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Tag Archive for Politics

Putin’s ‘Russian Spring’ Idea was Invented by Russian Fascists in 1920s

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 30, 2014) Commentators in Moscow and the West ever more frequently draw parallels between Vladimir Putin’s ideas and actions and those of fascist regimes in the first part of the 20th century, but few have focused on the fact that one of the Kremlin leader’s most-cherished

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Social media alive and well despite laws

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Plyushchev, special to RBTH – July 15, 2014) Alexander Plyushchev is a popular blogger and one of the pioneers of Internet journalism in Russia. Russians flock to social networks even as the government tries to regulate the web A new law, which comes into effect Aug. 1,

Russian History Provides Five Lessons for Liberals in Illiberal Times, Makarkin Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 26, 2014) Russian liberals have lived through many periods of illiberal governance in the past, have devised various strategies to cope because the repressive regimes have been so different, but have managed to survive and see their country change course at least for a time in

Putin Now Down to One Ally – Moscow Television

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 24, 2014) Tsar Aleksandr III famously said that Russia has only two allies – its army and its fleet – but now, according to Rashit Akhmetov, the editor of “Zvezda Povolzhya,” Vladimir Putin is down to only one – Moscow television with its ability to shape

Interfax: Putin vows to avoid clampdown in fight against radicalism

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Interfax – July 22, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that the fight against radicalism in Russia will not result in a state clampdown on civil society and said he expects the Russian public to help prevent one, Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Putin made the statements at a meeting

Interfax: Putin says Ukrainian “scenario” won’t happen in Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – July 22, 2014) The “scenario” that has been used in Ukraine by “external” forces will not happen in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has said. He made these remarks at a meeting with the Russian Security Council, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax. Speaking about the so-called “colour revolutions” and in particular Ukraine,

Stratfor: Can Putin Survive?

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – July 21, 2014) There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the

Interfax: Patrushev says Russian decision-makers must heed opposition

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. July 22 (Interfax) – The Russian Security Council Secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, has spoken of the need to draw conclusions from what is going on in Ukraine and heed the opinion of the Russian opposition. “The events occurring in Ukraine – their role for us is this: we must draw the right conclusions from them,”

Russian Blog Post Decrying Government’s Internet Crackdown Goes Viral

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – July 14, 2014) Is this an updated version of Aldous Huxley’s classic antiutopian novel, “Brave New World”? Not exactly. If you live in Russia, this will be your world by September 1, according to a blog, “A Guide Through Your Life: What the Duma Has Banned in

A Kremlin ‘Reset’ – Putin from ‘Defender of the Russian World’ to ‘Peacemaker’

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 10, 2014) Russian public opinion “is being prepared for a change in Kremlin policy” toward Ukraine, Moscow commentators say, with central government media now downplaying the need for and utility of force and playing up the ways in which Vladimir Putin can serve as “peacemaker.” But

Having Failed to Stage ‘Short Victorious War’ in Ukraine, Putin Faces Problems at Home

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2014) Both those Russians who continue to press Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine and those who say that his policies in Ukraine have been a disaster are increasingly reviving an old Russian metaphor that cannot be encouraging to the current incumbent of

Putin versus the NGOs

Vladimir Putin file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Pavel Chikov – July 3, 2014) Pavel Chikov is chair of AGORA, an association of human rights organisations based in Kazan. Agora, founded in 2005, provides legal advocacy for victims of suspected human rights abuses, in particular for journalists, political activists and NGOs. Since 1999 Chikov has been a leading human rights lawyer

Putin’s Authoritarianism Now Self-Re-Enforcing, New Book Concludes

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 4, 2014) That Putin has intervened in Ukraine at least in part to overcome the political challenges he faced in 2011-2012 and that he has made Russian more authoritarian in the process is largely common ground. But a new book gives remarkable details about these links

Russians Failing to Notice Ways Their Country Becoming Like Hitler’s Reich, Portnikov Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 5, 2014) “Putin’s Russia has already long been a Reich” much like Hitler’s Germany, but ordinary Russians now, like ordinary Germans 75 years ago, have not taken note of the fact because so far the state’s repressive attentions have not been directed primarily at them, according to Vitaly Portnikov. Portnikov,

Kremlin Moves Away From Aggressive Youth Policy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 4, 2014) President Vladimir Putin signaled a switch Thursday from the government’s previous youth policy of aggressive political groups toward a more traditional approach to instilling patriotism. “We need to give young people more knowledge about Russia’s historical, cultural and natural riches back in school,” Putin

Putin’s Successor May Be ‘Already in His Entourage,’ Kryshtanovskaya Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 30, 2014) Olga Kryshtanovskaya, head of the Center for the Study of Elites at the Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology and Russia’s most distinguished student of elites and their rotation, says that “Putin’s successor is already in his closest entourage” and that Putin may even

Why Putin Is in Trouble With 86% Approval

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com –  Evgenia Pismennaya, Henry Meyer, Brad Cook – June 27, 2014) One month he wins the Olympics and kudos from world leaders. The next he grabs Crimea and gets kicked out of their most exclusive club. Now he’s facing a recession with few tools to fight it save the public’s love. Even

Interfax: Approval rating of Russian authorities on rise – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Interfax – June 26, 2014) A record growth of the approval rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his political course continues, sociologists said. The approval rating of President Putin stood at 86 percent in June, Levada Center told Interfax. The approval rating of the president grew 3 percent from 83 percet in May and

Putin’s Popularity Near 2008 Peak on Ukraine Actions

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – June 26, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity continued to rise near its 2008 peak this month amid the unrest in neighboring Ukraine, Moscow-based polling company Levada Center said in a statement. The Russian leader’s approval rating is 86 percent, up from 65 percent in January and compared

NEWSLINK: No more little green men? Putin takes military option in Ukraine off table.

