Former Prime Minister to Become Putin’s Right-Hand Man

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – September 29, 2016) Boris Yeltsin reportedly first spotted Sergei Kiriyenko, then a young businessman from Nizhny Novgorod, during a boat trip on the Volga River in July 1994. Nearly four years later, Yeltsin would shock the political establishment by appointing him prime minister. Plucked from relative obscurity at the age of just […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow: “Looking to 2018: The Kremlin Plans Its Next Election”

Kremlin and River

The Russian authorities delivered a resounding victory for the ruling party in the 2016 parliamentary election after reaching the conclusion that they showed weakness in 2011 and the Russian opposition exploited that. This will shape their strategy for the next presidential election in 2018.

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Russia’s domestic policy architect is now managing the Duma. Vyacheslav Volodin, now that he has won Kremlin support to become the next speaker of the State Duma, has emerged as a potential Putin successor in 2018.”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… Russian President Vladimir Putin recommended all four Duma parties to support the candidacy of the first deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Administration, Vyacheslav Volodin. As usual, the parliamentary parties did not oppose the president and expressed their approval. …

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev

Field of Grain file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev. The Minister briefed the President on the planned grain harvest and the Russian agricultural industry’s export potential. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, harvesting is gradually moving towards completion. What result will you report this year? Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev: The outlook is better than ever. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on budget planning

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Kremlin.ru – September 28, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on federal budget planning. Participants discussed the budget policy priorities for the upcoming period. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, Government efforts to draft the federal budget are entering the final stage. By November 1, the draft is to be submitted to the 7th State Duma. I am confident that […]

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NEWSLINK Oxford University Press Blog/Andrew Monaghan: “Putin and beyond: a Q&A on Russian politics”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

When he came to power in 1999, Vladimir Putin was asked whom he trusted, and whose advice he took. He named Sergei Ivanov, Dmitri Medvedev, Nikolai Patrushev and Alexei Kudrin. Fifteen years later, these people still form Putin’s core group and dominate the strategic heights of Russian policy making, occupying respectively the key posts in the presidential administration, government 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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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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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The Russian Opposition Should Do Its Homework

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vladislav L. Inozemtsev – September 22, 2016) Vladislav Inozemtsev is a Russian economist and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies in Moscow. A landslide United Russia victory and a remarkably poor showing of the opposition forces in Russia’s parliamentary elections earlier this week shouldn’t be attributed entirely to rigged electoral rules or fraud. There […]

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Pamfilova to stay in charge of Central Election Commission until last election complaint processed

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

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Russian Central Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova said she would not leave her post until the last complaint regarding the State Duma elections was processed. “Not a single complaint will be disregarded. No one leaves until this Central Election Commission processes the last claim against this election campaign,” she said. “I have been urged to […]

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Putinism like Communism in the Past an Even Graver Threat than Kremlin Leader Himself

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 23, 2016) That Vladimir Putin represents a threat to the countries around Russia’s periphery and to the principles on which the international order has been based no one disputes, but some both in Russia and the West are beginning to recognize that Putinism as a manner of rule is an even […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parties that gained State Duma seats following elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with leaders of political parties that gained seats in the State Duma based on election results. The President congratulated meeting participants on winning the State Duma elections. Mr Putin also asked the 7th State Duma deputies to support Vyacheslav Volodin as a candidate for State Duma Speaker. Yesterday State Duma Speaker Sergei […]

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Lost Trillions Haunt Russian Budget Keeper in Cheap-Oil Era

Tatiana Golikova file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova – September 21, 2016) To get a snapshot of a budget in crisis, visit any of the 10,700 abandoned construction sites that litter Russia, all that’s left after a trickle of state funding ran dry. The costly clutter is one reason the head of the Audit Chamber, a government agency that monitors […]

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[Medvedev:] New dynamics in Russia’s socioeconomic development

