Tag Archive for Politics

Turf War Seen at Heart of Russian Space Industry Shake-Up

International Space Station file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – January 23, 2015) An ambitious drive by a friend of President Vladimir Putin’s to take control of Russia’s defense industry may be behind a shock announcement this week that Russia would merge its federal space agency with a major industry group, analysts said. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

More Russians See Potential for Political Protests in Their Country, Poll Shows

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – January 23, 2015) The number of Russians who see potential for political protests to break out in their country has more than doubled in the past five months, a new survey showed Friday, though the majority would choose not to participate in them themselves. The survey, published

Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – January 23, 2015) Vladimir Putin isn’t just angering leaders from Berlin to Washington. He’s irking some of his richest friends, too, by snubbing their pleas to end the conflict in Ukraine and ostracizing all but a handful of hardliners. The ruble’s plunge has heightened opposition to

Russian Authorities to Create Blacklist of Corrupt Officials

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 22, 2015) The Russian government has called for the creation of a special registry of officials who have been dismissed from their positions on the basis of a “loss of trust” due to corrupt activities, Kommersant reported Thursday. The move aims to serve both as a

Putin’s Attacks on Science, Rooted in His Fear of the Educated, Destroying Russia’s Future, Koch Says

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – January 20, 2014) Vladimir Putin “understands that the threat to his regime is to be found among the thinking and educated” and thus has been taking steps to “destroy higher education” in Russia and cut the financing of science, according to Moscow commentator Alfred Koch. Such actions may buy

Moscow Times: Russian Culture Ministry Reverses Plans to Ban Films That Undermine ‘National Unity’

Movie Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 20, 2015) The Culture Ministry has reversed plans to deny distribution licenses to films deemed harmful to Russia’s “national unity,” after the proposed restrictions drew widespread criticism. A ministry spokesman said some of the requirements set for films seeking clearance for screening in Russian movie theaters and on television

Igor Eidman: Putin became a fascist-style leader in mid-2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – January 20, 2014) [from Euromaidan PR: Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. He has served as director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn, and a senior

BOOK REVIEW: Russia’s Mobutu?

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Derek Brower in London – January 13, 2015) Corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia has sprouted its own sub-genre for Western publishers. Few of the many books, though, have the laser-like focus or amass the same devastating detail as Karen Dawisha’s “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” (Simon & Schuster, New

Analysts Predict a Russian Descent Into Madness

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 19, 2015) President Vladimir Putin cannot afford at this point to reform the political system he has built up, as doing so would undermine his grip on power, a panel of political analysts said at the Gaidar Forum on Friday. They went on to warn that without

Provincialism Keeping Russia from Becoming Great, Inozemtsev Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 18, 2014) Russia’s latest turn to authoritarianism and isolationism was possible because of the provincialism of its leaders and people, a sense of being on the margins of the real world and one that prevents them from achieving greatness because they are less interested in that

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Five reasons to watch Leviathan

Movie Theater file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anton Dolin, special to RBTH – January 16, 2015) Andrei Zvyagnitsev’s film has already taken home a Golden Globe and Palme d’Or at Cannes for best foreign film and it is now up for an Oscar. Still wonder if you should see it? Let RBTH erase any remaining

Russian Prime Minister Scorns Fears, But Fails to Present Strategy at Economic Forum

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 15, 2015) While Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev radiated confidence Wednesday that Russia would be able to use the unfolding crisis as an impetus to make necessary changes to its economy, members of his government indicated that they do not have a concrete plan for bringing about

Primakov’s ‘Anti-Crisis Federalism’ Seen Threatening Russia’s Non-Russians

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 15, 2015) Many in Russia and the West are celebrating Yevgeny Primakov’s argument presented at the Mercury Club this week that hyper-centralization, a policy associated with Vladimir Putin, is a threat to the Russian Federation and its economic recovery and his call for devolving more powers to

Interfax: Fifty-five percent of Russians want to see Putin as their president after 2018 – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(Interfax – January 15, 2015) Fifty-five percent of Russian citizens recently interviewed by the Levada Center said they would like to see Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president after the 2018 elections, as compared with 32 percent in March 2014 and 26 percent in 2013, the center’s sociologists told Interfax. Ten percent of respondents said they

Increasingly, Russians See No Alternative to Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2015 Though it will be another three years before Russian voters cast their ballots for the next round of presidential hopefuls, most people already know whom they plan to vote for. More than half of Russians would prefer to keep President Vladimir Putin at the country’s helm after

‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears”

Kremlin Foe Navalny Fined $10 For Cutting Ankle Bracelet

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 14, 2015) Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been convicted of large-scale theft twice and spent many nights in jail after street protests. The latest punishment meted out to one of the Kremlin’s fiercest foes is perhaps the least severe: a $10 fine. On his website on January 14, Navalny

A new drama in Moscow: Teatr.doc – a pioneer of ‘New Drama’ in Russia – has recently been evicted from its basement home in Moscow. But is it all an act?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Alexey Krizhevsky – January 14, 2015) Alexey Krizhevsky is culture editor at gazeta.ru and member of Teatr.doc Teatr.doc is on the move. Having performed its last plays and a holiday evening, the theatre packed its bags and left the tiny basement in the centre of Moscow – its home for many years. The

Culture Minister Wants ‘Patriotic Internet’ to Protect Russians

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 15, 2015) Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has called for the creation of a “patriotic Internet” to combat Western ideas, adding that those who are against Russia are against the truth. Russia needs to “consolidate the state and society on the basis of values instilled by our