Federation Council file photo

["No more little green men? Putin takes military option in Ukraine off table" - Christian Science Monitor -  Fred Weir- June 24, 2014] The Christian Science Monitor covers Russia’s legislative move to formerly rescind an authorization for additional military intervention in Ukraine. Almost four months after Russia’s upper house of parliament granted Vladimir Putin blanket permission to

Support for Putin’s Policies on Ukraine Broad but Not Deep, Gudkov Says

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 23, 2014) Public support for Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine is broad but not deep and is likely to dissipate quickly rather than become the basis by itself for any new imperial adventures, accordin to Lev Gudkov, the head of the independent Levada Analytic Center. In

Russia Further from Superpower Status than When Putin Came to Power

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 22, 2014) With the occupation of Crimea and with the encouragement of the Kremlin, many Russians believe they are on their way to becoming a super power once again, but the most thoughtful among them recognize that Russia lacks two if not three of the elements

Russians Unfazed by Nudists But Outraged by Transsexuals, Poll Shows

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 23, 2014) While a majority of Russians feel a sense of outrage toward transsexuals, most could not care less about nudists, a somewhat questionable poll concludes. The poll, published Monday by independent pollster Levada Center – presumably testing Russians’ attitudes to non-traditional behavior – showed roughly equal numbers of

Happy in Yakutia and Russia

Map of Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 23, 2014) Could you be happy living somewhere where temperatures drop below 50 degrees Celsius in the nine-month-long winters? It seems hard to imagine, but the residents of Siberia’s Yakutia in the heart of the Asian part of Russia – the coldest place

Ukraine Shows Liberal Project in Russia in Even Worse Shape than Nationalist One, Khramov Says

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 18, 2014) Responding to suggestions that the possibilities for the promotion of an “enlightened” Russian nationalism” have been undermined by Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine, Aleksandr Khramov says that the real problems lie with Russian liberals who behave in ways that alienate the population and make

New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A

Interfax: Russians losing interest in political opposition, say it is still needed – poll

Russian Duma Building

MOSCOW. June 17 (Interfax) – Over a half of Russians (57%) believes Russia needs political opposition, Levada Center told Interfax. Yet their number has reduced significantly since 2012 (72%), the sociologists said. Twenty-three percent of respondents say Russia does not need political opposition and 20% are undecided. The need for opposition was mostly expressed by

Fifty-Eight Percent of Russians Oppose Russian Nationalist Groups inside Russia after Ukrainian Events

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 16, 2014) In what might seem counter-intuitive but which in fact underscores the way Moscow media coverage of one thing may cause Russians to draw conclusions about others, 58 percent of Russians say that as a result of developments in Ukraine, they are more negative about

Putin’s War in Ukraine Marks Rebirth of Stalinism in Russia, Chubais Says

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 16, 2014) The Russian authorities have unleashed and are conducting a war in Ukraine, “a new type of war without declaration or a front line” and one that is simultaneously “destroying all official Soviet and post-Soviet myths and clarifying the real nature of the political regime

Russia Day: The country’s most misunderstood day off

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – June 12, 2014 Nikolai Litovkin, RBTH – June 12, 2014) On June 12, Russia celebrates one of its youngest national holidays, Russia Day. Nominally a celebration of Russian statehood, the significance of the day is widely misunderstood, even within the country itself. What is the history of the

Russia Beyond the Headlines: What is the link between economics and Putin’s popularity?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Denis Volkov, special to RBTH – June 9, 2014) Denis Volkov is a sociologist with Levada Center. The analysis is based on data provided by the independent pollster Levada Center. A recent opinion poll by the Levada Center indicates that amid tensions over Ukraine and the takeover of

As Putin Pursues Imperial Goals, Fewer Russians Regret End of USSR

Map of Former Soviet Union

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 11, 2014) Even as Vladimir Putin pursues what many see as an effort to restore an empire centered on Moscow, polls show that ever fewer Russians regret the end of the Soviet Union – something the Kremlin leader has said was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of

Kremlin distances itself from Putin’s aide’s statements on Ukraine

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – June 10, 2014) The Kremlin has distanced itself from statements by presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev, which he made at a roundtable discussion on the Ukrainian crisis in Moscow on Tuesday 10 June, the Russian Interfax news agency reported on 10 June. A senior source in the Kremlin once again stressed that “all thoughts