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru/Rossiyskaya Gazeta – September 22, 2016) Article by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for the academic journal Voprosy Ekonomiki (Economic Issues) vopreco.ru/rus/redaction.files/10-16.pdf Abridged version (published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta): The Russian economy is undergoing a period of profound transformation. In the next few years Russia will have to fundamentally restructure its economic system in response to the challenges and changes of the […]

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Medvedev Warns Russia of Economic Reform’s ‘High Social Cost’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 22, 2016) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the reforms needed to save Russia’s economy will have “a high social cost” for the Russian people. Writing in an article for Russian economic journal “Questions of Economics,” Medvedev pledged that Russian authorities would not revert to Soviet-style planning, but maintained that deregulation was […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russian PM says economy should be overhauled”

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

Russia’s economy should over the next few years undergo an overhaul to remain competitive in the world, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an article entitled “Russia’s social and economic development: acquisition of new dynamics” for the Voprosy Ekonomiki (Economic Issues) magazine. …

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Will Russia’s Opposition Draw the Right Lessons From Electoral Defeat?

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – September 20, 2016) The Russian opposition on Monday awoke to an electoral hangover – in some cases quite literally – after suffering a crushing defeat in the polls that has relegated it to the fringes of political life. “The opposition has lost again. Who’s to blame?” the cover of the opposition-minded New […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Putin] Visiting United Russia party’s campaign headquarters

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 18, 2016) After the polling stations closed, Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the election campaign headquarters of the United Russia party. The United Russia party candidates who took part in the election in Moscow and the Moscow Region, along with volunteers and United Russia party activists took part in the meeting. Prime Minister Dmitry […]

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Duma Vote Shows Changes Won’t Come in Russia via Elections, Commentators Say

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 19, 2016) The most important feature of the Duma Elections was unprecedentedly low level of participation, a reflection of the Russian population’s symmetrical response to the Kremlin’s contempt for its views and an indication that change in Russia “will not come via elections but as a result of some sort of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to media questions

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – September 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian journalists upon completing his working visit to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. The President of Russia participated in a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. What are we going to talk about? What would you like to know? Question: Mr […]

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NEWSLINK Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization/Simon Saradzhyan: “Is #Russia Declining?”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Abstract: This article measures changes in #Russia’s performance in economic, technological, military, and human capital domains and compares this performance to those of five of the West’s leading powers, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as to the world as a whole (wherever possible), to test the hypothesis that Russia has declined versus its Western […]

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NEWSLINK Los Angeles Times/Max Boot: “Who’s better for his people? Putin or Obama? The answer is obvious.”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“… I am no defender of President Obama. I was a foreign policy advisor to John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, and I have been very critical of Obama’s weak foreign policy. I think the Iran nuclear deal, the withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 and the hands-off policy toward Syria, in particular, have been catastrophic mistakes. I am […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Excerpts from Dmitry Medvedev’s interview to Sergei Brilyov, host of the Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) programme

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – September 10, 2016) Sergei Brilyov: The Government you are heading has become the most stable Government in the history of new Russia. On the day this programme will be aired it will have been in office for four years, four months and two days. If we look back at the conditions in which your Government started working… Back […]

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Interfax/VTsIOM: Russians differ on work of independent monitors at elections

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

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) – A relative majority of Russians (43%) believe that the presence of independent monitors at polling stations makes elections more fair, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) said. Over one-third of the respondents (34%) believe monitors’ participation does not influence the fairness of elections in any way and eight percent believe their presence only worsens […]

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Kremlinology: an intervention; Protests and strikes across Russia show that the country’s “silent majority” is becoming louder. But are pundits even listening?

