NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Re-election Is Assured. Let the Succession Fight Begin” – New York Times/Neil MacFarquhar, Ivan Nechepurenko, Oleg Matsnev

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Ask Russian analysts to describe the coming presidential election campaign, and their answers contain a uniform theme: a circus, a carnival, a sideshow. What they do not call it is a real election. With the victory of President Vladimir V. Putin assured, the real contest, analysts said, is the bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred fight to determine who or what comes after him […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Putin’s Heartland, Apathy and Disappointment Rule” – AP

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“Three months ahead of Russia’s presidential election, apathy and disappointment pervade … A new person is unlikely …. If Putin’s 18 years in power have induced apathy and a sense of helplessness … that’s the big issue in Navalny’s view. Putin has made voters in industrial cities … his base, touting stability …. A … Levada Center [survey] suggests that enthusiasm for Putin is in […]

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Putin Grants Alekseyeva State Award For Human Rights

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 11, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-putin-alekseyeva-state-award-human-rights/28909427.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin has bestowed a state award on Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a veteran human rights activist and vocal critic of his actions over 18 years in power. Putin’s decree, published on December 11, granted Alekseyeva a “state award for outstanding achievements […]

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NEWSLINK: “Reactions To Putin’s Announcement That He Is Running For A Fourth Term” – Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)

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

“On December 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his 2018 presidential bid …. The Russian news agency Tass explained that Putin did not yet disclose whether he would run as the United Russia party nominee or as an independent self-nominated candidate. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era; The president has made Russia a geopolitical disruptor without a coherent domestic policy. That’s not sustainable” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

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

“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he would run for a fourth term as president was long predicted, though it seemed to some Russian observers (incorrectly) that he waited unusually long to make it. Less predictable is how the system Putin built will plan its perpetuation after his term ends in 2024, when he’s constitutionally barred from running again. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Winds of Russian Change” – Moscow Times/ Michele A. Berdy

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

  “… But when I do want to discuss change in Russian, I have to stop for a moment and think which word to use. I don’t know if Russians are better at dealing with change than other nations, but they sure have lots of ways of describing it. …”

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Indigenously Funded Russian Civil Society

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

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Debra Javeline, Sarah Lindemann-Komarova – November 30, 2017) Debra Javeline is Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame. Sarah Lindemann-Komarova is Instructor at Novosibirsk State University. [PDF version ponarseurasia.org/sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/Pepm496_Javeline_Lindemann-Komarova_Nov2017.pdf] (PONARS Policy Memo) Most reports on Russian civil society focus on government efforts to restrict Western funding to Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with legislation on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian PM says poverty is ‘glaring problem’ in country” – AFP

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

“… Medvedev … said poverty remained a ‘glaring problem’ in [Russia], where presidential elections are due to be held next year. ‘Poverty is, of course, one of the glaring problems of our modern economy,’ Medvedev said … ‘When the economy is weak, it’s impossible for there not to be any poor people’, Medvedev said …. A World Bank report … said that […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “In Conversation with Dmitry Medvedev: Interview with five television channels” – GovernmentRu

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – November 30, 2017) The Prime Minister answered questions from TV anchors Valery Fadeyev (Channel One), Sergei Brilyov (Rossiya), Irada Zeinalova (NTV), Igor Poletaev (RBC) and Mikhail Fishman (TV Rain). Excerpts from the transcript: Results of the Government’s performance in the outgoing year and the state of the economy Dmitry Medvedev: Today we can say that the economy has […]

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Neither Russians nor the West Understand the Full Dimensions of What’s Happening in Moscow, Gudkov Says

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 29, 2017) Neither in Russia nor in the West is there a good understanding of the full dimensions of what is now taking place in Russia, Levada Center director Lev Gudkov say, with people in both places living with illusions that reflect more what they want to believe than the disturbing […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Regions Strike Back: Provincial Leaders Want More From Moscow” – Carnegie Moscow/ Andrey Pertsev

Russia Regions Map

“Russian regional leaders are rediscovering their power and their ability to fight with Moscow over budgets and autonomy. Discontent over Moscow siphoning off regional funds has reached a breaking point, while Tatarstan is in a new contest with the center over regional language rights. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Before Election, Putin Offers $8.6 Billion to Russians to Have More Babies” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Olga Tanas

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

“… The government will spend 500 billion rubles ($8.6 billion) over three years on measures to encourage Russians to have more babies, including mortgage subsidies and payments to new and growing families …. The money will come from government reserves and won’t require changes in the budget, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the upper house of parliament. …”

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Russia’s new media law: expanding the field of uncertainty; Russia’s new legislation is not only aimed at foreign media. It’s another step in the process of blurring legal definitions – until they’re useless.

