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Tag Archive for Politics

Is the protest movement dead? Street politics: Reform agenda loses appeal as pressure on the economy grows.

Moscow Protest file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Krol, Yevgeny Levkovich, special to RBTH – December 16, 2014) Three years ago, Russia witnessed its largest anti-government protests since the early Nineties, with four mass demonstrations in a month, the largest of which drew an estimated 150,000 people to the streets of Moscow. Today, opposition rallies

Medvedev says ruble ‘undervalued’ as slide slows

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 17, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the ruble undervalued at a meeting on December 17 with the top officials of the government, the central bank and heads of Russia’s largest exporters. He said that regulation of the currency market would remain based on

Russian NGOs need to rethink their strategy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Andrei Jvirblis – December 10, 2014) Russia’s voluntary sector, faced with growing government interference, needs to be more open about its aims and operations if it wants more public support. Opinion polls show a long-term decline in public trust in the Russian voluntary sector, which has become less open about its operations, in

Business New Europe: “Better late than never?”

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 12, 2014) There is an obvious solution to help deal with Russia’s economic slowdown that is being exacerbated by the tumbling oil prices: do those reforms that should have been done ten years ago. It’s kind of obvious. But also just

Moscow Times: Medvedev: In 2014, Crimean Annexation, Sochi Olympics Outshone Grim Economic Situation

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 11, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev struck an optimistic note throughout a 1 1/2-hour news conference Wednesday, drawing attention to what he viewed as Russia’s crowning achievements of this year: the Sochi Olympic victory and the annexation of Crimea. Medvedev spoke about a wide array of

Interfax: Majority of Russians deem incorporation of Crimea shortly after referendum right

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – December 10, 2014) Over half of Russians (52 percent) are confident that the Crimean independence referendum was an exclusive initiative of the Crimean administration, Levada Center told Interfax. A third (34 percent) suspect that “Russian authorities might have been behind the referendum.” Fourteen percent of 1,600 respondents polled in 130 populated localities on

Reporting on Russian Television

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(openedemocracy.net – December 8, 2014 – Elisabeth Schimpfossl) Dr Elisabeth Schimpfossl is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University College London. Her research focuses on elites, transformation and media in post-Soviet Russia. The idea of censorship on Russian television misses the point. When it comes to reporting,

Russia to study Navalnyy NGO’s anti-graft proposal after 100,000 sign petition

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, December 9, 2014) One hundred thousand Russians have supported the idea of criminal liability to be introduced for the illegal enrichment of officials obliged to submit the details of their incomes and expenditures, which will lead to a federal expert group examining whether the law needs to be amended. A proposal to

Interfax: Kremlin chief of staff “acknowledges” corruption problem

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – December 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has spoken about corruption in Russia. In his remarks, reported by Russian Interfax and TASS news agencies on 8 December, Sergey Ivanov said the Russian government “acknowledged” the problem and had been taking “consistent” steps to deal with it. He dismissed a Transparency International

Russia’s Dozhd TV Defies Crackdown by Continuing Broadcasts From Apartment

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – December 9, 2014) Russia’s main independent television channel, Dozhd, has been forced to leave its Moscow studio for the second time in as many months, but is continuing its broadcasts from an apartment in the capital, news reports said. The digital channel has been struggling for survival

‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs Won’t Be Allowed to Monitor Russian Elections

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 8, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has worked out a procedure that would allow non-governmental organizations to remove themselves from the federal register of “foreign agents” if they appeal the move and pass a snap inspection, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The move comes days after President Vladimir

Moscow Times: Putin Promises Controlled Freedom in Face of Western Containment

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 5, 2014) President Vladimir Putin told the nation on Thursday that Russia’s ongoing clash with the West – which he compared to Hitler – was inevitable and will only make the country stronger by mobilizing its economy and society around common goals and traditional moral values.

