flurry of controversy in the tense political atmosphere of the violent Ukraine conflict. Maria Gaidar, daughter […]

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Russia’s ‘derby grrls’ are upending gender politics

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

As the Russian state continues its conservative turn, could this fringe sport push back against the country’s gender politics? (opendemocracy.net – Ulrike Ziemer – July 23, 2015) Dr Ulrike Ziemer is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Winchester. Her research focuses on gender inequalities and young people from ethnic minorities in Russia. Recent publications include a monograph Ethnic […]

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Medvedev Upbeat About Russian Economy, Ties With Europe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he expects Russia’s recession-hit economy to start growing again at the end of the year, while he hopes for improving economic ties with friendly countries in southeastern Europe. “I think that the economy will return to the path of growth in late 2015, early 2016. It won’t […]

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To Save Their Own Country, Russians Must ‘Forget Ukraine,’ Inozemtsev Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 23, 2015) Vladimir Putin has successfully counted on the war he launched in Ukraine to distract the attention of Russians from their problems at home, but if Russians are to emerge from the current crisis and save their own country, they will have to “forget about Ukraine” and focus on Russia […]

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The Year in Theater: Murky Demons on the Loose

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

  (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – July 23, 2015) Words can be fashionable. They may be dangerous. The word of this year in Russian culture, I would argue, has shades of both. The lexical item of “obscurantism”-“mrakobesie” in Russian, suggesting demonic murk and gloom – is everywhere to be found in discussions of art these days. “In […]

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Russian Single-Industry Towns Face Crisis

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) Most of Russia’s single-industry towns are at risk of economic collapse that would cause massive social dislocation and see millions of Russians lose their livelihoods, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying Wednesday. Some 14 million Russians live in the 319 Russian towns that, in a holdover from the Soviet era, […]

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Putin frees small business from inspections for three years

cash-register

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 14, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law giving small companies a three-year holiday from regular inspections, a measure lawmakers hope will spur the development of small business in the country, according to a document published Tuesday [14 July] on the government’s legal information website. Small business is relatively underdeveloped in Russia, […]

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Russian human rights activists lodge appeals against law on “foreign agent” NGOs

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) A number of Russian human rights advocacy organizations have lodged court appeals against their classification as “foreign agents”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Earlier the Russian Justice Ministry released a statement saying it had sent messages to a number of NGOs working in the human rights sector and included on the […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times/Andrei Kozyrev: Russia’s Coming Regime Change

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Writing in The New York Times, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses the future of Russian governance in the face of multiple economic, political and international challenges. The firmness of the West in protecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and restoring its territorial integrity is a prerequisite not only to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive impulses, but also to engage […]

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Why Russians fear August

Forest Fire file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – July 10, 2015) As we all know only too well, winters are long and cold in Russia while summers are relatively short but quite pleasant. Once Easter has passed, people start marking the calendar until they can throw off their winter armour and re-open their dachas. August is the […]

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RBTH: Seventy percent of Russians opposed to compromise on sanctions – report

russia-economy

According to a new Levada Center opinion poll, 70 percent of Russian citizens believe that Russia should not make any sanctions-related concessions, even though a third of the population has admitted that sanctions are a problem. However, despite these difficulties, Russians continue to back President Vladimir Putin, whose popularity rating has never been higher. Experts have several theories for why […]

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Interfax: Most Russians oppose same-sex marriage – poll

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

(Interfax – July 10, 2015) Less than a quarter of Russians believe sexual orientation is a person’s personal business and a majority oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage, a public opinion poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) shows. The poll, which surveys 1,600 people living in 130 populated areas of 46 regions of Russia, was conducted […]

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Unlike in Ukraine, a Russian Maidan Would Likely Be Violent and Destructive, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 10, 2015) “Unfortunately, Russia is different from present-day Ukraine in many ways,” Lilya Shevtsova says; and consequently, if a Maidan does occur there, it is likely to be different as well, violent rather peaceful, destructive rather than constructive, and divisive rather than unifying. In the course of an interview this week […]

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Russia Can No Longer Afford to Be the Militarist and Expansionist Power It has Always Been, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2015) After a brief attempt to escape from its past in the 1990s, Russia under Vladimir Putin is “again returning to militarism … the model of existence in which Russia had existed for centuries” in order to prepare for war. No other such civilization exists in the world now, but Russia “cannot militarize as […]

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Moscow Times: Poll: Nearly Half of Russians Favor Decent Wages Over Free Speech

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 8, 2015) More than 40 percent of Russians would be willing to forgo the right to free speech and the freedom to travel abroad if Russian authorities would guarantee “decent” salaries and pensions, a poll released Tuesday by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed. Forty-two percent of Russians said they preferred […]

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Seven New Laws That Will Change the Face of Russia

