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Tag Archive for Politics

List of ‘foreign agents’ grows thanks to Justice Ministry

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galiya Ibragimova, RBTH – October 21, 2014) Since Russia’s Justice Ministry received the right to declare organizations “foreign agents” without their consent, the number of NGOs on the list has grown substantially In the two years since the passage of Russia’s controversial law on NGOs in July 2012,

Does Russian Liberalism Still ‘End at Ukraine’?

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) Since at least the time of the Russian Civil War, it has been common ground among many observers in Moscow and the West that Russian liberalism “ends at Ukraine,” a notion for which Aleksey Navalny’s statement that Russia will retain Crimea whatever happens appears

Russia’s ‘Era of Freedom’ has Come to an End, Academician Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 19, 2014) Russia’s 25-year-long era of freedom, which began in 1989 with the Congress of Peoples Deputies, has come to an end and the prospects for the future are extremely bleak, according to Academician Yury Pivovarov. If Russians do not transform themselves, their country risks becoming

Censorship Fears Mount as Officials Move to Tackle ‘Negativity’ in Russian Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2014) Days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law forcing foreign companies to sell stakes in Russian media, members of Russia’s upper house of parliament have advocated applying state pressure to combat a glut of “negative” news that is poisoning the country’s image, a news report said Friday.

For the Russian elite, loyalty is all: Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations…

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

(opendemocracy.net – Yelizaveta Surnacheva – October 16, 2014) Yelizaveta Surnacheva is a journalist at Kommersant. In the last six months, Russian officials, oligarchs, CEOs of state-owned businesses, parliamentary deputies, and regional governors have found themselves in a new world, with new missions, new economic circumstances, and new mechanisms for decision-making. Not many are comfortable with

Putin’s Class Of 2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 17, 2014) The iPhone-toting hipsters hanging out in their trendy downtown Moscow office are just the high-profile part of the Kremlin’s new youth strategy. Founded in November 2013, the youth group Set — which means “Network” in Russian — has organized patriotic fashion shows and film festivals,

Navalny Wouldn’t Return Crimea, Considers Immigration Bigger Issue Than Ukraine

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 17, 2014) Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in an interview this week that he would not return the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine if he had the power to do so, and that the issue of illegal immigration was more important for Russia than anything

Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like

Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Endorse Internet Censorship

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 15, 2014) The majority of the Russian population supports a curb on Internet freedoms in theory, a new study showed Tuesday. Fifty-four percent of the respondents in a new poll by the independent Levada Center said the World Wide Web had enough dangerous websites to mandate censorship. Another 31

RIA Novosti: Putin prepared to be held responsible for all happening in Russia

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 14, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin does not agree with a widespread opinion that everything in Russia depends on him only; he believes that many simply want to find a person with whom the buck stops, and he does not resist this role. “This widespread belief that everything depends on

Putin Immune to Economic Decline – So Far

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 16, 2014) Most of Russia’s indicators of economic health have plummeted this year. Inflation last month was at its highest level in three years, capital outflow this year is expected to exceed $100 billion, the ruble has lost almost 20 percent of its value since January,

Fewer Russian Bureaucrats But Salaries Increased 30%, Study Shows

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) The number of Russian officials has decreased slightly from 2009, but their collective earnings have grown 31 percent to 682 billion rubles ($16 billion), a new study showed Wednesday. Russia had 1.45 million officials in 2013, compared with 1.5 million five years ago, the study conducted by

Interfax: Most Russians think Putin is doing his job well – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, October 15, 2014) Russians support the president of the Russian Federation and more and more often see their trust in Vladimir Putin as a reflection of his successful handling of the problems facing Russia, sociologists have told Interfax. A poll conducted by the [Russian independent polling organization] Levada Centre among 1,630 people

De-Modernization and Degradation-A Net Assessment of Russia’s Domestic Situation Since the Start of 2014

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 181 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – October 14, 2014) Considering Russia’s shocking transformation in the course of just half a year, it is easy to forget that last February the country was united in the joy of hosting the Sochi Winter Olympic games. The

Down with Lenin!