Russia Fails to Make Headway in Global Corruption Ranking

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko- December 4, 2014) Russia slipped three places to rank a dismal 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s annual latest corruption survey, unveiled Wednesday. This is evidence that the Kremlin’s anti-graft crusade declared three years ago has not worked, the watchdog’s deputy chairperson Yelena Panfilova said in

Five Forces Battering Russia’s Economy as Putin Faces Nation

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 4, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s annual state of the union address on Thursday takes place at a time of economic pain and international isolation unprecedented during the Russian leader’s almost 15-year political dominance. More than 1,000 senior government officials will gather in the Kremlin to hear

The Question Russians Are Asking that Putin Can’t Answer

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 4, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Federal Assembly is the subject of intense interest for the light it will shed on where the Kremlin leader is headed next. But there is one question Russians are asking that he cannot possibly answer without calling into

Russia to Make Internet Providers Censor Content – Report

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – December 3, 2014) The Kremlin is pushing to have Russian Internet providers filter content before delivering it to users, a potentially very costly censoring procedure, a prominent news website said. The new rules may be passed by the State Duma before the year’s end, Gazeta.ru said Monday,

Moscow Medical Staff Keep Pressure on Authorities With Massive Street Protest

File Photo of Patient in Russian Hospital

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 1, 2014) More than a thousand health care workers took to the capital’s streets Sunday to keep the pressure on authorities amid ongoing medical reforms that critics say are being conducted for financial gain over anything else. The reforms, which were initiated by President Vladimir Putin

Russian Government Gives Church $40 Million to Set Up Spiritual Centers

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Moscow file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Shura Collinson – November 29, 2014) The Russian Orthodox Church is to get a total of 2 billion rubles ($40 million) from the federal budget for the creation of spiritual enlightenment centers, a news report said Friday. Deputy Culture Minister Vladimir Aristarkhov said earlier this month that 958 million rubles

Moscow Ready to Use Internal Troops against Any Maidan-Like Activity in Russia, Interior Minister Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 29, 2014) In words that are clearly intended to intimidate but that may have just the opposite effect by exposing official nervousness, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev says that Moscow is ready to use its internal troops against any Maidan-like activity in any part of the

The True Russia in Book ‘Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible’

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – November 25, 2014) Television “is the only force that can unify and rule and bind this country,” British producer and journalist Peter Pomerantsev says in his superb debut book “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” which follows the author’s decade-long career in factual television set against

Failures of Russian Law Enforcement Leading More Russians to Want to Carry Guns

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 24, 2014) Russians increasingly want to have the right to carry guns for the same reason many people in the United States say they do – their conviction that police are not willing or able to defend them and their belief that they must therefore be

De-Stalinization Hasn’t Been Completed in Russia, Lukin Says

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 23, 2014) De-Stalinization will have occurred not when everyone denounces Stalin in a chorus at the direction of the state but rather when each person can assess him in his or her own way and have debates about him, Vladimir Lukin says. Unfortunately, Russia has not

Kremlinphobia, russophobia and other states of paranoia; The Russian government likes to regularly accuse the West of being ‘russophobic.’ They’re right, but not for the reasons they think.

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – November 21, 2014) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. ‘Russophobia’ has become a charge as common as fascism in the information war between Russia, Ukraine and the West. The accusation brings to mind the tale of the

Putin Talks Obama, God and the Iron Curtain in New Interview

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 24, 2014) President Vladimir Putin addressed everything from the possibility of re-election and his thoughts on U.S. President Barack Obama, to God and his preference for tea, in a massive interview published by state news agency TASS on Sunday. Putin on His Political Future Putin said in the interview

Interfax: Putin says calling for overthrow of Russia’s system of government “extremism”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Interfax – Moscow, November 20, 2014) Calls to overthrow the existing system [of government in Russia] are a manifestation of extremism and anti-popular thinking, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “In standing up for freedom of elections, assembly, marches, rallies, you should not forget responsibility for your words and actions. You must know and understand

Moscow Times: Putin Warns of Color Revolutions and Uncontrolled Migration in Extremism Speech