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 8, 2015) Russian lawmakers have kept themselves very busy this year. Over the course of its spring session, which ended Friday, Russia’s State Duma passed a total of 278 new laws. The majority of these were unremarkable – ratifications to international agreements, minor budgetary adjustments and a busload of measures aimed […]

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Even the Kremlin Doesn’t Believe Its Own Poll Numbers, ‘Nezavisimaya gazeta’ Says

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 7, 2015) The Kremlin it appears “does not believe the ratings” it routinely distributes about the support the Russian people are showing for Vladimir Putin and his regime if one judges by the Russian government’s new effort to give the FSB expanded powers to fight mass protests, according to the editors of “Nezavisimaya gazeta.” The […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Perspectives on Russia: June 2015

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

Subject: Perspectives on Russia: June 2015 Date: Sun, 05 Jul 2015 From: Sharon Tennison <sharon@ccisf.org> Sharon Tennison has worked for 30 years in Russia and the CIS, creating numerous multi-year, multi-million dollar programs to provide training for Soviet and Russian citizens to gain independence and skills designed for self governance. She is founder and President of the Center for Citizen […]

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Attack on Chubais Ally Marks Death of Russian Meritocracy – Experts

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 4, 2015) The criminal case opened this week against Leonid Melamed, the founder of Russia’s flagship innovations project, is directed against its divisive current head Anatoly Chubais, and reflects Russia’s drift away from a merit-based ruling elite, pundits told The Moscow Times on Friday. Rusnano’s reformist head Chubais has long been […]

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Overwhelming Support for Putin among Russian Intelligentsia has Three Sources, Kirillova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 6, 2015) There are three reasons why support for Vladimir Putin is so high even among educated Russians: fear that their country might descend into chaos without him, their lack of a positive image about the future, and a traditional Russian deference to the state on foreign policy issues, according to Kseniya Kirillova. One of […]

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Oppositionist Kasyanov heads up renamed PARNAS

Mikhail Kasyanov File Photo

(Interfax – July 5, 2015) Mikheil Kasyanov has been elected as the sole chairman of the PARNAS Party. Kasyanov’s candidacy was favored by a majority of delegates at a party congress, an Interfax correspondent reported. The delegates also elected three deputy chairmen: senior party member Ilya Yashin, Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. and party secretary Konstantin Merzlikin. Kasyanov was the only candidate […]

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Jews Are Fleeing Russia Because Of Putin

Torah Scrolls

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Roman Super, Claire Bigg – July 3, 2015) Just a year ago, Russian journalist Vladimir Yakovlev was one of Moscow’s most influential media figures. Today, he lives a quiet life in Tel Aviv and has swapped his Russian passport for an Israeli one. Yakovlev, the founder of the respected Kommersant publishing house and the Snob magazine, […]

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NEWSLINK Euromaidan Press: Putin regime can’t be reformed, only replaced, like its Soviet predecessor, Yakovenko says

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

“Having unleashed the imperial self-consciousness of the population, Yakovenko continues, ‘Putin not only does not want but cannot stop this insanity. He already lacks the powers to stop the war he began in Ukraine, even if he wanted to. He lacks the power to stop the hysteria of hatred in the media.’

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From Burning Hearts To Civil Unions: The Unlikely Evolution Of Dmitry Kiselyov

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – June 30, 2015) Somewhere around the 98th minute of his weekly news roundup and commentary for Russia’s Rossiya television channel this week, Dmitry Kiselyov got around to saying something truly unexpected. In his coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages, the head of Rossia Segodnya, Russia’s massive state-controlled media conglomerate, came out in […]

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Nothing on Horizon Now Could Cut Into Putin’s High Poll Ratings, Gudkov Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 1, 2015) Many Russians “genuinely support the actions and lies of Putin” because as Moscow’s propaganda machine suggests, he is a guy willing to use force to stand up to America and defend the national interests of the country, according to Lev Gudkov, the head of the Levada Center. They recognize only “very poorly” that […]

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Primakov was Putinism’s ‘Godfather,’ Russian Analysts Say

Yevgeny Primakov file photo, with William Cohen in partial profile

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 28, 2015) Many Western obituaries and appreciations of the late Yevgeny Primakov portray him as an alternative to Vladimir Putin and someone who would have led Russia in an entirely different direction than the current Kremlin leader. But two Russian analysts argue that in fact Primakov laid much of the groundwork […]

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Russian reaction to same-sex marriage ruling in the USA

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – June 29, 2015) On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal on the whole territory of the country. The ruling generated a strong reaction [in] Russia, with some conservative politicians slamming it, while some liberals voiced support for the U.S. and the global […]

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Interfax: Russia should get less aggressive towards sex minorities – senator