Justice Ministry Adds Five More Russian NGOs to ‘Foreign Agent’ List

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 10, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has added five nongovernmental organizations to its list of “foreign agents” just days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing organizations to labeled as such without their consent. An official statement on the ministry’s website said the decision was made based on “court

Putin did not voice support for bringing back Stalingrad – spokesman

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, June 9, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has not voiced his preferences and has not specified whether he supports the idea of renaming Volgograd Stalingrad or stands for keeping its name, presidential spokesman Dmitriy Peskov has said. “Answering a question from veterans in Normandy, Putin said that changing the name of a

Interfax: Golos association to contest inclusion on registry of NGOs-foreign agents in court

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

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – The Golos (Voice) association said it intended to contest in court the fact that the Russian Justice Ministry included it on the registry of non-governmental organizations (NGO) – foreign agents. “This will not affect our work in any way. The association is in the process of liquidating itself. As to

Muscovites Turn Out for City Duma Primaries

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 9, 2014) More than 1,000 candidates participated in the Moscow City Duma’s first ever nonbinding primaries on Sunday. The results of Sunday’s poll will have no effect on the Moscow City Duma election, which will be held on Sept. 14. Muscovites were invited to cast their

Putin has Put Together a New and Different Majority, Bunin Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 5, 2014) Having seen his original social compact with the Russian population become shaky – deference to his unrestricted power in exchange for a guarantee of rising incomes – Vladimir Putin has assembled a new majority, according to Igor Bunin, head of the Moscow Center for

Putin Brings Back the Option to Vote ‘Against All’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2014) Citizens unhappy with all available candidates for city office can now let their discontent be known by ticking off the “against all” option when casting ballots for municipal elections in accordance with a new law signed by President Vladimir Putin. A bill pushing for a return of

Interfax: Putin says Russian authorities “not connected to any particular person, including the incumbent president”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

SOCHI. June 5 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has disagreed with suggestions alleging the existence of the “Putin regime”, adding that Russia has standard democratic institutions, which, however, have their own specifics and traditions. “The current regime is not connected to any particular person, including the incumbent President. We have common democratic state institutions,

Putin Forever? Russian President’s Ratings Skyrocket Over Ukraine

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mikhail Sokolov, Claire Bigg – June 3, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin is enjoying almost unprecedented job-approval ratings in his country. And the only reason for this popularity surge, sociologists say, is Russia’s tough stance on Ukraine. “A fierce anti-Ukrainian campaign was launched,” says leading sociologist Lev Gudkov, the head of Russia’s independent Levada polling

Russian Skepticism about Parties Opening the Way to a Return to One Party Rule, Commentator Says

Duma Session file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 28, 2014) The share of Russians who are “skeptical” about the value of political parties for themselves and their country is opening the way for a return to a one party system, in some ways resembling the one that existed in Soviet times, according to a

RIA Novosti: Public Approval for Putin, Medvedev Continues to Grow – Survey

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) – The popularity of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev among Russians continues to grow, according to data released Thursday by the independent pollster Levada-Center. “Vladimir Putin’s public approval rating continues to grow, reaching its peak in the last four years,” an appendix to the survey reads.

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

Kremlin will Be in Trouble if It Tries to Take Away Anything Russians Assume is Rightfully Theirs, Gudkov Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 28, 2014) Russians are now far more concerned about defending what they have than in getting something better, Lev Gudkov says. Consequently, if the Kremlin does try to take away something the majority thinks is rightfully theirs, such a step would almost certainly put the survival

Navalny’s Popularity Takes a Dive, Poll Says

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – May 27, 2014) Once the darling of Russia’s opposition movement, Alexei Navalny has seen his reputation fall in recent months as he has made more headlines for the criminal cases launched against him than for his political activities. The number of Russians who have “nothing good to

Moscow Grants Rare Approval to Freedom-of-Assembly Protest

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

(Moscow Times – Christopher Brennan – May 22, 2014) In an unexpected move, Moscow authorities have reportedly approved a request by controversial political party The Other Russia to hold a freedom-of-assembly rally in the city center this month. Party member Alexander Averin announced via his LiveJournal page on Wednesday that city officials had sanctioned a

The seductive power of Seliger

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Kristina Silvan – May 8, 2014) Kristina Silvan is a 5th year Finnish undergraduate student from the University of Glasgow Every year the Seliger All-Russia Youth Forum brings together tens of thousands of engaged young Russians for a week of edification in an idyllic natural setting. Its goal is to promote patriotism in

Putin Tries New Approach To Imposing Order In North Caucasus

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 13, 2014) In a tacit admission that the situation in the North Caucasus differs radically from that elsewhere in the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin has made a series of personnel appointments clearly intended to strengthen Moscow’s control over developments there. Putin has dismissed Aleksandr Khloponin, whom then-President Dmitry Medvedev had appointed in January

Interfax: Human Rights Council seeks liability for pursuit over criticism

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – Head of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov said he intended to propose to include a provision in the Criminal Code on liability for pursuit over criticism. “The Soviet Code used to have such an article. Now we have proposed adding it again, however this idea has not

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