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

As they are toppled one after another in cities across the country, statues of Lenin are becoming an endangered species in Ukraine. But Lenin the political symbol is still alive and kicking. (opendemocracy.net – LEONID RAGOZIN – October 13, 2014) Inside a granite pyramid on Red Square, in front of the Kremlin wall, lies the

Bill Proposes Softening NGO ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 9, 2014) A legislative commission has approved a bill reducing fines for non-governmental organizations that fail to register with the Justice Ministry as so-called “foreign agents,” the government said in a statement Wednesday. The bill, conceived after the Ministry received complaints from the country’s human rights commissioner, proposes halving

RIA Novosti: Russian President Says He Took 5-Mile Hike on His Birthday

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that he went on a 5-mile hike in the mountains of Siberia on his 62nd birthday. “The day before yesterday was a day of walking for me. I walked in the mountains for almost 9 kilometers [about 5 miles]. Everything still hurts,” Putin

Putin Seeks Solitude Amid Russia’s Perfect Storm

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

(Stratfor.com – October 9, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 62nd birthday Tuesday in a peculiar fashion: by himself in the Siberian forests. For the past few days, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has brushed off journalists’ questions about why the president decided not to celebrate his birthday in Moscow or do other work as he

VIDEO: Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Open Russia and Building Civil Society: A Conversation With Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

The Council on Foreign Relations hosted an event featuring former Russia oil oligarch, and former Russian prison inmate, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Open Russia and Building Civil Society: A Conversation With Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” is archived at cfr.org/russian-federation/mikhail-khodorkovsky-open-russia-building-civil-society/p33555. Among other things, Khodorkovsky argued that Putin has become so entrenched as a strongman, that any successor might be

Putin Aloof as Russia’s Economic Troubles Close In

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – October 8, 2014) Official documents published Monday show the Kremlin has scrapped the president’s annual budget address. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS that the set piece speech would, from now on, be folded into the state-of-the-union address, usually given in December. While Putin floated the idea

RIA Novosti: Russia’s Ethnic Tensions Drop Due to Crimea Reunification, President’s Approval: Kremlin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Interethnic tensions have reduced significantly this year in Russia as a result of the country’s reunification with Crimea and President Vladimir Putin’s high approval ratings, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Magomedsalam Magomedov said Wednesday. “The main factors for the significant reduction in interethnic tension

Russia Beyond the Headlines: What is democracy? A third of Russians don’t know

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Darya Lyubinskaya, special to RBTH – October 8, 2014) Results of a recent poll indicate a discontinuity between views on the meaning of democracy and what constitutes democratic leadership. A recent poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) provided new insight into how Russians feel about democracy

Critic of Russian Economic Policy Ejected From Influential Journal

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 8, 2014) Prominent economist and Kremlin critic Sergei Alexashenko says that political pressure has forced him to surrender his post as editor and contributor to a respected macroeconomic bulletin published by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. “Someone doesn’t like what I write, what I do, where

Moscow Times: Vladimir Putin’s (Imaginary) Bucket List

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Pilot in Hang Glider Airborne Next to Flying Cranes

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – October 7, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin turns 62 on Tuesday. Though he has manned the helm of Mother Russia for nearly 15 years, he remains such a divisive figure that a 2044 textbook will be needed to glean his real place in history. But one thing

Dmitry Gudkov, L’Enfаnt Terrible of the State Duma

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – October 7, 2014) In a Russian parliament filled with yes-men, Dmitry Gudkov is Mr. Nyet. Since his election to the State Duma in 2011, the 34-year-old deputy has opposed many legislative initiatives of symbolic importance to the Kremlin. Gudkov – who has served as an independent since

Putin Clans Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Irina Reznik, Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov – October 5, 2014) Russia’s wheels of power are grinding to a halt. That’s the assessment of five officials close to President Vladimir Putin, who say that a struggle at the heart of his inner circle is slowing decision making as sanctions squeeze the