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

(opendemocracy.net – Sean Guillory – September 13, 2016) Sean Guillory lives in Pittsburgh. He hosts the SRB podcast, a weekly podcast on Eurasian politics, history and culture, and blogs for seansrussiablog.org. You can follow him on Twitter @seansrussiablog. Writings on contemporary Russia are mostly variations on the same subject: Vladimir Putin; his rise to and iron grip on power. Western […]

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Russian Opposition Just as Moscow-Centric as Russian Regime, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 13, 2016) Russian opposition figures who took part in recent discussions in Tallinn and Vilnius said many “just words” about how totally predictable the upcoming elections in Russia will be, Vadim Shtepa says. But they were also totally predictable in focusing “almost exclusively” on Moscow and how Muscovites will react. Participants […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Post-Election Economy: Down, But Not Out. Parliamentary elections are rapidly approaching, but this time politicians aren’t making any pie-in-the-sky promises.” – Moscow Times/Boris Grozovsky

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

By any measure, the Russian economy is deep in a classic recession: GDP has dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter. If Russia had political competition, these elections would pose a challenge for both the ruling party and the opposition. But without real competition, politicians are under little pressure to lift the economy out of the current crisis. … * * […]

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NEWSLINK New York Review of Books: “The Real Power of Putin”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Benjamin Nathans reviewing: The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin by Steven Lee Myers … Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia by Anne Garrels … Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes by Vladimir Gel’man … The Strong State in Russia: Development and Crisis by Andrei P. Tsygankov … Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the […]

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Any Vote Is A Vote For Putinism

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Garry Kasparov – September 9, 2016) Garry Kasparov is a Russian politician, a former world chess champion, and head of the Human Rights Foundation international NGO. The views expressed in this commentary, which he wrote for RFE/RL’s Russian Service, do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL. Translated from the Russian by Robert Coalson There are […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian pollster sees same parties in Duma after election

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – September 8, 2016) The head of Russia’s main state-owned pollster has said that the chances of parties that were not represented in the last State Duma winning seats in the lower house in the parliamentary election on 18 September are minimal. Little chance “Now we don’t see chances of overcoming the 5-per-cent barrier,” Valery Fyodorov, head of […]

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Putin Grooms a New Generation of Leaders; The Russian president is removing old allies and replacing them with young loyalists, likely ensuring his leadership will continue until 2024.

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer, Gregory White – September 8, 2016) After 16 years in charge, Vladimir Putin is shaking up his team to cement his control into the next decade. The 63-year-old leader is pushing aside some longtime allies and grooming young lieutenants – many of whom share his background in the security services and aren’t […]

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Putin Successfully Using New Political Technologies to Keep His Antiquated System in Place, Shevtsova Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin is with remarkable success using modern political technologies to keep himself and his increasingly antiquated and decaying system in power, Liliya Shevtsova says. But he can do so only for so long, and there are signs that he and his system may not last as long as […]

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Putin as Complex as he is Predictable

Putin at Desk

Subject: Putin as Complex as he is Predictable Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2016 From: Dale Herspring <falka@ksu.edu> Putin as Complex as he is Predictable Dale R. Herspring, a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a Retired US diplomat and Navy captain). Talking to officials in Washington when Vladimir Putin’s name comes up, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to journalists’ questions

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

(Kremlin.ru – September 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin answered Russian journalists’ questions following his working visit to China to take part in the G20 Summit. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Let’s dispense with opening remarks and get straight into the discussion. I will try to answer the questions of interest to you. Question: Mr President, this year, for the […]

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Putin’s Iron Grip, Forged in the Fires of Terrorism

Kremlin and River

(Stratfor.com – Lauren Goodrich – September 4, 2016) Sept. 4 marks Russia’s Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered […]

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Some 4.5 mln Russians may become observers in Russian elections – head of Central Election Commission

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

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – There are no restrictions on people who want to become observers in the September 18 parliamentary elections in Russia; 4.5 million Russians can take part in the monitoring, Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, said on Wednesday. “Hypothetically, a total of some 4.5 million citizens can become observers, if only they want to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with United Russia parliamentary party and experts

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – September 6, 2016) Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin’s St Catherine Hall with United Russia parliamentary party and experts representing professional communities and public organisations. Meeting with United Russia parliamentary party deputies and experts representing professional communities and public organisations. Progress on implementing socially significant laws and the May executive orders, as well as proposals on improving legislation, […]