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Lukashevsky – November 29, 2017) Sergey Lukashevsky is the director of the Sakharov Center, Moscow. The Russian state currently lives for two problems – its relations with the US, and the upcoming presidential elections. Society is worried about something slightly different – the state of the healthcare system, rising taxes and reducing incomes. But it’s the authorities […]

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Interfax: Matviyenko calls decrease in number of orphans unprecedented

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 28 (Interfax) – The number of orphans has halved in Russia, which is unprecedented by world standards, Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko said at a meeting of the president’s coordination council on the implementation of the national child action strategy for 2012-2017. “I deem our achievements in addressing the problem of social orphans to be crucial. Our joint […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Populism Trap” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Julia Gurganus

Putin Descending a Staircase

“In contrast to the populist image … Putin has created to galvanize support, he is part of today’s Russian establishment elite. This puts him in an awkward position as populism spreads across Europe and Russia marks the one hundredth anniversary of the 1917 revolution. Should Putin again take the populist approach, he is likely to inspire accusations of hypocrisy from the […]

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Kudrin says govt studying his proposals at Putin’s instructions

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Alexei Kudrin, head of the Center of Strategic Research and Committee of Civic Initiatives and former Russian finance minister, says President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to analyze his proposals on Russia’s development strategy. “I reported the key provisions of our proposals on the country’s development strategy to him. That primarily concerns the budget […]

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Kremlin Pours Cold Water on Kadyrov’s Retirement Plans; It was not the first time that Kadyrov had announced his resignation

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 27, 2017) Ramzan #Kadyrov, the strongman leader of #Chechnya, said on Sunday that his job is over and that it was time for him to step aside. A rebel turned gamekeeper, Kadyrov has been a central and controversial figure in the #Caucasus, tasked by the #remlin to keep peace in the region after two […]

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How did 1917 change the west? Failed utopias lead to the death of idealism, and the likes of Putin and Trump are symbols of this process. As we watch Russia struggle with history, the U.S. and U.K. cannot afford to pretend that this history doesn’t affect us too.

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Sam Greene – November 22, 2017) Samuel A. Greene is Reader in Russian Politics and Director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London Revolutions – and their centenaries – are best dealt with in the first person. That, of course, creates a certain awkwardness for an academic, whose stock in trade is meant to be distance from […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are spooked; The personal sanctions against regime cronies are especially tough” – The Economist

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

“… CAATSA moderately increases the pressure …. It extends the restrictions on investing in new Russian oil and gas projects to the operations of Russian firms in third countries. … the effectiveness of these new sanctions, which the administration is allowed to pause until late January, is undermined by the fact that European firms have been ring-fenced from their effects. Gazprom … has […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Western Moscow, Putin Allies Lose an Election but Cling to Power” – Reuters

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

“More than 10 weeks after losing a local council election in western Moscow … Putin’s party is clinging to power there – by fair means or foul.  The standoff over control of Filyovsky Park Council came to a head when opposition councilor Vadim Korovin tried to sit in the chairman’s seat at a meeting on Tuesday. A councilor from the […]

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Putin’s press conference due to take place on Dec. 14 – Kremlin

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press conference is due to take place on December 14, with press accreditation already announced, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday. Russian journalists registered with Roskomnadzor and foreign journalists accredited with the Russian Foreign Ministry can submit their applications. Accreditation ends at 5 p.m. on December 1, 2017. Journalists […]

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Most Russians Hold Putin Responsible for Country’s Problems – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2017) A majority of Russians hold President Vladimir Putin responsible for Russia’s problems, according to the results of a Levada Center poll published Monday. Putin is widely expected to announce his candidacy for elections next March which would give the president a fourth term. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose anti-corruption protests this year […]

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Putin’s Meddling in US Elections Backfiring on His Own Allies at Home and on Americans Who Helped Them, Shevtsova Says

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 16, 2017) The Kremlin’s effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections has provoked one consequence Moscow has long wanted – the demoralization of the American elite – but it is having other less welcome ones on both that elite and the Russian one, something only becoming clear, Liliya […]