Health Ministry Says Transsexuals Can Still Drive in Russia

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 14, 2015) The Health Ministry has denied widespread reports that transvestites and transsexuals could lose their rights to drive in Russia based on a new road safety decree. Although the decree provides for the disqualification of driving rights for certain individuals with psychological or behavioral disorders, the mere fact

Putin’s Backing Allows Kadyrov Free Reign for Open Threats, Analysts Say

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 13, 2015) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has embarked in recent days on a marathon of threat-laden spats with prominent public figures, making statements so brazen they would be unimaginable coming from any other regional leader. Analysts interviewed by The Moscow Times attributed Kadyrov’s recent bout of

Russia Civil Society will Grow like ‘Blade of Grass through Concrete,’ Gontmakher Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 13, 2015) Yevgeny Gontmakher, a prominent Moscow economist and commentator, has invoked one of the most powerful images available about the ways in which the human spirit can overcome ever the harshest and most repressive regimes: “like a blade of grass breaking through concrete.” As anyone

Opposition Posterboy Navalny Defies House Arrest … Again

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 12, 2015) Opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny has continued to defy what he has described as his “illegal” house arrest by going to work on Saturday, as the European Court of Human Rights prepares to consider his complaint over a recent conviction. Navalny has vehemently railed against

New Russian Regulation Says Transgender People Unfit to Drive

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 9, 2015) Transgender people may no longer be allowed to drive cars in Russia under new road safety regulations signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. A decree published on the government website earlier this month lists an array of health conditions that can disqualify someone from

NEWSWATCH: How Putin could lose power

Vladimir Putin

[“How Putin could lose power” – Vox.com – Amanda Taub – January 5, 2015] Vox.com and Amanda Taub talk with NYU Professor Mark Galeotti about possibilities for a Putin transition, especially if the apparatus supporting Putin has a change of attitude: After more than a decade in power, Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing what may be his

NEWSWATCH: Decoding Vladimir Putin’s Plan: Many say Russia’s leader is trying to strengthen his country’s position in the world

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

[“Decoding Vladimir Putin’s Plan: Many say Russia’s leader is trying to strengthen his country’s position in the world” – US News and World Report – Joshua Kucera – January 5, 2015] US News and World Report considers what one could infer about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s true intentions and policies, in the light of Russia’s posture

Any Russian Protests Ahead Likely to Be About Economic Issues Rather than Political Ones, Experts Say

Moscow Protest file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 5, 2014) Three Russian experts with whom Russkaya planeta spoke say that while declines in the standard of living of many Russians in the coming year as a result of the economic crisis may lead to some protests about economic issues, any such demonstrations are unlikely

Power struggles inside the Kremlin: A behind-the-scenes look at power struggles inside the Kremlin reveals potential scenarios for the future. And a possible new president.

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Pribylovsky – December 31, 2014) Vladimir Pribylovsky is the president of the Moscow-based Panorama Information and Research Center and co-author of ‘The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin’. Russia’s ruling structure bears the marks of authoritarianism, oligarchy, and three different presidents. Under Boris Yeltsin, rapacious despotism at the

Why Do They Do It? A Glimpse Into the Russian Lawmaker Psyche

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 2, 2015) If the State Duma’s legislative initiatives may occasionally cause bewilderment or even outright laughter, lawmakers insist that they are in on the joke – with some adding that Russia’s parliament is not a place to make laws anyway, according to recent interviews. There has

Interfax/RIA Novosti: Russian human-rights figures divided over Navalnyy sentence

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax/RIA Novosti – December 30, 2014) Human-rights activists have greeted the conviction and sentencing of Aleksey Navalnyy and his brother for financial crimes with a mixture of anger and acceptance, with some denouncing it as politically-motivated hostage taking but others regarding it as justified. Aleksey and Oleg Navalnyy were found guilty of fraud and money

From our own correspondent in Moscow: There have been protests in the capital. Could Moscow really go the way of Kyiv – bring down the president and install a less authoritarian government?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Arutunyan – December 31, 2014) Anna Arutunyan is an independent journalist and author of ‘The Putin Mystique.’ She lives in Moscow. I joined the crowds of people protesting against the sentence handed down to opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg on 30 December. Surrounded by Muscovites preparing for the long

Best of 2014: People of the year

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – December 22, 2014) The year 2014 was complicated, with groundbreaking events aplenty on the political scene, as well as in technology, media and numerous cultural spheres. RBTH presents the Russians who in its view played the most noteworthy roles in politics, science,

Putin goes

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

(opendemocracy.net – Aleksandr Morozov – December 22, 2014) Russian journalist , political analyst . Since August of 2011 – editor in chief of ” Russian Journal” , the director of the Center for Media Research UNIK Until ‘Black Tuesday’ on 16 December 2014, fifteen years after he first took power, there were no grounds for

Putin stays

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(opendemocracy.net – Chris Weafer – December 22, 2014) Chris Weafer is the co-founder of Macro Advisory, and former Chief Strategist at Sberbank CIB. He served for four years as Chief Strategist with Uralsib Financial Corporation and for five years with Alfa Bank. The Kremlin has adopted a deliberate strategy – to let the rouble continue

A New Genre in Russian Commentary – Thinking about Russia after Putin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 20, 2014) In the minds of some, Vladimir Putin used his press conference this week to demonstrate his conviction that he will remain president of Russia forever (replika.com.ua/ru/3_politika/ zadacha_putina_probivat_na_ prochnost_zapadnuyu_koalitsiyu), ever more Russian commentators are asking “What will be the situation after Putin?” Among those doing

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

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