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 21, 2014) President Vladimir Putin called on law enforcement agencies, religious leaders, institutions of civil society and Russia’s education system to join together to prevent the rise of extremism. Describing the threat of extremism, Putin pointed to color revolutions. “In the modern world extremism is often used as a

Protecting the Motherland: Russia’s Counter-Color Revolution Military Doctrine

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 206 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Roger McDermott – November 18, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s order to revise Russia’s 2010 Military Doctrine by the end of this year prompted speculation in the Russian media and raised varying opinions about the revision process’s possible motives and its timing. It

Magazine Pays Homage to Embattled Russian Activists With Global Thinkers List

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber- November 19, 2014) Two Russian rights advocates have been included on Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the top 100 leading global thinkers for their roles in raising contentious issues surrounding this year’s Sochi Olympic Games. LGBT rights defender Yelena Klimova and environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko were included in

VIDEO: Is Putin intentionally provoking the West?

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

PBS News Hour interviews Russia scholar Kimberly Marten about Russia’s unfolding relations with the West. [click here for transcript] Said Marten: I think part of what’s going on is that Putin is trying to take attention off of the problems that the Russian economy is facing.  The sanctions are working much better than … predicted … they’re having real impact

Ten Kremlin Moves That Hurt Russia’s Economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – November 19, 2014) As the Russian economy ambles toward recession, the government grapples with how to explain the downturn – no easy feat after 15 years of slowly mounting prosperity and President Vladimir Putin’s campaign promises of lavish social spending. So far, the authorities have been inclined

Putin, Now Marginalized Internationally, May Become Even More Dangerous, Oreshkin Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 18, 2014) The G-20 meeting in Brisbane demonstrated that “the marginalization of Putin is a fait accompli,” that he has failed to split the West, and that its leaders have no intention of acting as Neville Chamberlain did in the late 1930s, according to Dmitry Oreshkin.

Embattled Ekho Moskvy’s Long Record Of Riling Officials

File Photo of Interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – November 18, 2014) The doggedly independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy is facing an existential crisis this week, with its editorial leadership and its operations due to be scrutinized in a snap shareholders meeting on November 21 called by state-owned Gazprom-Media, which holds a controlling stake in the

Interfax: Putin backs proposal to devise procedure for NGOs’ removal from foreign agents register

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 17, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has backed Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova’s proposal to devise a procedure of removing nongovernmental organizations from the register of foreign agents after their foreign funding ends. Pamfilova told Putin that the Justice Ministry cannot remove NGOs, no longer financed from abroad, from the foreign agents register

Profile: Elvira Nabiullina, Woman at Center of Russia’s Ruble Collapse

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 15, 2014) Reaching the climax of a personal attack on Russia’s Central Bank chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina in a debate in the State Duma early last week, Communist deputy Vyacheslav Tetyokin did not hold back. Nabiullina, he said, was “the most expensive woman in the history of

Stratfor: A Struggle Over Russia’s Interior Ministry Could Emerge

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Stratfor.com – November 11, 2014) Summary In recent weeks, rumors that Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev will be replaced have been circulating among Russian media and pundits who watch Moscow. Stratfor has been monitoring the Russian government’s coherence and the strength of its leader, President Vladimir Putin, as the country faces a series of crises involving

Launch of Sputnik Comes Amid High Stakes in Media War

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – November 12, 2014) The Kremlin strengthened its position in the drawn-out media war with the West this week with the launch of Sputnik, an international multi-platform news agency meant to provide a pro-Russian alternative to Western media coverage, as Russia’s independent media outlets struggle to stay afloat.