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A Billionaire Is Trying to Ignite a Revolution in Russian Education; Moscow’s outskirts will soon house a school that pledges to foster Russia’s future leaders

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Emily Erken – November 17, 2017) An education revolution could be coming to Russia. Its stage: the fields and forests on the outskirts of the country’s capital. In 2012, the Russian government incorporated large swaths of land into Moscow, nearly doubling the city’s already vast area. Dubbed New Moscow, the new space was soon auctioned […]

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It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. “It is not yet unclear whether Putin will run for the re-election. As you know, he did not say anything about it,” Peskov told reporters, replying to a question as to whether the possibility of involving […]

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NEWSLINK: “AP Interview: Russia must be more tolerant, candidate [Ksenia Sobchak] says” – AP

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“A celebrity Russian TV host who intends to run for president in next March’s election said Friday that she hopes to make the nations’ tightly-controlled political system more inclusive and democratic. The 36-year-old Ksenia Sobchak has cast herself as a ‘candidate against all’ in the March 18 vote. She’s seeking to reach out to those who have grown tired of […]

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Talk of restoring monarchy in Russia premature – Maria Romanova

Romanov Family Photo

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) – Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, the head of the Russian Imperial Family, said she hopes to move to Russia soon and believes that it is “not yet the time” for the restoration of monarchy. “I really hope for that [move to Russia]. I am often asked [about the fact] that I live in Spain, but […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The importance of Russia’s unimportant prime minister” – bne Intellinews/ Mark Galeotti

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

“Elections in 2018 are very unlikely to mean a new president for Russia, but they could see a new prime minister appointed. … while the role is essentially to be presidential henchman and scapegoat, it is a role with meaning, and … Putin’s choice will be both consequential and also a potential indicator of the direction he plans to take …. […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin supported Viktor Medvedchuk’s proposed prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Donetsk and Lugansk republics” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 15, 2017) During Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Voskresensky New Jerusalem Monastery, Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right movement, sought the Russian President’s support for his proposed prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Leader of the Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right movement Viktor Medvedchuk: Mr President, may I […]

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Russian Duma Approves Restrictions On Foreign Media

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 15, 2017- also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-amnesty-foreign-media-bill-repressive/28854885.html) The lower house of Russia’s parliament has unanimously approved legislation that would authorize the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents.” The State Duma approved the amendments — which Amnesty International said would deal a “serious blow” to […]

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Interfax: Russia’s defense spending tops 5.3% of GDP, near $70 bln – PwC

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade

MOSCOW. Nov 15 (Interfax) – Russia ranks seventh among the world’s major defense-industry players, with defense expenditures totaling $69.2 billion, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in a statement regarding its second Global Defense Perspectives report. In the current rating, Russia occupies seventh place; its defense expenditures amount to 5.32% of GDP and total $69.2 billion. It has moved up one position since […]

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Looming Demographic Collapse Now ‘Main Threat to Russian National Security,’ Health Expert Says

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 14, 2017) The situation with regard to Russia’s birthrate is much worse than officials say, Igor Gundarov says. It is not easily correctible as some think but rather reflects a “cascading demographic” decline that now represents the main threat to the national security” of the country. The specialist on health care […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky” – KremlinRu

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Kremlin.ru – November 13, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky to discuss the ministry’s performance over the past nine months. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medinsky, three quarters have passed, and the year is drawing to a close. Any good news? Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky: With your permission, I would like […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting wrapped up in Vietnam; [Putin meeting with Russian and foreign journalists]” – KremlinRu

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(kremlin.ru – Nov. 11, 2017) The 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting ended in Danang. On the second day of the Meeting, the APEC leaders reviewed the prospects for the global economy with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. During the business breakfast, a discussion was held on establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade zone and a possible expansion […]

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Interfax: Russia’s GDP growth to exceed 2% in 2017 – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MANILA. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian government is expecting 2017’s GDP growth to exceed 2%, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a session of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 (ABIS 2017). “We saw positive changes both last and this year, and our recovery growth has been rather good. We are expecting the Russian GDP to increase […]

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Only 15 Percent of Russians are Politically Active, 10 Percent for the Regime and Five Against It, New Research Shows