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Russian Finance Ministry not proposing progressive income tax scale after 2018

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – The Russian Finance Ministry has not suggested introducing a progressive income tax scale after 2018. “We’re not proposing a progressive income tax scale [after 2028]. We’re not discussing one and we’re not proposing one,” Deputy Finance Minister Ilya Trunin told reporters. The Vedomosti newspaper has quoted sources as saying the Finance Ministry had suggested several […]

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Re: Putin as Complex as he is Predictable

Putin Descending a Staircase

Subject: Re Putin as Complex as he is Predictable Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2016 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> (Andrew Liakhov, a doctor of law, a solicitor of England and Wales, is a retired senior officer in the Russian military intelligence senior … and was a senior member of President Gorbachev’s Administration). I totally agree with Professor Herspring’s assessment of Washington’s […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Bloomberg

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – September 5, 2016) Full text of Vladimir Putin’s interview to the international media company Bloomberg has been published. The interview was recorded on September 1, 2016, in Vladivostok. John Micklethwait: Mr President, thank you very much for speaking to Bloomberg. Here in Vladivostok we’re on the edge of the Pacific and on the eve of the second Eastern […]

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Down, Down, Down: Why Russia’s Ruling Political Party Keeps Losing Support

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – September 2, 2016) With little over two weeks left until Russia stages a parliamentary vote, ruling party United Russia is struggling to reverse a downward trend. A survey published Thursday by the independent Levada Center pollster showed support for United Russia had dropped from 57 percent to 50 percent in August compared […]

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TRANSCRIPT: “Dmitry Medvedev attended the Global Forum “Solidarity with Russia”

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – August 29, 2016) The Global Forum “Solidarity with Russia” has been organised by the Russkiy Mir Foundation to discuss current issues and to consolidate Russians living abroad. Delegates from over 90 post-Soviet and foreign countries include heads of compatriot associations and organisations, Russian and foreign public organisations, businesses, research and education communities and Russian language media outlets. Excerpts […]

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Putin has Degraded Russian Political Discourse to Level of ‘Pathological Ravings,’ Piontkovky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 25, 2016) One of the most dangerous things Vladimir Putin has done is to degrade the level of political discourse across the board in Moscow to the level of “pathological ravings,” a development that some in the West appear not to understand and thus continue to be affected in the ways […]

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NEWSLINK The Nation/Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “How A Siberian Mom Took on Politics as Usual in Russia and Won.”

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

In Siberia, Natalia Pinus is taking on established political forces and challenging the idea that Russian democracy is no more than a puppet show

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Russians blame government for price rise, insufficient social protection – poll

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Aug 25 (Interfax) – Russians mostly criticize the national government for “being unable to deal with the price rise and shrinking household income” (42%) and “failing to ensure social protection” (34%), the Levada Center told Interfax. The price rise problem is losing its topicality (48% in January 2016 vs. 55% in 2015), while social protection demands are on the […]

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Putin’s Election Grip Is So Tight Even His Nemesis Can Take Part

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – August 24, 2016) The last time Vladimir Putin’s political party won national elections, ballot-stuffing allegations sparked the biggest protests of his rule. Five years on, Putin appears to be so confident in his hold on power that even his most dogged adversary is welcome to challenge United Russia in next month’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Chance to Change History” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Twenty-five years ago, an unsuccessful coup attempt, known as the August Coup, was launched by a group of hawkish Communist Party members and security elites against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in what was widely seen as one of the key moments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. * * * A keen student of history, Vladimir Putin […]

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In Putin’s ‘Corporate Fascist State,’ Ideological Labels like ‘Liberal’ are Irrelevant, Inozemtsev Says

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22) It is a profound mistake to discuss Kremlin politics in terms of liberal, conservative or any of the other ideological labels, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, because in “the corporate state of a fascist type” that Putin has established, individuals even just below the supreme leader are “cogs” in a machine who […]

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