Interfax: Russia not planning to limit internet traffic, nationalize domains – minister

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – October 2, 2014) The Russian authorities have no plans to limit the number of trans-border internet exchange points (IXP) or to regulate the management of the country’s local domains, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 2 October. “Such an idea is not on the agenda,” Russian Telecommunications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov told journalists

Can Russia Disconnect From The Internet?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RFE/RL – Luke Johnson – October 02, 2014) After chairing a meeting of the Russian Security Council on October 1, President Vladimir Putin insisted the Kremlin was not planning to limit access to the Internet or put it under total state control. The authorities would, however, take additional measures to increase cybersecurity and continue to shut

Solzhenitsyn Spat Sees Mironov Attack Putin Ally

Alexander Solzhenitsyn file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – September 29, 2014) As Moscow’s weather gradually cools down, the temperature of political discourse is definitely heating up. A public spat over the place in history of novelist and historian Alexander Solzhenitsyn led last week to some fighting words that culminated with a popular actor, Yevgeny Mironov,

Life After Putin: Russia Needs to Be Rebuilt From Scratch

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – September 30, 2014) This story begins a series of analytical articles and editorials in The Moscow Times about Russia’s long-term strategic prospects. It is strange to recall in 2014 that back at the beginning of his rule, President Vladimir Putin was hailed as a reformer. His main agenda during

Interfax: Third of Russians think Russia has all the democracy it needs – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – Moscow, September 30, 2014) A relative majority of Russians (39 per cent) believe that democracy in the Russian Federation was [and is] at its height under the rule of Vladimir Putin: 12 per cent said that it was so during the first two terms of Putin’s presidency (2000-2008), and 27 per cent –

Facebook, Google and Twitter hit by new Russian internet law

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – September 30, 2014) Russia’s official communications regulator Roskomnadzor says it will enforce a recently passed law that could force foreign-owned internet companies to store the data of Russian users on Russia data centres, as part of a Kremlin drive towards what it calls ‘information sovereignty’. Major US-based internet companies

We have made today’s Frankenstein with our own hands

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Kantor – September 29, 2014) Maxim Kantor is a painter, novelist and playwright. His latest novel V tu storonu (In that direction), which explores the parallel between the financial crisis and a malignant tumour, will be published in Russia shortly. When communism ended, Russia’s people wanted democracy. Instead, they got the market

Moscow Times: Poll Shows Russians Divided on Democracy’s Meaning, Importance

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – September 30, 2014) Democracy is important to most Russians, but they can’t seem to agree on what exactly it is, according to a survey published Monday. In the survey, conducted by the state-run pollster Public Opinion Foundation and published by the Kommersant newspaper Monday, 63 percent of

Defense Ministry Dismisses Reports of Russian Paratroopers Killed in Ukraine

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 30, 2014) An opposition lawmaker who inquired about the reported deaths of Russian paratroopers in Ukraine has been told by the Defense Ministry that the accounts are “rumors” and that releasing information about military casualties would violate privacy laws. State Duma lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov – one of the few

Another Lenin Down, but How Many More Remain?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 29, 2014) The demolition of the statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has attracted international attention, with some seeing this as a provocation by one or another side in the war in Ukraine and others viewing it as an indication of the maturation

Russians’ Greatest Fears Coming True, Undermining Stability, Gontmakher Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 24, 2014) The eight developments Russians identified as of their greatest fears are all coming true, and that pattern regardless of what else happens undermines the stability of Russian society and the Russian state, according to Moscow economist and commentator Yevgeny Gontmakher. In August, Russians were

RIA Novosti: Putin Called Top Moral Authority Among Russian Celebrities: Opinion Poll

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

MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – Two thirds of Russians say that some of the country’s famous citizens can be considered as moral authorities, and 36 percent of them believe President Vladimir Putin is taking the lead , a poll by the Public Opinion Fund reported Wednesday. Around 60 percent of respondents believed that there