Federation Council file photo

(Interfax – June 28, 2015) Deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Constitutional Legislation Konstantin Dobrynin has suggested that the American “don’t ask, don’t tell” principle be enshrined in the Russian law with respect to people of non-heterosexual orientation. One may laugh at America or a tolerant Europe for as long as one likes; it should be admitted, however, […]

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Most Russians Want State to Remain Secular

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – June 25, 2015) The majority of Russians want to live in a secular state but almost half of the population is happy for the church to influence societal morality, a survey by state-run pollster VTsIOM has found. Sixty-four percent of those polled said they were in favor of the continued separation of […]

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Kremlin chief-of-staff against moving Russian presidential election

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – June 20, 2015) It doesn’t make sense to move the 2018 presidential election to an earlier date, head of the Russian presidential administration Sergey Ivanov has said. “If you ask my opinion, I see absolutely no sense in this,” Ivanov said in an interview in the Vesti v Subbotu with Sergey Brilev programme on state-owned official Rossiya 1 […]

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Communists Storm Out of Moscow Duma Hearing on Monument to Feared Secret Police Chief

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 25, 2015) The Moscow City Duma courted controversy Wednesday with its determination that a proposed referendum question on the restoration of a monument to feared Soviet secret police chief Felix Dzerzhinsky was consistent with the law. But Dzerzhinsky – a Bolshevik revolutionary and founder of the dreaded Cheka secret police, which […]

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Consumer-Rights Advocate Calls Putin ‘Paranoid’ After ‘Foreign-Agent’ Slur

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 24, 2015) A Russian consumer-protection group lambasted by President Vladimir Putin as a “foreign agent” after giving cautionary advice to Russians traveling to annexed Crimea has accused Putin of “paranoia” and called him “badly informed.” Mikhail Anshakov, chairman of the Moscow-based Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights (OZPP), said his […]

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Moscow Edges Closer to First Referendum Since Soviet Collapse

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 23, 2015) Moscow looks set to get its first referendum in post-Soviet times – and one of the burning issues on the ballot will be the restoration of a monument to the founder of the secret police to central Moscow. On June 11, the Moscow election committee approved the Communist Party’s […]

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Russia Is Biggest Force Against Democracy In Eurasia, Report Finds

Eurasia Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Patricia Hill and Ron Synovitz – June 23, 2015) Russia saw its biggest loss of democracy in a decade last year, while it and other authoritarian states took aggressive action to block efforts to form new democracies elsewhere in Europe and Eurasia, a new report by Freedom House finds. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s moves to annex […]

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Early Election Would Benefit Putin, Not Russia

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 18, 2015) Russia’s former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, came up with an interesting idea for turning Russia’s recent economic woes to the country’s advantage: moving up the scheduled 2017 presidential election. The problem with this suggestion — which may have been floated as a trial balloon with the Kremlin’s approval — is […]

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Interfax: Chechen leader on Nemtsov murder, investments, oil, Ukraine, marriage

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Interfax – June 18, 2015) The Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has suggested that the murderers of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov should be sought in Ukraine, rather than in Chechnya. He praised his region’s economic potential and oil reserves. Kadyrov also slammed Committee Against Torture Russian human rights organization, accusing them of following the West’s guidelines to Russia’s detriment. […]

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Kremlin Weighs Early Presidential Vote as Economic Worries Mount

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ott Ummelas, Henry Meyer – June 18, 2015) The Kremlin said experts will study the idea of calling early presidential elections, a move that could give Vladimir Putin a fresh term while his approval rating remains near a record high. “This is a new proposal,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on a conference call just […]

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Interfax: Over 40 per cent of Russians do not believe corruption could be defeated – poll

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

  (Interfax – June 17, 2015) A public opinion poll conducted by the independent pollster Levada Centre has shown that two thirds of Russians believe that President Vladimir Putin is making progress in fighting corruption, but, at the same time, more than 40 per cent believe that it will be difficult to defeat it because corruption cannot be eradicated in […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russia’s Struggling Economy Clouds St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Corporate executives head to President Vladimir’s Putin hometown for annual event

St. Petersburg

Corporate executives head to President Vladimir’s Putin hometown for annual event.

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Putin’s unrealizable dream vs. his all too-real nightmare

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – June 15, 2015) That Vladimir Putin lives in a different reality than do other world leaders is now more or less common ground. Now, two commentators have described respectively what the Kremlin leader dreams about and what his worst nightmare might turn out to be. In a commentary of Kyiv’s “Novoye vremya,” Yury […]

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Russians’ Social Bonds Increasing, Giving Them Resource for Protest, Schulmann Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 16, 2015) Social networks among Russians have grown and deepened over the last two years, according to a poll conducted by the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, thus creating the basis for the rise of civil society and more protests by making Russians less dependent on the state. In […]

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