Moscow Times: Most Russians Say State-Run Media ‘Objective’ in Ukraine Coverage

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 13, 2014) Most Russians believe that the country’s state-run news agencies have provided objective coverage of the events unfolding during the Ukraine conflict, a poll by the Levada Center revealed Wednesday. Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the poll, conducted between Oct. 24 and 27, said they

A Russian Maidan Could Take Place Outside of Moscow

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 11, 2014) The Russian political system is so hyper-centralized and Russian political culture is so Moscow-centric that almost all discussions about radical change in that country focus on the capital city and its residents rather than on the rest of what remains the largest country on

Kommersant Editor Steps Down Amid Rumors of Pressure From Above

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 11, 2014) The editor-in-chief of business daily Kommersant has resigned, triggering speculation Monday that he was forced out over a recent article in the newspaper about oil giant Rosneft. While theories behind the move multiplied and media reports fluctuated between calling it a dismissal and a

Does Putin’s Russia Have a Future?

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – November 7, 2014) Russia’s present is too unbalanced to discuss, and President Vladimir Putin prefers to rehash the past. That increases the temptation to talk about the distant future, to fathom where the country’s current trajectory is leading. Some smart commentators in Moscow have also given in to

Has Russia Abandoned the Path to Democracy?

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org) On October 30, the National Endowment for Democracy held a round table discussion entitled “Is Democracy Possible in Russia?” According to participants, in light of current political developments, it appears unlikely that Russia will become a democracy anytime soon. Participants in the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) October 30th round

Russians Dream of ‘Soviet Empire without Communists,’ Commentators Say

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 8, 2014) What Russians now have in the Russian Federation is a Soviet system without communism and its administrative arrangements, and what they dream of is “a Soviet empire without communists,” an entity not equivalent to the tsarist empire as some think but one that reflects

Firing of Ekho Moskvy Reporter Prompts Speculation Over Fate of Editor-in-Chief

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 7, 2014) A state-controlled media holding has fired an Ekho Moskvy radio journalist, citing ethical norms, and threatened to dismiss the radio station’s long-standing chief editor who has led it as one of the final strongholds of media freedom in the country. The dismissal of Alexander

Take a Vacation to Crimea at Embattled Teatr.doc

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – November 6, 2014) To be or not to be, that is the question these days for Teatr.doc. A move by city authorities to oust the famous little theater from its basement in the center of Moscow will probably be successful. The chances are better than good that

Russian Tabloid Deletes Article Claiming Navalny Received Kremlin Funds

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 6, 2014) Russian tabloid LifeNews removed a report from its website Thursday that claimed prominent opposition activist Alexey Navalny had secretly been receiving state funds after the Kremlin vehemently denied the allegations, the TASS news agency reported. “Reports about the Kremlin financing [Navalny] are absolute nonsense and a stunt

RIA Novosti: One Russia not keen on recognizing Ukraine’s separatist regions

Russian Duma Building

(RIA Novosti – November 5, 2014) The One Russia and A Just Russia factions in the State Duma believe that the LDPR’s initiative to recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) is not relevant at the moment, the Russian RIA Novosti reported on 5 November. Even the Communist Party, although it

Putin Forever

Vladimir Putin

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 5, 2014) As one of his activities marking the Unity Day holiday, Vladimir Putin joined Patriarch Kirill to view an exhibition commemorating the Rurik Dynasty, which established tsarism in Russia and ruled for seven centuries. What kind of message was he trying to send? If you look

Putin’s new foreign policy rulebook

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Arutunyan – November 3, 2014) Anna Arutunyan is an independent journalist and author of ‘The Putin Mystique.’ She lives in Moscow As the Ukraine crisis drags on and as the transformative effects of Crimea’s annexation become increasingly apparent, every time Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, opens his mouth, the bewildered world looks to

National Unity Day March Shows Decline of Anti-Kremlin Nationalism

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – November 5, 2014) Russia marked National Unity Day on Tuesday with a remarkable show of disunity, with three major distinct rallies taking place across Moscow, including the infamous nationalist Russian March. Nationalism in Russia has long been reviled because of its proponents’ penchants for violence and acrid

Interfax: Russian church leader calls on people to join forces amid sanctions

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – November 4, 2014) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has criticized the West over attempts to play havoc with the minds of the Russian people through the sanctions it had imposed against Russia, Gazprom-owned Russian TV channel NTV reported on 4 November. “One should make the economic situation worse to play havoc

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