The Troubled Rebirth of Political Opposition in Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Vladimir Gelman – September 2014) Distinguished Professor, Political Sciences and Sociology; Aleksanteri Institute at the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies In the 2000s, most experts considered the role of political opposition in Russia as peripheral at best. But with the protest wave of 2011-12, opposition actors and movements reentered

Fewer Russians Blame Authorities for Deaths in Beslan Attack

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 2, 2014) On the 10th anniversary of the Beslan terrorist attack in which more than 330 people died, a poll revealed Monday that fewer Russians think authorities mishandled the crisis than in 2004. The poll, conducted by the independent Levada Center from Aug. 22 to 25, showed a less

Interfax: Kremlin may not renew contract with its Western image makers – Putin spokesman

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Interfax – Moscow, September 2, 2014) The Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitriy Peskov, has said that at the end of its contract with American company Ketchum, the Kremlin will have to decide on the future of their cooperation. “Communication services are largely useless now,” the Russian president’s press secretary said in an interview with [Russian-language]

Russian Cultural Figures Targeted as New Opposition

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 2, 2014) With Russia’s political opposition either sidelined or splintered over Russian policy in Ukraine, dissenting cultural figures have become the new focus of pro-Kremlin witch hunts, with state media treating them as a political force and accusing them of treachery. The practice has echoes of

@Fu-kingPutin; The rhetoric of hatred describing the situation in Ukraine misses the point – Ukraine has problems that are not derived from Russia or the Putin presidency

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(opendemocracy.net – David Marples – August 22, 2014) David Marples is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, Canada. For summer 2014 he is Visiting Professor at the Slavic and Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University, Japan. [DJ: Just to clarify: One word in this article has been tweaked so that spam

Opposition Must Admit Most Russians Were Deceived about What 1991 Meant, Eidman Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 20, 2014) “It is time to acknowledge the responsibility of the successful minority before the 90 percent of [Russian] citizens, whose hopes for a better future were deceived” following the collapse of the Soviet system, and for that minority to make changes “in the interests of

RIA Novosti: Russian experts speculate on why prime minister’s Twitter account was hacked

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(RIA Novosti – August 14, 2014) Moscow, 14 August: Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev’s Twitter account [https://twitter.com/MedvedevRussia], which was hacked on Thursday [14 August], may have been hacked in response to the law that imposes stricter liability on bloggers and the partial ban on anonymous access to the Internet via [public] wi-fi networks, or because

Crimean Boost For Putin’s Ratings Expected to Fade by Year’s End

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 14, 2014) As President Vladimir Putin touched down in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Wednesday, a poll revealed that his support among voters has almost doubled since January, largely due to the Kremlin’s policies in Crimea and Ukraine, analysts said. The turmoil in Ukraine and

Interfax: Some 82 percent of Russians ready to support Putin in next election – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Interfax – August 13, 2014) The election rating of Vladimir Putin has practically doubled since the beginning of the year and he would have won a convincing victory if the next presidential election were held next Sunday, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax. Some 52 percent of the respondents who intend to cast their ballots mentioned

Interfax: Russians certain Putin assisting in peaceful resolution in Ukraine – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. Aug 13 (Interfax) – A total of 63% of Russian citizens believe that actions and statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the situation in Ukraine assist in the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) said citing a poll held. This stance is mostly shared by residents of

In Russia, Iron Curtain Falls Not at the End of the Play But Much Earlier, Moscow Sociologist Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 12, 2014) Aleksey Levinson, a Levada Center sociologist, says that iron curtains like the one now being erected around Russia are a political strategy that reflects weakness rather than strength and that its appearance is not the end of the story but somewhere much earlier. In

Daching: How to Get Beaten Up in the Russian Countryside

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 11, 2014) Many extreme sports, from snowboarding to air racing, are known health hazards. But only one can lead to indiscriminate beating, allegations of terrorism, jail and even self-imposed exile – and all you need to do is take a stroll through supposedly public land. Dozens

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