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 9, 2017) Ten percent of Russians are actively supportive of the regime, while five percent back the extra-systemic opposition. The remainder, new research by sociologists at the Public Opinion foundation says, remain or have become “indifferent observers.” Those are some of the conclusions offered by Yekaterina Bogomolova, Yelena Galitskaya, Yuliya Kot, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Celebrates an Uncomfortable Centennial” – Stratfor.com

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“The centennial anniversary of the launch of the Russian Revolution on Nov. 7 will serve as a haunting reminder for Russia’s current leaders that their power is finite. … a year after Russia observed the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, a similarly unsettling marker for the [Putin] government … facing opposition from within its own ranks and on […]

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Surkov’s ‘Crisis of Hypocrisy’ Not Just in the West but in Russia Too, Inozemtsev Says

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 8, 2017) In an essay posted on the RT portal yesterday, Vladislav Surkov argues that the West is suffering from “a crisis of hypocrisy” in which people are no longer prepared to accept the shibboleths of the past and are demanding a clearing away of the existing political and social system […]

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Russia’s Regions Ask Moscow for Financial Help

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Kozlov – November 7, 2017) Against a backdrop of the Russian economy gradually coming out of recession and oil prices on the rise, the country’s far-flung regions have been feeling financial strain and are now asking the center for help. Udmurtia, a small republic east of Moscow, and its newly appointed governor Alexander Brechalov […]

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Communist Party Leader Zyuganov Says He’s Not Running for President (Yet)

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 8, 2017) The longtime leader of Russia’s Communist Party denied that he’s running for president in 2018 – less than 24 hours after seemingly announcing his candidacy on state-run television. Gennady Zyuganov said on the centennial anniversary of the October Revolution on Tuesday that “every organization” within his party had backed his candidacy for […]

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Russians Protest More but Still Seldom Politically – and Regime Ignores Them, New Study Says

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 7, 2017) The Moscow Center for Economic and Political Reforms says that the number of protests in the Russian Federation has risen dramatically since the first quarter but that most are narrowly focused on specific issues or labor disputes and that, as a result, the authorities have generally ignored them. In […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Reception to mark National Unity Day”

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – November 4, 2017) At the reception in the Grand Kremlin Palace, Vladimir Putin greeted all Russians on National Unity Day and presented the Presidential Prize for contributions to strengthening the Russian nation’s unity and the Order of Friendship to foreign nationals for their efforts in strengthening peace and mutual understanding between peoples. The Presidential Prize for contributions to […]

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On Revolution Centenary, Perplexed Russians Ask, ‘Who Am I To Judge?’

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth, Robert Coalson – ST. PETERSBURG/MOSCOW – Nov. 5, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/anniversary-bolshevik-revolution-100-lenin-assessment/28836011.html) The small museum in St. Petersburg located in the apartment where Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin lived in the months before the October 1917 Bolshevik coup was inexplicably closed one recent weekday afternoon. A small, […]

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Moscow Times: Putin, Jesus And Elon Musk Are Young Russians’ Top Role Models

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2017) Young Russians have named President Vladimir Putin, business magnate Elon Musk and Jesus Christ as their main role models – after their parents. Russia’s most popular social networking site VK in July asked 10,000 14-25 year-olds who had the most positive influence in their life. The majority said their parents were their […]

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Some 200 people participate in nationalist rally in southeastern Moscow – police

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 4 (Interfax) – An authorized rally of nationalists on Moscow’s Pererva Street has concluded, about 200 people participated in it, the police said. “The procession marking Unity Day celebrations, authorized by Moscow authorities, has concluded in the city’s southeast. Some 200 people participated in the event,” the Russian Interior Ministry’s main department for Moscow said in a statement […]

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Russian Women Are Politically Alienated, Gender Gap Report Shows

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 2, 2017) Russia has closed the gender divide between men and women across health and life expectancy for the first time in over a decade, but women remain alienated from politics, according to a new report on global gender inequality. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2017 Global Gender Gap Report analyzes gender parity based […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Reality TV Opposition” – New York Times/Oleg Kashin/ Translated by Carol Apollonio

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

“[Sobchak’s father] was mayor of Leningrad … [and] made … Putin his deputy. … he defended Mr. Putin from corruption accusations. … [Sobchak] fled the country … [facing] his own corruption allegations. … [returning] after … Putin became prime minister …. For the opposition, [Ksenia] Sobchak’s meeting with [Putin] … amounts to treachery: A true [Putin] opponent … would never negotiate with him about participating in the election. But are there any real […]

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